Quick Lit: Recent Middle Grade and Young Adult Reads

Sparrow RoadSparrow RoadSparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor by Sheila O’Connor

Picked this one because of the author’s great first name. ๐Ÿ˜‰ While that may be a bad way to pick a book, it worked out for me this time – it’s a delightful read. Beautiful language, appealing characters, and a storyline that works for upper elementary readers looking for books with a little more depth, but still on the gentler side. Recommended.

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Touch BlueTouch BlueTouch Blue by Cynthia Lord by Cynthia Lord

Quiet book that introduces some of the challenges foster children face, in a gentler way that makes it more appropriate for younger readers. It feels a little unrealistic in its resolution, but that may just be me as an adult recognizing that real life doesn’t generally have such happy endings. Easy to read, and a good reminder to me to try others by Lord. Recommended.

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Saint MazieSaint Mazie: A NovelSaint Mazie: A Novel by Jami Attenberg by Jami Attenberg

I wanted to love this book – I expected that I would. It’s based on a real individual, and she sounds like a fascinating woman. Plus it’s told in part via diary entries, and I do love that format. However, I was left underwhelmed. Mazie is mostly just … stuck in that cage selling tickets, and her voice in the diary didn’t always seem believable. The framing of the story also didn’t work for me. A heads-up as well: it’s a bit more graphic at times than I was expecting (or appreciated), so be aware of that before handing it over to younger readers or even teens, depending on their age and maturity. My complaints aside, the books gotten some rave reviews, so clearly it’s working for plenty of other readers, including a good friend of mine who adored it. Not recommended.

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If I StayIf I StayIf I Stay by Gayle Forman by Gayle Forman

Here’s where I sound heartless: I felt like the entire book was written in an attempt to make the reader cry, and no. I was not moved to tears by this book. (I was also reading it while traveling to my brother-in-law’s funeral, so I was perhaps especially untouched by the fictional heart-string-tugs). My cranky reading meter was also set off by a couple of ridiculous scenes in the book, and the too-good-to-be-true parents. Possibly just a case of “the wrong book at the wrong time,” and if it hadn’t been a book club pick I’d have never finished it. Not recommended.

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Where She WentWhere She WentWhere She Went by Gayle Forman by Gayle Forman

Also a book club pick, or I’d have certainly never read the sequel to If I Stay. It’s fine if you liked the first one, and you’ll probably enjoy following the story. I was less annoyed by specific scenes in this one, but more annoyed by a couple of major plot points. Not one I’d recommend, but it still might mostly be bad timing on my part to read this sort of story.

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For more peeks at what people are reading, head over to Modern Mrs. Darcy’s link-up!

Quick Lit September 2015

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Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Quick Lit: Recent Christian Reads
Two years ago: Quick Lit: Recent Christian Reads


  1. I’m glad to hear this on the Gayle Foreman books. Those get checked out quite a bit and I frequently consider snagging them when they come back through. I’ll take your word for it, though. Cranky reading meter … ha! The more I read, the more sensitive mine becomes.

    • I mean, you’d get through them in no time, but still. Unless you really feel like you should because of your work, don’t bother.

      And yes, my cranky reading meter is much more sensitive as I get older and read more. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I also didn’t really like If I Stay and Where She Went. I do LOVE the movie version of If I Stay though. It’s one of the rare ones where the movie is better than the book. I think it was related to all of the music in the story. I am not a musical person, so I really missed out on all of that in the reading of the book.

    • Hmmm, interesting. I briefly thought about looking for the movie (since Jessica’s book club is a book and movie club), but it wasn’t streaming via Netflix and getting it from a Redbox seemed like too much hassle. Maybe I should make the effort.

      • Oh bummer. It was on Netflix last month. Maybe it’ll come back at some point. It is definitely worth watching.

        • I never even looked for it then – I thought I checked in June, right after I finished it, and didn’t see it. I was kind of spacing a lot of things around then though, so maybe it was there and I didn’t notice it.

  3. I read If I Stay at the wrong time too, but I was depressed. I cried way too much, but I have no interest in the movie or the sequel. I think it might be better as one without a sequel, since it felt like the reader was supposed to imagine how she would spend her life.
    And, I’m very sorry for you loss.

    • Thanks.

      I do think I’d have liked it to be left as a stand-alone (also because knowing about the sequel kind of gave away the answer to the big question of the first book).

      I hope you’re doing better now.

  4. Bummer to see your thoughts about If I Stay. I’ve been trying to find a good excuse to finally read it…..buuuut now I think it can remain near the bottom of the TBR pile ๐Ÿ™‚
    Saint Maize. Graphic sexually or violently?

  5. “My cranky reader meter”! Ha! I totally have one of those, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Thanks for your notes about when books are good for elementary readers–it’s tough to navigate reading level vs. content appropriateness for that age!

    • I’m trying to remember to always include this, because I know it’s coming for me too as my kids eventually move up in their reading levels.

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