Sunday, April 20, 2014

MG and YA Books for Girls

18079892Altebrando, Tara. The Battle of Darcy Lane
April 22nd 2014 by Running Press Kids 
Copy provided by the publisher. 

Julia and Taylor are enjoying summer but also waiting... waiting for the cicadas to come, and also for someone to move in across the street. Alyssa shows up, and while she is pushy and rude, Taylor is enthralled with her. One of Alyssa's obsessions is a complicated ball game called "Russia" which she and Taylor play incessantly on their driveways. Julia struggles with this problematic friendship, but other things as well: wanting to move in to another room in her house; finding out that her parents thought they were expecting, sort of wanted a baby, but in the end weren't having one; wanting a cell phone and to be allowed to watch scary movies; buying her first bra; and figuring out what her relationship with neighbor and friend Peter is. In the end, Julia realizes that she can have other friends, and that relying solely on Taylor will not serve her well.
Strengths: All the parents live and thrive, and are supportive without being too intrusive. Hooray! This will resonate with a lot of fifth and sixth grade girls, who are apt to undergo a lot of friend drama.
Weaknesses: The cover on this is very weak, mainly because the illustration makes it seem too young. Stock photo would have been a better choice, since the target demographic for this is VERY picky.

18049000Tracy, Kristen. Hung Up. 
March 4th 2014 by Simon Pulse 

Lucy meant to be calling a plaque company that took her money and went out of business, but instead she gets James, who luckily is not a creeper, but just a high school student at a nearby school. The two take to each other and conduct a relationship all through phone calls and messages, because Lucy refuses to text. They find comfort in talking to each other, and have a lot in common. They try to meet, but things come up. They fight a bit. In the end, they find out that each of them has a deep, dark secret that they would rather others not know, but by this time, they like each other so much that they are looking forward to meeting.
Strengths: Tracy's middle grade novels are popular in my library, and this would be a nice light romance for middle grade. Some drinking, but not portrayed as a good thing to do.
Weaknesses: I could have done without the deep, dark secrets, and I had a hard time really believing that teens today would talk on the phone. Still, pretty cover, light romance... hard to find stuff that's appropriate for middle grade.

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