Tag Archives: realistic fiction

Book Review: Hot Cocoa Hearts

Hot Cocoa Hearts.jpgToday I recommend Hot Cocoa Hearts by Suzanne Nelson.

Hot Cocoa Hearts is a fictional romance novel about a high school girl, Emery who is not a fan of the holidays (especially Christmas.) To her dismay, Emery has to work at her parent’s santa photo booth at the mall, dressed as an elf! At the mall between her shifts of work, she talks to Alex from the hot cocoa shop. The more she talks to Alex, the more she doubts that she hates Christmas as much as she says she does. He is practically the opposite of Emery, he is optimistic and loves the holidays. Also, Emery has a crush on Sawyer, a brooding member of a band.

I really actually loved this book. I normally do not read romance books, but this book sucked me in. Even though it is not currently near the holiday season, it was quite interesting. My favorite parts were when Emery sent and received secret santa gifts in her first period class at school. I recommend this book to anyone who wants a small, sweet love story.   

~Elizabeth, teen blogger


Book Review: Brave by Svetlana Chmakova


Today I recommend: Brave by Svetlana Chmakova.

Brave is a humorous graphic novel about a middle school boy named Jensen. Everyday, Jensen must brave the difficult math class, bullies who follow him around, and getting along with his art club friends. On top of that, he deals with trying to find a partner for English class, and helping out his frantic friends who are in the newspaper team. Everyday, Jensen needs to be brave to survive the craziness at school.

I absolutely loved this graphic novel so much. It was humorous and the cartoonish art style is amazing! Every once in awhile, Jensen day-dreamed about being a hero, whether he was an astronaut, or stopping a zombie apocalypse from eating everyone at school. My favorite character was Jenny, the lead student of the newspaper team. She was hard working and dedicated to being in the newspaper team. When she was mad, she was “the wrath of the angels/apocalypse Jenny” and was drawn with fire in her eyes. (She was very mad at times.) The world of Brave and its characters overlapped with the book Awkward. However, Jensen was a background character in Awkward. As you can see, I loved this book and recommend this to everyone because it is a fun, quick read.

~Elizabeth, Teen Blogger

You can find Brave in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J CHMAKOVA.

Throwback Thursday: Maniac Magee

Maniac MageeThis week for Throwback Thursday we recommend: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.

After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee’s life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries.

Published in 1990, this book by Jerry Spinelli was an American Library Association Children’s Notable Book in 1991 and won the Illinois Reader’s Choice – Rebecca Caudill Young Reader’s Book Award in 1993. Readers who enjoy realistic fiction will love this classic!

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SPINELLI.


Book Review: Slider

Slider.jpgToday I recommend Slider by Pete Hautman.

Hoping to win a cash prize in a pizza eating contest after racking up a tab on his mother’s credit card, David must juggle his competitive eating training with the responsibility of looking after his autistic younger brother.

This book has it all – suspense, friendship, and horrifyingly gross descriptions of competitive eating. It addresses David’s feelings of being the ‘forgotten’ middle child in his family without ever losing the humor that is necessarily part the book as David works to stretch his stomach and win a competitive eating contest in order to pay back his mom. I winced a little every time he decided to hide his mistake and lie a little more but that situation certainly added to the suspense of the story – you’ll want to know whether or not David can win right from the beginning!

You can find Slider in the Juvenile Fiction section at J HAUTMAN.



Throwback Thursday: The Hundred Dresses

the hundred dresses.jpgFor this Throwback Thursday I recommend: The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes.

None of her classmates pay much attention to Wanda Petronski, a Polish-American girl, until she announces she has 100 dresses in her closet. Everyone laughs and teases her so much that she stops coming to school. Then, her classmates discover she really does have 100 dresses and discover something about teasing and themselves.

