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

Dog Driven

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Dog Driven (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2019) by Terry Lynn Johnson is quite the scary adventure.

It’s risky enough for any teen to participate in the Canadian Great Superior Mail Run dog race, but for fourteen-year-old McKenna, who has hidden her deteriorating sight from her family, it could mean death for her and her dogs. But she is determined to win this race to encourage her younger sister Emma in her battle with Stargardt, an eye disease. Afterwards, she’ll tell her parents about her vision problems. And maybe she can help eight-year-old Emma gain some independence, too.

The author puts you right on the trail with McKenna and her dogs so you hear and feel what’s going on. As I said above, it’s scary to see what McKenna risks, but her determination is believable. Plus there are letters from the late 1800s about this mail run that increase the tension of the story.

Earlier I recommended her award winning book, Ice Dogs. I missed reading Falcon Wild, which I need to catch up with. Her newest book, is Rescue at Lake Wild–coming soon. Read about Terry Lynn Johnson here.

Note: Dog Driven is aimed at ages ten to sixteen according to the publisher.

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Posted in So Many Good Books, YA Novels

Saint Anything

Saint Anything (Viking, 2015) by Sarah Dessen was written for “all the invisible girls.” I definitely felt like one in high school, though nothing like this main character.

Sydney’s older brother is the focus of the family. She’s used to not being seen. So when her brother makes the news in a bad way, Sydney decides to change schools where she can go back to being anonymous. But will starting over help her sadness?

This book is SO good. The author really made me feel for Sydney. I enjoyed other characters. Definitely disliked a few, too. The ending was very satisfying.

Sarah Dessen is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. Check out her books here.

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

Allies

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Allies (Scholastic Press, 2019) by Alan Gratz is an amazing story of diverse parts of D-Day over the course of 24-hours through the eyes of seven different characters. Soldiers, paratroopers, medics, resistance fighters, a girl retrieving a forgotten bathing suit–so many in an impossible situation. Somehow the author fits it all together.

The story starts with sixteen-year-old Dee, a US soldier, who has a secret–one he can’t let his best friend discover. Will he survive the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944? Will the others we meet?

Bestselling author Alan Gratz has written many books for young readers, including four more set in this time period–Grenade, Refugee, Projekt 1065, Prisoner B-3087. Read about all his books here. Read about the author here.

Read more about Allies, including awards, here.

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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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