Our most popular titles so far have been Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, Three Times Lucky, and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. A few books haven't been read as widely but have gotten good ratings and reviews: One for the Murphys, The False Prince, Rump, and Ungifted.
I read three of these books myself over the Thanksgiving holidays. The most surprising was One for the Murphys. I wasn't thrilled with the look of the book (boring cover, I thought), but I could not put this book down. It is a realistic fiction story about a girl, Carley, who is placed in foster care unexpectedly after a traumatic event involving her mother and her mother's boyfriend. Carley goes to live the the Murphy family. I loved watching Carley struggle with her relationships with her real mother, her foster family, and new friends and classmates. The book was charming, but felt real. As I read it, it kept reminding me a bit of The Great Gilly Hopkins, one of my favorites.
Another book I read was Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25. No surprise that I like this one, given that I am a sucker for middle grades science fiction novels where kids have to take on evil adults. Michael, a ninth grader with Tourette's Syndrome, has secret abilities. Against his mother's wishes, he shares his secret with his genius best friend, Ostin, and a popular cheerleader, Taylor. Ostin, Taylor, and Michael soon become embroiled in trying to foil an evil corporate plot to abduct them and Michael's mother in order to take over the world. This book moves quickly and is an easy read with tons of action. Although there is some violence and the characters are high school age, the book is written in an appropriate way for upper elementary and middle grades students. I really enjoyed reading Michael's adventure, and I will be reading the sequel for sure!
I also finished The Lions of Little Rock. I truly loved this book! Lions of Little Rock is an historical fiction novel set in Little Rock the year after the integration of Central High School by the Little Rock Nine. Many people aren't aware that all public high schools were closed that year to prevent further integration. Read the interview with author Kristin Levine to hear about her decision to set her story during this year; it is really interesting. Marlee, the main character, is pathologically shy and won't speak to anyone outside of her family until a new student, Liz, comes to her school and draws her out. Then Liz has to leave Marlee's school when people discover that she is "passing" for white. Marlee is devastated by the loss of her friend, her brother leaving for college, and her sister being shipped away so she can attend high school outside of Little Rock. Her journey to keep in touch with Liz leads her and her family into the struggle for integration of the Little Rock public school system. Real historical events are woven into this novel with fictional characters and events, and the result is a funny, touching story that will make all of us examine our lives and ask ourselves how far we would go to do the right thing.
See below for a complete list of the GA Book Award nominated titles and for our ratings document as it stands today.
| || |