Quick Lit: Recent Middle-Grade and YA Reads

The PenderwicksThe Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

As I mentioned on my Instagram, I would have LOVED this book as a kid. LOVED IT. It’s funny and imaginative and the girls make it sound like being a Penderwick is so much fun. As an adult reading it, I can see lots of flaws with it, so I’m still debating how to rate it on Goodreads. A 5-Star book for kids, and a 3-Star read for me. Read it to your kids, let them read it themselves, or read it yourself and try and channel your inner 10 year old.

Looking for AlibrandiLooking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta

Read during my Australia books binge, and the premise sounded like it was going to be just another typical coming-of-age story. Although it could have been completely cliched, Josephine is such an appealing character she turns the book into something much more than I expected. Nicely written, and it deserved a better cover for the American version than it got. There are some mature themes in it, so be aware of that if you’ve got younger teens interested in it.

An Uncertain ChoiceAn Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

Light historical romance. I usually enjoy Hedlund’s books, but didn’t like this one (her first YA novel) as much. There are two more in the series but I’m unlikely to pick them up. Disclaimer: I don’t typically like romance novels so if you do and think this one sounds good, I’d give it a try. I wanted more emphasis on the history and less on the romance angle, and the plot was WAY too predictable.

The School for Good and EvilThe School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno

I’d heard RAVES about this book so I stuck with it even when I wasn’t enjoying it, thinking it had to get better. Sadly, no, it didn’t. I love fractured fairy tales, and while I loved the premise of this, it was dreadful. Derivative, repetitive, with awful messages – it makes me wonder what other people were seeing in it to like it so much. I’m dumbfounded that it was a best seller.

Please don’t waste your reading time, and please don’t give it to your daughter(s) to read. Want to know more details about why not? This gif-heavy review summarizes my main issues with the book. A heads-up though that there’s some language in it if that offends you, and it’s loaded with spoilers.

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


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Quick Lit: Recent Middle Grade and Young Adult Books
Two years ago: Quick Lit: Recent Christian Reads (2014)
Three years ago: Quick Lit: Recent Christian Reads (2013)

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Captured by Love

Captured by LoveCaptured By LoveCaptured By Love (Michigan Brides Collection Book #3) by Jody Hedlund by Jody Hedlund

Hedlund is one of the few exceptions to my “don’t read romance” rule, and while her latest book isn’t my favorite from her, I’m still planning to continue to read her works. Especially since she’s recently announced that she’ll be releasing 3 young adult historical fiction works – that’s one of my favorite subgenres and I’m excited to read them!

As always with her books, Hedlund does a great job of bringing the history to life without making it feel like you’re being drowned in extraneous details. Her main characters are appealing and there is enough tension to keep you reading even if you just know it’ll all work out in the end (because it has to, right? It’s a romance novel.)

Her previous books have all been Christian historical romance, with varying degrees of faith-elements in the stories. This time those elements and how they connected to character development felt less believable overall, especially when it came to the Pierre, and that was my only complaint with the book. As always, she’s a good writer and the pacing is excellent.

This may have been my favorite setting out of all of her books – I’ve visited Mackinac Island and loved being transported back there through the text. [Read more…]