Publisher: Random House Children’s
Published: May 21, 2019
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
NetGalley: At the end of every summer, Madeline Island hosts its famous pumpkin race. All summer, adults, and kids across the island grow giant, thousand-pound pumpkins, then hollow one out and paddle in it across the lake to the cheers of the entire town.
Twelve-year-old Billie loves to win; she has a bulletin board overflowing with first-prize ribbons. Her best friend Sam doesn’t care much about winning, or at least Billie didn’t think so until last summer’s race when his pumpkin crashed into her as she was about to cross the finish line and he won. This summer, Billie is determined to get revenge by growing the best and biggest pumpkin and beating Sam in the race. It’s a tricky science to grow pumpkins since weather, bugs, and critters can wipe out a crop. Then a surprise visit from a long-lost relative shakes things up, and Billie begins to see her family, and her bond with Sam, in a new way.
My Review: A beautifully written book showing young readers how the world around them isn’t always about them. Billie is very self-absorbed but I don’t think any more so than other children her age. This her summer of growing and learning for the next stage of her life.
I was very impressed with how the author weaved science and math into the story without the reader feeling like they just received a lesson.
I would definitely recommend this book to any on my middle-grade readers with confidence.
I received a complimentary copy from Random House Children’s through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
Pages: 240 (eBook)
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Published: October 2, 2018
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Beautifully written. The ending will bring you all the feels from sadness to happiness to love. Twenty four hours after finishing I am still moved to tears thinking about this book.
Louisiana Elefante is awakened in the middle of the night by her Granny and told they are leaving for good right then. As they cross the FL/GA state line Louisiana realizes she will never see her friends again and starts plotting in her head how to get back to Lister, FL. When Granny starts having dental problems and finding a dentist is the number one goal, Louisiana finds more than she bargained for in a new friend and the family she has always dreamed of being apart of.
If the cover with a little blond girl and a cute bunny barrette does not pull you in immediately you will be pulled in by the second page and falling in love with Louisiana. Her spunkiness and pure childlike look into the word will grip your heart and not let it go. You will admire her determination and strength as she navigates the hand that is dealt to her.
Louisiana’s Way Home is a book I will be re-reading for years to come and will be sharing with my students every year. A wonderful example of how you can overcome a rough start in life and with grit and determination you can decide on who you will become.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Candlewick Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in the above review are entirely my own.
Pages: 320 (eBook)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: September 4, 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Whoa what a tumultuous read.
In a small town that America has forgot, is a young girl trying to raise her little sister Mattie wit little help from those around them. Sadie’s life is shattered when Mattie is found in a local orchard violently murdered. Sadie takes it upon herself to find the murderer and bring vigilante justice to him. As Sadie works her way across the miles she finds herself closer to the murderer but does she also find herself closer to her own death as well?
National radio personality, West McCray, hears Sadie’s story and finds himself unable to not get involved. The investigation he launches starts taking over his life and his hope is he finds Sadie before it’s too late.
I had no idea while reading Sadie that it was labeled as a YA read. Any fan of thrillers and mysteries will enjoy this book no matter their age. WARNING: there is plenty of violence, foul language and sensitive subjects (child abuse, child sexual abuse, drug use) throughout the book but all that is what makes this book unable to put down. I almost expected to look up from the book and her my West on the radio talking about a true case.
The book is written in two forms: a narrative when reading Sadie’s thoughts and actions and a podcast transcript when reading West’s thoughts and actions. The podcast transcript reading was different but fit this book.
You will be thinking about this book long after you have finished. It will keep you up at night even if you aren’t up reading.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed above are completely my own.
Pages: 368 (eBook)
Publisher: Kensington Books
Published: March 29, 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Ella has not had it easy since her father died unexpectedly and left her alone with her stepmother and two stepsisters. She has had to do whatever her stepsisters did not want to do which is everything from cooking, cleaning and working in the family store. Her stepmother lets the girls get away with everything while making Ella look and feel as if she is worthless. An unfortunate event has plagued the family and something must be done to save the family store. When a young man starts visiting Echo Creek for his father another store owner life gets interesting for all. Will this be Ella’s chance to shine?
