Close to Famous – Joan Bauer

7992862Close to Famous by Joan Bauer

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: February 1st, 2011
Publisher: Viking BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Food, Family


BLURB:

When twelve-year-old Foster and her mother land in the tiny town of Culpepper, they don’t know what to expect. But folks quickly warm to the woman with the great voice and the girl who can bake like nobody’s business. Soon Foster – who dreams of having her own cooking show one day – lands herself a gig baking for the local coffee shop, and gets herself some much-needed help in overcoming her biggest challenge – learning to read . . . just as Foster and Mama start to feel at ease, their past catches up to them. Thanks to the folks in Culpepper, though Foster and her mama find the strength to put their troubles behind them for good. Continue reading

One for the Murphys – Lynda Mullaly Hunt

one-for-the-murphys-335x512One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 10th, 2012
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family Relationships, Fostering

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BLURB:

Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she’s learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care. When she’s placed with the Murphys, a lively family with three boys, she’s blindsided. Do happy families really exist? Carley knows she could never belong in their world, so she keeps her distance.

It’s easy to stay suspicious of Daniel, the brother who is almost her age and is resentful she’s there. But Mrs. Murphy makes her feel heard and seen for the first time, and the two younger boys seem determinded to work their way into her heart. Before she knows it, Carley is protected the boys from a neighbourhood bullly and even teaching Daniel how to play basketball. Then just when she’s feeling like she could truly be one of the Murphys, news from her mother shakes her world. Continue reading

Counting Thyme – Melanie Conklin

25938399Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: April 12th, 2016
Publisher: Putnam
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family

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BLURB:

After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush, and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours, and days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home. Continue reading

Escape from Mr.Lemoncello’s Library – Chris Grabenstein

16054808Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: June 25th, 2013
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Adventure, Games

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BLURB:

Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high. Continue reading

Counting by 7s – Holly Goldberg Sloan

15937108Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: August 29th, 2013
Publisher: Dial Books
Point of View: 1st & 3rd Person
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Grief

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BLURB:

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life…until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read. Continue reading

George – Alex Gino

24612624George by Alex Gino

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: August 25th, 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Point of View: 3rd Person
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, LGBT

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BLURB:

BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not…. Continue reading

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

20912424The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: January 8th, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Historical Fiction, WWII, Disability

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BLURB:

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother? Continue reading