The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

“The Miraculous Journthemjofetey of Edward Tulane” is a book by the loved author, Kate Dicamillo. Kate Dicamillo has wrote tons of books through the years. From books about pigs who live in houses to stuffed bunnies who are treated like royalty. You can always count on Kate for an imaginative new story.

“The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” is about a girl named Abilene who has a stuffed bunny named Edward Tulane. One day Abilene and her family go on a cruise and that is where Abilene loses Edward.

Edward goes from owner to owner. From the net of a fishermen to a hobos camp. But the question is will he survive and see Abilene…or will he never see her again?

Read “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” to find the answer, you will not be disappointed!

 

 

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Hello!

Hi everyone! My name is Elise.  I will be the new contributor to this blog.  As my cousin mentioned, I love to read a lot.  I read day and night.  Every opportunity I get, I am reading.  One of my favorite authors is Roald Dahl.  I love the way he incorporates poems into his work.  I enjoy a variety of books though and I’m really looking forward to sharing my point of view with all of you.

My favorite kind of genre is mystery.  I love mystery.  My favorite mystery book is Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.  It was suspenseful and unpredictable, you never know what is going to happen next.  I have so many books I’ve enjoyed though and I’m excited to now have a forum to share them with others.  Now, for my first book review (eek!)…

BELLY UP

For my first book review I will review Belly Up.  Belly up is written by one of my all-time favorite authors, Stuart Gibbs.  Stuart Gibbs has three very popular series.

belly-up-9781416987321_hr

Here are the three series:

1.  Moon Base Alpha

2.  Spy School

3.  Funjungle

The book I’m reviewing today is from the series Funjungle.  And the book is called Belly Up and it. is. so. Good!!!

So, Funjungle is a zoo and is owned by a famous billionaire named JJ McKracken.  And in the book, Belly Up, an animal murder mystery takes place.  The main character’s name is Teddy Fitzroy and it’s up to him to solve the mystery when nobody else will. JJ’s daughter, Summer McKracken, is a big help to Teddy and helps investigate.

I give this book 4.5 stars.   It’s a page turner and it’ll make you want to read the other books in the series.

Belly Up is the first book in the Funjungle series.  I know that once you read Belly Up, you’ll be motivated to read the next book in the series, which is Poached.  I’ll be reviewing this entire series, and books in his other series. So stay tuned folks!

Review: School of the Dead by Avi

school of the dead by avi

From Newbery Medalist Avi comes the spine-tingling story of Tony Gilbert, who must solve a mystery surrounding the ghost of his uncle Charlie.

For most of Tony Gilbert’s life, he always thought of his uncle as “Weird Uncle Charlie.” That is, until Uncle Charlie moves in with Tony and his family. He’s still odd, of course—talking about spirits and other supernatural stuff—but Uncle Charlie and Tony become fast friends. Between eating ice cream and going to the movies, Tony is having more fun with Uncle Charlie than he ever could have imagined.

So when Uncle Charlie dies suddenly, Tony is devastated. So sad, in fact, he starts seeing Uncle Charlie everywhere! Tony recently transferred to the Penda School, where Uncle Charlie went as a kid. The school is eerie enough on its own without his uncle’s ghost making it worse. On top of which, rumors have been circulating about a student who went missing shortly before Tony arrived. Could that and Uncle Charlie’s ghost be related?

Full of twists and turns that get spookier by the chapter, School of the Dead is a fast-paced mystery that Avi’s fans will devour!

Description taken from Goodreads.


I’ve never been a huge fan of Avi, but the premise of School of the Dead won me over. I was curious to see what the story would be like, and I ended up enjoying it much more than I expected. However, as others have correctly noted, the twist at the end is a bit easy to guess by the middle of the novel. I’m sure mature middle-grade readers will be able to guess it fairly easily, but I still had a lot of fun with the story, so I don’t think it’ll be a major turn-off.

Even though I enjoyed the plot and the characters, two things wavered for me throughout the story. The first is the fact that the book isn’t scary. I don’t think it would be scary for anyone. It does the ghost cliché, it works within its premise, but it’s nothing shocking or wholly original.

The second is the writing. Avi’s writing doesn’t give me the voice of a middle-grader. Tony felt much older than his age much of the time. Avi’s writing tends to favor the same kind of cool detachment as Kate DiCamillo’s work. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. In fact, I enjoyed it, but I don’t know how the target audience will receive it. If you’re looking for whimsical and action-packed, this isn’t the book for you.

