Sunday, August 31, 2014

Shadows of the Silver Screen by Christopher Edge

Penelope Tredwell is 13, but that doesn't stop her from owning the Penny Dreadful, a magazine filled with horror stories of her own writing.  No one knows the stories are written by Penny, as she writes under the name of Montgomery Flinch and has hired an actor to play the part of the now famous writer.  Talking movie pictures are beginning to capture the population of Victorian Britain's imagination, and a filmmaker has approached the Penny Dreadful for permission to turn one of Montgomery Flinch's stories into a movie.  But as filming begins, strange things begin to happen, and actors seem to be becoming their characters.  Penny must find out what's behind the horror before her own creation is the end of them all.

Shadows of the Silver Screen is the second in a series.  The first was Twelve Minutes to Midnight.  I don't think Shadows of the Silver Screen stands up well on its own.  It felt like all the character development must have been done in the first book, so it wasn't bothered with in this one.  It seems like Penny is suppose to be a plucky heroine,  but in action, she really wasn't that interesting and didn't really do very much.  She was under the spell of the magical movie camera as much as anyone else.  She didn't really do anything on her own.  She planned to, but then couldn't because of one thing or the other and had to be rescued in the end. 

Having not read Twelve Minutes to Midnight I don't know if that holds true in the first book as well, or if Penny is more interesting and more of a character.

The plot of Shadows of the Silver Screen was confusing and contrived.  The filmmaker has a camera that brings ghost into the world by taking the souls of others.  I didn't understand why he went to all the trouble of getting the rights to Penny's story, especially since he changed it dramatically to make it fit his own lost love story.  That was the foundation for the whole thing, and I didn't think that made a whole lot of sense so the story itself was a bit shaky.

I think there are much better, much more exciting middle grade mystery stories.  I would skip this one.

Shadows of the Silver Screen comes out September 1, 2014.

Monday, August 25, 2014


School Library Journal's movie review of The Giver.

Hoping to rejuvenate the love for The Boxcar Children, a full-length animated feature film is released.  From PW.

Ferguson public library offers lessons for students in limbo.  From SLJ.

Waukesha school committee denies parent's request to ban The Kite Runner and Chinese Handcuffs. From Waukesha Now.

A Pennsylvania school board restores Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale to a summer reading list.  From TribLive.

Chaos Walking trilogy gets new paperback cover release.  I like the original covers, but all for anything that gets the series more attention!  From PW.

National library lock-in event features authors, games, and Minecraft.  From SLJ.

J.K. Rowling writes a story featuring minor Harry Potter character, the “Singing Sorceress."  From Salon.

Jarrett Krosoczka tells us why lunch ladies are heroes.  From TED.

E. Lockhart on We Were Liars.  From The Guardian.

New children's bookstore opens in Boston: Make Way for Ducklings Store.  From PW.

Young adult fiction and its rabid discontents.  From Pop Matters.

Literary fiction writers tackling YA.  From Ploughshares Literary Magazine.

Why death is so important in YA fiction.  From The Guardian.

Searching for Anne of Green Gables on Prince Edward Island.  From The New York Times.

All the things I didn't get when I read The Giver as a kid.  From Slate.

A tale of two polls: support for the Common Core.  From NPR.

Dr. Seuss as a political cartoonist.  From Book Patrol.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

brown girl dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

Jacqueline Woodson tells the story of her early life in beautiful verse.  Woodson had the unique experience of growing up in both the South and the North in the 60s and 70s.  She never felt completely at home in either place, always missing somewhere.  Although very young, she was aware of the dramatic cultural shifts happening around her, even if she didn't really understand them.

Another beautiful book from Jacqueline Woodson.  Woodson started off her life in Ohio.  Her father did not like where her mother came from, South Carolina, where Black people had to sit in the back of the bus and say "yes sir" and "no sir" to white people.  He never wanted any of his children to have that experience.  But when Woodson's mother and father separated, they returned to her mother's home.

