Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Fortune Falls/The Inn Between

These were both perfectly fine books, but I won't be buying either of them. Why do so many people have to die in middle grade books? No fathers or mothers, and apparently now siblings and friends, are safe. I wish I could do a complete boycott of middle grade books where all of the important people in the main character's lives are alive, but I would only be able to buy about three books a year. 

More happy, people!!!! More happy. 

25679785Goebel, Jenny. Fortune Falls
January 5th 2016 by Scholastic Press

ARC from Young Adult Books Central and reviewed there. 

Fortune Falls is a great place to live if you're a Lucky, but Sadie Bleeker is probably not. She hasn't turned 12 yet, so she is still Undetermined, but since she has so many bad things happening to her, she doesn't hold out a lot of hope for the Luck Test. Her best friend, Cooper, will probably be Lucky, and they would then go to different schools. Sadie wants to marshal all of her resources and wishes to use to pass the test, but when her dog, Wink, runs into a graveyard and can't be found, she doesn't want her brother Petey to miss him. Sadie's family has had a run of bad luck ever since her father died in an accident a year ago, so Sadie is very protective of Petey. It doesn't help when Cooper gives her a telescope for her birthday, and she manages to break the mirror inside of it. In Fortune Falls, that means seven years of bad luck... if you survive that long! Sadie and Cooper venture into the magical store, Lucky Charm Z, in order to perhaps find some way to turn Sadie's luck around. Can they do that before it's too late? 

Fortune Falls is an interesting place, and there are lots of good descriptions about the way of life that depends of magic being real. Many of the mothers are wearing halo collars because their hapless children have stepped on cracks and broken their backs, the street outside the grave yard is littered with cars because people don't hold their breath going past it and get into accidents, and there are few black cats or rabbits around because the latter are exterminated as being bad luck and the former are killed for their feet! This is a fun way to take superstitions and bring them to life. 

It's nice to see that Sadie and Cooper get along so well even though their lives are likely to take different paths. It's also clever how they work together to try to get their entire class to pass the Spring Luck test despite the meddling and meanness of the evil Felicia. 

Reader who enjoy the healthy dose of magical realism found in Pyron's Lucky Strike, Wendy Mass' Willow Falls books or Myracle's Willow Hills series, or even the everyday magic of Ruth Chew's books, will find Fortune Falls to be a somewhat scary but interesting place to be!

Cohen, Marina. The Inn Between
25667027March 22nd 2016 by Roaring Brook Press
E ARC from

Quinn is having a tough time-- she was caught cheating on a test, and when she had to stay after school, her younger sister goes missing. Now, while her family is still grieving, her best friend Kara is going to move. Quinn accompanies Kara and her family to their new home, but the group stops in the middle of the desert at the Inn Between to rest. The next day, Kara's parents are missing, and Quinn thinks she sees Emma in the hallway. Creepy things pile up, and Quinn and Kara have to figure out the mystery of the inn before it is too late. 

Strengths: I loved the cover on this one, and the premise sounded very intriguing, not that your average 7th grader will understand the reference to "Hotel California" in the book's blurb! Readers who enjoyed The Thing About Jellyfish will love this. 

Weaknesses: Quinn's sister being kidnapped was far too real and sad for me. I liked the idea of a creepy hotel, but this just got sadder and sadder instead of scarier and creepier.

What I really think: I think my biggest problem with this was that I went in expecting one kind of book, and this ended up being something entirely different. 

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