Category Archives: Middlegrade

PS I Miss You

Finished PS I Miss You by Jen Petro-Roy. (In the interest of full disclosure, Jen is my friend and I was the first person to beta read this book—which I did twice—and I am in the acknowledgments, which may or may not have made me cry.)

Summary (from Goodreads):

In this epistolary middle-grade debut novel, a girl who’s questioning her sexual orientation writes letters to her sister, who was sent away from their strict Catholic home after becoming pregnant.

Eleven-year-old Evie is heartbroken when her strict Catholic parents send her pregnant sister away to stay with a distant great-aunt. All Evie wants is for her older sister to come back. But when her parents forbid her to even speak to Cilla, she starts sending letters. Evie writes letters about her family, torn apart and hurting. She writes about her life, empty without Cilla. And she writes about the new girl in school, June, who becomes her friend, and then maybe more than a friend.

As she becomes better friends with June, Evie begins to question her sexual orientation. She can only imagine what might happen if her parents found out who she really is. She could really use some advice from Cilla. But Cilla isn’t writing back.”

Jen told me that the final product was different and better from the two versions I’d read. (The second version was different and better from the first, but I was still very skeptical. How could this book be any better? Well. Somehow it is. (Witchcraft?)

This novel touches on almost everything in its 310 pages—friendship, family, faith, crushes, teenage pregnancy…and it’s all handled with dignity and respect. Nothing is gratuitous and nothing feels added for shock value. Evie grapples with her faith and spends time trying to figure out what she believes (as opposed to what she’s been raised to believe) and ultimately continues to find comfort in the church, even when she’s mad at God (and her parents).

This is a story that trusts kids to draw their own conclusions. Who’s right in this? Who’s wrong? If the wrong things are done, can they still be done for the right reasons? Are some things unforgivable? (These questions will make more sense in the context of the story when you read it, but they’re things to think about anyway, right?)

This would be a good book to read with your kids or as part of a book club. Great discussions are sure to follow. Highly, highly recommended.


Stanley Will Probably Be Fine

Finished Stanley Will Probably Be Fine by Sally J. Pla. I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

This novel features comic trivia, a safety superhero, and a super-cool scavenger hunt all over downtown San Diego, as our young hero Stanley Fortinbras grapples with his anxiety—and learns what, exactly, it means to be brave.

Nobody knows comics trivia like Stanley knows comics trivia.

It’s what he takes comfort in when the world around him gets to be too much. And after he faints during a safety assembly, Stanley takes his love of comics up a level by inventing his own imaginary superhero, named John Lockdown, to help him through.

Help is what he needs, because Stanley’s entered Trivia Quest—a giant comics-trivia treasure hunt—to prove he can tackle his worries, score VIP passes to Comic Fest, and win back his ex-best friend. Partnered with his fearless new neighbor Liberty, Stanley faces his most epic, overwhelming, challenging day ever.

What would John Lockdown do?

Stanley’s about to find out.”

This is an absolutely delightful story. Stanley is nervous a lot. A LOT, though. Among other things, he’s afraid of public transportation and crowds (but there are many other things). He’s also picked on a lot and his best friend has started spending more time with the bullies than with Stanley. When this trivia contest starts, he’s pretty sure it’s the answer to everything: he’ll get passes to Comic Fest and Joon will be sorry he stopped being Stanley’s friend. Except, obviously, he has to face crowds and mass transit.

I’ve heard of a lot of kids being diagnosed with anxiety or other disorders lately, and I think this book would be very helpful for them. Stanley never stops being afraid, but he learns how to overcome that and move forward anyway.  (That’s actually the best part. It’s not like, “And Stanley tried really hard and he wasn’t afraid anymore!” It’s “Stanley was still terrified, but he tried anyway.”)

This was my first Sally J. Pla book but I definitely want to check out her backlist.

Just Like Jackie

Finished Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

For as long as Robinson Hart can remember, it’s just been her and Grandpa. Robbie knows they look like an odd pair, because her blond hair and pale skin don’t match his dark complexion—but those differences don’t mean anything to her. And though she wishes Grandpa would tell her more about the rest of her family, she’s learned over the years that he doesn’t like to talk about the past.

