Genre: Middle Grade

Waiting on Wednesday: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertram

Waiting on Wednesday: Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss BertramBook Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Published by Henry Holt and Company (BYR) on June 2nd 2015
Genres: Action & Adventure, Books & Libraries, Middle Grade, Mysteries & Detective Stories
Pages: 368
Goodreads

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it’s the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon her arrival, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself, and might contain the only copy of his mysterious new game. Racing against time, Emily and James rush from clue to clue, desperate to figure out the secret at the heart of Griswold’s new game—before those who attacked Griswold come after them too.

New WoWA game where books are hidden all over the country? San Francisco? A mystery? A Middle Grade debut? Yes, please!

I don’t think I have to say more about why I’m excited about this 2015 release, and that’s why I’m Waiting on Wednesday for it as we speak.

You all know I love Middle Grade, especially ones that involve mysteries so I have my fingers crossed I can get my hands on an ARC of Bertram’s debut.

If you want to check out the author’s website, you can go here. You can also find Jennifer on Twitter.

It sounds like she’s got something fantastic cooked up for the promotion of this book!! (excitement ensues)

So, tell me, are you excited about this book?!?! What other books are you waiting on Wednesday for?

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme that highlights our most anticipated upcoming releases. It’s hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine.

What Katie Read

Bookish Illuminations: Rain Reign (2014) by Ann M. Martin

Bookish Illuminations: Rain Reign (2014) by Ann M. MartinRain Reign by Ann M. Martin
Published by Macmillan on October 7th 2014
Genres: Animals, Dogs, Middle Grade, Realistic, Social Issues, Special Needs
Pages: 240
Goodreads
five-stars

Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She’s thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose’s obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different – not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father.When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.

Suggested age range: 9 and up

If you read my Friday 56 post, you’ll know that today I plan to share with my thoughts on Ann M. Martin’s Middle Grade stand alone, Rain Reign.  Happy Monday and Enjoy!

Illuminations

First things first.

I loved Rose’s relationship with her dog, Rain. When things became difficult between her and her father, Rain was a source of comfort and protection. Rain was also a joy for Rose’s classmates to see the day she follows Rose into her classroom–this created a space for Rain to talk about something with her classmates beside homonyms.

When Rain is lost in a big storm about halfway through the book, things get a little tense, and like many other readers, I’m sure, I was hoping against hope that Rain would be found. Rose finds out what one must do to search for a lost pet after a storm, and she is remarkably adept and detail-oriented; she does what she has to do. What makes the book so fantastic is the way the reader gets a true glimpse into Rose’s thought processes by hearing her side of things. As someone who reads a lot of children’s and young adult literature, I’m endlessly fascinated by the notion of an adult author trying to portray the perspective of a young person. Will it work or won’t it? I like what Ann M. Martin has done here, with this story, but it’s always helpful to remember that this is a work of writing by an adult. Raising this point makes for interesting discussion, that’s for sure, and it’s a point that is unique the world of children’s literature.

With that in mind, getting close to Rose’s voice and her dreams and disappointments is an important part of the book. Even though readers may not come into contact with children with Asperger’s on a daily basis, reading Rose’s story can raise readers’ awareness, and though it’s fiction, the story gives us the opportunity to develop compassion for a young character who possesses a unique perspective on her surroundings. This brings up something that I think good fiction can accomplish: it can affect our social sensitivity.

Rose’s mother is absent from her life, and her father is often at the bar after work. But Rose’s uncle and Rose share a significant relationship, and he spends time with her. So, though Rose’s parents aren’t there for her as much as she needs, her relationship with her uncle fills a gap, and this is crucial.

Who Should Read This Book

Fans of Lisa Graff’s Absolutely Almost will definitely appreciate this book. As I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think about Albie in Graff’s newest novel. It’s interesting that I read both of these books fairly close to one another. They both feature rich and authentic child protagonists who are making sense of themselves and those around them.

Both books highlight heartwarming narratives that are uplifting, but they don’t skate around the sad things that happen to Rose and Albie. Sometimes it can seem difficult to find books with protagonists living with autism, but Graff and Martin have provided two 2014 books that provide such books for readers.

