Tag: middle grades

Graphic Novel Review: Awkward

Author: Svetlana Chmakova
Published: July 21, 2015
224 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.
Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals–the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

Kim’s Review:

This is my first ever graphic novel. It’s nothing serious, just a funny middle school read! I think I would have found all the dramatics annoying if this had been written in novel form. The artwork is enjoyable, the characters are amusing, and the story is lively and entertaining! I did give it 5 stars, mainly because I have nothing to compare it too, but also because I had so much fun reading it. I recommend this to anyone just starting out with graphic novels and to anybody who wants a light, hilarious read, especially kids!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Nest

Author: Kenneth Oppel
Published: October 6, 2015
256 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

Kim’s Review:

This was an interesting read. I do love horror, but horror in the more traditional sense. The Nest was definitely different. Oppel took the traditional changeling story and made it unique. My dad, being an English Literature teacher, loves the story of The Changeling. He even shows the Star Trek episode to his students every year. Believe me, I hear a lot about it. But this is a new take on the old story.

I can’t claim to understand the deeper meanings of this book, y’all know I’m a bit shallow, but I enjoyed the story. Steve is a sincere and likeable character and Oppel captured the realistic thinking of a kid whose family is hurting. The reading was easy and the illustrations were great! This was another one that I read in one day. I would recommend this to teens who enjoy subtle horror and to anyone looking for an interesting read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Breathing Room

Author: Marsha Hayles
256 Pages
Published: June 5, 2012

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 Stars

Description from Amazon:

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There’s Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and Dina, whose harshness conceals a deep strength. Together, the girls brave the difficult daily routines. Set in 1940 at a time of political unrest throughout the U.S. and Europe, this thought-provoking novel sheds light on a much-feared worldwide illness. Hundreds of thousands of people died each year of TB, and many ill children were sent away to sanatoriums to hopefully recover.

Kim’s Review:

This book was a simple narrative about a little girl who has active tuberculosis and goes to a sanatorium to rest and recuperate and to keep from spreading the disease. I liked the perspective of thirteen-year-old Evvy (pronounced like Chevy). She’s a sweet girl whose life is thrown upside down by her condition, she doesn’t even get to keep her stuffed bear with her in the sanatorium because of germs.

However, she moves from the scared little girl, ripped from her parents and twin brother to a mature teenager who is willing to sacrifice for her friends. And the heartbreaking journey of the patients of the sanatorium hit me right in the gut! I decided to ask Ivan about Evvy’s chart (yes there are pictures in this book! YAY!!) and his prognosis was not good. I did my senior college thesis on a local TB hospital back in Greenville, SC, so I knew a little about the stays of patients at these types of institutions.

Tuberculosis is a scary disease and my heart went out to these people. This is not an action-packed book, there isn’t any mystery or crazy drama. I would recommend this to history teachers, and they should absolutely have this book on their shelves, or to anyone looking for an easy, historical read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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