It’s lack of originality and it’s writing made me question how easily its target audience will fall in love with it, but I know a few kids who loved books like Anya’s Ghost that could appreciate a story like this. The rest of the book was pretty solid, and I’ll be recommending it. 3 stars.

Review: Fuzzy by Tom Angleberger and Paul Dellinger

fuzzy by tom angleberger and paul dellinger

When Max—Maxine Zealster—befriends her new robot classmate Fuzzy, part of Vanguard One Middle School’s new Robot Integration Program, she helps him learn everything he needs to know about surviving middle school—the good, the bad, and the really, really, ugly. Little do they know that surviving sixth grade is going to become a true matter of life and death, because Vanguard has an evil presence at its heart: a digital student evaluation system named BARBARA that might be taking its mission to shape the perfect student to extremes!

Description taken from Goodreads.


I’m not a Tom Angleberger fan, but that might just have to change if he continues to come out with books like Fuzzy!

The only thing I didn’t like about the story (and didn’t like is a strong phrase) is that it had a slow beginning. I wasn’t drawn in from the very first page, but maybe that’s too much to ask. It’s enough that the rest of book is superb.

Despite my pacing problems in the beginning, I quickly fell in love with Fuzzy. There were a few different reasons for that, most notably because of the world-building and plot.

Fuzzy takes place in the near-future, and it almost has a dystopia-type feel. Dystopia is much harder to come by in middle-grade lit than young-adult lit, to the point where I wasn’t sure what it would even look like. Tom Angleberger did an amazing job of answering that question for me. No, not everything felt natural. There were a few weak spots where I felt like he was over-describing, but I think that’ll do a good job of introducing the subject material to younger students and people unaffiliated with code and technology.

When it really comes down to it, I was completely in love with the world-building of Fuzzy. The entire book did feel a little immature, so it was a bit awkward. I didn’t love the world for its writing or the way it was described, but because of its ideas. For the most part, Angleberger brought together his world spectacularly. I loved the way he (subtly) pointed out the flaws in where we’re heading with education, and his vision of technology-driven schools was fascinating.

As for the plot, it brought the story together. This may seem like a no-brainer, but beyond the obvious, the plot made the book. What I mean by that is it gave life the characters. It provided the world of Fuzzy a home. Not every book does that, and I was impressed by the chain of events in the book.

All in all, I loved Fuzzy. It had a relatively weak beginning, but it gained speed (and a place in my heart). The world was one I could dive into, and the storytelling was refreshing. I’ll be recommending this one! Hopefully, I can make some young STEM-lit fans :D 4 stars.

Tweens Read August Day 8: Brooks Benjamin & My Seventh Grade Life in Tights

Tweens Read August is a 14 day event taking place for the first two weeks of August. I’ll be hosting authors, regardless of debut year, whose books I’m the most excited for. Each day, I’ll announce who the next author is at the end of the post. There’s also a giveaway going on, so be sure to check that out!

It’s the start of the second week of Tweens Read August, and today I’m interviewing Brooks Benjamin about his debut novel, the fabulous My Seventh Grade Life in Tights.

Here’s a little bit about it:

my seventh grade life in tights

Release Date: April 12th, 2016

Add to Goodreads

LIVE IT.

All Dillon wants is to be a real dancer. And if he wins a summer scholarship at Dance-Splosion, he’s on his way. The problem? His dad wants him to play football. And Dillon’s freestyle crew, the Dizzee Freekz, says that dance studios are for sellouts. His friends want Dillon to kill it at the audition—so he can turn around and tell the studio just how wrong their rules and creativity-strangling ways are.

WORK IT.

At first, Dillon’s willing to go along with his crew’s plan, even convincing one of the snobbiest girls at school to work with him on his technique. But as Dillon’s dancing improves, he wonders: what if studios aren’t the enemy? And what if he actually has a shot at winning the scholarship?

BRING IT.

Dillon’s life is about to get crazy . . . on and off the dance floor.

Description taken from Goodreads.

