Review: Believe by Julie Mathison

Believe by Julie Mathison

Believe
Julie Mathison
Starr Creek Press
Published August 4, 2020

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About Believe

Full of humor and wonder, BELIEVE explores the power and limits of the imagination – and how love both breaks and heals our hearts.

Eleven-year-old Melanie knows she’s special. She’s never been bored. She understands the secret language of old houses and makes jewels out of broken glass. Her imagination can do anything — … Continue reading

Review: Wicked in Rhyme by J. L. Smith

Wicked in Rhyme by J. L. Smith

Wicked in Rhyme (Wicked Unearth Series)
J. L. Smith
Published February 20, 2019

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About Wicked in Rhyme

Inez Finley is just like most ten-year-olds. Her life is filled with love from her family. Mainly from Grandma Esther.

Her parents love her, too, but Grandma is the only one Inez can truly talk to about the dreams she has.

Especially after one of them comes true on the schoolyard. She is the only one who understands what Inez can see and what the … Continue reading

Best Middle Grade Books from Spring 2020

Best Middle Grade Books from 2020

I don’t know if I’m reading more books than usual because of trying to stay home and avoid COVID-19, or if I’ve just got better contacts and a better sense of the middle grade book world these days, or if I’ve just gotten incredible lucky, but it seems like there have been a LOT of really amazing books published this year.

This list will focus on middle grade books, which are aimed at kids 8 to 12. I’ll do a separate post featuring young adult books, because there have been some fabulous titles there, too.

If you’re looking for a book that will sweep you away, make you laugh out loud, or make you get lost in another world, these are … Continue reading

Review: Nevertell by Katharine Orton

Nevertell by Katharine Orton

Nevertell
Katharine Orton
Walker Books US
Published April 14, 2020

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About Nevertell

After escaping a Soviet prison camp, Lina is pursued by a powerful witch and her shadow wolves in a riveting debut that imbues frozen wilderness with fairy-tale magic.

All that twelve-year-old Lina knows of the world is the Stalinist labor camp where she was born, a place of hunger, cruelty, and deprivation. After a daring escape into the frigid Siberian wilds with her best friend, Bogdan, Lina vows to reach Moscow and find her long-lost grandmother, whom she hopes will help her return to the camp to rescue her mother. … Continue reading

Review: Finally, Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

Finally Something Mysterious by Doug Cornett

Finally, Something Mysterious
Doug Cornett
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published April 14, 2020

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About Finally, Something Mysterious

Paul Marconi has always thought that Bellwood was a strange town, but also a bit of a boring one. Not much for an 11 year old to do. Fires are burning nearby, Paul’s parents are obsessed with winning a bratwurst contest, his best friend, one of the founding members of their only-sibling detective club, The One and Onlys, is about to have a younger sister, sort of undoing their whole reason for existing. But then! Hundreds of rubber duckies have appeared on … Continue reading

Review: My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

My Life as a Potato by Arianne Costner

My Life as a Potato
Arianne Costner
Random House Books for Young Readers
Published March 24, 2020

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About My Life as a Potato

For anyone who has ever felt like a potato in middle school, this hilarious story about a boy forced to become the dorkiest school mascot ever will have readers cheering!

“A grade A, spudtastic (not to mention FUNNY) debut. Arianne Costner sure knows middle school and middle schoolers!” –Chris Grabenstein, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Ben Hardy believes he’s cursed by potatoes. And now he’s moved to Idaho, … Continue reading

Review: The Elephant’s Girl by Celesta Rimington

The Elephant's Girl by Celesta Rimington

The Elephant’s Girl
Celesta Rimington
Crown Books for Young Readers
Published May 19, 2020

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About The Elephant’s Girl

An elephant never forgets…but Lexington Willow can’t remember her past. When she was a toddler, a tornado swept her away from everyone and everything she knew and landed her near an enclosure in a Nebraska zoo, where an elephant named Nyah protected her from the storm. With no trace of her family, Lex grew up at the zoo with her foster father, Roger; her best friend, Fisher; and the wind whispering in … Continue reading

Review: Stone Heart by Charlie Fletcher

Stone Heart by Charlie Fletcher

Stone Heart (Stone Heart Trilogy #1)
Charlie Fletcher
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published May 1, 2007

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About Stone Heart

A city has many lives and layers. London has more than most. Not all the layers are underground, and not all the lives belong to the living.

Twelve-year-old George Chapman is about to find this out the hard way. When, in a tiny act of rebellion, George breaks the head from a … Continue reading

Review: Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman

Music for Tigers by Michelle Kadarusman

Music for Tigers
Michelle Kadarusman
Pajama Press
Published April 28, 2020

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About Music for Tigers

Shipped halfway around the world to spend the summer with her mom’s eccentric Australian relatives, middle schooler and passionate violinist Louisa is prepared to be resentful. But life at the family’s remote camp in the Tasmanian rainforest is intriguing, to say the least. There are pig-footed bandicoots, scary spiders, weird noises and odors in the night, and a quirky boy named Colin who cooks the most amazing meals. Not the least strange is her Uncle Ruff, with his unusual pet and veiled hints about something … Continue reading

Review: The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

The Space Between Lost and Found by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

The Space Between Lost and Found
Sandy Stark-McGinnis
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published April 28, 2020

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About The Space Between Lost and Found

Cassie’s always looked up to her mom, a vivacious woman with big ideas and a mischievous smile. Together they planned to check off every item on a big-dream bucket list, no matter how far the adventure would take them. But then Mom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and everything changed.

Now, Cassie tries to keep Mom happy, and to understand some of Dad’s restrictive new rules. She tries to focus on math lessons and struggles to come up with art … Continue reading

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