Tag Archives: middle grade

Book Title:
Hear the Wolves
Book Author:
Victoria Scott
Page Count:
240
Publishing Date:
March 28th, 2017
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Date Read:
April 2nd, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

Synopsis

Sloan is a hunter.

So she shouldn’t be afraid of anything. But ever since her mom left the family and she lost hearing in one ear in a blizzard, it’s been hard to talk to people, and near-impossible to go anywhere or do anything without her dad or big sister within eyesight — it makes her too scared to be on her own.

When they leave her home alone for what should only be two nights, she’s already panicked. Then the snow starts falling and doesn’t stop. One of her neighbors is hurt in an accident. And the few people still left in Rusic need to make it to the river and the boat that’s tied there — their only way to get to a doctor from their isolated Alaska town.

But the woods are icy cold, and the wolves are hungry. Sloan and her group are running out of food, out of energy, and out of time. That’s when the wolves start hunting them . . .

My Review

The first time I heard about this book and saw that stunning cover, I fell in love.  It seemed like such a great story, full of adventure, friendship, and, of course, wolves.  A survival story for middle grade readers?  Yes!  … Continue reading

4 stars
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Book Title:
Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd)
Book Author:
Julie Bowe
Publishing Date:
March 21st, 2017
Publisher:
Kathy Dawson Books
Date Read:
March 20th, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

Synopsis

It's the start of a new school year and Wren Jo Byrd is worried that everyone will find out her parents separated over the summer. No one knows the truth, not even her best friend, Amber. When even her new teacher refers to her mom as Mrs. Byrd, Wren decides to keep their divorce a total secret. But something else changed over the summer: A new girl named Marianna moved to town and wants to be Amber's next bff. And because of her fib, Wren can't do anything about it. From take-out dinners with Mom to the tiny room she gets at Dad's new place, nothing is the same for Wren anymore. But while Marianna makes everything harder at first, Wren soon learns that Marianna once had to ask many of the same questions--the big ones, as well as the little ones--that Wren is asking now. Set in Wisconsin, with wonderfully nuanced characters--from the bossy new girl, who acts big but has a secret of her own, to the sporty girl who acts little and shy but who becomes an unexpected friend--this is a book about much more than divorce.

My Review

Big & Little Questions (According to Wren Jo Byrd) is a delightful book that deals with a common family issue in a realistic and important way.  For any child who has ever been in the middle of parents who are … Continue reading

4.5 stars
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Book Title:
Izzy Kline Has Butterflies
Book Author:
Beth Ain
Publishing Date:
March 7th, 2017
Publisher:
Random House Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
March 1st, 2017
Source:
ARC from publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

So many moments—big and small—make up a year, and Beth Ain chronicles them all in this heartwarming novel in verse, perfect for fans of Fish in a Tree and verse novels like Brown Girl Dreaming and The Crossover.

Fourth grade is here, and Izzy Kline is nervous! There are plenty of reasons for the butterflies in her stomach to flap their wings. There’s a new girl in her class who might be a new best friend. The whole grade is performing Free to Be . . . You and Me—and Izzy really wants a starring role. And new changes at home are making Izzy feel like her family is falling apart. First-day jitters, new friends, an audition . . . How many butterfly problems can one fourth grader take?

My Review

Izzy Kline is going to fourth grade, and she’s nervous about it.  She spends her time wondering what the year is going to entail for her – who will be her friend?  Will she get the lead spot in the … Continue reading

3.5 stars
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Book Title:
Addie Bell's Shortcut to Growing Up
Book Author:
Jessica Brody
Publishing Date:
February 14th, 2017
Publisher:
Delacorte Press
Date Read:
February 15th, 2017
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

Everyone makes wishes. Addie's wish just happens to come true.

Seventh grader Addie Bell can’t wait to grow up. Her parents won’t let her have her own phone, she doesn’t have any curves, and her best friend Grace isn’t at all interested in make-up or boys. Then, on the night of her twelfth birthday, Addie makes a wish on a magic jewelry box to be sixteen…and wakes up to find her entire life has been fast-forwarded four years! Suddenly she has everything she’s always wanted (including a driver’s license and a closet full of cool clothes)! But Addie soon discovers that a lot more has changed than she expected—including her friendship with Grace. Can Addie turn back time and take back her wish…or has she lost the chance to experience what could have been the best years of her life?

My Review

Addie Bell’s Shortcut to Growing Up was an interesting book, and to be honest, probably one of the first middle grade-young adult crossover books that I’ve ever read.  I wasn’t sure it was supposed to be geared more toward middle … Continue reading

4 stars
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Book Title:
The Castle in the Mist
Book Author:
Amy Ephron
Publishing Date:
February 7th, 2017
Publisher:
Philomel Books
Date Read:
February 7th, 2017
Source:
ARC from publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

Tess and Max travel behind the walls of a magical castle where wishes really do come true—if the hawthorn trees don’t get you first.

Tess and Max are sent to the English countryside for the summer and long for some excitement. So when Tess, out for a walk alone, happens upon an ornately carved gate and an old brass key, she decides to see what’s inside. To her amazement, she discovers the grounds of a castle filled with swans, bullfrogs, a hedge maze, an old-fashioned carnival, and a boy, William, just her age. William invites Tess back, and she can’t wait to return, this time with her brother.

But strange things happen at William’s castle. Carnival games are paid for in wishes, dreams seem to come alive, and then there’s William’s warning: Beware the hawthorn trees. A warning that chills Tess to the bone.

In the end it’s up to Tess to save her family and her friends from being trapped forever in the world beyond the hawthorns—but will one wish be enough?

