I particularly love this one because I think it's suitable for an even suffer age range than some of Kirby's others. It's difficult to find excellent...moreI particularly love this one because I think it's suitable for an even suffer age range than some of Kirby's others. It's difficult to find excellent historical fiction for younger students. I'm really looking forward to sharing this with 3rd graders.(less)
I love reading this to 4th graders. As we get into the book, they are drawn in to this very special family as the definition of that unit is re-imagin...moreI love reading this to 4th graders. As we get into the book, they are drawn in to this very special family as the definition of that unit is re-imagined in this wonderful, wonderful book.(less)
it's tough to read the third In a series first. I might really love this had I read them in order. Though I had some trouble with mechanics of an ARC...moreit's tough to read the third In a series first. I might really love this had I read them in order. Though I had some trouble with mechanics of an ARC that was missing all punctuation surrounding dialogue, I was rooting for the characters from page one, hating the bad guys and loving the mission the kids had before them. Cryptid lovers will want to sink their teeth into this series, and I can't wait to start some of my students off on it from book 1.(less)
Andi has recently lost her busy and vital scientist parents. She and her older sister Bethany suddenly find themselves living with their eccentric aun...moreAndi has recently lost her busy and vital scientist parents. She and her older sister Bethany suddenly find themselves living with their eccentric aunt after some time spent with a well-meaning neighbor who stifles them both. Andi is glad to be living with comfortable Aunt Amelie, who’s always been a favorite relative. Of course Andi misses Mom and Dad; she’s quietly hurting inside. She’s pretty sure that Bethany was always their favorite; she had so wanted to impress both of them with her own deep love of science. She had so wanted to be just like them. But they never had time for her, and Bethany’s art was just so - noticeable. Andi almost immediately finds a new friend in the neighbor boy Colin, and finds, too, a mystery, about another Andora with the same name as hers. Because that is her real name: Andora Boggs. Andi is confused; why won’t anyone talk about that other Andora, except mean Dr. Girard, who is in such a hurry to put her in a book? Andi begins to dig into the history of her family and finds some surprises which could put her in real danger. One could wish that through that danger, Andi weren’t quite so impulsive, and yet her drive to know the answers to her questions gives her a real place in the world, and the reader can clearly see that. I really enjoyed the straightforwardness of the story in its telling, exploring family and relationships, as well as grief - it’s accessible to a wide range of students. Yet the mystery is baffling enough, and the reader is kept guessing until almost the very end, which makes for a very satisfying read. I look forward to sharing Andi and her adventures with my middle grade students who crave a good mystery.(less)
It was such a pleasure to step into the magic that is Brigadoon again - I was a lead in the musical of that name in high school, and putting on the pl...moreIt was such a pleasure to step into the magic that is Brigadoon again - I was a lead in the musical of that name in high school, and putting on the play still stands out as special beside all the other productions I did, simply because of the draw of the story, I think. Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon have captured the essence of that magic well here, and I was taken in immediately by their depiction of the two worlds, modern and ancient. The characters took me in, too. Veronica and Mackenna are just regular teenagers, with worries that seem so big. Then strange things begin to happen to Veronica. She’s haunted by a mysterious boy who appears at the strangest times. Mackenna’s suggestion that they spend the summer in Scotland gives Veronica an out from a less than supportive family life, and she feels compelled to go there anyway, in case her visions might just be real… While the adventures were compelling, there was one aspect of the book which prevents me from giving it higher marks. It’s too long. Normally I don’t balk at length. It never gets in my way personally as a reader. As a library media specialist who serves students’ interests, though, I fear that this one won’t grab the ones I fervently want it to grab. At four hundred pages, it definitely took some stamina to get through, much as I enjoyed it, and the readers I have in mind might not have the patience for the agonizing unfolding of the romances the two main characters pursue for what seems like an eternity. This disappoints me, because while I will definitely highly recommend it to my starry-eyed students who love a good romantic read, I’m not sure they’ll get how good it is. That said, it was an engaging take on an old story and I had lots of fun getting lost in Brigadoon again, in a delightful escape from the busy-ness of the modern world.(less)
Great world-building, interesting tension between factions. Full review to come.
I received a copy of the ARC from the publisher.
I stepped through the...moreGreat world-building, interesting tension between factions. Full review to come.
I received a copy of the ARC from the publisher.
I stepped through the covers of this book and was transported into a world that felt both new and vaguely familiar. I was baffled and disoriented and yet I understood that a visceral struggle for power was underway. I was supposed to feel this way. In addition to what felt like a deliberate move on Friesen’s part to disorient the reader, the world-building struck me, well-crafted and well-conceived. What is that world like? There are those who live above, not allowed to emote, not allowed many things. Books are anathema. Those who live below control the earth’s water. They are characterized by those above as beasts. But the keeper of the path to the aquifer is about to find out the truth. Filled with action and suspense, but also real heart, this is a grade middle grade or young adult read which I predict will appeal to a wide audience of readers, though most particularly dystopian fans. Friesen knows how to help his characters walk the coming of age path with becoming trite or maudlin. He’s masterfully woven past, present and future into this very engaging read. You can help authors and local businesses alike by choosing to purchase from an independent bookseller. http://www.indiebound.org/book/978031...(less)
Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by Zonderkidz. Howard Boward is a bully magnet. He’s familiar with all the ways of bullies; he’s small, and he’s n...moreAdvanced Reader's Copy was provided by Zonderkidz. Howard Boward is a bully magnet. He’s familiar with all the ways of bullies; he’s small, and he’s nerdy. His name is easy to mangle, too, in a wide variety of ways. He makes light of this bullying, and yet it’s clear to the reader that he really just wants to know what it feels like to be popular, to be liked. Because, let’s face it: Howard Boward is lonely. Howard’s descriptions of the cool table in the lunch room, the slights in the hall, that feeling you get when you’d heard your name re-designed yet again, that emptiness when eyes look right through you, though veiled in humor, really did speak to what some kids truly feel in middle school. When Howard decides to create a friend, he doesn’t do things by halves, either. His new friend, Franklin is a delight! When he paves the way for friend connections Howard never dreamed of, Howard is lured by popularity to make some bad decisions. We cringe and sigh and shake our heads at some of the choices he makes, but really, all he wants is to be liked! In the end, the reader learns alongside Howard just what makes a true friend. The author’s characterization of Franklin Stein is particularly skillful, and the story line is engaging throughout. Andre Jolicoeur’s delightful spot drawings enhance the experience. All in all, How to Make Friends and Monsters is a satisfying book with a great ending; it will delight middle grade readers with its less than perfect characters and their less than perfect schemes, and might even make them stop and think about how we treat those around us. You can support independent bookstores and authors by purchasing indie: http://www.indiebound.org/book/978031...(less)