February


Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson
Sequel to Chains. It's been a while since I've read the others, so this was fresh. Curzon and Isabel have been separated again after escaping a horrific British prison for Patriot soldiers. This is the continued story of escaped slaves and the American Revolution, this time centered around Valley Forge. I'm calling it YA for the extreme (and necessary) descriptions of suffering and violence. Excellent historical fiction.

Now by Morris Gleitzman
Nothing in here makes this YA, but I will make it that in order to shelve it with Once and Then, the stories of Felix in WWII. This is now--in Australia during an extreme summer of brushfires. Felix is a grandfather and has Zelda, his granddaughter named after his friend from books one and two. Moving. Written with a wise little girl's voice--excellent.
The Thing about Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
Almost everything Kadohata writes has been historically interesting and touching. (Ironically Kira Kira--Newbery winner--wasn't my favorite) This one take an American Japanese family of harvesters into the summer where they drive combines and semitrucks with professional harvester families. Summer has to stay with her Japanese grandmother and grandfather and her "intense" younger brother during the year of bad luck. Touching. 4th+

Jackpot by Gordon Korman
Well, Korman just keeps chugging these out. This one is about a new kid who moves in on Griffin Bing's team while Griffin finds himself teaming up with his nemesis Darren Vader to find a 33 million dollar winning lottery ticket. OK 4th+

Every After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
Truly awful. Like watching a Disney channel show for tweens. Ugggghhhhh. I finished it for some closure reason. Shannon Hale should remove her name from this. Storyline: offspring of classic fairy tales have to have a signing where they succumb to their destiny. Raven Queen, daughter of the Evil Queen, has reservations. Iccckkkk. The efforts at being cool just come across as fake. This is whatever the opposite of Toats McGoats is.Did I mention it is awful?

The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage
Gems of dialogue make this special: "Harm jammed his hands in his pockets. "What if she, you know--touches me?" "A ghost touch?" Dale said, his eyebrows rising. "Speaking as a professional? I'd scream like a first grader and run for my life." "Sounds good," he muttered.
or, "The men in Dale's family have scandalous good hair."
The setting and characters make this relatively unique in kids' books. Small town south. This is a classic mystery/ghost story. And yes, the ghost is real. Excellent. 4th+

No Place by Todd Strasser
This was OK. The story line was fairly predictable. Dan is an all-star pitcher and senior in an upper-class high school. His parents have been out of work and finally lose their home. After a short stint with resentful relatives, they move to Dignityville. (worst name ever). The tent city in the town park is occupied by noble down and outers. Dan matures and bigots do awful things. It's too bad it's so pedantic. The concept would be a good one. Parts of it read like a pamphlet done by poor PR people. I never feel really connected to Dan. meh. YA for kissing?

Defy by Sara B Larson
Excellent fantasy/politcal intrigue. Much like Girl of Fire and Thorns, or Graceling, this is about a kingdom in conflict with magic being used as a weapon. Alex(a) must hide her womanhood in order to remain alive as one of the prince's guard. A few plot weaknesses (how does she hide how she urinates over a two week trek with enemy soldiers?) but not distracting. Lots of intrigue. and Romance (but not sex--hooray!) YA for longing. and violence.

The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A Nielsen
Closes the trilogy of the False PRince and the Runaway King. This one is more violent as war finally occurs between all of the kingdoms. It helps to be familiar with the cast of characters, but it wasn't too bad.