Sunday, June 11, 2017

This Would Make a Good Story Someday/What I Lost

Levy, Dana Allison. This Would Make a Good Story Someday
May 16th 2017 by Delacorte Press
Public Library Copy

Disclaimer: I should have absolutely adored this because there is very limited sad stuff. I think I was just irritated because of the Latin (Sara is studying it), and couldn't get into the book after that. Since the overlap in Venn diagram of "people who taught Latin" and "people who read middle grade fiction" has a subset that consists mainly of me, other people will just go straight to adoring this one.

Sara is all set to spend the summer with her two best friends figuring out who they are going to be in middle school, but instead, she is dragged with her older, college activist sister and her partner Root, her annoying younger sister Ladybird, and her two mothers on a cross country train trip that her Mom won. Mimi is along as well, since she is a lawyer and can work on the train. The other winner of the contest is a writer from Texas who brings his son Travis as well as an aunt and her friend. Sara would like to be a writer like Mom, so keeps lots of notes and memorabilia about the different places they visit and all of the family interactions in her journal. While it's not the same as spending the summer with her friends, she does manage to make some progress on her "reinvention" program.
Strengths: If your readers like summer tales involving precocious children who want to study Latin, like The Penderwicks, then you definitely need to take a look. Sara's quest for reinvention is spot on, even if some of her decisions seems a bit odd. (Why would any 5th grader want to study Latin? We all know it ruined my life.)
Weaknesses: Maybe there is an East Coast vibe to these books that doesn't translate well? Everyone is soooo politically correct and they talk about it all the time. Root annoyed me a LOT. I think the difference is that in Ohio, we act politically correct and are nice to everyone regardless of their lifestyle choices, but we just don't TALK about it as much. We're too busy making hot dishes, I guess. If Root were from Columbus, he's be working in a food pantry instead of marching in demonstrations. Plus, his name would be Noah, and his parents would be glad to have Mom and Mimi over for dinner, but would not once ask any questions about their relationship.
What I really think: I did buy both Family Fletcher books (Frog is a friend of Ladybug's), but they just don't check out. They seem to skew a bit young-- maybe the cover style? I'm not sure about this one; may wait to make sure there is an Accelerated Reader test before purchasing.

31145120Ballard, Alexandra. What I LostJune 6th 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Elizabeth has lost forty pounds, and her anorexia has finally caught the attention of her parents. She is sent to Wallingford, a residential treatment facility, to try to get her eating back on track. It's not easy, especially since her roommate Lexi is teaching her ways to get around the system while admitting that she has ruined her health, and Elizabeth's own mother has eating issues of her own. Add to that a failed romance, and Elizabeth's struggles are very difficult. She wants to get better, but doesn't want to gain weight, because she knows her mother will give her a hard time about her appearance. With the help of the program and some good friends, can Elizabeth finally make peace with her eating habits and weight?
Strengths: Eating disorder books are very popular; yes, they are sad, but they are a sad that my readers seem to enjoy. This had plenty of details, and the romance and mother's disordered eating were nice touches.
Weaknesses: There was a scene with Elizabeth and her boyfriend almost have sex, but he stops because she is too thin. It's a bit too much for middle school. I really would have liked to see the events that lead up to Elizabeth's hospitalization as they came up chronologically instead of in flashbacks.
What I really think: I really wish I could purchase this, but probably won't because of the sex scene.

Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Haha, having lived in Ohio and California I agree with your thoughts about Root/Noah