Monday, April 26, 2010

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

This book was actually an ARC that I received at last year's TLA conference. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon was a Newbery Honor book for 2010. Oh, the treasures you pick up at TLA.

Minli is a  poor young girl who spends her time working hard in the fields with her mother and father. They live in a poor village. At night, Minli's father likes to keep her entertained by telling wonderful tales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Minli's mother is unhappy with their poor life and thinks the stories are silly and worthless.

One day, a goldfish peddler comes to town and Minli spends half of her life savings (1 copper piece) to buy a beautiful goldfish. Little did Minli know that this goldfish was on a journey. So begins the story of Minli's search for the Old Man of Moon who can help her and her family have a better life.

This was a very sweet story. The interweaving of Chinese folklore and Minli's story was flawless. The pace of the story was good. Following Minli's journey and in the end finding that it is important to spend time appreciating what you have makes for a good read. I think readers of all ages will appreciate the themes of appreciation and friendship.  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

It is so exciting to be writing this review a week before the book comes out!

Regrets. Those choices we make in life that we wished would have turned out differently. In high school, there were a lot of those. Wouldn't it be nice if we could tell our younger self not to make certain decisions.

In Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski, Devorah Banks (Devi) gets that chance. High school senior Devi is wallowing in pity following the break up of her four year romance with Bryan. She drops her phone in a fountain and realizes that the only number she can call is herself...three years ago. Devi seizes the opportunity to help her freshman self make different, and supposedly better, decisions. The decisions and choices, of course, have consequences.

As in the Magic in Manhattan series, Mlynowski gives us a fast, entertaining read. The plot is quick moving. It was easy to follow with each chapter alternating between the freshman and senior Devi. Devi (both as a freshman and a senior) is a realistic, mostly likeable character.  The supporting cast of characters were believeable and likeable. It is a well written twist on the Back to the Future theme. Young adult readers age 10 and up will appreicate this tale.

What I Am About

I am a middle school reading teacher who is finishing up my last semester to earn my Masters in Library Science. I recently attended the Texas Library Association conference in San Antonio. I left with A LOT of ARCs (Advanced Reader Copy) that look great. They are all different types of genres, and they are mostly young adult.

As I was driving home, I was thinking about how I can share my feelings on the numerous books that I picked up. I have decided to try an blog about them. Who knows, maybe I will become viral. Maybe my blog will become widely read and I will become an expert reviewer. Maybe, I can take over the world! Just kidding.

Since life is busy, busy, busy during the school year, I am going to set a going to set a goal of reading and reviewing 1 book a week. During the summer, I will try to read and review 2 books a week.

If you read this or any of my blogs, please comment! I look forward to hearing what you have to say.