Recently in So Many Good Books Category

Holding Up the Universe

holduptheuniverse.jpgHolding Up the Universe (Alfred A. Knopf, 2016) by Jennifer Niven is an interesting read told from two colliding viewpoints.

On the one side is LIbby Strout, who three years ago had to have a wall knocked down to get her out of the house. She'd lost her mother and ate and ate until she weighed 653 pounds. Now that she's lost 302 pounds, she can walk, run, dance, ride in a car, and Libby's going to high school. Where, of course, she's still the biggest girl there.

On the opposite side is Jack Masselin. He has a secret--face blindness that makes it very difficult for him to tell people apart, even his own family. He covers it up by being the life of the party--being friendly with everyone. Not his girlfriend or even his family know about his problem.

A dare a school makes the two teens meet and they are forced to spend time together. The weird part is--they should be enemies--both are surprised at how well they get along.

I think the bad language could have been toned down, but I do understand there are teens who talk like this.

On her website, Jennifer Niven says her stories are "about ordinary people doing extraordinary things." That definitely fits this story. Read more about her here.


The Passion of Dolssa

PassionofDolssa_PrintzHonor.jpegThe Passion of Dolssa (Viking Books for Young Readers, 2016) by Julie Berry is a historical novel that shows a time of extreme prejudice for those who don't believe the same way as a another group--and the latter are in power. In this case it's the Catholic church inquisitors going after men and women who may have merely talked about the love of Jesus. This story is told in multiple viewpoints and was fascinating. I grieved for Dolssa, for Botille and her family, and even somewhat for some of Dolssa's hunters. At some points it may be a difficult read, but it's definitely worth persisting.

This book is a 2017 Michael L. Printz Honor title, a New York Times Notable Book, and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

The author writes middle grade as well as YA and you can see all her titles here. Plus on that page there's a short video about the setting and historical backdrop for this novel.

Bob and Joss Get Lost!

Perfect Picture Book Friday

Bob&JossGetLost!.jpegBob and Joss Get Lost! (HarperCollins, 2017) by Peter McCleery and illustrated by Vin Vogel is another hilarious book where the reader gets to be smarter than the book characters.

Here's the opening:

"I'm bored," Bob said, "Let's do something."

"Let's take a boat trip," said Joss.

"We will get lost," said Bob.

We won't get lost," said Joss.

Famous last words! And fun twists as you go along on the journey with them.

This is Peter's debut picture book--I hope we see many more. Read more about Peter on his website where you'll get more tastes of his humor.

Vin Vogel is an author as well as an illustrator. His humor matches up with Peter's. Read more about Vin and his work, especially the Yeti books, here.


Night Animals

Perfect Picture Book Friday

nightanimals.jpgNight Animals (Viking, 2015) by Gianna Marino is a hilariously fun picture book. Possum is scared because it is night and something is out there. Then shunk is scared, and wolf, and bear. What are they scared of? Night Animals! Which bat tells them they are. Duh. This book is deceptively simple, but such a riot. And the ending has a nice surprise. I also love Gianna's drawings.

Gianna has eight picture books out with more to come--see all of them here. I need to do some more reading! In her bio, you'll see her nickname is Boomerang--read more here. And, she's a fine artist--see paintings here.


The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan

Kit-Donovan_CVR.jpgI really enjoyed The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan (Albert Whitman & Company, 2017) by Patricia Bailey.

It's 1905 in a Nevada mining town and just turned thirteen-year-old Kit has lost her mother, who made her promise to be a proper lady. It's tough being one when she's worried about Papa and the dangers in the mine, when the kids and teacher at school don't like her, and because she's responsible for her mother's death. Well, indirectly, she'll admit.

Kit is a character to love.

Here are the opening lines of the book: "I killed my mother. Twice, if I am to be completely honest--though she only died the one time." How could you not read on? And when you do, you'll find adventure, danger, friendships, and more.

This is Patricia Bailey's debut novel--I hope she writes many more. However, meanwhile you can read some of her short stories and articles on her website here.


Holding Up the Universe

The Passion of Dolssa

Bob and Joss Get Lost!

Night Animals

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan

The Diabolic

Jelly Bean Summer

Leave Me Alone!

