Monday, October 31, 2022

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat

The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat. ~7 hours, 21 minutes. Read by Sura Siu. OrangeSky Audio, 2022. (Review of e-audio borrowed from Hoopla.)

Happy Monday! I hope you had a fantastic weekend. The weather was just gorgeous here in northern NJ. I spent a lot of time outdoors taking care of my leaves and walking Boo. And, Happy Halloween!

Middle Grade Monday features The Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat. Twelve-year-old Sodsai, "Sai" Mudawan has been able to hide her lowly birth and secured a job with Paiyoon the mapmaker. She lives in the Fens with her conman father. She knows that once she turns thirteen, her ruse will be discovered when she fails to receive a lineal, a bracelet with links that represent noble lineage. When the queen dispatches a ship to find and explore the Sunderlands, Paiyoon is to join the expedition as Royal Mapmaker. He invites Sai to come along as his apprentice because she has a talent for copying and Paiyoon's hands are no longer as steady as they once were. Once on board, Sai meets Rian, a dashing figure and rising star in the queen's navy. She also spies a deck hand who might recognize her from the Fens and blow her cover. It seems everyone has secrets on board and some of them might be dangerous.

This Thai-inspired fantasy is getting a fair amount of well-deserved Newbery buzz. It's quick pace and suspense will keep readers turning pages. The characters are complex and the world on board the ship is vividly drawn. The Last Mapmaker hits that sweet spot where lovely writing meets rousing adventure. 

Friday, October 28, 2022

What's New? Stacking the Shelves

 "Stacking the Shelves" was a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It seems the blog is gone though, so I will just continue to post a "What's New? post whenever I receive new books. 

For Review:

New Kids & Under Dogs by Margaret Finnegan. 282 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster, October 25, 2022. 9781534496408.

Publisher synopsis:When perpetual new kid Robyn signs up her special needs dogs for agility training, she gets an unexpected lesson in friendship in this funny and moving novel from the author of We Could Be Heroes and Susie B. Won’t Back Down.

Robyn Kellen has been the new kid six times. She’s practically an expert on the subject and has developed foolproof rules to help her get by: Blend in, don’t go looking for trouble, and move on. Unfortunately, Robyn’s mom has a rule, too: Robyn must do an after-school activity.

When Robyn discovers a dog agility class, she thinks she’s found the perfect thing—but then her dogs, Sundae and Fudge, are rejected from the class. Sundae won’t do anything without Fudge, and Fudge is deaf and blind, and the instructor refuses to change the rules to fit their needs. Luckily, the instructor’s grandson, Nestor—a legend at Robyn’s new school—offers Robyn a deal: If she helps him with math, he’ll train Sundae and Fudge. Problem is, Robyn isn’t so great at math herself, so she’s forced to recruit the class outcast, Alejandra, to help.

Suddenly, Robyn finds herself surrounded by people who do anything but blend in—and sticking to her rules becomes harder than ever. But as Robyn learns how to adapt the rules of agility for Sundae and Fudge, she will find that some rules are worth breaking altogether.

Purchased: nothing!

What's new on your pile?

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

#tbt: A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. 400 p. Arthur A. Levine Books/ Scholastic Inc., March, 2008. 9780439895767. (Own.)

Happy Thursday! #tbt features A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce. This book was Ms. Bunce's debut and was published in 2008. It won the inaugural William C. Morris YA Debut Award. It was also added to the Amelia Bloomer YA List and was named a Best Book for Young Adults.

This leisurely paced, stylistically complex novel will appeal to thoughtful teen readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings. Seventeen-year-old Charlotte and her sister Rosie inherit their father's mill in England in the early days of the Industrial Revolution. It is rumored that the mill is cursed, but Charlotte puts no stock in curses until she and her sister stand to lose the farm. Her uncle seems to want to help, but he also wants to marry Charlotte off. Then, a strange man named Jack Spinner shows up with the ability to spin straw into gold—for a price.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday: Time to Roll by Jamie Sumner

Time to Roll by Jamie Sumner. 208 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster, April 4, 2023. 

