The Goat

The Goat

By Anne Fleming

Berkeley: Groundwood Books, 2017.

Grades: 5 – 7    Genre: Realistic Fiction   Pages: 154

This is a quirky little book about a so-called goat living on the top of a 12 story building in New York City. This is a series of short stories that is combined into one story about a boy named Kid. Kid came from Toronto with his parents to dog sit, for Cat (short for Catherine the Great) a distant cousin’s dog.

The story is told in short segments by home-schooled and very shy Kid, her friend 61T8RFOslAL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_Will whose parents died in the Twin Towers on 9/11 and harbors many fears, a man who is recovery from a stroke, a blind skateboarding author and a man with many regrets who might just know something about mountain goats. All these characters come together to tell a humorous and heartfelt story of life—overcoming fears and believing some things are just worth looking for!

Author Website: Anne Fleming

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Ink

Ink                                     

By Alice Broadway

New York: Scholastic, 2017.

Genre: Science Fiction   Grades: 6 and Up

I just hadn’t found a good dystopian novel since Hunger Games and Maze Runner until I read this amazing science fiction novel, Ink. The story opens with a grieving Leora, a sixteen year old girl who has just lost her father—he was her everything. They lived in a time when people were either marked/inked with tattoos to be remembered or were blanks and forgottens.

Now I know this sounds terrible but when a person dies their skin is removed, flayed from the body to preserve the tattoos that cover their bodies which tell their life story.  These stories are preserved in books and gives those who live on a sense 32827036of who they are and where they came from.  As Leora and her mother grieve life begins to spin out of control. Unrest between the Inked and Blanks begins to stir up just as Lenore is struggling to find out what job she is meant to have and who she really is.

I loved the story as it is a story about faith, traditions and folklore and what happens if you question that faith.  I found the story intriguing and engaging—teens will love this book.  Other the idea flaying people it is void of bad language, sex and violence.

Author Website: Alice Broadway

Positively Izzy

Positively Izzy

By Terri Libenson

New York: Blazer and Bray, 2018.

Grades: 5-7   Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction

You met Emmie in Libenson first novel, Invisible Emmie—now meet Izzy and her two sisters—Dani in 10th grade and Ashley who is in 6th grade and Izzy’s friend, Brianna. In middle school sometimes you get a label—like jock or nerd but Izzy’s nickname was dreamer and Brianna’s was the brain.  Sometimes you like what label you get and sometimes you don’t. Brianna likes her label and tries to live up to it every day but Izzy’s label not so much—she just always has a hard time focusing in class!  Funny thing about labels, sometimes they restrict you from other adventures one might be missing out on! izzy

One thing Izzy for sure dreams about is acting—she loves to act and she can’t wait to show off her talent in the Middle School Talent Show. Brianna wants nothing to do with the talent show—especially since her mom is the new drama teacher—she also does not want to tarnish her label. Unexpected happenings occur just before the talent show—one girl gets grounded and the other gets “forced” on stage—drama for sure!  

To Catch a Killer

To Catch a Killer

By Sheryl Scarborough

Scholastic, 2017.41gsWP78F9L

This was a really great read!  If you loved, Blood Will Tell by April Henry, get ready as Scarborough ramps up the intensity of this double murder!  Erin at the age of two was found at sitting in a pool of blood next to her murdered mother. She never knew her father, so Erin’s mother’s best friend Rachel raised Erin—staying right in the same town.  Erin has always been known as the kid whose mom was murdered.  Even fourteen years later—people feel sorry for her. Erin is tired of not knowing who killed her mom so she befriends the biology teacher who has a passion for forensics—and that person ends up dead too!  Now instead of searching for a murderer, Erin is trying to defend herself as she becomes a suspect in the teacher’s murder! I thought this was a great YA murder mystery-as every character is a suspect.

Breakout

Breakout

By Kate Messner

New York: Bloomsbury, 2018.

I love everything that this author writes and Breakout is no exception!  Nora Tucker, is so looking forward to summer break away from her middle school routine.  Swimming, reading and just hanging out with friends top her list. With under two weeks of school left her language arts teacher gives an assignment (for extra credit for next year). Students must submit five items to a Wolf Creek Community Time Capsule that will be opened in fifty years.  Nora is intrigued with Breakoutthis assignment and since she loves journalism she decides that this will help her keep her skills up so that next year she can be editor of the school newspaper.

Wolf Creek is a small community of predominately white families and is home to one of the state’s maximum security prison. Most of the community works or is somehow connected to the prison. Nora’s father runs the prison. Everybody knows everyone in this small community.  During the last two weeks of school a new black family moves into town and Elidee is in the same grade as Nora.  As Nora talks with Elidee she finds out that her brother is in the town’s prison and they moved to Wolf Creek to be closer to her brother so that they could visit and support him as he serves his thirteen year sentence.

During the last week of school everything has been put on hold and the school goes into lockdown as two dangerous prisoners have escaped prison. Road blocks and restrictions in place for weeks as they try to track down the escapees. At first Nora is intrigued as she interviews police, guards and even some national press—then all that Nora believes is turned upside down.  She comes to realize that most families in Wolf Creek are white, most of the guards at the prison are white and most of the prisoners are black and her new friend Elidee gets different treatment than her white friends do in Wolf Creek. Nora is now grappling with racism as she completes her summer assignment.

