Friday, August 12, 2016

And the Summer Reading Continues....

As summer draws to a close, I realize I'm not even halfway through my book pile! I'd better get a move on. Meanwhile, these are some titles I read this week. I found some new favorites  for sure.


Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is great fun. Any fans of Mr. Lemoncello's Library will LOVE it. 12- year- old Emily's favorite pastime is to play "Book Scavenger." It's an online game where books are hidden all over the country and the players have to decipher clues to find them. Emily is a huge fan of the game's creator, Garrison Griswold, and is excited to learn that her family is moving close to his headquarters in San Fransisco. After an unfortunate series of events put Mr. Griswold in the hospital, Emily finds a book that she thinks might be the clue to starting his newest secret game. Of course there are others trying to get their hands on this mystery book, so Emily must race to find the clues and solve the puzzle. There is a great treasure awaiting the winner and Emily hopes to uncover it.

This book could have easily been called "Book Adventure" because that's what it becomes. Forget Pokemon Go- Book Scavenger is tons of fun.  Emily and her new friend James travel all over the city decoding ciphers and dodging the bad guys to get to the next clue. There are many references to famous books- especially Edgar Allen Poe books which is nice since most young readers probably don't know much about him. Also, one of the coolest features about this book is that the author has set up a REAL game of book scavenger ( where readers can hide and find copies of this book all over the country. As soon as I finish blogging, I'm going to check it out! This book is for anyone who likes solving puzzles. There is also a bit about new friendships and family dynamics. Overall a wonderful story. The next one in the series will be released soon and the adventure will continue.

                                                           Sunny Side Up by [Holm, Jennifer L.]

Sunny Side Up is written by veteran author Jennifer Holm (The Fourteenth Goldfish). It's a graphic novel about Sunny Lewin who arrives in Florida in 1976 to spend the summer with her grandfather. It sounds wonderful, but Sunny is stuck in a retirement community with her grandfather's really old friends who aren't exactly running to Disney World everyday. Luckily, Sunny meets Buzz the groundskeeper's son so she finally has a friend her own age. Buzz introduces Sunny to the world of comic books and superheroes, and she wonders if she can become a superhero to help fix a family secret- the secret that sent her to Florida in the first place.

This will be a popular book in the library because graphic novels are easy and fun to read, and it also happens to be a good book. The seventies references are fun as the book flashes back and forth between the last two years. Sadly, reader's will see her once close family start to fall apart as her brother deals with a drug problem. Ultimately, that is why Sunny wishes she could have the power to fix all the things that are wrong back home. I've read a lot of books this summer about this topic that I don't think are appropriate for younger readers, but this one seems just about right. Holm doesn't delve too much into the brother's issues, but just enough so that we see the effects of drugs on a family. I would still only recommend it for ages 10+.

                                                         The Haunted Library #1 by [Butler, Dori Hillestad]

What a cute series!!!! The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler is a perfect beginner chapter book for grades 1-3. It's the story of Kaz, a ghost boy, who accidentally gets blown away from his family by the wind and lands in the town library. There he meets Claire, a human girl who has the ability to see ghosts. Quickly, Kaz and Claire realize he isn't the only one haunting the library and they work together to find the identity of the mystery ghost.

So far there are nine books in this charming series. It's not scary at all, but will satisfy young readers who think they want to read a ghost story.

                                                          A Clatter of Jars by [Graff, Lisa]

As I started reading A Clatter of Jars, I thought,"This reminds me of Tangle of Knots." Well, no kidding because it's the sequel. (I don't think my brain is at full capacity in the summer). My problem is that I didn't like Tangle of Knots. I almost put this down right away, BUT I pushed through and I'm glad I did. In the first book we are introduced to the Talented Kids. This is a group of children that have a special talent. Some have smaller talents like knowing exactly what cake is someone's favorite or being able to talk to frogs, or pick any lock etc.. and some have the awesome ability to mimic any talent they encounter. In this book, all of these kids gather together at summer camp. Things quickly go awry when Lily realizes that someone is trying to make copies of their talents in order to sell them to Fair (talentless) people. Soon all of their Talents get mixed up, and Lily and her friends need to solve the mystery to set things right again.

Some of Lisa Graff's books are my favorites ( Umbrella Summer, The Thing About Georgie), but something about this series just doesn't capture my interest. There are a lot of characters and many things to keep straight and it was all a bit confusing. After pushing through, I was interested to see how it all ended and there were some very funny moments. The premise of the story is really neat, but it just doesn't seem to flow together. I think it would be tough for younger students to read and understand. Some strong readers might really enjoy it so I will certainly put it on the shelf.

I look forward to this author's next books, just not anymore in this series.