Wow. Talk about a supportive group. Can't tell you how much those 15 comments helped! Yes, had Chinese, got a good night's sleep, and read 8 books instead of my usual 20 or so, but I'm reading, and I do feel better. I don't know how much visiting I'll be doing, but I don't want to miss the party, so will try to hit some blogs early early Monday morning before packing up the back office.
Myracle, Lauren. Thirteen. (from Book Look)
I've not been wild about Myracle in the past, but Picky Reader loved Thirteen. It was pink and girly, and was about my speed... and I really liked it! Definitely akin to Naylor's Alice books, with family issues, friend issues, boy issues... issues everywhere. Plot? Yeah, but that's not why I enjoyed it. I liked it because Winnie gets to kiss Lars, her boyfriend. *Sigh* Like all Pink Lit, it's the vicarious adolescence that really makes these sing, and despite Winnie's problems, I was glad to be her for a little while. Definitely will pick up 11 and 12, and am reading 13 Plus 1 after grocery shopping.
Hayter, Rhoda. The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams. (from Book Look)
Abbie gets into a lot of trouble in school because she can't contain her magical powers-- sneezes send her rushing to the ceiling, and it's hard to keep certain things from her best friend. When her father brings home a kitten for her, Abbie is happy... until she realizes that there is something not quite ordinary about the kitten, and this leads to an involved mystery she must solve. Loved the cover on this one, and light, magical tales have been increasingly popular with my girls. I was a bit thrown by the lack of explanation for Abbie's family's magic. Sometimes this lack makes it easier to suspend disbelief, but in this case it made it harder. Still, a solid first book, and I'll look for more from this author.
Reger, Rob and Buzz Parker. Stranger and Stranger. (Emily the Strange)(from Book Look)
This is a beautifully designed book. Lovely cover, interesting end papers, and illustrations with the text that add much to the story. But I just didn't get it. This is the second book in the series, so maybe I am missing something there, but the constant journaling (ala Georgia Nicolson) combined with the extreme weirdness of the character (you have a golem? Why?) was a bit off-putting. Surly Teenage Boy picked it up as well and felt the same way. Debating whether this will be popular with the goth crowd anyway.
Witlinger, Ellen. This Means War.(from Book Look)
There is a quote about no day in the world being more perfect than the first day of summer vacation when one is ten, and this book captures a little of that feeling even though it starts in October. Juliet has been best friends with Lowell forever, but now he is hanging out with boys who think it is sissy to talk to girls, and since it is 1962, Lowell stops seeing Juliet. Luckily, Patsy moves in and provides someone to divert Juliet from all of the problems surrounding her. Juliet's parents' grocery store is not doing well, and a national crisis is in the offing, and the boys and girls Juliet knows start a dangerous competition to see who is better. This competition adds interest to a strongly historical novel that explains the Cuban Missile Crisis, duck and cover drills, and the growing uphappiness with the government that lead to the protests of the later 1960s. This may be a hard sell, because the cover is not good, but I enjoyed it and will be pleased to recommend it.
Malone, Marianne. The Sixty-Eight Rooms. (from public library)
After Ruthie visits the Thorne rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago, she becomes entralled with the miniature masterpieces. With the help of her friend Jack, she manages to get a key to the rooms and sneak in while no one is at the museum... and finds that the two can shrink, go into the rooms, and even travel back in time. They discover several mysteries involving the rooms and spend their precious time there trying to solve them. I love any and all time travel books, and the suspension of disbelief worked well in this one. The concept was very intriguing, even though the delivery was a bit slow in spots. (Jack's mother is having financial problems, a lot of time is spent plotting to get into the rooms, etc.) Children who like Blue Balliet will like this, and it has some similarities with The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as well. Yeah, I will have to buy it.
Vrettos, Adrienne Maria. The Exile of Gigi Lane.(from Book Look)
Was concerned that this wouldn't be appropriate for middle school after the really good put inappropriate Skin, but this would be fine for fans of Harrison's Clique series. I just absolutely didn't get it. Gigi is in line to be the Head Hottie at Swan's Lake County Day School until she is mean to a girl and exiled to an Alaskan fish cannery for 8 weeks. When she returns, she is overweight, ungroomed, and kicked out of the head group. She tries to get in to all of the other cliques, only to fail miserably. Well-written, but should probably be classified as fantasy because I just can't see any of the events happening at any school anywhere.
Higson, Charlie. The Enemy.
This author's Silverfin is so popular that I actually purchased it at Barnes and Noble because it is set in London and involves zombie grownups who attack children. I wasn't disappointed, but Surly Teenage Boy found the beginning confusing and wouldn't read it. A disease has turned grownups into violent, decaying monsters who eat children. Groups of children have holed up in grocery stores to try to survive. When a representative of a group that has taken over Buckingham palace approaches a group hiding in a Waitrose, they decide to try to travel there in order to be in a more secure environment. This book had a lot of action and adventure, but it also had a LOT of death. Fighting zombies is not for the faint of heart! I don't think I would have this in an elementary library (especially since the zombies are invariably refered to as "moms" and "dads"!), but middle schoolers will adore this one, if only for the whole "no grownups around" thing, which I remember being quite the thrilling thought when I was 12. There may be a sequel possible, but I haven't heard of one.
Howe, Peter. Waggit Forever. (from Book Look)
Waggit's group of dogs, the Tazarians, are having problems finding food because the park in which they live is being refurbished. With the help of Beidel, who generously lets them take the food from a Chinese restaraunt in his territory for a while, the group travels across New York City (I think) to another park. On the way, they must still find food, stay safe, and help the weakest of their members to keep going. This was published in 2010, which surprised me. It has the look and feel of a book from the early 1970s, reminding me strongly of things I read then. Even though it involved talking dogs (and one human who can understand them) and was oddly similar to the Warriors series, I found myself liking it and wanting to read the first two books, Waggit's Tale and Waggit Again. There are always a few students who like to read books about dogs (like Lee's Dog Lost), so I think that I will look into buying the other two, providing they weren't actually first published in 1970!
Off to finish 12 Plus 1!