Why do I even mention books that I didn't like? There was something appealing enough about the book description that I checked the book out, but something that wasn't quite right for my collection. It might be right for other collections, or at least sound appealing enough that someone else will pick it up.
Kehret, Peg. Escaping the Giant Wave. (2003)
From the publisher: "When an earthquake creates a tsunami while
What I Wanted: A survival story similar to Earthquake Terror, or something with a lot of suspense. thirteen-year-old Kyle is babysitting his sister during a family vacation at a Pacific Coast resort, he tries to save himself, his sister, and a boy who has bullied him for years. Includes an author's note which provides factual information on tsunamis."
Why I Was Disappointed: In light of the 2004 tsunami, and the recent ones in Japan, this seemed somehow dated. This title is no longer available in hard cover from Follett.
From the publisher "Mimi leaves New York University following an unsettling first year and goes to stay in a cottage in Canada owned by her father, artist Marc Soto, but she arrives to find the place already inhabited by Jay, a musician, who it turns out is her half-brother, and the two are just getting comfortable with their relationship when someone starts breaking into the house and taking their possessions."
What I Wanted: Creepy ghost/murder mystery.
Why I Was Disappointed: Confusing beginning, tiny type (this matters a LOT to my students!), and a more high school story line.
Tracy, Kristen. The Reinvention of Bessica Lefter.
From Horn Book: "On the eve of middle school, Bessica, deemed a bad influence by her best friend's mother, finds herself alone. Normally supremely self-confident--even to a fault--Bessica confronts loneliness and bullies at school. Despite her flaws, it's hard not to cheer for this spirited heroine whose voice and antics are reminiscent of Anastasia Krupnik."
What I Wanted: Well, Anastasia. A good, solid middle grade girl book. I think I will buy this, especially since Bessica Lefter Bites Back comes out in March 2012.
Why I Was Disappointed: I personally found Bessica whiny, and the situation with her friend not being allowed to talk to her unrealistic. I was also unreasonably irked by the name "Bessica" and the idea of reinvention. (I may have to do a bit of that myself here in a couple of months.)
Elish, Dan. The School for the Insanely Gifted.
From the Publisher: "Eleven-year-old musical genius Daphna Whispers embarks on a global journey to find her missing mother, only to uncover a shocking secret about the Blatt School for the Insanely Gifted where she is a student."
What I Wanted: Surly Teen Boy loved The Mysterious Benedict Society, and this seemed similar. He wouldn't even touch this.
Why I Was Disappointed: This was a Pilkey Line issue. The humor, names, and situations were more goofy. I read this one right after Coben's Shelter, which was dark but appropriate, which is what the majority of my students want.