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Search tags: Realistic-Fiction
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review 2018-02-24 05:17
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Awkward - Svetlana Chmakova

 

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don't get noticed by the mean kids.

 

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

 

Penelope Torres (Peppi) is thinking of these rules as she starts a new school. When a boy (Jaime) tries to help her pick up all her stuff, the mean kids start calling her Nerder Girlfriend. Embarrassed, Peppi pushes Jaime and runs away. She feels guilty and spends most of her time trying to figure out how to apologize. When a rivalry heats up between Peppi's art club and Jaime's science club, things become even more awkward.

 

This is a charming middle school story that kids will enjoy. It is age appropriate for 3rd grade and up - no violence or bad words - just a sweet story with a hopeful ending. The graphics are expressive and fun, a highly recommended graphic novel.

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review 2018-02-02 16:27
This illness isn't real so don't worry
Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

There is a section on New York Public Library's website where librarians recommend some of their favorite books. I have been known to trawl through looking for ideas about what to read next (because I'm clearly lacking in books lol) and that's where I came across Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley. Our main character, Jubilee Jenkins, is a small-town librarian with a big secret...she's allergic to human touch. And I do mean deathly allergic. Let me back up a bit because the book doesn't open with her working in the library and fretting about whether or not anyone has figured out she can't touch them. Instead we meet Jubilee in her home where she has been sequestered away for several years after a bad allergy attack which nearly killed her. She decides the best way to keep herself safe is to not come into any kind of contact with the outside world which of course results in her becoming absolutely petrified to leave her house for any reason. (She even comes up with a system for getting her trash to the curb without going outside.) I had originally been intrigued by this book because it gave me slight Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore vibes but once I got into it I realized that the main difference here is that she's not trying to solve a mystery. Jubilee just wants to live. 

 

This book's narrative could have been tightened up extensively. There's the exploration of mental illness but there's also a burgeoning romance. AND there was a second subplot involving her romantic interest and his relationship with his adopted son. I think by splitting the focus, none of these were explored satisfactorily. The ending was somewhat confusing and left me disappointed that I had spent the time reading the book at all. And honestly I didn't care for Jubilee. She was extremely wishy-washy and many times I found myself frustrated with her. The initial concept was interesting but the execution and the muddied plot turned this into a low rated read for me: 4/10.

 

Check out the different interpretations of the story via the book cover:

 

 

Source: The eBook Hunter
Source: Simon & Schuster

 

 

What's Up Next: Deep Dark Fears The Creeps by Fran Krause

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-01-28 04:44
The Hero Two Doors Down
The Hero Two Doors Down: Based on the True Story of Friendship Between a Boy and a Baseball Legend - Sharon Robinson

 

I read this book to the students in my Sunshine State Club. It's the story of a boy (Stephen) living two doors down from his hero, Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn in the year 1948. The book was written by Sharon Robinson (Jackie's daughter) and is based on "the true story of a friendship between a boy and a baseball legend."

 

The kids loved the book and it was fun to discuss what it was like to live in the 1940's. It's hard for them to imagine life without a cell phone, let alone life where you can only hear baseball on the radio, instead of watching on tv. We learned about Jackie Robinson and his courage and integrity. We learned about egg creams, transistor radios, and stoopball. And we learned about what it was like to live in a Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn in 1948. It was also fun to talk to the kids about who their heroes are and what it would feel like to be friends with them.

 

This book is great for elementary students, especially sports fans.

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review 2018-01-27 01:49
He's always watching
The Goldfish Boy - Lisa Thompson

If you read The Trouble with Goats and Sheep (or at the very least my review of it) then you won't be surprised to learn that I thoroughly enjoyed The Goldfish Boy by Colleen Oakley. The bare bones of this book is remarkably similar in that it's centered on a cul-de-sac in England where there are secrets behind every door and there's a mystery involving the disappearance of a small child. Yes, they're remarkably similar except...the main character is a young boy named Matthew who suffers from a debilitating case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD which has resulted in him being unable/unwilling to leave his house. He is hyper-observant of everyone's movements and takes detailed notes which is how we get to know all of his neighbors. The majority of the novel takes place in his bedroom where the reader is trapped right along with him. Besides the discussion of OCD, Oakley tackles the internalized shame and fear of living with a mental illness. This is written in the style of Rear Window where the reader is seeing through the eyes of someone who is on the outside but also very much on the inside. (I'm deliberately being vague because to be anything else would give away the mystery.) This book made me wonder how common OCD might be in children and how this could be misdiagnosed as agoraphobia or vice versa. (Wait til you see how Matthew's parents view his behavior.) I felt that the author was extremely sensitive in her handling of this debilitating illness and wrote about it with just enough detail for us to feel as if we were getting a glimpse inside of Matthew without beating us over the head with it. Of note: I didn't much care for any of the adults in this book. Far and away, they were all pretty much useless cretins. The book though was riveting and I immediately passed it on to my co-worker who then passed it on to her teenage daughter. That marks it a winner in my books. 10/10

 

What's Up Next: Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Portable Nineteenth-Century African American Women Writers and Quackery

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2018-01-19 01:14
Truly Madly Guilty
Truly Madly Guilty - Liane Moriarty

 

This book was written by the same author as Big Little Lies, and it follows the same format. There is a big event that changes everything. The narrative jumps back and forth between the time before the event, the time after the event, and the night of the BBQ (the main event). Moriarty draws out the big reveal, just like she did in Big Little Lies. I will say I was anxious at first to find out what happened, and it made me spend more time reading just so I could find out. At one point I had an idea what happened, but I wasn't completely right. My friend said this means I was wrong, but in truth, I was partially correct. But still wrong I guess. ;)

 

Bottom line, if you liked Big Little Lies, you will probably enjoy this one. It took a while to get to the point, but it was worth the wait.

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