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Teaser Tuesday: Fuzzy Mud

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly post challenge hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Each week, I’ll be posting a teaser from my current read!

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On Saturday, I met the amazing Louis Sachar at the Boston Book Festival. To say I was freaking out would be a complete understatement!

I just finished reading Sideways Stories from Wayside School as a read aloud for my 3rd graders. Back when I was in 3rd grade, my teacher read Holes to us. Louis Sachar’s books stretch across so many children’s literature styles, and his books have remained popular across generations of readers.

His latest book, Fuzzy Mud, is supposed to be a “scary eco-bioterror-mystery-thriller-comedy,” according to Sachar’s recent interview with NPR. I can’t wait to read it and share it with the young Sachar fans I know!

 

Teaser from p. 21 of Fuzzy Mud:

“Her knee banged against one of the boulders as she scrambled over the mound. He was waiting for her on the other side, hands on hips, and annoyed look on his face. ‘What’s the point in taking a shortcut if I have to keep stopping and waiting for you to come pokeying along?’ ‘I’m not pokeying,’ Tamaya insisted.”

Do you have a Teaser Tuesday to share? Comment below and I’ll be sure to take a look!

Review: A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius

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A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius
by Stacey Matson

My Rating:
★★★★

Note: A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius will be released in the U.S. on Sunday, November 1st by Sourcebooks.

I’m always looking for engaging and interesting books that are told from a boy’s perspective, because I find that the boys in my classroom love connecting to the main character in that way. A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius was previously released in Canada, and reviews from readers on Goodreads convinced me it might be a good fit for middle grade readers here in the U.S.

Told through letters, journal entries, emails, progress reports, notes from teachers, newspaper articles, and other written mementos of 7th grade, A Year in the Life tells the story of Arthur Bean: a witty, quirky, hilarious and sensitive 7th grade boy. The story begins in October, when Arthur returns to school after a tragic family loss. Arthur immediately sets his sights on a writing prize that will be awarded to someone at his school at the end of the year, and decides to become famous through his writing. The one problem is that he doesn’t have any ideas for what to write about. While he waits for inspiration to strike, we learn about Arthur’s distain for Robby Zack (a classmate) and his crush on Kennedy (the cool girl in school). When Arthur is matched with Kennedy as a writing partner and is forced to tutor Robby, he has to confront his fears and learn how to navigate working with others. Meanwhile, he is also learning how to grieve as he and his father work through their first year without Arthur’s mother.

One thing I loved about this book was the style in which the story was told. Reflecting what may be a trend in YA and middle grade literature, the use of “artifacts” like letters, emails and notes to tell the story was engaging and effective. It gave each character a really unique voice, and it allowed us to see how Arthur’s personality is reflected in his school assignments as compared to his personal journal or his email interactions with others. Humor was very effectively used in this book, and it had me laughing out loud more than once! One particularly funny aspect was Arthur’s tendency to talk about other books and plot lines in an attempt to pass them off as his own – many of the books that are used will be known by middle grade readers, so they will be able to pick up on this humor.

One aspect of the book that I didn’t love quite as much was the voice given to Kennedy, Arthur’s crush and the “cool girl” of the 7th grade. Her part of the story was told through her emails to Arthur about their creative writing project. Her emails were written with an exclamation point at the end of every sentence, capital words written throughout, and LOLOLOL written throughout. While Kennedy’s character is known to be smart and clever, her written voice was very stereotypical for a middle school girl, and it would be nice to see her bubbly personality reflected in a different way. However, Arthur himself fights gender roles through his love of knitting and other interests, which may help some readers feel more included.

Overall, this was a very strong book for middle grade readers that asks big questions about life and loss. I can definitely see this book becoming a favorite of some 6th-8th graders. Fortunately, Arthur’s adventures aren’t over quite yet, as a sequel is coming soon from author Stacey Matson!

Classroom Connections

  • Much of the story is told through Arthur’s responses to classroom assignments given to him by his teacher. Many of these align strongly with what students will be doing in school. In particular, assignments like the interviewing of other people will help students in their own writing. Assignments from the book can be given to the class to strengthen their own creative writing. Students will also be able to compare their experiences with the assignment to the experiences of Arthur, Robby, and Kennedy.

