Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Best. Night. Ever.: A Story Told From Seven Points of View

28899855Best. Night. Ever.: A Story Told From Seven Points of View
Malone, Jen. (Editor) with Rachele Alpine, Ronni Arno, Alison Cherry, Stephanie Faris, Gail Nall, and Dee Romito
August 15th 2017 by Aladdin
Copy graciously provided by publisher

It's the night of the middle school dance, and the members of Heart Grenade are excited. They won the local battle of the bands, so get to perform at the dance. Unfortunately, Carmen has to go to a stupid family wedding, so the very nervous Genevieve will sing in her place. Other middle school students from whom we hear are Ellie, who is thrilled that Kevin has asked her; Ellie's stepsister Ashlyn, who's irritated that she has to pick up Ellie's babysitting gig; Ryan, who gets caught up with his best friend Mariah's romantic triangle with Leif and Tess, and Jade, who is upset her band didn't win and is planning some sabotage. Things don't go very smoothly for anyone. Carmen ends up in an ugly dress, stuck at the children's table. Ellie learns a hard lesson about what idiots boys this age can be. Ryan learns to move beyond his infatuation with Mariah. Ashlyn makes some incredibly bad babysitting choices! There's all the drama of a dance night, rolled up with some interesting band information and a lot of humor.
Strengths: This was a lot of fun, and will hopefully entice readers to pick up books by all of these authors. Many of my readers ask for books about drama, and this has a lot of it! There is an impressive amount of diversity, and all of the middle school voices ring true.
Weaknesses: I did not personally like most of the characters, and I have never seen a middle school dance where girls wore formal dresses or had student bands.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. This will be popular!

Burns, Catherine Lloyd. Half-True Lies of Cricket Cohen.
August 22nd 2017 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Cricket has odd interests and has alienated all of her classmates by embellishing the truth, but she's looking forward to summer, even though her mother has signed her up for a surfing camp. When Cricket turns in a personal narrative essay that is all lies, she gets called on the carpet and has to redo it. Her parents are fund raisers who try to get money from New York's wealthy elite, even though they are not wealthy themselves. Cricket's grandmother, Dodo, has moved from California to be near Cricket's family (her parents are very busy!), and has a live in helper named Abby from who she is always trying to escape. When the parents have to go to Long Island, they decide it's okay for Cricket to stay with Dodo, even though she is becoming increasingly forgetful and has caused Abby to quit because she is so difficult. Things go quickly south, with Cricket and Dodo running away and eventually being detained by the police for shoplifting.
Strengths: I'd like to see more stories of children are their grandparents that explore that bond and also talk about a variety of challenges that come with aging. This had a strong sense of place, and wasn't overly sad. There was a lot of support for Cricket, even if it didn't really come from her parents.
Weaknesses: This struck me as an Eloise at the Plaza sort of book-- poor little rich girl. Okay, maybe not rich, but definitely privileged. Cricket is unlikable, and her parents' lack of interest in keeping their daughter and her grandmother safe because they were too busy was horrible.
What I really think: Maybe this will be more popular with people who actually live in New York City. It must be very different there, and I just don't understand.
Ms. Yingling

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