Tag Archives: Middle Grade Books

Just Like Me by Nancy J. Cavanaugh Reviewed

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Title: Just Like Me
Author: Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Published by: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Expected publication: April 5th 2016

my thoughts

Who eats Cheetos with chopsticks?! Avery and Becca, my “Chinese Sisters,” that’s who. We’re not really sisters—we were just adopted from the same orphanage. And we’re nothing alike. They sing Chinese love songs on the bus to summer camp, and I pretend like I don’t know them.

To make everything worse, we have to journal about our time at camp so the adoption agency can do some kind of “where are they now” newsletter. I’ll tell you where I am: At Camp Little Big Woods in a cabin with five other girls who aren’t getting along, competing for a campout and losing (badly), wondering how I got here…and where I belong.

my thoughts

You know that feeling of having this first impression on someone then later on you realized how wrong you were about that impression? That’s exactly how I was with the main character in this book, Julia.

After a few pages reading everything Julia was saying, I was convince I wouldn’t like this book. Because I don’t like her. I felt like she’s being too shallow and insecure. How wrong I was. It turned out she’s just being herself, a kid with worries bigger than her or her age and add the fact that she was adopted and she’s being forced to be in this camp and get along with her ‘Chinese Sisters’.

As she pondered along getting to know herself, I felt like I was getting reacquainted with myself too. Rarely a book make me emotional, but somewhere near the end, this one did. I found myself loving Julia as I get to know her and even felt proud of her in the end. Actually, not just her but every one in the White Oaks cabin.

This is another middle grade book. And I think it will be a good eyeopener and a way to know or evaluate one’s self for someone in Julia’s age. This book turned out to be a surprise because I really enjoyed it. I’m surely reading another book by this author.

Favorite Quotes:
“Sometimes people don’t want to look back because they are afraid of facing the truth. But sometimes, facing the truth we’re afraid of is what makes us who we’re really suppose to be.”

“And as it turns, there’s a lot of peace in the truth one you learn how to accept it. And once you accept it, that peace becomes part of you.”

“So does it ever bother you that Vannesa’s so mean? I asked Gina. ‘Yeah,’ Gina said. ‘But I try to remember she’s mean because of her, not because of me.'”

“The peace of a cabin is like an invisible tightrope stretch across a canyon.I wonder if White Oak will ever be able to cross that canyon without falling into it.”

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(Buy links not available yet)

b446f-about2bauthor

Nancy J. Cavanaugh spends her winters in Florida enjoying the Gulf Coast and her summers eating pizza in her former hometown of Chicago. She loves reading middle grade novels. Her secret? She hasn’t read an adult book in years.

Like her main character, Ratchet, Nancy is pretty handy with a ratchet and is able to take apart a small engine and put it back together.

Like her main character, Abigail, Nancy often struggled while growing up to find the courage to do the right thing. She also fell in a HUGE puddle, just like Abigail did.

Nancy has been an elementary and middle school teacher as well as a library media specialist. One of her favorite parts of writing for children is being able to say “I’m working” when reading middle grade novels.

The Eureka Key (Secrets of the Seven #1) by Sarah L. Thomson Reviewed

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Title: The Eureka Key (Secrets of the Seven #1)

Author: Sarah L. Thomson

Published by: Bloomsbury

Publication Date: April 5, 2016

60e34-rcpr-blurb

When middle school puzzle master Sam and history wiz Martina win a contest for a summer trip across the US, they discover they’ve been drafted into something vastly more extraordinary. Joining another kid on the trip, Theo, a descendant of George Washington himself, they must follow clues to find seven keys left behind by the Founding Fathers. Together the keys unlock Benjamin Franklin’s greatest invention–a secret weapon intended to defend the country. Each key is hidden in a unique location around the U.S., protected with puzzles, riddles, and traps. This has kept the weapon safe . . . until now! Gideon Arnold, a dangerous descendant of the infamous Benedict Arnold, is on the chase.

In competition with Arnold and his thugs to reach the artifacts first, Sam, Martina, Theo, and readers must use their wits to solve ingenious puzzles, escape death-by-booby-trap, and, by the end of the series, save our nation by uncovering many of its greatest secrets.

my thoughts

I got this book from Netgalley and I’m very glad I’ve been approved. I requested this book because it says middle grade and I need one for my Reading Challenge. Although it said Middle Grade, for me this feel more like a Young Adult.

If you enjoy adventure books like Percy Jackson series, I think you’ll enjoy this one too. I’m not American but I felt like I learned a lot about American History with this one (if what it tells is based on facts) and the Revolution without feeling bored. I kinda even looked forward to hearing the history from Marty every time she rambled about it.

I like Sam very much. His character is very much flawed and even a tad annoying in the beginning but once you start to warm up to his character, he’s pretty much likable. Admirable even. Theo is a little mysterious and even by the end, I still find him mysterious. I think there’s more to him that will come in future books.

I enjoyed the whole adventure side of this book and I already want to read the next one. I felt like I was brought to the tour myself and went to another place. No dull moments too. There are hilarious parts, dramatic, and at times I even found myself holding my breathe. If you have kids in the middle grade and young adult bracket, this is highly recommended. If you love YA Adventure, I highly recommend this to you, too.

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