Waiting on Wednesday features Time to Roll by Jamie Sumner. I really loved Roll with It and am really looking forward to visiting Ellie again.

Publisher synopsis:

In the eagerly anticipated sequel to Jamie Sumner’s acclaimed and beloved middle grade novel Roll with It, Ellie finds her own way to shine.

Ellie is so not the pageant type. They’re Coralee’s thing, and Ellie is happy to let her talented friend shine in the spotlight. But what’s she supposed to do when Coralee asks her to enter a beauty pageant, and their other best friend, Bert, volunteers to be their manager? Then again, how else is she going to get through this summer with her dad, who barely knows her, while her mom is off on her honeymoon with Ellie’s amazing gym teacher? Ellie decides she has nothing to lose.

There’s only one problem: the director of the pageant seems determined to put Ellie and her wheelchair front and center. So it’s up to Ellie to figure out a way to do it on her own terms and make sure her friendships don’t fall apart along the way. Through it all, from thrift store deep dives to disastrous dance routines, she begins to form her own definition of beauty and what it means to really be seen.

Teen Tuesday: Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban

Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban. 280 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster, September, 2022. 9781534478831. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

Happy Tuesday! Teen Tuesday features Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban. Frankincense Wood, call her Francie, is fifteen-year-old and lives in Hollydale, Indiana. She's still grieving the death of her beloved grandfather, who was the patriarch of her family's Christmas-themed store and Santa school. The business isn't doing very well and her wretched Aunt Carole has moved back home to try to change the business model. Francie's trying to stay connected to her best friend, Alice Kim, who still attends the parochial high school she used to attend. That's getting hard. Francie is also dealing with vicious teasing by the school's hockey team due to an unfortunate kissing situation from two years earlier. While she has no interest in remedying the memory of that disastrous first kiss, she can't stop noticing Hector Ramirez, who has great shoulders and other intriguing attributes.

Francie's first-person narrative sparkles with humor both self-deprecating and sly. She unabashedly loves Christmas and all things Santa. She's awkward and angsty and totally relatable. This gentle rom-com is comfy and warm like your favorite flannel pjs.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Middle Grade Monday: Dinged by Tommy Greenwald

Dinged by Tommy Greenwald. 288 p. A Game Changer companion novel. Amulet Books/ Abrams, September, 2022. 9781419755156. (Review of finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

Happy Monday! It is a wet and dreary Monday here in northern NJ. The pups were miserable plodding through the dark and the rain to do their business, but they sure do love to be towed-dried at the end. 

Middle Grade Monday features Dinged by Tommy Greenwald. Freshman Caleb Springer has it made. He not only made the varsity football team, but is its quarterback. His whole life has been all football all the time, and he's a rare natural talent that is expected to go all the way to the pros as his father did. Only his dad is showing some disturbing signs - forgetfulness and explosive anger, and Caleb is concerned after having his bell rung twice during the season.

This first-person novel is interspersed with 
text messages and color commentary by a bantering duo of high school sports journalists. Caleb is instantly appealing as he thoughtfully leads a team of boys that are older and bigger than he. The football action is crisp. The romance between Caleb and Nina is sweet. The ever-present danger of traumatic brain injury and the effects of repeated head injury are ominous, and will hopefully cause readers to reflect. They will root for Caleb as he ponders his path.

Dinged should have wide appeal among middle school readers, not just fans of sports novels. Mr. Greenwald's writing is consistently crisp. His plots move briskly, but also contain depth and his characters are engaging and relatable. And, that cover sure is arresting! Back matter includes an author's note and a list of resources about traumatic brain injury. Highly recommended!

Friday, October 21, 2022

What's New?

 "Stacking the Shelves" was a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It seems the blog is gone though, so I will just continue to post a "What's New? post whenever I receive new books. 

For Review:


Talk Santa to Me by Linda Urban. 220 p. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, September, 2022. 

Publisher synopsis: A teen girl gets the perfect second try at a first kiss in this hilarious, romp-filled young adult romantic comedy perfect for fans of Jenna Evans Welch and Hallmark Christmas movies.

Francie was born in a stable. Really. Granted, it was the deluxe model with the light-up star on the roof, one of the many Christmas items for sale at her family’s Hollydale Holiday Shop. Their holiday gift empire also includes the Santa School, which was founded by Francie’s beloved grandpa, who recently passed away.

Francie’s always loved working in the shop, but lately Aunt Carole has been changing everything with her ideas for too-slick, Hollywood-inspired Santas and horrible holiday-themed employee uniforms. Aunt Carole’s vision will ruin all the charm and nostalgia Francie loves about her family’s business…unless she does something about it.

But this winter is about more than preserving the magic of Christmas. Francie is saving up for a car and angling to kiss the cute boy who works at the tree lot next door—hopefully it will be good enough to wipe her fiasco of a first kiss from her memory.

As the weather outside gets more and more frightful, can Francie pull off the holiday of her dreams?

Image: HarperCollins Publishers

A Rover's Story by Jasmine Warga. 320 p. Balzar + Bray/ HarperCollins Publishers, October, 2022. 

Publisher synopsis: The One and Only Ivan meets The Wild Robot in this unique and deeply moving middle grade novel about the journey of a fictional Mars rover, from the Newbery Honor–winning author of Other Words for Home.

Meet Resilience, a Mars rover determined to live up to his name.

Res was built to explore Mars. He was not built to have human emotions. But as he learns new things from the NASA scientists who assemble him, he begins to develop human-like feelings. Maybe there’s a problem with his programming….

Human emotions or not, launch day comes, and Res blasts off to Mars, accompanied by a friendly drone helicopter named Fly. But Res quickly discovers that Mars is a dangerous place filled with dust storms and giant cliffs. As he navigates Mars’s difficult landscape, Res is tested in ways that go beyond space exploration.

As millions of people back on Earth follow his progress, will Res have the determination, courage—and resilience—to succeed… and survive?

What's new on your pile?

Thursday, October 20, 2022

#tbt: Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee

Happy Thursday! #tbt features Millicent Min, Girl Genius by Lisa Yee. Eleven-year-old Millicent Min may be a genius, but she's socially inept. She has convinced her parent to let her take a college course but is disappointed with the laziness of the students there. Her parents want her to be a little girl and make friends, so they enroll her in a summer volleyball program where she meets new girl, Emily. Emily doesn't know how insufferable Milli tends to get, so Milli tones down her genius side in order to make friends. Unfortunately, Stanford Wong, her nemesis has also caught Emily's eye.

This was Ms. Yee's debut novel and the first of three companion novels, each told from the point of view of the three middle schoolers. Milicent Min, Girl Genius was published in October of 2003 and is told in a series of journal entries. Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time was published in October of 2005 and So Totally Emily Ebers was published in 2007. All three novels are laugh-out-loud hilarious. Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday: When Clouds Touch Us by Thanhhà Lai

When Clouds Touch Us by Thanhhà Lai. 256 p. HarperCollins Publishers, May 9, 2023. 9780063047004.

Last week, when Mr. Schu posted an interview and cover reveal for When Clouds Touch Us by Thanhhà Lai, I emailed my sixth grade LA colleague immediately. She got so excited as well. Inside Out and Back Again is a sixth grade class read and beloved. Mark your calendars. May 9 is the pub date. Here's the a short synopsis via Mr. Schu's website:

When Clouds Touch Us tells the story of Hà and her family two years after becoming refugees. Yes, she now speaks English and eats lunch in the cafeteria, instead of the bathroom, with actual friends. But then her mother announces they must move again, to Texas, which Hà can’t even pronounce. In many ways the long task of rebuilding proves even more daunting than fleeing war in panic.

Teen Tuesday and Audiobook Review: The Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

The Good Girl's Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. Unabridged e-audio book, ~11 hours. Read by Bailey Carr, Mairsa Calin, Michael Crouch, Gopal Divan, Robert Fast, Kevin R. Free, Sean Patrick Hopkins, Carol Monda, Patricia Santomasso, Sheri Sardar, Amanda Thickpenny, and others. Books on Tape/ Listening Library, February, 2020. (Review of e-audio downloaded from public library.)

