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review 2017-01-13 20:01
Mary Anne Saves the Day
Mary Anne Saves the Day: Full-Color Edition (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #3): Full Color Edition - Ann M. Martin,Ann M. Martin,Raina Telgemeier

The aesthetic in the comics doesn't feel true to the original series (still holding out hope that Claudia's outfits get weirder/more fabulous), but the story does (probably because it's the same story... no noticeable updates there).


I think I enjoyed this one more than Kristy's Great Idea. The nine-year-old likes the series, and it makes me happy that a new generation knows the BSC. 

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review 2017-01-12 00:00
The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea
The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy's Great Idea - Raina Telgemeier,Ann M. Martin I read this on January 12 in one sitting and I loved it! I'm definitely checking out the other editions that my work has. It is so 90s though--Stacey just moves in from NYC and is automatically accepted as a valid babysitter with no proof of any experience or certifications at all. Also, she moves just because she has diabetes?? What?? Never thought about how ridiculous that is before.
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text 2016-08-10 11:51
Bookish Bingo Mini Reviews
How It Ends - Catherine Lo
Kristy's Great Idea - Ann M. Martin
Without Annette - Jane B. Mason

How It Ends – Catherine Lo – 3 Stars

I read this in a couple of hours. An enjoyable, believable YA novel about how friendships form and fall apart and picking up the pieces when friendships go south. Tells the story of Jessie and Annie. Jessie has terrible anxiety problems, an over protective mom, a father who doesn’t believe she has “mental health issues” and her mom is just coddling her too much. While Annie on the other hand is a bit more outgoing. Her mom died, her dad has remarried only a short time afterwards, to a woman Annie despises, the woman has a daughter a year or so older than Annie, of the too perfect and who can do no wrong variety.

Jessie had some friends who ditched her and became queen bees/mean girls. They were horrible and in her eyes each one of these girls is always out to get her. She becomes fast friends with Annie, even though they are different they just seem to click and get each other. Annie doesn’t know anything about Jessie’s anxiety problems. Jessie develops a calming pill addiction. While the two girls click, and get to know each other, there’s a brilliant contrast between the two parental units and how involved Jessie’s mom is and how appalling Annie’s step mother is.

 Things start unravelling in the friendship, there’s boys involved, and Annie starts hanging out with the girls Jessie thinks ditched her and were unnecessarily mean.

Jessie starts to fall apart, and Annie gets very frustrated, even when she finds out about the anxiety problems and tries to help, even thinking she’s helping by telling the other girls what’s going on, it all goes wrong. Then Annie finds herself pregnant and can’t seem to understand how it happened – she’s very naïve about birth control and protection. The tables turn on her and she goes from potential queen bee to zero very quickly. It’s quite sad to see how horribly she’s treated by girls she thought were her friend. By this point she’s had a huge blow out with Jessie. Yet in spite of that, Jessie tries to be there, even though she’s now a little more confident and found some new friends of her own. She tries to help Annie through her hard time. It’s emotional on both parts as the two girls try to deal with their own dramas and situations.

The only real issue with the book I have is that at one point Jessie becomes addicted to her anxiety medication which her mom has kept locked up and only gives when necessary. A visit to the doctor says that’s a bad idea and Jessie should have access to her meds whenever she needs them. She becomes addicted, and unless I missed it, I don’t remember Jessie’s pill popping being dealt with. It’s sort of eclipsed by the Annie pregnancy storyline. Considering how attentive Jessie’s mom was with the meds, surely something should have been noticed? I don’t know, that was the only bit that seemed left without any sort of conclusion.

Other than that, it was a pretty good solid YA read with a great mix of characters and families.


Kristy’s Great Idea (Babysitter’s Club 1#) Anne M Martin – 5 Stars

I loved these books when I was young. I lost count of how many I read, I was completely addicted to this series. It’s basically about 4 middle school girls, who set up a club for babysitting in their small town, each one’s got a different personality – Kristy’s sporty, Mary Anne is serious, Claudia is the coolest kid on the planet, and Stacey is beautiful and sophisticated. Yet they maintain some tight friendship despite their own issues. Kristy has a huge family, lots of brothers and sisters both older and younger and her mom’s been seeing a new man with annoying kids and she’s determined not to like him no matter how nice he is  (I can't remember if her parents are divorced or if the dad died). Claudia has a mean older sister who is really smart and perfect in everyone else’s eyes and she’s constantly in her shadow. Stacey has a secret no one can quite figure out. Mary Anne’s dad is really strict. Re reading this as an adult it’s as good as it was when I was a kid, but there were definitely things about it I had forgotten.  So a great nostalgic reread.


Without Annette – Jane B Mason – 3 Stars

A boarding school novel with a f/f relationship. Josie fell in love with her best friend Annette and they have been dating for quite a long time. Annette has a horrible home life with an abusive mother who drinks like a fish and is a mean drunk, her dad barely seems to get involved or anything. While Josie has older brothers and a really supportive family. Josie manages to get herself and Annette into a really exclusive boarding school a long way from their small home town. So off they go thinking they’ll be roommates and can have a great new life. First problem – they are not roommates. And the academy is not quite what either Josie thought.