South Carolina was very different from Ohio.  Woodson and her siblings had lots of new rules to learn.  Despite her mother telling them they "were as good as anyone else" that was not how it seemed.  Despite the things she observes, Woodson and her siblings love living with their grandparents.  Their mother is often away in New York though, and after a time, they all move to New York.

Another move, another completely different cultural experience.  It's the 70s now, and with it comes the Black Pride movement and the Black Panthers.  Woodson is still to young to really understand what's going on.  But she can see that there are places where only Black people live, and places where only white people live.

Over the course of the story, Woodson also expresses her growing love of writing and telling stories.
 Sometimes she spins fantastical stories about things she's done.  They're things she wishes she had done, or places she wishes she had gone too.  Doesn't that make them kind of true?  Her stories get her into trouble sometimes, but she never stops.

It's Woodson's life, but it reads like historical fiction.  Simple and engaging, yet so much going on behind it.

I wonder about shelving this.  It should go in nonfiction, right?  It's the story of her life, told in verse.  But a kid would be much more likely to stumble on this in the fiction section, with the rest of her books.  But it wouldn't be right to put it in fiction.  Thoughts?

brown girl dreaming comes out August 28, 2014.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Turtles of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye

Aref Al-Amri has lived his whole life in Muscat, Oman.  Now his family is moving to Ann Arbor, Michigan so his parents can get Ph.D.s.  The last thing Aref wants to do is leave his home, friends, grandfather, and everything familiar.  In the last days before the move, Aref spends time with his grandfather, Sidi, enjoying his country.

This was a lovely, quiet book.  It was not what I was expecting.  When the book started and it was about a boy nervous about moving, I assumed the story would be about his nervousness, the move, being new, and then making new friends and realizing everything was fine.  That was not the story at all.  In fact, Aref does not even leave Oman for Michigan in the book.  It was entirely about Aref and Sidi enjoying the time they have together, doing things that Aref loves, and gradually learning to accept the move.

Aref struggles with the idea of leaving his home.  His father has gone on ahead to get their apartment ready, and Aref and his mother and packing up their home and getting ready to leave.  At least, that's what Aref is suppose to be doing.  He can't quite start packing his suitcase.  What can he possibly bring from his home?  None of the important things, like his friends or his cat or his entire rock collection.  Aref tries to express to his mother how he is feeling, but his mother, who clearly loves him very much, is busy and assures Aref that this is an adventure and he'll make friends and everything will be fine.

Aref finds solace and empathy in his grandfather Sidi.  Sidi lets Aref talk.  The two take a camping trip together, and go see sea turtles lying on the beach.  Turtles are Aref's favorite.  Sidi allows Aref to come around in his own time and his own way.  He is the one who finally helps Aref to pack his suitcase, and helps him to feel better about his cousins living in his house while he is away.

Over the course of the story, I was aware of how old Sidi was.  He gets tired sometimes, and is stiff.  Sidi mentions not being quite as spry as he once was.  I kept thinking how it was possible that Sidi might die before Aref and his family returns.  They will be in the U.S. for three years.  I think this was intentional.  I wonder if middle grade kids will pick up on it?

This is one of those books that might be a hard sell.  It's beautiful, but not a whole lot happens.  It's thoughtful and lovely and paints a beautiful picture of the country and family and life.  Maybe a good book to be read in a book group or in class where a discussion can be invovled.

The Turtles of Oman comes out August 26, 2014.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Books so good, they make you miss your subway stop.  From PW.

Penguin is getting a lot of flack for their new UK Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover.  Penguin is standing by it.  I think it makes no sense for the book and will deter boys from picking it up.  From Bustle and BBC News.

Essay contest launched in response to controversy over The Miseducation of Cameron Post.  From American Booksellers Association.

There's no end in sight.  The latest YA novel-turned-movie, The Maze Runner, is soon to be released.  From PW.

