I missed posting last week so this is a quick recap of two weeks of reading, although there really wasn’t much to report on for the last week. A cool summer here in BC has meant that it doesn’t get so hot that I need to come in and read. I have been able to stay outdoors a little more and get work done in our yard/garden instead of coming in for reading breaks, certainly this is not my forte. However, I was able to read a few books this week so I thought I would add a quick post. Thanks to our hosts at unleashingreaders.com and teachmentortexts.com for continuing to provide a great space to see more books for our TBR lists. Personally, my picture book list is a little out of control.
Books I Enjoyed Recently
I read both books in Kelley Armstrong’s MG duology. Rowan is supposed to become the ruler of her land, but her heart is not really in it. She would love to trade places with her twin brother, who is set to become the Royal Monster Hunter, due to the difference in their ages, she is two minutes older than brother Rhydd. Circumstances cause Rowan to go after a gryphon, the most dangerous of all monsters in this world and it tests her skills. In fact, Rowan’s focus is usually on understanding monsters and her scientific approach is one of the strengths of this little series. So is the action and the supporting cast of monsters that help Rowan, including a baby jackalope, a wolf-like creature that is sworn to protect her, but might not really like her. It’s an interesting world with complex personal and political relationships that could be explored in other books or spin offs.
I have a lot of series that I really enjoy but don’t make time to finish in my effort to try and read a little more widely. This summer, I have noticed that I am on book four in a number of series, so I thought that I would read at least three book fours this summer. This is the first of them. The Lockwood and Co. series is a fascinating MG ghost series in which a Victorianesque London is dealing with what is called The Problem. Something has caused ghosts and other supernatural spirits to become very prevalent each evening from about 6 pm to 6 am. It is found that children from about 7-13 years of age are best at dealing with these spirits, as them seem able to have special “talents” to perceive them and then deal with them before they can cause harm. Lockwood and Co. is one of the smaller “agencies” that help people survive this world. I find these books have a great combination of humour and thrills. I really should not wait so long for book five, the series finale, but book three was memorable enough that I was easily able to jump right back in.
I picked this book entirely based on several bloggers who post in this space on Monday. I believe it was Elisabeth, Cherie, Shaye and possible others who put me on to it. I do enjoy reading science fiction but haven’t been doing much of it in the last few years. My wife and I have been getting my 13 year old into our old Ray Bradbury and Philip K. Dick collections and this book belongs in that pile as well. A great short read with futurist ideas, a great lead character, and lots of humour. I bought the first book so I can get other readers in my family on to it, but placed ebooks of the next two on hold with my library system. I don’t even really like reading ebooks, but this series is worth it.
Super cute graphic novel featuring the characters from Atkinson’s picture book Sir Simon Super Scared. Buddies Chester and Simon decide the most exciting thing for them to do together is find a mystery to solve. Despite a difference of opinion on how to get the job done, the case gets solved. I have very young readers in the library grabbing graphic novels they really aren’t ready for but I see this as a very good option for readers wanting to move out of picture books but not being old enough for some of themes in many graphic novels. Thanks to NetGalley for the early copy to review, this book won’t be out until February.
I enjoyed this mystery and the coming together of kids who are different but can still be friends. I read a black and white copy but look forward to having a full colour version in my library soon. Shirley is thought by many to be a little odd and has a mother that wants to send her to dance camp even if she is not interested. Jamila has a mother who wants to send her to science camp for the summer but she just wants to play basketball. The two find a way to help each other out, get embroiled in solving a neighbourhood mystery and teach each other about friendship. This book is scheduled to come out tomorrow.
This book is has been out about three years ago now, and I took notice of it when it came out, but never bought a copy. I finally noticed that my library had it as an ebook and managed to read it this week. It’s everything that I thought it would be, a really interesting story that seems to be based on a few of the many (there are too many) of the stories that involve police brutality. Justyce seems to be on the fast track for success at his prep school in the Atlanta area, and has designs on making it to an Ivy league school when a string of events turn his life inside out. In just a few pages, Nic Stone is able to show how these events impact the lives of many and we gain some perspective on how racism impacts a range of different people. If you missed out on this one when it came out, you should probably seek it out next chance you get.
Not sure I have ever read a book more current than this one. A very realistic portrayal of how a group of middle schoolers handled the anxiety and frustration of the beginning of the covid-19 pandemic from the early dismissal of school for Spring Break to the realization that the rest of the school year is lost.
Quinn (female) seems to be a typical (sub?) urban middle schooler. Like all kids she deals with the loss full access to her friends, although there is a boy named Isaac that lives next door that she sees daily and she sees her best friend at times as well. She also has to deal with the stress and boredom of Zoom (as a teacher a little part of me was mad that this teacher got all her kids to Zoom- I never did), her mother being really busy and stressed out, and worst of all her father, a doctor, working at the hospital. Like many first responders, he changes his living arrangements, works with some level of fear and works longer hours. Quinn’s best friend Reese has to deal with not seeing her grandmother, who is in a rest home, and Isaac’s Mom works in law enforcement and is almost never home. This was a good look at the stresses felt by children and adults during this time.
All of these issue are fresh for us now, as we are living them, or seeing them in the news reports daily. In several years, middle school aged readers will be able to read about this and see what older siblings and parents went through, they may have vague memories of their own. I think it will be a valuable read at that time. As for now, some may really enjoy relating to characters in a book in a way that they may not normally be able to. They may also find hope in the way that Quinn and her friends are able to contribute to making things better in their neighbourhood through an idea she has and how they salvage a year end event to bring closure to their school year and a joyful social occasion to their neighbourhood. This is something I wish my students were able to pull off, and if there able to see that coming together is better than the solitary apathy that many have endured during this time, that is a great thing to learn. I wish it was a little longer to see more of the things kids struggled with, although struggles are mentioned they pop up quickly and these kids are able to overcome them quickly. That is the trade off for such a readable, relatable story of this accessible length though. This book is out in September, but available now as an e-book.
I am currently re-reading this. My oldest and I have read it, but my youngest and my wife have not. It is a bizzare mystery, a book in which you don’t really know if what your characters are experiencing something real or fantasy.
On Deck Reads
I am about to start Dig by A.S. King, and I have some ARCs to get through including the next Rick Riordan Presents book by Tehlor Kay Mejia, an author I have not read before. I may also continue my book four mission. My youngest is flying through a series called The Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan and I stopped at the end of book three.
Thanks for reading my post, I hope to see what you have been reading this week as well.