May 10th 2016 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline
Jordan, who is prone to nose bleeds caused by stress, takes shelter in the school bathroom when a storm approaches and the overly protective administration buckles down the school. He is quickly joined by Avery, who spent his first day of school sleeping behind the stage. Mason, a go-getter who has a finger in every pot, and Taylor, the boy whom he is tutoring, both show up, and Regan joins them. Devon is also there, but he spends his entire time playing air guitar, something for which he is known in the school. The storm precautions wear on and on, but the boys discuss each other's activities and personalities, and are sad when they have to leave the restroom.
This is a very short book-- the E ARC was 150 pages, but the story was only half of that-- the rest of it was the same story written as a play. This would be why Paulsen deliberately chose sexually ambivalent names, but the fact that it is set in a bathroom rather limits the casting to one gender or the other.
I was looking forward to this, since Paulsen's recent books like Liar, Liar have been so hysterically funny. This had moments, but overall seemed a bit contrived. While I know that 8th graders definitely ponder their impact on their world, and their position within it, I don't know how much they actually discuss this with others; this level of joint introspection seemed suspect to me, and I couldn't believe that a stuffed cat that smelled like vomit in a bathroom full of tween boys wouldn't have ended up in the toilet by the end of the lockdown.
Our 7th graders do a Paulsen author study unit, so I will buy a copy of this, but I wasn't blown away by this.
Cube Kid. Diary of an 8-Bit
May 17th 2016 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Copy provided by the publisher
I mention this in case anyone knows of a middle grade reader who likes Minecraft. There must be a lot of them, because I even see t-shirts and hoodies printed with Minecraft characters. There have been several different books published, but none of them make a lot of sense unless you are familiar with the game. Since my experience is limited to downloading a free app and having a digital pig swimming in a blocky pond, this book was very hard for me to follow.
This is fan fiction, but even so, I would have liked a little more plot and, well, sense. There is a lot of dialog composed of "hurrrg", and there are a lot of characters that I don't understand. Perhaps an overview at the beginning would help? This would make the books appeal to children who were not allowed to play Minecraft but wanted to know more about it.
My daughter and I discussed this. She said "Why would you read a book about Minecraft if you didn't know anything about it?" I replied "For the same reason you read Disney picture books, but I didn't let you watch the movies. The books let you be familiar enough with the basics so that you could converse with your friends."
Still waiting for this, apparently. I'm sure many of my students will want this, but I'm not sure if I want to add Minecraft books to the library collection.
Cube Kid left a nice comment. I'm sure that these are popular, and they'd be fantastic gifts for kids who had this interest, but since the only versions I could find are paperback, this just doesn't seem like a good fit for a school library. There is a series of three so far:
Diary of an 8-bit super warrior (Minecraft) coming out in August 2016, and Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior: Path of the Diamond coming out in December 2016.