But Grandpa’s memory is starting to get bad, and Robbie’s worried that soon he won’t remember their family—including her—at all. She’s sure that he would get better if she could stay out of trouble, but it’s hard to keep her fists to herself when bullies like Alex Carter make fun of her for not having a mom or for looking so different from Grandpa. It’s up to Robbie to learn how to deal with her anger and to keep her family together—no matter what.”

Ooof, this book. It reminds me quite a bit of The Great Gilly Hopkins (one of my favorite books as a child) in that (a) Robinson has all this yearning for a family she knows nothing about and (b) she is so completely full of anger.

This offers some coping mechanisms for children who may have similar anger problems, but it also shows compassion for the other characters and explains why bullies can be that why, as well as that sometimes people are just insensitive and not actively mean.

I loved this book and cannot wait to read more from Lindsey Stoddard. Recommended.

TBH, This is So Awkward

Finished TBH, This is So Awkward by Lisa Greenwald. I received a copy for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Told entirely in text messages, this addictive new series from the acclaimed author of My Life in Pink & Green is perfect for fans of Lauren Myracle and Wendy Mass.

To be honest, middle school is rough! Cecily, Gabby, and Prianka have been BFFAE since pre-K, so it’s totally natural when they don’t include the new girl, Victoria, in their plans and group texts.

Between organizing the school Valentine’s Day dance, prepping for their first boy-girl party, and trying to keep their texts so boring their moms won’t use spy apps to read them, the friends only have time for each other.

But when Victoria is accidentally sent a hurtful text message, the entire sixth grade gets called out for bullying, cell phones are confiscated, and the trio known as CPG4Eva is forced to figure out just how strong their friendships are IRL.”

There are middlegrade novels that will transcend their intended audiences. This is not one of them (and that’s okay). I think the target audience will find a lot to enjoy here and there’s a good lesson (even if it’s not really a subtle one).

The idea of cyberbullying isn’t a new one, but this book discusses the blatant kind (one of the girls accidentally says something mean about another in the wrong group chat text) and the insidious kind (exclusion without any overt meanness attached). I think it’s easy to consider only one kind of behavior bullying, but ignoring people can be almost as bad.

I think young readers will still enjoy it, even though the format by its nature keeps the book fairly superficial. It’s a fast, easy and fun read.

2017: The Books


1) The Wicked City by Beatriz Williams (1)

2) The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins (2)

3) The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty (3)

4) Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson (4)

5) Cinder by Marissa Meyer (5)

6) After the Fall by Kate Hart (6)

7) The Girl Before by JP Delaney (7)

8) The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish (8)

9) Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (9)

10) The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (10)

11) Copycat by Kimberla Lawson Roby (11)

12) Caraval by Stephanie Garber (12)

13) Silver Stars by Michael Grant (13)

14) Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (14)

15) By Your Side by Kasie West (15)

16) Nowhere Near You by Leah Thomas (16)

17) March Trilogy by John Lewis (17)

18) The Young Widower’s Handbook by Tom McAllister (18)

19) Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (19)

20) Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel (20)

21) Marbles by Ellen Forney (21)

22) Stitches by David Small (22)

23) Becoming Unbecoming by Una (23)

24) Ghost World by Daniel Clowes (24)

25) Black Hole by Charles Burns (25)

26) Blankets by Craig Thompson (26)

27) Kindred by Octavia Butler (27) (graphic novel)

28) Rosalie Lightning by Tom Hart (28)

29) The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak (29)

30) All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (30)

31) A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstrom (31)

32) The Mothers by Brit Bennett (32)

33) All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey (33)

34) The Lost Woman by Sara Blaedel (34)

35) Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (35)


1) #Famous by Jilly Gagnon (36)

2) A Separation by Katie Kitamura (37)

3) Sister, Sister by Sue Fortin (38)

4) Hillbilly Elegy by JD Vance (39)

5) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (40)

6) On Turpentine Lane by Elinor Lipman (41)

7) Wonder by RJ Palacio (42) (reread)

8) The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan (43)

9) A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (44)

10) The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher (45)

11) Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (46)

12) Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher (47)

13) Adulthood is a Myth by Sarah Andersen (48)

14) We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (49) (2017)

15) Sophie Someone by Hayley Long (50)

16) The Book That Made Me by Judith Ridge (51)

17) Camp So-and-So by Mary McCoy (52)

18) The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (53)

19) The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig (54)

20) Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (55)

21) The Widow’s House by Carol Goodman (56)

22) Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse (57)

23) Who Killed Christopher Goodman? by Allan Wolf (58)