Interview with Brooks Benjamin, Author of My Seventh Grade Life in Tights

Is there anything you want readers to know before reading My Seventh Grade Life in Tights

I’d love for them to know that this book was written out of a deep love of dance. And it was written for those people who have a passion for something that others might laugh at. And just like dance, it’s an all-inclusive book that not only embraces friendships and commonalities, but all the wonderful differences that make us unique and wonderful.

What do you love most about Dillon? 

I love his honesty. He has a chance to hide some things from his friends, but he chooses not to.

Is Dillon’s story based on your own experiences? 

In part. I started my own dance crew back in middle school and I desperately wanted to learn how to dance. I was…not a good dancer back then. Like, at all.

You have a conversation with your favorite book character. Ever. How does it go? 

I’ve talked with them all! As a group and individually. And I get a lot of funny looks when I do because sometimes I’m out in public when it happens.

Is there any possibility of a sequel to My Seventh Grade Life in Tights

There is a possibility! I have an outline for it, ready to go. So keep those fingers crossed that Dillon and the Dizzee Freekz will be back, dancing their way onto the shelves again one day!

What’s your writing fuel?

Black coffee in my Ug Chug mug. And pizza. Lots and lots of pizza.

Who’s your favorite supporting character in My Seventh Grade Life in Tights?

Oh, that’d definitely be Carson. He’s so fun and full of life. He’d be the one I would’ve loved to hang out with in middle school because he’d always have something entertaining for us to do. And we’d probably get into trouble because of it. But we wouldn’t care. :)
What’s your favorite book that released/releases this year? 
GAH! That question is so hard to answer! There are so many amazing books this year. I could literally put every title into a hat and draw one and be okay with what I picked. But I won’t do that. That’s cheating. So I’ll pick…Swing Sideways by Nanci Turner Steveson. That book has all the heart of Bridge to Terabithia and just as many moments that made me laugh, smile, and cry.

About the Author

brooks benjamin

In sixth grade, Brooks Benjamin formed a New Kids on the Block tribute dance crew called the New Kidz. He wasn’t that good at dancing back then. But now he’s got a new crew—his wife and their dog. They live in Tennessee, where he teaches reading and writing and occasionally busts out a few dance moves. He’s still not that good at it. MY SEVENTH-GRADE LIFE IN TIGHTS (Delacorte/Random House) is his first novel.


Giveaway

Thanks to Brooks for taking part in Tweens Read August! I love dance too, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it’s portrayed in a middle-grade novel. If you think so too, add My Seventh Grade Life in Tights to Goodreads! The author being featured tomorrow is M.G. Leonard.

Tweens Read August Day 5: Lee Gjertson Malone & The Last Boy & St. Edith’s

Tweens Read August is a 14 day event taking place for the first two weeks of August. I’ll be hosting authors, regardless of debut year, whose books I’m the most excited for. Each day, I’ll announce who the next author is at the end of the post. There’s also a giveaway going on, so be sure to check that out!

It’s the fifth day of Tweens Read August, and today you’ll get a great preview of Lee Gjertson Malone’s The Last Boy at St. Edith’s.

Here’s a little bit about it:

the last boy at st. edith's by lee gjertson malone

Release Date: February 23rd, 2016

Add to Goodreads

Seventh grader Jeremy Miner has a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. Four hundred and seventy-five of them. That’s how many girls attend his school, St. Edith’s Academy.

Jeremy is the only boy left after the school’s brief experiment in coeducation. And he needs to get out. His mom won’t let him transfer, so Jeremy takes matters into his own hands: He’s going to get expelled.

Together with his best friend, Claudia, Jeremy unleashes a series of hilarious pranks in hopes that he’ll get kicked out with minimum damage to his permanent record. But when his stunts start to backfire, Jeremy has to decide whom he’s willing to knock down on his way out the door.

Description taken from Goodreads.

 

Excerpt

IT WAS THE THIRD DAY of the ninth week of school when Jeremy Miner decided to get kicked out of seventh grade.

He’d been sitting on a school bus waiting to go to MacArthur Prep to cheer on his sister Rachel and the rest of the St. Edith’s championship volleyball team. He’d been late, one of the last people on the bus, which meant he had to sit up front behind Mr. Reynolds.

Jeremy probably should have liked Mr. Reynolds more than he did. Reynolds was the language arts teacher, and Jeremy loved to read, not to mention he was the only male teacher at the school and the faculty advisor of the Film Club, Jeremy’s favorite after-school activity.

