Review / Lost in the Sun

IMG_9229Book: Lost in the Sun (2015)
Author: Lisa Graff
Genre: MG, Contemporary


Opening lines from the book …
When we were real little kids, Mom used to take Aaron and Doug and me to Sal’s Pizzeria for dinner almost every Tuesday, which is when they had their Family Night Special. I think she liked it because she didn’t have to worry about dinner for three growing boys for one night, but we liked it because there was a claw machine there…

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) I loved the interaction of the three brothers. Aaron is probably my favorite. He’s the oldest and the one who helps the younger boys navigate all their problems. Of course, we find that it does take a toll on him as well. Doug’s the youngest and is just trying to keep up with the others with all his pranks. And then there’s Trent, the narrator…

2) For most of the book, I had a hard time rooting for Trent. He wasn’t always likeable. I felt sorry for him, but I could NOT understand why he went out of his way to be rude or mean to his teachers. (Okay, so I did know. He wanted those detentions so he didn’t have to visit his dad. I just couldn’t get why you’d want to do that.) That said, by the end of the book, I liked the growth in his character!

3) Since I mentioned the teachers, let’s talk about them here. I liked both Ms. Emerson and Mr. Gorman. Especially Ms. Emerson and all her plants. Trent hates her from the get-go (calls her an old crone), but they eventually establish a truce over the plants!

4) My favorite character probably is Fallon, the girl with the scar on her face. If you ask her about it, she’ll give you a different story each time about how she got that scar. I love how she befriends a friendless Trent. And how it all comes around to him helping her as well.  

5) I also loved the scenes (later in the book) with Annie, Doug’s young friend and the sister of the boy involved in the hockey-puck incident. I like how we get a little closure in that part of the story.

6) There’s a nice baseball theme running through the book. I’m pretty sure that’s what the title is references (when a fly ball gets lost in the glare of the sun).

THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…

1) It was hard to like Trent at times. He has a lot of demons over an incident that happened involving a hockey puck. I almost put the book down halfway through, but I’m glad I pushed through.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I would recommend this book to baseball fans but also for how the main character works out his demons. The end of the book is worth getting to!


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

Review / Clutch

FITZ_Clutch_Cover.FNL

Book: Clutch (2017)
Author: Heather Camlot
Genre: MG, Historical [Post-WWII]

Basic plot: With his father dead and his mother struggling to keep her store afloat, Joey tries to come up with ways to make money. And guess what? He’s pretty good at it! But then comes the dad of his best friend Ben; Mr. Wolfe promises to help Joey outwink, wink. (Not even Ben trusts his father-of-shady-repute. Don’t trust him, Joey!)

WHAT I LIKED ABOUT THIS BOOK…

1) Joey is such a little entrepreneur! I love all his plans. And he’s a pretty good brother to young David (a kid obsessed with Jackie Robinson). Every time Ben’s bad dad showed up, I wanted to chase him away and protect Joey.

2) I always love learning a bit of history I never knew before. This book sort of revolves around the time that baseball legend, Jackie Robinson, was playing in the minor leagues in Montreal, Canada. (Who knew he played in Montreal???) However, note that Jackie Robinson isn’t really a character in the story. Instead, the little brother David is the one obsessed with baseball.

3) There’s a sweet little romance between Joey and his “crush” Shelly. They’re both studying for their bar mitzvah (bat mitzvah for Shelly). I’m not super crazy about middle school romance, but this was handle just about right!

4) I like the different characters that Joey has to learn to trust (or not trust). Especially with regards to Mr. Wolfe and Dr. Richter.

THINGS THAT BOTHERED ME…

1) Interestingly, with the baseball on the front cover, I expected a little more about the game. Fact: There isn’t a huge amount of baseball in this book. I think some readers who expect a lot about sports may be disappointed.

FINAL THOUGHTS

An interesting look at life in 1940s Montreal… A true coming-of-age story, you will be rooting for Joey… future businessman of the world. As long as he learns to stay away from trouble.


YOUR TURN…

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

 

#MGTakesOnThursday / Lupe Wong Won’t Dance


Lupe Wong Won't DanceBook: Lupe Wong Won’t Dance (2020)
Author: Donna Barba Higuera
Publisher: Levine Querido
Genre: MG, Contemporary


This book in three words…

Baseball, Square Dancing, Determination

Favourite Sentence from Page 11…

“When the halls come into view, Andy, Niles and I exchange a glance. Extra crammed halls mean extra danger.”

My thoughts on this book…

This book is about a young “social justice warrior”, Lupe Wong. She loves baseball above all things, and when her uncle promises to let her meet the star pitcher of her favourite baseball team, she’s all in. Except, she’s got to get all A’s or else. No problem. But when her teacher sneaks in a square dancing unit in Phys.Ed, Lupe is in trouble. Square dancing isn’t even a sport, is it?

First, let’s talk about Lupe’s love of baseball. I loved the connection Lupe had with her dad (who’s dead). How she hears his voice in her head, giving advice on baseball, etc. It definitely helped me sympathize with her. Lupe’s such a firebrand that she is (at times) hard to like.

Now to the square dancing… I loved the scenes where (slight spoiler) she dances with an invisible partner! I am glad that she does give it a try, even after she tries so hard to get out of the whole thing at the beginning.

Personally, I kind of enjoyed our square dancing unit in middle school, and I’m not one for dancing, per se. I remember doing the Virginia Reel, which was pretty fun (and later reminded me of all the Jane Austen style dances). We also learned to line-dance! (Note: I don’t dance these days, but I also don’t really play sports either. Looking back, I’m glad I had to do both in school, even if wasn’t really my thing.)

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I’d recommend it for readers who like sports (especially baseball).

Please note: This book has a fair amount of potty-humour which I, personally, don’t need; but I can understand there are readers who enjoy that sort of thing!


This post is part of a challenge to celebrate middle-grade books. For more information, go to: https://bookcraic.blog/2020/12/31/mg-takes-on-thursday-27/

How to take part…

  • Post a picture of the front cover of a middle-grade book which you have read and would recommend to others with details of the author, illustrator and publisher.
  • Open the book to page 11 and share your favourite sentence.
  • Write three words to describe the book.
  • Either share why you would recommend this book, or link to your review.