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.
BEVERLY, RIGHT HERE – by Kate DiCamillo #katedicamillo
Photo and Review by Melissa ~ originally on Instagram @Melissa_joynson
Kate DeCamillo can truly do no wrong. Beverly, Right Here is a touching middle grades novel that connects the characters from two of DiCamillo’s earlier novels, Raymie Nightingale and Louisiana’s Way Home. While it’s not necessary to have read the other novels beforehand, it is definitely helpful as it adds more to Beverly’s story.
After her dog dies, Beverly runs away, deciding there is nothing worth staying for at home now that the one thing she cared about it gone. Settling into a beach town in Florida, Beverly encounters an array or eclectic characters, and despite not wanting to care about anything or anyone, Beverly finds herself doing exactly that. As the title suggests, Beverly must learn who she is right here, in the present, as she comes to terms with her past.
Out September 24, this book explores Beverly’s journey to self-discovery and is perfect for middle school.
BEVERLY, RIGHT HERE – by Kate DiCamillo #katedicamillo
Review by MIchelle ~ originally on Instagram @mleonardwrites
To say I am a Kate DiCamillo fan is a total understatement. I screamed when I opened my bookmail and read BEVERLY, RIGHT HERE as slowly as I possibly could to savor all the speakable and unspeakable truths that permeate Kate DiCamillo’s stories.
I loved Raymie Nightingale, but Louisiana’s Way Home spoke to me like no book ever has. So, of course, we need Beverly’s story too. I’m glad Beverly haunted Kate DiCamillo, forcing her story to be revealed.
Tired of being disappointed and left behind, upon the death of her beloved dog Buddy, fourteen-year-old Beverly takes off. She’s run away before, but this time is different. This time she’s leaving everything. No more caring about anything, no more depending on anyone. She’ll do just fine on her own, thank you. She quickly finds a job and a place to stay with an older lady named Iona and her cat Nod. Beverly puts up huge barriers so she won’t connect with anyone. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help but feel for the flawed and very real people in her new community as they open their hearts up to her. Even more surprising, because of her uncanny ability to see deep inside the other injured souls in town, Beverly helps them connect with her and others in the community.
Beverly is definitely the darker, most injured of the Three Rancheros. She struggles to be kind to others, and she’s unwilling to let her light shine through. I appreciated how Iona doesn’t care when Beverly rebuffs her caring gestures. She simply applies a little more loving pressure to Beverly’s hard shell. This lovely story about finding oneself and trusting others will not disappoint KD fans.
One thing to note in this story is that the characters are all quite old for a middle grade novel. Because of that, I think readers 12+ will connect best with the story.
HERE ARE SOME REVIEWS
OF PAST RELEASES
HARVEY COMES HOME – by Colleen Nelson @colleennelson6466
(September 19th 2019 ~ Pajama Press)
Review by Melissa ~ originally on Instagram @mllittleauthor
Who doesn’t love a Westie? I sure do and this book has all the charm of one. When curious Harvey gets away from a petsitter, he finds himself far from home and in the care of a boy named Austin whose grandfather runs a retirement home. Harvey moves right in among the residents, bringing grumpy Mr. Pickering out of his shell and teaching Austin a thing or two about people.
The story is told in four perspectives: Harvey’s frantic owner, Molly; Austin, Harvey, and Mr. Pickering as he recounts his boyhood. I loved the parallel story line of young Walt Pickering and his dog, General. This cute story is on sale now!
SKYJACKED – by Paul Griffin #paulgraffin
(July 30th 2019 ~ Scholastic Press)
Review by Genevieve ~ originally on Instagram @get.lit_erature
Skyjacked was released on August 13 and copies are available for purchase now! I’m definitely adding this book to my classroom library!
Skyjacked was such a fast and fast-paced read! I read it in one day, because the story and characters gripped me and wouldn’t let me leave their world.
Five teens- Cassie, Emily, Brandon, Jay, and Tim- are heading back to New York after an adventure in Idaho. They board a private plane that Cassie’s dad owns, piloted by Tony Blake, who has been with the family for 8 years, and Sofia, who is a new pilot filling in for the usual co-pilot. Right away, Jay realizes something is off – the plane isn’t heading in the right direction. Then Cassie falls ill. The door to the cockpit, which is usually left open, has been locked. Suddenly, the five teenagers don’t know who to trust, or how to get out alive. With the help of Michelle Okolo, another teen who is working with the military on the ground to get them home safely, the teenagers have to use every bit of knowledge, strength, and trickery to figure out who to trust and how to save themselves. Will it be enough?
I loved this book because it kept me on the edge of my seat up until the very end. There were many twists and turns in the plot, enough to keep the reader guessing, but not too many as to be confusing. I loved that each chapter was told from the point of view of a different teenager, including Michele Okolo, a high school student who was helping the military ground crew as part of her internship. It helped the reader get to know each character – what their relationship was to the others, what made them tick, what their motivations were. I found myself trying to figure out who the skyjacker was by going back and re-reading each characters’ thoughts. It was far from predictable though – it wasn’t until the very end that I got the whole picture!
I can’t wait to add this book to my library, I know my students are going to love it! Definitely add it to your To Be Read list if it’s not there already!
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