HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to these middle grade books making their rounds through our reviewers!
Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of these books. All opinions are our own.
MOONLOCKET – by Peter Bunzl
(August 13th 2019 ~ Jolly Fish Press)
Photo and Review by Kelly ~ originally on Instagram @kidlitunderground
In MOONLOCKET, the second book in the Cogheart series, Bunzl takes us back to Brackenbridge in 1897*, eight months after COGHEART, and we get to see Robert’s complicated backstory. An arson at Robert’s Da’s old clock maker shop leaves a mysterious half-moon locket hidden in a pile of rubble: It’s the only clue to Robert’s one living parent, his missing Ma.
💎 While the series is told in third person, the focus and main point of view this time are Robert’s. Which only makes sense, as the story line centers around his long-lost crime/vaudeville family, estranged mother and a stolen diamond that powers dowager Queen Victoria’s (we know she’s widowed based on the year, but dowager is just such a cool word) mechanical elephant.
💎The secret of Lily’s mechanical heart and Robert’s race against his criminal mastermind grandfather Jack Door have all the stakes and action of COGHEART, but a deeper emotional current as Robert both learns and dishes out some very bittersweet, heartwrenching lessons around the mother who abandoned him abruptly as a toddler.
💎While MOONLOCKET is a standalone, I strongly recommend reading the series in sequence. One of the coolest characters is Lily’s snarky pet mechanical fox Malkin; in the second book we interact more with him, step into his thoughts, and fall in love with him more than we did in Cogheart. The crotchety little fox was part of what made MOONLOCKET even more of a page turner than its predecessor.
💎Caveat/Spoiler: Jack Door shoots his own adult son in front of Robert, Lily, and Tolly, which while handled very quickly and matter-of-factly, might be upsetting to some.
💎 Throughout the Cogheart series, Lily and Robert are the level heads and voice of reason, holding up the fragile egos of morally gray adults. Sounds about right.
💎 Look for the Book #3, SKYCIRCUS, in 2020.
SKYJACKED – by Paul Griffin
(July 30th 2019 ~ Scholastic Press)
Goodreads Summary: Six friends who attend Manhattan’s elite Hartwell Academy are returning from an end-of-summer camping trip together on a private plane. Everything seems normal… except one of the regular pilots is sick, so there’s a replacement; Cassie is starting to get violently ill for no clear reason; and they realize the plane is flying west, not east. Soon it’s clear: the plane has been hijacked. But by who, and why? Where are they going? What made Cassie so sick? And even if they somehow make it into the cockpit and overpower the hijacker, could they land the plane? Emotions are running high, and choosing who to trust is a matter of life or death.
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