Saturday, October 21, 2017

MMGM (10/23/2017): Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

For MMGM, I am recommending Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate.




Here's the publisher's description:

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

This book is incredible! I should say now that this book is much sadder than many of the others that I have recommended recently. However, that, of course, does not diminish how touching it is. Crenshaw deftly portrays a financially troubled family, with children very aware of what their parents are not telling them. As Jackson, the narrator, both describes what is happening to his family presently and their past experience of living in their car, readers will understand, more than ever, what this family and similar ones in the real world are going through. Crenshaw, Jackson's realistic imaginary friend from the past who returns during the book, adds a touch of humor and warmth to the novel, as do Jackson's family members and friend, Marisol. Crenshaw is a book that everyone should read for its incredible depiction of real-life struggles, compelling characters, and sheer display of hope in the world.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

MMGM (10/16/2017): The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo, with illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline

For MMGM, I am recommending The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo (author of other books I have enjoyed, such as those here and here), with illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline.




Here's the publisher's description:

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.

And then, one day, he was lost.

Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle -- that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER is now available in paperback! This timeless tale by the incomparable Kate DiCamillo, complete with stunning illustrations by Bagram Ibatoulline, honors the enduring power of love.

This book is simply incredible! When I first bought it, I promptly read it in 2 hours. While looking at it again for this review, I found myself sucked in and deeply touched by the end (even more so than when I first read it). The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is very fast-paced, but an incredible amount of impact is packed into each place where Edward ends up. Some places Edward enjoys, some he does not, and some he cares deeply about. One of the best parts of this book is simply how true the depictions of love and the loss of someone are. Many books try valiantly, but few convey the same amount of emotion that this book does. However, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is not so depressing that you can’t keep reading. The plot also helps pull the reader through, with an abundance of cliffhangers that will most likely force you into reading this book as quickly as I did! Everyone who reads The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane will come out of it deeply changed, making it a perfect book for any age, from young child to old adult!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

MMGM (10/9/2017): A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

For MMGM, I am recommending A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass.




Here's the publisher's description:

An award-winning book from the author of Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life and The Candymakers for fans for of Wonder and Counting by Sevens

Mia Winchell has synesthesia, the mingling of perceptions whereby a person can see sounds, smell colors, or taste shapes. Forced to reveal her condition, she must look to herself to develop an understanding and appreciation of her gift in this coming-of-age novel.

I love this book! One of the best parts of this book was getting to learn about the rare condition of synesthesia. The book is clearly well-researched, and readers will learn about synesthesia’s qualities, both good and bad. The book also has interesting characters with strengths and flaws. Although Mia makes mistakes throughout the book, she is still a good person who readers will like. The book deals with many complex themes, such as how people deal with death and how much people can care about pets. The book never slows down, with various events constantly happening that affect Mia in different ways, changing her immensely by the end of the book. Different parts of the book may show Mia’s relationship with her siblings or her friends, her dealing with synesthesia, or her dealing with the loss of her grandfather. This book is both heartbreaking and incredibly enjoyable, and every reader will love it by the end!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

No posts this week!

In the interest of enjoying the remaining few hours of my busy weekend, I will, unfortunately, not be posting anything this week. I will most likely have more posts next week (and a signed book giveaway coming up), so stay tuned!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

MMGM (9/25/2017): Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

For MMGM, I am recommending Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George.




Here's the publisher's description:

See where it all began with Jessica Day George's magical bestselling series!  

Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom.

I really enjoyed this book! One of my favorite things about it is how original its premise is. The author has taken what seem to be common elements of books, such as magic and royalty, and made a unique mash-up of them, helping to keep the plot interesting and unexpected. Of course, this is helped by the fact that the book moves quickly through many interesting events. Conspiracies are uncovered, people are trapped, and the castle's magic creates many fun twists and turns. Even as the plot rushes forward, however, the characters remain full of life and emotions, never becoming dull or caricatures of themselves. The main character, Celie, is especially likable, never becoming too much like an adult but still rising up in the face of a challenge. Although this book is part of a series, it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, so you can read it as a standalone book (I felt that the second book in the series went too slowly, but people have enjoyed the later books, so it may be worth it to read the whole series). Whether you read it by itself or along with the rest of the series, Tuesdays at the Castle is a wonderfully fun book for readers of all ages!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

MMGM (9/18/2017): The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

For MMGM, I am recommending The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.




Here's the publisher's description:

It takes a graveyard to raise a child.

Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family.

The Graveyard Book, a modern classic, is the only work to ever win both the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) medals. A New York Times bestseller.

I love this book! There are so many things I could talk about, but here are the major ones. Firstly, the characters are very well-rounded, with interesting backstories (some of which are initially mysteries to the reader) and personalities. Bod, even though he does make mistakes, is still a likable main character. Also, the writing of The Graveyard Book is great. It has its own personality (just like in another of Gaiman's books that I enjoyed, Coraline), making every part of the book interesting. There is enjoyable description which makes scenes vivid and often adds a sense of creepiness. Finally, the plot of the book is great. There are subplots, twists, and climactic scenes that keep the reader on the edge of their seat. All in all, The Graveyard Book is a fabulous novel that absolutely deserves both the Newbery Medal that it won and the love of readers everywhere!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

MMGM (9/11/2017): Heartbeat by Sharon Creech

For MMGM, I am recommending Heartbeat by Sharon Creech.




Here's the publisher's description:

Run run run.

That's what twelve-year-old Annie loves to do. When she's barefoot and running, she can hear her heart beating . . . thump-Thump, thump-Thump. It's a rhythm that makes sense in a year when everything's shifting: Her mother is pregnant, her grandfather is forgetful, and her best friend, Max, is always moody. Everything changes over time, just like the apple Annie's been assigned to draw. But as she watches and listens, Annie begins to understand the many rhythms of life, and how she fits within them.

I loved everything about this book! One of my favorite things about it was the writing. The main character, Annie, has a realistic voice which is both thoughtful and down-to-earth, and the writing is expressed in beautiful, rhythmic verse. Scenes are described vividly, as are the emotions contained within them (unsurprising, since Creech has written many amazing books, including Newbery Medal-winning Walk Two Moons). The book has a great plot as well, never dragging on as it jumps from one topic to another, dealing with aging, friendship, and new siblings, with added extras thrown in (such as running or drawing an apple). Heartbeat is not very long (only 180 pages of verse in large font), but each chapter is a touching moment. Everyone who is lucky enough to read this book will definitely enjoy it!