Tag Archives: middle grade fiction

Garden State Teen Book Awards 2013 Ballot – Fiction Grades 6-8

Last week was the first day of deliberations for the GSTBA 2013 ballot. Thankfully everyone played nice and we were able to get a list together without too much bloodshed (I’m not so optimistic when it comes time to discuss the Grade 9-12 fiction list!). In no particular order, here are the titles:

  1. Scrawl by Mark Shulman
  2. Countdown by Deborah Wiles
  3. A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
  4. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
  5. Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve
  6. Trash by Andy Mulligan
  7. Crazy by Han Nolan
  8. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  9. 90 Miles to Havana by Enrique Flores-Galbis
  10. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
  11. Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel
  12. Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine
  13. Sons of Liberty by Alexander and Joseph Lagos
  14. After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick
  15. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
  16. Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  17. A Small Free Kiss in the Dark by Glenda Millard
  18. Mindblind by Jennifer Roy
  19. Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai
  20. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan
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Filed under Uncategorized, Young Adult Literature

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

“Stories are the wildest things of all, the monster rumbled.” (p. 35)

A Monster Calls left me breathless.  Speechless.  And completely incapable of producing a coherent review.  All I had were a bunch of words tumbling around in my head, an ache in my heart, and one charge:  READ IT.  Below, see my best attempt at captivating what this book meant to me.

 A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Young Adult fiction | 224 pages | Candlewick | September 2011 | 0763655597 | Library copy

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Filed under Book Reviews, Young Adult Literature

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

“This is what happens on journeys – the things you find are not necessarily the things you had gone looking for.” (p. 235)

Hazel and Jack are best friends.  Highly imaginative and having both suffered loss in their home lives, Hazel and Jack seem inseparable.  Until a shard of glass from a magic mirror falls in Jack’s eye and pierces his heart with an impenetrable coldness.  Suddenly he wants nothing to do with Hazel and soon he disappears into the woods with the White Witch.  Despite Jack’s brush-off, Hazel goes after her friend, for this is what best friends do.  In the woods, things are not what they seem.  Hazel encounters wolves, wizards, and woodsman, all of whom try to distract her from her mission.  After trudging deeper and deeper into the cold, Hazel finally finds the Witch and the slightly underwhelming showdown (but a showdown nonetheless!) begins.  Based on Hans Christian Andersons story, “The Snow Queen”, Breadcrumbs is a fairy tale retelling that blends contemporary and traditional tales, along with realistic and fantasy elements.

I just have one word to describe Ursu’s writing:  enchanting.  I thought the writing was brilliantly beautiful, with passages that beg to be read aloud.  I found Hazel to be a believable and relatable character and her issues with her parent’s divorce, fitting in at a new school, growing up (and growing apart) were realistic.  I was completely drawn into the first half of the book…and then lost a little bit of interest in the second.  Maybe it’s just the fact that I prefer realistic fiction over fantasy that I had a harder time swallowing the second half.  I also thought the story got slightly repetitive and that the climax was a bit anti-climactic, but even with those hang-ups I was still overall delighted by Breadcrumbs and would recommend it to young and old alike.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Juvenile fiction | 313 pages | September 2011 | Waldon Pond Press | 0062015052  | Library copy

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Filed under Book Reviews, Children's Literature