But there was something irritating about Reynolds. Maybe it was the fussy way he laid his finger next to his mouth when he was listening to a student, or how he called Jeremy “Mr. Miner” with such overpronounced emphasis on the “Mr.” that the girls in the back of the class would titter.

The driver was starting to close the door when Claudia darted onto the bus and slid into the seat next to Jeremy, the yard of ball chain wrapped around her neck and wrists looking like armor in contrast to the shredded pink tights she wore under her plaid skirt.

“Did you hear?” she hissed.

Claudia Hoffmann was one of Jeremy’s best friends. She was a year older than everyone else in their grade because her mother was Italian and her father was German and they’d lived in London, New Zealand, and Hong Kong when she was little. Somewhere along the way she missed a year of school. Claudia sometimes took the extra year as permission to dominate everyone else. (Not that she actually needed permission to do what she wanted most of the time.)

“No, what?”

“Andrew Marks transferred to Hereford Country Day.”

Jeremy let out a long breath and slumped down in his seat. “Oh no.”

Jeremy hadn’t particularly liked Andrew—nobody did—he brushed his teeth only about once a week, for one, and he talked about the Boston Red Sox far more than any one person should ever talk about anything. Andrew was the kind of guy Jeremy’s mom always said he should “make an effort with” and “try to get to know better.” But Jeremy figured that probably meant spending more time with Andrew, and since the time they spent together as the sole members of the boys’ tennis team was already pretty tedious, he couldn’t see how hanging out even more would improve things.

But Andrew did have one redeeming quality—he was male.

Because Jeremy had a girl problem. Or, more accurately, a girls problem. Four hundred and seventy-five of them, including his older sister, Rachel, who was in the eighth grade, and his younger sister, Jane, who was in fourth. That’s how many girls went to St. Edith’s Academy.

At home it was just his mom and his sisters. Jeremy’s dad was off saving the oceans in his solar-powered research boat. And now the only other boy in school had thrown in the towel, a day Jeremy had dreaded for two whole years.

About the Author

lee gjertson malone
Lee Gjertsen Malone is a Massachusetts transplant via Long Island, Brooklyn, and Ithaca, New York. As a journalist she’s written about everything from wedding planning to the banking crisis to how to build your own homemade camera satellite. Her interests include amateur cheese making, traveling, associating with animals, shushing people in movie theaters, kickboxing and blinking very rapidly for no reason. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband, daughter and a rotating cast of pets.


Giveaway

Thanks to Lee for being a part of Tweens Read August and sharing an excerpt with us! To read more, add I Am Drums to Goodreads and buy or borrow it from your local bookstore or library! The author being featured tomorrow is Bridget Hodder.

Tweens Read August Day 3: Mike Grosso & I am Drums

Tweens Read August is a 14 day event taking place for the first two weeks of August. I’ll be hosting authors, regardless of debut year, whose books I’m the most excited for. Each day, I’ll announce who the next author is at the end of the post. There’s also a giveaway going on, so be sure to check that out!

It’s the third day of Tweens Read August, and Mike Grosso is here to share a story prompt top ten! Mike is the author of I Am Drums, which I read an ARC of and LOVED.

Here’s a little bit about it:

I am drums by mike grosso

Release Date: September 6th, 2016

Add to Goodreads

Sam knows she wants to be a drummer. But she doesn’t know how to afford a drum kit, or why budget cuts end her school’s music program, or why her parents argue so much, or even how to explain her dream to other people.

But drums sound all the time in Sam’s head, and she’d do just about anything to play them out loud—even lie to her family if she has to. Will the cost of chasing her dream be too high?

Description taken from Goodreads.

 

Top Ten Story Prompts

1. Describe the type of restaurant you’d open on the moon.

2. Write a story about an imaginary person with your name who’s the opposite of you in every way.

3. Write a scene where Rock Em Sock Em Robots attempt to work together to accomplish a simple task (sweeping the floor, laundry, taking out the garbage, etc.).

4. Stand on your head next to a laptop and type out a story with your feet. If you are a fan of writing longhand (or is that longfeet?), swap out the laptop for a pad of paper and wedge a pen between your toes.

5. Explore your house and find three interesting objects. Write about a character that uses those objects to escape a fortress.

