This is one of those books that I really wanted to like more than I did. It had all the right elements to be a book I would love, but I just didn't quThis is one of those books that I really wanted to like more than I did. It had all the right elements to be a book I would love, but I just didn't quite connect with it. Bummer....more
This book is not for everyone. I think that's been thoroughly noted in among the buzz the book's been getting. Yes, there is a serious squick factor.This book is not for everyone. I think that's been thoroughly noted in among the buzz the book's been getting. Yes, there is a serious squick factor. As there is clearly intended to be.
That said, I loved this book for Suzuma's writing. Lochan and Maya are caught in an impossible situation, and they are completely unable to see beyond their immediate surroundings. They've been forced to take on adult roles far too soon, and they have that teenage confidence that they know what's best, no matter what anyone (or everyone) else says. I just wanted to shake both of them and say, "You're still kids! I know you think you're grown up. I know you think you can handle everything on your own. I know you think that this is all your life will ever be. But you're not! You can't! And it isn't!" But, of course, I couldn't. All I could do was read along and hope for them to figure things out. Suzuma's masterful portrayal of her teenage protagonists makes this book a stand-out, and readers prepared to handle the provocative subject matter will find much to think about here.
If I'd listened to Wren that day, maybe I'd have just gone on being the same old pretty happy, prettyBook Source: checked out from the public library
If I'd listened to Wren that day, maybe I'd have just gone on being the same old pretty happy, pretty ordinary kid.
Meet Parker Lockwood: ordinary sixth-grader from small-town central Illinois. He does all right in school, but his real talents lie in drawing and building things. That's why he and his best friend were in the junkyard that day - picking out odds and ends to put together. It was Parker who spotted the puppet and, over Wren's objections, took it home. Then he put it on his hand, and nothing has been ordinary since. Because the puppet can talk, and he refuses to let go of Parker's hand. Parker has to figure out how to free himself from Drog before the smart-mouthed puppet manages to alienate all of Parker's friends and land him in military school.
You Will Call Me Drog immediately reminded me of Origami Yoda. We have a middle-school boy with a puppet that might be magical, and it might be just what he needs. Drog is darker, though, more serious in tone. Don't get me wrong: there's quite a bit of humor here, too, but the overall mood is much heavier.
I was, honestly, surprised to like this one as much as I did. Going into it with only the book jacket description, I wasn't sure if it was going to be more middle-grade "scary story" territory than anything else. But it isn't. Underneath the spooky-puppet shenanigans, Parker faces familiar issues: the changes in his family, the shifting nature of his friendship with Wren, and figuring out what he really wants. The writing is smooth, and the pacing is just right. Once past the not-so-appealing cover, this is a book that is hard to put down until you reach the end. ...more
But Lucky was considering how, when you're eleven, you're interested in love and murder, blood and glory and kissing, things that are precious and fraBut Lucky was considering how, when you're eleven, you're interested in love and murder, blood and glory and kissing, things that are precious and fragile, things that are abandoned or condemned. Because eleven is much more intrepid than only ten.
Lucky Trimble is back, just on the verge of turning eleven years old. She's starting to think that, while Lincoln is a good guy and a good friend, it might be nice to be able to spend time with a girl her age for a change. And she would really like to do something, well, intrepid.
As in The Higher Power of Lucky, Patron's writing is stellar. The Old Desert Rat Characters of Hard Pan are in good hands, and it's great fun to see them again.
Problem: Am I a nerd who only has nerdy adventures? Hypothesis: No.
Ten-year-old Gabe is finally getting what he always wanted: a brother. His soon-to-bProblem: Am I a nerd who only has nerdy adventures? Hypothesis: No.
Ten-year-old Gabe is finally getting what he always wanted: a brother. His soon-to-be-stepmother has a son, Zack, who is his age. Gabe is sure that he and Zack will be best friends, but their first meeting is less than promising. Gabe quickly realizes that all the things he likes - math team, reading, museums and libraries - Zack sees as "nerdy". The only thing about Gabe that seems to impress Zack is that Gabe is about to go to sleep-away camp for the summer. What Zack doesn't know is that the camp is the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, a gathering of nerdy kids from across the country. Over the course of the summer, in between kayak trips and Color War, logic proofs and poetry writing, Gabe keeps a list of his adventures as evidence for whether or not he really is just a nerd, or if he might be something more.
With an eye for quirky detail, Weissman develops Gabe as a sensitive, hyperintelligent 10-year-old boy. In the first chapter, Gabe recalls staying up on New Year's Eve with his math team friends, when they calculated the number of seconds from 8:00 p.m. to midnight. He then thinks about calculating the number of seconds until his train in the morning, but he decides that it will just make him too excited to sleep. From his love of math to his cluelessness about girls, we hear Gabe's perspective on everything. It's a slyly funny narrative, with humor that even clever Gabe probably won't pick on until he's a little older. This is a fabulous contemporary realistic middle grade novel filled with humor and adventure, a great combination. A kid doesn't have to think he might be a nerd to enjoy this book, although he might finish it thinking that such a thing might not be so bad....more
When Mama told Beverly that Master Jefferson was his father, she called it a secret everybody knew.
Synopsis: William Beverly Hemings is seven years oWhen Mama told Beverly that Master Jefferson was his father, she called it a secret everybody knew.
Synopsis: William Beverly Hemings is seven years old when his mother tells him an important secret. Though he is black and a slave now, when he turns 21, he will be free... and white. He, his two younger brothers, and their sister are treated differently from the other slaves at Monticello, but they must never speak of why. As Beverly, then his little brother Madison, and finally their friend Peter Fossett grow up, they each must find their own answers to one big question: Can a man be great and still participate in evil?
Review: The idea that the men who wrote that "all men are created equal" and staked their lives on the formation of a land of freedom owned slaves is a tough one for grown-ups to reconcile, let alone kids. Bradley gives a nuanced look at the lives of two slave families (the Hemingses and the Fossetts) at Monticello as their children puzzle out what it means for one of the fathers of a free country to also be the father of slaves. Its length and its thought-provoking content make it a book for older kids; my library has it cataloged as YA, though I wouldn't hesitate to give it to an interested fifth-grader. Bradley gets a tiny bit didactic sometimes, but never so strongly that it really distracts from the story. An afterword shares the known facts about the lives of the Hemings family and offers suggestions for further reading.
Final Word: Solid historical fiction offering a clear window into a murky time....more