Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Battle of Darcy Lane by Tara Altebrando

The Battle of Darcy LaneThis book is a 2014 release, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Julia's plans for a wonderful summer with her best friend, Taylor, are dramatically changed when a new girl, Alyssa, moves in across the street. Taylor is mean and stuck-up. She puts down Julia whenever she can, challenges Julia to a game called Russia, and Julia's friendship with Taylor is suffering. Then, Julia is confused about her relationship with the boy living behind her home, and her parents are being secretive about why they won't let her move into the extra bedroom. Julia's mom signs her up for two weeks of band camp, the cicadas are coming, and Julia must figure out some way to save her summer.

The author captures the confusing life of a twelve-year-old girl, as her life changes. Friendships are confusing. Am I popular? Does that boy like me? Why are they being mean to me? Will this embarrass me? The resolution of the plot is not 100% happy, but Julia learns some valuable life lessons in the end.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Charlie Bumpers vs. The Really Nice Gnome by Bill Harley

Charlie Bumpers vs. the Really Nice GnomeThis book is a 2014 release, and I gave it a rating of three out of five. Charlie's fourth-grade is putting on the annual play, and he is hoping to get the part of evil sorcerer. He doesn't get the part, and even worse, he must play the part of the nice gnome! It's a boring part, and he needs to be nice. He tries switching parts, changing lines, and even messing up, but nothing works. What else can he do to save himself from embarrassment?

Charlie's character is a normal fourth grader. He has a bossy older brother, a nosey little sister, and he's always trying to get out of walking the dog and picking up "the call of nature". The plot is easy to follow, moves along quickly, and should be enjoyable for younger readers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Great Green Heist by Varian Johnson

The Great Greene HeistThis book is a 2014 release, and I gave it a rating of four out of five. Gaby is running for school president, and she is unaware her main competition, Keith Sinclair, has bribed the principal to make sure he wins. Jackson, a classmate and complicated "friend", smells a rat and starts to secretly help Gaby.  Jackson has a reputation, rightfully earned, as a schemer and prankster. His Mid-Day PDA embarrassed Gaby a while back, and she hasn't spoken to him since. Jackson now sets plans in motion to help her, but Keith manages to stay one step ahead of him. How can Jackson outfox Keith and still stop the principal from rigging the election. Sounds like it's time for another scheme.

The plot was fun, but it was a bit unrealistic. A principal being bribed to fix a student election? The schemes were entertaining, and I liked Jackson's uncomfortable relationship with Gaby. You know they'll get back together in the end!