Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: growing-up-issues
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-01-07 04:00
Breakout by Kate Messner
Breakout - Kate Messner

Audience: Grades 4 & up

Format: Hardcover/Library copy


Dear Library Board,

Enclosed is my contribution to the Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule Project.

- opening lines



Wolf Creek is located in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The town is built around a maximum-security prison and most of the residents have a least one family member working there. The book is told from the point of view of three seventh graders. Nora’s dad is the superintendent, Lizzie’s grandmother works in the kitchen, and Elidee’s brother is an inmate. Nora and Lizzie are best friends and Elidee just moved there when she didn’t get into a private school in New York City. Elidee’s mom wanted to be closer to her brother to make it easier for them to visit him. The townspeople are mostly white and the inmate population is mostly black and Latinx. Elidee is at first standoffish but she eventually becomes friendly with Nora and Lizzie. Nora and Lizzie are surprised at the way the townspeople treat Elidee and how different it is from how they are treated. A couple of inmates escape from the prison and the action revolves around how the manhunt affects life in the town. The story is told through contributions to a time-capsule project for school. The contributions include letters, press clippings, text messages, and transcribed voice recordings.


There are dangerous and suspenseful situations, and some shooting, but no overt violence. Nora & Lizzie learn about racism and try to decide how they feel about it and how to stand up for Elidee. Elidee works through her complicated feelings about the town, her brother, and everything else by writing poetry. Issues about our justice system and racial bias are explored in an accessible and sensitive manner.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2020-01-07 03:25
24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling
24 Hours In Nowhere - Dusti Bowling

Audience: Grades 4-7

Format: Hardcover/Library copy


Bo Taylor held my face one inch from the jumping cholla. "Eat it, Gus," he commanded.

- opening lines



In the town of Nowhere, Arizona, the only thing exciting is dirt bike riding. Thirteen-year-old Gus is a smart boy and a natural target for the town bully, Bo. When Rossi stands up to Bo, she loses her prized possession, her dirt bike, Loretta. Gus is determined to get Rossi’s bike back, but Bo’s price is gold from the town’s abandoned gold mine called, “Dead Frenchman’s Mine.” Gus ends up going to the mine with an old friend, Jessie, one of Bo’s minions, Matthew, and Rossi. The four teens end up bonding over dangerous situations and shared conversations (the are all outcasts in different ways), and the adventure changes all of them.


This book has a similar feel to Holes by Louis Sachar. The characters are likable & quirky and there are generational ties that the teens discover during their journey. Students who like adventures and solving mysteries will enjoy this book. There are positive messages throughout the book about the power of friendship, believing in yourself, and looking beyond what people seem to be on the outside.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-12-15 03:34
All's Faire in Middle School
All's Faire in Middle School - Victoria Jamieson

Audience: Middle School

Format: Hardcover/Library


Imogene! Come down from that tree!

- first sentence



Imogene (Impy) works at a Renaissance Faire and has been homeschooled her entire life. She decides that her quest to become a knight will be attending middle school. The story realistically portrays the difficulties and challenges girls face at this time in their lives. Impy makes some questionable choices, but she eventually realizes that everyone makes mistakes and she finds ways to atone. She has difficulty understanding the cliques and double language kids use and wonders why girls say mean things when they are supposed to be your friend.


This is a great book for middle schoolers and anyone who enjoyed Roller Girl by the same author. I've noticed some reviewers question the content. At one point the girls are reading a romance novel that they hide in Impy's backpack. At home, Impy is looking at the book and writes the word "sex" in her notebook. Impy's mother starts to have "the talk" with her, but Impy changes the subject quickly and it never comes up again. This kind of stuff happens in real life and there is nothing inappropriate, but parents should decide for themselves.


In my opinion, the positive messages and relatable real-life story make this book a must-read.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2019-04-07 05:06
Jellaby - The Lost Monster
Jellaby: The Lost Monster - Kean Soo

Audience: Grades 4-8

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy



I picked up this book because the cover was cute, but I didn't really expect much from it. Well, I can say I was pleasantly surprised. Portia is a bright ten-year-old girl who is trying to adjust to life without her father. She is feeling pretty lonely because she doesn't have friends at school and her mom is acting distant. Then she finds a shy, sweet, and quite large purple monster in the woods behind her house.


The illustrations are done in black, white, and shades of purple with red accents. Jellaby is purple with red stripes and Portia's hair bow is red. Portia's friend, Jason loves carrots and so there are spots of orange too (like Jason's shirt).


The story is charming; I loved Portia, Jellaby, and even Jason. Jellaby is a monster with a heart of gold and this story will touch readers of all ages. 


Highly Recommended. I am borrowing the second book tomorrow. :)



Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-03-01 03:06
Brave - Svetlana Chmakova


Brave is the sequel to Awkwardan amazing graphic novel about navigating middle school life. Brave follows the same basic group of kids, with a different main character. In Brave, Jensen (the art club kid from Awkward who is obsessed with sunspots) learns about bullying. He doesn't think he is a victim at first, but he gradually begins to understand what being bullied really means. He compares his school day to a video game, a constant struggle to avoid the "bad guys" and traps; making it through the day is a struggle for "survival."


This book has a bit more mature content compared with Awkward. There is no sex or serious violence, but the bullies call Jensen "fatso" and "stupid" and Jensen uses the phrase "makes my life a living hell." Compared to the overall message in this book, these are tiny considerations. But, as a parent, you should know what you are getting into. Many of our 3rd graders read Awkward and their parents might not think they are ready for this one.


Overall, this is a great book that describes realities of middle school, bullying, feeling alone, making friends, and standing up for yourself. I highly recommend it to 4th grade and up. 

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?