Middle Grade Monday: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I adore this book for many reasons. I don’t believe i’ve ever cried so much reading a middle grade novel. Yes, I’m a big softie, but I dare you to get through this thing without at least two tissues. from Goodreads: August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances? When I first heard about this book, I was wondering how the author was going to pull it off without making the story...

Middle Grade Mondays: Liesl and Po by Lauren Oliver

From Goodreads: Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice, until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone. That same night, an alchemist’s apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable. The box that was switched is actually the ashes of Liesl’s father, who has recently died. With Po’s help, Liesl runs away from home, determined to bury her father’s ashes near a tree at her childhood home. Little does she know she’s...

MG/YA Mondays

I’ve decided to make my Mondays alternate discussing MG and YA books, because I’ve been reading far more YA books lately and am writing an YA novel. Plus, I’ve been inventorying my tastes. Someone came up to me at the Lit Fest this weekend and said, I don’t really like fantasy. I’ve heard this said before and it doesn’t bother me. We have our tastes. (Although, I do suggest that no one dismiss and entire genre. Fantasy isn’t just wizards and dragons, just as romance novels aren’t all sap and cheese) I was looking at some old GoodReads reviews of mine and thought I might have been overly critical. Obviously, book review’s are critical by nature is about, but really, almost all of it is personal opinion. And personal...

Middle Grade Mondays: Why So Many Orphans and Dead Parents?

Okay, so it’s time to admit that my vacation is officially over and my blog needs some serious attention. Hello! I want to thank the Kea’au Library, Kea’au Elementary, Kamehameha Elementary, and the Ballard Mother Daughter Book Club for having me as a guest in the last few weeks. What a pleasure! Something I brought up at the Book Club was that I had recently looked back over the last several MG books I had read and noticed the preponderance of orphaned protags (or protags with at least one dead parent). This came up when a friend of mine had told me her daughter was glad that both of Brigitta’s parents were alive because she was tired of dead parents. These are literally the last eight MG books I have read: HERE LIES THE LIBRARIAN:...

Holiday Writing Workout: Yay Mess!

So, I wrote a blog post yesterday and it disappeared. Blipped out of existence just like THAT (snaps magic fingers). Strange. Perhaps something was trying to tell me to get back to my rewrite. This is part of my mini-series: Holiday Writing Workout – for those working on a post NaNo hangover or who just want to keep the motor running through the holidaze. I liked the exercise inspired by book post from Monday, so I decided to explore that again. Right now I’m reading John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. Just kick me in the shins this minute for waiting so long to pick up one of his books. I love, love, love the relationship between the protagonist and his best friend. Green writes the American YA version of Nick Hornby’s books (High...

Middle Grade Mondays: Homage to Anne McCaffrey (R.I.P. Nov 21, 2011)

There is some debate over whether Anne McCaffrey’s Dragon series were sci fi or fantasy (she says sci fi) or whether to classify her work for YA or adult. Regardless, she was an amazing writer. And for precocious 6th graders who love science fiction and fantasy, she’s often one of the authors picked up. I haven’t read any of her work since I was a teenager, and I’m sad it’s taken her death to remind me of how talented she was. For women writers of sci fi / fantasy, she paved the way.   From an I09 article by Charlie Jane Anders: Anne McCaffrey wasn’t just the inventor of Pern, the world where a whole society is based on dragon-riding. She was also an incredibly influential author who helped transform the way science...