Saturday, February 27, 2016

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:

Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin. 300 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons/ Penguin Random House LLC., April 12, 2016. 9780399173301.

Publisher synopsis: When eleven-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.

After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush, and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours, and days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.

With equal parts heart and humor, Melanie Conklin’s debut is a courageous and charming story of love and family—and what it means to be counted.

Free Verse by Sarah Dooley. 335 p. G.P. Putnam's Sons/ Penguin Random House LLC. March 15, 2016. 9780399165030.

Publisher synopsis: When her brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left, and nowhere to turn. After her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, he was her last caretaker. They’d always dreamed of leaving Caboose, West Virginia together someday, but instead she’s in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever.

But then Sasha discovers family she didn’t know she had, and she finally has something to hold onto, especially sweet little Mikey, who’s just as broken as she is. Sasha even makes her first friend at school, and is slowly learning to cope with her brother’s death through writing poetry, finding a new way to express herself when spoken words just won’t do. But when tragedy strikes the mine her cousin works in, Sasha fears the worst and takes Mikey and runs, with no plans to return. In this sensitive and poignant portrayal, Sarah Dooley shows us that life, like poetry, doesn’t always take the form you intend.

Stars Above: a Lunar Chronicles collection by Marissa Meyer. 400 p. Feiwel & Friends, February, 2016. 9781250091840

Unabridged audiobook on 8 compact discs. 10 hours. Performed by Rebecca Soler. Macmillan Audio, February, 2016. 9781427271617.

Publisher synopsis: The enchantment continues. . . . 

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories - and secrets - that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With six stories - two of which have never before been published - and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer's upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.
I adore this series and recently finished Winter. I read them all with my ears and thought that Rebecca Soler did a fabulous job performing them. I bought both the book and the audio. I will donate the book to my school library collection, then read it with my ears before donating the audio.

Soon by Morris Gleitzman. Felix and Zelda #5. Unabridged audiobook on 3 compact discs. 3 hours, 55 minutes. Bolinda Audio, October, 2015. 9781489020000.

Publisher synopsis: After the Nazis took my parents I was scared. After they killed my best friend I was angry. After I joined the partisans and helped defeat the Nazis I was hopeful. Soon, I said, we'll be safe. I was wrong.

I recently discovered that there were two additional novels in this beloved series. 

That's what's new with me. What's new with you?

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Friday Memes: Samurai Rising: the epic life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Samurai Rising: the epic life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner. Illustrated by Gareth Hinds. 236 p. Charlesbridge, January, 2016. 9781580895842.

Publisher synopsis: Minamoto Yoshitsune should not have been a samurai. But his story is legend in this real-life saga.
This epic warrior tale reads like a novel, but this is the true story of the greatest samurai in Japanese history.
When Yoshitsune was just a baby, his father went to war with a rival samurai family—and lost. His father was killed, his mother captured, and his surviving half-brother banished. Yoshitsune was sent away to live in a monastery. Skinny, small, and unskilled in the warrior arts, he nevertheless escaped and learned the ways of the samurai. When the time came for the Minamoto clan to rise up against their enemies, Yoshitsune answered the call. His daring feats and impossible bravery earned him immortality.

First line(s): Kyoto, 1160

Minamoto Yoshitsune's inheritance arrived early. The boy could not yet walk when his father left him a lost war, a shattered family, and a bitter enemy.

Page 56: is an illustration:

Page 55: Thousands of Minamoto warriors flowed out of the capital along the road heading southwest toward the Taira homeland. Most commoners probably stayed out of sight, since samurai had a habit of kidnapping people and forcing them to work in the army as servants. Yet despite warning from their parents, some children probably watched the parade. 

I am very excited to read this. A biography of a samurai was not high on my list of interests, but I enjoy Pamela Turner's writing and Gareth Hinds' art. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Threads by Ami Polonsky

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.

Threads by Ami Polonsky. Disney-Hyperion Books, November 1, 2016.

Synopsis (from author's website):
To Whom It May Concern:
Please, we need help! 

When twelve-year-old Clara finds a note and a photograph inside a purse at the mall, she can't stop thinking about the girl - Yuming - who made the purse and wrote the message. Like two kites flying side by side, Clara's and Yuming's journeys weave, bob, and become entangled in this story about the importance of connections and the power of hope.

