#IMWAYR MARCH 27, 2016

Here we are.  #IMWAYR time again. Thanks to Jen at Mentor Text and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers for hosting this weekly event where readers of kidlit get together to share what we have been reading in the previous week.

First off, thanks so much for everyone's kind words last week. My mother has just been transferred to the palliative ward at the hospital while we wait for a hospice space to become available. It isn't easy, but we, (my siblings and I) are coping. I've felt some guilt for going away this past week, but  a sister came over from the island to be with Mom and my brother was back from his vacation. Many other relatives made the trek from other places to spend time with her as well. 

Otherwise, my week has been busy with renovations, but peaceful. I read some amazing books and managed to write a couple of blog posts. I found time to listen to the Canada Reads 2016 podcasts and am excited to take some of the questions about the books to use with my book club at school. 


COMPLETED


3 stars
Audacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby Larson

Although I enjoyed this book, it just didn't work for me as well as I had hoped. Audacity Jones is a spunky young girl who lives at Miss Maisie's School for Wayward Girls. When their benefactor, The Commodore, comes searching for an orphan to help him on a mission, she volunteers. The Commodore and his driver take her on a long road trip to Washington DC. Some kind of nefarious plan is afoot and it's up to Audacity and her friends, both new and old, to stop it. 
I enjoyed this plot but it was the characters and their relationships that kept me going.

4 stars
Honey by Sarah Weeks

I had forgotten why I liked Sarah Weeks until reading this book. You can't help but admire and empathize with her characters. Melody's father is behaving strangely and she wants to know why and who he has been calling Honey on the phone. 
This ois a sweet story that involves mixed up conclusions based on insufficient information. Having the dog in there will make it appeal to many of my readers.



Sweetland by Michael Crummey

4 stars
This is one of the Canada Reads titles that didn't make the short list. I get it since it really doesn't seem to be about transformation and starting over. However, it won the Governor General award in 2014 and I can see why. It continues to haunt me. This book is about the end of a life and the end of the place we call home. In this case it's an island off the coast of Newfoundland. Now that most of the youth have left, the remaining inhabitants have been offered a financial incentive to leave. The catch is that everyone must buy in. Moses Sweetland is the last holdout. The story is circular with present day events triggering recollections of major events in Moses' past. It put me into a state of mourning for Moses and many of my stoic uncles who are now gone. 


3 stars
Dumplin'
 by Julie Murphy

I wanted to like this book more than I did. Unfortunately Willowdean Dixon just didn't grab me and make me really care about her. On top of this I couldn't connect with anybody wanting to participate in a beauty pageant. 





5 stars
The Odds of Getting Even (Tupelo Landing #3) by Sheila Turnage


Gush, gush, swoon, swoon. Yes, I loved this book. Sheila Turnage is one of my favourite writers of middle grade fiction. I flat out adore the idea of her writing a book. I read this, Pax and Crenshaw kind of at the same time. I think my appreciation for them suffered as a result of the inevitable comparison. 



4.5 stars

There is nothing quite so fabulous as a superbly written middle grade novel. This one, a story of a boy and his fox, is going to be in my top ten this year. It's about war and truth and peace. It is a deeply philosophical book. I made some connections to Kate DiCamillo's The Magician's Elephant while reading it, but it stands on it's own. It might be the only book that could hold its own in comparison to The Odds of Getting Even


Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

I've just finished this one and need to think a bit more about how I feel about it. I enjoyed it, but it just didn't live up to my expectations I think. Maybe I'll change my mind after it percolates with me for a while. 




CURRENTLY

I've just started listening to Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden but I'll take a break from it if one of my YA or MG titles becomes available. I'm reading When I was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds.

UP NEXT

All American Boy by Jason Reynolds and whatever strikes my fancy. The Shepherd's Crown by Terry Pratchett, the last in the Tiffany Aching series is ready for me to pick up at the VPL. I will probably start that as soon as I get it. 

26 comments:

  1. All American Boys is phenomenal.

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  2. What nice books you have completed, though I found Pax hard to get through even though it is a great book. All American Boys was interesting, and anything by Terry Pratchett is, well, just wonderful. Enjoy this week's books.

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    1. I agree with you about Terry Pratchett!

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  3. I agree with what you said about Crenshaw - there are some books I need to sit on before passing judgement. There are books that I end up liking way more than my first impression after thinking about it, or even sharing it with students. Toys Meet Snow was like that for me.

