Review: A Different Me by Deborah Blumenthal

Different Me by Deborah BlumenthalA Different Me
Deborah Blumenthal
Albert Whitman & Company
Published October 14, 2014

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Allie has only one wish for her birthday this year. She wants surgery to fix everything wrong with her. Specifically, to correct the huge problem in the middle of her face: her nose.

Through an online forum, she meets two girls also waiting for nose jobs. Together they form a sisterhood, sharing insecurities, secret hopes and dreams, and crossing off the days until their procedures.

Then a mentoring project challenges Allie to look past her initial perceptions of people. She learns that there’s more to a … Continue reading

Review: Zac and Mia by A J Betts

Zac and Mia by A. J. BettsZac and Mia
A J Betts
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group
Published July 24, 2013

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Trapped in the ICU at a hospital near Perth, Australia, Zac is desperate for any distraction. Anything that will get his mum to leave him alone for a little bit. Anything new to ponder. When the newest patient on the adult cancer ward turns out to be a surly but gorgeous girl, Zac attempts to reach out to her. Mia is all fire and fury, but Zac doesn’t give up. He remembers those early days of denial and anger. All he can do is tell her it’ll get better … Continue reading

Review: The Manager by Caroline Stellings

The Manager by Caroline StellingsThe Manager
Caroline Stellings
Cape Breton University Press
Published October 1, 2013

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Convinced an experimental surgery will solve her problems, Tina drags her sister on a wild journey from Nova Scotia to Boston. Along the way, Tina finds a gem of a boxer and convinces him to let her operate as his manager. Though skeptical at first, Jesse Mankiller begins to respect Tina’s unorthodox style. Together they hope to prove they have what it takes to win the big fight.

Like its protagonist, Tina MacKenzie, this is definitely one of those books that you might overlook at first. But while the cover won’t reach out … Continue reading

Review: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rain Reign by Ann M. MartinRain Reign
Ann M. Martin
Feiwel & Friends
Published October 7, 2014

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Rose finds comfort in two things: homonyms and her dog Rain. When a fierce storm rips through her sleepy northern town, her dog disappears. Rose enacts a plan to find her missing companion, but along the way she learns about empathy for others in her community who’ve lost homes and family in the hurricane.

It’s difficult not to compare this novel with others with a similar narrator. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime particularly came to mind. Martin’s tale is a lot more kid friendly. The plot is simpler … Continue reading

Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kittyhawk and the Curse of the Yukon GoldKitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold
Iain Reading
Published November 30, 2012

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Teen adventurer Kitty Hawk’s dreams come true when she receives funding which allows her a chance to study the behavior and habits of humpback whales in waters off the coast of Alaska. Aboard her trusty De Havilland Beaver, Kitty observes and documents information about the whales from the air. The altitude gives her more than a bird’s eye view of the whales, though. When she spots a suspicious boat she fears may be carrying stolen Yukon gold, she stops to investigate – and gets swept away in a conspiracy stretching all the way back to the gold … Continue reading

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

Paper Towns by John GreenPaper Towns
John Green
Penguin Group
Published October 16, 2008

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Popular and notorious Margo Roth Spiegelman shocks Quinten out of his low-key, rule-abiding existence when she drags him along with her on a night of pranks and misadventures. When Margo disappears the following morning, Quinten believes she left clues to her whereabouts behind, hoping he will find her. As he searches for clues, he realizes there’s much more to Margo than the queen bee people perceive her to be. Through the Whitman poem she leaves behind and the abandoned hideaway Quinten discovers, he learns about seeing past the faux exterior to knowing someone as they … Continue reading

Review: Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Nest by Esther EhrlichNest
Esther Ehrlich
Random House Children’s
Published September 9, 2014

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Chirp begins fifth grade looking forward to another year of beloved family traditions: dancing with her mother, bird-watching hikes, and impromptu performances with her older sister Rachel. But something is different in the Orenstein house. Rachel hushes Chirp when she asks questions or wants to show her mother some new dance steps. Chirp can’t understand how these things could make her mother sad like Rachel says.

Then comes her mother’s devastating diagnosis. There will be no more dancing. As her mother’s health deteriorates, Chirp’s family unravels. Even her father’s ever-positive, talk-about-it outlook can make this okay. … Continue reading

Review: It’s Addicting by Laura L. Smith

It's Addicting by Laura L. SmithIt’s Addicting
Laura L. Smith
Status Updates
Published April 23, 2014

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Palmer, Hannah, Claire and Kat begin the spring semester ready for any challenge. Kinda. Palmer wants to be among the elite writers of the university magazine, but she can’t seem to break into the group. That is, without a glass of Moscato in her hand. After years of being the supportive best friend to the girl who could have any guy, Hannah finally has a boyfriend of her own. When a chance to see Germany with her guy arises, Hannah really wants to go, even if it means missing … Continue reading

Review: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg SloanCounting by 7s
Holly Goldberg Sloan
Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin Group
Published August 29, 2013

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A car accident changes everything for Willow, a twelve year-old prodigy. Her family is gone and she is at the mercy of the state’s resources for childcare. As she pulls together the paths of her life that have led her to this tragedy, she reaches out to the only friend she has: a young Vietnamese girl whose brother shares the same guidance counselor as Willow does.

Mai convinces her mother to care for the girl and fight for long-term custody. At first, the … Continue reading

Review: 8 Notes to a Nobody by Cynthia Toney

8 Notes to a Nobody (Bird Face #1)
Cynthia T. Toney
Write Integrity Press
Published September 1, 2015

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A cruel comment from a classmate sends thirteen year-old Wendy into a spiral of self-doubt. What can she expect when even her own father barely takes an interest in her life? Mysterious notes from “AFREND” help Wendy see there’s still hope. Who could the notes be from? A cute boy perhaps? When the nasty comments continue to wear her down, Wendy is forced to take drastic measures. She tries changing who she is, hoping it will be enough put the taunting behind her.

This story delves into the … Continue reading

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