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Waiting on Wednesday: The Secret Hum of a Daisy

Hello!

It’s time to share a soon-to-be-released title that I’m excited about! We call this meme, which is hosted by Breaking the Spine, Waiting on Wednesday.

This middle grades title does sound like it has potential to make me want to cry (and we all know how I feel about that), but I think The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczer also sounds like it could be a very sweet read.

Twelve-year-old Grace and her mother have always been their own family, traveling from place to place The Secret Hum of a Daisy by Tracy Holczerlike gypsies. But Grace wants to finally have a home all their own. Just when she thinks she’s found it her mother says it’s time to move again. Grace summons the courage to tell her mother how she really feels and will always regret that her last words to her were angry ones.

After her mother’s sudden death, Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she’s never met. She can’t imagine her mother would want her to stay with this stranger. Then Grace finds clues in a mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on. Maybe it is her mother, showing her the way to her true home.

This summary reminds me a little of Wild Things by Clay Carmichael, which was another sweet little middle grades read about a teen who looses a mother and is forced to live with family they’d never previously met. Also, this cover is just so lovely!

So, what are you waiting on today?

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Almost Truth

Hi there!

It’s the middle of the week which currently mean two things for me:

1. Author Sharon Draper is visiting my school tomorrow! Holy junk! I’m so nervous, but excited too! I’ll try to post about her visit later this week.

2. It’s time for a Waiting on Wednesday post!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine, which gives book bloggers the opportunity to  highlight some upcoming new releases we just can’t wait for!

This week I’m excited about The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook.

The Almost Truth by Eileen CookSadie can’t wait to get away from her backwards small town, her delusional mom, her jailbird dad, and the tiny trailer where she was raised…even though leaving those things behind also means leaving Brendan. Sadie wants a better life, and she has been working steadily toward it, one con at a time.

But when Sadie’s mother wipes out Sadie’s savings, her escape plan is suddenly gone. She needs to come up with a lot of cash—and fast—or she’ll be stuck in this town forever.

With Brendan’s help, she devises a plan—the ultimate con—to get the money. But the more lies Sadie spins, the more she starts falling for her own hoax…and perhaps for the wrong boy. Sadie wanted to change her life, but she wasn’t prepared to have it flipped upside down by her own deception. With her future at stake and her heart on the line, suddenly it seems like she has a lot more than just money to lose.

Doesn’t it sound like it could be a cute, romantic contemporary read?  I haven’t read anything by Eileen Cook before, but I do like the sound of The Almost Truth. This one will be released by Simon Pulse on December 4, so we don’t have too much longer to wait.

What upcoming release are you waiting on this week?

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Book Trailer of the Week: Dead End in Norvelt

I honestly, hadn’t heard of Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos until it won the 2012 Newbery Medal for the Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantosyear’s best contribution to children’s literature and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction.  So, obviously it has to be good!  I currently have it on order for my Media Center, so when it comes in I’ll try to snatch it up before the kids can (I love being a Media Specialist…I get the books right away!).

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Rumors and Consequences: In Too Deep by Amanda Grace

Looks like a good day for a book review! But before we get to that, don’t forget you can still enter the Tempest Audiobook Giveaway until February 19!

In Too Deep by Amanda GraceI never meant for anyone to get hurt. All I wanted to do that night was make a play for Carter Wellesley. His heartless rejection was mortifying, but people got the wrong idea when they saw me leaving his bedroom, crying. That’s how rumors of rape started.

Now girls at school are pouring out their sympathy to me. Guys too. But not everyone’s on my side. The school has become a war zone and the threats are getting scary. What began as poetic justice has morphed into something bigger–forcing me to make a terrible choice.

I received In Too Deep by Amanda Grace from the publisher (Thank you Flux Books!) and was interested from the moment I read the jacket summary.

Although the plot of In Too Deep deals with sexual assault and rape, the story’s main plot line focuses on lies and how you can’t erase them.

One of the first things I noticed about this book is the honesty of the supporting characters. Take Nick for example. He is Sam’s best friend and has been for years. Although he does cherish their friendship and Nick is loyal, he is not afraid to call out Sam when she is wrong. Nick is not scared to say the things that may be difficult for Sam to hear, he knows its better for her to heat them. I appreciate this kind of loyalty and friendship portrayed in YA fiction, because often friends can be portrayed at loyal to a fault. This is reality. Real friendship is like that; real friends love you and aren’t hesitant to bring up the hard stuff.