As if new roommates weren’t hard enough to deal with, Annette has decided she wants Josie to keep their relationship a secret. Annette has one of the most popular (and rich) girls in the school as her roommate. While Josie has the weird girl. (The weird girl turns out to be pretty cool herself and a pretty good friend). Annette’s personality starts to change and not in good ways. As a result, her relationship with Josie starts to suffer.

Josie starts making her own friends, particularly getting along well with some of the more adventurous boys. She’s got brothers she was close to so they’re all surprised when Josie’s quite capable of beating them at poker, drinking, and climbing trees. The classes are tough and hard work is expected of everyone. Josie’s coping, Annette is not. The novel deals with the stresses of new pressures, new friends and the relationship between Annette and Josie. My biggest worry about this was when Josie starts hanging out with the boys there are hints of feelings developing, and it was like, oh for fuck’s sake. Things with Annette are going south, please don’t let Josie be swept off her feet by a boy. Thankfully, Josie makes it clear she’s a lesbian, it’s not a phase and won’t be changing that. Phew!

A pretty good read for a boarding school novel. Though as much as a liked Josie as a character, I did feel her relationship with Annette was a bit flat and lacklustre. Otherwise, a fast, enjoyable read.


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review 2016-05-26 07:34
Kristy's Great Idea (BSC graphic novel 1)
The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #1: Kristy's Great Idea (Full Color Edition) - Ann M. Martin,Raina Telgemeier

I'm happy that these comics are introducing a new generation to the Baby-Sitters Club. However, I'm not a huge fan of the format. For me the best parts of the books were the descriptions at the beginning and every one of Claudia's outfits. Telgemeier tried but will never be able to capture the magic that was Claudia's outfits* (especially the themed ones... When she dressed like the Sea? That stuck with me for years).


*And where are all the ANKLE BOOTS AND HAIR CLIPS!?!?!? The wild earrings? The push-down socks?

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review 2016-04-19 05:20
Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin | Autism Awareness Month
Rain Reign - Ann M. Martin

Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She's thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose's rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose's obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father. When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose's father shouldn't have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search.






Rose Howard is a 5th grader, obsessed with homonyms -- words that sound the same but spelled differently. She also has Asperger's Syndrome. She hates when people don't follow the rules, especially when it comes to laws of traffic and grammar. When she's scared or anxious, she rattles off lists of prime numbers. 


With her mom not in the picture, Rose lives with her father while her Uncle Weldon lives just right down the road, serving as a sort of surrogate father to Rose when her father is going through one of his "not emotionally available" periods. One rainy night, Rose is surprised with her father coming home with a dog in his arms -- a yellow lab / mutt mix -- claiming it was stray he found that he thought Rose might like. Rose immediately bonds with the dog and, a nod to her love of homonyms, names him Rain (Rein, Reign). Rose struggles with creating or maintaining human friendships, so the pup becomes some much welcome companionship for her. That is, until the night of a hurricane when everything changes.


Rose and Rain, though spooked by the storm, eventually doze off that night. Rose wakes to find Rain gone. When she asks her father about it, he tells her he let the dog out briefly during the night but he thinks maybe Rain got too close to a nearby creek, so they'd have to wait for Rain to find his way back home. Days go by, Rose starts to go mad with worry, so with the help of her uncle sets out to find out what happened to her dog. After many days of calling and asking around, she eventually tracks down Rain but reuniting with the dog also ends up revealing a secret about the dog's past, a secret that will force Rose to make one of the most difficult decisions of her young life. 


According to author Ann Martin, Rain Reign was loosely inspired with Martin's own experiences witnessing the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in 2011. Walking through the areas of destruction, Martin couldn't help but wonder and worry over all the pets that must have become displaced by the storm. Those thoughts inspired her to craft this story. 


I was a little surprised in the shift in personality with Rose's father. In the beginning of the story he seemed like a good guy who was just a little stressed trying to raise a daughter with a learning disability virtually on his own. But as the story progressed, he just got meaner and meaner til one pivotal, dark scene that actually proved to be a bit triggering for me in its brief violence. Because of that, I was REALLY surprised at his behavior at the end. Would not have guessed him to do that, but I did find it a little touching. Sad, but touching, in a way. I found myself rooting for Uncle Weldon to hopefully be given the opportunity to take over the care of Rose because he seemed to just naturally sense the perfect way to communicate with her and was so sweet and patient with any request or concern she came to him with, a stark contrast to her father growing progressively more dark-spirited as the novel went on. 


This story had its touching and painful moments yet I still feel like it fell short of being really great. It was almost there but there was just a little something I can't quite place that held it back, just shy of amazing. 



POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING: This novel has brief scenes of suggested child abuse. 

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