Happy Tuesday! My students should know that I love hearing recommendations from them. The school year started with me receiving a lot of requests for "good girl's guide to murder" books or books by Holly Jackson. I am sorry to confess that I hadn't heard of the series or the author, who made her debut with A Good Girl's Guide to Murder in 2020. I put a hold on the audiobook and just finished it. What a nail biter!

Pippa Fitz-Amobi plans to revisit a cold case in her town of Fairview for her senior capstone project. Five years earlier, the small town was rocked by the disappearance of high school senior Andie Bell and the apparent suicide of her boyfriend, Sal, who admitted via text that he killed her. Case closed even though her body was never found. Pippa is unconvinced because Sal was always nice to her, so she starts interviewing. It isn't long before she begins putting pieces of the puzzle together and also receives notes warning her to stop.

Suspense is high throughout, as she sifts through the large number of suspects and examines motives. There are some cool red herrings and a few plot contrivances that keep the reader guessing until the end. It's not surprising that this is a best seller and checked out of most libraries in my library cooperative. Happy reading!

Monday, October 17, 2022

Middle Grade Monday: The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat

Image: Scholastic

The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat. Illustrated by Joanna Cacao. 272 p. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc. September, 2022. 9781338741261. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

Happy Monday! I hope you enjoyed a gorgeous weekend where you live! I had a lovely, productive weekend with long walks and the first round of leaf wrangling. Middle Grade Monday features The Tryout by Christina Soontornvat. Ms. Soontornvat who has won awards for both her fiction (A Wish in the Dark) and her non-fiction (All Thirteen) makes her graphic novel debut with her memoir of cheer tryouts. 

Starting seventh grade is hard for Christina and her bff, Megan. Christina is biracial. Her dad is Thai and her mom is white. Megan is Iranian American. The two suffer from micro-aggressions and overt racism. Christina can't seem to get fashion right either. They admire the confidence of the cheerleaders and decide to tryout for the squad.

The bright palette depicts the highs and lows of Christina's experience with energy and good humor. Graphic novel fans will not want to miss this!

Friday, October 14, 2022

What's New?

 "Stacking the Shelves" was a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It seems the blog is gone though, so I will just continue to post a "What's New? post whenever I receive new books. 

For Review: I received a package from Candlewick at school earlier this week!

Tasting Light: Ten Science Fiction Stories to Rewire Your Perceptions Edited by A.R. Capetta & Wade Roush. 272 p. Candlewick Press, October 4, 2022. 9781536219388.

Publisher synopsis: What does the future hold? Ten speculative short stories by leading young-adult authors imagine what the world could be through the lens of technologies emerging today. When the modification industry transforms how humans look, sound, and interact, a nonbinary teen braves the “reinvention room” to accept a gift from the dead. In an accidental city in space, a young apprentice holds neighborhoods together with braided carbon filaments until distraction and inspiration arrive in the wake of a visitor. Entitlement-fueled drug use alters the landscape of white privilege, robots remember the Earth, and corporate “walkers” stroll for unknown subscribers—until one hacks the system. In tales buzzing with possibility, hope, innovation, anger, and tenderness, Tasting Light offers a dazzling challenge to connect with open minds, hearts, and senses in a fast-changing world.

The First Thing about You by Chaz Hayden. 368 p. Candlewick Press, September, 2022. 9781536223118.

Publisher synopsis: 

When fifteen-year-old Harris moves with his family from California (home of beautiful-but-inaccessible beaches) to New Jersey (home of some much-hyped pizza and bagels), he’s determined to be known as more than just the kid in the powered wheelchair. Armed with his favorite getting-to-know-you question (“What’s your favorite color?”), he’ll weed out the incompatible people—the greens and the purples, people who are too close to his own blue to make for good friends—and surround himself with outgoing yellows, adventurousoranges, and even thrilling reds. But first things first: he needs to find a new nurse, stat, so that his mom doesn’t have to keep accompanying him to school.