Sarah Price has done a wonderful job in the retelling of Cinderella through an Amish perspective. It makes it very fun and interesting. My favorite line in the story is Ella’s mother’s final words, “Be kind and have faith.” What a powerful line. I have found myself repeating that many times since I have finished the book.
This book is great for teenage readers (and adults) who want to read a clean romance without the crude sex scenes and unneeded obscene language that is finding its way into young adult books.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley. Any and all opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Pages: 448 (eBook)
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Published: April 17, 2018
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
As World War II blazes through Europe and Hitler becomes a menace, Augusta “Gusta” Neubronner is sent to live with her grandma she barely knows in Springdale, Maine. Her father was escorting her but in Providence they became separated so she trudges on until she finds her grandmother’s doorstep. She brings very few possessions but her treasured French horn as made the journey with her. As she learns her way in life and the new town will the French horn be able to save her and her family as family secrets start leaking out at the seams?
What a treasured read. The book is loosely based on the author’s own mother’s life as a child during wartime in Maine. You can see the trueness of the story shine through the words on the page. I was enthralled with this different aspect of a children’s book during World War Two. As a reader you learn about Alienation registration and how children treated other children who seemed un-American based on their name or look. At times it reminded me of what is going on the America today with the immigration disputes among people.
This may be a children’s fiction book but anyone who loves a good story, no matter the age, will find themselves cheering gutsy Gusta as she learns her way in life.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Candlewick Press through NetGalley. All opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Published: November 7, 2017
The Sound of Rain is thought-provoking and comforting all at the same time. Judd Markley finds himself in South Carolina after recovering from a mining accident that took Joe, his baby brother’s, life. Joe always wanted to move to SC and Judd is trying to live the life Joe wanted. Judd starts working at the local timber company and starts spending time with the owner’s daughter, Larkin. Larkin has a mind of her own which she is just starting to show to those around her. Her dream is to move to Appalachia and help those in need. She sees the ticket to Appalachia through Joe not realizing he does not want to go back. Through many ups and downs including Hurricane Hazel Judd and Larkin find themselves falling for one another. Is Judd just a pawn for Larkin’s father and Larkin herself or can love overcome the economic difference in their lives?
I took my time reading this book as it made me think. I thought about the time period (1950s) it took place and wondered how I would have chosen to live my life. Would I have wanted to be unselfish and volunteer my time helping others or would I have lived in the moment and had fun hanging out with friends dancing and finding the right husband? Maybe having been into money the choice was easy for Larkin?
I admired Judd in basically starting a new life with barely a duffel bag full of clothing in a city and state he had never been too and working at a job that he had no experience working. I would have been terrified.
Judd talks about how he was not real religious but he knew God was there for him always. Even though he was not a church-going man he never lost his faith in God when things got trying. I found that refreshing in that a character could have faith without it being thrown at the reader every other page.
Whether you are a Christian fiction reader or not I suggest you grab a copy of this book. Sarah Loudin Thomas has outdone herself with her newest novel. This novel was clean with no sex, foul language or violence. It would make a great Christmas gift for the older teenage girl, grandma or best friend in your life.
Thank you to the author and Bethany House Publishers for a copy to read in exchange for my honest review in my own words.
, Published: November
Publisher: Pangram YA
Published: September 12,2017
A heartbreaking read. That is the only way I can describe this book. I am so glad to have read it. I started reading this book at 4am and rarely put it down until I was finished. Being a substitute teacher it made me think about some of the students I see on a regular basis and how you truly never know what is going on at home.
Becca is a high school student trying to pass her classes while raising her baby sister and trying to keep her family together. During a moment of anger she tells her mom about her step-father’s cheating and things spiral out of control quickly. Follow Becca as she tries to put her family back together again and learns how strong she really is.
You will cry, scream at the injustice of the CPS system and the cruelty kids can inflict on one another. I would definitely use this book in my high school classroom in hopes it would teach kids to have compassion and to build each other up instead of tearing each other down out of spite and meanness.
Thank you to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review based on my words.