Book Review: Summerlost by Ally Condie

summerlostBook Review: Summerlost by Ally Condie

When tragedy strikes Cedar’s family, they buy a home closer to her extended family to spend the summer. There, Cedar takes a job working a Shakespeare festival and meets Leo. Together they have some adventures and learn about friendship and love.

I picked up this book because A) Ally Condie is a great writer and B) I heard her talk about why she wrote this book on an author panel. It is a very honest book without being forced. I loved the quiet friendship between Leo and Cedar, but I also loved the brother sister relationship in this book and the complexity of the characters

Quotes

On why Cedar liked to hang out with Leo:

I wasn’t sure why. But if I had to guess, I would say it was because I liked talking to Leo. He always seemed to be thinking about something. His brain was very busy.

I wanted to go along with him, tag along with his mind like a hitchhiker, so that I could keep my brain busy too.

On missing someone

“You don’t have to know someone all the way to miss them,” Leo said, “Or to feel bad that they’re gone.”

On tunnels…and so much more.

As we came out of the hallway, I pretended that the whole world had secret tunnels, where people could walk straight to wherever they really wanted to be and ignore all the meanness in the middle.

I wiped my eyes on my sleeve before Leo could see.

Recommended Grades: 5-8
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion:   Recommend
Source: Book

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Book Review: I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

princessxBook Review: I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

Libby and May were inseparable friends who worked on a comic together called Princess X. When Libby is killed in a car crash, all the pictures Libby drew are suddenly gone. May tries desperately to find them, but is unsuccessful. Then, one day when she is out and about, she sees their heroine on a sticker. With the help of Patrick; local IT guy, May follows the clues to see if Libby is somehow alive, or if it is all just a trick.

I loved this book and totally understand why it is a Texas Lone Star winner this year. The plot is quick moving and keeps you hooked. I loved the comic graphic novel and text format that seemed so appropriate to the story. I think the cover is beautiful and naturally has high girl appeal. My manga guys will pick it up, but I had to con a few boy into picking it up, before it caught on with that audience. The audio for this is well done because it narrates the illustrations. I listened to part on audio, but liked looking at the novel so switched over to the book.

Quote that cracked me up~

Which meant he had about eight weeks to pull something amazing out of his butt.

His butt wasn’t being terribly helpful.

Recommended Grades: 6-10
Genre: Mystery (includes a graphic novel)
Overall Opinion:   Recommended
Source: book and audio

Book Review: The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

honesttruthBook Review: The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Mark and his dog Beau take off on an adventure as Mark comes to terms with his sickness. Tired of hospitals and treatments, Mark runs away to complete one final task with the help of his trusty sidekick.

Told in alternating points of view between Mark and his best friend Jessie, this book is a beautiful tribute to friendship and the perseverance of the heart. Some great wordsmithing without getting too lofty, and sure to appeal to middle grade students. I love how Mark talks about how his poetry helps him view the world.

Quote on crying:

“Sometimes crying is easier when someone is crying with you. But sometimes that only makes it worse.”

Quote on writing

So there was a beautiful quote on writing, but my camera cut off part of it (operator error) and I don’t want to misquote. In the middle I love this part: “An idea came, slow and shy.” What a great look at how ideas form!

Recommended Grades: 5-8
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion:   Recommend
Source: Book

Book Review: Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala

unicornsBook Review: Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala

After the death of her mother, Talia goes to stay with a friend of the family while her father goes out to study whales. Through new friends and new adversity she learns about herself and comes to understand what love really means.

Soooo. I LOVED this book. With all caps people. There are a few sections that bored me…but I’m sure someone will geek out on that part (I skipped-sorry), but I loved the message in this book about loving and loss.

Quotes-there are a ton, and only because I made myself stop. Here are my favorite ones:

On leaving: “And when I finally turned back around in my seat it felt like we were going in reverse because I’d been watching the road move away from us for so long. That’s what leaving is like. Watching things slip away from you until your insides ache and everything feels backwards.”

On feeling whole: “Dad needed those whales-he needed them like I needed Mom’s stories, because sometimes you just need something bigger than yourself to feel whole.”

On believing: “Everyone has to believe in something Talia,” she said. “And sometimes, instead of giving up hope, we tell stories that make the impossible possible.”

On regretting a kiss: “But it was too late to take it back. Turns out that kissing is sort of like talking. You can’t un-kiss anyone any more than you can un-say something.”

On love: “Loving someone means that sometimes you have to risk getting messy. It’s not always fun, but it’s always better than being alone, or watching someone you love hurt alone.”

Recommended Grades: 5-8
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion:  Highly Recommended
Source: Book