24) The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo (59)

25) Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (60)


1) Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens (61)

2) I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (62)

3) The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (63)

4) Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper (64)

5) Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (65)

6) Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson (66)

7) Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres (67)

8) Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail (68)

9) Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen (69)

10) The Other F-Word by Natasha Friend (70)

11) See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (71)

12) Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (72)

13) You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner (73)

14) Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (74)

15) The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett (75)

16) Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde (76)

17) Beatdown in Bangkok by Adam Fleming and Justin Fike (77)

18) The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato (78)

19) The Secrets You Keep by Kate White (79)

20) A Simple Favor by Darcey Bell (80)

21) Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (81)

22) 100 Hours by Rachel Vincent (82)

23) Dead Little Mean Girl by Eva Darrows (83)

24) All the Forever Things by Jolene Perry (84)

25) Miss You by Kate Eberlin (85)

26) The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck (86)

27) Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott (87)

28) Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer (88)

29) At First Blush by Beth Ellyn Summer (89)

30) Pretty Fierce by Kieran Scott (90)

31) Extreme You by Sarah Robb O’Hagen (91)

32) The End of Our Story by Meg Halston (92)

33) We’re All Wonders by RJ Palacio (93)

34) Chester and Gus by Cammie McGovern (94)

35) Worthy by Donna Cooner (95)

36) Dear Ijeawele by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (96)


1) Fallout by Sara Paretsky (97)

2) Gem & Dixie by Sara Zarr (98)

3) The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (99)

4) The Takedown by Corrie Wang (100)

5) The Day I Died by Lori Rader-Day (101)

6) One Hundred Spaghetti Strings by Jen Nails (102)

7) Literally by Lucy Keating (103)

8) Apartment 1986 by Lisa Papademetriou (104)

9) The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda (105)

10) Dangerous Ends by Alex Segura (106)

11) Fireworks by Katie Cotugno (107)

12) The Unprotected by Kelly Sokol (108)

13) Bang by Barry Lyga (109)

14) The Hanging Girl by Eileen Cook (110)

15) It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vezzini (111)

16) The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers (112)

17) Beartown by Fredrik Backman (113)

18) Looking For Group by Rory Harrison (114)

19) Lucky Girl by Amanda Maciel (115)

20) I Found You by Lisa Jewell (116)

21) The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger (117)

22) How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake (118)

23) Suspect Red by LM Elliott (119)

24) Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee (120)

25) Dreamfall by Amy Plum (121)

26)  Planet Jupiter by Jane Kurtz (122)

27) Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson (123)

28) Georgia Rules by Nanci Turner Steveson (124)

29) The Summer of Bad Ideas by Keira Stewart (125)

30) Posted by John David Anderson (126)


1) The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight (127)

2) Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (128)

3) Saints and Misfits by SK Ali (129)

4) Girl out of Waterby Laura Silverman (130)

5) That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim (131)

6) Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy (132)

7) Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher (133)

8) Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane (134)

9) Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia (135)

10) Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee (136)

11) Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook by Iva-Marie Palmer (137)

12) It’s Not Like it’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura (138)

13) Gwendy’s Button Box by Stephen King (139)

14) Public Relations by Katie Heaney and Arianna Rebolini (140)

15) Arrowood by Laura McHugh (141)

16) Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (142)

17) The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord (143)

18) Keys to the City by Lisa Schroeder (144)


1) It Started With Goodbye by Christina June (145)

2) What is the Bible? by Rob Bell (146)

3) Antisocial by Jillian Blake (147)

4) Max and Menna by Shauna Kelley (148)

5) From Ant to Eagle by Alex Lyttle (149)

6) Once and For All by Sarah Dessen (150)

7) Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (151)

8) The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs (152)

9) Vigilante by Kady Cross (153)

10) When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (154)

11) The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green (155)

12) The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone (156)

13) Necromantic Shenanigans by JA Campbell and Rebecca Mcfarland Kyle (157)

14) Fanny and Dice by Rebecca McFarland Kyle (158)

15) He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly (159)

16) Geekerella by Ashley Poston (160)

17) Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett (161)

18) Torn Away by Jennifer Brown (162)

19) Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid (163)


1) The Hating Game by Sally Thorne (164)

2) After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid (165)

3) Forever, Interrupted by Taylor Jenkins Reid (166)

4) Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid (167)

5) It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany (168)

6) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (169)