Gayle Forman, author of If I Stay, writes about the dear friends who were inspiration for the book, and how it helped with her grief.  From The New York Times.

Lois Lowry says The Giver’s movie cast elevated her original novel.  Viewers seem to disagree.  From The Washington Post.

An interview with Rainbow Rowell.  From The Guardian.

20 YA book covers that are actually gorgeous.  From Flavorwire.

This is what modern versions of The Baby-Sitters Club would look like.  From BuzzFeed.

Why The Hunger Games' killer Katniss is a great female role model.  From The Guardian.

A is for apocalypse: children’s books for the modern age.  From Electric Lite.

Hmm.  Weeding is a good thing, but I really hope the "hasn't been checked out in three years" isn't the only thing they're going on!  Boston Public Library push to reduce books stirs community complaints.  From The Boston Globe.

Great first lines from children's and YA books.  From The Guardian.

Middle grade vs. YA.  From Writer's Digest.

35 Harry Potter covers.  From BookRiot.

Tweeting Rainbow

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Amulet: Escape from Lucien by Kazu Kibuishi

The sixth book in Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series finds Navin and Alyson stranded in Lucien, a supposedly abandoned city, in a search for a beacon that must be activated.  Meanwhile, Emily, Vigo and Trellis head back into the Void with Max, where they confront the Voice itself.

Such an exciting volume!  Some really crucial and dramatic stuff happens!  I can't tell you what because it would totally ruin it! 

You definitely need to start from the beginning with this series.  I skipped a couple and I know I'm missing things.  I need to go back and read them all straight through.  It's definitely a series worth reading.

The development of the characters continues to build in each book.  We learn more and more about them, what motivates them, how far they are willing to go for their desires or their friends.

We meet some new characters that clearly are going to become a bigger part of the upcoming story, and some old characters we haven't seen in a bit are brought back in.

The art is beautiful as always.  Since I had an ARC, most of the book was black and white, but the first section was in the full color.  There are beautiful double paged spreads, close ups on characters to show emotion and the images always enhance, not just support the story.

I wish I could say more, but I'm hesitant because I want everyone to go and read this series and enjoy it!  Highly recommended.

Escape from Lucien comes out August 26, 2014.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gabriel Finley & the Raven's Riddle by George Hagen

 Gabriel Finley's father, Adam, has disappeared.  Not long after this happens, Gabriel rescues a baby raven named Paladin and learns his family's secret - the Finely's are capable of bonding with a raven.  They can communicate without talking and even merge into one another so then can fly or walk together.  Gabriel learns that his father is being held captive by Corax, a half man half raven who use to be Adam's brother, in the underground city of Avioplois.  Corax is convinced that Adam knows where the torc is, a necklace that grants wishes.  Gabriel and his three friends set out to rescue Gabriel's father.

I really enjoyed reading this.  Great characters, exciting adventures, and it leaves you wondering what will happen next.  I felt like I hadn't really read anything like it, which is saying something since most fantasy books follow a well-worn trope.  There was some really good world building going in the book.  We're given an ancient history lesson so we understand where Avioplois came from and the origins of the torc.  We learn that ravens and humans used to be best friends, until a terrible thing happened that made humans fear all ravens and lead to the creation of the evil valravens, who now serve Corax.

Riddles play an important part in the story.  Gabriel loves riddles, and so do ravens.  We learn that ravens always greet each other with a riddle because only true ravens laugh at riddles.  Valravens, the evil, undead ravens, never laugh.  There's lots of riddles in the books, and I would find myself trying to solve them before I read ahead.  I felt very clever, indeed, when I could.

Some spoilers

Friday, August 15, 2014


Something new an exciting today!  Brad Wirz over at GoneReading, "brilliant products for the reading lifestyle," very kindly offered us some of their products for review!  GoneReading has all sorts of book-themed things, from t-shirts to book shaped plates to trivia games.  I picked out three different products to try.

