Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
Book description from says that middle school is awful, but Trent knows nothing could be worse than the year he had in fifth grade, when a freak accident on Cedar Lake left one kid dead, and Trent with a brain full of terrible thoughts he can't get rid of. Trent’s pretty positive the entire disaster was his fault, so for him middle school feels like a fresh start, a chance to prove to everyone that he's not the horrible screw-up they seem to think he is.

My 25 cents...I felt awful for Trent! The author does a great job putting the reader in his shoes. He feels like everyone hates him, including his family.  But after meeting Fallon, a girl that shows him that things are nearly as they gray as they seem, Trent learns through their new friendship that he has a lot of good in him--that others already know about. This book reminded me a lot of the book Wonder.  (see January 2013 post) It reminds us to give everyone a chance, you don't know what they may be going through!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff
(2015-16 Iowa Children's Choice nominee)

Book description from in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born.  And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever.  However, these encounters hold the key to Cady's past and how she became an orphan.  If she's lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent. 

My 25 cents...If I had to choose again, I'd read this book instead of listening to the audiobook . It made it a little difficult to follow since it does go back and forth with the different viewpoints.  I couldn't flip back to see who was telling the story since I listened to it as an audiobook.  I did like the story, figuring out how the characters were connected to one another (kind of like living in a small town?!) made it truly like a puzzle-a little mystery element.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Crime Biters: My Dog is Better Than Your Dog by Tommy Greenwald 

Book description from
Jimmy Bishop loves doing 3 things:
1) Laughing at funny dog videos online,
2) watching his favorite show (Stop! Police!) on TV,
3) and reading his favorite vampire book (Fang Goodness) over and over.
His self-involved older sister and workaholic Mom think he needs to stop obsessing already! But when his Dad finally allows Jimmy to get a puppy before school starts, everything changes and Jimmy has something new to focus on: his amazing dog, Abby who seems to have some very unusual habits. She sleeps all day but is wired at night, and she runs from the garlic kelp biscuit made by Jimmy's strange new babysitter Mrs. Cragg. There's just something different about Abby. Could she possibly be...a vampire? Jimmy's best friend Irwin thinks Jimmy's being ridiculous, but then when Abby uncovers a real crime in progress and helps him become friends with an actual, human girl, even Irwin has to admit that perhaps Abby might have some super powers after all.

My 25 cents...The book has some funny parts and it seems like there will be more adventures to come featuring Abby and her odd behaviors. If you are a dog lover you will probably enjoy this story.  Jimmy is really convinced he has adopted a vampire crime fighting dog, based on the odd behaviors he is seeing. Jimmy and his sister have a love/hate relationship like most siblings so if you are a younger brother you will definitely see Jimmy's side of things!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Did you know that there are TWO more books that follow this book? I blogged about this book in April 2014. If you read and enjoyed this you will want to check out her other books! It's a great kid detective team.  (We own all of them in our library!)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Granny Torrelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech

Book description from Rosie and her best friend, Bailey, don't always get along, that's true. But Granny Torrelli seems to know just how to make things right again with her interesting stories and family recipes. It's easier to remember what's important about love, life, and friendship while Granny Torrelli makes soup.

My 25 cents...This book was a little difficult for me to get started.  Once I got going though, I did enjoy it.  Who hasn't had an argument with their best friend and it was frustrating them!??  Rosie's Granny has a way of getting her to talk it out as she bustles about the kitchen with her recipes going.  It is a pretty short book, definitely realistic fiction. Just a nice story! I love the relationship Rosie and her Granny have, Grandmas rock! 
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer Holm (author of BabyMouse books!)

Book description from Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer.  At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is  the home of Disney World, after all.  But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park.  It’s full of . . . old people.  Really old people.
Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around.  She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors.  But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place?  The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. 

My 25 cents....If you enjoyed Smile! or Sisters or Drama--you will more than like enjoy this book too.
It's a graphic novel (like a comic book) so it is a really quick read! The story is sweet, as Sunny is devastated that she has to spend time with her grandpa down in Florida where it's all "old people".  She discovers though, that it's not all that bad when she makes a friend her age that is also there.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Almost Home by Joan Bauer
(2015-16 Iowa Children's Choice nominee)

Book description from twelve-year-old Sugar's grandfather dies and her gambling father takes off yet again, Sugar and her mother lose their home in Missouri. They head to Chicago for a fresh start, only to discover that fresh starts aren't so easy to come by for the homeless. Nevertheless, Sugar's mother has taught her to be grateful no matter what, so Sugar does her best. With the help of a rescue dog, Shush; a foster family; a supportive teacher; a love of poetry; and her own grace and good humor, Sugar comes to understand that while she can't control the hand life deals her, she can control how she responds.

My 25 cents...I will admit it was a little sad in the beginning, but it does have a happy ending!  Sugar is a strong young lady that has to go through many things most adults would have a hard time dealing with. 
I think she handles her challenges with courage and help from others (a message that it's OKAY to ask for help!!) and ends on a note of hope!