Monday, November 30, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week.  I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books.
Lenny & Lucy


I met Philip and Erin Stead at NCTE 2015 and got to get this book signed. I am a huge fan of their work. This book, like their others, is packed full of feeling and meaning. All it takes is one good friend to make life better. The emotions Erin Stead is able to express in her illustrations are palpable. Beautiful story. Beautiful book.
The Tiara on the Terrace (The Wig in the Window, #2)


Best friends Sophie and Grace, now famous in their town of Luna Vista for solving a previous mystery, are back at it again! This time a new crime is committed during the 125th Winter Sun Festival - and who better to figure it all out than our town heroes?! I loved the humor, over-the-top floats, and obsessed parade organizers in this one. Full of twists and turns, this middle grade mystery kept me entertained and guessing all the way through. This will be a favorite alongside The Wig in the Window in my classroom! I loved running into Kristen Kittscher at NerdcampMI and NCTE - she is such a nice person, and I thank her for this ARC and a few goodies that came with it!
The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles, #1)
I enjoyed this fantasy book about 16-year-old Jack, a fierce soccer player living in Trinity, Ohio. He has to take medicine daily because of a heart issue - a thick scar on his chest evidence of surgery when he was small. Everything changes, though, when he skips his medicine one day. His true identity is revealed when he becomes stronger and more aggressive. The ending had me turning pages quickly - I wanted to know how it would be resolved. Loved it! I'll be book-talking this!

The Seventh Wish
This book reeled me in hook, line, and sinker. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Kate Messner writes the perfect middle grade novel: accessible, captivating, realistic (even when there's magic), emotional, suspenseful, and honest. Twelve-year-old Charlie has a lot going on. She wants a very expensive, very beautiful solo dress for Irish dance (what an interesting sport for a main character to pursue - I've had a couple students involved in Irish dance, and I find it fascinating), a strained relationship with her college sister, fear of the ice (which in most places wouldn't be a big deal, but this is the Northeast and ice fishing is a popular activity), and a major crush on the cute boy at school. When an unusual fish in the shallow ice gives Charlie an opportunity to grant wishes, of course she takes him up on it. However, even Charlie knows you have to be careful what you wish for. Charlie's life is about to get even more complicated when her family finds out Abby, Charlie's sister, has a drug problem. What will she wish for then? Messner presents this real-life problem delicately but honestly. Perfect pairing with Jennifer and Matthew Holm's Sunny Side Up. Another aspect of the story is Charlie's family's wordplay game.  I grew up with a family who loves words, so even though we didn't play that exact game, we had several others, so I could relate.  I look forward to passing this ARC on to students.  Read Kate's blog post about this book here.

Wow. Creepy. Captivating. Disturbing. I don't know quite what to say. A cross between Grasshopper Jungle (scary bugs) and The Giver (discussions of a perfect society) maybe? I also saw that David Etkin compared it to Patrick Ness's A Monster Calls - that's a good comparison! I wouldn't quite call it horror, but it was close. I can't really imagine recommending it to kids, but I loved the writing. The story was just super weird. At the same time, the message was profound. I listened to it - great narrator!


Circling the Sun


Serafina and the Black Cloak (Serafina, #1)



  1. A cross between Grasshopper Jungle and The Giver has me intrigued! I also really need to read more Kate Messner--love the description here and also the idea of pairing with Sunny Side Up, a recent favorite of mine.

  2. Oh boy, this has already become an expensive Monday - so many great reads shared today!

  3. I really really hate having to wait for The Seventh Wish! I went to see Kenneth Oppel last October with a few multiage (grade 5/6/7)classes. Their teachers read The Nest to them following the visit. I am actually afraid to read it....

  4. I just reviewed Nest too, and I agree that it is very scary. I don't know why it's labeled as middle grade. Thanks for sharing about the latest Kate Messner book. I always enjoy them. I loved Lenny & Lucy-so sweet!

  5. We are currently reading The Seventh Wish too - Such a powerful story that we are also having trouble putting it down.

  6. You hae books on here that I love and ones that I know I will love! Lenny & Lucy is such a special book. So many layers, and beautiful. Jealous that you met them at NCTE! I was so sad to miss this year, but I was needed at home.
    I am so glad you liked The Tiara on the Terrace. I get so blown away by Kristen's ability to write a mystery!
    The Nest and Seventh Wish are two that I really want to read. I am not one for scary books, but I love Oppel's writing, and I love Kate!

    Happy reading this week! :)

  7. The Nest!!! I want to read this one so badly, I've loved Kenneth Oppel's books since I was in his target audience, so I'm sure I'll love this one too, even if I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to creepy stories....I'm often surprised by what scares/doesn't scare kids these days, a lot of them have seen scarier movies on TV than even I can handle....but then, like I said, I'm a bit of a wimp... :)