6. Write a scene featuring two characters you’d never expect to get along but are somehow best friends.

7. Imagine someone who’d be terrible at fighting dragons. Write a story where they fight a dragon AND WIN. (NOTE: Feel free to swap dragons for another difficult obstacle. The key here is that your main character is expected to lose.)

8. Make a horrifying face long enough to find out if it can actually “freeze that way”. Write about the character whose face you’ve made.

9. Draw a picture with your eyes closed. It can be either a person or a scene. Open your eyes and write a story to accompany your (likely odd) drawing.

10. Write about a person who gets something very odd in the mail.

About the Author

mike grosso
Mike Grosso is a musician and a fourth-grade teacher who always keeps a guitar in his classroom. His father gave him his first lesson, and his mom taught him how to keep a steady rhythm. Mike continues to write and record music at his home in Oak Park, Illinois, where he lives with his wife, son, and a drum set he plays much too loud. I AM DRUMS is his first novel.


Giveaway

Thanks to Mike for being a part of Tweens Read August and coming up with this great list! Enter the giveaway above to enter the ARC edition of the HMH version of I Am Drums, and be sure to add I Am Drums to Goodreads and pick it up when it hits shelves on September 6th, 2016. The author being featured tomorrow is Claire Fayers!

Review: Counting Thyme by Melanie Conklin

counting thyme by melanie conklin

When eleven-year-old Thyme Owens’ little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.

After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush, and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours, and days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.

Description taken from Goodreads.


Counting Thyme is, without a doubt, one of the best middle-grade books I’ve read this year.

Personally, I think that grief like this is hard to write well in middle-grade, in a way that resonates with adults, young adults, and middle-graders. Part of the problem is that there are so many ‘disease books’ out there now, and often times, it can seem like it’s written only to follow a trend. I consider myself uneasily impressed by these kinds of books, but this debut was completely different.

There are so many different factors that came into play, but Melanie Conklin hit all the right notes with this book.

The writing was spot-on. I loved reading from Val’s point of view. Her explanations of New York City were fun to read about. She was precocious but also very much a middle-grader, and she was resilient in the quietest of ways. She’s sweet, but she’s also selfish. She wants her brother to get better, but she also wants to just live her life. In short, she was an incredible protagonist and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about her and her family relationships.

One of the most surprising aspects of this was how Conklin used the relationships between the characters to make statements about stereotypes and clichés. I read a lot, and I’m tired of mean girls, of misunderstanding parents, of uncool adults, of unsupportive siblings.

Conklin takes a bite out of each of these things to shape Thyme’s perspective, but as the book goes on, she comes to learn that there are people under those stereotypes. Two of the people that come to be Thyme’s friends are labeled as popular girls, but they’re not the way Thyme initially thinks. Very little is as it appears to be in this book, and I was refreshed by the character development I found here.

Ooh, and the writing. It was relatively simple, for one thing. There aren’t a whole lot of frills on the way Conklin presents her story, though there are undeniably a few. For the most part, however, the writing was perfectly simple and sweet and sad, and I loved every word of it.

A note about the font and design of Counting Thyme is that when I read a novel, the lettering is important. It contributes to the voice of the novel, and in the small details, it actually changes the emotion of it. Kudos to whoever designed it, because from the very beginning, I loved the feeling it gave off.

And a little bit about plot: in the middle, there’s not a whole lot of it. There’s enough for the story to go on, but the pace drags a little toward the middle of the story. Something to keep in mind. I don’t think this the kind of realistic fiction that action/adventure people will be interested in.

Overall, this is completely my kind of middle-grade. I love Melanie Conklin’s writing, and I’ll definitely be following up with her books in the future. Counting Thyme was what I was looking for, and the complex characters, genuine voice, and sweet writing wrapped it all up into a book I’ll be recommending to anyone who loves middle-grade contemporary and realistic fiction. 4.5 stars.

ALSO. I’ll be having Melanie Conklin over on the blog for Tweens Read August, so stay tuned!

pg count for the hardback: 300

Review: The Mighty Odds by Amy Ignatow

the mighty odds by amy ignatow

Publication Date: September 13th, 2016

When a sweet nerd, an artsy cartoonist, a social outcast, and the most popular girl in school are involved in a mysterious bus accident, this seemingly random group of kids starts to notice some very strange abilities they did not have before. Artsy Martina can change her eye color. Nerdy Nick can teleport . . . four inches to the left. Outcast Farshad develops super strength, but only in his thumbs. And Cookie, the It Girl of school’s most popular clique, has suddenly developed the ability to read minds . . . when those minds are thinking about directions. They are oddly mighty—especially together.

This group—who would never hang out under normal circumstances—must now combine all of their strengths to figure out what happened during the bus accident. With alternating narratives from each of the heroes, including illustrated pieces from Martina.

Description taken from Goodreads.


I can only describe this as the Breakfast Club for today’s middle-graders.

There were some not-so-great things about this book, but for the most part, I liked it. I love stories where unlikely characters come together, and The Mighty Odds did it right. I loved getting to know each character, and I enjoyed how Ignatow handled the cultural differences shown over the course of the novel. Everyone was distinct and unique, and I loved their individual journeys as well as the main one.

Also notable are the backstories of each character, which slowed down the pace but made them more nuanced.

My problem was with the writing. It was a little too immature. I think this would best fit kids who read mature children’s lit, or maybe low middle-grade. Some of the jokes are hilarious, but the dialogue was unnatural and it made the kids feel like book characters and not real people in the beginning.

Another thing is the format. If you’re looking for Popularity Papers format for boys, I would suggest taking a look at The Mighty Odds. The cartoons were very not my style. It looked crude and misshapen, as much as I wanted to love it.

Other than that, there were a lot of things about this book that I liked. I wasn’t expecting many of its elements, such as the emphasis on mystery and bullying. This is where the backstories become important, and it was great to see that develop. The synopsis isn’t too clear on the plot, but I enjoyed it and the ending left me wanting more.

3 stars.

Series: Mighty Odds #1

Review: The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski

the dirt diary by anna staniszewski

WANTED: Maid for the most popular kids in 8th grade.

Cleaning up after the in-crowd gets Rachel all the best dirt.

Rachel can’t believe she has to give up her Saturdays to scrubbing other people’s toilets. So. Gross. But she kinda, sorta stole $287.22 from her college fund that she’s got to pay back ASAP or her mom will ground her for life. Which is even worse than working for her mother’s new cleaning business. Maybe. After all, becoming a maid is definitely not going to help her already loserish reputation.

But Rachel picks up more than smelly socks on the job. As maid to some of the most popular kids in school, Rachel suddenly has all the dirt on the 8th grade in-crowd. Her formerly boring diary is now filled with juicy secrets. And when her crush offers to pay her to spy on his girlfriend, Rachel has to decide if she’s willing to get her hands dirty…

Description taken from Goodreads.


No less than two years ago, I did an awesome guest post with Anna Staniszewski on Tweens Read Too. FINALLY, I read this book, and I regretted not reading it earlier.

I’ll start off with the bad parts this time. All of them were minor things that irritated or irked me in the smallest of ways, but are still worth mentioning.

The first is the ridiculous curses. Stuff like “holy moly batman” and “what the banana” doesn’t fly with me. I don’t it flies with anyone, but that’s beside the point.

The second is the diversity thing. These days, I feel like diversity is becoming a mark on a checklist rather than something that actually matters. Sure, Rachel is half Korean. That’s great. Represent, you know. But her ethnicity has absolutely nothing to do with the story, from the food to the characters to the world. I love Anna Staniszewski, but by no means would I recommend reading this because the main character is “diverse”.

The third is Rachel’s rashness. I actually get this, so it wasn’t too much of a problem for me. It had to do more with the character and less to do with the writing of it all.

And the characters weren’t bad at all. I fell in love with many of them, especially Rachel. She’s impulsive and she swears with swears one should not be using beyond the age of 5, but she works hard and she takes responsibility for her mistakes. I sympathized with her, and I loved the fact that she’s a baker.

The other characters were, admittedly, a bit one-dimensional. I didn’t mind this too much. They had all defining traits, and it was easy to keep them straight. Staniszewski also does some character development toward the end of the novel, speaking the message that people aren’t always what they seem like they are. I appreciated that, and it was done in a pretty flowing way with the rest of the novel.

All in all, a great read. It gets to be a little too much at times, but the plot was great, and the characters won me over. I really enjoyed Rachel’s family dynamics and her narration as the MC. The ending was also pretty satisfactory. Will recommend and read the other books (more quickly this time!) 3.5 stars.

pg count for the paperback: 246

Series: The Dirt Diary #1