Sunday, February 3, 2019

Chester and Gus by Cammie McGovern                      (read Oct. 2018)

Book description from
Chester has always wanted to become a service dog. When he fails his certification test, though, it seems like that dream will never come true—until a family adopts him. They want him to be a companion for their ten-year-old son, Gus, who has autism. But Gus acts so differently than anyone Chester has ever met. He never wants to pet Chester, and sometimes he doesn’t even want Chester in the room. Chester’s not sure how to help Gus since this isn’t exactly the job he trained for—but he’s determined to figure it out. Because after all, Gus is now his person.

My 25 cents...
Okay, this story captured two of my life passions: dogs and persons living with autism. This story is awesome and told by the dog.  It is a great look into the world of autism as well as a story of determination by both Gus the boy and Chester the dog!  LOVED THIS STORY!!  (and, Chester does NOT die!!)
Booked by Kwame Alexander                                                (read April 2018)
Book description from
Like lightning/you strike/fast and free/legs zoom/down field/eyes fixed/on the checkered ball/on the goal/ten yards to go/can’t nobody stop you/
can’t nobody cop you…

In this follow-up to the Newbery-winning novel THE CROSSOVER,  soccer, family, love, and friendship, take center stage as twelve-year-old Nick learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. Helping him along are his best friend and sometimes teammate Coby, and The Mac, a rapping librarian who gives Nick inspiring books to read.  
This electric and heartfelt novel-in-verse by poet Kwame Alexander bends and breaks as it captures all the thrills and setbacks, action and emotion of a World Cup match!

My 25 cents...This book already had two great things going for it: the AUTHOR and I knew it had a librarian/books in it!  Kwame has a way with words that put the reader into the story. Readers can feel what Nick feels as he faces his different challenges throughout the story.  Do not NOT read this book because you don't like soccer, or think it's just a good story for GUYS to read.  Kwame's writing pulls you in and before you know it you are halfway through the entire book.  If you like this one, be sure to pick up The Crossover too!  I personally don't think you can go wrong with any of this author's books.  Just his writing style alone is worth the time! 

Peeled by Joan Bauer                            (read April 2018)
Book description from Biddle dreams of being a journalist. A reporter for her high school newspaper, The Core, she's just waiting for a chance to prove herself. Not content to just cover school issues, Hildy's drawn to the town's big story--the haunted old Ludlow house. On the surface, Banesville, USA, seems like such a happy place, but lately, eerie happenings and ghostly sightings are making Hildy take a deeper look.
Her efforts to find out who is really haunting Banesville isn't making her popular, and she starts wondering if she's cut out to be a journalist after all. But she refuses to give up, because, hopefully, the truth will set a few ghosts free.
My 25 cents...I usually enjoy Joan Bauer's books.  This one, maybe because it was a mystery story (not my favorite kind of book) did not bring me much enjoyment.  I did enjoy the parts of the story about school and family life for Hildy.  If you are a mystery reader this one might appeal to you.  (Appeal-a peel--get it??!)  

Visiting Miss Caples by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Visiting Miss Caples by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel 
                                                                                                                                       (read May 2018)
Book description from (Publisher's Weekly on)
Eighth-grader narrator Jen has been best friends with Liv since they were small children, but ever since Liv has "clearly established herself as the leader" of middle school, Jen has been playing the role of her follower. Liv goes one step too far when she asks Jen to play a cruel trick on an unpopular girl at school. When Jen refuses, Liv turns all the girls in their crowd against her. The sting of rejection hits Jen at a time when she is plagued by other worries: her parents' impending divorce and her struggles with a school project (reading to an elderly shut-in, Miss Caples, once a week). After making a few feeble attempts at sharing segments of the Reader's Digest with Miss Caples, Jen opens up to her about her problems and, predictably, is rewarded with a great deal of understanding and sympathy......As Jen's bond with Miss Caples strengthens, so does the teen's relationship with her mother and the unpopular girl at school, whom Liv has been tormenting.
My 25 cents...I think this is a great story!! I feel like many readers in Middle School -boys OR girls--would appreciate reading this as they may be able to see themselves (or their classmates?!) in the shoes of the main character Jen. Figuring out who your REAL friends are can be difficult in Middle School and Jen has some difficult decisions to make.  She also finds out AGE doesn't necessary define friendship when she meets Miss Caples who has some great advice to offer and help Jen figure things out! 

Goodbye Stranger by 

Iowa Teen Award nominee 2018-2019                            (read Sept. 2018)

Book description from
Long ago, best friends Bridge, Emily, and Tab made a pact: no fighting. But it’s the start of seventh grade, and everything is changing. Emily’s new curves are attracting attention, and Tab is suddenly a member of the Human Rights Club. And then there’s Bridge. She’s started wearing cat ears and is the only one who’s still tempted to draw funny cartoons on her homework. 

It’s also the beginning of seventh grade for Sherm Russo. He wonders: what does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend? 

By the time Valentine’s Day approaches, the girls have begun to question the bonds—and the limits—of friendship. Can they grow up without growing apart? 

My 25 cents...I listened to this as an audio book. I feel like the author did a great job showing some "real" middle school students.  
This book goes back and forth between stories of the three girls and the story of Sherm.  I found this a little confusing to listen to, but  maybe if I knew that going into it I would have been more prepared?

The Someday Birds by   (read  Sept. 2018)

Book description from’s perfectly ordinary life has been unraveling ever since his war journalist father was injured in Afghanistan. 

When his father heads from California to Virginia for medical treatment, Charlie reluctantly travels cross-country with his boy-crazy sister, unruly brothers, and a mysterious new family friend. He decides that if he can spot all the birds that he and his father were hoping to see someday along the way, then everything might just turn out okay.
My 25 cents..I LOVED this book!!  If you have ever taken a road trip (vacation!) with your family, I think you will too! Charlie struggles to take this trip to visit his father who is hospitalized.  He really wants to, needs to visit him, but his siblings are driving him crazy!  He so badly worries about his father recovering--he's convinced if he sees all the birds he and dad were going to see together that it will make things turn out okay.  This story also may give readers a deeper understanding of those they know that have autism.  The author does a fantastic job of showing the behaviors and characteristics of a person with autism.