Front Desk – Kelly Yang

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Front Desk by Kelly Yang

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Published: May 29th, 2018
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Based on True Events, Family, Friendship, Immigration


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Front Desk tells the story of 10-year-old Mia Tang. Every day, Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel while her parents clean the rooms. She’s proud of her job. She loves the guests and treats them like family. When one of the guests gets into trouble with the police, it shakes Mia to her core. Her parents, meanwhile, hide immigrants in the empty rooms at night. If the mean motel owner Mr. Yao finds out, they’ll be doomed! Continue reading

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Sheets – Brenna Thummler

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Sheets by Brenna Thummler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Diamond Comic Distributors
Published: August 28th, 2018
Publisher: Lion Forge
Recommended Age: 7+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Graphic Novel, Ghosts, Family, Friendship


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Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen year old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she’s worked for. Wendell is a ghost. A boy who lost his life much too young, his daily routine features ineffective death therapy, a sheet-dependent identity, and a dangerous need to seek purpose in the forbidden human world. When their worlds collide, Marjorie is confronted by unexplainable disasters as Wendell transforms Glatt’s Laundry into his midnight playground, appearing as a mere sheet during the day. While Wendell attempts to create a new afterlife for himself, he unknowingly sabotages the life that Marjorie is struggling to maintain. Continue reading

The Science of Breakable Things – Tae Keller

The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller
The Science of Breakable Things by Tae Keller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Random House BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family, Mental Illness, Friendship


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An emotionally-charged new classic about the science of hope, love, and miracles! Natalie’s uplifting story of using the scientific process to “save” her mother from depression is sure to take root in readers’ hearts! Continue reading

The Night Diary – Veera Hiranandani

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The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: March 6th, 2018
Publisher: Dial Books
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Journey, Family, Siblings


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It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together. Continue reading

Everlasting Nora – Marie Miranda Cruz

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Everlasting Nora by Marie Miranda Cruz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: October 2nd, 2018
Publisher: Starscape Books
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Slow/Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Real Life Matters, Poverty


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After a family tragedy results in the loss of both father and home, 12-year-old Nora lives with her mother in Manila’s North Cemetery, which is the largest shanty town of its kind in the Philippines today. When her mother disappears mysteriously one day, Nora is left alone. With help from her best friend Jojo and the support of his kindhearted grandmother, Nora embarks on a journey riddled with danger in order to find her mom. Along the way she also rediscovers the compassion of the human spirit, the resilience of her community, and everlasting hope in the most unexpected places. Continue reading

Soof – Sarah Weeks

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Soof by Sarah Weeks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: October 9th, 2018
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Recommended Age: 7+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Realistic Fiction, Love


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All her life, Aurora has heard stories about Heidi and all the good luck she brought Aurora’s family. Aurora, though, doesn’t feel very lucky. The kids at school think she’s weird. And she’s starting to think her mom thinks she’s weird, too. Especially compared to Heidi. On the eve of a visit from Heidi, more bad luck hits Aurora’s family. There’s a fire in their attic, destroying a good part of their house. And, even worse, Aurora’s beloved dog goes missing. Aurora and her family have always believed in soof — Heidi’s mom’s word for love. But sometimes even when soof is right there in front of you, you still need to find it — and that’s exactly what Aurora is going to do. Continue reading

The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson

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The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Friendship


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All 12-year-old Marinka wants is a friend. A real friend. Not like her house with chicken legs. Sure, the house can play games like tag and hide-and-seek, but Marinka longs for a human companion. Someone she can talk to and share secrets with. But that’s tough when your grandmother is a Yaga, a guardian who guides the dead into the afterlife. It’s even harder when you live in a house that wanders all over the world . . . carrying you with it. Even worse, Marinka is being trained to be a Yaga. That means no school, no parties–and no playmates that stick around for more than a day. So when Marinka stumbles across the chance to make a real friend, she breaks all the rules . . . with devastating consequences. Her beloved grandmother mysteriously disappears, and it’s up to Marinka to find her–even if it means making a dangerous journey to the afterlife.
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