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Search tags: middle-grade
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review 2017-12-16 01:06
Where's a Sherpa when you need one?
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey - Diana Sudyka,Trenton Lee Stewart

When we first met the intrepid, orphaned quartet that made up a large part of the Mysterious Benedict Society we were left feeling that surely this couldn't be the last adventure that they'd be on together...and we were absolutely right. The whole gang is back in the second book in the series by Trenton Lee Stewart titled The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey. (Note: A new illustrator, Diana Sudyka, has penned the drawings for this book and forthcoming books in the series.) The beginning of the book starts off with the kids separated and trying to live as close to normal as possible. The reader is once again following the main character, Reynie, as he heads to meet up with everyone on the anniversary of their last adventure together. However, when they are all reunited at Mr. Benedict's house they are met with a very unpleasant surprise. (No spoilers here!!) What follows is a treacherous journey (hence the name of the book) that takes them on boats, trains, and up the side of a mountain in another country. While the central theme of friendship and working together is still present, this book is much darker in tone and a sense of foreboding lingers over every page. (In some ways, it reminds me of the progression of the Harry Potter series.) The illustrations again accompany a portion of the text and even though it's a different illustrator the sense of whimsy is ever-present. Overall, very enjoyable and fun to see how the author expands on each of the characters personalities and abilities. (Constance plays a much larger role in this book.) I have to confess that I've had the third book in the series gathering dust on my desk at work (and a copy of it here at home) but I haven't felt an overwhelming urge to pick it up just yet. I have a feeling this will be one of the first books I get to in the new year. XD If you read the first book in the series then I'm confident you'll enjoy the sequel. 8/10

 

 

A sample of the new illustrator's style [Source: Kinder Books]

 

 

What's Up Next: The Time Quartet series by Madeleine L'Engle

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-12-15 22:45
Review: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

A quick read for older MG and YA readers. I picked this up from the library for the Donghzi Festival square.

 

The MC, Jin Wang, just wants to fit in. That was easy to do when living in San Francisco and Asian-American, not so easily done when your parents move you to a white suburban area during the middle school years and you are cast from the outset as "Other". To make matters worse, you fall for a pretty white girl who doesn't notice you are alive. So by the time you are in high school, so you invent a persona (Danny) and try to hide Jin Wang the person behind Danny. The few friends you have, both Asian-Americans as well and just as uncool, are not surprised but disappointed about your choices of late. Those friends may have come from an unlikely source, but for the sake of spoilers, I am not saying where those friends came from. Eventually, with the friends' help the persona of Danny goes away and Jin Wang finally accepts himself. The story was great but the art work so too basic, too amateurish to be interesting. I would read more from this author but I would like to see better art work next time.

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review 2017-12-07 00:30
Necromancy and toilet humour make for surprisingly good MG
The Silver Mask (Magisterium, Book 4) (The Magisterium) - Holly Black,Cassandra Clare

This latest entry in wonderful MG magic-school series Magisterium balances some seriously dark themes and action with laugh-out-loud lines.

 

The first book or two's Harry Potter overtones with all the joy of discovering a new magic world were more fun, to be honest, but as the penultimate book, I can see how things are ramping up. I

 

'd say this is borderline YA - as the kids move on through the school years/grades, they're heading into teen territory, adding kissing and mild romance angst to death, identity crises, and necromancy. I'd recommend for older kids, maybe 10 or even 12+. But the relatively simple language and style of expression are solidly middle grade. Looking forward to the big wrap up in book 5!

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review 2017-12-06 13:00
The Broccoli Tapes by Jan Slepian
The Broccoli Tapes - Jan Slepian

I read this when I was a child, most likely between the ages of 10-13. I remember really liking it, as I enjoyed books told in diary format, and this book is told through recordings made on cassette tapes, which as a child I thought was the neatest idea ever.

 

**I'm super vague, but this could be a spoiler**

 

Toward the middle of the book something happens that would make most people cry, then at the end of the book something else happened that make people cry. The first thing is something I think you would be more upset by, but I was more upset by the last thing. I felt depressed, bawled like a baby and needed something to cheer me up after.

(spoiler show)


The thing that happened at the end... I forgot it was coming. How did child me handle it, I wonder?

I love that this book could still make me have such a strong emotional reaction. It held up with time, though obviously dated with usage of tapes. Everything else is still very relatable.

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review 2017-12-06 04:13
Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker
Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker - Shelley Johannes,Shelley Johannes

This book was a break from all the doom and gloom I seem to be reading lately. Another pick from NetGalley, but not really what I was expecting. I thought it was going to be a middle grade reader (should have read the whole blurb), but Beatrice is just starting 3rd grade, so it's more of an early chapter book. In any case, it is a cute, quirky story, and Beatrice is the perfect character to represent those of us who like to think in an upside-down kind of way. Third grade is hard, and often, other girls can be thoughtless or mean; sadly, Beatrice learns this immediately. But she stays true to herself, something that is rare and inspiring. Wish this was around when my own daughters were in third grade, because truly, that year probably won't make the highlight reel. Grab a copy if your daughter is finishing second grade, and arm her with this; Beatrice's humor and spirit will provide the perfect encouragement if things do not go as well as planned.

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