Beverly, Right Here – Kate DiCamillo

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Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: September 2019
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Recommended Age: 7+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Death, Friendship, Love


REVIEW:

It is so clear, to me, why Kate DiCamillo is such a beloved children’s writer. She writes with such thoughtfulness and elegance. She gives voice to young girls who don’t always realize that they have one and that it most certainly deserves to be heard. She makes you want to listen to children more often and actually consider their words carefully. Continue reading

The Dragon Warrior – Katie Zhao

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The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: October 15th, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Friendship, Family


REVIEW:

Truth be told, I finished this book a few weeks ago, but somehow I find much easier to review books I’ve either adored or hated. Because, usually, those books get me all fired up. This story… did not. It’s a good beginning to an original and diverse middle grade series, don’t get me wrong, but it’s also one of those books that you need to remind yourself to finish because your heart just does not automatically turn their way. Continue reading

A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying – Kelley Armstrong

42281823A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: August 2019
Publisher: Puffin Canada
Recommended Age: 9+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Action, Animals


REVIEW:

I love that Kelley Armstrong, a Canadian author known for her Young Adult and Adult series, is writing middle grade stories. I like to see authors challenge themselves by stepping out of their comfort zones.

Alas, Kelley Armstrong needs to study the Middle Grade genre better. Not because she failed at it miserably – not true at all – but because I know she can be as successful writing middle grade as she is writing YA and Adult stories. Her writing style is very professional. Continue reading

Clean Getaway – Nic Stone

46310069Clean Getaway by Nic Stone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: January 7th, 2020
Publisher: Crown BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fiction, Family History, Road Trip, Humour


REVIEW:

My first 2020 release!

This is a fun middle grade novel about a naughty boy going on an adventurous road trip across the country with his effervescent and perhaps a little scheming grandma. William is on school suspension and his father is very mad at him. So of course he’s not going to ask his permission to leave with G’ma. Continue reading

Shouting at the Rain – Lynda Mullaly Hunt

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Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Family, Friendship Dynamics, Summer


REVIEW:

I don’t typically dislike being in the minority because I can stand my ground, especially when it comes to book preferences, but I can’t help but be disappointed right now. This is an author that I have read twice before and both times she managed to impress me, plus this book was enjoyed by 98% of the people who have read it. Yet Shouting at the Rain is not as entertaining as Fish in a Tree or as moving as One for the Murphys. Actually, it’s somewhat annoying. Continue reading

Anya and the Dragon – Sofiya Pasternack

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Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: September 24th, 2019
Publisher: HMH BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Adventure, Dragons, Magic, Friendship


REVIEW:

It should not be legal for a book that promises to be so exciting to end up being so… dull. I choose my Middle Grade reads wisely, because so few actually appeal to an older audience, even though I believe they should be for everyone, not just for children. Yet clearly I made a mistake this time by letting myself be wooed by the beautiful cover and the promise of an intriguing and entertaining plot. Continue reading

Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes

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Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: April 17th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Police Brutality, History, Racism, Family, Friendship, Ghosts


REVIEW:

Some authors write 400-page books and never manage to successfully convey their intended message to their readers. Jewell Parker Rhodes here wrote a 200-page story that brims with strength, power and importance. Continue reading