Book Information
Title: A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius
Author: Stacey Matson
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Release Date: November 1st, 2015
Price: US $15.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
StaceyMatson.com

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this text from Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own!

Blog Tour: Pieces of Why

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PIECES OF WHY

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Pieces of Why
by K.L. Going

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My Rating:
★★★★

I am so honored to be a part of the blog tour for KL Going’s Pieces of Why from Penguin Group! This book addresses extremely heavy topics that unfortunately affect the lives of children and youth around the world. From gun violence to family drama and more, these real life issues are addressed by KL Going in a way that makes them a little more understandable for youth.

Synopsis

From the award winning author of Fat Kid Rules the World andThe Liberation of Gabriel King comes a lyrical, middle grade gem that asks all the hard questions and hits all the right notes–perfect for fans of Cynthia Rylant and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.

Tia lives with her mom in a high-risk neighborhood in New Orleans and loves singing gospel in the Rainbow Choir with Keisha, her boisterous and assertive best friend. Tia’s dream is to change the world with her voice; and by all accounts, she might be talented enough. But when a shooting happens in her neighborhood and she learns the truth about the crime that sent her father to prison years ago, Tia finds she can’t sing anymore. The loss prompts her to start asking the people in her community hard questions–questions everyone has always been too afraid to ask.

Full of humanity, Pieces of Why is a timely story that addresses grief, healing, and forgiveness, told through the eyes of a gifted girl who hears rhythm and song everywhere in her life.

Review

I’m a firm believer that music can heal. It can help us grow and change and accept the things that happen in our lives. Tia, the main character of Pieces of Why, believes the same, until one day she loses her voice after finding out the truth about a crime her father committed. In a family with a father she never knew and a mother who has kept secrets from her, Tia gets stuck thinking her voice doesn’t matter. Luckily, she has people like her best friend Keisha and her choir director to prove her wrong.

Taking place in New Orleans and addressing topics like gun violence, poverty, and crime, this book is an important tool to demonstrate how some youth are living today, and how they can use positivity and work with others to change things in their communities. While this book deals with very sensitive topics and should be previewed by a parent or teacher before given to a middle grade reader, KL Going’s truthfulness in telling this story is desperately needed in this genre. Some children and youth live their lives like Tia’s, with parents in prison or violence occurring right around the block. Those children need books that, like Pieces of Why, accurately represent their experiences while giving them characters to relate to.

If you are interested in a heavy but uplifting read that helps bring humanity to even the worst situations, Pieces of Why may be a good fit for you.

 Favorite Passages

On positivity:
“You know, sometimes if you’re having trouble creating something beautiful, you’ve got to find the joy in your life. Focus on the good things.”

On bad days:
“Certain days ought to come with warning notices. WARNING: This day will be hazardous to your health. Instead, most days start out normal. Maybe even better than normal. Which is so much worse.”

On being a teenager:
I looked up into the branches of the magnolia tree high above us, trying to imagine God sitting among the stars listening to Keisha’s wish turned prayer and deciding whether or not we were worthy of making out with boys in the backseat of a bus.”

Win a Copy of the Book!

Throughout the blog tour for Pieces of Why, you can enter to win three fantastic sets of prizes! Just click on the Rafflecopter Giveaway link below to enter.

A RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY

giveaway

1st Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, a Fat Kid movie, a signed Fat Kid original book cover, a signed poster of Saint Iggy and Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)

2nd Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, a signed paperback of The Liberation of Gabriel King, a sign poster for The Garden of Eve and a Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)

3rd Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, an audio edition of The Garden of Eve, a signed poster for The Garden of Eve and a Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)

About the Author

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KL Going is the award winning author of books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz honor book by the American Library Association, as well as one of the Best Books for Young Adults from the past decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild selections, winners of state book awards, and featured by Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Children’s Book Council as Best Books. Her work has been published in Korea, Italy, Japan and the UK.

KL began her career working at one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City. She used this inner knowledge of publishing to write Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel — a how-to book for aspiring writers, published by Writer’s Digest. She has also written short stories for several anthologies and currently has two picture books under contract for future release. She currently lives in Glen Spey, NY where she both writes and runs a business critiquing manuscripts. To visit KL on-line go to www.klgoing.com.

