Title: The Mighty Miss Malone
Author: Christopher Paul Curtis
Summary: Deza Malone is growing up in the 1930s. She is having a great life, with her brother Jimmy, her mother, and her father who she absolutely adores. She loves her teacher and her friend Clarice, and enjoys writing greatly.
One day, after her father is lost in a boating accident, things take a turn for the worst. Shortly after, he is found, alive, but things aren't the same. He is beaten down badly and the finances and money for the house is failing. He leaves to go find work, against the family's wishes, and Deza and her brother and mother are left alone to fend for themselves. They are eventually evicted and forced to travel around with no permanent home. Then, Jimmy is recognized for his amazing singing voice and is whisked off, leaving just Deza and her mother.
Things are turned upside down for about two years (the book covers these years) of Deza's life.
Review: I liked this book. Deza is a great girl with a knack for writing essays for school and for figuring things out. She is very, very smart and I couldn't help but love her and her family. The book was sad continuously as any book about such a sad thing could be. There were a few graphic sequences describing the boating accident with her father, and a few horrors of what Deza is going through. It isn't enough to scare anyone away from the book though. The sadness and tragedy in this book works well and is depicted quite realistically, I think. I'd recommend this book for 10+. Rating: 5/5
Title: I, Emma Freke
Author: Elizabeth Atkinson
Summary: Emma Freke is living with her mother and grandfather and grandfather's dog in an apartment above their bead shop. Her father walked out before she was even born and Emma's mother isn't attentive and treats her poorly. Emma is alone with her only friend being much younger and Emma already feels awkward because of her six foot height and her bright red hair.For summer break, Emma is invited to a family reunion just for the Frekes. Emma makes friends with some of her cousins that she has never met before and she begins to feel at home.Towards the end of the book, there is closure for Emma as she meets her real father and realizes that she is happy to be a Freke. /////////////////////////////////////////
Review: This is a short book really (It took me an hour to finish) and is a nice story about a girl struggling to fit in at home who goes on an adventure that boosts her confidence and she turns into a different girl (for the better). There really isn't anything in this book that could be seen as inappropriate except for the word "sex" that is written in the book once and it isn't brought into detail and doesn't allude to anything and there aren't innuendos. Some may not agree with the mother dating so many men and nearly forgetting about her daughter and using her as a servant. It could be seen, in some ways, as a controversial book, but I enjoyed it and did not let anything minor get in the way of reading. I would recommend it to kids 10-12 years old.
Title: The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye
Author: Bonnie Shimko
Summary: Amelia (Earhart) Rye is growing up in the 50s' with only her mother and grandfather. Her mother is not necessarily nice and does not show love for Amelia in any way. Then, something tragic happens to her grandfather and Amelia feels lost in her outdated clothes and old glasses, and doesn't seem to make any friends at school; until Fancy Nelson comes along. Fancy is free-spirited and the first black person that Amelia has really met. They become friends and the book takes you through the struggles and excitement of their friendship. The woman that Amelia's father ran off with shows up and Amelia doesn't know what to think. The woman turns out to be much, much different than Amelia expected. Towards the end of the book, Amelia's brother comes back and something very tragic happens to her mother, changing Amelia's life forever. ////////////////////////////////
Review: The storyline was full of tragedy. A lot of mean people do horrible things to Fancy because of her color and Amelia deals with a lot of tragedy, sadness, and disappointment. However, Amelia is a very likeable character and some girls may relate to the smaller pieces of her personality and story (having trouble making friends, something happening to a grandparent or parent, etc.) There is one problem that could potentially cause this book to stand out in a bad way.There are cuss words in it. Now they aren't on every page, they are only in the book here and there, but many are sensitive to that language (Including myself) so this could be a deciding factor in whether you read the book or not. I don't want to turn anyone off the book or anything, the words are not that bad (except for one "sh" word). I would recommend this book to someone around 12.
