Love by the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers, June 2014) is a World War II historical fiction novel for teenagers with an amusing role reversal! Much like in stories like The Prince and the Pauper, in Love by the Morning Star, two girls get assigned to the wrong roles. When the attractive man takes interest, the crossed paths of the two girls confuses not only him but many others, leading to an amusing chain of events! (more…)
My Name is Maria Isabel by Alma Flor Ada (originally published 1993) is a thought-provoking story about a shy Hispanic girl growing up in the USA who finds herself in a new school. When her teacher decides to call her “Mary” instead of Maria Isabel, she misses opportunities and gets in trouble for not paying attention. In this brief collection of situations, reflections, and flashbacks, Maria Isabel’s story reflects on how important names and families are to our own personal identity. (more…)
When I was young, I loved Ann M. Martin’s books. Of course, I read The Baby-Sitter’s Club, but I also looked up everything else she wrote. The book I received for review consideration seemed eerily familiar as I read it, so I’m pretty sure I visited this once before.
Bummer Summer by Ann M. Martin (Open Road Media, April 2014) was originally published in 1983 and now it is being issued by Open Road Media as an ebook. This book is such a fun summer read. Kammy’s dad has just remarried a woman with a baby and a three-year-old girl, and her life is now turned upside down! She doesn’t want to lose her place in her house and her dad’s heart but they want her to spend the summer at Camp Arrowhead. Can she survive away from home? It is sure to be a bummer summer. (more…)
What is your favorite fairy tale? Mine has always been Beauty and the Beast; I loved the Disney movie when it first came out. I’ve always wondered, though, how the Beast became so beast-like so fast and that no one remembered him in that castle!
The Beast Within by Serena Valentino (Disney Book Group, July 2014) finally answers the questions we’ve had. It tells the story from the Beast’s point of view, showing through flashbacks how a family of witches came to curse him because he had slighted their younger sister. Finally, we can see the magic behind his enchantment! (more…)
I love books about words and I love fun stories about sisters. Ava and Pip by Carol Weston (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, March 2014) is both of those, told through a young girl’s diary. I have always (until kids, at least) been a regular journal writer as well, so I enjoy stories told from this perspective.
Ava is the out-going younger sister, and Pip is the shy and studious older sister. Although the two get along, when Ava writes something that embarrasses Pip, their relationship is strained. How can Ava help her sister overcome her shyness? The end result is inviting and encouraging to all kids who feel shy.
The story moves quickly. Other than the conflicts between Ava and her sister, it also gives us a delightful glimpse into the Wren family. As Ava writes in her diary, we follow their family’s interest (obsession?) with palindromes. Ava finds palindromes in everything around her, and the author includes a list of all the palindromes from the book at the end. What a great way to introduce a word-play concept: sneak it in to an interesting book!
In short, I really enjoyed Ava and Pip. I was the shy older sister; my sister was the outgoing younger sister. I think this is a book that girls with sisters would especially appreciate.
Note: I received a digital review copy.