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Category Archives: Realistic

Star Crossed

Title: Star Crossed
Author: Barbara Dee
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Graded 6-8
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link: J Fiction Dee, B. 

Synopsis: Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.


Review: 
This book is one of those that totally toes the line . The subject matter is totally more teen-ish, but with the cover it’ll never go in J. However, the book is still super sweet and there’s not even kissing beyond what happens in the play. The questioning is very straight forward and handled realistically. I honestly wish they would have put a better cover on it because I do believe that this type of book would circ a bit better in teen. However, I know kids are questioning at any age and I do think this book will be helpful/allow them to see their situation in a book, especially since for the most part it’s no big deal. (Her friends and anyone she tells accepts it.)

Of course, the books deals with way more than just questioning a crush. It deals with normal middle school stuff such as friendships, bullies, dances, being excluded, and more. All of this makes this book super recommendable to middle school-ers. This book is A+ in my opinion.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2017 in Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere

30653691Title: Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere
Author: Elise Gravel
Series: N/A (Although, I hope it ends up being one)
Recommended for: Grades 3 -5
Pages: 176
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Gravel, E

Synopsis: When Olga crosses paths with a weird creature and becomes the first kid to discover the species olgamus ridiculus, she is ecstatic! What does an olgamus eat? How does it poop? Why does its burp sound like the word rubber? With her trusty observation notebook and the help of a librarian, a shopkeeper, and some friends, Olga sets out to do science—learning the facts about her smelly, almost-furry pal and searching for him when he goes missing. The scientific method is the best way to discover anything!

Review: This is going to be a great one for those Wimpy Kid/Dork Diary fans! I love that Olga is science-y. She loves all things animals and when she find an unknown species she tries to figure out what he is! Olga is a tween/early teen but she reads a bit younger. 6th/7th MAY like it but I think it’ll be better in the hands of 4th/5th graders. The only thing I don’t like at all is that the mean girls read a fashion magazine called TWERP GIRLS. That name is just..no. The mean girls do show they’re not all that mean and Olga does kind of want to read the magazine, but the name TWERP GIRLS just bothered me. Other than that, I found this one an extremely fun and funny read and think it’ll be a big hit with our patrons. (FYI, it doesn’t come out until end of March!)

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Funny, Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

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Ghost

28954126Title: Ghost
Author: Jason Reynolds
Series: Track
Recommended for: Grades 5-8
Pages: 192
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION REYNOLDS, J.

Synopsis: Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel of a brand-new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Ghost has a crazy natural talent, but no formal training. If he can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all starting with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who blew his own shot at success by using drugs, and who is determined to keep other kids from blowing their shots at life

Review: I liked, but didn’t love this book. I’ve enjoyed Reynolds’ other books a bit more. However, I do think the kids will eat this one up. Ghost is a character you can relate to and he is far, far from perfect. You can’t help but root for him even when he does something stupid like steal something. There are some heavy topics of abuse, but nothing that late elementary/middle school can’t handle. I do adore the relationships between Ghost and his coach & teammates expands over the book. Bonus points for the book being about track, which there hardly ever seem to be books about. I’m highly interested to see where the series goes and look forward to reading future installments.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2016 in Juv, Realistic

 

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Moo

moo-cover

Title:   Moo   
Author:   Sharon Creech
Series:   —
Recommended for:   I don’t recommend it
Pages:   278 p.
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION CREECH, S.

Rating:  **

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech‘s Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow. When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn’t know what to expect. She’s ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora. This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.

Comments:

I’ve been trying to force myself to read this book for about 5 weeks.  I really liked Love That Dog and Granny Torrelli Makes Soup so had every expectation that I would enjoy this book too.  Logically, I should have been able to finish the book in one or two evenings, but I just couldn’t bring myself to read it for more than half an hour at a time.  I normally would have abandoned it after one or two attempts, but wanted to write my review about it.

I. just. can’t. finish. it.  I dislike the parents too much.  They “volunteered” (forced) their children to go to the home of a creepy old woman to do chores for her, even though she terrified them.  The parents weren’t willing to spend time outside with the children while the children “got to” shovel cow manure, but they thought it would be fine for the children to help at the farm every day.  The little boy was traumatized by having to deal with the nasty old woman, but the parents didn’t show any evidence that they cared.

There is the chance that this book will win awards, but I’m still unwilling to read it.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2016 in Juv, Realistic

 

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Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom

28259085Title: Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom
Author: Booki Vivat
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 4 – 6
Pages: 240
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Vivat, B.

