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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Tumbling: a Novel

TumblingTitle: Tumbling: a novel

Author: Caela Carter

Series: N/A

Recommended for:

Pages: 424 pages

Synopsis: After sacrificing their childhoods, Grace, Leigh, Camille, Wilhelmina, and Monica are competing in the two days of the U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Trials, after which their lives will change forever.

This book follows five gymnasts at the trials for the Olympic Team.  I really enjoyed how this looked at each girl’s story.  Each girl had different struggles to get to the trials and each  one wants to make the team at all costs.  I enjoyed the story line and it was a fast paced book.  She does use a lot of gymnastics terms, that might put off someone  who has not been in gymnastics.  There is one things that I didn’t care for, the mean girl personality of Grace.  She is highly competitive, and her father has taught her that there are no friends in the gym. Plus, her father is highly critical of her, instead of giving her praise he is always telling her the little mistakes.  This doesn’t excuse the teasing of one of the gymnasts and making her feel second rate.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2016 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Ordinary Magic

Ordinary MagicTitle: Ordinary Magic
Author: Caitlen Rubino-Bradway
Recommended for: Ages 10-14
Pages: 276
Call Number/Link:  J RUB

Synopsis: In Abby’s world, magic isn’t anything special: it’s a part of everyday life. So when Abby learns that she has zero magical abilities, she’s branded an “Ord”―ordinary, bad luck, and quite possibly a danger to society. The outlook for kids like Abby isn’t bright. Many are cast out by their families, while others are sold to treasure hunters (ordinary kids are impervious to spells and enchantments). Luckily for Abby, her family enrolls her in a school that teaches ordinary kids how to get around in a magical world. But with treasure-hunting kidnappers and carnivorous goblins lurking around every corner, Abby’s biggest problem may not be learning how to be ordinary―it’s whether or not she’s going to survive the school year!

Comments: I like to call this book the “Reverse Harry Potter” because the main character lives in a world of magic and find out she’s unmagical, and has to go to a special school. Great for kids who like magical fantasy, but have read all the obvious titles.

The best part about this book is the relatable main character. Abby is 12, loved by her large family, and deals with the non-magical hand she was dealt in a very believable way. Her new life isn’t easy and but she tries hard to prove herself and find a place where she fits in at her new school. She’s likable and makes mistakes and is honest with herself. Most of the other characters are well rounded and there are little details that make them more than just two dimensional stereotypes.

Like Harry Potter, a lot of the book is devoted to showing the special classes they have to take, like Combat or Foreign Languages in case they get kidnapped and sold. Also, it shows the kids trying to get along with kids from different walks of life and different family situations, and sticking by their friends (no real romance at all). There are also some scary scenes where the kids are stalked by murderous redcaps and attacked by adventurers.

The only downside to this book, is that it is left kind of open ended, like there was meant to be a sequel, but there isn’t one. Some of the kids don’t make it happily to the end of the book, and that changes the main character quite a bit, but overall I would highly recommend it.

 
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Posted by on June 27, 2016 in Adventure, Fantasy, Juv

 

Pequenos Cuentos ( Short Stories in 1 minute)

pequenos

 

Title: Pequenos Cuentos para leer en 1 minuto (Short Stories to Read in 1 minute)

Author: Monica Sempere

Series: N/A

Recommended for: Ages 4-6 

Pages: 58

Call Number/Link:  SPA E SEMPERE, M.

 

Synopsis:  A compilation of one page short stories that offers an innovative concept: micro-stories to read in one minute.
• Simple, brief stories that concentrate the essence of classic tales, delighting young and old readers alike.

Thoughts: I thought it was really cute.  It gives instructions for the child or adult on how to start reading.  The cool aspect of the book is that you read the micro story and then guess which tale they are talking about.  Some of them are classic around the world.  Some are not so clear since they may be lesser known stories. Good for parents, kids and teachers in order for children to use their analytical skills and for short attention spans.

 
 

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The Flip Side

27206534Title: The Flip Side
Author: Shawn Johnson
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 6th grade and up
Pages: 320
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Johnson, S.

Synopsis: Charlie Ryland has a secret.

She may seem like your average high school sophomore—but she’s just really good at pretending.

Because outside of school Charlie spends all her waking hours training to become one of the best gymnasts in the world. And it’s not easy flying under the radar when you’re aiming for Olympic gold…especially when an irresistible guy comes along and threatens to throw your whole world off balance.

Review:  Okay, I think this book is going to be hot with the Olympics coming up, especially since it’s written by a gymnast. It was kind of fun that the book wasn’t just about gymnastics though. Honestly, the book was more about how Charlie was trying to have her dream, but still be normal. Yes, it mean she gave up things, but what happens when she really wanted it all? Public School, Olympic Dream, and a cute boyfriend? Okay, so it seems like a lot, but when you’re a teenager the crazy seems possible. And I think even though teens haven’t dealt with going after a dream as big as the Olympics, they’ll relate to not be able to do it all/being focused story line.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Realistic, Teen

 

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The Hidden Twin

hidden twin

 

Title: The Hidden Twin

Author: Adi Rule

Series: N / A

Recommended for: Grades 7-10 

Pages: 272

 

Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Rule, A.

 

Synopsis: In Adi Rule’s stunning new novel, The Hidden Twin, the girl with no name, must finally choose a name and a path for herself, drawing a line between myth and history to prove herself more than a monster if she is to save both her sister and her home.

