It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. 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.
Last Week’s Books:
Twerp by Mark Goldblatt is an episodic tale set in Queens, NY in the winter and spring of 1969. Julian Twerski, a talented 12-year-old writer, keeps a journal for his English teacher in lieu of participating in the study of Julius Caesar with his classmates. Julian recounts daredevil stunts with the neighborhood guys, how his best friend gets him into some girl trouble, the pressures of maintaining his reputation as the fastest kid in school, his first date, and more. All along, Julian hints that what his teacher really wants him to write is the story of why he and his friends got suspended for doing “something” to Danley Dimmel, a “different” kid who lives nearby. Honestly, there was so much build up to the incident, that it fell a little flat for me when the story finally came out. Although, that Julian truly had remorse for his participating in bullying is evident, and he does his best to set things right at the end. I could see some of the chapters being used alone as read-alouds to illustrate such things as setting and voice. However, I do think that this is a book much like The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt–one that adults seem to enjoy more than kids do because of the nostalgia factor.
I was thoroughly intrigued by One Came Home by Amy Timberlake. It starts off with a bang and a stellar opening paragraph: “So it comes to this, I remember thinking on Wednesday, June 7, 1871. The date sticks in my mind because it was the day of my sister’s first funeral and I knew it wasn’t her last–which is why I left. That’s the long and short of it.” What follows is the story of Georgie Burkhardt, a thirteen-year-old girl who refuses to believe that the grisly remains the sheriff brought back and put in the coffin belong to her runaway older sister, Agatha. So she sets off from her home in Placid, Wisconsin, to follow the path her sister took out of town with the “pigeoners” who were there to follow the passenger pigeon migration. While Georgie wants to go alone, Billy McCabe, Agatha’s rejected suitor, invites himself along–and he’s the one who has the mule she needs so she cannot refuse him. Georgie not only wants to see the site where the body was discovered, but also to question the nearby townspeople, as she is sure Agatha still lives. The story is tightly wound, and there is much tension between Georgie and Billy as each carries guilt tied to Agatha’s leaving. The resolution is well-paced and satisfying. The historical elements are woven in seamlessly. I liked everything about this novel, and it puts me in mind of one of my favorite works of historical fiction, Dovey Coe by Frances O’Roark Dowell.
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm will be published on 8/26. I am reading an advanced copy from NetGalley.