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

Orbiting Jupiter

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Need a good middle grade read? Easy. Read a book by Gary D. Schmidt (two-time Newbery Honor winner). Orbiting Jupiter (Clarion Books, 2015) was no exception. It’s labeled young adult, but the main character is in sixth grade. I think if it was published now, it probably would be labeled middle grade, although there are definitely tough topics.

Sixth-grader Jack and his family are taking in an eight-grader. They’ve been warned, Joseph tried to kill his teacher, and he has a 3-month old daughter he’s never met. But when Joseph comes, Rosie, the cow loves him. According to Jack, “You can tell all you need to know about someone from the way cows are around him.” Does that mean having Joseph in their lives is easy? No. But you’ll have to read it to see what happens.

This is such a heartfelt heart-breaking book–a mixtures of sadness and joy.

Read about Gary and his books here.

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

Learning not to drown.

Learning not to drown. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2014) by Anna Shinoda is such a spooky good read. Gripping. Puzzling. Moving. Hard to put down.

You know right away that something bad has happened, but not what. The book is divided into THEN chapters and NOW chapters.

Seventeen-year-old Clare has let her memories of THEN cloud over and NOW she’s working on focusing on the good memories. But there’s a thing about skeletons in the closet–they won’t stay there.

I don’t want to say too much about this story of a great girl in a dysfunctional family, but her mother made me so angry.

The book was translated into German and received a German Academy of Literature for Children and Young Readers) Book of the Month Award in 2015. Anna doesn’t seem to be active on her website, but you can check it out here. (That may be because she’s married to musician/singer Mike Shinoda.)