I learned of this book last week when the author, Ami Polonsky posted the cover on her FB page. The rest of the information was gleaned from her website. I did not find any information on BN or Amazon. I thought the author's debut, Gracefully Grayson was heartbreakingly beautiful. I'm looking forward to her sophomore effort.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

What' New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

For review:

The Thing about Leftovers by C.C. Payne. 281 p. Nancy Paulsen Books/ Penguin Young Readers Group, July 19, 2016. 9780399172045.

Publisher synopsis: C. C. Payne intertwines heartache with humor and hope in a novel about navigating divorce and blended families, following your passion, and celebrating who you are. 

Fizzy is a good Southern girl who just wants to be perfect. And win the Southern Living cook-off.The being perfect part is hard though, since her parents’ divorced and everything in her life has changed. Wary of her too-perfect stepmom and her mom’s neat-freak, dismissive boyfriend, she’s often angry or upset and feels like a guest in both homes. She tells herself to face facts: She’s a “leftover” kid from a marriage that her parents want to forget. But she has to keep all of that to herself, because a good Southern girl never yells, or throws fits, or says anything that might hurt other people’s feelings—instead she throws her shoulders back, says yes ma’am, and tries to do better. So Fizzy tries her best, but it’s hard to stay quiet when her family keeps getting more complicated. Fortunately, the Southern Living cook-off gives her a welcome distraction, as do her new friends Miyoko and Zach, who have parent issues of their own.

With the poignancy and humor of Joan Bauer and Lynda Mullaly Hunt, this poignant story reminds readers that they have a right to a voice, that it is okay to say how you feel, and that some leftovers are absolutely delicious!


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Grisha Trilogy #1. Unabridged audiobook on 8 compact discs; 8 hrs. 55 minutes. Performed by Lauren Fortgang. Brilliance Audio, May, 2013. 8791480527720.

Publisher synopsis: Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo's Grisha Trilogy.

Siege  and Storm by Leigh Bardugo. Grisha Trilogy #2. Unabridged audiobook on 10 compact discs; 11 hours 57 minutes. Performed by Lauren Fortang. Brilliance Audio, September, 2013. 9781480563797.

Publisher synopsis: Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. Grisha Trilogy #3. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3-CD. Brilliance Audio, September, 2014. 9781480564503.
Publisher synopsis: The much-anticipated conclusion to the Grisha Trilogy

The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne. Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Hidden away, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina forges new alliances as she and Mal search for Morozova's last amplifier. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that alters her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the future she’s fighting for.

I recently read Six of Crows with my ears and absolutely must read this trilogy while I wait for the September release of

Friday, February 19, 2016

Arc Review: Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan

Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan. 326 p. Sourcebooks Fire, April 1, 2016. 9781492630142. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher)

Max Cobb is coasting through high school, bland and invisible with his 2.5 GPA and zero social life. He's a huge fan of heist movies and admires the pranks of the Chaos Club, a legendary, secret club famous for epic pranks at his high school. So when he receives an invitation from them, he can't believe his luck. But he can't help wondering, why him? Why Just Max? Should he become Not-Max and go for it?

He does but instead of glory, he and four other "invitees" were set up as the patsies. And their fail was epic. The entire school was talking about it. Unfortunately for the Chaos Club, Max isn't going to take this sitting down. Not-Max may have been duped but Not-Max is someone he kind of likes. He and his fellow dupes form an unlikely alliance with one mission. Take down the Chaos Club.

Ordinarily, I don't particularly enjoy heist or prank themed movies. The suspense of the heist makes me too antsy and I am not fond of pranks. If I do find the prank funny, I always feel guilty because pranks usually rely on humor at someone's expense. But pranks and heists have hit children's and YA literature hard the last year or so starting with Varian Johnson's The Great Greene Heist and Jude Watson's Loot. Both authors are due to drop sequels in the coming year. And I did enjoy both. I also ended up enjoying The Tapper Twins Go to War (with each other) by Geoff Rodkey and The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John. When I learned of this debut during a Sourcebooks Preview webinar, I just had to request an arc.

It is totally apropos that the book birthday for Don't Get Caught is April Fool's Day. Teens looking for a fast-paced romp narrated by a snarky, smart, wry high school boy will swallow this whole and eagerly await/ hope for a sequel. The laughs come fast and furious. The pages of my arc are dog-eared to mark not only all the hilarious moments, but also moments of pure teenage truth with all its blemishes from the shark-tank social hierarchy through hard-ass teachers through unrequited love. The characters are smart but not in that overly twee way that sometimes dominates popular YA novels. These characters sound real. These characters have depth.

The story twists and turns as the capers unfold prompting quite a few, "Wait! What?" moments where I needed to stop to go back and reread. And that ending? Never saw it coming. Bloody brilliant. 

Don't Get Caught might be a tad mature for my crowd. I'll be rereading it to try to make it work. I'm considering the eighth grade only shelf. I highly recommend it for high school and public library collections, as well as LA classroom collections. Teen boys and girls will enjoy this equally; as will reluctant and enthusiastic readers, fans of Andrew Smith and fans of heist movies. Don't miss out.

Friday Memes: Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee. 261 p. A Caitlyn Blouhy Book/ Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, March 8, 2016. 9781442482425.

Publisher synopsis: Worlds collide in a spectacular way when Newbery and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt and Pulitzer Prize nominee and #1 New York Times bestseller Alison McGhee team up to create a fantastical, heartbreaking, and gorgeous tale about two sisters, a fox cub, and what happens when one of the sisters disappears forever.

Sylvie and Jules, Jules and Sylvie. Better than just sisters, better than best friends, they’d be identical twins if only they’d been born in the same year. And if only Sylvie wasn’t such a fast—faster than fast—runner. But Sylvie is too fast, and when she runs to the river they’re not supposed to go anywhere near to throw a wish rock just before the school bus comes on a snowy morning, she runs so fast that no one sees what happens…and no one ever sees her again. Jules is devastated, but she refuses to believe what all the others believe, that—like their mother—her sister is gone forever.

At the very same time, in the shadow world, a shadow fox is born—half of the spirit world, half of the animal world. She too is fast—faster than fast—and she senses danger. She’s too young to know exactly what she senses, but she knows something is very wrong. And when Jules believes one last wish rock for Sylvie needs to be thrown into the river, the human and shadow worlds collide.

Writing in alternate voices—one Jules’s, the other the fox’s—Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee tell the searingly beautiful tale of one small family’s moment of heartbreak, a moment that unfolds into one that is epic, mythic, shimmering, and most of all, hopeful.

First Line: From under her covers, Jules Sherman listened for her sister Sylvie to walk out of their room.

Page 56: The woods felt quiet. Too quiet.
     Then, in the very thick of the silence, Jules heard the quick, high-pitched cry of a fox. She recognized it immediately. There was no other sound like it, a "vixen's cry," was what Mrs. Harless called it.
     A fox! Foxes meant luck.

This is shaping up to be one of those gems I give to my students who love sad books. You know you have them. They are usually fifth or sixth graders but, seventh and eighth graders might admit to it. And, if you listen carefully enough, there are quite a few boys. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Making Friends with Billy Wong

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.

Learned about this last week when the author posted a link to her interview on Watch, Connect, Read.

Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood. 224 p. Scholastic Inc. August 30, 2016. 9780545924252.

Publisher synopsis: Azalea is not happy about being dropped off to care for Grandmother Clark.  Paris Junction is nothing like her Texas hometown. And now she's been thrown together with, troubled Willis DeLoach, gossipy Melinda Bowman, and Billy Wong, a Chinese-American boy who has his own troubles. Billy's parents own the Lucky Foods grocery store, where days are long, and folks aren't always friendly. Inspired by the true stories of Chinese immigrants who came to the American south during the civil rights era, this poignant story reminds us all that home is where our hearts reside, and that friends can come to us in the most unexpected ways. This brilliantly nuanced novel is delivering a unique literary format. The story is told from two points of view: Billy Wong is rendered in clipped verse narratives that are interspersed with Azalea's emotionally expressive prose.

Ms. Scattergood is a quiet writer with a big heart. Her books reflect this. I so enjoyed Glory Be and The Way to Stay in Destiny and am looking forward to this one as well.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Non-Fiction Monday (Blog Tour): Reproductive Rights: Who Decides? by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein

Reproductive Rights: Who Decides? by Vicki Oransky Wittenstein. 160 p. Twenty-First Century Books/ Lerner Publishing, January, 2016. 9781467741873. (Finished copy courtesy of publicist for review.)

Methods of preventing conception in ancient societies range from the amusing to the surprisingly effective. Controlling reproduction has been so consistently attempted through the ages that one may infer that it was an issue during prehistory as well. This slim volume cogently and succinctly lays out the history of attempts to control reproduction. 

Jumping from early history to the Victorian Era to the banning of contraception in the U. S. in the early part of the late nineteenth century thanks to Anthony Comstock's zealous prosecution of anyone distributing methods of contraception or attempting to educate. A chapter is devoted to Margaret Sanger, an untiring proponent of reproductive rights, as well as lesser known activists such as Mary Ware Dennett. Other historical and political influences are explained, such as the Eugenics Movement, campaigns to prevent sexually transmitted diseases by the military and sterilization laws that unfairly targeted African Americans. The FDA approval of the birth control pill afforded women a reliable method of birth control and opened the door to new possibilities and freedom. Additionally, both sides of the abortion rights arguments are given fair and equal treatment. The concluding chapter introduces the reader to modern global reproductive issues. Teen readers in first world countries may be surprised to learn that women's health in developing countries is perilous and lacking.

The book is beautifully designed from the striking cover photograph through the strategically placed text boxes and well-captioned photos, maps, and illustrations. Glossary, source notes, bibliography and suggestions for further reading round out this useful volume. Excellent for teen researchers or nascent activists or feminists, this book serves as a much-needed reminder that these rights were hard-fought, relatively recently won and are threatened here in the U.S. in our current political climate. A much needed purchase for upper middle, high school and public libraries. I would also propose that women's studies professors consider adding it to their syllabus.


Before becoming an author, VICKI ORANKSY WITTENSTEIN prosecuted criminal cases as an assistant district attorney with the Manhattan District Attorney's office. She earned an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Vicki has written a number of science articles and books for the juvenile market, including Planet Hunter: Geoff Marcy and the Search for Other Earths, which won the 2011 Science Communication Award from the American Institute of Physics. Her book For the Good of Mankind? The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation was a Junior Literary Guild selection. Vicki and her husband live in Brooklyn, New York. Visit her website at

★"Though slim, this volume packs a wallop."  --Booklist (starred review)

"Well written and impeccably researched, this volume will appeal to budding activists and feminists and to those concerned about human rights." --School Library Journal

A Junior Library Guild Selection

Other stops on the tour:
Tues, Feb 16
The Book Monsters:

Wed, Feb 17

Thurs, Feb 18

Fri, Feb 19
The Nonfiction Detectives:

Sat, Feb 20

Mon, Feb 22

Tues, Feb 23
Through the Tollbooth:

Wed, Feb 24
Unleashing Readers:

Thurs, Feb 25

Fri, Feb 26

Saturday, February 13, 2016

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Hop on over there to ogle what other bloggers got this week.

Quiet week this week, which is good because I'm serving on jury duty and have some reading to do for upcoming blog tours.

For review:

Samurai Rising: the epic life of Minamoto Yoshitsune by Pamela S. Turner. Illustrated by Gareth Hinds. 236 p. Charlesbridge, February, 2016. 9781580895842.

Publisher synopsis: Minamoto Yoshitsune should not have been a samurai. But his story is legend in this real-life saga.

This epic warrior tale reads like a novel, but this is the true story of the greatest samurai in Japanese history.

When Yoshitsune was just a baby, his father went to war with a rival samurai family—and lost. His father was killed, his mother captured, and his surviving half-brother banished. Yoshitsune was sent away to live in a monastery. Skinny, small, and unskilled in the warrior arts, he nevertheless escaped and learned the ways of the samurai. When the time came for the Minamoto clan to rise up against their enemies, Yoshitsune answered the call. His daring feats and impossible bravery earned him immortality.


After by Morris Gleitzman. Unabridged audiobook on four compact discs. 4 hours, 20 minutes. Read by the author. Bolinda Audio, Sept. 2012. 9781743116883.

Publisher synopsis: A Holocaust survival story that combines hopeful melancholy with gentle humour.

Following a heartbreaking struggle to survive as a Jewish child in Germany, Felix faces perhaps his greatest challenge—to find hope when he's lost almost everything.