Rose announces that she has been diagnosed with Asperger’s in the second chapter of the book—this isn’t something hidden from the reader. Rose is an endearing character, and just as Albie’s perspective is provided for the reader, making it easier to understand him, Martin does the same in the narrative for Rose. Because we get a deeper glimpse into Rose’s thought processes through the story, we feel more compassion for her and what she’s going through. And so many of us know what it’s like to be searching for a lost pet! In that respect, the book is relevant to a huge spectrum of readers.

And just look at that cover! The title (a homonym—and you know, Rose is obsessed with homonyms) and the cover image were enough to draw me in to read the book. The hues, the silhouette of Rose and Rain, and the font style of the title certainly caught my eye. What I felt: Mystery, excitement, and hope for what was beyond the storm. (If seeing that Ann M. Martin wrote it hadn’t been enough!)

The Final Illumination

I grew up reading all of Ann M. Martin’s Babysitter Club books. Though I read series books as well as stand alones and a huge variety of genres, I appreciated the comfort and the patterns in the Babysitter Club plots. I followed the lives of Kristy, Mary Ann, Dawn, Stacy, and Claudia, and loved the fact that they would be the same girls every time I started a new book. Ann M. Martin was definitely an important author to my young reader self.

More recently, I’ve read one of her Doll People books, but no other stand alones she’s written. Now that I’ve read Rain Reign, I plan to hunt down the others—because she’s not just talented at writing series books. With Rain Reign she’s crafted a beautiful, but not overly sweet story about a girl learning to navigate the world of home and school, while facing challenges that many children never have to deal with. Her story is an important one, and though I had pretty high expectations for this one, I was even more blown away by Ann M. Martin’s ability to pull me into Rose’s world, and feel tremendously sad as I turned that last page. (Sad, at least, that I was saying goodbye to Rose!)

Did you read this 2014 realistic novel? Did you like it as much as I did?

five-stars
What Katie Read

Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn’t Get To

Genres: Adult, Middle Grade, Young Adult

TopTenTuesday5 BorderDid you have books you were going to read in 2014, but just didn’t get around to them? Yep, that’s a problem many of us had. Because there are so many books. And so little time!

That’s what 2015 is for though–catching up on those 2014 reads.

2014 was a fantastic year for the world of Middle Grade, YA, and Adult publishing! There were actually quite a few 2014 releases I wanted to read but didn’t get to. Here are my top ten, and I have all of these with me at the moment as I’m planning to read them in the first part of 2015!

Which of these do you think I should read first?

As usual, this weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Welcome back to Bookish Illuminations! Remember you still have time to enter my big giveaway all month long!

This first book is one I’m so excited about reading because quite a few people have said it’s utterly fabulous fantasy!

snowSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Here’s another one I’m planning to read soon (January) and I am really looking forward to the unique premise of this one–a story within a story.

afterworlds Afterworlds by Scott Westerfield

I love Lauren Oliver and have several of her books to catch up on in 2015! And she has another one coming out, so I need to get busy. Panic_HC_JKT_des4.indd

Panic by Lauren Oliver

 Here’s a Middle Grade fantasy that I had been watching as soon as it shelves, but I didn’t have it in my possession until Christmas.

18668056The Glass Sentence by S.E. Grove

Another Middle Grade with mystery and history that I currently have out from the library…

Under the egg Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald

Fantasy and fairy tales–yes, please!

stray Stray by Elissa Sussman

I won this in a giveaway last year, and I am dying to get to it. I love Little House on the Prairie and there’s a kind of an “appearance” by Rose Wilder in this one…

9780670025091_large_Pioneer_Girl Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen

Princess of Thorns is another title that so many readers and bloggers raved about so I’m looking forward to including this one in my fantasy reading challenge.

thornsPrincess of Thorns by Stacey Jay

I bought my copy of this when I was in London this last September and I love that cover! I think this kind of book is perfect for a cozy winter’s night by the fire.

mysterious affairThe Mysterious Affair at Castaway House by Stephanie Lam

Last, but not least, I heard about this book on The Midnight Garden and still have it on my TBR. I’ve heard good things about it, so it’s another one for my 2015 fantasy challenge.

songbirdStolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Are any of these reads on your list? What are your top books for 2015 that came out in 2014, but you didn’t have time to get to? Share away!

What Katie Read
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