After spending the summer at his grandfather's gigantic, incredibly magical house, thirteen-year-old Chase Tinker thought things couldn't get any more bizarre, or that the secrets and lies couldn't get any worse, but he was wrong.
As summer turns into Autumn, join Chase and his family for even more magical craziness. Craziness that will include: the sneezing of strange powers, the reappearance of the wicked Marlowe family, another frightening kidnapping, the discovery of a mysterious, magical Japanese-American girl, a dangerous rescue mission, and a secret so mind-boggling, it will lead to a shocking climatic finish that will turn Chase's world completely upside down.
This is the second book in The Chase Tinker series. I absolutely loved it!
Chase Tinker is a wonderful character and I really liked him from the first time I met him in the first book. I have enjoyed watching his development from a frustrated teen into someone who I would be proud to know.
In this second book, which is told mostly from Chase's point of view though other characters also have their say, Chase finds himself having to deal with new magical powers that he struggles to control. Not only that, the Marlowe's are still intent on finding the Relic hidden in the attic of the Tinker house. Shocking secrets are revealed and a new face is introduced. Nori is the same age as Chase and is a cousin to Chase, Andy and Janie.
This is a wonderful story full of adventure, danger and mystery, and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat as Chase, Andy, Nori and Persephone face danger once more. There are several twists and turns that keep a reader guessing. I found myself on a roller coaster of emotion from beginning to end. There's a huge fight scene full of action and danger, which was described in such detail that I could picture it in my mind with ease. This fight leads to a shocking accident that brought tears to my eyes. I reached the end of the book with a little bit of sadness, as I didn't want the story to end. This book doesn't end with a cliffhanger, but it still left me looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Chase Tinker and the House of Destiny, as soon as possible.
Malia Ann Haberman has written a entertaining and exciting story for middle grade children. This is the sequel to her debut book. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and imaginative. The flow is wonderful too. I would definitely read more of her books in the future.
I highly recommend this book to middle grade readers aged 9 to 14. However, I also recommend this book (and series) to adults who love reading middle grade fantasy, or to those who are fans of books like Harry Potter. - Lynn Worton
My Art teacher husband bought the third book in the series years ago and in an attempt to get through our tbr shelf I read the first book. It was fine; if I was in 6th grade I could see how some great educational tie-ins would have really got me into this series. As an adult this isn’t a middle grade book that really grabbed me. The plot sort of gets messy at the end and the who done it is a stretch but I think it’s fine for what it is, but I won’t be picking up the rest. If you want to get your kid into art history I think this could be a great book to make activities around and start that spark.
During World War II, many Jewish children were sent to other countries and placed with families to keep them safe. Stephie and Nellie were two of those children. They end up on a small island and with two different families. At first glance, Nellie is in the warm, loving family and Stephie ends up with a woman who doesn't seem to even like her. Stephie is holding on to the idea that their parents will join them and they will all go to America.
This is a great story about two girls adjusting to their new life and dealing with bullying and prejudice. I felt so bad for Stephie. She is trying so hard, but she misses her old life and her parents so much. Her parents sent her and her sister away to save them from the Germans and their hatred. But, even in Sweden, they can't avoid it completely.
When Stephie finally reveals her pain to her foster mother (Aunt Marta), she finds that Aunt Marta is dealing with her own pain. They both realize they aren't alone and don't have to deal with everything on their own.
Middle school ages, especially girls. Even though it's historical fiction, the problems the girls deal with are easily relatable. The book doesn't deal with the horrors of the concentration camps, but the way the war affects Stephie, Nellie, and their family.
Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun -- it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It’s full of . . . old people. Really old people. Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains -- why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .
It's the year of America's Bicentennial celebration (1976) and Pennsylvania preteen Sunny Lewin cannot be more excited for the family's summer trip to their beach house! But when her older brother's demons end up ruining family time at the fireworks show, Sunny's parents quickly decide it would be better for her to spend the summer visiting her grandfather in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Not only is Sunny still reeling from the family drama brought on by her brother's struggle with alcoholism, but she's also not sure what to do with herself while trying to acclimate to her grandfather's retirement community, Pine Palms. Pine Palms has strict rules limiting the number of pets or children allowed on the property, so it's not so easy for young Sunny to find her place. Not to mention everyone is old and the place itself is about 2 hours away from Disney World! What's a kid to do?!
Luckily, it's not long before she does run into another child her age, Buzz. Buzz and Sunny are soon sharing a love of comic book stories as well as developing a little side business of tracking down "secret" (aka not technically allowed) pet cats of Pine Palms. Just as Sunny starts to settle into a "bloom where you are planted" mentality about the retirement community, she's struck by yet another struggle within the family -- her grandfather trying to hide his smoking habit from her. This is the last straw for Sunny. She is tired of trying to shoulder everyone's secrets and addictions on her small shoulders! Sunny gives the adults in her life a wake-up call that she is a child and needs to be allowed to experience these fleeting moments of innocence before it's too late.
Adults that grew up in the 70s and 80s will have great nostalgic fun with this one! I myself was more of the 80s-90s era, but I could still spot plenty of pop culture references worked into the artwork: the unmistakeable 70s stylin' of the characters' clothing, Donny Osmond posters on the wall, loading up the station wagon to go to Sears to do school shopping, Sunny browsing lunchboxes with a Holly Hobby design faintly noticeable among the selections... it was just fun to make a sort of "I Spy" game of it all!
The artwork style itself also brought to mind similar lines and colors seen in Sunday cartoons like For Better Or Worse and LuAnn, maybe even Zits. The coloring in Sunny Side Up is done by none other than Lark Pien, who also did the coloring for the Printz Award winning graphic novel American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang as well as Yang's follow-up work, the duology Boxers & Saints.
Even if the timeframe isn't your childhood era, there are some universal topics addressed within Sunny's story. I got a particular kick out of her starting school and getting a teacher her older brother had, and having to get the scowl when the teacher makes the connection between her and the troublemaker brother. O.M.G., do I ever remember going through that myself! LOL.
No doubt, Sunny Side Up touches upon some tough themes for young readers: a grandfather's secret cigarette habit, a brother's struggle with alcoholism, certain residents of Pine Palms showing signs of the early stages of dementia, even talk of the Cuban Revolution / immigration issues of the 1970s gets thrown into the mix.
Possibly uncomfortable reading for the young ones, but there is a point to it all, and an important one at that! In a brief author's note at the end, brother / sister author team Jennifer and Matthew Holm reveal that the idea for this graphic novel stemmed from their own tough childhood experiences. They figured there were likely other kids out there who have had or are having similar struggles that need to find stories they can relate to, stories that will possibly help direct them toward the help they need to get through these kinds of challenges. While some moments within this story are undoubtedly hard-hitting, the Holm siblings leave readers with a sense of optimism for the future and a reassurance that there is help and hope out there if you just stay the course and, as Sunny's grandpa reminds her, "keep your sunny side up!"
Fans of YA literature, note the shout-out to David Levithan in the acknowledgments section at the end!