Saturday, July 16, 2022

#MGReadathon-- Saturday Reads

Made good progress yesterday, so off on more reading adventures today. And yes, I am normally a very early riser, but don't try to keep me up late!

4:00 a.m. Bayne, Bijan and Avelino, Joelle (Illustrations).
Black Trailblazers: 30 Courageous Visionaries Who Broke Boundaries, Made a Difference, and Paved the Way 
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

This had a lot of figures from the entertainment world, and most of the people are ones about whom I already have biographies. The illustrations are great, but there aren't any photographs of more recent figures. On the plus side, there is a bit more information about each person, so if you don't already have a lot of collective biographies, this is a good choice. Ella Baker, Sidney Poitier, Toni Morrison, Dick Gregory, Nina Simone, Quincy Jones, and Diane Nash, are people about whom I have not see a lot mentioned, and they are included here. 
5:00 a.m. Ogle, Rex. Abuela, Don't Forget Me
September 6th 2022 by Norton Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

While Ogle's Free Lunch was middle grade, his Punching Bag and this book are more YA due to language and some content. It is a memoir in verse in honor of his Abuela, who helped raised him because his mother had trouble being an effective parent. This covers Ogle's life from the age of four up through high school, and also discusses his grandmother's current struggle with dementia. 

6:00 a.m. Arguelles, Catherine. Flip Turns
September 13th 2022 by Jolly Fish Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Maddie's parents own the local pool, and she's on the swim team there. After she tells classmate Lucas that she's not interested in him and returns a snow globe he gave her, glass from the globe turns up at the pool, and a series od damaging pranks are played, from poop in the pool to eggs and ketchup smeared around the area. Maddie struggles with anxiety, and her friend Ez is counting on her swim performance to help her get into a private school, so they try to find out who is pulling these pranks. Maddie wonders if it has anything to do with the FitWest people who are coming to town and want to buy the pool. Will she and her friends be able to save the family business? (May be available only in paperback.)

7:00 a.m. Pasternack, Sofiya. Black Bird, Blue Road
September 20th 2022 by Versify

E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

As close as I can figure, this is set sometime from the 8th to 10th century near the Volga river. (Yep. There's a note at the end. Middle of tenth century, in Khazaria.) Ziva's brother Pesah has leprosy (although this isn't mentioned by name for a while). She hopes for a cure, even though she has personally helped to take off his fingers when hey become too diseased. When her father wants to send Pesah away to live with an uncle, she decides instead to take him to Constantinople for a cure. Along the way, they meet the thief (and part demon) Almas, who helps them travel to the city of Luz, where no one ever dies. Will they be able to beat the Angel of Death there? By the author of Anya and the Dragon.

8:00 a.m. Bradford, K. Tempest. Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion
September 27th 2022 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus 

Ruby is very interested in bugs, but when federal agents come to her house when she posts a picture of a bug she has found on Instagram because she couldn't identify it, she gets in big trouble. There's some thought that the bug (who ate its way through a screen to get out!) might have ended up at the house of a neighbor the kids call Witchypoo, of whom even the agents seem afraid! This seemed a little young (Ruby calls her father "daddy", and there's some talk of Ruby being spanked for using social media), and had a sort of Gabby Duran vibe to it. Love the inclusion of STEM topics. 

9:00 a.m. Valentino, Serena. Raising the Horseman
September 6th 2022 by Disney-Hyperion
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Kat van Tassel, who is descended from Katrina VanTassel, lives in Sleepy Hollow, where her family still farms and venerates their ancestor who was part of the Headless Horseman story. Kat doesn't take it as seriously as her mother would like, so she gives Kat the first Katrina's journal. We see how Katrina is not interested in the boorish Brom, but attracted to Ichabod Crane, who shared her interest in literature. In the present, Kat meets Isadora Crow and starts to hang out with her, eventually becoming more than friends. Kat's boyfriend, Blake, gives her a hard time. Similar to the Disney Twisted Tales series that includes Go the Distance, which tells Disney stories from a perspective other than the one of the main character. Over 300 pages. 

11:00 a.m. Medina, Meg. Merci Suarez Plays it Cool
September 13th 2022 by Candlewick Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

After Changes Gears and Can't Dance, Merci and her extended family are back. Lolo's health is rapidly declining, and the family is stressed providing for his care; her aunt even asks the twins' father for financial support. Roli is back from college and working hard so he can continue to afford school. When school starts, Merci has to decide on whether she wants to keep hanging out with her friends, or whether she can be part of the "cool kids" when Avery asks her to hang out. She is back to playing soccer, but how will everything be affected when Lolo's health takes a significant downturn?

