Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Truly Devious

Truly Devious (Katherine Tegen Books, 2018) by Maureen Johnson is a fun mystery covering two time periods–an unsolved crime from the 1930’s and present day mysteries. Both are set at the Ellingham Academy, a private school in Vermont.

Student Stevie Bell knows everything there is to know about the cold case of kidnappings and murder. And now she gets to examine the premises firsthand. Unfortunately, Truly Devious, has returned. Will he kill again?

The novel switches back and forth between the past and present providing fascinating tidbits of detail. It’s a compelling read and is the first book in trilogy. I’m midway through the second book–The Vanishing Stair–but unfortunately will have to wait till January for the third–The Hand on the Wall.

Maureen Johnson is a best-selling YA author. Check out all her books here. and read about the author here.

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Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Nowhere Boy

Nowhere Boy (Roaring Brook Press, 2018) by Katherine Marsh is a fascinating tale of two boys whose lives intersect in Brussels, Belgium. Ahmed is fourteen and from Syria, and all alone. Max is thirteen and from America. From different cultures and struggling with both sides of the refugee question, the boys form a bond of friendship.

Don’t pass this book up. It’s a 2019 Bank Street Best Children’s Book and a 2019 American Library Association Notable. See other praise here.

Read about author Katherine Marsh here. Katherine is not afraid to venture into difficult subjects in her books. I recommended one here. I need to read her other middle grade books, too.

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Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Journey of the Pale Bear

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

I always expect great stories from Susan Fletcher and was not disappointed with Journey of the Pale Bear (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018), although I didn’t think the prologue was necessary.

The story starts in spring of 1252 in Norway, when young hungry Arthur steals a rabbit haunch. The runaway gets shoved into a cage with an ice bear and squeezes out safely after giving the rabbit to the bear. This experience causes Arthur to be drafted to take care of the deadly bear on a ship to England. Arthur wants to reach his father’s people in Wales, so despite his fear of the bear, he agrees. But many dangers await the boy.

The book is an SCBWI Golden Kite honor book. Read about the author here and all her books here. I love, love her dragon series.

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Posted in Award Winners, MG Novels, So Many Good Books

Orphan Island

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Orphan Island (Walden Pond Press, 2017) by Laurel Snyder is an unusual tale that had me asking so many questions.

Nine orphan children live on the island. And every year, on one specific day, a boat comes. Inside the boat is a new orphan who is here to stay. The oldest orphan on the island gets in the boat and it leaves. None of them know how the boat works.

Jinny doesn’t want the Change to happen. She doesn’t feel ready to become the Elder, to lose Deen who has been her constant companion, to take up her Care–the newest orphan. Why do they have to follow the rules anyway?

I think you’ll find the story fascinating as I did. It’s an award winner–see all the details on the author’s site.

Laurel Snyder is a middle grade and picture book author. You can read about her here and check out all her books here.

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Posted in PB, So Many Good Books

The Rabbit Listened

I’m a day late for Perfect Picture Book Friday, but The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld is definitely a qualifier.

When Taylor has a big disappointment, chicken wants to talk, bear wants to shout, and elephant wants to remember. Four other animals stop by with suggestions, but Taylor doesn’t “feel like doing anything with anybody.” But then the rabbit comes and he listens.

Such a sweet story that can help children deal with disappointment. The pictures are adorable, too.

Read about the author/illustrator here and check out her other books here.

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