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes is the tale of a young girl, Wanda,  who is bullied by her classmates for wearing the same dress each day to school. Wanda tells her peers that she has one hundred dresses at home, but everyone knows that it is not true.  As a result, Wanda is bullied even more.  One day, Wanda is pulled out of the school and the class begins to feel terrible for their behavior toward her.  Maddie, a student from Wanda’s class, decides that she needs to take a stand so no classmate is bullied ever again.  If you like stories that are heart-felt and teach a lesson, then The Hundred Dresses is for you!

This classic story first published in 1944 was a Newbery Honor Book in 1945, and can be found in the Juvenile Fiction section at J ESTES.



If You Liked Wonder by R.J. Palacio…

If You Liked Wonder by R.J. Palacio… you might also like:

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff: (J GRAFF) Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos: (J GANTOS) To the constant disappointment of his mother and teacher, Joey has trouble paying attention or controlling his mood swings when his perscription medicine wears off and he starts acting wired.

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper: (J DRAPER and YA DRAPER) Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks: (J WEEKS) Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems–but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.



Book Review: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus

cactusToday I recommend: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling.

Aven Green was born without arms. She has always been encouraged and supported by her parents that she can achieve anything she tries. However, when her family moves from Kansas she leaves her familiar life and friends and now she is in Arizona living at a dying western theme park where her parents become the new managers.

You can imagine it is challenging to meet friends in her new school. And there are many secrets she wants to solve. The tale of Stagecoach Pass is just as compelling as the story of Aven. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J BOWLING.



Book Review: Brave

brave.jpgToday I recommend: Brave by Svetlana Chmakova.

In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different – math is hard, getting along with friends is hard…Even finding a partner for the class project is a big problem when you always get picked last. And the pressure’s on even more once the school newspaper’s dynamic duo, Jenny and Akilah, draw Jensen into the whirlwind of school news, social experiment projects, and behind-the-scenes club drama. Jensen’s always played the middle school game one level at a time, but suddenly, someone’s cranked up the difficulty setting. Will those daring daydreams of his finally work in his favor, or will he have to find real solutions to his real life problems?

Set in the same school as Chmakova’s Awkward this graphic novel focuses on Jensen whose struggles to get through difficult classes, as well as feelings of being left out and being bullied, are so easy to relate to. This story tackles some tough subjects such as bullying, dress codes, and failing classes with humor that makes the story fly by without treating them too lightly.  This is a great option for readers who enjoyed Awkward but is also great as a standalone graphic novel.  Read-alikes for this series are: Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends.

You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA.



Book Review: The Losers Club

losers clubToday we recommend: The Losers Club by Andrew Clements.

Alec, a sixth-grade bookworm always in trouble for reading instead of listening and participating in class, starts a book club, solely to have a place to read, and discovers that real life, although messy, can be as exciting as the stories in his favorite books.

From the author of Frindle and Extra Credit comes this school story that features Alec, an avid reader who often gets in trouble while reading his favorite books while NOT paying attention to his teachers or assignments. When his working parents need him attend the After School program, he plans a way to read uninterrupted by forming an unusual book club. And to avoid unwanted members from joining, he names the club “The Losers Club” to keep other students away.  Unfortunately, trouble follows him wherever he goes.  Readers will discover many favorite titles introduced in this novel.

You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J CLEMENTS.




Book Review: Awkward

awkwardToday I recommend: Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova.

After shunning Jaime, the school nerd, on her first day at a new middle school, Penelope Torres tries to blend in with her new friends in the art club, until the art club goes to war with the science club, of which Jaime is a member.

The bright colors and the expressive characters make for a playful and fun graphic novel that tackles the stress of starting at a new school, and learning how to get along with people who have different interests. If you love the characters you can check out, Brave which follows the school newspaper club and one of the art students from this graphic novel! This is a great option for readers who have already fallen in love with graphic novels like Raina Telgemeier’s Smile and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends.

As an awesome bonus the artist/author added pages at the end of the book that show how she goes about making the story and pages for the comics. This is a neat look into the process of creating a graphic novel.

You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA.