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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
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- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
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- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
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- Ohio (6)
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- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Thursday, December 10, 2020

MG Scavenger Hunt Novel Upbeat Despite Grief Theme

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Last year, Joy Fonseca had a smart, kind best friend named Lukas Brunetti.  She had even begin to think of him as more than just a buddy.  Then, he had an accident and died.  Joy is consumed by grief, still aching from the loss a year later.  On her 13th birthday, she finally decides to open the envelope Lukas left for her exactly one year ago on the morning he died.  She knows it's the first clue in their annual birthday scavenger hunt.  Is it possible that the clues he planted then will still be there now?  Joy's not sure, but she's finally ready to find out.

As Joy travels all over her little seaside town following Lukas' clues, she's reminded of all the great memories they made together.  Swinging back-and-forth between the present (from Joy's point-of-view) and the past (from Lukas'), the story paints a picture of a sweet friendship, the kind that endures even when death intervenes.

Although Seven Clues to Home by Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin is about grief and other hard things, it's a hopeful novel that reminds readers how important it is to live even in the face of heartbreak.  It's more upbeat than it sounds, featuring likable characters and a treasure hunt format that makes it into a fun, exciting adventure with a little bit of mystery mixed in.  While I didn't absolutely adore this novel, I did enjoy it overall.

(Readalikes:  I feel like there are a million middle grade novels about grief, but no specific title is coming to mind.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for tough subject matter and references to illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Stead's Newest Poignant But Hopeful

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

It's been two years since her parents' divorce and lots has changed for 10-year-old Bea.  While things have turned out mostly okay, she still worries a lot, which makes her eczema act up.  To help calm herself, she keeps a list in her notebook of the things in her life that have not and will not ever change.  She knows her mom and dad will always love her, for example.  That's a constant, no matter what.

When Bea's dad informs her that he and his boyfriend will soon be getting married, Bea's thrilled.  She loves Jesse.  He's even got a daughter Bea's age, which means she'll finally have the sister she's always wanted.  She just knows they're going to be BFFs.  As the wedding date comes closer, though, Bea discovers that nothing ever goes perfectly.  Building a new family isn't easy and sometimes change is difficult, confusing, and heartbreaking.  With her family structure shifting once again, Bea has to learn how to manage her anxiety, deal with difficult situations, and find happiness along the way.

The List of Things That Will Not Change is the newest middle grade offering from Newbery Award-winning author Rebecca Stead.  Although its plot is a little unfocused, the story is realistic in that it has both sad and happy parts.  My favorite element of the novel, in fact, is its validation of emotions—not just that they can be super complicated, but also that it's okay, even important, to feel them.  Bea's voice as she's dealing with hers is pitch-perfect, making her a narrator who is both authentic and relatable.  Although The List of Things That Will Not Change deals with some tough subjects, overall it's an upbeat, hopeful novel.  I enjoyed it, even if I didn't absolutely love it.

(Readalikes:  Hm, nothing's coming to mind.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for violence and topics most suited for kids over 10 years old

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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