Enter Miranda, a young nursing student who graduated from Harris’s new high school. Beautiful, confident, and the perfect blend of orange and red, Miranda sees Harris for who he really is—funny, smart, and totally worthy of the affections of Nory Fischer, the cute girl who’s in most of his classes. With Miranda at his side, Harris soon befriends geeky Zander (yellow) and even makes headway with Nory (who stubbornly refuses to reveal her favorite color). But Miranda is fighting her own demons, and Harris starts to wonder if she truly has his best interests at heart.
A high school student with spinal muscular atrophy is determined to reinvent himself in a hilarious and poignant debut from an exciting new voice.

Better Than We Found It: Conversations to Help Save the World by Frederick Joseph & Porsche Joseph. 528 p. Candlewick Press, October 11, 2022. 9781536224528.

Publisher synopsis:

Every generation inherits the problems created by the ones before them, but no generation will inherit as many problems—as many crises—as the current generation of young people. From the devastations of climate change to the horrors of gun violence, from rampant transphobia to the widening wealth gap, from the lack of health care to the lack of housing, the challenges facing the next generation can feel insurmountable. But change, even revolution, is possible; you just have to know where to start. In Better Than We Found It, best-selling author Frederick Joseph and debut author Porsche Joseph make the case for addressing some of the biggest issues of our day. Featuring more than two dozen interviews with prominent activists, authors, actors, and politicians, this is the essential resource for those who want to make the world better than we found it.

Featuring interviews with:
Mehcad Brooks
Keah Brown
Julián Castro
Sonja Cherry-Paul
Chelsea Clinton
Charlotte Clymer
Mari Copeny, aka Little Miss Flint
Greg D’Amato
Jesse Katz
Amed Khan
Daniel Alejandro Leon-Davis
Willy and Jo Lorenz
Ben O’Keefe
Brittany Packnett Cunningham
Anna Paquin
Robert Reich
Brandon T. Snider
Nic Stone
Anton Treuer
Andrea Tulee
David Villalpando
Elizabeth Warren
Shannon Watts
Natalie Weaver
Brandon Wolf
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Black Friend and a seasoned activist comes an indispensable guide to social and political progressivism for young people and anyone wanting to get more involved.

Purchased: Nothing. Well I did place an AZ order with the last of my gift card money, but it's not being delivered until next week b/c I would rather wait than pay for delivery if given the option.

What's new on your pile?

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Waiting on Wednesday: Meltdown: Discover the Earth's Irreplaceable Glaciers and Find Out What You Can Do to Save Them by Anita Sanchez

Meltdown: Discover the Earth's Irreplaceable Glaciers and Find Out What You Can Do to Save Them by Anita Sanchez. Illustrated by Lily Padula. Workman Publishing Company, November 1, 2022. 9781523509508.

Waiting on Wednesday features a non-fiction/ informational title I'm interested in reading and adding to my middle school library collection. Meltdown: Discover the Earth's Irreplaceable Glaciers and Find Out What You Can Do to Save Them by Anita Sanchez will release on November 1.

Publisher synopsis:

Meet the glaciers—before they disappear. Meltdown: Discover Earth's Irreplaceable Glaciers and Learn What You Can Do to Save Them is a kids’ guide to the glorious but endangered world of glaciers. Glaciers may not be as well-known as rain forests or coral reefs, but they are just as vital to the health of the planet, and just as threatened by climate change. 

Packed with information, grounded in the latest science, with lively writing and illustrations throughout (including graphs, charts, infographics, photographs, and full-page art), Meltdown gives readers an eye-opening overview of glaciers and how important they are: There are over 100,000 glaciers covering 10% of earth’s landmass, that hold almost three-quarters of the planet's fresh water, and act as protective shields to cool the atmosphere and combat climate change. We learn how glaciers were formed (some over two million years ago), how they move and carve the planet's landscape, and how scientists study them (the bluer the ice, the older it is). We learn the secrets of earth’s climate history hidden deep in a glacier’s core—and discover how climate change is causing glaciers to melt at unprecedented rates, putting the health of the planet in jeopardy.

But we are not left without hope. The final chapter offers positive steps readers can take to become climate activists, reduce their carbon footprint, and save the glaciers.