Book Information
Title: Pieces of Why
Author: K.L. Going
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: 2015
Price: $16.99
Source: Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
KLGoing.com

Note: I received an Advanced Review Copy of Pieces of Why from Penguin Group. All opinions are my own.

Review: Max the Brave

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Max the Brave
by Ed Vere

My Rating:
★★★★★

Note: Max the Brave will be released on Tuesday, September 1st by Sourcebooks. A link to preorder is included at the bottom of this review.

I loved this cute picture book that is perfect for early readers! Kids who find this book as a read aloud or in their classroom libraries will fall in love with little Max, a brave kitten who chases mice… even though he doesn’t know what a mouse looks like. To explain what this book is about, here is a great trailer from the publisher:

The illustrations in this book are great, and they make the book memorable. The fun illustrations of animals and Max’s universe are well done, which is a must for picture books. The great use of color for the page backgrounds draws in the reader as well.

The concept of this book is definitely a winner for early readers, and it’s very reminiscent of P. D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother? Students will love following along as Max encounters the different animals and learns their names.

The language in this book is definitely within reach for the K-2 audience, but also challenges students to recognize different synonyms and phrases. This is a great challenge for early readers, and also makes this book a perfect fit for classroom read-alouds.

I expect this fun book to be appearing on lots of primary classroom shelves this fall, and probably lots of children’s bedroom bookshelves as well!

Classroom Connections

  • This book would be a great way for students (especially English Language Learners) to solidify their understanding of animal names. Luckily, the website for Max the Brave comes with a fantastic Activity Kit that includes an animal matching activity! You can find the activity kit here.
  • Many of the activities in the activity kit center around discussions of bravery. Max the Brave is a great unit for understanding character traits like “brave” and “persistent.”
  • The Max the Brave website has a great, Common Core-aligned educator’s guide that reviews important vocabulary words, looks at synonyms used in the book, practices sequencing, and more. These great guidelines for kindergarten, 1st grade, and 2nd grade classrooms can be found here.

Book Information
Title: Max the Brave
Author and Illustrator: Ed Vere
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Price: US $16.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
Sourcebooks.com

Note: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this text from Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. All opinions in this review are my own!

Teaser Tuesday: The Marvels

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly post challenge hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Each week, I’ll be posting a teaser from my current read!

This week, I’m doing something a little different for Teaser Tuesday. I haven’t started reading The Marvels yet, but I’ve pre-ordered it on Amazon and I can’t wait for my copy to arrive in September.

This week, Brian Selznick released a book trailer for his latest middle grade book, The Marvels. As all my friends know, Selznick’s two previous books (Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret) are two of my favorite historical fiction reads of all time.

The trailer for The Marvels doesn’t disappoint. Taking place from the 1700s to the 1990s, it seems like The Marvels will be another great historical fiction read for 4th-6th graders.

Teaser from the book trailer of The Marvels:

“Joseph was lost. Somewhere far away the headlights of a car swept through the snowy night. He stopped to rest beneath a low passageway off an ancient cobblestone street. A single rusting street lamp flickered nearby. He put down his heavy suitcase, dried off his glasses, and coughed. Joseph was shocked he’d made it all the way to London without being caught. But then again, the headmaster at St. Anthony’s was probably relieved he was gone…”

The full book trailer is available to watch here:

Do you have a Teaser Tuesday to share? Comment below and I’ll be sure to take a look!

Review: Everything, Everything

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Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon

My Rating:
★★★★★

Note: Everything, Everything will be released on Tuesday, September 1st by Random House Children’s. A link to preorder is included at the bottom of this review.

I loved this book in so many ways, it might be hard to explain them all. Trust me when I say this book is absolutely, positively worth your time. It makes you think, reflect, laugh, and cry all at once, and you’ll learn so much through the story.

Madeline F. Whittier is an 18-year-old girl who lives her life trapped in a bubble. As a baby, a chain of illnesses led to a diagnosis of SCID – a disease that basically means Madeline is allergic to the outside world. She has never left her house, where air filters and windows that don’t open keep her safe. Her only connections with society come in the form of her mom, her nurse Carla, and her Tumblr friends.