The first was this completely adorable reading log for kids called "Book Worm Journal."  This would be an awesome present for a middle school or younger kid.  There are pages where the owner can fill in their personal details, and then there are pages that ask what kinds of things they like to read about, and where they like to read.  There are sections to record new vocabulary they come across, tell what the book was about and rate it (there's a place for the kid to rate it and the parent to rate it, in case you're reading together).  The journal also encourages thinking beyond the story itself, asking kids to write what they think happens after the story is done. 
There's even space for kids to write a story of their own.  There are also little games like acrostics and mazes.  The journal is spiral bound, so it's easy to write in, and the printing is big and bold with wide spaced lines so younger kids will feel comfortable.  Over all super cute.  I'm just waiting for my friends' children to get a little bit older so I can give this to them.

Next up was this funny looking device called the Gimble Traveler.  It holds your book open when you're out on the beach or at the gym.  Or any other time you might need your book held open.  I think when it's holding a book it looks like an evil squid attacking your book.  But that's probably just me.  The Gimble can adjust to three different sizes and can hold a book up to 1 1/2 inches thick.  One of the loops that holds the pages down is larger than the other, so you want to put that one of the thicker side of the book.  I tried it at the gym while I was on the elliptical.  It was easy to use, and held the pages well.  I didn't have any problems pulling a page out from the right and slipping it under the left.

Last was a children's literature quiz card deck called Once Upon a Time.  On one side of the card is a question, such as "In 1949, an Irish-born scholar of literature and theology at Oxford began work on a series of adventure novels tracking the history of a magical fantasy world.  Name the author and his popular series, in which a lion plays a prominent part."  On the back is the answer plus additional information about the writer and his or her works.  Some of the questions I thought were pretty obscure, but I guess you have to have some hard ones in there!  I caught two mistakes, however.  The first was Madeline being describe as a Parisian orphan.  She's not an orphan.  She's just goes to boarding school.  We know she isn't an orphan because when she gets her appendix out she gets candy from Papa.  The second was a question about Where the Wild Things where the story was described as "dealt with a misbehaving boy's nighttime fears" which I think is totally off the mark.  Despite that, it would lots of fun to play with your fellow librarians or literary friends.  Especially if there were drinks.

Thank you so much to Brad for letting us try out some of their cool stuff.  And remember, it's never too early to start being a librarian.

Thursday, August 14, 2014


YA author L.A. (Louis) Meyer, author of Bloody Jack died on July 29 at 71.  I'm listening to Bloody Jack on audio book right now.  It's excellent.  From PW.

Lois Lowry talks about how YA fiction has changed since she published The Giver.  From The New York Times.

Positive author Paige Rawl talks about her story as an HIV positive teen.  From SLJ.

Julia Donaldson's new children's book The Scarecrows' Wedding criticized by parents for including "disgusting" smoking scarecrow.  And in the book's defense, children’s picture books should show life in all its messy, complicated oddness.  From The Telegraph.

My Parents Open Carry, pro-gun book for kids, ignites outrage.  From The Huffington Post.

In response, Stephen Colbert imagines how much better kids’ books would be with more guns in them.  From The Raw Story.

Transgender teens release memoirs.  From PW.

George RR Martin republishes children's book.  From The Guardian.

The New York Public library is opening a temporary outdoor reading room.  From gothamist.

Lincoln's handwriting found on book about race.  From AP.

New York Public Library’s hilarious archive of librarians’ harsh children’s book reviews.  From Quartz.

Libraries in fiction quiz – test your shelf knowledge.  I got six out of ten.  From The Guardian.

YA authors sort their own characters into Hogwarts houses.  From BuzzFeed.

All of PW's coverage from Comic-Con.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Night Journey by Kathryn Lasky

Rachel isn't supposed to ask her great-grandmother, Nana Sashie, about her past.  Her parents say it upsets her.  But Nana Sashie seems to want to tell Rachel her story.  Rachel begins sneaking up to Nana Sashie's room whenever she can, and listens in amazement to Nana Sashie's story of her family's escape from tsarist Russia.

