It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Book Journeys. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.
If you click the image above, then you can connect to other participating blogs and discover even more new books.
Last Week’s Books:
Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody: This novel is somewhat of a Robin Hood origin story, yet Robin is far from the main character of the book. Like he did in Powerless, Cody makes his hero a boy who is not a traditional hero, but finds himself making a difference and influencing outcomes when the going gets tough. Will Shackley first sets out looking for revenge against Sir Guy, who murdered members of his family and took over their lands. When he is captured by the Merry Men, he disguises his identity in order to trick them into helping him get close to Sir Guy (so he can kill him). At this point, Rob (Robin) is not the leader of the Merry Men, but a drunken mess. Will has a series of adventures with Rob, Little John, and Much, the youngest member of the band of robbers (and a girl disguised as a boy), and it is Will who decides to rob from the rich and give to the poor when he realizes how much advantage his family took of “their” serfs. It was in all a satisfying tale; however, the secondary plot involving Much seemed to drag a bit at times.
Almost Home by Joan Bauer: My, but the world would be a more beautiful place to live in if there were more people like Sugar Mae Cole in it. As a sixth grader, she experiences more hardships than most of us will ever know: the death of her beloved grandfather, eviction, homelessness, a mother who mentally shuts down, a gambler of a father who only comes around when he needs something, the foster care system, and more. Throughout it all, Sugar shares her love and her pain, her triumphs and her darkest moments through amazing poetry and emails to the inspiring teacher whose class she had to leave. The care she takes of Shush, an abused puppy who needs Sugar as much as she needs him, is further proof that Sugar is one amazing young lady. Bauer hits a home run with this one.
The Ghost Prison by Joseph Delaney: I am tempted to call this a short story, but since it is published on its own, I guess that would make it a novella. It is a Victorian-era tale of young Billy’s new night-shift job at a haunted prison and what happens one night when he is forced to feed the “special prisoner” in the Witch’s Well. Although I read this in e-galley form, I did get to see the printed version this weekend. It’s a little black book with line-drawn illustrations that definitely set the mood. Middle graders will be suitably creeped out by its ending.
Planet Middle School by Nikki Grimes: This novel in verse is about Joylin, a new middle schooler who is starting to struggle with her identity and all the curve balls puberty begins to throw at her. What rings especially true is Joylin’s frustration when she tries to change herself for her first crush and fails miserably. Joylin’s drive to remain a tough basketball player while not being “just one of the guys” anymore is handled well, too. I can see handing this to any number of sixth grade girls.
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman: I did not originally plan to read Gaiman’s newest title this week, but I am thrilled I did. So thrilled, that I chose to review it as my first installment of a new meme: Pull up a chair, it’s a Saturday Book Share (thanks, Styling Librarian).
Next Week’s Books:
Wild Life by Cynthia DeFelice, No Ordinary Day by Deborah Ellis, and The Nazi Hunters by Neal Bascomb