Synopsis: Meet Abbie Wu! She’s about to start middle school and she’s totally in crisis.

Abbie Wu is in crisis—and not just because she’s stuck in a family that doesn’t quite get her or because the lunch ladies at school are totally corrupt or because everyone seems to have a “Thing” except her. Abbie Wu is in crisis always.

Heavily illustrated and embarrassingly honest, Frazzled dives right into the mind of this hilariously neurotic middle school girl as she tries to figure out who she is, where she belongs, and how to survive the everyday disasters of growing up. With Abbie’s flair for the dramatic and natural tendency to freak out, middle school has never seemed so nerve-racking!

Review: This book is so much fun. It not a diary style, but it feels like one and has a lot of illustrations (perfect for those reluctant readers). While Abbie is just starting middle school, it does read a little young, however, the story line is perfect those just about to/just started middle school. I think most kids will be able to relate as starting middle school is never easy, especially when all your friends have already discovered their special interest. That left behind/where do I belong feeling is never easy. I love how Abbie falls into her “thing” and while it doesn’t pan out in the book like she’d want, it does leave many doors for the future! There’s no word right now on if this will be a series, but it’s set up that it could be. I surely hope it does, because I would love to read more about Abbie and her adventures.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in Funny, Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

Truth or Dare

28954094Title: Truth or Dare
Author: Barbara Dee
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 5 -7
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link:  J Fiction Dee, B. 

Synopsis: Lia’s four best friends have always been there for her, in good times and bad. It’s thanks to the loyal supportive friendship of Marley, Abi, Makayla, and Jules that Lia’s doing okay after her mom dies in a car crash.

But the summer before seventh grade, Lia’s feeling out of sync with her friends. And after a vacation up in Maine, Lia returns home to find her friends…well, different. For one thing, they’re arguing more than ever. Also, they’re competing. And some of them are making her feel like a “late bloomer.”

When her friends launch into an extended game of Truth or Dare, Lia tells a lie about her summer just to keep up with them. Then she tells another lie. And another. Soon, it’s hard to remember what’s a lie and what isn’t. Friendships are threatened, boys are getting kissed (or note), and Lia’s wondering if there’s anyone to confide in.

Review: Okay, the only thing I had a small issue with that in 7th grade most of the girls hadn’t heard of/played truth or dare. That seemed a bit unrealistic, but I understand it was to set up what follows. And what follows is fantastic. It’s all about the strains of friendship, bullying, and finding where you belong. I love how the Dee tackles the whole Queen Bee thing and how sometimes it’s so easy to follow when you know it’s not right. And even when you try to stand up to the bullies, it doesn’t mean you’ll handle it correctly. Lia makes some pretty big blunders, but I’m glad she was able to own up to most of them.

The other thing I really loved was the talk of puberty. It’s a big deal to get you’re period and start “blooming” and all that jazz. It’s so easy to feel like you’re “left behind” when all your friends are hitting that milestone. I loved Lia’s journey through this and the realization that being a late bloomer is okay. I think a lot of girls at that age struggle with that so it was nice to see a book tackle that nicely.

I think girls in 5th – 7th grade who may be struggling with some of the same milestones and issues will love this book and get a lot out of it.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

Judy Moody and the Bucket List

Judy Moody & Bucket List cover

 

Title:   Judy Moody and the Bucket List
Author:   Megan McDonald
Series:   Judy Moody
Recommended for:   kids in grades 3-5
Pages:   157
Call Number/Link:   J FICTION MCDONALD, M.

Rating:   ***

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Discovering Grandma Lou’s mysterious “bucket list” of things that she wants to do in her lifetime, Judy Moody is inspired to create a list of her own goals, from learning to do a cartwheel to visiting Antarctica.

Comments:

I was drawn in by the words Bucket List in the title.  I wondered how my  list might compare to Judy Moody’s.

As it turns out, we have different lifetime goals.  At one time, I also hoped to learn to do a cartwheel, but I realized that was never going to happen.  And Antarctica?  brrrrrr.  I would much rather visit France, Ireland, Scotland and/or Canada.  (These trips would be funded by the lottery that I need to win very very soon.)

This was a cute book.  It was realistic fiction that was actually realistic, except for Judy’s immediate mastery of the hepcat dictionary.  I loved Grandma Lou.  It also made me smile that the ride on the horse/donkey hybrid was so much better than the ride on the actual horse.

 
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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Funny, Juv, Realistic

 

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