My Review

I was super excited to read this book, because I absolutely love the whole idea of a castle and huge fantasy area that appears out of nowhere and is absolutely amazing.  Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely an interesting … Continue reading

3 stars
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Book Title:
The Someday Birds
Book Author:
Sally J. Pla (Author) and Julie McLaughlin (Illustrator)
Publishing Date:
January 24th, 2017
Publisher:
HarperCollins
Date Read:
January 25th, 2017
Source:
eARC from publisher via Edelweiss - Thank you!

Synopsis

Charlie wishes his life could be as predictable and simple as chicken nuggets.

And it usually is. He has his clean room, his carefully organized bird books and art supplies, his favorite foods, and comfortable routines.

But life has been unraveling since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. And when Dad gets sent across country for medical treatment, Charlie must reluctantly travel to meet him. With his boy-crazy sister, unruly twin brothers, and a mysterious new family friend at the wheel, the journey looks anything but smooth.

So Charlie decides to try and spot all the birds that he and his dad had been hoping to see together in the wild. If he can complete the Someday Birds list for Dad, then maybe, just maybe, things will turn out okay...

Equal parts madcap road trip, coming-of-age story for an unusual boy, and portrait of a family overcoming a crisis.

My Review

I have a seven year old daughter who was diagnosed with autism when she was three, so I was really drawn into this book from the very first moment I heard about it.  I knew I would absolutely love Charlie’s … Continue reading

5 stars
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Book Title:
The Matchstick Castle
Book Author:
Keir Graff
Publishing Date:
January 10th, 2017
Publisher:
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
January 12th, 2017
Source:
ARC from publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

Brian can think of a few places he'd rather spend his summer than with his aunt and uncle in Boring, Illinois. Jail, for example. Or an earplug factory. Anything would be better than doing summer school on a computer while his scientist dad is stationed at the South Pole.

Boring lives up to its name until Brian and his cousin Nora have a fight, get lost, and discover a huge, wooden house in the forest. With balconies, turrets, and windows seemingly stuck on at random, it looks ready to fall over in the next stiff breeze. To the madcap, eccentric family that lives inside, it s not just a home it s a castle. Suddenly, summer gets a lot more exciting. With their new friends, Brian and Nora tangle with giant wasps, sharp-tusked wild boars, and a crazed bureaucrat intent on bringing the dangerously dilapidated old house down with a wrecking ball.

This funny, fantastical story will resonate with any reader who s ever wished a little adventure would find them.

My Review

The Matchstick Castle is a middle grade adventure that reminded me a bit of Alice in Wonderland because of the ridiculous things that were going on in it (more on that later), and while I really thought the theme would … Continue reading

3.5 stars
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Book Title:
The Warden's Daughter
Book Author:
Jerry Spinelli
Publishing Date:
January 3rd, 2017
Publisher:
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
December 24th, 2016
Source:
eARC from publisher via NetGalley - Thank you!

Synopsis

From Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli (Maniac Magee, Stargirl) comes the knockout story of a girl who must come to terms with her mother's death from inside the walls of a prison.

Cammie O'Reilly is the warden's daughter, living in an apartment above the entrance to the Hancock County Prison. But she's also living in a prison of grief and anger about the mother who died saving her from harm when she was just a baby. And prison has made her mad. This girl's nickname is Cannonball. In the summer of 1959, as twelve turns to thirteen, everything is in flux. Cammie's best friend is discovering lipstick and American Bandstand. A child killer is caught and brought to her prison. And the only mother figures in her life include a flamboyant shoplifter named Boo Boo and a sullen reformed arsonist of a housekeeper. All will play a role in Cammie's coming-of-age. But one in particular will make a staggering sacrifice to ensure that Cammie breaks free from her past. Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli spins a tale of loss and redemption like no other. The Warden's Daughter shows that kindness and compassion can often be found where we least expect it.

My Review

Stargirl was one of my favorite (if not favorite favorite) book that I’ve read, and I read that one when it first came out in 2000.  I was eleven, and made me fall in love with reading.  Because that book … Continue reading

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Book Title:
Finding Perfect
Book Author:
Elly Swartz
Publishing Date:
October 18th, 2016
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Date Read:
December 10th, 2016
Source:
ARC from publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:

―The number four

―The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil

―A crisp white pad of paper

―Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?

But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly's world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect.

My Review

Somehow this book slipped right under my radar, and I hadn’t heard anything about it prior to the awesome folks over at Macmillan Children’s sending me an ARC of it.  Intrigued, I opened up the first page of the book, … Continue reading

5 stars
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Book Title:
Be Light Like a Bird
Book Author:
Monika Schröder
Publishing Date:
September 1st, 2016
Publisher:
Capstone Young Readers
Date Read:
November 18th, 2016
Source:
I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review - thank you!

Synopsis

After the death of her father, twelve-year-old Wren finds her life thrown into upheaval. And when her mother decides to pack up the car and forces Wren to leave the only home she's ever known, the family grows even more fractured. As she and her mother struggle to build a new life, Wren must confront issues with the environment, peer pressure, bullying, and most of all, the difficulty of forgiving those who don't deserve it. A quirky, emotional middle grade novel set in Michigans Upper Peninsula, Be Light Like a Bird features well-drawn, unconventional characters and explores what it means to be a family and the secrets and lies that can tear one apart.

My Review

Be Light Like a Bird was a relatively quick read for me, in that I finished the book in less than a day thanks to the quick chapters and the immersive story line.  This heart wrenching middle grade novel explores … Continue reading

4 stars
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