May 27th 2014 by Scholastic Paperbacks
E ARC from Netgalley.com
Lexi Torres is sad that the local toy store has closed down, and also that her friend Simon is moving away right before school starts. The toy store opens up again as a pet store, however, and the owner tells Lexi and her friends to visit with their parents to meet the pets and see about helping out with them.There, the family meets Luna, who needs a new home. When Luna rolls over, the air magically fills with sparkles and Lexi's mother and father agree that Luna can come home with them. Luna's power seems to be to make people tell the truth. Can she help out with the fact that Simon is ignoring Lexi?
Strengths: This is a very Ruth Chew type book, but one that is thankfully has updated sensibilities. Instead of just hanging out with the store owner even though they don't know him, parents are brought in. The puppies are not from mills, but all are in need of new homes. My older daughter would have adored these when she was in elementary school. Do like that the cast of characters is a bit diverse.
Weaknesses: The magic element makes these a bit young for my students, and the books are paperback.
It's really useful to my job selecting books for my middle school library to get digital ARCs from places like Netgalley and Edelweiss, and paper ARCs from Baker and Taylor's First Look program. Those are a little more fun, because I can hand them out to students so that they can also have the thrill of reading books before they are published.
What is SUPER fun, though, is getting a message from James Patterson on Goodreads, asking me to review this:
Patterson, James. Middle School: Ultimate Showdown
March 31st 2014 by Little, Brown and Company
Copy received from Mr. Patterson (Or his people. I know.)
Rafe and Georgia Katchedorian are always fighting with each other, and in this book that "they" put together, each gets an opportunity to expound on a certain topic, and then pages are provided for readers to write in their own opinions on topics ranging from bullying to school dances to fashion. The book is copiously illustrated, and there are lots of places for readers to write in observations.
This is a fun book for readers to delve into and to keep as a record of their own middle school experiences. In fact, this made me hugely nostalgic for the calendars that my brother and I got every year for Christmas-- I think they were in the same primary colors as the book cover and came with stickers to add for appointments and events. If you know a reader who is a fan of the Middle School books, this would be a great present to get that reader to start thinking about keeping a journal.
Because of the consumable quality of the book, it is not well suited for library collections.