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Two 13-year-old girls become reluctant heroes, and along the way discover the real meaning of kindness, family, friendship, and hope in this must-read middle-grade thriller.

4 reasons Minno belongs on your child's summer reading list:

★ Minno is fun, with quirky characters and non-stop fantasy action adventure.

★ Minno is packed with humor, which is at times, laugh-out-loud funny.

★ Minno improves MG/YA reading skills. And we all know kids who read succeed!

★ The Minno audiobook is a perfect chapter-book primer for children 5-8, or for reluctant readers. It's also ideal for road trips.

Red Carpet Book Awards 2014 Young Adult Readers' Choice Nominee.

Visit jmbarlog.com to meet Minno, Hailey, Commander Dulfay, and the Oogly brothers.

Here's just some of what Goodreads readers say about Minno:

"I would definitely recommend this book to middle grade readers." -- April, Goodreads

"I loved the ending and I hope there is a second book coming out. This book should be made into a movie! Great plot." -- Tianna, Goodreads

"This book is part Wizard Of Oz, part The Hobbit and part Alice In Wonderland, but all amazing." -- Amie, Goodreads

It isn't easy being 13 ...

And being raised by your grandfather ... and having a name like Minno ... and then having to journey through a strange land to rescue your parents. But Minno is doing the best she can.

For all her young life Minno believed her parents were dead. Then she learns they're alive, but they're in grave danger.

Her friend Hailey thought she was having a sleepover at her friend's house. Now she's Minno's ally and partner on their incredible quest. The girls embark on the adventure of a lifetime to face a veritable menagerie of strange creatures, both friendly and unfriendly to their cause.

Oh, yeah, there's also one evil high minister Craveaux, who must stop Minno while he steals all the magic in the kingdom for his own sinister purposes.

Minno must save her parents and along the way discover who she really is.

The Minno book series keeps your young readers spellbound right up to the last pages.

256 pages, Kindle Edition

First published November 2, 2010

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About the author

James Barlog

3 books14 followers
Barlog grew up in Chicago before serving in Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force.

He has authored numerous novels across many genres. Windows to the Soul, his debut novel, won the Readers' Choice award for suspense at an Illinois 'Love Is Murder' Mystery Conference.

But his greatest accomplishments are his three children and his grandchildren.

Barlog currently lives with his wife in San Diego, CA, where he is busy writing sequels to his popular novels The Heart of the Lion, Minno, and A Connecticut Nightmare.

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5 stars
23 (39%)
4 stars
23 (39%)
3 stars
3 (5%)
2 stars
8 (13%)
1 star
1 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Jaime K.
Author 1 book43 followers
December 4, 2014
I won this in a goodreads giveaway mainly because it said it was like Indiana Jones for children. Boy, was that review wrong.

Minno is a young teen who believes her parents are dead. She lives with her grandfather who tells magic stories. They move often and she's made fun of for her name and eyes.

So she turns into a complete hypocrite and shuns geeks and calls bullies fat. Yeah that's how people end friendless. I actually don't like her.

She meets Hailey who is mute. She becomes annoying but understandably so.

Grampa tells Minno in a rushed page her parents are alive and she and Hailey learn the stories are true.

Balog uses too many exclamation points at unnecessary times and has a love for the word "snare." Also lightsabre is one word, not two.

The creatures talk like pre-teens. They and Hailey continuously draw out their words. It's irritating.
Profile Image for Richard.
204 reviews14 followers
July 12, 2013
In full disclosure I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Whenever I enter a giveaway it normally falls into one of three categories, a giveaway that I REALLY want to win, and in the morning of when the giveaway ends, I rush on to Goodreads to see if I won it. Or it might be a giveaway that I would quite like to win, but I don’t go crazy trying to find out if I won. Or a giveaway I am not sure about but enter anyway. This book was in the third category, as it turned out I am glad I won this book because I loved it.

The story is great, my biggest fear and the reason that I almost didn’t enter was that this book would be girly. It really wasn’t the case, and the book could be enjoyed by males and females of any age.