That’s until Olly arrives. When a family moves in next door, Madeline (or Maddy, as Olly calls her) quickly unlocks the world around her in more ways than one. A life path that was once predictable and safe becomes “unknown and unknowable.” Madeline finds out the truth about the world around her, and learns the difference between being alive and truly living.

A summary doesn’t do this book justice, because there is so much more than the cliche romance some might expect from a book about a sick girl and a boy who “saves her.” In fact, as Madeline says, “I’m not a princess. And I don’t need rescuing.” Olly and Madeline have their own problems and their own solutions for them. Their relationship doesn’t fix everything, and it’s not perfect (nor should it be). Their relationship is largely about respect, which sets a fantastic example for YA readers. Maddy and Olly’s is a romance in which Olly thinks Maddy is “funny and smart and beautiful in that order, and the order matters.” Their relationship is admirable, sweet, relatable and beautiful all at once, and that’s one of the highlights of Everything, Everything.

The creative way the story is told will captivate readers, especially young adults. Beautiful prose from Madeline’s perspective is mixed with IM transcripts, childhood diary entries, school notes, and other creative “artifacts” from Madeline’s life. Breakout writer Nicole Yoon’s unique style makes this book a page turner, and the pacing is absolutely perfect. Passages that are meant to be funny are absolutely hilarious, and parts of the story that are meant to be inspirational are relatable and honest instead of preachy.

As the tagline of the book says, “the greatest risk is not taking one.” This is a book that takes risks, and asks the reader to come along for the ride. Addressing issues such as growing up, mental illness, race, and more, this book is one that will speak to a young adult generation that is socially conscious and wants to learn more about the issues that affect others. While Yoon takes risks in her subject matter and the way in which she tells the story, it’s the risks that Maddy and Olly take that will captivate readers and make this a favorite of many for 2015.

This is the type of book I can’t wait to talk to people about, because it’s filled with so much wisdom and inspiration mixed with youthful optimism, and I can’t wait to hear how it speaks to readers differently. Reserve it at your local library, pre-order it on Amazon, or find some other way to get this book in your hands this September. This book truly has everything, everything.

Book Information
Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Illustrator: David Yoon
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Price: US $21.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
Penguin Random House

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this text from Random House Children’s. All opinions in this review are my own!

Review: The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying)

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The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying)
by Neil Swaab

My Rating:
★★☆☆

Note: The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying) will be released on Tuesday, September 1st by ABRAMS Kids. A link to preorder is included at the bottom of this review.

When I picked up The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying), I expected to find a mix of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the 2000s classic TV show Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. The cover and description led me to believe that the main character, Max Corrigan, would lead the reader through some of the trials and errors experienced in middle school, while showing us how to take the high road. Instead, Max absolutely takes the low road through the entire book.

The book is set up in an interesting way, with narrator Max speaking to “you,” the new kid, who just arrived at his school. Max gives you advice and tips as you navigate your first 5 days of school. During those days, you get in trouble with the Principal and try to make your way into all the social groups. Meanwhile, Max is dealing with his arch nemesis, Kevin, who has it out for you too.

While the concept of this book sounds interesting and engaging for the 4th – 6th grade set, I don’t expect it to appear on classroom shelves anytime soon. Unfortunately, the book is filled with inappropriate language, references that will not click for the intended age group, raunchy humor, and off-color jokes. Students may have a tough time understanding the use of words like “goons,” “scrubs,” and “amazeballs.” References to people like Louis C.K. may go over the heads of 10 year old readers.  Jokes comparing teachers to Nazis are present in this book, as well as thinly-veiled swear words.

Additionally, the advice given by Max Corrigan will not help students, and may in fact get them in serious trouble. Hopefully, readers will realize that much of the book is satire, but if they don’t, they will be left with advice on how to hack people’s social media accounts, scam students into giving them money, and use swears and rude language to interrupt class. In an era where cyber bulling is a real and scary concept, advice on how to hack the passwords of classmates should not be given to students.

Secrets to Ruling School does have some redeeming factors, including the fantastic illustrations done by Neil Swaab and the engaging plotline of Max’s struggle with his nemesis, Kevin Carl. Additionally, a plot twist readers won’t be expecting adds intrigue to the story. Parts of the book are laugh out loud funny with appropriate humor, but this book only receives 2 stars because appropriate humor is unfortunately hard to find.

