DECEMBER

Slacker by Gordon Korman
This was a slow start for me. Cameron Boxer just wants to play competitive video games. Only. But his parents are putting the pressure on him so he starts a new club at school, the Positive Action Group (PAG). Things snowball and complications arise as in any good story. Almost everyone learns that doing good stuff makes you feel good. It just take Cam a while. Interesting minor characters in this one. Good 3rd+

The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
I'm indecisive on this one as to whether it's too edgy for MS. There are n words, and some slang, but all in context.


Two Truths and a Lie by Ammi Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson
Fun non-fiction. Plants, animals and humans. Weird stories that are presented to decide their truthfulness.

Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
This may be the first time I've reread this since 1964 after it won the Newbery. I'm a bit more sensitive to the scriptures and the departures from the faith. The message of love overcoming darkness is notable, but I missed the element of sacrifice that is so evident in the Narnia stories or even Harry Potter. It's definitely uplifting. 4th+

the Undrowned Child by Michelle Lovric
Micki Amick has been after me to get this for a few years. It's a fantasy about the salvation of Venice in 1899 by the Undrowned Child and the Studious Son. Interesting fantastical creatures from mermaids to flying cats. But I had to drag my self through this. I don't think I ever really conected to Teo or Renzo. Some of the torture was pretty grotesque. Maybe YA for violence.

All We can Do is Wait by Richard Lawson
A small group of teens find themselves in a waiting room of a hospital where victims of a terrible bridge collapse are taken. We learn deep secrets about each of them as they open up to each other. Too much sex for middle school.

The Plot to Kill Hitler by Patricia McCormick
The life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer I didn't know any of this part of WWII. But it was the full life development of Bonhoeffer's beliefs that moved me the most. He was entirely committed to his beliefs which meant living and dying for Christ. Well-written.

Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Castle Cranshaw (Ghost) can run. But a coach sees serious possibilites in him. Ghost just has a lot to get away from--his scary past and his uncertain present. This isn't a simple story, but it deals honestly with hardships. a quick read. Good for 4th+

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
This is pretty quick story about a boy who is linked deeply to his grandfather whom his mother has deep hurt by. Clayton tries to escape the hard hearted reactions of his mother by running away but things don't go according to plan. Really good. Some study of the blues might help with a deeper understanding of this, but the story is universal.


You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
This was lovely. Something of a love story of three generations of Bengali women. Each has to deal with identity. Beginning with Ranee and Rajeev Das who settle in Flushing New York in the '70s with their two daughters Tara and Sonia (Starry and Sunny) all the way through the grand daughters Chantal and Anna (cousins), each must decide what their heritage and home are. Touching. 5th+

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
Inspector Armond Gamach is the Poirot of Three PInes Quebec. In this one there is a death by fright in a haunted house. And Gamach is being subverted from every side. Well done. Adult. Some sexual humor makes this less middle school appropriate than Agatha Christie.

Camino Island by John Grisham
I do like reading Grisham. This one looks at the steamy world of booksellers. HA. Starting with the theft of five F Scott Fitzgerald manuscripts from the Princeton vaults and moving to a quiet Florida island, this one has the usual interesting characters and great plot twists. Right to the end. Excellent. and very Adult.

A Rule Against Murder by Louise Penny
book 4. Armond and his wife are in a remote lodge where they always spend their anniversary. Unfortunately this year there is also a family reunion fo four siblings and their horrible mother. Murder ensues of course. I'll admit I found satisfaction in figuring out how it happened although not the murderer. This was a good one and dealt with Gamach's past with his father. Definitely Adult.

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones
Victorian mystery. Annis finds her world turned upside down with the news of her father's death. She knew he was a spy although no one ever said anything. Now she is in possession of national security information. This is pretty classic but adds an element of magic. Annis can sew a glamour into anything. It was a bit slow starting, but had a nice complicated ending. More to come. Good although I prefer Etiquette and Espionage. YA.

Patina by Jason Reynolds
She carries so much that she has to tell herself to stand up straight. Her mom is legless and has to have dialysis. She's raised by Momly, her auntie, who is white which is what her classmates see. She talks her baby sister to sleep every night. Her school is made up of hair-flippers. ugh. And she runs. To win. This is a bit more plausible for me than Ghost, but still good. Quick read. 4th+ Very good.