Sunday, October 07, 2018

Apple Pie Promises and Double Cross (Twintuition #4)

Homzie, Hillary. Apple Pie Promises
October 2nd 2018 by Sky Pony Press
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Lily loves to bake, especially with her mother, to whom she has been close after her parents' divorce. When her mother suddenly gets a fellowship to study in Morocco because another participant couldn't go, Lily is very proud of her mother, but doesn't really want to have to live with her father and his "new and improved"family. Kimberly is okay, and her daughter Hannah is a year older and goes to the same school. The girls usually get along okay, but because her father's video business is finally taking off, he has his equipment in the spare room, so the girls have to share. Hannah is horribly messy, and Lily is not. Lily tries to remain positive, but when Hannah finds out about Lily's crush and threatens to tell everyone about it, Lily starts stooping to pranks. It doesn't help that Hannah is the head of the haunted house committee for the fall festival, and Lily doesn't always agree with her approached. Lily wants to bake an apple pie for the festival, but her father is too busy to take her apple picking, and it's hard for her mother to find time and band width to Skype. The family is looking for a new house, and as the pranks escalate, Lily and Hannah both become increasingly unhappy. Can the step sisters work things out?
Strengths: Interesting descriptions of life in Seattle, decent baking information, and a very good plot involving school mates who have to learn to live together as sisters. I have seen this with my students, and always marvel at how this would work. This series always has a nice romance, and lots of friend drama besides. I can't wait to put up a display of the books, since the covers all look so delicious!
Weaknesses: I wasn't a fan of the pranks, and they seemed out of character for Lily. Also, the secret to good pie is in the CRUST, and Lily spends most of her time worrying about the filling. (Pie baking is one of my skills.)
What I really think: Definitely purchasing. The Swirl novels and the Scholastic Wish novels have done very well in my school library.

Mowry, Tia and Tamera. Double Cross (Twintuition #4)
35097964May 8th 2018 by HarperCollins
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Cassie and Caitlyn Waters are still struggling to understand the power they share, The Sight. It is somehow tied to the disappearance of the father that they have never met over ten years ago, and their father's mother has come from England to try to train them to use their power. When they both have visions about bad things occurring on their class trip to San Antonio to visit the Alamo, and this is reinforced by their grandmother warning that they should not go, the twins brush these concerns aside, even after their mother gets a frantic, upsetting phone call from her sister in San Antonio. The girls arrange to meet their cousin Steve near the Riverwalk, where students are allowed to hang out, but break the rules by leaving the area. Things get grim when one of their classmates, Lavendar, is seen going off with a young man and isn't answering her phone. Since one of the girls had a vision about her phone being smashed, this is worrisome. They go looking for her, and do manage the young man in question, who demands money from the tweens before telling them where their friend is. Luckily, the police show up, and the man is arrested. Lavendar is eventually found, with the help of the girls' vision and a homeless man, and brought back. Details emerge about their father's disappearance, and using their visions, clues from their grandmother's investigations, and details from their mother, they manage to find him. But will they be able to rescue him?

This last book in the series combines the mystery of the long lost father, appealing facts about having an ability to see visions, and realistic details about interactions with classmates. There is also a lot of family involvement, which is always good to see, especially since the mother is a chief of police in a small town.

There need to be more books about class trips, and I wish there were even more details about the Alamo and Riverwalk, because we will clearly not be taking a trip there with 8th graders from Ohio! Clearly. the girls don't make good choices about how to behave on the trip, even though the chaperones tell them very clearly what the rules are. Bus trips, hanging out away from school, and the opportunity to have adventures are always fun to read about, so this was a good inclusion.

The bright, colorful covers on these, as well as the celebrity connection, help make these popular books, and it's always good to see fantasy books with characters who are not white. This is a good series to hand to readers who have moved a little beyond Mlynowski's Whatever After series along with this author's Bras and Broomsticks books, and has the sister power of Hale's Princess Academy series and Barrow's The Magic Half.

I'm not a huge fan of the stereotypical characters in the book (bullies, rich girl and her minions, etc.), and was pretty alarmed at the way the children handled Lavender being missing. The solution to the mystery of the father is also rather... odd. Still, these have been a big hit with my students, and I'm glad the series wrapped up in four books rather than ten!
Ms. Yingling

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