About the Book: Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague is a middle grade standalone that has 352 pages and a Lexile measure of 840. It was published on September 22nd, 2015 by HarperCollins, and follows Audrey and Aaron, two thirteen-year-olds who meet at a wilderness camp.
My Review: Although I didn’t enjoy Connect the Stars quite as much as Saving Lucas Biggs, it was still a great read that showed the power of teamwork. I’ll admit I was a little bored with this book until Audrey and Aaron arrived at wilderness camp, probably because both of them were kind of loners and I really don’t like books where the main character(s) don’t have a awesome best friend to talk to, but once they got to camp things started to get a lot more interesting. For one, Jared. Even if he is a little on the mean side of things, some of his lines were so fantastic that I just can’t help loving him. Also, once Audrey and Aaron got assigned to their team and began to form a friendship with Louis and Kate, everything started to get better. I loved how despite all of their problems and weaknesses, together the four made a fantastic team and really went out of their way to watch out for each other. From the awesome character development and the strong messages about teamwork, love, and forgiveness, this was a truly awesome book.
About the Book: Saving Lucas Biggs is a standalone written by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague, which has a Lexile measure of 930. It has 288 pages and was published on April 29th, 2014 by HarperCollins. It is a middle-grade time travel adventure that follows thirteen-year-old Margaret in her quest to save her father from being executed.
My Review: I really enjoyed this book. From Margaret and Charlie’s awesome friendship to the way the writing style sweeps you away, this book was beyond enjoyable. I thoroughly enjoyed how Margaret and Charlie’s friendship was so realistic, as they had known each for years and were insanely comfortable around each other, while still occasionally having awkward moments when they were unsure of how to express the way they really felt. In addition, I found it amazing how the authors managed to write a story with an emotionally upsetting plot with many traumatic events in the midst of it, yet somehow were able to keep it from becoming depressing. The writing style reminded me of Lauren Myracle’s Wishing Day books, in the way that it often resembles poetry made into prose. I also loved how the time travel was explained in a way that made sense, almost like When You Reach Me’s explanation, only more detailed. If you are looking for a fantastic time travel, historical fiction adventure this is it!
About the Book: The Unbreakable Code is the second book in the Book Scavenger series by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. It has 368 pages and was publish on April 25th, 2017 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR). It is a middle-grade mystery about almost thirteen-year-old Emily and her best friend James, as they attempt to solve the mystery of the unbreakable code and fires that are appearing around the city.
My Review: It’s been a couple years since I read Book Scavenger and in the time that’s passed I have forgotten most of the book; nevertheless, I picked up the sequel, hoping that it would prove an interesting read. Well, thankfully it did. Even thought the plot of Book Scavenger is no longer in my memory, well, mostly that is, I didn’t have much trouble understanding what was going on in The Unbreakable Code. It really was quite an interesting and entertaining story. Not to mention that there were two mysteries in one book. From Steve-James’s cowlick- wearing glitter to the awesome librarian, this really was a great read. The only complaints I have are that some of the dialogue seemed weird and choppy, as if it would have been better of as narrative, and that if you try a little, figuring out who the arsonist is isn’t all that difficult, although it isn’t completely clear either. Other than that, The Unbreakable Code was quite enjoyable and should prove an interesting read for many ages.
About the Book: Counting by 7s is a stand alone book by Holly Goldberg Sloan. It has 380 pages and was published by Dial Books on January 1st, 2013. It has a Lexile measure of 770 and is a contemporary middle-grade book about a twelve-year-old genius named Willow Chance and the people she becomes involved with due to her parent’s death in a tragic car accident.
My Review: This book was awesome! I loved it. From Willow’s obsession with the number to 7 to Dell Duke’s odd way of living I absolutely adored this book and it’s characters. Almost everything and everyone in this book was entertaining, from Cheddar the cat to Dell’s obsession with meatloaf, this was a really fantastic read. In addition to holding my interest, this book also showed how hard it is for people to accept that people are differnt, whether the differences happen to be good or bad. I loved how Willow just throws the system for a loop. She does insanely well with school and she looks at function before fashion. If you’re looking for a book that is entertaining, full of emotion, and all around just a fantastic read, you will love Counting by 7s.
About the Book: Liar and Spy is a stand alone book by Rebecca Stead. It has 180 pages and was published on August 7th, 2012 by Wendy Lamb Books. It has a Lexile measure of 670 and is a contemporary, middle grade, mystery about Georges (the s is silent), and what happens when he moves to a new apartment and becomes friends with Safer, a secret agent wanna-be.
My Review: Liar and Spy was an enjoyable read that like When You Reach Me and Goodbye Stranger have a wonderful ending. (Seriously, what is it with Rebecca Stead’s amazing endings? It’s like her superpower or something!) The story was interesting and kept me going. I loved all of the unusual names and now have this thing for the name Safer. Part of the ending was a little predictable but it was nonetheless extremely satifying. On the down side, there were a couple minor cuss words but other than that I didn’t really have any problems with the book. This book will draw in everyone from young middle-schoolers to middle-aged adults and I would highly recommend it if you’re looking for a short and easy read that makes you think.
About the Book: The Sound of Life and Everything is a novel by Krista Van Dolzer. It has 272 pages and was published on May 5th, 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. It is a historical fiction set in the 1950s and is about Ella-Mae a twelve-year-old girl and her quest to give a Japnese man another chance at life.
My Review: This was a really good book that showed the power of love. Despite the fact that the whole thing with bringing people back to life was a little far fetched I did enjoy the book. It portrayed a beautiful picture of how sometimes loving someone is painful, yet in the end, no matter the pain love is worth it. I loved Ella-Mae’s character. She has spunk, she’s never afraid to fight for what she believes in, and she realizes her mistakes. In addition, her mother was a fantastic role model, who always stood up for what’s right. There was nothing objectional in this book and it was a truthfully enjoyable read.
About the Book: Yours Truly is the second book in the Pumpkin Falls series by Heather Vogel Frederick. It follows Absolutely Truly and has 336 pages. It will be published on January 31st, 2017. It is about the mysteries Truly Lovejoy, her cousin Mackenzie, and the Pumpkin Falls Private Eyes, solve over spring break.
My Review: Ever since I read Absolutely Truly in the winter of 2015, I’ve wanted to re-visit Pumpkin Falls. From the hilarious characters to the wonderful small town feel, Absolutely Truly was fantastic. Yours Truly picks up only a week or two from where Absolutely Truly left off. Beginning with Truly’s thirteenth birthday. I really enjoyed this book, but unfortunately not as much as the fist Pumpkin Falls book. Maybe I read it too fast but it just seemed to be lacking some of the humor Absolutely Truly possessed. I guess you could say this book was a little more focused on the mysteries Truly has to solve and a little less centered on the characters and their amazing personalities. Although the characters are portrayed well I really missed Jasmine and Cha Cha, and frankly, wished Mackenzie hadn’t been in the book at all. I suppose some of this could be because Truly is no longer new to town so she’s no longer observing things from a new comer’s perspective; still, I missed the frog dissection and snowball attacks. Nevertheless, the book was still good and had two points I really couldn’t resist mentioning. For one, the private eyes have a stakeout. This was fairly entertaining but seemed to have a little less excitement than one would expect when a group of seventh graders sneak out of the house. Secondly, there was another MDBC crossover! Not a major one or anything, but Felicia, Jess’s cousin, was present for several scenes so that was pretty cool.
Lastly, at a later date I’ll be doing a post all about Pumpkin Falls as a town, so be ready for some small town fangirling.