Thursday, July 26, 2012

Serious Summer Doldrums

During the year, the wonderful Westerville Public Library brings books to my school, and I have a laser like focus on books for middle grades. In the summer, I go to the library myself, and get very distracted by adult nonfiction! Look at this pile of lovely NEW books, most even middle grade.

The problem? Summer doldrums. I didn't completely  like ANY of these books, and I will give just a brief idea as to why. If you DID like any of these, please opine.

I feel a need to read some Lenora Mattingly Weber and get back on track.

Mason, Simon. Moon Pie.
Very British, Jacqueline Wilson-esque book about the overwhelmingly sad case of an eleven year old girl trying to survive with a widowed, alcoholic father.

Harper, Suzanne. The Unseen World of Poppy Malone: A Gust of Ghosts.
Second in a series about a family that hunts ghosts. The cartoon cover and the fact that my readers usually want ghosts to eviscerate people in gory ways means I probably won't buy. Good for elementary, I imagine.

Leicht, Martin. Mothership.
Front runner in my list of "What were they thinking?" books. " In 2074, while attending the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers aboard an earth-orbiting spaceship, sixteen-year-old Elvie finds herself in the middle of an alien race war and makes a startling discovery about her pregnancy."

McEntire, Myra. Timepiece.
Looked intriguing; I love time travel. However, this was book two, and the print was tiny, so I knew it would never fly in my library.

Unell, Amy. Starting at the Finish Line: Coach Al Buehler's Timeless Wisdom
Buehler's life is impressive. The book is less so. 

Hopkins, Kate. Sweet Tooth: The Bittersweet History of Candy.
I've read more interesting books on candy (Chocolate Wars, for one), but this was alright. The self-indulgent quality of the author's quest was somehow irritating.

Ada, Alma Flor. Love, Amalia
Good for younger students dealing with the death of a beloved grandparent, but not much going on.

Calhoun, Dia. Eva of the Farm.
I was one of those young girls who wanted to write, and even I didn't want to read about Eva, especially since the book was in verse.

Spinelli, Jerry. Jake and Lily.
This is one that everyone seems to like, including actual kid, Erik, at This Kid Reviews Books. I did NOT like it. Too much whining and moaning about how the brother and sister are growing apart, and then the stuff about their "goombla" twin abilities and their hippie grandfather (at least it wasn't hippie parents!). I know I'm not in the majority on this view.

Castan, Mike. Fighting for Dontae.
There were a lot of things I liked about this book. Main character of color who loved to read and is fighting difficult circumstances, who learns to champion the underdog. Great stuff. However, there was also foul language, a lot of casual drug use, and a small problem with unstable focus. Drat.

Radford, Ceri. A Surrey State of Affairs.
I should have loved this British book, but there can be a high slappage factor for characters in adult fiction as well! (Adult)

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Alice on Board.
Oh, Alice, I do love you. It's just that right now, you're having more fun than I am.

I will buy Meehl's Suck It Up and Die (I have three copies of the first book, and they are always out!) and read it in print instead of on the Nook, and also Dashner's The Kill Order, which is a PREQUEL. NO wonder I was so confused. Also have to hunt down a print copy of Preus' Shadow on the Mountain-- it's so graphic heavy that it will not load on the Nook, nor will Scholastic's Infestation, but that will probably be in the book fair.

It will help once I am back at work so I can talk to actual middle grade students about books. Not long now!


  1. Disappointed to heard that about Eva of the Farm. Normally I love Dia Calhoun.

  2. Love Margi Preus, don't you? I'll have to put a hold on that book. Thank you so much for giving your 'meh' reviews! It's so helpful when you can cross a title off the To Read list.


  3. You always remind me of so many books that I still have to read. I just finished Savvy by Ingrid Law. I loved the MC's voice, but I thought the action was a little slow. It's an award-winning book, so that's probably just me. What did you think of it.

  4. Have you read Ian McDonald's Planesrunner? A terrific summer read--or anytime of year. Perfectly accessible to middle schoolers interested in sci fi set in the multiverse.