Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Reign of Outlaws and Ruby & Olivia

33590262Magoon, Kekla. Reign of Outlaws (Robyn Hoodlum #3)
October 24th 2017 by Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books
Copy provided by the publisher

After her escapades in The Shadows of Sherwood and Rebellion of Thieves, Robyn Loxley knows that she has to save her parents, and Sherwood, from the clutches of the evil leaders of the government before it's too late. Along with her friends, some family magic, and a lot of cunning, Robyn manages to locate her parents, discover damning evidence about the leaders, and use her cunning to both ensure the safety of her parents and lead a successful rebellion. The sheriff and Ignomus Crown think that they can neutralize Robyn and her band, but they underestimate the power of the powerless when they band together in a just cause.
Strengths: Three books is just enough to develop the world, plot and characters, yet not too long that middle grade readers get tired of the books. Robyn is an appealing character, and her ability to take down the government will appeal to readers who enjoy the many books where Only Tweens Can Save the World. The twist on the Robin Hood legend is enjoyable, and my favorite part of the book was the very end where Robyn's mother is making everyone snacks in a cozy kitchen. After the world is saved, it's good to get back to some semblance of normalcy that involves cookies!
Weaknesses: I read this when I was tired, so had trouble remembering the details. I LOVE Magoon's realistic fiction, and had read that she was working on a nonfiction book about the Black Panthers, so have been waiting for that. I fear her writing has gone in another direction, and I'm just sad, because there are lots of fantasy books, but nothing good for middle grade on the Panthers.
What I really think: The series circulates well, and it is still hard to find fantasies that showcase #WNDB characters.

Hawkins, Rachel. Ruby & Olivia
October 24th 2017 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young
E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

Ruby has to attend Camp Chrysalis because she got in trouble for spreading glitter around her school. Olivia has to go because she took the fall for her identical twin, Emma, who stole a lipstick and got caught. To make things even worse, Emma gets to go to a summer gap she's been eager to attend, Olivia and Ruby have always vaguely irritated each other, and the camp members have to wear bright pink shirts that identify them all over their small town of Chester's Gap as "bad kids". Olivia is very quiet and just wants to make it through the summer, but Ruby has nothing to lose-- since Emma stopped talking to her and her grandmother passed away, she has no friends and acts flamboyantly all the time. When the campers have to go to clean and catalog Live Oak House, a rundown house that has been donated to the city, Ruby and Olivia seem to be the only ones who hear the creepy music box or are concerned that the place is haunted. They do their research, investigate the house, and with a cryptic note left in Ruby's grandmother's belongings, figure out the century old mystery of why the house is haunted.
Strengths: The strongest part of this was the relationships. Middle grade is full of drama, and this encapsulated sister drama, friend drama, and a tiny bit of boy drama very nicely. Ruby was a fun character, while Olivia is more like most middle school students. The ghost story was fairly decent as well.
Weaknesses: The pacing on this was problematic for me. I wasn't sure that it was a ghost story for the first hundred pages, the next hundred pages the girls slowly unraveled the mystery, and it wasn't until the last fifty pages that all of the scary ghost things happened.
What I really think: Do I put creepy dolls in strengths or weaknesses? Just depends where you stand. Creepy dolls don't do as well in my library as I think they should, but this author's books usually do well. Love the cover, but Secrets of Goldenrod, which is somewhat similar, hasn't checked out much. Putting on that end of year, if I have money list.

33275675Tashjian, Janet. Sticker Girl Rules the School (Sticker Girl #2)
October 10th 2017 by Henry Holt & Company
Public library copy

Martina Rivera finds another sheet of stickers in her brother's things, and appropriate's them. She decides to activate the sticker of her friend, the cupcake, Craig, first. From there, she portions out the different stickers, from a cell phone (which ends up being lame) to the soccer playing Elaine who sticks around for quite a while. Various stickers help her with posters for the class election and the school dance. No major catastrophes occur, and the stickers don't have much lasting effect on Martina's existence, but she is slowly making new friends and finding her place at school.
Strengths: I do like Tashjian's work. This is fun and bright! Very enthusiastic! And sparkly! The story is easy to follow, and I see this being popular with young readers who like Shopkins. Which I don't understand. But, you know, cupcakes with faces...
Weaknesses: I like Tashjian's work so much that I wish she would do more books like The Gospel According to Larry or For What It's Worth, which was quite a tour de force.
What I really think: I will buy this series for my lower level readers if Accelerated Reader tests become available for them, but it strikes me as much more of an elementary level book.
Ms. Yingling

No comments:

Post a Comment