There are so many books about the Holocaust, and those are very important books.  There are fewer books about tsarist Russia, and how Jews were treated during this time period.  There are fewer books about Jews who were subject to pogroms by Russian soldiers that could happen at any moment, and the fact that despite this treatment, Jewish men were forced to serve in the army.  Books like these are important so that history is not forgotten.

Rachel is a typical pre-teen.  Her parents annoy her at times.  She isn't thrilled with having to sit with her great-grandmother, who isn't always lucid.  But when Nana Sashie begins talking about how her family escaped from Russia, Rachel is pulled into the story.  She had no idea that this was part of her family history.

Nana Sashie tells Rachel what it was like to live in Russia during this time period.  Jews were constantly afraid.  They never knew when a pogrom might happen.  At any moment their village could be full of Russian soldiers who would kill everyone and burn down the village.  And there was no one to stop them, and there were no consequences for the killers.  Nana Sashie was just a little girl when her father decided they must leave Russia.  But the family, made up of Sashie, her mother and father, her two younger siblings, her grandfather and her aunt, couldn't just leave.  They couldn't just stroll over the border.  They would have to find a way to sneak themselves close enough to the border, and then bribe a guard to get them across.  It would be very dangerous.  They would need a plan.

Nana Sashie tells Rachel how she came up with much of the plan on her own, even though she was a little girl.  The escape had many frightening moments, when it seemed like they might be caught, which would certainly mean death.  But they made it.

Rachel begins to see how important it is to Nana Sashie that she tells someone this story.  It's important that someone knows and someone remembers what happened so long ago.  Rachel begins to write down her great-grandmother's story so it will never be forgotten.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Millions Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi Winget

Poppy Parker has lived with her grandmother practically her whole life.  But now Grandma Beth has had a stroke and can't take care of Poppy anymore, which means Poppy is stuck in an orphanage.  Things get even more confusing when Poppy is witness to a crime and the police want to keep an eye on her until the suspect is caught.  Poppy ends up in the home of Detective Brannigan's mother.  Poppy just wants everything to go back to the way it was before, but some changes are here to stay.

A lot was going on in this book.  There's Poppy having to deal with her grandmother's stroke and scheming to get her home, there's the crime Poppy's seen committed and maybe the suspect is looking for her, there's the German shepherd, Gunner, at the animal shelter she volunteers at that might get put to sleep.  It was a lot, and sometimes it seemed like all the different plots were fighting against each other.  Most of the time, however, I suspended my disbelief because it was a good story and I liked Poppy.

Poppy is described as being "impulsive."  She doesn't always think things through.  It's because she so much wants to see her grandmother she can't wait another day and heads out on her own to find her, even though she doesn't even really know where the nursing home her grandmother is recovering at is, that she inadvertently is a witness in a drug store robbery gone wrong that leaves the cashier dead. Poppy was face-to-face with the bugler.  The police don't have enough people to make sure Poppy is safe at all times while they search for their suspect, so Detective Brannigan brings Poppy to his mother's house.

Friday, August 8, 2014


East Harlem bookstore launches book drive to aid unaccompanied child immigrants.  From SLJ.

10 books that deserve TV adaptations.  From Flavorwire.

Frozen director to direct A Wrinkle in Time.  From Mashable.

Sony will release a female superhero movie from the Spider-Man world in 2017.  We'll see if that actually happens.  From Uproxx.

Teachers pick the 14 best bookstores in the U.S.  From BuzzFeed.

5 questions for Neil Gaiman about The 13 Clocks.  From The Wall Street Journal.

What YA authors and publishers can do to fight e-book piracy.  From PW.

How librarians can help fight the culture of slut-shaming.  From SLJ.

