Thursday, May 04, 2017

Lemons, Give Me a K-I-L-L

Savage, Melissa. Lemons
May 2nd 2017 by Crown Books for Young Readers
ARC from publisher at ALA

Lemonade Liberty Witt is sent from San Francisco to the small town of Willow Creek in 1975 after the cancer death of her single veterinarian mother. There, she is to live with her grandfather Charlie, who runs a store in the Bigfoot obsessed town. She meets Tobin, a boy who is investigating Bigfoot sightings and who is having a hard time connecting with other children his own age. Lem gets "hired" to be his assistant, and the two spend a lot of time interviewing people like retired teacher Mrs. Dickerson, who remembers Lem's mother and tells her stories about her over homemade cookies. Tobin's father was in the Vietnam conflict and was on his way home, but never made it. His mother doesn't know where he is, but hopes that he will show up soon. Charlie's relationship with Lem's mother was strained by the death of his wife, but he makes every effort to make Lem feel at home. The two solve a mystery involving Bigfoot that sheds light on other issues in Tobin's life, and when Lem eventually gets an offer to go back to San Francisco, she has to decide if she would rather stay in Willow Creek.
Strengths: The historical detail was accurate, and the inclusion of a Vietnam POW situation was helpful. Charlie is a great fictional grandfather, and his hot dog and tater tot meals are spot on. I had forgotten that Bigfoot was a trending topic during this time period. Somehow, all of the elements worked for me, even Lem's name, which I didn't like initially. A student to whom I gave the ARC really enjoyed this.
Weaknesses: Not sure that a tween boy would have had an answering machine at his disposal during this time-- they were new and very expensive, but at least they had been invented! I wish that the book had stated the year it took place earlier on-- I had to guess, and most young readers won't be able to figure this out.
What I really think: I need books set during this time period, and this is great for all readers. Nice cover, fairly upbeat in spite of the number of dead or missing parents. I'll purchase.

May 2:  Bookhounds YA
May 10: Word Spelunking
May 13: Cafinated Reads
May 19: Batch of Books
May 20: The Owl
May 23: Awesome Book Nut 
June 1: Xpresso Reads

Stine, R.L. Give Me a K-I-L-L(Fear Street Relaunch #6)
29939078April 4th 2017 by A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin's Griffin
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Gretchen moves to Shadyside after her parents' divorce, and wants to try out for the cheerleading squad. The coach has just offered Devra Dalby, the daughter of the town's department store owner, the position, but after she seems Gretchen's recorded performance, has another try out. This time, Gretchen wins the spot. Gretchen is also stealing another cheerleader's boyfriend, Sid, which doesn't make Devra happy either. Gretchen starts to get threatening texts, and weird things start happening, but when a flaming baton mistake goes badly wrong, she really starts to worry that she is the target of Devra's wrath. Add to this cockroaches in the cheer leading uniforms and the death of Gretchen's neighbor onstage in front of the entire high school, and one wonders why the principal allows a four day cheer leading retreat in the woods. But what could go wrong?
Strengths: When my blood thirsty students ask for murder mysteries, this is what they want. Just enough detail to make it scary and gory, but not enough to be really psychologically scary. The events are always over-the-top enough that I think the students know the likelihood of such things happening to them is slim. There's also Stine's habit of making each chapter end with a cliffhanger, and he includes many twists. He understands the tween horror need.
Weaknesses: Really? Flaming batons? When the coach knows there is tension among the cheerleaders? Sigh.
What I really think: There will be a sequel. And I will have to read it. I'd love to see Stine write something else. I think he has hidden depths. Why is Susan Dey on the cover?

Ms. Yingling

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