Wolfie the Bunny

The Only Road

The Wolf's Boy

The Water Princess

Who Wants a Tortoise?

The Secret of a Heart Note

The Girl of Fire and Thorns

Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3

Pug Meets Pig

Normal Norman

Mother Bruce

All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook

Handbook for Dragon Slayers

Enchantress Sacrifice

Shadows

One for the Murphys

A Time to Dance

Dying to Meet You

Iron Hearted Violet

Let Me Finish!

Scythe

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Scourge

Written in the Stars

Dead Boy

Poppy

Ms. Bixby's Last Day

Towers Falling

Echo

The Seventh Wish

All Four Stars

the impossible knife of memory

Just My Luck

The Thief of Mirrors

Snoring Beauty

The Inn Between

Bottled

Booked

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

Counting Thyme

In the time of the Dragon Moon

The Chance You Won't Return

The Fire Sermon

The Crossover

A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals

Sweet Home Alaska

Mouseheart

How to Capture an Invisible Cat

The Year We Sailed the Sun

The Wrinkled Crown

Ship Breaker

Uprooted

Circus Mirandus

Dragon Slippers

Mr. Pusskins: a Love Story

Prisoner 88

Tuesdays at the Castle

Not in the Script

All the Bright Places

Fuzzy Mud

Rhyme Schemer

Switch

El Deafo

Nightsong

On My Way to Buy Eggs

The Last Child of Hamelin

The Cabinet of Earths

Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

Castle Hangnail

Moonpenny Island

Waiting for Unicorns

This Girl Is Different

An Ember in the Ashes

Tunnel Vision

How It Went Down

Loved It! - Fish in a Tree

Not Easy - The Truth about Twinkie Pie

Argh, Mateys - Hook's Revenge

Thrills and Chills - The Third Twin

Payback - Nickel Bay Nick

Eerie - Sorrow's Knot

Quick and Cute - Number One Sam

Saved by the Milk - Fortunately, The Milk

Dory Fantasmagory

Born to Succeed - Every Day After

Captured by the Title - Also Known as Elvis

MG Adventure in Verse - May B.

Absolutely Almost

Out-of-this-World Adventure - Space Case

Discoveries and Escapes - Rooftoppers

A Wow Adventure

Dangerous Adventure - Badger Knight

Draw or Die - The Rithmatist

An Eggstraordinary Story - Under the Egg

Looking for Magic? - A Snicker of Magic

MG Mystery - Three Times Lucky

Not just a Mystery Weekend - Suspect

Dangerous Impersonation - The False Prince

A Boy and an Elephant - Chained

Charming, Literally - Rose

Girl in Trouble - The Rules for Disappearing

Shaping Her Own Fate - Passion Blue

Fated to be Useless? - Firstborn

Secrets! - The Pledge

Ultimate Fractured Fairytale - Enchanted

Deliciously Funny - Monsters Eat Whiny Children

Hilariously Creepy - Creepy Carrots

Moving Story - The Stamp Collector

Cute Grandma Story - Silly Frilly Grandma Tilly

A Cat Lover's Novel - Cat Girl's Day Off

Secret Agents - Junior Style - Double Vision

A Dark Story - Wooden Bones

Contemporary Fantasy or Magical Realism - Drizzle

Heartbreaker - The One and Only Ivan

Fantasy AND Humor - The Last Dragon Slayer

The amazing Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Eye-opening Historical - Jepp, Who Defied the Stars

Amazing Story - Wonder

Unexpected - The Hop

Anything But Typical

Words in the Dust, an amazing story

Historical MG in Verse - Inside Out and Back Again

Hysterically Funny - Fetching

Light-hearted Story - The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

Not Your Average Greek Myth - King of Ithaca

Amazing Historical - The Year We Were Famous

Fascinating Premise - Wake

Good and Creepy - The Cabinet of Wonders

Fascinating problem - Flip

Whose life? - How to save a life

Historical YA Giveaway - Second Fiddle

Another time and now - Blessing's Bead

Another place - Island's End

Just love this kid! - Okay for Now

Powerful Story - After

Memorable Story - Tell Me A Secret

Twist after twist - White Cat

A book with heart - Heart of a Shepherd

Really good story - Grounded

Family Story with Photographs - Finding Family

Halley's Comet and Hope - Selling Hope

One Strong Girl! - One Crazy Summer

Distinct voices - Blink & Caution

Great first line - Split

Phew - almost missed this goodie - Schooled

Very Very Good! - Crunch

Very Interesting - The Everafter

Real or not real? - The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Sympathetic Character - Windblowne

