Sunday, November 29, 2015

Books make excellent holiday gifts!

Books make excellent holiday gifts!

Here are some new ideas for the young book lovers on your shopping list:

Teen Book Gifts:

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon
Teens will love this star crossed romance about secrets, lies, love, and discovery. “love makes the world go round” or in this case, “love makes everything, everything go round”.

The Rest of us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
"What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who is suppose to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?"  Teens will be able to relate to the characters in this book and they love the dialog as well.

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
“My friends can’t know about my OCD or the debilitating, uncontrollable thoughts, because my friends are normal. And perfect. They pride themselves on normalcy and perfection, and they can’t ever find out how far I am from those two things.”
  It's great to see teen books that deal with chronic mental illness. Samantha McAllister has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed with dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. Teens will relate to the peer pressure of high school, the desire to fit in, the struggle of overcoming obstacles, and the power of friendship.

Walk On Earth A Stranger by Rae Carson
"Trust someone, Mama said. Her dying words, burned into my heart. But she was wrong. When there’s gold to be had, you can’t trust anyone. Not a single soul."  "This is book one of a new trilogy (The Gold Seer). I loved this historical fiction -  mixed with magic - mixed with an adventure journey - book. Set in Gold Rush era America, teens will love the spirit of adventure and the American history with a magical twist.

If you are still at a loss for a gift for your teen, check out

Middle Grade Book Gifts:

Marvels by Brian Selznick
“That’s what life is, Joseph realized, miracles and sadness, side by side.”
This book is two seemingly unrelated stories--one in words, the other in pictures. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle's puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries. Middle grade readers always love Brian Selznick's amazing books.

The Tin Snail by Cameron McAllister
"Some things aren't meant to be. The rest aren't meant to be yet."
Loosely based on the true story of a tiny car in 1940s wartime France. The Tin Snail faces a tough challenge: to carry a farmer and his wife, a flagon of wine and a tray of eggs across a bumpy field in a sleepy French village - without spilling a drop or cracking a shell.

There are so many Middle Grade books posted on this blog; please flip to past posts to fill your gift list.

If you still can't find a gift for your middle grade reader, check out 

Happy Holidays!

And, Happy Reading!

Monday, November 9, 2015

with all my heart and then some

This weekend I read House Arrest by K.A. Holt. I love novels written in verse, and this story about 12-year-old Timothy did not disappoint.  It was amazing.

Here's an excerpt from the jacket cover:

Stealing is bad.
I know.
But my brother Levi is always so sick, and his medicine is always so expensive.

I didn’t think anyone would notice,
if I took that credit card,
if, in one stolen second,
I bought Levi’s medicine.

But someone did notice.
Now I have to prove I’m not a delinquent, I’m not a total bonehead.

That one quick second turned into
a judge
a year of house arrest,
a year of this court-ordered journal,
a year to avoid messing up
and being sent back to juvie
so fast my head will spin.

It’s only 1 year.
Only 52 weeks.
Only 365 days.
Only 8,760 hours.
Only 525,600 minutes.

What could go wrong?

This is a beautiful story about empathy and pride and sacrifice and family and devotion and choices ... and one domino falling on another and another, with seemingly no end in sight.
Boys don't write in journals,
unless it's court-ordered.
At least, this is what I've figured. 

Middle grade and young adult readers will love Timothy and I am so excited for them to read this story. The book is Timothy's court-ordered journal. His voice is authentic and he has a huge heart.

We're fine. 
Please don't worry. 
It's not like we live in a cave in China. 
Or a hut in Africa. 
It's not like there are flies circling my face. 
Or clods of dirt caked on my feet. 
We have enough. 
We're OK. 
Please, Mrs. B, don't talk about social services again. 
We're doing our best. 
We're fine.

Life throws a lot at Timothy and we get to process emotions and learn right along with him. Readers will be able to relate to how good people can get caught in bad systems. It is hard to show others how deep your sorrow can go, or how immediate your family's need really is.

One year ago. 
Like one of those machines 
where the ball falls in a bucket 
and knocks over a bottle 
that lights a match 
that pops a balloon 
that scares a chicken 
who lays an egg 
that cracks in a pan 
and makes your breakfast for you. 
One year ago it all started. 
One year ago I made this crazy meal 
that I am still eating.

I loved this book with all my heart and then some.