Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Minecraft Official Novels and Love Sugar Magic #3

Baptiste, Tracey. The Crash (Minecraft #2)
July 10th 2018 by Del Rey Books
Library copy

Bianca has been friends with Lonnie for years, even though he is two years older than she is, and that is a lot when you are a freshman in high school. They play a lot of Minecraft together, but Bianca hasn't been good about keeping up with all of the game improvements that Lonnie wants her to make, since she is trying to get more out of her high school experience. She forces Lonnie to go to a Homecoming event, and on the way back from it makes the mistake of putting her phone in front of his face while he is driving, causing their car to crash into another one. Bianca wakes up in the hospital badly injured, and goes in and out of consciousness for quite a while. When she finally has some lucid moments, another patient, A.J., approaches her with virtual reality goggles and suggest she enter the game that patients in the children's ward are allowed to play. Bianca hasn't been cleared by her doctor, and the first time doesn't go well, but since she can't move because of her injuries, she enjoys being in the game. She meets fellow patients Anton and Esme, who are in the hospital fighting cancer, and also comes across Lonnie in the game. He's not himself-- he has the glassy, vacant stare that other villagers have, but he does come along with the group as they fight their adventures. Bianca doesn't know for sure what has happened to Lonnie in the real world, but feels compelled to keep up the Minecraft adventure, thinking that perhaps Lonnie has gotten stuck in the game. Esme and Anton know the truth, and eventually, Bianca is forced to confront it as well.
Strengths: I really enjoyed the fact that this was not like the Cube Kid Minecraft novels that are set in the Minecraft world. As someone unfamiliar with the game, this made the books very hard to follow. Baptiste does a great job briefly setting up characters in the real world who have a passion for the game, and giving a realistic scenario for them to get pulled into the virtual world. I also read the second and third book, and it's also interesting that the books aren't connected. The fact that the characters are in high school will make this a title that even 8th graders will pick up. This reminded me very strongly of Vande Velde's User Unfriendly (1991), Heir Apparent (2004) and Deadly Pink. (2012), or Klavan's MindWar  series (2014). Since video games follow decided trends (RuneScape, anyone?), it's good to have updated titles to offer my students so that they occasionally take a break from playing games, if only to read about them, and I feel better handing these to students knowing that they are written by authors I respect!
Weaknesses: There's a lot unprocessed with the fact that Bianca caused Lonnie's death by her foolish action. This is serious stuff that would take a whole novel to unpack, so I sort of wish that the accident hadn't been Bianca's fault.
What I really think: Not my personal favorite, but a good addition to a middle school collection, along with my favorite, the Minecraft Cookbook! All of these have circulated like mad!


Meriano, Anne. A Mixture of Mischief (Love Sugar Magic #3)
February 4th 2020 by Walden Pond Press
Public library copy

Not sure if this is the last book in the series. It could be, but it could also have a fourth book. I'd like to see just about all series stop at three. This is popular with my students who also love Littlewood's Bliss.

From Goodreads.com
"The third book in the acclaimed, delightful, character-driven middle grade series about a family of Mexican American bakers who also happen to be brujas—witches!
Leo Logroño may have discovered the true nature of her magical abilities, but her education in how to use them in her family’s magical bakery has only just begun. And that isn’t the only bit of trouble in her life: her family’s baking heirlooms have begun to go missing, and a new bakery called Honeybees has opened across the street, threatening to run Amor y Azúcar right out of business.

With two of her sisters on a special spirit-hunting spring-break trip with her tía Paloma, and with Mamá busy guarding the bakery to keep away any more bad luck, Leo must work with her best friend, Caroline, and her sister Isabel to uncover who is stealing from the bakery and find way a way to save the business.

And that’s when a long-lost relative arrives at the door, mischief right behind him. . . .

Anna Meriano’s unforgettable family of brujas returns for one more course of amor, azúcar, and magia"

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the review- The kids love these! Not really my fav either but I always strive to get what the kids will read!