Middle Grade Carousel is hosting a Summer Reading Bingo challenge, and I enjoyed doing it in June and July, so I decided to finish off the summer with the August challenge.
This month, I finished ten middle grade books. Not as many as last month… but I was busy. The irony is that 3 out of my 5 bingo books were books I actually did NOT enjoy reading! 😦 (Fortunately, at least 2 of the books were good!)
I also came so close to a double-bingo. I just never got around to reading a book on mermaids!
Once again, thank-you to Elza Kinde for first putting this reading challenge onto my radar!
How Does It Work?
Pick your challenge, grab a book, and fill in the squares. Try and get 5 in a row, or attempt to fill in the whole sheet if you’re a speedy reader.
- Because this is a Middle Grade Carousel challenge, all of the books on your Bingo board should be MG reads.
- Each square needs to be filled with a unique book. You cannot use the same title more than once, even if it fits multiple themes. Choose wisely!
- You should only be filling in your Bingo board with books you’ve read during August.
Here are my results… (The * means that’s the book that got me my Bingo!)
*A 2018 Release
Sunny // by Jason Reynolds
The third book in the Ghost / Patina series. This one focuses on Sunny who is a long-distance runner. Except he doesn’t want to do that anymore. It was his mom’s dream to run the marathon, but his mom is dead. And so, he just stops running. When he tells Coach, he gets pulled into the field part of track and field.
Sunny’s a great character. I love his home-schooling teacher. And the subplot with his dad is really what makes the book good. [3.5 stars]
Whatshisface // by Gordon Korman
I wish I liked this book better. I liked the main character Cooper Vega (otherwise known as Whatshisface). But that’s where I stopped liking this book. The story is about the ghost of a Shakespearean boy who lives in Cooper’s phone. And to top it all, he claims that that vagabond Shakespeare stole his masterpiece: Romeo and Juliet (otherwise known as Barnabus and Ursula). I don’t always like alternative histories, and this is one of the ones I didn’t like. [2.5 stars] 😦
*A Book about Twins
Astrotwins: Project Blastoff // by Mark Kelly
There are many reasons why I should have liked this book. I love stories about the space race. I love middle grade books. This book is by a real astronaut, so the science should be A-Okay!
But, but, but… I probably would have DNFed this book. I only kept reading because it fulfilled the “twin” prompt. (See above.) I can’t even put my finger on what was “wrong” with this book. It was realistic, and yet SO NOT realistic at all. It had some good STEM elements, and yet there were too many STEM elements. [2.5 stars] 😦
(If the premise of this book sounds good to you, I’d recommend Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce instead. Not written by an astronaut, but hey!)
*Middle Book of a Series
Heidi Grows Up // by Charles Tritten
So, I read this book when I was a kid. It’s the “sequel” to Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. This book was written by the man who translated the book into English. It is followed by a book called Heidi’s Children (also by Tritten).
I remember really enjoying this book as a kid. So, I decided to pick it up to see how it holds up. Sadly, it doesn’t. The plot is all over the place. The “bad guys” hardly get any page-time to create any meaningful conflict. I basically had to force myself to finish this book! But, I can see WHY I liked it as a kid. It does indeed tell us what happened to Heidi, and Peter, and the Alm-Uncle. [2.5 stars] 😦
*Wish in the Title
The Well-Wishers // by Edward Eager
This is the sequel to Magic or Not? In this one, the magic wishing well is up to its old tricks. The children make wishes, but they’re not sure if the well is actually doing anything. This book, oddly enough, is written in first person, from multiple perspectives of the children. (I don’t think any of the other Eager books are written this way.) My favourite chapter is the “Anonymous” one that gives several clues as to the identity of the character. Of course, it’s easy to figure out who the character is!
The “magic” in these two books are not as prominent as in the earlier books. I do love the story about the new family moving in which caused within the community. Eager doesn’t ever say exactly what the “problem” is, but it becomes clear (at least to an adult) that this is a black family moving into the neighbourhood. (The book was written in the 1960s.) I love how little Deborah puts it when she first meets the family: “Oh, that’s what the fuss is all about.” And I love the friendship that develops between her and the little boy, Hannibal. [4 stars]
A Book about Sports
Patina // by Jason Reynolds
A companion book to Ghost. If you like track and field (at least track), you should read this book. This is Patty’s story. How she’s training to be on the 4×800 relay team. On top of that, she has to juggle a never-ending to-do list: her ma’s on dialysis, her sister needs her hair braided, she’s the only one in her group project doing any of the research. And then there’s Momly.
I hesitated about reading this book, but I really enjoyed it. You can read my review here. [4 stars]
A Book About School
Kat Greene Comes Clean // by Melissa Roske
This book was a little hard for me to read. It’s about a mother who has OCD who’s always cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. But her daughter, Kat, doesn’t want to tell anybody. I felt for Kat and for the mother. I just wanted to reach out and give this girl a hug. And get that mom some help!
There are Harriet the Spy connections, which were fun. Kat gets assigned to portray the character of the Boy with the Purple Socks, which (and she’s right) has absolutely no character growth in the book. Kat’s best friend, Halle, drove me bonkers! I was ready to give that girl a talking-to. Oh, and that school. That school would have driven me bonkers! [3 stars]
The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs // by Betty G. Birney
I love the title of this book! And I love the premise. The story wasn’t as engaging as I had hoped, but it was cute. And full of wacky and quirky characters.
Eben goes from neighbour to neighbour to search of seven wonders. I really like the character, the pesky Rae Ellen. Eben wants nothing to do with her or her “wonderful”. I really wished that her story had been part of the climax of the book. Or that after agreeing that she actually does have a wonder, that Eben would have agreed to team up in search of the final wonders. A missed opportunity, IMHO. [3 stars]
Thimble Summer // by Elizabeth Enright
My first time reading this book! I enjoyed it. Garnet has some wonderful summer adventures on her family’s farm. I love her adventure in the library! And when she decides to take off for the day, without telling anybody in her family… Would not happen these days.
While, I still love Enright’s The Saturdays better, this book is certainly a fun read. I just wish the thimble actually made it into the plot a little more often. [3.5 stars]
A Book on the Cover
Things That Surprise You // by Jennifer Maschari
Em Murphy is starting Middle School. And it seems that’s when her problems start. Her parents are divorced. Her sister has an eating disorder. Her best friend is turning to other friends. And then her teacher pairs her up to do a project with the weird kid in the class: Hector.
Although, I did not find this book to be a fast read, I did enjoy it. My favourite parts were with Em and her sister, Mina. I really felt for the family as they try to cope with such a delicate and difficult situation. [3.5 stars]
Those are my results for August with regards to Middle Grade books. I again thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.