One for Sorrow by Mary Downing Hahn

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I found this title online and was happy to receive it through Net Galley for my iPad.

It is billed as a children’s book, but I think the content more appropriate for YA or adults. (similar to the conversations about WOLF HOLLOW — is that really a children’s book? I say not).

In this novel, young Annie is the new girl at school and she snubs an unpopular but clingy and unkind girl, who then contracts influenza and haunts Annie. Lots to think and talk about with this one in regards to how we treat others, and/or in the historical context of WWI.

Here’s the overview:

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Again — it’s not just for children! I enjoyed it and read it straight through in a sitting.
Thank you for my review copy!

THE THINGS WE WISH WERE TRUE by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

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I found this title as a deal of the day on Amazon for my kindle. It was a really captivating story about a group of neighborhood friends who are affected by near-tragic circumstances one summer. It is told through multiple points of view, and with each chapter, you discover a little more about each person as the layers are lifted away. There’s a bit of mystery, a bit of romance, a bit of intrigue. I really enjoyed this read and the ending was quite satisfying! Honestly, it’s the perfect summer read!

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.

From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.

Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel.

During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?

 

Quick Kids’ Review: NIGHTBIRD by Alice Hoffman

I absolutely adored this middle grade novel which I got from Net Galley.

Twig and her family live in Sidwell, Massachusetts, but her life is far from ordinary. Her brother is kept hidden because he bears the effect of a curse put upon the family years ago by witchcraft. When two young girls move in next door Twig wants to befriend them, but doing so may put her brother at risk. Even worse, the girls are the descendants of the witch who first cursed Twig’s family. Can Twig and her friends reverse the curse before it is too late?

Loved loved loved this beautifully written story about love, family, and self-acceptance.

Highly recommended!

Thank you, Net Galley and Random House, for my copy.

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Audiobook Review: A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve (read by Linda Emond)

Now that fall is firmly here, I like an audio book to listen to as I drive to my children’s school and wait for them at pick up. I found A WEDDING IN DECEMBER at the library. I’ve always been an Anita Shreve fan, and I hadn’t read this one.

In A WEDDING IN DECEMBER, several old high school friends gather for the wedding of Bill and Bridget, who reconnected at their 25 year reunion. Each guest has their own skeletons in the closet and past (as well as present!) issues. Bridget is battling cancer. Bill has left his wife for her. Nora is dealing with widowhood and her feelings for past beau, Harrison. Agnes is the most interesting to me – the single friend who never left their old school and remains there as a history teacher, while writing on the side. These friends (and several more) are haunted by the death of Stephen, one of their own, during their senior year.

There’s a lot going on in this story, and at times I had some difficulty keeping everyone straight. I found Agnes’ story which she was writing, about a doctor during the Halifax disaster of 1917, intriguing and while I could see the parallels to the main story, I did find it jarring to suddenly be in Halifax with a host of other people and their problems.

Anita Shreve does here what she does best, though, which is to make people so very real and alive, that they stay with you long after reading. Linda Emond’s soothing voice adds just the right touch to this narrative.

You can see it online or get yours where I got mine: the library!

Quick Kids’ Review: How to Make Friends and Monsters by Ron Bates

I received HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND MONSTERS from my friends at Zondervan and gave it to my 4th grader to read. Here’s the blurb from Amazon on it:

Some Friends Are Just Worth Making For Howard Boward, science genius, making friends in middle school is hard. The other kids have more fun creatively expanding Howard’s name than actually hanging out, as in How-weird or How-Lame. . So, why not actually make a friend? A little wonder putty, some DNA, a few accidentally spilled chemicals and—boom!—instant friend. Monster friend, that is. Franklin ends up being cool in middle school, and he helps Howard climb the uber-popular ladder, becoming How-Cool. But the new fame and friendship isn’t exactly everything Howard hoped. Turns out real friendship might not be so simple, even when you create your own friends from scratch.

Mini Me says that the theme of this book is it’s hard to be a new kid. Overall, she says it is really funny and fun to read. It had some hard words, but not too many. At 352 pages, she was fine with it, but it may seem like a long book to some. We made sure we got a copy for our school library!