Tag Archives: realistic fiction

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.

~ra

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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.

~aw

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.

~ra

 

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.

~aw

Book Review: Forever, or a Long, Long Time

forever or a longToday I recommend: Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter.

Having shared so many foster homes that they are unable to trust that the family that has adopted them will last, Flora and her brother, Julian, are assisted by their new mother on a journey to resolve their past so that they can build a future.

This is a serious and thought provoking read that deals with topics such as foster care, families, and trauma as siblings Flora and Julian deal with the question of how they could be born if they don’t have a biological mother and how long their adoptive mother will be around (she says forever).

You can find Forever, or a Long, Long Time in the Juvenile Fiction section at J CARTER.

~aw

Book Review: Ramona Quimby, Age 8

It’s Throwback Thursday!  Today I recommend, Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary.

Ramona likes that she’s old enough to be counted on, but must everything depend on her? Mrs. Quimby has gone back to work so that Mr. Quimby can return to school, and Ramona is expected to be good for Mrs. Kemp while her parents are away, to be brave enough to ride the school bus by herself, and to put up with being teased by Danny the Yard Ape. In Ramona’s world, being eight isn’t easy, but it’s never dull! 

Ramona is a third grader, but I can still relate to so much of what she feels!  I remember listening to one of my favorite teachers read Ramona Quimby, Age 8 to my class in the third grade.  I always think of her when I read this book. If you need a laugh, I recommend checking it out, if you haven’t already read it.   When I need a feel-good book to lift my spirits, I like any of the books about Ramona.

Find it in our Juvenile Fiction collection under J CLEARY.

-AM

Book Review: The Lotterys Plus One

lotterys plus oneToday I recommend: The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue.

When Sumac Lottery’s estranged grandfather comes to live with her and her large family in their sprawling Victorian home, Sumac quickly realizes he’s not the easiest person to get along with. But can she help him find a home where he belongs?

Sumac has a large family, with six siblings, and two pairs of parents, PapaDam and PopCorn, and CardaMom and MaxiMom. When the estranged father of PopCorn comes to stay with the family, he struggles with the quirks and differences that the family celebrates. This is a touching story about the relationships between family members full of humorous word-play. There are also some nice illustrations throughout the text that help you keep track of the large and lively Lottery family. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J DONOGHUE.

~aw

Book Review: Short

Today we recommend: Short by Holly Sloan.

Very short for her age, Julia grows into her sense of self while playing a munchkin in a summer regional theater production of The Wizard of Oz.

short

As you might imagine, being short has influenced Julie’s outlook on life, especially as a middle school student when she realizes she is several inches shorter than her classmates. Resisting her parents’ suggestion to participate in community theater, she reluctantly attends an audition and wins a role as a Munchkin in the summer production of The Wizard of Oz. As she befriends many people involved with the show, she gains confidence and self-acceptance and “grows” in unexpected ways. For those interested in theater and the “drama” associated with trying new things, this humorous tale will be inspiring. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J SLOAN.

 

 

~ra

Book Review: The Best Man

the best manToday I recommend: The Best Man by Richard Peck.

Archer has four important role models in his life–his dad, his grandfather, his uncle Paul, and his favorite teacher, Mr. McLeod. When Uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod get married, Archer’s sixth-grade year becomes one he’ll never forget.

This book is an award winner! It was an American Library Association Notable for Middle Readers 2017, School Library Journal’s Best Books of 2016, and a Booklist Editor’s Choice for Middle Readers 2016. For readers that have enjoyed other works by Richard Peck, this book has the same focus on family and navigating childhood that many of his novels have. You’ll cheer for Archer as he grows up with help from all of his role models. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J PECK or as an audiobook in the Juvenile Audiobook section at jCD FIC PECK.

~aw

 

Book Review: Lily and Dunkin

Today we recommend: Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
lily and dunkin

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.
Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. 
One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change. 

For readers who enjoyed Wonder and Counting by 7’s , award-winning author Donna Gephart crafts a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. Their powerful story will shred your heart, then stitch it back together with kindness, humor, bravery, and love.

You can find Lily and Dunkin can be found in the Juvenile Fiction section at J GEPHART.