Messner, Kate. Sugar and Ice.
Claire loves to skate, but she is busy with a lot of other things, including her family's maple sugar farm and her friend Natalie. When she is scouted by a skating coach from Lake Placid and gets a scholarship to study there, she is pleased, but knows that driving her an hour and a half away several times a week is hard on her family. The other skaters are extremely competitive, and adjusting to this world is hard. School projects suffer, and even Claire's skating is not as good because she is so tense. With the help of some of the other skaters, a good team psychologist, and her supportive family, Claire is able to make a decision about skating that is right for her.
Strengths: *Sigh* This was one of those books that was so good that I just couldn't read anything else after it, because I wanted to stay in that world a little longer. While Claire is busy, the book is not confusing. Also loved the shout outs to different authors without giving the titles of the paranormal books one of the skaters was reading; it was fun to guess!
Weaknesses: The cover. This could have been a whole lot better. I know it's similar to Gianna Z., but somehow this one doesn't work for me.
Hapka, Catherine. Something Borrowed.
Ava's boyfriend breaks up with her several weeks before her sister's wedding. The real downside: he's a cousin of the groom, so he'll be at the wedding, so she doesn't want to show up without a date. She asks a wide variety of acquaintances to go, but one after another they aren't able to make it. Finally, she borrows her best friend's boyfriend, and things come to a predictable but fun conclusion.
Strengths: A Sister of the Bride for the new millenium. Fluffy and fun.
Weaknesses: The bridesmaid dress is pink. PINK. What's with the cover?
And do I give in to student pressure and put ALL of the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies on the same shelf, under F SIM? So sad that the series ended.
Flinn, Alex. Beastly. (2007)
How did I miss this? I have other Flinn books but didn't have this. With the movie out, I've had students ask, and I just didn't have it. Will soon, because it was middle school appropriate enough. Kyle Kingsbury, the son of a news anchorman, attends a ritzy private school, where he is popular and not very nice. A classmate, who is also a witch, turns him into a beast, complete with fur and claws, because of his nastiness. If he can find a girl to love him as he is within two years, he will return to being human. He finds a girl who needs his help, and he becomes a better person while caring for her. Will this be enough?
Strengths: Flinn does BOY oriented retellings of fairy tales, which is interesting. I love A Kiss in Time and was glad to see a less girly cover for it. Her Nothing to Lose and Breathing Underwater are very popular with my 8th grade boys. I'm looking forward to reading Cloaked.
Weaknesses: Not as much of an original twist as A Kiss in Time, but still perfectly serviceable.