Here you will find comments on the latest books read by our team of readers. Look for Young Adult and Children’s blogs about new releases, or thoughts on trends in the K-12 publishing world. Check back often. Feel free to contact us at the library with book requests. We do read just about anything sent to us, and some books have even ended up as part of the curriculum here.
If you are a Winston student or Parent and want to publish a review of a book you have read, please contact Ms. Meyer.
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, by Stacy McAnulty
Random House Children’s Books, 2018
Bluebonnet nomination for 2019 – 2020
Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning, and this gave her genius-level math skills. Aged 12, she is technically ready for college, but she has to spend a year in middle school before that. It may sound improbable, but actually this is a very compelling and believable read. Middle school is tough to figure out, especially if you are hiding a massive secret, and your life is complicated with OCD. If you love dogs, right there is another great reason to pick up the book. The book just got better and better, and the end will blow you away.
I got this book at the NTTBF (North Texas Teen Book Festival) this year, so I was super excited to hand it over to one of my big readers, Lily! As I haven’t read it, I thought I’d nail her and get her opinion on the book, especially as she loved it.
LETTING GO OF GRAVITY BY MEG LEDER
Pgs. 420 Young Adult novel, published 2018
So, Lily, what did you think about this book?
“It was really good, and I say that because it shows an accurate depiction of how people are affected by leukemia. Charlie had had it but had gotten through it. The book starts when the relapse begins, and he is getting better. Charlie is really interesting and seemingly has no qualms about using leukemia to his advantage. Parker, his twin sister, seems to care a lot. It was a sad book, because of my connections to this and people I have known. Life is not cracked up to be all you want it to be, and you have to work for what you want.”
Drest, a young Scottish girl witnesses her family’s capture and learns about their imminent death. With only a few days to spare, she must make her way to rescue them from a castle prison. She starts off on a quest to find them, taking a wounded prince along as a hostage. This story has all the elements of a great tale. You may be very surprised at how it ends in a series of sometimes alarming twists.
I am going to recommend this series, with a Big Caveat. It starts out as a Middle Grade series with a female lead character and lots of magic in a story reminiscent of Harry Potter meets Percy Jackson. It ends as more of a Teen Fiction series complete with love triangle and DRAMA. So without spoiling anything, travel with Sophie a changeling who thinks she knows about her past but in fact she is a lost child from an Elvin world where cuts are treated with potions, and the Elves are lead by a group of Councilors from the nobility, and all manner of magical creatures live in harmony with each other.
Sophie meets an intriguing cast of characters from Dax, son of a potions master. Keefe a more likable son of a Malfoy like noble. Fitz son of yet another noble and fellow Telepath. And many other characters who are fun and assist Sophie on her journey to discover the purpose of her existence. There is pin trading, magic dodgeball, smelly foods, and troll poetry. Mystery, secret messages, magic mirrors, and lots of hospital visits.
I really liked book one, there is nothing objectionable or too problematic for middle grade readers. Its in the subsequent slide into love triangle and Sophie’s lack of growth into a strong capable heroine that gives me pause. Its a fun series, but Sophie is a bit of a Mary Sue when it comes to powers (Oh no one has ever ‘insert magic ability/talent/skill’ here) but she never grows beyond the wilting, panic filled young girl we see in the first novel.