Published by Scholastic
Summary: Allison’s life has been in turmoil since her older brother died in a car accident, a tragedy that has led to her parents’ decision to divorce. She moves with her mom to North Carolina, and immediately finds a new best friend, Samantha, or Sam. As the girls get closer, Allie starts to realize her feelings for Sam are more than friendship, which seems unacceptable in 1977 North Carolina. Two gay women teachers and an understanding woman pastor help Allie to accept herself and to try to support Sam as she faces hostility in her conservative Christian home. An author’s note explains more about Allie’s experiences, including Anita Bryant’s anti-homosexual campaign of that time, and how she (the author) came to write the book. 208 pages; grades 4-7.
Pros: A sympathetic look at a 12-year-old girl struggling to understand her sexuality in a fairly hostile environment. LGBQT tweens and their friends will relate to Allie’s experiences in middle school and her community.
Cons: This felt like a book with a message, and some of the characters, like Sam’s mother and the pastor were fairly one-dimensional.
If you would like to buy this book through Amazon, click here.
The ALA awards have been announced, and Kids Book A Day predicted…drum roll, please…zero. Here’s the list. Okay, I’m a little disappointed I didn’t pick either one, but come on, Newbery committee! The three honor books are a picture book and two YA books. Believe me, I’m the last one to begrudge Jason Reynolds a Newbery honor, but Long Way Down features a 15-year-old protagonist contemplating whether or not to murder the guy who killed his brother. And the protagonist of Renee Watson’s Piecing Me Together is a high school junior. The Printz award was created for books like these! Tell me what you think in the comments!
In case you haven’t been keeping track, for the last two years I’ve predicted the Newbery honor books, but the actual medalist has not made my list. I have a funny feeling I’m not getting it right at all this year. It just didn’t seem like there was a lot of Newbery caliber, and some of the authors I’ve picked already have a medal of some color.
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. Published by Feiwel and Friends.
Feels like a bit of a long shot to me, but it’s a beautiful story with a timely message, and it has a lot of younger kid appeal, which, as an elementary librarian, I appreciate. Link to Amazon
The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. Published by Dial Books.
One of my two favorite middle grade novels of the year. But will the committee give an award to a sequel of an honor book? Link to Amazon.
Patina by Jason Reynolds. Published by Atheneum.
Last year, I was hoping Ghost would win. This year, I am hoping Patina will win. Next year, I may be hoping Sunny will win (due out in April, 2018). Link to Amazon.
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder. Published by Walden Pond Press.
A beautifully written, mysterious story of orphan children living on an mist-shrouded island. I am still hoping there is a sequel that answers some of my questions. Link to Amazon.
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk.
My other favorite middle grade novel of 2017. Lauren Wolk was just honored last year for the equally good Wolf Hollow. Will she do it again? All will be revealed on the morning of February 12. Link to Amazon.
This is how I feel at this time of year: after reviewing six books a week for the last year, I keep seeing lists of “the best of 2017” and realizing how many books I DIDN’T get to read this year. I’m resisting the urge to hole up all week and try to fit in as many of those books as I can! This week I’ll be posting my own “best of” lists; then I’m going to take a few weeks off in January to catch up on some non-blog reading and let the 2018 books start to pile up.
As always, I’d love to hear from any followers about how Kids Book a Day has helped you this year, what you’d like to see here in 2018, or just a general hello. I look forward to another year of reading and sharing books, and I wish each one of you the best in the year ahead!
I just learned that Feedspot named this blog one of their top 100 Children’s Book blogs for the year (I’m #64). They gave me a shiny gold badge to put on the sidebar of the blog– check it out! You can click on it to see the full list of all 100 blogs. I have no idea what Feedspot is…please leave a comment or email me if you know!
I was fortunate enough to get a Baker and Taylor grant to attend the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Conference in Phoenix, Arizona this year. I’m leaving tomorrow morning and will be back Saturday night, so I’m taking a short vacation from the blog. Don’t worry, I have a stack of books to read on the plane, and will be up and running again no later than next Monday. Is anyone else going to AASL? Let me know, and maybe we can meet up!
I’ve recently signed up with the Amazon Affiliate program, and will be including a link to Amazon at the bottom of each review. I’ve added links to my last four reviews, and hope to (eventually) add them to other previous reviews. If you click on the link, then buy the book from Amazon, I get 4% of the sale. Blog design is not my specialty (I’m sure you’ve noticed), and I’m sure there’s some more aesthetically pleasing way to incorporate this link, but this is my best attempt for now. I’m still learning about this process, so if anyone has any helpful hints, I’d appreciate them. Please feel no obligation to shop through my blog, but if you are planning to buy a book, thanks for clicking on the link!