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Search tags: ages-9-12
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review 2017-08-02 04:53
The Girl in the Well is Me
The Girl in the Well Is Me - Karen Rivers

 

The whole thing feels like a prank at first, like something they planned -- a joke with a punch line.

- first line

 

 

Lying turns your soul into something small and dry and hard, like an old raisin you find in your book bag squashed under a book you on-purpose-forgot to return to your old school library because you loved it too much to leave it behind.

page 5

 

But, obviously, popular and mean are tied together so tight they're like those knots that just tighten and tighten no matter how hard you try to untangle them. Mean is where they get their power.

- page 29

 

 

Ahh, poor Kammie. She's 11 years old, in sixth grade, just moved to a new school, and all she wants is to fit in. She decides she wants to be friends with the mean girls, she will be mean girl #4. Oh, and the mean girls are Mandy, Kandy, & Sandy. Seriously?? Kammie says they are like one person, interchangeable and three times meaner when they are together. They move through the school like sharks, and the other kids move aside for them.

 

Kammie moved because her dad embezzled money and they lost their house. She thinks everyone in her family is a liar, but she resolves not to be one. Then she goes and changes who she is to fit in with the mean girls, so go figure.

 

The girls convince Kammie to let them cut her hair off, and then ask her to stand in a deserted field and sing a song. Well, that's a bad idea. Turns out Kammie is standing on a cover of an old well.

 

She falls in, and then... guess what? The three ...andys have no idea what to do. And act like Kammie should just stop playing games and get out.

 

We see the whole situation through Kammie's eyes (and through her distorted view of the world). 

 

This is a great book. It is suspenseful and moving and darkly humorous. Truthfully? I read almost the entire book in one sitting. I read a little bit the first night, and then picked it up again the following night and couldn't put it down. I felt sorry for Kammie and was mad at her at the same time. How could she be so stupid... to let the girls cut her hair? And then stand in a field and sing for the bratty, nasty girls, just to be part of their club? What was she thinking?    

 

Then again, I'm looking at this through the eyes of a 48 year old woman, who isn't afraid to be who she is and who doesn't care if people don't like her the way she is (mostly anyway). It's hard to remember what it is like to be eleven. But... I feel like the author captured that feeling in this book. Kammie is eleven, and she just wants to be accepted. She doesn't want to be the outcast. She wants to be part of a group... to belong. And boy does it get her into trouble...

 

This book is nominated for a Sunshine State Young Readers Award for 2017-18 in the 6-8 grade category. I'm hoping I can find some girls who want to read it this year...

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review 2017-07-03 05:07
Beware of wasps...
The Nest - Jon Klassen,Kenneth Oppel

 

The first time I saw them, I thought they were angels.

- first sentence

 

Well, this was a bit quirky. I liked it, but I didn't love it.

 

Steve is a worrier, and what he worries about most nowadays is his baby brother. His parents are worried too. The baby has things wrong with him, and he isn't strong enough for the operation yet. The wasp queen visits Steve in his dreams and says she can make things better. All Steve has to say is "yes." But, things aren't always what they seem, and the queen may not have the baby's best interests at heart after all.

 

This book asks us to question what is normal and decide if an imperfect life is still worth living.

 

This book is nominated for a Sunshine State award, grades 6-8 (2017-18). It might be a bit creepy for kids though. The wasps are scary and there are some life or death situations. Steve doesn't know who to trust or how to protect his brother. He wants to do the right thing and readers will certainly root for him. Steve is scared at times, but he shows true bravery to protect his baby brother.

 

Just keep in mind, this is a horror story, a fairy tale horror story, but still...

 

This is my second Free Read Friday book. It has 272 and is worth $6.00

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review 2017-06-24 04:34
When Technology and Nature collide...
The Wild Robot - Peter Brown

 

We are geese,

And geese keep going.

 

We're a strange family.

But I kind of like it that way.

 

Ahh, this book. I didn't think I was going to like this one. I read it because it's a Sunshine State nominated book for the 2017-18 school year, and it fit the talking animals BLopoly space that I landed on.

 

The name of the robot is Roz and she has a lot of knowledge, but she doesn't know how to survive on this island. Roz is having difficulties until she realizes that she can learn from the animals. Once Roz realizes the animals are talking, she also realizes she can communicate with them. One day, Roz accidentally destroys a goose nest and can save only one egg. This leads to some pretty amazing and heart-warming moments that I really enjoyed. The ending is a bit sad but hints at the sequel which is coming out later this year.

 

The story is more than a bit quirky, but that's what makes it so much fun. I think it will be a big hit with our 3rd - 5th graders this coming school year. Though I'm sure it will appeal to older kids and adults as well.

 

Oh, and the illustrations really bring it all together.

 

 

 

I read this book for the Fantasyland 7 space, and this is my first book after the big shakeup. At 277 pages it is worth: $6.00

 

 

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review 2017-05-12 04:11
Two kids must save the world...
The Doom Machine - Mark Teague,Scholastic Inc.

 

Skreeps - 9 ft. tall alien spiders from the planet Skreepia. They land on Earth to obtain a "special item" from the ooman bings. They capture Jack, his Uncle Bud, Isadora, her mother (a scientist), and the town cop and his son. Uncle Bud has created a device that looks like a refrigerator but has the ability to create holes in space & time. The Skreeps want it so they can take over more planets, including Earth.

 

This story is aimed at kids ages 9-12. It is a bit scary because the Skreeps are huge spiders (and well...yuck). The Skreeps fight each other constantly and threaten the kids and their families. Isadora is a great character, smart, logical, and willing to do whatever it takes to test a theory. Jack is a juvenile delinquent who can fix any car, and it turns out spaceships too. I liked the way the two of them worked together and/or fought throughout the story. Isadora is always smarter and braver, but Jack is clever in his own ways.

 

There is a lot of talk about time and moving outside time and always being somewhere. It gets a little confusing, but I don't think the author expected his audience to understand it, just accept it. Some kids are good at that.

 

The Skreeps are constantly trying to prove themselves better than each other, and the constant bickering leads to some funny scenes. The story includes an evil queen, rebels, heroes, pirates, prophets and prophecies, surprising monsters, and enough twists and turns to delight any sci-fi fan.

 

Teague is very creative and has written a wonderfully entertaining story. The giant spiders (Skreeps) are seriously creepy at times and may be too much for sensitive readers.

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review 2017-04-20 04:07
City of Ember, Graphic Novel - Review
The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel - Dallas Middaugh,Niklas Asker,Jeanne DuPrau

 

 

This is a great story made even better by the gorgeous artwork. I read the book a couple years ago but was never interested in the sequels. Now I find myself wondering what happens next. Maybe I will find the next book in graphic novel format too.

 

I read this as part of Booklikes-opoly as a book beginning with "C". Now that I'm finally finished, I guess I can roll again since it is still the 19th. :)

 

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