2.5 stars Annie’s father teaches her to write down all the bad things she does and feed the paper into a little hole in the floor of their house. After she drops the paper into the “sin eater” hole, her regrets and guilt go away and she feels better. Annie hears a mysterious skittering and chattering in the cellar, and the neighbors begin to report seeing rats around the neighborhood. Annie learns about her Litvanian heritage and the dark secrets of her family past.
Tommy has a secret. His family are actually lizard people trying to blend in with the human world. Tommy has to wear a human skin over his green lizard face. It’s difficult trying to be “normal” in middle school when everything is so different from your own lizard culture. Tommy meets other seventh-graders who also have trouble fitting in. One of his new friends, Dung, is a Vietnamese boy who is dealing with culture shock and trying to learn English. They bond over their differences, discovering that they have more in common than they realized.
I loved this graphic novel! The plot is hilarious and emotional. The characters are complex. Their stories are meaningful. The setting and background are interesting. And the storytelling style is superb!
This book gives advice about how to navigate the difficulties of middle school. There are chapters about not judging others, bullying, friendships and cliques, trying to be popular, having a crush on someone, gossip, social media, and peer pressure.
My main problem with this book was that it didn’t really go into WHY young people should avoid bad decisions and toxic behaviors. It didn’t talk about honor or morality or modesty. It didn’t talk about honesty or virtue. It just says lots of nice things about being kind to others, but the whole philosophy is very casual and lackadaisical. It even says at one point that “There are no correct responses.” You can do whatever and make whatever choices and nothing is right or wrong. The entire attitude is very amoral and toxic.
Bela dreams of becoming a movie star in Bollywood, and hopes that her dance skills will win her a scholarship to the famous Bollywood Academy, where young students are trained as actors, dancers, and film crew. Her mother, a dance instructor, convinces her that she is good enough to enter the Dance Starz TV competition, and Bela submits an entry. When Bela dances, she feels supremely happy as if the entire world just falls away. But will her love for dance be enough to win the competition and the scholarship?
3.5 out of 5 stars Clementine is a lab mouse. A genetic experiment has given her super-intelligence and she does her best to solve every maze and puzzle that the team of scientists give her. Clementine befriends a chimp named Rosie in one of the lab cages. When a scientist with a guilty conscience sets Clementine free, she begins a wild journey to prove her worth and hopefully save Rosie from the lab too. In the meantime, Clementine writes letters to Rosie (which are never written or posted) and tells Rosie all her adventures.
In this final book of the series, Cruz and his friends are looking for the final piece of the puzzle that his mother left for him before she died. With time running out, the bad guys will take any risk to stop Cruz from finishing his quest. Dangers surround Cruz on every side, and someone close to him is feeding information to the enemy.
In this final book of the series, Jack and Draycos are running out of time to stop the genocide of Draycos’ entire race, the K’da. The machinery of war is lining up to annihilate the K’da spaceships that will be arriving soon, but Jack and Draycos don’t know where the final rendezvous point will be. Their only hope is to follow their enemies and hope that they can warn the K’da in time.
I loved this book so much! Every book in the series is action-packed and full of mystery and danger.
Clarice Bean is worried that her family is losing their Christmas spirit. Her grandmother tells her to think like an elf, and find ways to help the people around her. She finds little things to do to serve others, and discovers that the Christmas spirit is not in the gifts you receive, but in showing others you care.
4.5 stars Nell’s horrible parents are going to Paris, and Nell begs to be allowed to go with them. Her former nanny, Pear, left years ago and lives in Paris, and Nell is desperate to find her. Pear is the only person who ever really loved Nell, and Nell stopped hearing from her months ago. Nell is worried that Pear may have disappeared, but when she arrives in Paris, Nell discovers that the mystery goes far deeper than one missing au pair.
I loved this book so much! The plot is a mixture of many different mysteries that all blend together. I loved the way the different characters’ storylines overlapped. A bellhop with a secret underground lair. A baker’s son who worries that their bakery might go out of business. A poor young seamstress who dreams of going to school. And Nell’s evil parents, who are definitely up to something nefarious.