Thoughts: This was a very unusual book but interesting.  If you like fantasy, magic and intrigue this is the book for you.  The twin was born a Redwing and comes to know the power she posesses as the story unfolds.  I applauded for the twin throughout the book and felt her pain. A great book to keep a reader engaged.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2016 in Adventure, Fantasy, Teen

 

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The Lost Twin

lost twin 1_Title:The Lost Twin

Author: Sophie Cleverly

Series:Scarlet and Ivy

Pages: 290 pages

Recommended for: 3rd – 6th Grade

Synopsis:After her troublemaking twin, Scarlet, vanishes from Rookwood Boarding School, shy Ivy tries to track her down, using pieces of Scarlet’s journal carefully hidden all over the school for Ivy to find.

Ivy is invited to go to Rookwood Boarding School to take her twin sisters spot at the school.  Ivy doesn’t want to go, but isn’t given a choice.  Once, she gets their the headmistress tells her she has to pretend that she is Scarlet. Ivy knows something is up, but not sure what to do.  She stumbles pieces of her sisters diary and starts to piece together what happened.

This is set in the 1930, but really the only thing that sticks out as different from modern times is that corporal punishment is still allowed.  It is an interesting story and I would read the next in the series, but it was not a book I couldn’t put down. It is even paced and well written.  I like that Ivy is a strong main character, even thought she doesn’t thing she really is.

 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2016 in Historical, Juv, Mysteries

 

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I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister

18811323Title: I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister
Author: Amélie Sarn
Series:
Recommended for: Grades 7 & up
Pages: 152
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Sarn, A.

Synopsis: Two sisters. Two lives. One future.
Sohane loves no one more than her beautiful, carefree younger sister, Djelila. And she hates no one as much. They used to share everything. But now, Djelila is spending more time with her friends, partying, and hanging out with boys, while Sohane is becoming more religious.

When Sohane starts wearing a head scarf, her school threatens to expel her. Meanwhile, Djelila is harassed by neighborhood bullies for not being Muslim enough. Sohane can’t help thinking that Djelila deserves what she gets. But she never could have imagined just how far things would go. . . .

My Review: I absolutely adored this book. It’s such a short book but has such an emotional book. I loved the themes of feminism that run through it as the two girls decide how to led their life and what path of religion they want to follow. Both girls defended their right to their chosen path and have to deal with the consequences of that decision. Sohane has a lot of emotions that she needs to work through and it’s interesting watching that arc of love-hate-miss-understanding. While the flashing back and forwarding bothered me a bit at times, overall it was fine. This is easily a book I’d recommend everyone to read.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Hippopotamister

Hippopotamister cover

Title:    Hippopotamister
Author:   John Patrick Green
Series:  —
Recommended for:  early chapter book readers, early readers on the C or D level, listeners ages 4 and older
Pages:   84 p.
Call Number/Link:   GN J GREEN, J.

Rating:  ****

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

“The zoo isn’t what it used to be. It’s run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he’ll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He’s a good employee, whether he’s a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself”–Amazon.com.

 

Comments:

Hippopotamister is my kind of graphic novel!  It strikes me as one or two steps beyond a picture book.  Its text is fairly short, but in speech bubbles, and the print is large enough for younger readers.  (Happily, the text is also large enough for more aged readers!)

It is the cute, funny story of a red panda and hippopotamus who leave the worn down City Zoo to live amongst the humans.  They have a series of jobs, but wind up being fired from each and every one.

Now for the $20,000 question:  will they ever find the place where they actually belong?

I think this book will appeal to readers who have a good grasp of sight words and are ready for something a bit more complicated.  Listeners ages 4 and up will also enjoy it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Funny, Graphic Novels, Juv

 

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Paris for Two

Paris for Two cover

Title:    Paris for Two
Author:   Phoebe Stone
Series:  —
Recommended for:  tween girls
Pages:   257 p.
Call Number/Link:   J Fiction Stone, P.

Rating:  ***

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Petunia is used to living in the shadow of her fourteen-year-old half-sister, Ava, their mother’s favorite.  Now that the whole family has moved to Paris for a year, Pet finds herself stepping into the light, making new friends, uncovering secrets, and, inspired by the classic French dolls she has found, revealing an unexpected talent for designing dresses–and her beautiful sister does not take it well.

Comments:

I was curious when I saw a book titled Paris for Two in the juvenile fiction collection.  Between the title and the cover, my first guess was that it would be a romance.  For kids who read juvenile fiction?  Yikes!

Happily, I was wrong.  The book was about Petunia’s experiences in Paris.- dealing with her family, making new friends and time spent designing/sewing dresses.  It is an understatement to say that Petunia and her sister weren’t close at the beginning of the book.  I was so bothered by the way the mother and older sister treated Petunia that I almost abandoned the book within the first 50 pages.

But it was set in Paris so I continued to read.

While I primarily consider the book realistic fiction, it also has bits of historical fiction, some parallels with the Cinderella story and snippets of innocent romance.  It seems to me to have a fairly narrow intended audience:  tween girls.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2016 in Juv, Realistic

 

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Resistance

Resistance

Jacket (1)Title:: Resistance
Author: : Carla Jablonski ; illustrated by Leland Purvis ; color by Hilary Sycamore.
Series: Resistance trilogy
Recommended for: Grades 5-9
Pages: Unpaginated
Call Number/Link:  GN J JAB
Synopsis: A couple’s bucolic French town is almost untouched by the ravages of WWII. When their friend goes into hiding and his Jewish parents disappear, they realize they must take a stand.
Review:  This is a tough book, but important. It is about the occupation of France as told from the point of view of children. The authors work hard to make the story gripping without being melodramatic. The excellently capture the fear and uncertainty of war coupled with the power of family. End notes in the book talk a bit more about the war and reasonably discuss the idea that war is filled with shades of grey, explaining some of the ideas as to why people might collaborate with the Nazis.

 

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