Sunday, August 21, 2011

RI Mock Newbery 2012 - September Reads

(I will be adding to this post as I make it through the list ... favorites at the top)

One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange StreetOne Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There is something magical about this sophisticated, yet straightforward book, whose action is compressed into a 36-hours period (with some flashbacks). Rocklin often points out the contrast between the real and the wished-for:

  • "It was so hard to be a scientist when she kept hoping for miraculous things to happen." (17)

  • "Electrons buzzed, or angels giggled, depending on your theory" (28)

Orange Street took me by surprise and reduced me to a puddle of tears by the end. Loved it.

Okay for NowOkay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't believe Schmidt could do anything close to The Wednesday Wars. I was a mess. Outstanding.

Inside Out and Back AgainInside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This is how you do a novel in verse. Fuse8's review pretty much matches my thoughts about this lovely presentation of a feisty young refugee's struggle.

The Trouble with May AmeliaThe Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. Holm

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Holm has definitely captured a VOICE with May Amelia. She reminds me a little of Anne Shirley in overalls.

The dangers faced in the woods make my recent 4.5 days without power (thanks, Irene) seem like paradise ... at least I don't have cougars prowling around or bulls chasing me; at least I can stay dry on my way to work and don't have to worry about a river of logs squishing me.

There are a LOT of characters to keep track of, which is one of the only things that popped out to me as indicating this book is a sequel; some readers will already have been introduced to everyone and won't be as confused as I was. Some readers may also think that Pappa is a complete ass for never accepting Uncle Aarno's help.

Overall, a memorable book. I laughed and I cried. And I was creeped out by the shopping trip for a hand.

Amelia LostAmelia Lost by Candace Fleming

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

VERY interesting. I didn't know much about Amelia before I read this, and now I'm not sure what to think of her. Let's just say that if she lived nowadays, she and her husband would have finagled her top billing on Dancing With the Stars.

The details of the search that were intercut with the chapters about her life were VERY stressful to me ... tragic and traumatic. At first I thought it was a case of Romeo & Juliet ... if modern communications equipment were around, there would be no story. But it turns out she skipped out on all the lessons on how to use her new radio.

Still, she was definitely an influential and inspirational woman to many, and I think this book does a nice job of presenting her strengths and flaws. It was lively and interesting and a much better read than Bylines.

The Romeo And Juliet CodeThe Romeo And Juliet Code by Phoebe Stone

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

What I loved: the writing, including Felicity's constant reminders of the superiority of British children's behavio(u)r and phrases like "eyes like bumblebees," "better to have the sky match how you feel," and "nobody faints; they just throw themselves on the ground to get attention."

What bothered me: some of the basic plot, including the mysterious family history issues. I can't say more without giving away spoilers.

What could be used for a lesson: the code, which is similar to one used in Trash.

Close to FamousClose to Famous by Joan Bauer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pleasant and engaging, but not sure if it's that "distinct," which is a Newbery criterion. Liked the sentiment of making your own breaks, and the way Foster practiced her future television cooking show patter (I may or may not do the same thing sometimes). And Macon could have his own show. "I need to find some issues. I need to push the envelope and get angry about things."

The cast of small-town characters has been done before, though, and the entire Duke situation was kind of weird and rushed.

The Mostly True Story of JackThe Mostly True Story of Jack by Kelly Barnhill

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book began with promise ... lots of mysteriousness, hints of magic and strangeness, strong writing ... and then just turned into sludge that took me forever to get through. By p. 208, I still didn't really know what was going on, and frustration took over. Explanations started coming at p. 241, but they made no sense. I still don't understand the Lady's deal, and I don't really care.

1 comment:

MM said...

Sadly, I ended up having to go to a Dept. of Ed. training the same night as Mock Newbery and so wasn't there to defend Orange Street. I guess I'm the only one who loved it ... it's off the list! :(

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