Joplin, Wishing

Joplin, WishingJoplin, Wishing by Diane Stanley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Part magical, part mystery, mostly realistic fiction, this book is a treasure.
Upon returning to school after her grandfather’s funeral, Joplin knows she is facing two tormenting dilemmas – her ongoing friendless state and the certain harassment from her classmates about her famous, eccentric, all-over-the-news grandfather. Kids get suspended, a teacher handles things poorly and Joplin takes a few days off, too.
Joplin brought home a broken antique platter from her grandfather’s house as a memento and has it restored with her aunt’s help. While feeling sad and lonely she longingly looks at the girl in the platter and wishes for the girl to be her friend and to have a friend at school. The next morning she notices a girl in her garden who looks like…the now missing girl from the platter! And Joplin makes a friend at school. Life gets complicated with this friend who has no home of her own and needs food, shelter and truly wants to get back to the mid 1600s. Life gets dangerous when a man from the 1600s wants Joplin’s magic platter.
Author Stanley brings us a main character who grows and develops, strong secondary characters, a good sense of place, and mystery and magic.
Starred review from Booklist is right on target.

Young Jane Young

Young Jane YoungYoung Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thank you, NetGalley, for this ARC in return for an honest review.
Young Jane Young is a hit for Gabrielle Zevin from start to finish.
Jane’s story is a tough one, after her affair with a handsome, popular, married congressman is exposed and made public. Worse, Jane, really Aviva, kept a blog of the affair. Life went on for the congressman, forgiven by the press and his wife. Aviva found life again only by a legal name change and by fleeing her home town while pregnant.
Zevin tells Jane’s story with humor, tenderness and through the honest wide eyes of young Ruby, Jane’s daughter, whose first word was hilariously, “canapé.”

Beach Lawyer

Beach Lawyer (Beach Lawyer Series)Beach Lawyer by Avery Duff

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lawyer Robert Worth is about to make partner at a prestigious Southern California law firm, after only five years of practice. He studiously stays away from partner Jack Pierce, who is nasty and vindictive. Things change when he discovers a client is being treated strangely unfairly and may have been sexually attacked.
The book opens with a prologue and Robert is in jail.
This book is difficult to read – until about the last third where it seems like the author hits his stride. The plot is what keeps the reader going.

I plan to continue reading this series.  🙂

Turtle Tug to the Rescue

Turtle Tug to the RescueTurtle Tug to the Rescue by Michael Slack

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Turtle Tug is a turtle-powered tug boat, who performs daring sea rescues on perilous waters.

This rhyming story is filled with rich vocabulary and vivid illustrations – showing animated facial expressions of the sea creatures he helps.

Turtle Tug is a hero and his adventure is perfect for the preschool crowd!

 

Ghost by Jason Reynolds

Ghost (Track, #1)Ghost by Jason Reynolds

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Castle Crenshaw, who calls himself Ghost, is a kid who gets himself into trouble. And that trouble makes this book hard for me to read – I put this slim volume down countless times while cringing as Ghost does something he knows he shouldn’t. Still, I had to finish this compelling story.

Ghost is a kid who can run like the wind, a kid who has caught the eye of a track coach, a kid who has no gym shorts, no gym shoes.

Ghost is a kid who lives in the projects, a kid whose dad tried to kill him and his mom, a kid whose dad is in prison, a kid who has a lot of anger inside of him.

Ghost is a kid with a mom who has ambitions to make their lives better.

First in a series.

The Dry by Jane Harper

The DryThe Dry by Jane Harper

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Aaron Falk reluctantly returns home – to the rural farming community of Kiewarra, Australia, a place of childhood memories and one large and still looming mystery – for the funerals of his best friend Luke, Luke’s wife and six year old son.

Aaron works for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in their financial crimes division in Melbourne. Luke’s parents, who were like surrogate parents to him during his childhood, implore him to look into their son’s death. They don’t believe he could have killed his family and himself. Aaron agrees to take a quick look and is surprised that the local police sergeant has doubts about the murder-suicide theory – Raco’s keen eye sees evidence that suggests something else happened and he welcomes Aaron’s help.

This is a quick yet well-developed read. The severe drought, the shocking suicide/murders, the tight-knit community on a downward spiral and Aaron’s haunting memories provide a mesmerizing prose.

First in a series.

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Tales of the Madman UndergroundTales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely love Karl Shoemaker’s honest, youthful, brave, foul-mouthed, caring voice.
From laughter to tears, this book takes us through Karl’s first six days of senior year high school, this tale of fierce friendship in 1973 – much more interesting than any days of my senior year!
Karl’s dad was the mayor of Lightsburg, OH and there’s a street in town named for the family. Karl’s mother is a widow, an alcoholic who steals Karl’s hard earned money to drink not only at home, but in local bars so she can pick up men. She leaves an IOU with the date and amount whenever she steals from Karl. This makes Karl the only adult in this household, one who has wisely set up some kind of trustee account with his mom’s pay check so their bills get paid first. But…that just keeps the roof over their heads and the lights on.
Since fourth grade, Karl has been in group therapy at school. For this last year of school he is desperate to have a “normal” year:
No group therapy – no sessions with the Madman Underground during school hours – talk about a stigma inducer!
A social life?
A non-group therapy girl friend?
So, Karl launches “Operation Be Fucking Normal.” Oh, yeah. He wants to keep his friends who are all members of that therapy group.
A 2010 LJ review says “This book is the first, and not the last, title on this [?] list that details the impact of bad parenting on kids.” Ouch! I wonder what other books are on that list?
Two highlights:
p.454 “So we fell asleep holding hands. If married couples got to do this all the time, shit if I could understand how there were ever divorces, or even fights.”
p.505 The rescue for Karl. Just ask. Please. Kids of alcoholics? You’ll get it.