Monday, December 14, 2015
MMGM- M!X books
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. It's also Nonfiction Monday.
Arno, Ronni. Ruby Reinvented
November 3rd 2015 by Aladdin
Ruby's mother is a supermodel in California, and her father is a famous baseball player. They are loving and supportive, but very busy! When Ruby overhears her best friend talking to a classmate, she's upset and disappointed-- the girl only was pretending to be her best friend in order to meet her parents. Ruby decides that the only recourse is to go to a boarding school... in Maine! Her parents reluctantly agree, and send her to look the place over, accompanied by family retainer Ellie. Even though it's a lot colder, Ruby takes to roommate Summer right away, and Summer is supportive of Ruby's desires to design dresses. Summer's parents live nearby, and Summer is friends with Connor, a cute boy in school who is an orphan. Big problem-- Ruby told Summer that her own parents are dead, and soon she and Connor are commiserating! Mean girl Cassandra wants to go to the school dance with Connor, but he ends up liking Ruby. Can Ruby manage to hide her parents, or will she have to finally tell the truth?
Strengths: Summer is a great character-- she doesn't care when Cassandra tells her she's weird, her family is fabulously supportive, and she is a great buffer to Ruby's insecurities. Ruby's ambivalence about her parents is realistic, and middle grade readers love to imagine what it would be like to have famous parents. Very enjoyable read which also has some serious matters. I would have adored this in middle school.
Weaknesses: Not buying the idea of a 12-year-old designing clothes. As much as I love the Sew Zoey series, in 18 years I have only had one student who even sewed, and she didn't do her own designs!
What I really think: Love this series. Ordered the book without reading it and was not disappointed! Fantastic that they are available in hardcover.
Alpine, Rachele. Operation Pucker Up
Published July 21st 2015 by Aladdin
Grace is thrilled to have the lead in the school production of Snow White, even though she is only a seventh grader. The only thing that gives her pause is that she is supposed to kiss Prince Charming, aka school hottie James, and it would be her first kiss! Her friend Lizzie proposes "Operation Pucker Up", a plan to have Grace be kissed before the play, and Grace gets into trouble several times for being in compromising positions with good friend Beck as well as neighbor Evan. Grace is also dealing with the fact that her father has moved home after having his own apartment for most of the year while her parents were separated, and she doesn't believe that he is going to stay. Her mother is glad to have him back, as is her younger sister, Claire, but Grace is stealing herself for the moment when he leaves again. Eventually, Grace tells the teacher in charge of the play about her apprehensions, and everything works out, especially with Evan, the cute boy next door.
Strengths: Very realistic coverage of child dealing with parent issues. Loved that she had made her peace with being at home with just Mom and sister. The friendships all rang very true as well, although I expected Beck to come out at some point. The play was realistically done as well. Enjoyed this!
Weaknesses: Rather uncomfortable at times, in that "MY Most Embarrassing Moment EVER" kind of way. Grace puts socks in her bra and one falls out in class, she goes on and on about the kissing issue. 12-year-olds will like this more than I did.
What I really think: These will both be great books to get BOYS to read during February, since they both have very natural, nice friendships that grow into age appropriate romances.
Publishers: Take note of what a fantastic spine looks like. I would have included more hardcovers, but they were all checked out! The bright colors, the older cartoon type illustrations-- these are brilliant and the girls pick them up right away!