Posted in Grades 3-5, Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction

Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova




Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

Penelope Torres (Peppi) is thinking of these rules as she starts a new school. When a boy (Jaime) tries to help her pick up all her stuff, the mean kids start calling her Nerder Girlfriend. Embarrassed, Peppi pushes Jaime and runs away. She feels guilty and spends most of her time trying to figure out how to apologize. When a rivalry heats up between Peppi’s art club and Jaime’s science club, things become even more awkward.

This is a charming middle school story that kids will enjoy. It is age appropriate for 3rd grade and up – no violence or bad words – just a sweet story with a hopeful ending. The graphics are expressive and fun, a highly recommended graphic novel.


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Posted in Adult, Book Review, Realistic Fiction

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty


This book was written by the same author as Big Little Lies, and it follows the same format. There is a big event that changes everything. The narrative jumps back and forth between the time before the event, the time after the event, and the night of the BBQ (the main event). Moriarty draws out the big reveal, just like she did in Big Little Lies. I will say I was anxious at first to find out what happened, and it made me spend more time reading just so I could find out. At one point I had an idea what happened, but I wasn’t completely right. My friend said this means I was wrong, but in truth, I was partially correct. But still wrong I guess. 😉

Bottom line, if you liked Big Little Lies, you will probably enjoy this one. It took a while to get to the point, but it was worth the wait.

Posted in Book Review, Grades 6-8, Realistic Fiction, Sunshine State 17-18

How to (Almost) Ruin Your Summer by Taryn Souders

Someone once told me that money can’t buy happiness. They obviously never had to ride a baby bike to the first day of middle school.

-opening lines


Chloe is determined to earn money this summer (maybe by babysitting). What she didn’t plan for is her parents deciding to send her to career camp. There she will have the opportunity to see what it’s like to be a cake decorator, athlete, scientist, or veterinarian. Well, Chloe knows for sure she doesn’t get along with animals, by maybe she could work with the cake decorating thing. But, life has other plans… Between spiders, a goat named King Arthur, a rude girl named Victoria, and Director Mudwimple, Chloe’s summer is looking ruined. But luckily Chloe meets a friend, a bouncy girl named Paulie (who Chloe nicknames Pogo), and finds out two of her friends from home are also there, Nathan (her secret crush) and Sebastian.

The story is told through Chloe’s experiences and nightly journal entries. Chloe is relatable and the drama seems pretty accurate for a bunch of middle school aged girls living in a cabin together. Chloe’s friendship with Pogo and the difficulties with the bully Victoria seem to be accurate portrayals of middle school relationships. Chloe doesn’t always make the right choice, but in the end, she does the right thing. I read this quickly in one sitting and I think 4th through 8th graders will enjoy it.

Posted in Book Review, Grades 3-5, Realistic Fiction, Sunshine State 16-17

Sweet Realistic Fiction Story



Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood


This is a sweet story about a young girl whose family moves from North Carolina to New York state. She has been home-schooled for her whole life so far and when her parents decide she should go to school, she is scared. She doesn’t want to go. She dreads the bus, the other students, sitting in school all day… But, she finds something at school that she never had before… a best friend.

Young girls will love this sweet story about friendship, dealing with change, and discovering who you are.

Recommended to:

Grades 3 – 5, fans of realistic fiction.