Posted in MG Novels, So Many Good Books

The Inn Between

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
The-Inn-Between-coverThe Inn Between (Roaring Brook Press, 2016) by Marina Cohen makes me think of the Eagle’s song Hotel California, but aimed at kids. I don’t know how else to describe this book–perhaps deliciously creepy. It’s definitely unforgettable. And hard to put down.
Eleven-year-old Quinn Martin’s best friend Kara Cawston is moving away so Quinn joins the family on a trip west from Denver through the Nevada desert. After a near accident they decide to stop at a hotel on the border between Nevada and California. When they arrive at the Inn Between, the hotel looks more like a Victorian mansion. They’re greeted by a uniformed doorman and inside discover the elevator has a live operator. The lady at the front desk greets them with “We’ve been expecting you” and doesn’t need a credit card for their stay. “Our policy is you pay when you leave.” Cell phones don’t work there; neither does the TV. But that’s just the beginning of weirdness. Can the girls solve the mystery of the hotel?
Interspersed are some past experiences of Quinn with Kara and with Quinn’s sister Emma.
At the author’s website Marina Cohen’s bio says, “In elementary school, one of her favorite authors was Edgar Allen Poe. She loved stories like The Tell-Tale Heart and The Pit and the Pendulum and aspired to write similar stories. She is a lover of the fantastical, the bizarre, and all things creepy.”
Check out the details on her other books.

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

Three Times Lucky

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday
3timeslucky.jpgThree Times Lucky (Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin, 2012) by Sheila Turnage is a murder mystery that won a Newbery Honor. I love how it opens: “Trouble cruised into Tupelo Landing at exactly seven minutes past noon on Wednesday, the third of June, flashing a gold badge and driving a Chevy Impala the color of dirt.” 11-year-old Mo and her best friend Dale don’t know it, but they’re going to get mixed up good in the trouble that has come to town.
A sequel came out this year, The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing, which features Mo and Dale working to solve another mystery in their unusual small town. I haven’t read it yet, but am looking forward to it!ghosts.jpg
On her website, author Sheila Turnage has a page for Questions Kids Ask Me AKA Report Homework–it’s fun. Plus on her site you can read about her other books.

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


Marvelous Middle Grade Monday

Grounded compGreat first line: “I’m alive today because I was grounded.” How could you not read on after that?
But there’s more than one meaning of “grounded” in Grounded (Feiwel and Friends, 2010) by Kate Klise. Besides being a really good story, the book has a sympathetic character and a mystery to solve. No wonder it is an award winner!
Daralynn’s brother, sister and father die in a plane crash. After her mother fixes their hair, shaves her husband for their funerals, she gets hired to do the hair for corpses at the mortuary. When her mother gets so good at doing hair that live people want her to do their hair, she uses the insurance money to open a beauty parlor. Daralynn/Dolly gets to help with the parlor. But then Clem comes to town with a crematorium which threatens her mother’s job. So Dolly (nicknamed so after all the dolls she got after the funeral) puts a plan into effect: living funerals, so you can hear what people have to say before you die.
This is my first time to read a book by Kate Klise, but I plan to read more. Look at her website and see all the other books. I recently saw a mention on twitter from a librarian about Kate’s book, Dying to Meet You. @tgaletti says its a popular book in her library. Guess that’s the one I’ll need to read next.