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Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake

Review:

Ivy Aberdeen's Letter to the World - Ashley Herring Blake

Audience: Middle School

Format: Hardcover/Library Copy

 

A storm was coming which was perfect.

– first sentence

 

Twelve-year-old Ivy is a middle child who is trying to figure out where she belongs, among other things. Her family’s house was destroyed by a tornado and she lost the notebook filled with her secret drawings of her and another girl. Her parents and sister are totally focused on her twin baby brothers. Ivy feels invisible, ignored by her family, and confused about her crush on another girl. 

 

This story portrays the confusion of middle school and the difficulties of being a middle child perfectly. Ivy is confused when her first crush is a girl while all her friends are crushing on boys. Ivy isn’t sure if it is a crush or just friendship. Ivy is worried about how her sister will react if she finds out Ivy likes girls.

 

This book made me laugh and cry and gave me all the feels. I was right there with Ivy as she tried to deal with all her emotions and figure out who she was. I highly recommend this book to all girls, moms, and anyone else who enjoys realistic coming of age stories.

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Slider by Pete Hautman

Review:

Slider - Pete Hautman

Audience: Middle School

Format: Hardcover/Library

 

A sixteen-inch pizza, fresh from the oven, is a thing of beauty.

– first sentence

 

So, that opening line tells you a great deal about this book, but not the heart of it. David loves competitive eating, both watching it as a sport and doing it himself. He bids on and accidentally buys (for $2,000, on his mom’s credit card) a leftover piece of hotdog from his favorite competitive eater. David must find a way to earn the money to pay his mom back before she discovers what he did. David feels like a failure and thinks the only thing he is good at is competitive eating. On top of training for the big eating competition, David has to take care of his brother Mal (who has autism). David is very good at finding ways to help his brother deal with the world and their relationship is one of the best parts of this book.

 

The competitive eating parts of the book are rather gross at times, but young readers will probably enjoy that. At the beginning of the book, David goes to a frat house (he sees a bunch of college students drinking) and participates in an eating contest. Overall, it’s a fun book with some heartwarming moments, if you can get past some vomiting and gross overeating. 🙂

 

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All’s Faire in Middle School

Review:

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.

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A Curse so Dark and Lonely

Review:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely - Brigid Kemmerer

Audience: Young Adult

Format: e-Book/Library

 

There is blood under my fingernails.

– first sentence

 

 

This is a fabulous retelling of Beauty & the Beast. In Emberfall, the prince and everyone who lives on the castle grounds are cursed to live the same season over and over again. Towards the end of the season, Rhen (the prince) becomes a beast. Over the years, he has killed many villagers, but his captain of the guard (Grey) has learned how to keep the remaining people safe. As in the original, the only way to break the curse is for someone to fall in love with Rhen. Grey brings girls from the modern world to the castle in an attempt to find someone who will break the curse. One day he ends up kidnapping Harper. Harper isn’t like any of the other girls Grey kidnapped over the years (of course). But she also isn’t your typical “Belle” – she has cerebral palsy and she loves horses more than books.

 

Chapters are told in alternating viewpoints between Rhen and Harper and it’s fun to see what they’re thinking about how the other one behaves. There is adventure, intrigue, and  a great deal of violence. There are forces outside the castle grounds that threaten Emberfall. Harper helps Rhen and Grey come up with solutions. She is feisty and smart and doesn’t give up easily. 

 

I loved this story and the end was surprising even though I thought I knew how it would go. I am looking forward to the next book.

 

 

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