Middle Grade New Releases, August 27, 2019

HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY to this middle grade book making its rounds through our reviewers!

Thank you to @kidlitexchange for providing the review copies of this book. All opinions are our own.


img_8550SPINNER DREAMS – by K.A. Reynolds
(August 27th 2019 ~ HarperCollins)

Photo and Review by Melissa ~ originally on Instagram @mllittleauthor

I haven’t read Alice in Wonderland since the approximate age of 9, but this book reminded me of Alice in Wonderland nonetheless.

Annalise is in Dreamland. For reasons initially unknown, 11-year-old Annalise was cursed by Fate at birth, bringing nothing but pain and shame to her wonderful, loving, gentle parents who still see only the best in her. Finally taking her fate into her own hands and desiring to rid herself of her curse, Annalise sneaks out, boards an imaginatively mysterious train, meets a beautiful warm-hearted fox, and sets out to conquer the Labyrinth of Fate and Dreams and defeat the Fate Spinner once and for all.

Two-thirds of the book takes place within the Labyrinth (the part that reminded me of a dark, twisted Wonderland) and the action was wonderful. I hardly saw anything coming. I kind of figured out Annalise’s connection to the Spinner of Dreams, but the way it happened was nothing I ever would have guessed. It is exciting, it is tense, and it is, ultimately, beautiful.

Let me talk about two things I loved. First, I loved that this was a world of unicorns, curses, fate, spirits…and also cars, television news, and animal shelters. I LOVE fantasy worlds that have classic fantasy elements mixed with all our modern conveniences, so this really made my day.

Secondly, and far more importantly, I loved Annalise discovering that her curse, her difference that had made life so painful and difficult, was not a curse at all, but a gift; her strength, her unique power. As someone not neurotypical myself, this was a beautiful reminder and meant a lot to me. We all have something that makes life hard, but it’s also what makes us who we are. We offer our unique gifts to the world because of it.
You can pick up this wonderful fantasy in late August!


AND HERE’S ONE RELEASED A FEW WEEKS AGO

 SKYJACKED – by Paul Griffin36127452._SY475_
(July 30th 2019 ~ Scholastic Press)

Review by Kate ~ originally on Instagram @kateteaching7and8

Cassie, Tim, Emily, Brandon, and Jay are high school students on their way back home after a camping trip in Idaho. The five friends, along with their chaperone Reeva and the two pilots, board Cassie’s father’s private jet for what they expect to be a four hour flight back to New York. Once in the air, things start to go wrong fast. First, Jay notices that the plane is flying west not east. Then Cassie mysteriously falls ill. The friends soon realize that the plane has been hijacked, but they don’t know who to trust and who to blame. At the same time, the military is working to find out what’s going on and prevent it from ending in mass causalities. The friends realize they can’t depend solely on the military and they will have to come up with their own plan to save themselves.

This is a fast-paced novel that sucks you in from page one. The chapters alternate perspectives between the friends and a sixth character, Michelle Okolo, who is an intern at the National Air Traffic Control Investigation Center and who is part of the team trying to help safely land the plan. The alternating perspectives adds depth and suspense to the narrative. Skyjacked was so easy to get into and honestly could be read in a single sitting (if I hadn’t started it so late last night, I would have read it in one sitting). The action is vivid and well-timed. The reader is able to make connections with each character and see how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking. Just as the characters are trying to solve the mystery of who hijacked the plane, so is the reader, and I honestly was not disappointed by this book once. Very few things in the plot were predictable and as each piece was revealed I became more and more invested in the friends and their survival. This is a book that I foresee being hard to keep on the shelf in my classroom library. I’m hoping it will be featured in @scholasticbookclubs


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You can also follow our tags on Instagram and Twitter to see all of our reviews:

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Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @kidlitexchange!

You can also follow our tags on Instagram and Twitter to see all of our reviews:

1#kidlitexchange on Instagram2

               #kidlitexchange on Twitter

 

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