Thursday, October 18, 2018

Truly Devious

Stevie Bell finally has the opportunity to attend Ellingham Academy.  She is really excited because she is a crime aficionado and has thoroughly studied the crime that occurred there in the late 1930s.  But while she is working on solving that old, unsolved crime another crime, a murder, happens on campus.  Can Stevie solve both crimes?

I really loved this.  I listened to it on audio and it was very engaging.  Unfortunately it ended on a big cliffhanger and I have to wait for the sequel.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Out of Left Field

Katy Gordon is a pitcher.  But, in the late 1950s girls do not play baseball.  Although she is good enough to make the Little League team when the coach finds out she is a girl he refuses to let her play.  She even contacts the Little League association but they won't budge.  As part of a class project on heroes, Katy decides to research women baseball players and finds out all about their hidden history.

Katy takes the reader on a journey that is not well known and exposes some of the misconceptions and unfairness of the late 1950s which in many cases we are still trying to combat today.  This was a good read.

The Reckless Club

At the end of their 8th grade year several students did things that resulted in a punishment.  This punishment was a bit different though.  Instead of a detention they were to spend the last day of the summer vacation at an assisted living home.  Way out of their element the 5 students try to just get through the day but one, Rex, is convinced that a nurse is stealing things from the residents and enlists the help of the others in catching her in the act.  In the midst of that the students start to learn about each other and in the aftermath they really find out what got each of them sent there to begin with.

This reminded me a lot of The Breakfast Club but set in a retirement home.  There was a bit of a mystery but also a positive message about seeing things from others' point of view and learning to understand and be empathetic.  I enjoyed this quite a bit.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Everlasting Nora

Ever since the fire that killed her father Nora and her mother have been living in his mausoleum.  In the Philippines, when you have no family, no jobs, no hope for the future that is where you can end up.   Things were going okay but her mother's habit of playing Mah'jong has gotten out of control and one day she doesn't come home after playing all night.  Nora and her friend Jo'Jo eventually figure out where she was and she is able to come home but she is really sick, they now have no work at all, and Nora's beloved father's watch and the money she was trying to save have all been stolen. Can Nora get help for her mother, get her watch back, and maybe find some hope for her little family?

This was pretty intense and sad but I feel like it is a good book for students to see how others may be living.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring

Paloma is not very excited about spending 4 weeks of her summer in Mexico.  But, since it was the homeland of her father who died when she was three, she is trying to make the best of it.  Right away she "meets" Frida Kahlo, Mexico's beloved artist and soon becomes embroiled in a mystery much like Lulu in her favorite books.  A peacock ring, recently discovered in a secret room, has now been stolen.  Her new friends Lizzie and Gael want her help but they aren't telling her everything.  There are many suspects and coincidences - a man in a trench coat, a fortune teller, a cuff link in a storage room.  Can Paloma and her friends find the ring before it's too late?

This was a clever mystery.  I liked the historical connection and Paloma was a great character.  Very well done!

Friday, October 12, 2018

The Story Collector

Viviani loves to tell stories.  It comes naturally - after all, her family lives in the New York Public Library where her dad is the superintendent.  But her stories sometimes get her into trouble and Viviani has a hard time knowing when a story is actually a lie.  While Viviani struggles to make friends and find her own story there is a mystery going on in the library - missing books, strange noises, and then a missing stamp collection that is worth a lot of money.  Can Viviani and her friends solve the mystery.

Love the Dewey Decimal Numbers in the chapter titles!!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Agony House

Denise, her mom, and stepdad have just moved back to New Orleans to renovate an old house and make it into a bed and breakfast.  The house is a disaster but even worse, it's haunted.  When Denise finds an old comic things start to get worse.  Who are the ghosts and what are they trying to hide.

This wasn't bad.  I think it got good and creepy near the end.  Hopefully readers will stick with it.