Connor, Leslie. Crunch.
Of all the things I read over break, this was my favorite. Dewey's father is a trucker, and his mother goes once a year with him to celebrate their anniversary, leaving Dewey and his two older and two younger brothers and sisters on their own. The family also runs a bike repair business. When there is suddenly no fuel available anywhere, the mother and father get stuck in Canada, and the bike repair business really takes off. With the help of caring neighbors and friends, as well as a young man Dewey befriends, the children manage to take care of matters at home, run a hugely successful bike business, and even manage to solve the mystery of a rash of small thefts. This was fun in the way that The Boxcar Children was fun-- there seems to be more scope for adventure when parents are not in the picture. I liked this especially because I already ride my bike everywhere, so I am READY!
Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies:
Hapka, Katherine. The Twelve Dates of Christmas.
Lexi has dated Cameron for a long time, but doesn't see their relationship lasting. She doesn't want to dump him, so she arranges for him to date another girl... but is not happy when he seems to really like her. She then schemes to get him back. Even Picky Reader liked this one!
Ostow, Michol. Crush Du Jour.
Laine teaches a cooking class for chidlren at the local community center and falls for cute Seth. When she goes to work for his father's restaurant, complications ensue because her mother is a food critic, another waitress seems interested in Seth, and Laine is a horrible waitress.
Ponti, Jamie. Animal Attraction.
Jane is disappointed that she can't work as a swimmer in the local theme park, but has to instead parade about as a giant beaver. She's trying to earn money for college, gets interested in a couple of boys-- good summer fun. I love these comedies.
Johnson, Maureen. Scarlett Fever.
Sequel to Suite Scarlett. Scarlett is now working for the Amy Amberson agency and working with clients, while her family is still dealing with the long term results of her sister's cancer, running a small, decrepit hotel, and trying to get her brother launched into an acting career. This was okay, but not my favorite Johnson book.
Runholt, Susan. Rescuing Seneca Crane.
Sequel to Mystery of the Third Lucretia. Kari is traveling to Scotland this time with her journalist mother and best friend Lucas. This time, they get involved in the disappearance of a pianist their age and uncover a conspiracy. Best part-- traveling around Scotland with no parents!
Gray, Amy. How to be a Vampire. I should buy it, because it would fly off the shelf, but it was just too goofy. Just look at the cover. Had a good sense of humor about it, but I just can't.
Summers, Tamara. Never Bite a Boy on the First Date.
Better than you'd think. Kira, a new vampire, is suspected of a recent murder of a football star at her new school. She knows she didn't do it, but who did? My expectations for this were low, but it was rather fun.
Trivas, Tracy. The Wish Stealers.
Griffin is given a box with old pennies by a nasty elderly woman; it turns out that the pennies represent stolen wishes, and Griffin needs to give the wishes back or give them to people who have the same desires or her wishes will stop coming true. This was an interesting fantasy concept, but it did skew a little young in my mind, what with a science fair and fund raiser to save the earth. My son enjoyed it; it will be one of my book talks this week.
Limb, Sue. Zoe and Chloe on the Prowl.
From the author of Girl, 15, Charming but Insane. Fun, British romantic comedy that was somewhat uncomfortable to read because Zoe and Chloe keep doing the stupidest things imaginable.
Liu, Cynthea. Paris Pan takes the Dare.
Paris' family moves to a small town so that her father can build houses; turns out that the property has bought was the residence of a girl who was killed twenty years ago. Because there are so few girls in her grade, Paris ends up hanging around with some who want to "take the dare" i.e. spend the night in the woods. Paris doesn't want to, and tries to solve the mystery of what happened to the other girl. Some interesting family dynamics portrayed with Chinese parents who want their children to be over achievers.
Venkatesh, Sudhir. Gang Leader for a Day.
Adult nonfiction, not really appropriate for middle school because of the language and portrayals of drug use and prostitution, but VERY interesting. Venkatesh was a sociology grad student in the 1980s who managed to befriend a drug runner in the Chicago projects and study life there. Intriguing insights into how people in these projects live.
Whew. Must say that one of the things I will be doing for the next nine weeks is getting the library ready for the major overhaul that happens this summer; I'll try to keep on task and keep reading, but now I have to go schlep core novels around. Welcome back!