Tag Archives: middle grade

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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Book Title:
The Haunted House Project
Book Author:
Tricia Clasen
Publishing Date:
October 11th, 2016
Publisher:
Sky Pony Press
Date Read:
November 13th, 2016
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher - Thank you!

Synopsis

Since her mom died, Andie’s family has crumbled. Instead of working, her dad gambles away insurance money, while her sister, Paige, has put her future on hold in order to pick up extra waitressing shifts. Andie’s afraid of what will happen if people find out just how bad things are. She’s not sure how long she can hide the fact that there’s no food or money in the house...or adults, for that matter.

When her science partner suggests they study paranormal activity, Andie gets an idea. She wants a sign from her mom—anything to tell her it’s going to be okay. Maybe the rest of her family does too. So she starts a project of her own. Pretending to be her mother’s ghost, Andie sprays perfume, changes TV channels, and moves pictures. Haunting her house is Andie’s last hope to bring her family back into the land of the living.

For anyone who loved Counting by 7s, The Haunted House Project is a journey through loss and grief, but ultimately a story of hope and self-reliance. As much as Andie has been changed by her mother’s death, the changes she makes herself are the ones that are most important.

My Review

I am a true sucker for middle grade books.  Not only are they really great reads, but they are full of raw emotion that creates these heavy stories that are written with real heart and feelings, that sometimes can’t quite … Continue reading

5 stars
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Book Title:
The Last Cherry Blossom
Book Author:
Kathleen Burkinshaw
Publishing Date:
August 2nd, 2016
Publisher:
Sky Pony Press
Date Read:
August 7th, 2016
Source:
I received a copy from the publisher

Synopsis

Following the seventieth anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, this is a new, very personal story to join Sadako and The Thousand Paper Cranes.

Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and Japan's fate is not entirely clear, with any battle losses being hidden fom its people. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more real when the neighbors who have left to fight stop coming home. When the bomb hits Hiroshima, it’s through Yuriko’s twelve-year-old eyes that we witness the devastation and horror.

This is a story that offers young readers insight into how children lived during the war, while also introducing them to Japanese culture. Based loosely on author Kathleen Burkinshaw’s mother’s firsthand experience surviving the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, The Last Cherry Blossom hopes to warn readers of the immense damage nuclear war can bring, while reminding them that the “enemy” in any war is often not so different from ourselves.

My Review

Middle grade fiction has a tendency to be more powerful and honest than young adult or even adult fiction, and the stories you find within the middle grade level can be stories that stay with you throughout your lifetime.  This … Continue reading

5 stars
2 Comments
Book Title:
George
Book Author:
Alex Gino
Publishing Date:
August 25th, 2016
Publisher:
Scholastic Press
Date Read:
June 25th, 2016
Source:
Purchased

Synopsis

BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

My Review

I heard about this book back when it first came out, probably about a year ago now, and I while I was intrigued, I don’t read as much middle grade fiction as I do young adult, so I never really … Continue reading

5 stars
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