12:00 Kemp, Laekan Zea. Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza September 27th 2022 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Omega is an empath, and mos of her family have some supernatural abilities. For Omega, this means that she can communicate with trees, posters on her walls, and spirits like Clau, who lives with her family. Her cousin Claudito spends a lot of time with her. When neighborhood cats start to go missing, the two suspect La Lechuza, and investigate the legends surrounding the owl/witch spirit, and find unexpected connection to their family. Omega is at odds at school with former best friend Abby, whose mother died, although Abby's brother Aiden is still kind to Omega. When the issues becomes larger than just the cats, will Omega, with the help of her aunt Soona and her abuela, be able to put things right? This had a feel of Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls (setting, family history of magic), but without as much adventure. 

1:00 p.m. Guillory, Sarah. Nowhere Better Than Here
September 22, 2022 by Roaring Brook Press
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Very interesting look at how climate change has affected the landscape in the Louisiana bayou. Jillian lives in the small town Boutin, with her Mama and Nonnie; her parents are divorced and her father is unreliable about visiting. When a heavy rain storm damages the area, and especially her school, Jillian is distressed to find that she will have to go to neighboring Carolton Middle School for a while. She does have a good experience there, befriending Nina and learning from a Black, female scientist who comes to present to her class, but is devastated to find that the Boutin schools are going to be shut down permanently. She's been collecting stories from older residents to preserve their French Creole culture, but will she be able to save her community? Vivid descriptions of the problems facing bayou communities and a charismatic main character help this one shine.

2:00 p.m. Knutson, Julie. World War I: The Great War to End All Wars
May 15th 2022 by Nomad Press (VT)
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

This is a short but very informative book jam packed with information. Starting with timelines and maps, this takes readers through many different facets of the causes, tactics, propaganda, and legacies of the First World War. There are numerous QR codes to take readers to web sites with pictures, eyewitness acounts, and other information. Lots of side bars with additional information will help readers unfamiliar with this conflict, and considering this was a short book, addressed a lot of issues that are sometimes ignored, like the Armenian genocide, and my favorite congresswoman, Jeannette Rankin. I'm curious to see if other military conflicts get a similar coverage. 

3:00 p.m. Wendig, Chuck. Dust and Grim
September 27th 2022 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus 

This was released first in October of 2021 and is being reissued in paperback. The description compares the to Miss Peregrine and The Graveyard book, but I would say it's more like... Fablehaven if written by Lemony Snicket. Molly's father is killed crossing a street while looking at his phone, and she's deabting wearing a cosplay mask to match her t shirt? There are a lot of interesting monsters, and the whole idea of a monster mortuary had it's interesting moments, and the tone was sort of like Gilman's Tales from Lovecraft Middle School.

4:00 p.m. Hahn, Mary Downing. Wait Til Helen Comes (Graphic Novel)
Peterson, Scott (text) and Laxton, Meredith (illustrations)
September 20th 2022 by Clarion Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

I'm going to guess that I read the original Wait Till Helen Comes (1986) in about... 2008, when I was reading through all of the books in the library alphabetically. Mike and Molly live with their mother, an artist, who has recently remarried. Dave is fine, but his daughter Heather is unpleasant to her new family, since she was traumatized when her own mother died in a fire. The family move from Baltimore to a renovated church in Holwell, Maryland. There is a graveyard attached to the property, and a caretaker. Molly is disturbed by the area, but Heather is captivated, especially by one abandoned grave of a child her own age with her initials. There's also a nearby abandoned house, and Molly and Mike do some research at the town library to find out more. Soon it becomes apparent that Heather has summoned a ghost who means everyone harm, and Molly has to try to save her, even though if I were Heather's stepsister, she was so unpleasant that I would have probably let her drown. Great graphic novel adaptation of a classic murderous ghost story. 

5:00 p.m. Jaimes, Olivia. The Chronicles of Deltovia
September 20th 2022 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

June and Ollie are writing a book in a notebook. Misha had previously written one online called Candleabra, which her mother had read, which Misha didn't like. The girls are sure that they will become household names by writing the book. They also labor under the delusion that publishing a book will make them wealthy. While writing their fantasy novel, they also work in information about their middle school experiences. 

