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All’s Faire in Middle School

Title: All’s Faire in Middle School
Author: Victoria Jamieson
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 5th – 7th grade (could go a bit younger or older)
Pages: 248
Call Number/Link:  J GN Jamieson

Synopsis: Eleven-year-old Imogene (Impy) has grown up with two parents working at the Renaissance Faire, and she’s eager to begin her own training as a squire. First, though, she’ll need to prove her bravery. Luckily Impy has just the quest in mind–she’ll go to public school after a life of being homeschooled! But it’s not easy to act like a noble knight-in-training in middle school. Impy falls in with a group of girls who seem really nice (until they don’t) and starts to be embarrassed of her thrift shop apparel, her family’s unusual lifestyle, and their small, messy apartment. Impy has always thought of herself as a heroic knight, but when she does something really mean in order to fit in, she begins to wonder whether she might be more of a dragon after all.

Review:  Sooo, this one doesn’t officially come out until September, but I couldn’t wait to talk about it! I loved Roller Girl and was so excited to see another one by Jamieson coming out. And I think this one may even be a little better than Roller Girl. I love how it deals with the insecurities of starting middle school. And while in this case she’s transitioning from home school to public school, I think the general worries are still the same. I loved how Imogene deals with trying to fit in and how the subject of bullying is approached. Peer pressure is a powerful thing and when you want to fit in you’ll often to things that you know aren’t right. And sometimes how all that pressure can spill into the home life–even before one gets in trouble–as well.

The intermingling of Ren Faire stuff was a lot of fun. It was nice to see Imogene find her footing in the troup as a squire. How she was able to shake off her nervousness of performing among the streets by finding an act that worked for her. I also liked how school tied to the Ren Faire (and kind of ended there as well). And while Impy was most at home at the Ren Faire, there was still problems and lessons that she had to learn! No such thing as a perfect place, right?

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to see what Jamieson releases in the future.

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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Graphic Novels, Juv, Uncategorized

 

The Upside of Unrequited

Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grade 7 & up
Pages: 336
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Albertalli

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Review: I loved this book. I fell into this one almost immediately and didn’t want it to end. Molly’s character was so great–and it was great fat girl/body positive rep as well. I think the feelings of being afraid to put yourself out there—and then crushing on more than one person–are something that any teen can related to. It also has great GLBTQIA+ rep. Overall, this one tops my list of favorites for the year.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Realistic, Romance, Teen

 

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Queens of Geek

Title: Queens of Geek
Author: Jen Wilde
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grade 7 & up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Wilde

Synopsis: When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Review: While the pacing is tad bit off, I really, really like this one. It was such a positive portal of bisexuality, anxiety, and Asperger. Oh, and fandom–I really didn’t feel like there was any making fun of the fandom or making them seems like they were over-the-top. As someone who as been to many Cons, it felt like a pretty valid/realistic portal of what they’re like. Overall, this one of my favorite LQBTQIA+ books of the year and earned a huge THUMBS UP.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

Nemesis

Title: Nemesis
Author: Brendan Reichs
Series: Project Nemesis
Recommended for: Grade 7 & up
Pages: 443
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Reichs, B.

Synopsis: He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

Review: This book had such a great premise. However, it utterly and completely failed. After reading 400+ pages, I still can’t tell you WHAT is going on. I’m not sure the author/book quite has an idea as well. It was a bit like reading whiplash to be honest. One moment we’re trying to figure out if she’s having psychotic breaks then we’re at conspiracy theories and then we end at…well, I’m not quite sure where we end up. But it’s doesn’t make much sense. And perhaps in book two, more will be revealed/it’ll make sense, but I’m not sure I want to even wade in that world again. There may be some teens who love this head-spin tale, but for most I think this book will them simply frustrated.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Sci-Fi, Teen

 

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My New Mom and Me

Title: My New Mom and Me
Author: Renata Galindo
Series: N/A
Recommended for: K- 2 ( maybe a little younger)
Pages: 32
Call Number/Link:  E Galindo

Synopsis: When the puppy comes to live with his new mom, he is nervous. After all, his mom has stripes and he doesn’t. But his mom says she likes that they look different, and soon the puppy likes it, too. (And who cares what anyone else thinks!)

The puppy’s new mom does all the things other parents do. She plays with him, takes care of him, and sometimes even makes him mad! But that’s okay, because when he’s feeling sad, she knows just what to say.

Review: This is a super sweet story of adoption or fostering. It is geared towards older children more than those adopted straight from birth. Puppy knows from the get go that this is his new home and he is different from his new mom. At first, he tries to be just like her, even paints on stripes, but his new mom wipes it all away and tells him she loves him just the way he is. In the end, they end up embracing their differences–and even though it’s not easy being a new family they’re going to continue to work on it.  This would be a perfect book to give to families that have either just adopted older-ish kids or who are maybe even just fostering.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Picture Books

 

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A Season of Daring Greatly

Title: A Season of Daring Greatly
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 432
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction White, E. 

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

Review: I really, really, really liked this book. Although, that’s no surprise as someone who grew up on baseball (and adores the TV Show Pitch). Much like Pitch this book explored both being a player and all the stress encountered being a first. Press conferences, death threats, crowds of adoring fans, and just the the overwhelming pressure to prove she is good enough to be there. Jill have a lot of up and downs throughout the book. She questions if she made the right decision & if she made the right decision. I enjoyed that while some of her teammates where jerks, most were friendly and even had her back. I loved reading about the growing friendships between herself and the boys. If I had one complaint it would be the ending. It felt a bit abrupt and just left me wanting more. It just felt like there was so much left to tell. Secretly, I’m hoping the author will revisit this world/these characters because I would read it in a heartbeat.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Goodbye Days

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 8 & up
Pages: 405
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Zentner

Synopsis: One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Review: I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. I enjoyed Zentner’s first book, but this one just didn’t work. Mainly, I think he tried to create drama where no drama was needed. Throughout most of the book, Carver has this threat of criminal charges because he was the one who sent the text. There is an actual case were there was a consideration, but it still seems silly to me and far reaching. Even worse that it was the driver’s dad who was trying to push it! Every time it was mentioned I was just dragged out of the book. I think Zenter has enough drama with just the fact that his three best friends were dead and the self-blame that would have already naturally been there.

There were def. some emotional scenes in there that totally tugged at the heart strings—the goodbye day with Blake’s grandma being the top. Although, I will admit the falling in love with the best friends girlfriend was a little weird. I could have done without that as well. There are some very strong features in the book, but for me it ultimately just didn’t work.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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