David Levithan to release musical-novel spin off of Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  From Entertainment Weekly.

Singapore halts pulping of gay-themed children's books.  From The Guardian.

10 things your probably didn't know about The Giver.  From BuzzFeed.

What's hot in YA.  From SLJ.

Should it matter whether To Kill a Mockingbird is YA fiction?  From Flavorwire.

Why YA needs heroines beyond Katniss Everdeen.  From The Telegraph.

Why poor schools can't win at standardized testing.  From The Atlantic.
If I Stay movie adaptation comes out soon.  From PW.

Take a look at the trailer.  I will admit I may have gotten a little teary.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones

Ruby's mother died, and now she has to leave her home and her friends, her boyfriend and everything she's ever know and move in with her father on the opposite coast.  Her father who left before she was born, who Ruby has never seen or spoken to.  At least in real life.  Ruby's father is a famous actor.  And now she's stuck with him.

One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies was written in verse, which for most books written this way I often feel that it doesn't work super well, like the writer just didn't want to have to worry about hashing things out and went with stream of consciousness instead.  In this case, however, I liked it a lot.  It made sense that Ruby would be writing in a fractured, distracted kind of way.  She feels fractured and distracted.  She's mourning the loss of her mother, but on top of that, she's mourning the loss of everything that's been familiar to her her entire life.

When Ruby first arrives in L.A., she's naturally miserable.  She angry and resentful of her father, who couldn't take the time from his busy movie career to call or visit her.  She misses her best friend and her boyfriend.  She misses her aunt, who's going off on a six month archaeological dig with her boyfriend and won't even be available for Ruby to talk to.  And, of course, she misses her mother.  And on top of all that she has to start a new school, which turns out to be this weird, hippy place full of famous actor's kids and Ruby feels lost and out of place.

As time goes on, Ruby struggles to stay miserable.  Her father, Whip (yes, Whip) is always nice to her and is always trying to give her things and take her places.  Her father's assistant is really nice and he and Ruby get on great.  She's making some friends.  She even flirted with another guy and instantly feels guilty.  And as the book goes on, we learn more about Ruby's mother.  Ruby's mother wasn't perfect.  Not that she was a bad parent by any means, but that she had her flaws, just like anyone else.  Ruby feels guilty thinking about that too.


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan

Ribblestrop is a school like no other.  There is no roof.  The teachers are a bit odd, and strange things are going on in the secret underground labyrinth of the building.  The students are an unusual mix as well, from Millie, an arsonist who's been kicked out of her other schools, Sanches, the son of a Colombian gangster, to Sam, who's had the bad luck to fall into the middle of it all.

I did not enjoy.  My expectations were high because Ribblestrop was actually published in the UK in 2009 and won The Guardian's Children's Fiction Prize.  I mostly didn't like it because I felt like it was a book full of unpleasant characters that I didn't care about.  I've had this issue before.  When everyone is unpleasant, it's very hard for me to get invested in the story.  Most unlikable was Millie, and she was suppose to be our antihero.  The problem was she was so unpleasant I wanted someone to put her in her place.  The problem with that was that everyone else was so unpleasant I didn't want them to come out on top either.  So yeah.  I spent the whole book shaking my head over how nasty everyone is. 

A quote from the publisher's website is "With the "crazy-school appeal of Hogwarts and the grim humor of Lemony Snicket" ("The Independent") Ribblestrop is sure to delight the most mischievous among us."  And maybe it will, although I totally disagree with The Independent.  Hogwarts didn't have a "crazy-school" vibe for me, and the tone of Ribblestrop is completely different from A Serious of Unfortunate Events, which I loved.  It didn't have that sly, tongue-in-cheek humor.  There wasn't really any humor in Ribblestrop.

Just because I did not enjoy the book does not mean others won't.  While the nastiness turned me off, that could certainly be an appeal for some kids.  It has adventure and mystery.  It has descriptions of soccer games.  It has a creepy science-fiction sort of twist.  It has a car chase.  I can certainly see how it would appeal.

