Keating, Jess. How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel
January 6th 2015 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
E ARC from Netgalley.com
In this sequel to How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied, Ana has a few things to worry about. It's summer, and she's going to be giving presentations for her grandfather about the new shark exhibit at the zoo. That's nerve wracking enough, but she has to work with a new volunteer... the evil Sneerer Ashley. Add to this the pressue that her friend in New Zealand is putting on her to kiss a boy by the end of the summer, and that's all it takes for Ana to stress herself. She does have a new friend, Bella, who likes to cook and is fun to hang around, and things are going really well with Kevin, the boy she likes. Even Ashley is pretty nice, helping Ana buy a new bathing suit, working hard to memorize facts for the presentation, and not being as evil as she usually is. When small things start going wrong at the shark exhibit, though, Ana suspects that Ashley is up to her old tricks, and hatches a plot to bring her down.Can Ana really lower herself to the level of a Sneerer? Will she kiss Kevin? And how will the new year in 8th grade go? We can only hope for another book after this!
Strengths: I'm awarding this a Sparkly Unicorn label for having both parents alive and supportive, in addition to a grandfather who is fun and not feeble! Also, while Ana had problems, they are the ordinary type that many middle grade students actually face, and not horrific diseases or abusive circumstances, or other super depressing things! I can hand this book to any reader and not worry that I'm going to be sending them into therapy. Hooray! While as an adult I find Ana a bit extreme in her reactions, they are very true to life. I especially liked the part when the girls are shopping, and Ashley points out that sometimes the problem with fashion is not YOU, it's the clothes, and helps Ana get a bathing suit that flatters her just by getting a different size, although she also cautions that Ana should perform a "bend test" because clothes should not wear YOU. A good message. Also, it was nice that Ana realized that she was being the nasty one in the relationship. Lots of good things going on here!
Weaknesses: The first book is only available in paperback, although this one can be purchased in hard cover. That makes no sense. In my library, book one would wear out in a month. It's not even available in a prebind. This is actually a really big problem for me!
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.
I can't wait until 1 January, when the Cybils shortlists will be made public! My completely marvelous first round panelists chatted yesterday and came up with a fantastic list, but we can't say anything until the official announcement! Argh! So excited!