The pacing is really fast, the exciting scenes and action is almost non-stop. It starts quickly and doesn’t slow for almost the whole book. I thought it was a little too fast paced and never gave me a chance to catch my breath. I found myself sometimes putting the book down simply to let my brain catch up with everything that had happened.

There are lots of great ideas in this book, many of them are original or rarely used, such as giant long-necked ladybugs, musical flowers and warrior bunnies. In fact most sections of the book had at least some original content to it, this was great to see as it is hard for authors to come up with a couple of new ideas in their book, to have so many is very impressive.

One of my few criticisms is that most of what happens in the story doesn’t effect what happens in the long term plot, it is simply the next stage in the journey. Most sections are exciting and interesting but if they weren’t there you would not notice that they are missing or that the story had jumped.

The descriptions have a nice level of detail, there is enough there to conjure up clear images of what the world looks like, but not so much that the story drags. It is very good that the level of detail is high, because the pace is so fast, it is really needed to follow what is happening.

The characters were good and likeable, with interesting personalities. I thought it was a really good idea to have one of the characters be mute, I thought it was brave of the author to keep her mute even when she moves into the magical world. Smallish I also liked that fact (BIG)

The friendship is well written, they are kind and genuinely care about each other and their friends that they meet on the way, but and times they can get snippy with each other especially during tense situations.

The kids do sometimes speak in ‘teen talk’, fortunately it is not excessive so doesn’t become annoying and in fact gives it a more realistic feel.

The POV shifts rapidly in this book, it can shift back and forth over a few paragraphs. The rapid changes could get confusing at times. It also made it hard to fully understand and like a character since the POV kept moving around.

The book is also funny, at some points laugh out loud funny.

Overall I would rate this book 4 ½ stars. The story is fantastic, it is interesting and has a lot of originality or at least twists from the norm about it. Even though the main characters are two teenage girls, the book is not ‘girly’ or only enjoyable by teenagers. The pacing is fast, at times it was a little too fast as it made it hard to keep up. My biggest criticism is that there isn’t much of a long term plot, other than journey from one place to another, although as the rest of the story is so well written and the journey exciting it really doesn’t matter very much. Even though I wasn’t sure about this book I am really glad I won it.
Profile Image for Samantha.
392 reviews38 followers
March 20, 2019
I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Booksprout.Co. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Minno is a 13-year-old girl who is being raised by her grandfather after the death of her parents. When the story begins Minno is starting a new school year in a new school when she makes a friend name Hailey. The two new friends have a sleepover to celebrate their new friendship, but when it takes an unexpected turn, they find out Minno's parents are actually alive and need her help. The two friends are soon off on an adventure to a strange, magical world where they meet new friends and face great challenges along the way.

I have to start by saying this was not a bad book, it just wasn't for me. I did not enjoy this book and ended up having to really push myself to finish it. I couldn't connect with the characters and found them to be annoying throughout most of the book. I found Minno and Hailey to be quite rude to basically everybody. By the time I finished this book, I was glad it was over.

So what was good about it? This book had a lot of action and adventure. There was always something happening. It had everything from an evil ruler to dragons and trolls to mean fighting fish and bunnies. The writing itself is good and the author gives good descriptions throughout the book.

Had I of read this book when I was in its targeted age group I think I would have enjoyed it more. I would recommend this book to 10-14 year olds and those who love fantasy novels.
Profile Image for Amie's Book Reviews.
1,502 reviews164 followers
April 20, 2014
MINNO by James Barlog.

I won an advance paperback copy of "Minno" from the Goodreads giveaway program.

Minno is a thirteen year old girl. Being thirteen and the new kid at school isn't fun, but Minno knows she has no choice but to try to blend in. She meets a mute girl the same age as herself on her first day of school and they quickly become friends.

Minno and Hailey are whisked into a magical world they know very little about. However, Minno had always been told her parents were dead, now she knows that it isn't true. Her parents are alive in the magical realm, but are in grave danger and she must save them.

This magical world is filled with strange creatures and is ruled by the evil Minister Craveaux.

