Vivat, Booki. Frazzled: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom
September 27th 2016 by HarperCollins
ARC provided by MC Communications
Abbie Wu has an adorable younger sister, an overachieving older brother, and a mother who gets enthusiastic for all the wrong reasons. Abbie is starting middle school ans is very concerned about every aspect of it. She decides that "the middles" are the worst, and looks to her friends to commiserate with her, but they LIKE middle school. The teachers are weird, homework is overwhelming, study hall is scary, and the cafeteria food is horrible. Only the 8th graders get the good food, like extra cheese pizza and double fudge brownies, and Abbie doesn't think this is fair. During study hall, she comes up with a plan for students to arrange trades with foods they don't like, keeping in mind that there are peanut allergies. Abbie gets cheese puffs instead of the flavor of fruit roll ups she doesn't like, and she even manages a trade for rice cakes! Even the 8th graders are impressed with this underground food revolution, and Abbie is rather proud that she has finally found "her thing"... until she gets called to the office. Oddly enough, she doesn't get into a lot of trouble, but the school puts a stop to the trading after an overbearing parent complains. Still, emboldened by her organize and lead, Abbie decides to run for class president and feels that middle school might not be completely horrible after all.
Strengths: Abby has a supportive family, and her brother is particularly well portrayed. She does share fears that many middle school students have, and does learn how to deal with them. This is an illustrated, notebook style novel, complete with hand drawn font. It's just too bad that this didn't come out BEFORE school started!
Weaknesses: This had several elements that didn't ring true to me. I can't imagine a school where 8th graders would get different food, and certainly few cafeterias have cupcakes anymore. Children trade food all the time, and there is no need for a cafeteria wide system, nor would the administration really care that children were trading. I personally am not a fan of any book that reinforces the thought that middle school is a huge and scary change, but middle graders with anxiety issues seem to be an up and coming trend.
What I really think: I'll buy a copy for the students who are waiting for the new Dork Diaries or Wimpy Kid book. It'll be good to use for Guys Read Pink month.
Gutknect, Allision. The Bling Queen
September 27th 2016 by Aladdin
E ARC from Edelweiss
Tess loves fashion, especially accessories. She even journals about them for language arts class! All of the girls look up to her except for Kayte, who shares Tess's obsession and even keeps a similar journal for language arts class. Tess's family has her grandmother living with them, and Mimi has good days and bad days when it comes to remembering things. After losing a ring and being afraid to tell her mother, who thinks she is not as responsible as she should be, Tess decides to run a fashion consulting business, inspired by a business plan she is supposed to write for school. This is really successful, and she manages to work around the school rules against running a business, but finds that she and Kayte have a lot in common, even though they are competing against each other.
Strengths: The Aladdin M!X books generally circulate well. Like the rest of these books, The Bling Queen is light and breezy, although Mimi's increasing dementia is not neglected.
Weaknesses: Tess' love of fashion and her influence on other students and even teachers didn't seem realistic. I didn't believe that anyone would pay to get her advice.
What I really think: May buy this if I have enough money left over at the end of the year. Just wasn't my favorite, probably since I am very fashion impaired!