As Europe goes through the final agonizing stages of the war, Felix struggles to reconcile hatred and healing. He's helped by a new friend, but if he should lose her as well.…

I was totally blown away by Once, Then and Now. So are my students. A few weeks ago, a student who had read all three in a row asked if there were any more. When I looked it up, I found that After was written but the only incarnation of the book available in the U.S. was the audiobook. 

I'm a regular reader of audiobooks, but not many of my students check out the audiobooks in our collection. I can't even buy the books from Amazon Australia because there are no new copies available - only Kindle editions. Sigh. I did learn that there is yet another Felix and Zelda book out called Soon.

The Internet makes purchasing foreign books a tad easier when U.S. publishers decide not to continue publishing a series. It's an extra expense and one I usually take on myself since POs are generally not accepted. 

What's new with you?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Arc Review: Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher

Silence is Goldfish by Annabel Pitcher. 343 p. Little, Brown and Company, May 15, 2016. 9780316370752. (Review from arc courtesy of publisher).

I fell in love with Tess' voice from the memorable first line, "There must be a list on the Internet of what to buy when you're running away, but my phone is typically dead, like I swear it just passes out whenever things get stressful." 

Self-aware and insecure, snarky and keenly observant, Tess plans on running away after accidentally learning that she is not her father's biological daughter. She gets as far as a convenience store where she ponders said list, purchases a goldfish-shaped flashlight, chickens out about running away and returns home with her tail between her legs. 

She has always been a pliable, eager-to-please daughter to her opinionated, over-involved father and supportive mother.  So what if she doesn't really want to play a lost boy to his Capt. Hook in a local theater production? After all, he's always had her welfare at heart. But after reading those 617 words on her father's computer, words he intended for a blog post for the Donor Conception Network, she wonders if her whole life has been a lie. 

Her life at school is not much better. She has one friend, the cello-playing, Lord of the Rings-loving, fan-fic writing, word-nerd Isabel. She has never brought her home because a friendship with Isabel would be be a disappointment. Instead, she has created an imaginary friendship with Anna, the resident Queen Bee mean girl. 

When Tess realizes that it is easier to become mute than to attempt to explain her confusion and rage or ask difficult questions, she brings some unwanted attention to herself at school. While the silence does have some benefits, it brings with it some unintended consequences. As Tess' life spirals out of control, the goldfish flashlight that she names Mr. Goldfish, becomes, not only a talisman, but the only one Tess can speak to as she plunges headlong into a search for her "real" father.

This coming-of-age novel is deeply moving. Not only does it have its laugh-out-loud moments, thanks to Tess' wry observations, but readers will wince for Tess during her many cringeworthy experiences. Even though her character is what drives the book, the adults around her are complex and flawed. It is gratifying to watch Tess sort these folks out. While the pace might be a tad slow for some, the interior dialogue is rich, the writing is lovely and Tess! Oh, Tess is so intriguing - endearing yet maddening. Thoughtful teen readers will find much to enjoy.

Friday Memes: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

Book Beginnings is hosted by Rose City Reader and Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt. 183 p. Clarion Books/ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October, 2015. 9780544462229. 

Publisher synopsis: The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

First line: Before you agree to have Joseph come live with you," Mrs. Stroud said, "there are one or two things you ought to understand."

Page 56: "You ever do something like that again, I am personally going to kick you around the perimeter of this gym."
     Joseph looked at him.
     "How?" he said.
    "You would be surprised, " Coach Swieteck said. "Go get changed." He twirled his wheelchair around. 

I adore Gary D. Schmidt's books. I have had this on the tbr forever and am ashamed that it has taken me so long to get to. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday - Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz

WoW is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share the titles we can't wait to release.

Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz. 304 p. Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers, October 18, 2016. 9780374303129.

Publisher synopsis: To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:
-The number four
-The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
-A crisp white pad of paper
-Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines.

What's not perfect is Molly's mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are sometimes broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Poetry Slam Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with white tablecloths. Molly is she her mother would never miss that. Right...?

But as time passes, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly's world from spinning out of control. In this fresh-voiced debut novel, one girl learns there is no such thing as perfect.

I had the pleasure of meeting Elly at the Sweet Sixteens Debut Drinks Night at ALA Midwinter. Take a look at the coolest swag she gave out:

Here's a link to her website and here's a link to the Sweet Sixteen's website. Check it out! There are some interesting debuts coming our way this year!