26 July 2019

5 July Books for Teens and Kids

I'm in denial. It's not the last Friday in July. It can't be! I still have a lot of July books left to read. I wonder if I'll ever catch up. Probably not.

Today's round up is all about books geared to middle grade and young adult readers. Two are a little young for good adult cross-over appeal, but they're cute books nonetheless. All you gamers out there will want to read the Mindcraft book. The remaining books are perfect for adults looking for good fiction to read on their own or with their kids or for teens to read on their own. Let's take a look.

For Young Readers

review of Awesome Dog 5000 by Justin Dean Awesome Dog 5000 by Justin Dean (Random House Children, July 2). This debut illustrated book is geared to kids 8 to 10 years old. Ten-year-old Marty Fontana is gearing up to survive his first day at new school. Things were going fine until lunchtime, when he learns he is already at the bottom rung of the coolness ladder. Fortunately, Marty meets the other two "zeros," Ralph Rogers and Skyler Kwon, and discovers all three of them love to play video games. One day while playing at Marty's new home, they knock over a box the previous owner left behind. Inside is a robotic dog. But this isn't any old robot, it's a supersonic, Awesome Dog! Antics, humor, mayhem, and mischief ensue and there's even a mad scientist called Dr. Crazybrains. The story is told through a combination of text, fun fonts, and black and white illustrations--perfect for reluctant readers or light summer reading. The book is filled with just the kind of total silliness and fast action that makes reading fun. Don't forget to try to crack the secret code at the back of the book. Some good news: Awesome Dog 5000 is the start of series, so there's more zaniness to come.

review of Babymouse: School Tripped by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew HolmBabymouse: School Tripped by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Random House Children, July 9). This is the third in the Tales from the Locker series by a best-selling sister-brother team. In this adventure Babymouse is starting middle school and is excited to learn the class is going on a field trip to the big city. This has to be better than humiliating herself on the sports field. Plus the teachers are going to let the students explore the museum unchaperoned, if they stay in pairs and stay in the museum. But what if Babymouse and her best friend explored the city all on their own? Who would know, just as long as they got to the bus on time. Besides, Babymouse sneaked her cellphone into her bag, despite the school rule against taking it, so they'll be safe, right? Of course, after they leave the museum, they realize they aren't really prepared for city life, and after Babymouse drops and breaks her phone, the girls are pretty much on their own. Will they make it back to the museum before the bus leaves without them? It turns out the friends are fairly resourceful and level headed and learn some good lessons about independence and making poor choices. Although this Babymouse story is not told as a graphic novel, there are plenty of illustrations to bring the adventure to life. Readers who haven't read the first Locker books can jump right in. Can't wait to see what Babymouse does next.

For Gaming Fans

review of Minecraft: The Lost Journals by Mur Lafferty Minecraft: The Lost Journals by Mur Lafferty (Del Rey, July 9). I'm not a big gamer, but I sure have heard of the very popular Minecraft game, which is, apparently, the highest-selling PC game ever. In this official Minecraft novel, friends Max and Alison find an old journal that reveals how to create a portal into another world. The journal was written by someone called the Enchanter, and the world it describes sounds dangerous. The kids decide to give portal construction a go, but success leads to a dilemma: stay home where it's safe or travel to Nether where they'll be on their own. Fate chooses for them, and the pair find themselves in a scary place. Will their new friend and the clues in the journal help them find the Enchanter or help them get back home. Max and Alison's friendship is stretched to near breaking as the kids escape danger and learn to survive in Nether. The book includes a few black and white illustrations of pages from the journal, which is a cool touch. Reviewers have almost consistently given The Lost Journals five stars, and if you're into Minecraft, put this adventure story on your list.

For Teen Readers

review of The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World by Amy ReedThe Boy and Girl Who Broke the World by Amy Reed (Simon Pulse, July 9). This young adult novel is billed as being a little bit different. When two Washington State high schools from competing towns are merged into a single school, everyone has an opinion. Billy Sloat is eternally optimistic, even though his life has been hard: he's poor, lonely, and lives with his grandmother. Lydia Lemon is lonely by choice: she doesn't much like people and generally doesn't see much good in the world. When these two teens form an unlikely friendship, they begin to change each other and maybe even the world around them. The closer the pair gets, the stranger things become: a tornado comes through the area and a dense fog covers the town--is it the end of the world? As far as I can tell the major themes have to do with family, accepting those who are different from you, and above all the power of friendship. Other issues involve drug abuse and maybe child abuse. Every single review and the publisher mention that the book is weird, surreal, very different, and/or strange. But this doesn't seem to be a negative . . . even Kirkus liked it. I'm still on the fence about reading it, but I think I'd like to give it a try.

review of My Ideal Boyfriend Is a Croissant by Laura DockrillMy Ideal Boyfriend Is a Croissant by Laura Dockrill (Delacorte Press, July 16). This young adult novel focuses on real-life issues but addresses them through the voice of a seventeen-year-old girl who loves food. Bluebelle (aka Big Bones or BB) is a big girl who loves to eat and especially loves her work as an apprentice in a local cafe. But after a particularly bad asthma attack leads to the discovery that she's pre-diabetic, BB reluctantly agrees that she needs to lose weight. Her doctor suggests that she keep a food diary, which soon becomes BB's outlet for many observations about life. BB is a bit sarcastic and doesn't shy away from putting herself in tough situations, but she also prides herself in being brave. Set in East London, this is a funny, smart, body-positive story about a teen trying to balance health, societal expectations, home life, and school against her self-image, obvious passion for all things food, and zest for life. There's a touch of romance and a plot line involving BB's relationship with her petite younger sister. I love the cover and the title, but more than the superficial, I really like the messages. This novel was previously published in England under the title Big Bones.


bermudaonion 7/26/19, 8:07 AM  

We know someone with the last name Croissant - I should get My Ideal Boyfriend is a Croissant for their son. lol All of the books, with the exception of the Minecraft title, look good to me.

Vicki 7/26/19, 2:52 PM  

I'm going to look for a copy of My Ideal Boyfriend Is a Croissant. It sounds so good!

rhapsodyinbooks 7/26/19, 3:26 PM  

The two YA books sound good to me. Kathy's comment is a riot!

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