6:00 p.m. St. Antoine, Sara. Front Country
September 20th 2022 by Chronicle Books
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

Ginny is the daughter of two lawyers (named after Ruth Bader Ginsburg) who plays tennis and is on the honor roll in Lexington, Massachusetts. After she becomes obsessed with environmental issues and starts to exhibit extreme anxiety, her parents ship her off to a month long outdoor adventure camp, which thinks is great because she loves nature. However, it turns out to be a "boot camp" type outing with a group of troubled teens. For fans of Van Draanen's Wild Bird or April Henry's Shock Point, but with less drama and more outdoor adventure. This author also wrote the intriguing Three Bird Summer (2014), which also has a wilderness setting. 

7:00 p.m. Oshiro, Mark. You Only Live Once, David Bravo
September 20th 2022 by HarperCollins
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

David is starting middle school and is very anxious about it, although he has a good friend and cross country teammate in Antoine. His anxiety increases when his social studies teacher announces a family folklore project; David was adopted as an infant through a closed adoption and knows nothing about his birth parents. When he gives his presentation, some of his classmates give him a hard time, and he thinks he has screwed it up. This causes him to make a mistake during a cross country run that injures Antoine, whose father wants him to be an elite athlete. Soon afterwards, David meets Fea, a xoloizcuintli who takes him on a time traveling adventure into his past. He tries to repair his mistakes, but ends up meeting another version of himself in the past, and also goes six months into the future. Will David ever be at ease with his adoption and his sense of self, or with the two depth of his relationship with Antoine? Big plot twist at the end. 

8:00 p.m. Comrie, Courtne. Rain Rising
September 27th 2022 by HarperCollins
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

In this novel in verse, we meet Rain, who lives with her mother and older brother Xander. Her father calls only occasionally, and often fails to visit when he says he will. Xander, or X as she calls him, is an athlete at an elite private school who also excels academically. Rain has a lot of self esteem issues and worries that her hair isn't right, she is too heavy, her skin is too dark, and these worries are reinforced by her best friend, Nara, who isn't very nice or supportive. When X goes on a college visit and is badly beaten at a party, Rain's anxieties intensify. His recuperation is long and painful, and Rain's feelings worsen until she starts cutting herself. Luckily, a concerned teacher gets her into counseling and a support group, and she starts to learn to have more faith in herself.

9:00 p.m. Hill, Jonathan. Tales of a Seventh-Grade Lizard Boy
September 27th 2022 by Walker Books US
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

Tommy and his family are really aliens who have come to Earth from Elberon because they are in danger on their planet. While Tommy's sister settles in well, he doesn't like the food, and has a tough time at school. He eventually makes friends with Vietnamese American Dung, who also faces a hard time, and Scarlet, whose dyed hair and piercings also set her apart. The three become close, but when Dung and Scarlet kiss after the three are out trick or treating, Tommy feels threatened. There's a lot to worry about, especially since a popular tv show depicts alien people similar to Tommy as evil. Tommy goes off the rails a bit, but eventually finds a way to let people know about his true identity. The book is an allegorical exploration of the type of problems that the author's Vietnamese uncle had coming to the US in the 1980s. 

10:00 p.m. Johnson, Daisy May. How to Be True
July 7th 2022 by Pushkin Press
E ARC Provided by Edelweiss Plus

Very, very British and sort of like Judith's Eagle's The Pear Affair. This felt like it was set in an earlier time (14 year old set out to work when her parents move to France) and had a sort of odd tongue in cheek feel to it. I've seen it compared to Robin Stevens' Murder Most Unladylike series, but it was not like anything I can say I've read previously. The foot notes got to be a bit much, especially since the book was narrated by a Good Sister. This would be extremely hard to place with a reader in my library. Is there a resurgence of the Lemony Snicket style of writing that I haven't been told about? It's definitely gone out of favor in my library, yet I keep seeing books with that sort of tone being published, and I'm a bit confused. 

1 comment:

  1. I would have liked Daisy Johnson's first book much better if she had omitted all the Good Sister nonsense.

    Witchypoo came up last week when I was getting my hair done, in the context of HR Pufnstuf. I sang the theme song to the amusement of all within earshot.

    Not sure how I feel about a graphic novel of Wait Till Helen Comes. That was one of my best backlist MG titles when I worked at Avon Books. Do you think people will read the graphic novel that wouldn't read the book? I also wonder how Hahn benefits (or not).