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    1. I am going to have to get Toys Meet Snow I think. Thanks for that.

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  4. Nice assortment of books. I felt the same way about Dumplin'. I couldn't quite see why it got all the hype it did. I enjoyed Crenshaw and it certainly made me think about hungry and homeless kids. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

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    1. I'm still letting Crenshaw percolate. I think there are other books that deal with homelessness as well if not better than this one. Maybe it's the imaginary friend bit that didn't work for me.

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  5. I read Audacity Jones this week, as well, and I had a hard time getting into it at first. By the end, though, I enjoyed the story, and I really liked Audacity as a character. I'm wondering how kids will connect with this one, though. I started Pax over a month ago and set it aside. I'm just not connecting with it. I'm not really a fan of talking animals in books, I guess. Happy reading!

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    1. That is how I felt about Audacity too. The problem is that kids are less likely to give the book as much leeway as I would. I think Pax is worth putting the energy into.

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  6. A new Sheila Turnage! Yay! I really love this series, and Turnage writes like a dream. I generally love Sara Pennypacker, but everything I read about Pax convinces me this may be a tough read for me. Sweetland sounds fascinating--a new-to-me title. I need to check out Canada Reads!

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    1. When I read Sheila Turnage, I am constantly stopping to write down quotes. Next year when I am retired, I hope to read more of the Canada Reads titles before the battle begins! Pax is a hard read, but well worth it.

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  7. Cheriee, I must admit that I liked but didn't love Crenshaw. As a family, we loved All American Boys. See - that you are reading When I was the Greatest. What a book! Both Pax and this next Sheila Turnage title are in my soon to be reading future I hope. We begin Pax today as our next family read aloud.

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    1. I'm still on the fence about Crenshaw. I'm having a hard time getting into When I was the Greatest. I just hate it when characters do stupid things that I know will cause them grief in the end. I might have to read the ending to make sure it turns out ok.

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  8. I wish you and your family the best. I wasn't a big Crenshaw fan. I love books by Jason Reynolds! I love Tiffany Aching and will have to get The Shepherd's Crown as soon as possible.

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    1. I am afraid a bit to read The Shepherd's Crown. It will be the end of the series, and of course, one of Pratchett's last books. What if it doesn't live up to his previous writing?

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  9. Hi there Cheriee, glad to read your candid thoughts about all these novels - most I haven't read yet. I am apprehensive about Dumplin for the very reasons that you just shared - I had the same antsy feeling with Gabi - A Girl in Pieces - but I do recognize how important these book choices are for many readers. I really look forward to reading Pax - will have to check whether our library already has it. :)

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    1. I adored Gabi, a Girl in Pieces. She is a character I adored. While body image in in there, it doesn't play such an integral part of the story. And the writing is far superior.

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  10. Unfortunately I find that some books are just hyped up beyond what most books could realistically live up to. I just get my expectations up so high based on all the reviews and posts I see, and then the poor story just can't meet my expectations. Sometimes it helps me to put a book on a shelf and wait a while before picking it up, though it does mean I tend to be a bit tardy to the party when it comes to hit books.....!

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    1. I know Jane! The only books that ever live up to my expectations are Sheila Turnage's Tupelo Landing series!

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  11. I am sorry to hear about Dumplin'! I plan to read it soon and am interested to see what I think about it. I read Crenshaw on a calm day, and it was just the book I needed at that time, so maybe it has to do with the time and place? Pax is DEFINITELY on my list--especially after your review!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it Ricki. It is definitely worth reading. The problem with Dumplin, is that it is too much about her body image. I would have liked for her to have been a person who was more than that.

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  12. I have got to read the rest of the books in Tupelo Landing. I loved the first one. I've been hearing good things about Pax, too. I also like the sound of Audacity Jones, and of course, anything by Sara Weeks is good. I'm glad to hear that your mother has found a place to care for her and that family is able to come and be with her. I imagine it must be very hard for you and your family right now.

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    1. Really hard, and kind of a relief too Kay. Thanks. I swear, each of those Tupelo Landing titles gets better!

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  13. I'm with you on Crenshaw. It seemed so thin to me. I much preferred Paper Things (2015) as a recent book dealing with the idea of homeless kids.

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  14. I loved Crenshaw. I think that the importance of it for young middle grade is priceless.
    I want to read Dumplin'. I love Julie Murphy's personality.

    Happy reading this week :)

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