Malone, Jen. At Your Service.
August 26th 2014 by Simon & Schuster/ Aladdin M!X
Copy from Young Adult Books Central and reviewed there.
Chloe loves living in the St. Michele hotel in New York City, where her father is the concierge. She also likes helping out, and is made a junior concierge by the owner, Mr. Buttercup, so that she can help with the younger guests. She manages to make even the brattiest children happy by scheduling things like practice sessions with the Rockettes for them. When King Robert of Somerstein and his three children stay at the hotel, Chloe is put in charge of their itinery, and accompanied by bodyguards, the royals (along with Chloe's friend Paisley) set off to see the sights. Prince Alex turns out not only to be cute, but also very nice; Princess Sophie seems stuck up at first, but warms to the adventure; but Princess Ingrid, the youngest, decides to run off from the group to investigate all of the penny smashing machines in the city. Chloe doesn't want to tell her father, thinking she will get in trouble, so the children band together to find Ingrid but not alarm anyone back at the hotel. Adventures ensue, there are some nice romantic moments, and everyone is okay in the end.
Strengths: This is a fantastic middle grade adventure. I love that Chloe is empowered to deal with other concierges and businesses in the city, and given opportunities to see New York, but always under some kind of supervision. I think this is probably the sort of book that my readers enjoy the most-- ordinary children who DO something.
Weaknesses: M!X publishes most of their books only in e book and paperback format, which doesn't work well for a school library!
So hear this, middle grade writers: We need happier books. I know they are harder to write. I know that humor doesn't feel as literary. But looking back at my past week of reading, there's been mental depression, economic depression, suicide, genocide, fantasy kingdoms going belly up, and dead or dysfunctional parents in nearly every single book. Gah! I really can't take any more sad books, and my students are getting weary of them as well.
Leave the title of the happiest book you can think of in the comments. Please!
It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe and What Are You Reading? day at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.