Their journey is filled with wondrous beauty, hilarious moments, heart pounding terror and moments of pure joy and happiness.

Can Hailey and Minno survive? Will they somehow find a way to save Minno's parents? And, will they ever get home again?

This novel moves along at a rapid pace and Minno and Hailey face obstacle after obstacle. They meet wonderful creatures who are not what they appear to be and learn that what you see is not always what it seems to be.

This book is part Wizard Of Oz, part The Hobbit and part Alice In Wonderland, but all amazing.

What I loved most about this book was the adventure aspect. From talking fish to trolls that become friends, the reader never knows what is going to happen next. I love a book that keeps you guessing.

This would make an excellent movie or even television mini series.

What I Disliked about this book was the cover art. It is just not enticing enough. If I had judged this book solely by the cover I would have missed out on a wonderful read. It is my opinion that the cover makes the book seem much more childish than the story truly is. It needs a more mature cover to attract a broader range of readers.

My favorite character was Gutty the Troll. He is not what you would expect a troll to be. Trolls are usually depicted as big, dumb and mean; Gutty is none of these things. In fact, he lives by the code: "A kindness paid must be repaid in kind."

This book is geared towards tweens, teens and young adults, but I believe that any adult that also enjoys epic adventures and fantasy stories will also thoroughly enjoying reading "Minno".

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars and look forward to enjoying more of Minno's adventures in the future.
Profile Image for Mikelle.
23 reviews2 followers
December 19, 2017
This book is too cute it’s just so good 😊 very good
20 reviews
May 7, 2020
Exactly when does this book get funny?

I purchased Minno 1 & 2 based on the description: "A laugh out loud , funny, magical adventure." I am on page 2 13 and it hasn't even made me smile. Since book 1 is only 258 pages, you see my cause for concern!

The book is not all that bad...just a tad boring. But 'funny', 'zany', 'madcap'? I refer back to my original question: When?
Note: The author must be furious to have his work so grossly misrepresented. I would be.
Profile Image for Courtney.
476 reviews12 followers
March 6, 2021
Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a fast paced middle grade about a 13 year old girl and her friend traveling to another land to save her parents. A lot happened very quickly, and at times I couldn't keep up. I kept getting confused. The ending seemed to drag. I was just ready for it to be over. Unfortunately I cannot recommend.
Profile Image for Pat Eroh.
2,580 reviews25 followers
March 25, 2019
A great adventure that takes two little girls (they hate to be called that) into a magical land with strange creatures and a very bad man. I loved every page of this story. Lots of humor and some scary moments, but not too much for a young person to enjoy.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Teri Ruscak.
1,672 reviews8 followers
February 28, 2020
J.M. Barlog
Minno and her best friend Hailey embark on a quest to save her parents, and to find out who she really is.
A great book for middle graders and those young at heart.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Christine.
210 reviews20 followers
July 6, 2014
I received this book for free through the Goodreads First reads giveaway. That in no way affects the honesty of my review.

This story, though not to my liking, may be favored by girls of the age 10-15, if they are the sort that like "girl" adventures. It is not similar to Indiana Jones. Adventure, magical creatures, and a new land accessible by a portal.

Minno, short for Minnovera, is living with her grandfather. Minno is thirteen. She goes to a new school and is instantly viewed as an outcast. She makes one friend, Hailey. Hailey is mute and a foster child, so she is also a "freak" outcast.

During a sleepover, Minno's grandfather shakes her awake and gives her a bag, saying it contains everything she needs and he thought he had more time to teach her what she needs to know. So begins the quest of Minno and Hailey's life.

Life Rules:
3. Never trust someone who says "just trust me"
4. If it moves, don't eat it.
We only received two rules in a countdown fashion throughout the book. Maybe the other rules are available in the possible sequel.

***Spoiler Alert***

I found Minno and Hailey to be annoying the more I progressed through the story. They were often rude to those helping them.

They meet forbits, an army of five foot tall rabbits. When they appear Hailey ignores the natives fear and acts as though she is meeting a normal earth rabbit, with whom she always felt a special kinship as a mute. If I were to see them I would think "Night of the Lepus", not "cute fuzzy bunny" as Hailey did.