Grace has written Sam’s character well. Sam is nowhere close to being perfect. The story starts with Sam making a dumb decision in an attempt to get a boy to notice her and then it’s like a dumb decision snowball that keeps getting bigger and bigger (I kept yelling at Sam in my mind!). Although Sam didn’t intend for the false rumors of rape to circulate around school, she also does nothing to stop them. Sam knows she’s in the wrong and has good intentions to put the stories to rest, but she just never gets up the courage to actually end it. Sam is a good person, but she makes bad mistakes. Sounds like me at that age and almost every other teenager I’ve ever known, which is why I think Sam’s character is well written. I think readers can relate to Sam.

Now, to the ending (without spoilers), I absolutely loved the ending especially the last few sentences (which I want to post but can’t because that would be wrong!). In the midst of tons of hardship and difficulty (brought on by the main character by herself) there is hope on the horizon, which is what made me really like this book.

Some people may be uncomfortable about middle schoolers reading In Too Deep based on the intense subject matter, but I think the lesson learned by the main character in the end is an important one for middle grade readers. That is why I would recommend this book to older middle schoolers and up who are looking for a realistic contemporary read.

Author: Amanda Grace

Publisher: Flux Books (February 8, 2012)

Format: Print ARC

Length: 228 pages

Series: Standalone

YA/MG: YA

Buy the Book: In Too Deep

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Longing for Summer: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Isabel, or Belly, has travelled to Cousins Beach every summer of her life with her mom and brother.  They share a house with their family friend and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher.  Previously Belly has been the little sister who always tags along but that no one really pays much attention to.  So, year after year Belly wishes to be included and watches the boys from a distance, especially moody Conrad.

This year however, is going to be different; Belly can feel it. It’s the first year her older brother doesn’t spend the whole summer with them. Also, it seems like Jeremiah, who’s always been her friend and confidant, is paying more attention to her.  Furthermore, Belly is  determined to finally be over Conrad, but seeing him again brings up old feelings which then cause trouble when a new boy enters Belly’s life.    The summer Belly turned pretty changes everything – for better and for worse.

This one was on my To Read List for a while!  So glad I finally got to it! Belly’s story  makes me long for the beach and summer vacation.

This is the first of Jenny Han’s books I’ve read and I definitely plan on reading more. I’m a huge fan of Sarah Dessen and this book has such a similar feel to Dessen’s novels.  I even found myself wondering how far Han’s Cousins Beach is from Dessen’s beach town of Colby. Maybe one day Han and Dessen will co-author a book where the characters meet; that might be too much cool for me to handle!

Back to reality….Belly is an interesting character.  She makes me remember myself at that age hoping and praying for life to begin; for things to finally get interesting.  Belly is tired of being the one left behind when the guys go out to beach bonfire parties, tired of staying home and watching movies alone with her mom and mom’s friend (although she loves spending time with them too). And Belly is older now, it is time for things to start moving; she’s ready for it.  I think that every girl can attest to asking their teenage selves, “When is it my turn for excitement?”.  But at the same time, Belly is still that little girl.  She wants to be noticed and seen as more mature, but as much as she tries, Belly sometimes reverts back to the little girl threatening to tell her mother.  It’s not all her fault, the boys to goad her, but she sometimes feeds into their expectations of her.    I love Belly for this; the fact that she is struggling with changes in life makes me see myself in her.  I get Belly and I like her.

Belly’s story  makes me long for the beach and summer vacation and even a little bit of my teenage life.  I love that the chapters alternate between Belly’s memories of summers past and the current summer; they really fill in the blanks to the types of relationships Belly has with every other character in the story.  Through these memories you understand the complications of friendship and love as the people involved grow older and life causes change; some joyful and some sad.

This is the first in a series of three about Belly, her time in Cousins Beach and her relationship with the Fisher brothers.   If I can grab the second title, It’s Not Summer Without You, between students snatching it up it’ll soon be in my To Read pile.  I enjoyed this book so much I finished it in, like, two days and it really did make me feel like the warm summer sun was shining on me.

If you enjoy Sarah Dessen’s novels and/or are longing for summer, you’ll most definitely adore The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han.

Author: Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (May 5, 2009)

Format: Library Bound Hardcover; 288 pages

Series: First in a series