Humorous sheep and more - The Quest of the Warrior Sheep

Funny pet story - Guinea Dog

Hard to put down! - Divergent

Murder in Space? - Across the Universe

What Happened?! - No Passengers Beyond This Point

More History - The Fences Between Us

Historical for Boys - The Walls of Cartagena

Grown-upness is truly wasted on grown-ups - Cosmic

Something a bit different - Ashes

Fearful stuff - Countdown

Humor and Heart - How to Survive Middle School

Love the opening - Ratfink

More Humor Mixed with Mystery - Belly Up

What a sweet winner! - Moon Over Manifest

All that jazz - The Little Piano Girl

Sweet Sibling Rivalry - Flora's Very Windy Day

Another great heroine - Girl, Stolen

Incredible Story - out of my mind

Funny! - Fiona Finkelstein Meets Her Match

Another Very Good Book - Absolutely Maybe

Bedtime Bible and more - Read and Share Bible

Unputdownable Fantasy - The Demon King

Humorous SciFi - The Dangerous Days of Daniel X

Shortlisted? - Mockingbird

Historical Fantasy - Plain Kate

Facts just slip into your mind - The Red Umbrella

How could you not care?

Novel in Verse . . . for boys - Hate That Cat

Must Read Book - Escaping the Tiger

7th Grade - no laughing matter - Mackenzie Blue

Focus, shoot! - Flash Burnout & hold still

Book just came out - God's promises...for boys...

Aren't they cute? - Poodle and Hound

Book Felt SO Real - memoirs of a teenage amnesiac

Great First Line - How to Steal a Dog

Book Plus - Invisible i - The Amanda Project

Fantasy Sequel - yea! - The Timekeeper's Moon

Book 1 - glad more is coming - Shiver

Steampunk and Darwin - Leviathan

Newbery honor book - The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Emotional Book - Rubber Houses

Modern Fantasy - The Demon's Lexicon

Coming Out This Month! - Boys without Names

Great opening scene - The Middle of Somewhere

You thought you had it tough? - Sweetgrass Basket

Powerful Book - Hate List

Please let me slap the father! - Candor

Unforgettable - Unwind

Parental Discretion Advised - Jumping Off Swings

Companion Book - Eternal

Character Growth - Red Glass & Mexican WhiteBoy

Modern-day Retelling - Beastly

Powerful story - Right Behind You

Must read - The Hunger Games

More Author Interviews

Got voice? - Penny from Heaven & Elijah of Buxton

Sympathetic character - Ethan, Suspended

2009 Newbery Winner - The Graveyard Book

Fantasy to Love - Graceling

"we become what we have to be" - Nation

Calling Baseball Fans and others! - Keeping Score

Memorable story - Ways to Live Forever

Mystery to Solve - The Postcard

Wow! Really moving story! - The Mailbox

A 2009 Newbery honor book - Savvy

Don't miss this award winner! - Home of the Brave

Catching Up on Reading - Book of a Thousand Days

Makes me smile - A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Puns galore - Punished!

Stanford Wong Flunks Big Time by Lisa Yee

Love this character! - Beka Cooper, Terrier

Murder Mystery, yet so much more - Perfect Shot

Couldn't Stop Reading - Elsewhere

Prepare for fun - Once Upon a Marigold

Make me laugh! Thor's Wedding Day & Queen Sophie Hartley

Arriving in March - Reaching for the Sun

Science Fantasy - Enchantress from the Stars

Twist, twist, twist - Carmine, A Little More Red

Graphic Novel - Here Be Monsters

Novels in Verse - Seeing Emily

prepare to be amused - The Wee Free Men

Limits not reached - Downsiders

Hooked by Voice - Stuck in Neutral

Delightful book - Sylvia Jean, Drama Queen

The Sea of Trolls

The Schwa Was Here

LOL - Ruby Holler