7) The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo (170)

8) My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella (171)

9) The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (172)

10) Off the Cliff by Becky Aikman (173)

11) Beware the Ranger by Debra Holt (174)

12) The Force by Don Winslow (175)

13) The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand (176)

14) A Stone of Hope by Jim St. Germain (177)

15) The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick (178)

16) The Late Show by Michael Connelly (179)

17) The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger (180)

18) The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein (181)

19) The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham (182)

20) Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave (183)

21) Freefall by Joshua David Bellin (184)

22) The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (185)

23) Final Girls by Riley Sager (186)


1) The Stars in Our Eyes by Julie Klam (187)

2) Morningstar by Ann Hood (188)

3) Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler (189)

4) One For Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn (190)

5) Between Me and You by Allison Winn Scotch (191)

6) The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby (192)

7) Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker (193)

8) The Authentics by Abdi Nazemian (194)

9) Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari (195)

10) The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter (196)

11) To Siri with Love by Judith Newman (197)

12) Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore (198)

13) Brooklyn Girls by Gemma Burgess (199)

14) Patina by Jason Reynolds (200)

15) Blood Defense by Marcia Clark (201)

16) Moral Defense by Marcia Clark (202)

17) Snap Judgment by Marcia Clark (203)

18) I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn and Allison Raskin (204)

19) Blame by Jeff Abbott (205)

20) Hunger by Roxane Gay (206)


1) Friend Request by Laura Marshall (207)

2) They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (208)

3) Copycat by Alex Lake (209)

4) Clickd by Tamara Ireland Stone (210)

5) Spoiler Alert: The Hero Dies by Michael Ausiello (211)

6) What Happened by Hillary Rodham Clinton (212)

7) In Sight of Stars by Gae Polisner (213)

8) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (214)

9) Don’t Let Go by Harlan Coben (215)

10) Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis (216)

11) Warcross by Marie Lu (217)

12) Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (218)

13) The Thin Line Between Good and Evil by Liza Wiemer (219) (beta read)


1) There’s Someone in the House by Stephanie Perkins (220)

2) We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby (221)

3) The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (222)

4) Little Monsters by Kara Thomas (223)

5) Eliza and her Monsters by Francesca Zappia (224)

6) One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (225)

7) Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen (226)

8) Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (227)

9) Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart (228)

10) Autoboyography by Christina Lauren (229)

11) Far From the Tree by Robin Benway (230)

12) What Girls are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold (231)

13) The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe (232)

14) In the Shadow of the Sun by Anne Sibley O’Brien (233)

15) City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson (234)

16) You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (235)

17) American Street by Ibi Zoboi (236)

18) Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (237)

19) Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg (238)

20) Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg (239)

21) All in Pieces by Suzanne Young (240)

22) I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo (241)

23) The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz (242)

24) Lucky in Love by Kasie West (243)

25) A Psalm For Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl (244)


1) What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum (245)

2) How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore (246)

3) You Don’t Know Me But I Know You by Rebecca Darrow (247)

4) In a Perfect World by Trish Doller (248)

5) The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera (249)

6) The Border by Steve Schafer (250)

7) The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller (251)

8) Noteworthy by Riley Redgate (252)

9) Water in May by Ismee Amiel Williams (253)

10) Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios (254)

11) The Museum of Broken Relationships (255)

12) Pantsuit Nation edited by Libby Chamberlain (256)

13) The Stranger Game by Cylin Busby

14) Crash by Wylie Ender (258)

15) When I Am Through With You by Stephanie Kuehn (259)

16) Stolen Secrets by LB Schulman (260)

17) Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork (261)

18) Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (262)

19) And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin (263)

20) Maud by Melanie J. Fishbane (264)

21) Trell by Dick Lehr (265)

22) Maid of the King’s Court by Lucy Worsley (266)

23) The Agony of Bun O’Keefe by Heather Smith (267)

24) The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah (268)

25) Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (269)

26) Protected by Claire Zorn (270)

27) Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens (271)

28) Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin (272)

29) The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (273)

30) The Lake Effect by Erin McCahan (274)

31) Wild Bird by Wendelin Van Draanen (275)


1) Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield (276)

2) Truthers by Geoffrey Girard (277)

3) Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain (278)

4) 10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (279)

5) Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Younge-Ullman (280)

6) At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson (281)

7) The Lives of Desperate Girls by MacKenzie Common (282)