Rating: 4 stars
Title: May B: A Novel
Author: Caroline Starr Rose
Summary: May B., age 11, is sent away from home to help a couple who has just moved out to their farm. The people she stays with are not who she thinks, and the wife is mean and cruel and the husband is too busy trying to show his wife how good life in the country can be. One day, soon after May comes to stay with them, the wife runs away secretly and the husband runs off after her, leaving May all alone. May struggles to keep herself alive throughout the winter and the hardships of living alone on the prairie are showcased greatly. As a side story, May has trouble reading, and continues to teach herself how to read from her reading book throughout her survival months in the "soddy." //////////////////////////////////////////////Review: I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a slightly darker Little House on the Prairie, in a way. It is written in a poetic form, but do not let this scare you away if you do not enjoy poetry! The book is very descriptive and tastefully written. There is nothing questionable for readers and this is a fascinating novel of survival that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Title: The Meaning of Maggie
Author: Megan Jean Sovern
Summary: Maggie Mayfield is a girl growing up in the early 1990s (I think). She is very smart for her age and sees herself as the future president. She writes throughout the book on the year that changed her life. She has two sisters and life with them is NOT always easy. However, the biggest issue in her life is her dad who is now suffering from MS (multiple sclerosis), and how she goes through the scariness of her dad's body shutting down more and more.
Review: I enjoyed this book. There was a bit of harsh language in the book, which I thought was completely unnecessary - I think the author's point could have been conveyed another way. It is very mild and only appears once in the book, so this could still be a read for a 10-12 year old (a girl around Maggie's age). Maggie is a special character who a variety of readers will be able to relate to on some level. She is complex, but her thoughts are not very hard to interpret, and I felt myself truly seeing things the way she saw them throughout the book. I think those who would get the most enjoyment out of it would be around 10-12 (Maggie's age). Rating: 5/5
Title: Hope is a Ferris Wheel. Author: Robin Herrera............. Summary: Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her mom and older sister Winter. Star is her own person, with a layered hair cut dyed blue (that the kids make fun of). Star starts an Emily Dickinson poetry club, after failing to create another club to fit in better. She has a few members and things are going somewhat alright. One day, Winter invites her on a secret trip to meet their father, who Star has never met. However, she is in for very surprising news upon seeing this man. Then, to top it off, something surprising happens to her sister. Though things do not all turn out right in the end, the story ends with hope, relating to its title. .............................
Review: Star was a great character, and every tween should meet her. Her story can teach empathy towards others who may be in more difficult situations than oneself. Star is inspirational in that she is her own person and I think that she is pretty comfortable in her own shoes. The book also has excerpts in it of her homework sentences which she never really ends up turning in when they are due. It is fun to read her sentences because it gives more direct insight to the character's feelings and thoughts. This was a really good book, but there were some "iffy" parts. There is some potty humor in the book (I feel so weird writing that :P) and not everyone will agree or like what happens to Winter in the end (I would tell you, but I'd hate to spoil the story!)
Really, I think that children should be over 10 to read this and be mature readers to handle somewhat mature topics. Besides a few minor, mature topics, the book is a compelling read about a unique girl's life. /////////////////////// Rating: 5/5// Lexile: 860// Photo Cred: Lexile.coms
Title: One for the Murphys
Author: Lynda Mullaly Hunt ...........................................Summary: Carly Connors has been separated from her mom who is recovering in the hospital and is sent to live with a foster family; the Murphys. Her mother wasn't a good parent and her mother's boyfriend was extremely abusive. Carly comes to the Murphys' home angry at the world, but slowy becomes the person she never thought she'd be and gets the life she never dreamed of having. She has friends, goes to school, has brothers (the Murphy boys), and finally gets a loving mother and father. However, at the end, she gets surprising news from her mother, creating a dramatic and suspenseful ending.
Review: I LOVED this book! It was really powerful and conveyed a wide range of emotions beautifully. I was almost crying at the end, because Ms. Hunt really knew how to pull on the right spots in the reader's heart. I wouldn't recommend this to children under 10, just because it deals with a flashback to her mother and boyfriend abusing her, which could potentially be frightening. It's a great book though, because of the author's power to incorporate emotions and feelings and tragedy in an appropriate way (for ages 10+ anyway). This book is the perfect book for a day that one wants to get lost in an emotional and well written novel!.......................................................... Rating: 5/5// Lexile: 520// Photo Credit: Lexile.cons