Fish in a Tree – Review by Valerie

 Valerie bursts with enthusiasm, especially when it’s about books. When we are reading in class or discussing a story or chapters read at home the night before, Valerie thrills at the chance to share her ideas and insights. She notices aspects of stories that most kids miss, and shares beautifully during conversation and in writing. She’s reviewing a book that really connects with thoughtful middle schoolers, and one which my own kids loved very much.

Ally is different. She has known this her whole life. What she doesn’t know is why she is different. Why she says things different from what she thinks. Why her handwriting is so bad. Why she struggles to read and write while the rest of her sixth grade class does it with ease. Ally feels alone, with no friends in a world that just won’t understand her, but then she meets her new teacher, Mr. Daniels, and new friends Keisha and Albert. Ally has lived her whole life thinking she was stupid, until Mr. Daniels tells her something that will change her life, and the way she sees herself.

I think this is a great book because it teaches kids that just because someone is different, it doesn’t mean they are stupid or weird. It also has a large set of characters, each of whom face their own struggles and have a unique personality. This book will make you laugh and cry, and it shows how great minds don’t always think alike. If you like books like Rules, Wonder, and One For The Murphys, then you will love this realistic fiction book by Linda Mullay Hunt. My favorite character is Albert, and one of my favorite parts is when all the kids bring a bag to school with something that represents them, because it always makes me laugh, and we learn about the characters. I give this book two thumbs up!

Among the Hidden – Review by Emily

Emily is the first up for a student book review this year. She is in my biggest class with 31 kids packed into a sunny classroom full of excited students, but her smile lights up the space even more. She is smart, a great reader, and willing to engage with interesting books, like the one she has chose to read and write about on her own!

One day, Luke’s family decides to sell the farm to the Government. Luke is forbidden to see the outside world forever.

He then discovers a secret that he must tell no one–he has finally met another one of his kind, a special girl named Jen. This flips his entire world upside down. The special girl is more than ever determined to find a way around the Law, more than Luke could ever imagine.

In this suspense filled, heart warming story, Luke realizes the true power of friendship and determination. 

This book is a must-read because it is filled with suspense and heart-melting details. When I read it, it pulled me right in and I curled up into a ball with the cliff hanging moments. Loved it!

Leah on the Off Beat – Review by Lillian Dow Paterson

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School’s out, but we’ve got another review by Lillian.

 

Leah on the Off Beat is the amazing sequel to the book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens 0062804197Agenda by Becky Albertalli, and it follows Leah, on of Simon’s three BFFs. It showcases the senior year (of high school) in Simon, Bram, Nick, Abby, and Leah. Although this book is from Leah’s perspective, it does show how different relationships from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda turn out and progress. This book is amazing, and it also helps you learn about more of the background characters from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda a definite must read. Embarrassing, Laugh out loud funny, beautifully written, this book shows a message similar to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and it is that everyone deserves a love story, and that’s why Becky Albertalli books are so moving and inspirational.

When You Reach Me – Review by Samar

Photo on 11-9-15 at 8.35 PM Samar is a sixth grader in my class, and is a delightful, bright young lady who makes me smile every time she walks through the door. She’s also an enthusiastic gal, evidenced in part by being the first to send me a book review when I put the offer out to the kids this year. I would say I should give more homework if there’s time to do extra stuff, but I really don’t believe that. I’m thrilled to have her thoughts here, and that my course offers time and the encouragement to do independent reading, which all kids (and adults) should do more of!

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When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

When You Reach Me is a novel by acclaimed writer Rebecca Stead. In this novel, 510Bi8e5ihL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Miranda begins receiving strange notes hidden in her own possessions by an unknown person. At first Miranda is frightened by these notes, but soon she becomes intrigued, determined to find out who is sending the notes and why. The answer, when it finally comes, will be the biggest surprise of all. When You Reach Me is a coming of age novel that dabbles a little in time travel and the surreal, a novel that will leave readers as anxious as Miranda to solve each mystery, the notes and as well as some of the more common mysteries of childhood.

Since the first time I read this book in 3rd or 4th grade, my life has changed. Rebecca Stead is an author who truly knows how to create a picture in the reader’s mind. Her choice of words, keeps you on the edge of your seat, waiting to know what will happen. Throughout the novel, characters are greatly developed. The main character Miranda goes from being an average 6th grader, with no real goals, to a determined, curious, young woman. On top of having to deal with these mysterious notes, Miranda must deal with a fight with her best friend Sal and a mysterious boy named Marcus. I recommend this book for anyone who has read or enjoyed How to Steal a Dog by: Barbra O’Connor or A Year Without Autumn by: Liz Kessler. Will Miranda discover who this mysterious note writer is, or will she live her whole life curious? Read the book to find out.