Aside from Millie, the other characters were either unappealing or undeveloped.  The school has brought in a whole bunch of orphans from overseas.  Some of the orphans get names, most of them don't.  What we know about the orphans is that they're just so delighted to be at the school and will cheerfully do any kind of work needed.  The whole "we've taken in a bunch of orphans from a third-world country and are making them rebuild our school" thing made me a little uncomfortable.  Another main characters is Sanchez, the gangster's son, who's actually fairly decent, but like everyone else gives into Millie and I really wish he hadn't.  He was doing so well telling her to shove off, but then he gave in.  Even Sam, who's supposed to be sweet a lovable annoyed me.  Stand up for yourself, Sam!

But you know what, I did read the whole book.  I didn't give up part way through.  So I guess you win, Ribblestrop.

Ribblestrop comes out August 19, 2014.

Monday, August 4, 2014

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

For her entire life, Amanda has celebrated her birthday with her best friend, Leo, born the same day.  But not this year.  Amanda and Leo haven't spoken to each other since a fight on their tenth birthday, and this year, on their eleventh, they'll be celebrating apart for the first time.  Amanda can't wait for the day to be over, she isn't looking forward to her birthday party at all.  Unfortunately, her birthday keeps happening over and over and over again.

It was like Groundhog Day, only for middle grade!  Every morning Amanda wakes up and it's her birthday again.  She has to repeat the same day over and over.  She's desperate to figure out why.  Amanda didn't have a great first day of her birthday.  There was a pop quiz, she tried out for cheer leading, which she doesn't even really want to do, because her friend is.  And then, of course, her party.  It's a costume party and she hates her costume and hardly anyone comes because they're all at Leo's more extravagant party.  And she hates what happened last year between her and Leo, and is still hurt by it.

As Amanda's day repeats, she starts to try different things.  At first she was too scared to change anything.  Then she starts trying small things.  And then she realizes that the same thing is happening to Leo.  They figure out it must have to do with their fight last year, so together they start unraveling the mystery, which involves their ancestors and a curse.

I enjoyed the story.  It was predictable but fun and warm.  It isn't until Amanda and Leo start working together and make up that they're able to make some progress and start figuring out how to escape the loop.  But Amanda doesn't just use her repeated time to fix her relationship with Leo.  She also learns more about herself as a person, and to be more considerate of others.  She starts to think about her older sister, who seems so perfect but actually has a lot on her mind.  Amanda helps her mother and father.  She helps herself to, by deciding to be true to herself and what she really wants, not what her friends want.  Leo also uses his time well, dealing with some bullying issues, but we don't get his perspective as much since the book is written from Amanda's point of view.

It's a great pick for those middle school kids who just want a nice read.  No heavy issues and everything works out at the end. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Middle grade and YA: where to draw the line?  From PW.

Research shows closing school libraries and cutting certified librarians does not make sense.  From SLJ.

How Harry Potter shaped a generation.  From boing boing.

Also, kids who read Harry Potter have more positive views on gay people and immigrants. From BuzzFeed.

Comic-Con 2014: authors flourish in spotlight as Young Adult genre grows up.  From The Guardian.

"We Need Diverse Books" moves forward.  From PW.

Highlights from Daniel Radcliffe's first Comic-Con.  From Entertainment Weekly.

“Gay Penguin” book allowed to remain in Singapore libraries.  From SLJ.

John Green books under fire again.  From Los Angeles Times.

Dark, creepy children's books every kid should read.  From Flavorwire.

School librarian fights summer slide with school bus-turned-bookmobile.  From SLJ.

Holly Black will be writing the next Dr. Who adventure.  From The Guardian.

Loosing school librarians in Chicago.  From WBEZ.

Lois Lowry on The Giver movie.  From The New York Times.

Learning to read may take longer than we think.  From NPR.
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