The publisher recommends this book for the 10-14 age group. I think the book is inappropriate for 10 and 11 year olds, and 12-14 year olds will find most of the humor childish. While Neil Swaab has great promise as an illustrator and children’s author, his first book does not seem to be a good fit for classroom shelves.

Book Information
Title: The Secrets to Ruling School (Without Even Trying)
Author: Neil Swaab
Publisher: ABRAMS Kids
Release Date: September 1st, 2015
Price: US $13.95
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
NeilSwaab.com

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this text from ABRAMS Kids in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own!

Teaser Tuesday: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly post challenge hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Each week, I’ll be posting a teaser from my current read!

Last year, I saw a review for Where’d You Go, Bernadette on my friend Madeleine’s blog over at Top Shelf Text. It sounded fascinating, and it immediately went on my (never-ending) TBR list. I sort of forgot about it until last week, when Sarah Dessen tweeted about it and put it back on my radar.

I was in the bookstore the other day with a bunch of books I was considering when I saw this cover, dropped everything, and immediately bought a copy. With a great synopsis and awesome reviews, I just had to pick it up. After finishing the book the next day, I can say it lived up to the hype! A review will be coming soon.

Teaser from p. 81 of Where’d You Go, Bernadette:

“When ‘Here Comes the Sun’ started, what happened? No, the sun didn’t come out, but Mom opened up like the sun breaking through the clouds. You know how in the first few notes of that song, there’s something about George’s guitar that’s just so hopeful? It was like when Mom sang, she was full of hope, too.”

Do you have a Teaser Tuesday to share? Comment below and I’ll be sure to take a look!

Review: Brilliant

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Brilliant
by Roddy Doyle

My Rating:
★★★★½

Note: Brilliant will be released in the U.S. on Tuesday, September 8th by ABRAMS Kids. A link to preorder is included at the bottom of this review.

After visiting Dublin last year, I absolutely fell in love with the culture, music, and whole country of Ireland. I was very excited to pick up this middle grade book from Roddy Doyle, an accomplished Irish author. Brilliant takes place in Dublin, with the entire story taking place in the 24 hours leading up to the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade. In addition to having plenty of references to the Irish way of life, Brilliant is a fantastic fantasy-inspired take on how we can work to help those around us overcome depression.

Brilliant begins with the story of Gloria and Raymond, two children whose lifestyle changes when their Uncle Ben moves in. Uncle Ben doesn’t have the money to pay for his mortgage, and has fallen into a deep depression. Although there is still a lot of talking and chatting and laughing in their house, Gloria and Raymond notice a lot more mumbling – something they think adults do so that children won’t hear things that are serious and sad. When eavesdropping on the mumbling one night, they hear their grandmother say that the Black Dog of Depression is on Dublin’s back, and that it’s stolen Dublin’s funny bone. Raymond and Gloria head off to destroy the Black Dog of Depression, beginning a night-long journey across Dublin. Along the way, they meet other children whose families are suffering from depression, as well as talking animals that give them advice on their journey. The children of Dublin come together to rid Dublin of depression, learning some lessons about happiness and sadness along the way.

One thing I loved about Brilliant was the way Doyle was able to capture kids’ thoughts on paper. Gloria and Raymond were well-developed characters with their own fears, strengths, and personalities. Even though the narrator was telling the story in 3rd person, the concept of viewing the world as a child does was present throughout the story. The way in which the narrator discussed adults’ behavior and actions reminds adult readers that children know more than we think! The book was very honest about how children can be aware of things like depression and money troubles, and instead of it being kept a secret from them, knowledge can rid children of their fears. This concept was most present in the way the book approached issues of mental health. The book was honest about how depression is something that can’t be overcome immediately, and instead requires millions of small steps along the way. It’s not often that a children’s book confronts issues of mental health in such a powerful way, and Brilliant does it very well.

