Sunday, October 9, 2016

RI Mock Newbery 2017 - November Reads

Love Jen J's spreadsheet! Because of it, I'd already read most of the books on the list before the list was even out. I'll be adding to the post as I make my way through the list: favorites at the top.

MaydayMayday by Karen Harrington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic. Loved it. So much humor for such heavy topics. And the holding planes in his hands? I laughed. I cried. True story.

p. 223 - "When you want something in your own life, it looks like everybody at every table in a restaurant has it. I'm not just talking about eyebrows."

The Girl Who Drank the MoonThe Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautifully written, albeit overlong, and I'm not sure how I feel about the ending. However, the writing definitely deserves to be considered "distinguished."

Counting ThymeCounting Thyme by Melanie Conklin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantastic portrayal of a girl struggling to make her way in a new setting while her family is preoccupied with her brother's cancer. And the shout-out to No Fits, Nilson! was great.

Thank you to Conklin for giving me my new favorite knock-knock joke:

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Europe who?
You're a poo, too!

GhostGhost by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reynolds is able to capture his narrators' personalities within a page or two.

p. 27: I felt like I had seen this in every single sports movie I had ever watched. All of them. "Ma'am, your son has potential." If this went like the movies, I was either going to score the game-winning touchdown (which is impossible in track) or ... die."

p. 155: ... you can't run away from who you are, but what you can do is run toward who you want to be.

Ollie's OdysseyOllie's Odyssey by William Joyce
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Epic. Will be recommending to my 2nd grade teachers who do class readalouds.

The Best ManThe Best Man by Richard Peck
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On the fence on this one. Loved the dry style and some of the ridiculous - yet realistic - things that people said. However, the plot was choppy, and I'm very confused on the timeline of uncle Paul and Mr. McLeod's relationship.

p. 137:
"This isn't the body I wanted to take to middle school. Look at it. I need another year. I'm pre--what?"
"Prepubescent?" Mom offered.
"Probably. You'll have to homeschool me."

The Seventh WishThe Seventh Wish by Kate Messner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First off, I liked that Catherine named her flour baby MEREDITH. I also enjoyed the family word game, which is similar to Apples to Apples. And Charlie's thoughts about Abby's drug use and relapse were spot-on (I also have an addicted sister and have thought a lot of the same things). I very much appreciated when Leah said, "There's nothing you can do when someone you love is an addict. So you just ... you keep living. And do other stuff." (p. 212). Because I needed therapy to get to that understanding.

But I took away a star for the magic fish. The fantasy and the harsh reality just didn't mesh for me. Poor, poor Robert.

Nine, Ten: A September 11 StoryNine, Ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The kids' stories were fine, but the actual 9/11 events were kind of vague. If the reader doesn't already know what happened, they will be confused. Also I'm not sure I buy that all four families would have made the trek to NYC in 2002.

p. 79. "'...what matters is what's in here.' She tapped her heart and then her head. 'And here. And how you treat people. Yourself included, dear one.'"

GhostsGhosts by Raina Telgemeier
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Realistic sister relationship, but the ghosts were just odd.

When the Sea Turned to SilverWhen the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So I gave "Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" 5 stars, and "Starry River of the Sky" 4. But this one ... this took me forever to get through. At one point I literally fell asleep. It was like homework. But people I respect on the RI Mock Newbery committee raved about it, so I saw it through until the end. But I wish I hadn't bothered and had spent more weekend hours binge-watching "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" instead.

The stories being told seemed like just interruptions until about page 140, when I started to see connections. However, by the time we get to the Sea King, and Yishan's stunt with the string, I didn't care anymore about how anything was going to go together. And the tortoise chapters were distracting. And the big reveal on p. 345 made me roll my eyes.

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