Thursday, April 11, 2019

August Isle

40779111Standish, Ali. August Isle
April 16th 2019 by HarperCollins
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Miranda has always wanted to visit August Isle, where her mother spent her childhood summers. Her mother's friend, Clare, is still there with her family, and when business takes both of her parents away for the summer, Miranda is sent to stay with Clare. Clare's daughter, Sameera, is immediately welcoming, but Miranda thinks her mother wants to not have to be around her, and she always imagined being on the island WITH her mother. Clare has signed the girls up for sailing lessons, but Miranda is critically afraid of anything to do with the water. On a dare, Miranda, Sammy, and Caleb (who was in sailing with them), go into the local "haunted" house, and are caught by Mr. Taylor, the occupant who has spent many years traveling and collecting treasures. As punishment, Mr. Taylor requires the children to come and help him sort things. While neighbor Betsy knows, the children do not tell Clare. There is also a mystery in a local lighthouse, but Clare forbids the children from going there, and Miranda is also curious about a friend of her mother's named Ben, but can find no information about him. Miranda tries to overcome her fears and to find out more information about her past.
Strengths: This was certainly a bit cheerier than this author's The Ethan I Was Before, and the August Isle setting was nice. Sameera's occasional struggles with being Indian in a predominately white community were integrated well. Mr. Taylor's history was interesting, even if the children visiting him without telling Clare bothered me a bit. For the sake of the plot, she had to be unaware.
Weaknesses: Miranda's struggles with her relationship with her mother went on too long, was never resolved all that well, and given the spoiler, probably would never be fixed completely. There was a relationship that was much too coincidental for my liking.
What I really think: The Ethan I Was Before does not circulate well, and given the number of similar books coming out (children visit relative/friend in exotic place and find horrible family secret, like Always a Mermaid and Caterpillar Summer), I think I'll pass.

Stone, Tamara Ireland. Swap'd
Published February 5th 2019 by Disney Book Group
Public library copy

Allie gets tickets to Game On Con because of her previous coding experiences, and wants her friend from coding camp, Courtney, to visit and go with her. The plane ticket is very expensive, so both sets of parents say no. When a school assignment to recycle code ends with Allie creating a Swap'd app that enables students in her school to trade and sell items, giving her a 10% cut, she thinks that this is a great way to save the money. The app does well, and business is brisk. Allie and her friend Nathan find a way to make it all work... until it doesn't. Allie has to give back the money, and this makes her visit with Courtney seem unlikely. Will the two coders be able to work things out?
Strengths: Allie and Courtney are good friends, and it's interesting to see how they are able to sustain a long distance relationship. I liked that they were trying to fund their own adventures, even if they were VERY expensive. The app building and the business seemed realistic, although I did particularly think it good that a teacher finally realized they were doing something against school rules and made them undo their work. A pleasant, entertaining read.
I knew that commerce at school was not going to be allowed, so I was a bit uncomfortable through the whole book!
What I really think: Will purchase, since the first book (Click'd) circulates well, and it's always interesting to read about Kids Doing Things, especially when it's with computers, since those skills might actually translate into jobs!

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