Another powerful aspect of Brilliant is the way it approaches language, and recognizes the complexities of how the words we use can affect us and others. The world “brilliant” becomes a rallying cry for the children because of its use in Irish culture, which is explained beautifully in the book. Meanwhile, the word “useless” is a weapon used by the Black Dog of Depression to make the children feel like nothing. Investigating the language used in this book can be a great way to incorporate Brilliant into a classroom curriculum.

Brilliant is a brilliant read, and it’s a great fit for middle grade readers, especially those that appreciate fantasy elements and relatable characters.

Classroom Connections

  • In Brilliant, words are both the heroes and villains of the story. The word “brilliant” is used to empower and create happiness and joy, while the world “useless” attacks people and tears them down. These “superwords” have the ability to affect characters when used in writing. Using vocabulary words from your classroom, ask students: if [example word] were a superword, would it be a hero or a villain? What are the word’s superpowers? For example, the word “bewildered” has the superpower to make a character perplexed and confused. The word “knowledgable” has the ability to give characters insight and awareness.

Book Information
Title: Brilliant
Author: Roddy Doyle
Illustrator: Emily Hughes
Publisher: ABRAMS Kids
Release Date: September 8th, 2015
Price: US $16.95
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

Find this book on:
Goodreads
ABRAMS Kids

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this text from ABRAMS Kids in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own!

Review: The Moon and More

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The Moon and More
By Sarah Dessen

My Rating:
★★★½

I’m an absolutely avid Sarah Dessen fan. I practically grew up on The Truth About Forever. When I pick up her new books, I love finding the connections between her books, marking my favorite quotes, and diving headfirst into the universes she creates. That’s why I was so excited to pick up a copy of The Moon and More in the bookstore last week. While I did enjoy the book, it wasn’t one of my favorites from Sarah Dessen, although I’m sure it would be engaging for many YA readers.

At the beginning of the novel, narrator Emaline is dating an attractive, funny, easygoing pool boy named Luke. In fact, she’s been dating him for the entirety of high school. Add in her friends Daisy (a fashionista) and Morris (her best friend from childhood), and Emaline seems to have it pretty good. However, she’s also trying to balance working at her family’s realty company with getting ready for college and dealing with a not-so-familiar figure from her past. Her father makes a reappearance after hurting Emaline by breaking a promise.

Right when her father shows up again, Emaline meets Theo: a charming, big-talking city boy who seems to think she deserves the whole world. Add Theo’s arrival to relationship issues with Luke, and Emaline doesn’t know which way to turn. Along the way, she’s trying to connect with her adorable half-brother Benji and say goodbye to the town she has called home for 18 years.

I loved Emaline’s character, and I was impressed by the way her character developed over the course of the novel. She really came in to her own, letting go of the past and taking hold of her own future. Her experiences as someone transitioning from high school to college were relatable, and the lessons Emaline learns are ones we all have to learn in one way or another. I thought Emaline was a memorable character in the Sarah Dessen universe, and I hope she shows up again in future books.

The reason this book is getting 3½ stars instead of 4 or 5 is because of the strange pacing of the novel. I’m used to Sarah Dessen’s books being page turners, simply because we want to know if the girl gets the guy or learns she doesn’t need him. In this book, it felt like some sections moved slowly; events seemed to drag on and go into too much detail. In other sections, I felt like we were asked to move too quickly to understand a character’s change in personality (*spoiler* for example, Theo goes from a charming, classy gentleman to a downright rude, judgemental city boy in about two seconds *end spoiler*). The book just didn’t seem to move in the same smooth, flowing way I’m used to from Sarah Dessen books.

I’ve heard fantastic things about Sarah Dessen’s latest novel, Saint Anything, and I’m absolutely willing to give it a chance, considering all of Sarah Dessen’s other books are near the top of my YA favorites list. While The Moon and More didn’t blow me away, it’s another solid read from a great YA author.

Favorite Passages

On Ups and Downs:
“The thing is, you can’t always have the best of everything. Because for a life to be real, you need it all: good and bad, beach and concrete, the familiar and the unknown, big talkers and small towns.”

On Moments:
“The truth was, there was no way everything could be the Best. Sometimes, when it came to events and people, it had to be okay to just be.”

Book Information
Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Year: 2013
Price: US $9.99
Source: Barnes & Noble

Find this book on:
Goodreads
SarahDessen.com