Princess Academy

Princess Academy

My daughter’s assessment of Princess Academy was “Really good, but not at all what I was expecting.” That seems quite accurate to me. Due to machinations of the plot, a tutor from the lowlands comes to Mount Eskel to try to get a bunch of mountain girls trained up enough that one of them can … [Read More...]

Look Out DC

Look Out, Washinton, D.C.!

Look Out, Washington D.C.! is a Polk Street Special, part of The Kids of Polk Street School series. I haven’t read any of the Polk Street School books before, and this wasn’t the best introduction to the characters—there were some interpersonal dynamics, nicknames, and phrases I didn’t fully … [Read More...]

No Talking

No Talking

Both of my kids love No Talking, and once I finally read it, I can see why. Inspired by a school report on Mahatma Gandhi, Dave decides to stop talking for a day. In the process, he ends up coughing his way out of an oral report he was supposed to give with Lynsey. At this point, what might have … [Read More...]

Wonder

Wonder

I’ve been meaning to read Wonder for ages, but even though it came out over two years ago, it’s still nearly impossible to find in softcover (to keep down the expenses of this site, I try not to buy hardcovers very often). I eventually borrowed it through my daughter’s middle school library … [Read More...]

Enola 5

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline

In her fifth book, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, Enola meets Florence Nightingale and rescues her landlady who is sweet, deaf, and more observant than Enola bargained for. We learn a bit more about the horrors of war, the plight of the poor, and the devastation that can occur when those … [Read More...]

Ungifted

Ungifted

Ungifted is the story of Donovan, a very academically average kid, who through a series of circumstances accidentally ends up in the district’s school for the very gifted. It’s not like he’s actually brilliant and no one ever noticed—it doesn’t take long for everyone to realize he … [Read More...]

Enola Holmes Book 3

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets

Continuing my summer binge of Enola Holmes, next we get the third novel, The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets. Dr. Watson, who Enola views from a distance as a father figure, has gone missing. No one has any clues. Enola disguises herself and befriends Mrs. Watson, gaining entrance to the Watson … [Read More...]

Fever Crumb

Fever Crumb

Review written by Jocelyn Koehler. Fever Crumb takes place in the grim darkness of the future (about the year 3030), where the city of London endures by scavenging the relics of long ago ages: plastic chunks and computer motherboards. Some old knowledge is preserved, but in a warped form. The … [Read More...]

The Rag and Bone Shop

The Rag and Bone Shop

The Rag and Bone Shop is the last book Robert Cormier wrote before his death, and it was published posthumously. I'll admit I'm not a big Cormier fan, although the last time I read one of his books, I was the age of the target audience. Several decades haven't really made me more of a fan. A … [Read More...]

When Dogs Blog

When Dogs Blog

Madison Morgan: When Dogs Blog is the story of Madison who loves dogs and wants nothing more than a dog of her own. When she finally convinces her stepfather to get her a dog, he bring home Lilly, a small rescued dog. Lilly isn’t at all what Madison imagined, but as she learns about the almost … [Read More...]

Horrible Harry Kickball

Horrible Harry and the Kickball Wedding

I had my doubts about any book starring a character called "Horrible Harry," but at least in Horrible Harry and the Kickball Wedding, Harry isn't really all that horrible. He's a bit of a prankster and he prefers to be the center of attention, but he's actually kind of sensitive and figures out how … [Read More...]

Moonsilver

Moonsilver

Moonsilver is the first book in The Unicorn's Secret series. It’s written for newly independent readers, with short paragraphs and less than 100 pages. Like many books like this, it also takes some short cuts on character development, but it’s a more complex world than many books for young … [Read More...]

The Giver

The Giver

My daughter is reading The Giver in her 8th grade English class, so I used that as my excuse to finally reread this pioneer of middle grade dystopian literature. It holds up pretty well. There are some things that may seem a bit clichéd or predictable, but it reminded me of when I finally watched … [Read More...]

Enola 6

The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye

The Enola Holmes series reaches its conclusion in the sixth novel, The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye. While I’m kind of sad to see the series come to a close (I read the last five novels in a summer binge), I have amazing respect for an author who knows when and how to end a series. You might be fine … [Read More...]

Enola Homes Book 4

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan

The fourth Enola Holmes novel, The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan, may be my favorite so far. Enola sees Lady Cecily, the titular character of The Case of the Left-Handed Lady. She’s in the “care” of two very controlling women, but she manages to send Enola a clue by leaving her pink fan … [Read More...]

Enola Holmes Book 2

The Case of the Left-Handed Lady

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of Sherlock and Mycroft. In her second novel, The Case of the Left-Handed Lady, things get kind of dark for the 14 year old who is living on her own. London is a dirty and dangerous city, full of destitute and desperate people. Enola is struggling to make a … [Read More...]

Flipping Out

Flipping Out!

Flipping Out! is the 14th book in the My Sister the Vampire series. I managed to get this one through Amazon without jumping through any hoops, but interestingly it’s the British version! (You can tell by the extras U’s.) This novel is a welcome return to form as both sisters are back together, … [Read More...]

It's NOT Just a Dog

It’s NOT Just a Dog

It's NOT Just A Dog! continues the story of Madison and Cooper which began in When Dogs Blog. You don’t necessarily need to read When Dogs Blog first, but I’ll assume you’ve at least read the review. The school year, during which Madison and Cooper shut down a puppy mill, is over. Cooper is … [Read More...]

Aurius

Aurius

Full disclosure: As I write this review, I'm sitting at a game convention. I spent the last week helping my daughter put the finishing touches on a couple of costumes she'll be wearing here. I may have actually been the worst possible audience for Aurius. Aurius tells the story of Jacob, a 15 … [Read More...]

The Tiger Rising

The Tiger Rising

The Tiger Rising is quite short, just over 100 pages with chapters of 3-4 pages each. However, there’s a lot contained in this slim volume. It has “Literature Circle Questions” at the end because it was pretty much designed for that kind of situation—short enough for everyone to read, with … [Read More...]