Hailey is quick to betray her friends and tell their secrets and plans to their enemies because she can talk for the first time in her short life.

Profile Image for April.
2,594 reviews172 followers
September 24, 2014
"Interesting Middle Grade read"
What did you like best about Minno? What did you like least?
It is a really creative tale with plenty of intriguing turns. There are issues with the way Minno acts at times. But it is very true to a child her age in her situation. In the end she learns her lessons.

Would you recommend Minno to your friends? Why or why not?
I would definitely recommend this book to middle grade readers. It was great for kids in a tough place and helping them deal with all those feelings.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?
I have listened to other audiobooks narrated by Emily Beresford and really enjoyed them. She has a terrific pace and tone that suits the story. She puts just the right amount of energy and emotion into the words.

Any additional comments?
Disclosure - I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts, opinions and ratings are my own.
141 reviews12 followers
July 30, 2016
I got this book on a Giveaway. I handed it to my daughter. She liked the book a lot and ended up using the book for a school project. She created a board game from the book for her English class and the class is playing it today.

The book is very imaginative. Sometimes it is hard to find books for a young person with advanced reading skills. She likes thicker books and series because she likes twists and complicated multi-threaded plots. In her world, lots of excitement, complicated characters, and plot twists are a must. She had a hard time putting the book down and we had some disagreements with book reading verse chores.

From a parent's point-of-view, this is a good book for a tween or younger teen.
2 reviews
July 17, 2013
Through two 13 year-olds eyes the author takes you on a journey into a fantasy world with vivid, entertaining characters. The story is nicely organized to keep you interested and wanting to follow along. Even the evil Craveaux has a way of endearing himself to you. My daughters (one's 10 and the other's 13) giggled at times. Minno has fun characters and enough action to keep you entertained. I'm always looking for books my daughters can read without inappropriate subject matter. I was very pleased with the innocence of this book.
August 22, 2013
Minno is an adventurous, compelling story of friendship between two girls who just don't fit in. Their wild journey takes them into a marvelous fantasy world that is dangerous, funny and most of all refreshingly entertaining. At every turn you meet new characters and new situations. While the story was light on deep emotional attachments, it always kept you wanting more. My eleven-year-old daughter laughed out loud at some of the characters' comedic antics. She said she can't wait for the sequel.
Profile Image for Tianna Green.
199 reviews5 followers
August 9, 2014
For full disclosure I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Minno is an absolute thriller from beginning to end. I loved the two characters, Minno and Hailey. I can imagine all the characters and their reactions. Its absolutely fantastic and a must read for a teen. I loved the ending and I hope there is a second book coming out. This book should be made into a movie! Great plot.
Profile Image for Emilia.
270 reviews24 followers
June 13, 2014
I got this book through the First Reads giveaway.
Aimed at the preteen/early teen, I think it is a worthy read. Of course you have to like the fantasy world a bit :) The book is one of those teaching the meaning of true friendship, the fact that the stereotypes are to be broken and that to succeed in life you have to trust people... or some more or less strange creatures :)
Fun read, fast paced, I'll now let a younger generation try it ;)
Profile Image for Amanda.
2 reviews
June 6, 2013
This was just the right book for my preteens. There's quirky creatures and humorous situations to hold a child's interest. At each turn there is more to discover in this adventure. My son read it over a weekend. He said he liked the Forbits the best, though I think the Ooogly brothers make the story. This one reads like Indiana Jones for children.
Profile Image for Marla.
2 reviews
September 19, 2013

Great fun read. Both my daughters (9 and 12) loved the book. There were plenty of interesting characters to keep them entertained. They both said they want to read the next book when it comes out.
2 reviews
July 3, 2014
My daughter read it and really enjoyed it. We heard her laughing out loud a number of times. She read it cover to cover over a weekend and we had to force her to stop to eat and sleep.
Profile Image for Joan.
2 reviews
October 4, 2013
Fun book to read. Great characters and lots of adventure.
Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews

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