Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Middle-Grade Musings

Whew! Almost completely caught up on reviews now.

The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow by Tim Kehoe was a very fun, fast book. I honestly can't remember if I requested this book through Shelf Awareness or if it was just randomly sent to me by the author. But, I sure did enjoy this book! Vincent has a quirky brain that leaves him with blackouts but gives him brilliant ideas for toy inventions! He has a top secret lab in the back of his closet that no one knows about. He tinkers whenever he can though he rarely gets his inventions to work the way he wants.
He moves to a new city and really likes one of his new teachers who encourages him to enter a toy invention contest. And one of Vincent's inventions is chosen to go to the national contest!

You know I like to support local authors and Tim Kehoe lives in Minnesota with his family. Always fun to read a new book set where you live! I believe this book is the first in a series starring Vincent. I recommend this book to reluctant readers for its short chapters and illustrations. I think it would be particularly interesting to boys as well (or really anyone!!). I will definitely read the next one.
Source disclosure: I believe through Shelf Awareness from the publisher.

39 Clues: Books 4 & 5: Not much to say here. The adventure continues with Amy and Dan continuing to get themselves into various predicaments with members of the Cahill family. I continue to enjoy these books as they move along. I particularly like that they only focus on a few of the family members in each book. And it seems that Dan and Amy are growing up and maturing through the course of their adventure. It's also fun to see which countries their travels take them to and which family members do actually help them out.
Source disclosure: I purchased both of these books.

The graphic novel Good As Lily is actually a Young Adult title, but I didn't have enough to say to warrant its own review. I actually really enjoyed this one. High schooler Grace wakes up one morning to meet her 6 year old self, as well as 30-year old and 70-year old versions of herself. The four Graces go through the week together as High School Grace tries to figure out what to do with the other Lilys or how to help them. She starts to figure out what each of them needs. The title comes from Grace losing her sister Lily at a young age and always feeling like she never lives up to Lily's memory.
Source disclosure: Borrowed this book from the library.

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