Teen Tuesday: Henry Hamlet's Heart by Rhiannon Wilde

Henry Hamlet's Heart by Rhiannon Wilde. 336 p. Charlesbridge, October 18, 2022. 9781623543693. (Review of arc courtesy of publisher.)

Teen Tuesday features Henry Hamlet's Heart by Rhiannon Wilde. This utterly beguiling debut comes to us via Australia and is publishing next Tuesday. I read it back in May and was dying to blog about it then, but the publisher asked me to wait until closer to the pub date. Today seems a good day to post my review, as it is National Coming Out Day.

Henry Hamlet is entering his final year at his boys high school in Brisbane and has no idea what he wants to do after graduating despite being class president and on the debate team. Not only is he not popular, he earned an unfortunate moniker after epically vomiting at a party. Luckily for him, his best friend, Lennon Cane, exudes effortless charm and Henry is content to ride his coat tails. 

When Henry reluctantly attends another party, he's knocked for a loop when Len takes a dare to make out with Henry and Henry...likes it? Wow, it never occurred to him that he might be gay, but he's unsure how Len feels and absolutely does not want to jeopardize their long friendship. It turns out Len feels the same about Henry and the two embark on a secret romance.

Henry's penchant for overthinking is at turns hilarious, heartbreaking and infuriating. His internal dialogue is instantly compelling. Henry and Len are so charming, authentic and vividly drawn, they feel real. I wish they were real. I loved that Henry's extended family were so supportive and involved. He loved them unabashedly and I loved that. The dialogue between all the characters crackled with humor and energy. Not one missed note or caricature. Ms. Wilde captures the poignancy of first love so beautifully that my cynical self felt no need for an eye-roll. It was a pleasure to reread in order to write this post and I'd even read it with my ears, if there's an audiobook just to hear it in an Aussie accent. 

Hand Henry Hamlet's Heart to teen fans of Simon v. the Homo Sapien Agenda or the Aristotle and Dante books. 

Monday, October 10, 2022

Middle Grade Monday: The Fort by Gordon Korman

The Fort by Gordon Korman. Unabridged e-audiobook, ~6 hours. Read by Christopher Carley, Michael Crouch, Nick Walther, Ramon De Ocampo, Tom Picasso, and Mark Sanderlin.
Recorded Books, June, 2022. (Review of e-audio borrowed from public library.)

Happy Monday TMS! I hope you had a blast this weekend and got outdoors in the gorgeous weather! I also hope you got a glimpse of the Hunter's Moon which rose on Saturday night.

Middle Grade Monday features The Fort by Gordon Korman. What kid doesn't dream of having a fort-a place to hang, to escape or just dream? When four best buds plus one new-comer literally stumble upon a fully-stocked underground bunker, they can't believe their luck and swear each other to secrecy as they explore their new digs and eat canned food. Suspension of belief is definitely required for this story told from multiple points of view. Each boy has an issue, whether it's fighting parents, absent parents or crippling anxiety.

The Fort is Mr. Korman's 100th book, and, while not his best, certainly starts with a terrific premise and features engaging characters. 

Monday, October 3, 2022

Middle Grade Monday and Audiobook Review: Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper

Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper. Unabridged audiobook, ~7 hours. Read by Sisi Aisha Johnson. Simon & Schuster Audio, November, 2021. (Review of e-audiobook borrowed from the public library.)

Happy Monday! I hope you had a cozy weekend. It has been chilly here in northern NJ and this weekend's much needed rain made staying indoors easy. We got the remnants of Hurricane Ian. Not a ton of rain, but very high winds. My neighbor had a huge tree fall. Thankfully it fell away from his house. 

Middle Grade Monday features Out of My Heart by Sharon M. Draper. This sequel to Out of My Mind has Melody contemplating her summer. Her classmates are all heading to a variety of camps and Melody wonders if there's one that would accept her. With the help of the librarian and her public library, Melody finds a camp that caters to kids with special needs. Fans of the first book will not be disappointed. Melody is just as spunky and funny. Readers will cheer as she finds her courage, makes friends and maybe even finds her first crush?