This books is told from multiple perspectives (poems, articles, interviews, texts) and is great for voice and character development. Loved this book!

Be Prepared

Be Preparedummer

By Vera Brosgol

New York: First Second, 2018.

Grades: 5 -7  Genre: Graphic Novel Realistic Fiction

Please come get me from summer camp—I hate it!  Heard this before? Vera is desperately trying to fit; first at a sleep over birthday party and then at camp. Vera is the girl at the birthday party who made her gift, has a worn out sleeping bag, has no “American Girl like” doll and her Russian background makes her a little naïve. At night they talk about going to all kinds of summer camps for the summer—not Vera as they could never afford that; her mom is just finishing school and dad pays no child support.  But then Vera finds out that her Russian Orthodox Church gives preparedscholarships for a Russian Summer Camp—here students do all the regular camp stuff and polish up their Russian and learn a little more about their home country.

Vera is all in—either that or it hanging out with her little brother all summer. Camp is not any easier—Vera age 9 is put into a tent with two 14 year old girls named Sasha.  The two Sasha have been coming to this camp and bunking together since they were six—and this is just the beginning of a two week sad stay at camp O.P.P.A. When mom comes to pick her up—she informs her that she is done with school and has a job interview out of town and she has enrolled her for 2 more weeks of camp.  Come along with Vera and see if she can ever fit in at camp!

This book is loosely based on the author’s experiences at camp—it will make your heart ache and hopefully make you more accepting of others who are different!

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

By Stacy McAnulty

New York: Random House, 2018.

Grades: 5 and Up

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Meet Lucy Callahan she has acquired servant syndrome! You might ask; what does that mean? At age 8 Lucy was struck by lightning while climbing on a wire fence during a thunderstorm, she was rendered unconscious and her heart stopped for about 5 minutes until a maintenance man used a defibrillator to bring her back to life. After that day Lucy, known as “Lightning Girl,” can solve almost any math lightningproblem, even college math problems because a part of her brain became damaged. Amazing right? This condition exists in real life—although very rare.

Fast forward 4 years—Lucy is now 12, is home schooled, has scored a perfect score on her SAT’s and has taken many college math courses and is now trying to go to seventh grade in a public school! Which would be all well and good except Lucy also has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She knows that she could keep her genius math skills a secret but there was no hiding of her compulsions—the need to sit stand 3 times before actually standing, taping of her feet, the compulsion to sanitize everything she touches.

Follow this heartwarming story of a young girl who can calculate anything except the probability of friendships and hardships of middle school!  I loved this book even though it has a dog in it!  LOL

Sparrow

Sparrow

By Sarah Moon

New York: Scholastic, 2017.

sparrowGenre: Realistic Fiction

Grades: 7 and Up –has some language issues deals with suicidal ideation.

This story opens with Sparrow in mental ward/psychiatric ward. She was taken by ambulance when she was found on the roof of the school.  Sparrow says that she wasn’t trying to commit suicide but no one believes her. Sparrow’s mom checks her out of the hospital and sets appointments with Dr. Katz.

This is Sparrow’s story of being different, being very shy, and being bullied at school. The story takes you along her path of recovery, finding herself and reconnecting with her mom.

The Lifters

The Lifters

By Dave Eggers

New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2018.

Genre: Fantasy

Grades: 5 and Up

Gran, his sister Maisie and his parents need to move because money has gotten tight and there is no longer work for his mechanic dad. Mom stopped working when she stopped walking and started using a wheelchair a few years ago.  So they move to the tiny town of Carousel, into an old, crooked family homestead. To make the move even worse they move in the middle of the school year.  But the town of LifterCarousel is a sad and odd town. No one really even notices Gran—but he notices Catalina and when he follows her one day to see where she lives, he sees her use a silver door handle to open a hillside and walk in!  He is amazed and he must find out why she keeps going underground. Against Catalina’s frequent protests they become friends and she lets him in on the secret of why she goes underground and who is trying to destroy the city of Carousel. 

I thought this was a delightful fantasy—loved that hope triumphs despair! 

 

 

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

By Stacy McAnulty

New York: Random House, 2018.

Grades: 5 and Up

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Meet Lucy Callahan she has acquired servant syndrome! You might ask; what does that mean? At age 8 Lucy was struck by lightning while climbing on a wire fence during a thunderstorm, she was rendered unconscious and her heart stopped for about 5 minutes until a maintenance man used a defibrillator to bring her back to life. After that day lightningLucy, known as “Lightning Girl,” can solve almost any math problem, even college math problems because a part of her brain became damaged. Amazing right? This condition exists in real life—although very rare.

Fast forward 4 years—Lucy is now 12, is homeschooled, has scored a perfect score on her SAT’s and has taken many college math courses and is now trying to go to seventh grade in a public school! Which would be all well and good except Lucy also has obsessive-compulsive disorder. She knows that she could keep her genius math skills a secret but there was no hiding of her compulsions—the need to sit stand 3 times before actually standing, taping of her feet, the compulsion to sanitize everything she touches.

Follow this heartwarming story of a young girl who can calculate anything except the probability of friendships and hardships of middle school!  I loved this book even though it has a dog in it!  LOL