Thursday, August 14, 2014

Recent Reads-Amazing!

I'm a pre-reader for our state award committee and our list is always long.  I only read enough to get me by and I generally pick ones that I think are worth it because I just don't have time to read each and every one of them  This year the first three that I picked up made me so happy as a reader and a librarian.

Doll Bones (2013) by Holly Black:  Creepy middle grade book done so well by the amazing Holly Black.  I loved that this one will appeal to boys and girls alike even though the word "doll" appears on the cover.  Poppy, Zachary, and Alice are close friends that have been playing "the game" for a long time and even though Zach feels a bit embarrassed he loves to play.  The three of them have a collection of odd ball dolls, action figures, and animal figurines and they build a story around their adventures.  It sounds amazing and creative to me.  Zach's dad unfortunately sees the toys a little differently and chucks the bag carrying his son's "toys" away.  Zach is crushed but instead of wanting to admit that to Alice and Poppy he pretends he isn't interested in playing anymore.  One of Poppy's dolls has a bit of history and the three of them are compelled to go on a journey to save her.  I will have a very easy time selling this book to students this year.

The Mark of the Dragonfly (2014) by Jaleigh Johnson:  What an incredible world Jaleigh created in  "The World of Solace."  Piper is an incredible character trying to make do as a scrapper in a scrap town on her own.  She ventures out of her routine when she finds Anna in a wagon after a meteor shower rains down on their village.  Her instinct is to protect her and she does even though she ends up far from home on a train bound for the capital.  I really enjoyed Anna's and Piper's journey and thought the addition of Gee, Trimble, and Jeyne added to the incredible story of escape and what it means to be a misfit in an already strange land.  Is there another one coming out? I hope to hear more about The World of Solace.

Winterling (2012) by Sarah Prineas: Fer has always had trouble fitting in and doesn't really understand what happened to her parents or why her grandmother keeps her under such a close watch.  When she meets a boy by the pond trying to protect himself from a couple of wolves she saves him and takes him back to her Gran-Jane to be healed.  As the young Rook meets Grand-Jane mysteries spill out that Fer doesn't understand and eventually her grandmother is forced to share her heritage with her granddaughter.  Fer's mother was The Lady of the Land on the other side of the Way and Grand-Jane's son fell in love with her and left. Now both are dead and the land on the other side needs Fer's help to be rid of the Mor who has a grip on the land and the people.  I love strong female characters and Fer is that.  She stands up for what she believes in and is more interested in having fun than grabbing power.  I liked this one so much I'm reading the 2nd in the series, Summerkin.

One not on the list but recommended by Tina Says: The Secret Hum of a Daisy (2014) by Tracy Holczer.  This one is realistic fiction which was a nice change of pace after all those magical lands swept me away.  Grace and her mother have spent all of their year together moving from one small town to the next in search of something they never truly find.  When Grace's mother dies unexpectedly Grace must go live with the grandmother that pushed her mother out of the house years ago.  Grace has to work hard to reconcile her feelings for her mother and what happened between mother and daughter before she was alive.  This novel explores so many excellent themes of parenting, grief, family, and home that it should be a read-aloud in many 5th-7th grade classrooms.  I will promote it as such and will recommend it for next year's list of could-be award winners.

If you are looking for a great read any one of these will do!

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