Monday, August 21, 2017

The Van Gogh Deception

When a boy is found at the National Gallery in D.C with no memory of who he is or how he got there the police bring him in, set him up in a temporary foster home, and start looking for his parents.  But others are looking for the boy as well.  This boy is placed with a foster mom and her daughter, Camille.  The next day they decide to go back to the museum to see if it will jog any memories and soon things start coming back piece by piece - his name which is Art, his backpack, his knowledge of artwork, and what happened to his father.  As his memories return Art becomes more dangerous to those who are trying to find him.  Can Art and Camille stay one step ahead and prevent a major art scandal?

This was a fun action, adventure, mystery!!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Forest World

Edver's mother, a cryptozoologist originally from Cuba decides to send him to Cuba to visit his father for the summer.  What she has never told him is that he has a sister - Luza.  The book, told in alternating voices through poetry, is mainly about Edver and Luza learning about each other.  There is also a lot about Cuban culture and the forest and a mysterious poacher that Edver and Luza unknowingly attracted to the island and now feel they need to capture.

There were parts I liked and the poetry itself was well done but overall the story was just kind of meh.  I wish there had been more - especially about the dad.


This is the second book in Jason Reynolds Track series.  In this book we follow Patina who is a friend of Ghost's from the first book.  Patina is being raised by her aunt (Momly) and her uncle who are white.  Her father died and her mother has had both legs amputated due to diabetes and can no longer care for Patina and her sister Maddy.  The book takes place in the course of a week as Patina adjusts to her new school, new team, and some events in her family life.

I did not find this one as strong as Ghost but readers will enjoy the continuation of the series.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Room of Shadows

Wow, this was something.  My daughter is a big Edgar Allan Poe fan - earrings, t-shirts, a clay puppet she made...  So from that perspective I enjoyed this creepy Dr. Jekyll and Hyde tale of Poe (who was buried alive) and David who unknowingly released Poe.  I loved the allusions to Poe's work but I don't know about the audience.  The book as a whole read younger to me - David and Libby didn't seem to be 8th graders - until they kissed I guess - but the Poe characteristics make me hesitant to give the book to my younger students.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Trail

I love hiking and my dream is to someday do some of the Appalachian Trail.  That is what drew me to this book.  It tells the story of Toby who feels he needs to hike from near his home in Vermont to Katahdin to finish a list he created with his best friend.  A friend who died.  So Toby (12) leaves home to walk the trail.  Along the way he encounters moose, bear, skunks, almost dies of hypothermia, loses his pack to a drunk but ultimately manages to survive on his own and saves a dog.

Now I will say the book was quite adventurous but...  highly unrealistic.  First - he's 12.  I question whether he would have gotten that far alone without anyone noticing, stopping him.  Then he really faced almost every imaginable thing that could happen on the trail (nope, didn't meet a porcupine) - to the point of being too unbelievable.  I did like his growth and determination and kids won't mind the unlikelihood of his adventures.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Bean Stalker

This was clever and funny.  Take well known fairytales, mix them together with puns and homonyms, add in zombies and vampires and you have a funny, slightly scary book of tales.  I liked it.

Things That Surprise You

I read a lot of books....  This wasn't bad and for 4th or 5th graders (girls most likely if we're honest) this will be okay.  For me, too many tropes and not enough freshness.  I did like the older sister and how the book dealt some with her eating disorder.

I read an ARC from NetGalley and found 2 big editing issues that I hope are resolved by the final printing.