8) Get it Together, Delilah! by Erin Gough (283)

9) A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White (284)

10) Feral Youth by Shaun David Hutchinson (285)

11) A Void the Size of the World by Rachele Alpine (286)

12) Boy by Blake Nelson (287)

13) The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron (288)

14) Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman (289)

15) Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley (290)

16) The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares (291)

17) Here Lies Daniel Tate by Christin Terrill (292)

18) A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck (293)

19) Forks, Knives and Spoons by Leah DeCesare (294)

20) Spinning by Tillie Walden (295)

21) The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag (296)

22) Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (297)

23) Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills (298)

24) No Saints in Kansas by Amy Brashear (299)

25) Girl in a Bad Place by Kaitlin Ward (300)

26) Otherworld by Jason Segal and Kirsten Miller (301)

27) The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange (302)

28) Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda (303)

29) Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden (304)

30) Love, Life and the List by Kasie West (305)

31) Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (306)

32) Instructions for a Secondhand Heart by Tamsyn Murray (307)

The Secret of Nightingale Wood

Finished The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange. I received a copy for review.

Henrietta (“Henry”) is trying to hold her family together. After her brother’s death, her mother has suffered from a major depression (obviously) and her father has now gone abroad for business, leaving Henry and her little sister with a nanny. Nanny Jane isn’t awful but she’s listening to a doctor who wants Mama to be committed. And that’s not even everything that’s going on.

This is an absolutely charming middlegrade debut. It’s set shortly after World War I and feels like a classic already. I love Henry and her determination to keep everyone together (even in the face of incredible odds).

This is the kind of book you treasure. Recommended.

The Witch Boy

Finished The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag.

In Aster’s family, men are shapeshifters and women are witches. It’s the way it’s always been and it will never change. Except Aster is drawn to witchcraft and has no shapeshifting ability. More than that, he doesn’t even WANT to shapeshift.

This is a fun story (the first in a series). I think most readers can relate to wanting to do things and feeling like they aren’t allowed. (We’re all more than people think, right?)

I loved Aster and his family, and can’t wait to see where this story goes.

Click’d (mini review)

Finished Click’d by Tamara Ireland Stone. I received a copy for review. 

Allie has created a new app that is supposed to help you find friends. You take a simple quiz and then it alerts you when compatible people are nearby. It quickly becomes a huge success in her middle school and things are great…until there’s a glitch. Sometimes it shares photos that aren’t public. 

This was such a fun book and I absolutely devoured it. I love that Allie was so driven, even at such a young age, and that she created this awesome, fun app that people loved. At the same time, I love that she ALSO has these great relationships with her parents and friends. She is a well-rounded character and not a weirdo with no friends. I think most MG readers could relate to her. 

If you know someone who’s a reluctant reader, this could be what changes that. It also would be great for mother/daughter book clubs or to encourage an interest in STEM subjects. 


Finished Patina by Jason Reynolds. I received a copy for review. 

Patty (short for Patina) runs track. She and her little sister Maddy live with their aunt and uncle after their dad died and their mom got so sick (diabetes; both legs had to be amputated). And that’s basically her life: track and caring for Maddy. 

Like everything Jason Reynolds writes, this is a masterpiece. It’s impossible not to root for Patty, even if she’s a sore loser (though really, who likes to lose?). She’s such a great person and an amazing sister. 

She has so much on her plate and she never seems resentful. She has this innate sense of self, and I actually envy that. 

I will read everything he writes. You should, too. Highly recommended. 

Things That Surprise You

Finished Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari. I received a copy for review. 

Emily is in middle school and it’s kind of awful. She and her best friend aren’t as close as they used to be and she feels really left behind. 

There’s a lot of other stuff going on (her sister is in treatment for anorexia and her dad is living with another woman) and really, she just feels forgotten by everyone. 

This book is absolutely amazing. I think middle school is awful for everyone and I bet we can all relate to losing friends then. It’s the worst time because it’s when all of a sudden, people change. And if you’re not changing as fast as they are, you get ditched. And Emily is still elementary school Emily. She likes boys as friends, not as BOYS. She still loves her silly unicorn books. And she isn’t that into makeup and fashion. 

And add in her parents splitting up and her sister…it’s awful. (And I love how she’s allowed to be angry about it. She has good parents.)

This is a fantastic novel and you need it. Highly recommended.