I actually haven’t had as much time to read lately which is why I haven’t been posting more but hey, this is my last week of school ever??!?!?! It’s wild, intense and incredibly stressful. I have a bajillion emotions but this isn’t really the time to talk about them. I have been reading some MG and Picture Books to destress though so today, I bring to you, some mini-reviews of middle grade novels I’ve read in the past month-ish?? However long it’s been. IDK.
Sylvie Bloom wants to find something new and exciting this summer—at least more exciting than the cows, goats, and chickens on her family’s farm that she’s become accustomed to. Luckily, Sylvie’s teacher Mrs. Ludolf has the perfect idea. Sylvie can take over her husband Sheriff Ludolf’s column in the newspaper for the summer, reporting on all the important events that happen in their small Nebraska town. Sylvie is thrilled to have a new challenge, but she’s not sure she’ll actually see anything amazing. At least nothing like the things her mother saw when she traveled the world as a famous opera singer.
Sylvie can’t figure out why her mother would give up singing in front of thousands of people. Have she and her brother Nate been holding her mother back? And when her mother’s old duet partner James Grayson writes that he’s coming to perform nearby, will she be tempted to return to the stage, without them?
When Just, Dance showed up on my doorstep, I actually had no idea that Patricia MacLachlan, the infamous author of Sarah, Plan and Tall had a new book coming out. And perhaps it slipped under my radar because I’ve always paid a little bit more attention to YA than Middle Grade but it was a pleasant surprise and I was excited to read another book by the author of one of my favorite books from when I was a kiddo.
Just, Dance is a sweet, little novel that in many ways transcends age. It’s about feeling like you’re not enough and as I college student, I am just going to slap on my current experiences and say it might even be about impostor syndrome in many ways. Sylvie Bloom doesn’t quite comprehend how her mom could have given up a glamarous life to raise her kids and is always wondering if she and her brother are enough to keep her around. Over the course of the book, Sylvie redefines her relationships with members of her family and gains some self-esteem too. YAY SYLVIE!
Digging for Trouble
Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead she uncovers a mystery.
After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie’s found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn’t the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers.
And when the mystery takes Dev and Katie back to Manhattan–to the Museum of Natural History–the case gets even more complicated, even with Dev’s friend Booker there to help. Dev has to use her brains, brawn, and yes, okay, the lessons learned from her police commissioner mother if she wants to dig up the truth once and for all.
Devlin Quick is back this year with a whole new mystery to solve and it involves dinosaurs this time. What I appreciate so much about these books are how much fun they are to read. I love how they are great ways to learn things but at the same time, don’t assume their readers are dumb. I love Devlin Quick and I love how she is such an intelligent heroine. I am honestly just a fan because these books are so reminiscent (in the best way possible) of the Chasing Vermeer books which were my fav in middle school.
I am not sure though if I felt like Digging for Trouble lived up to Into the Lion’s Den. Digging for Trouble, definitely had a lot going for it but I really wish we actually spend more time in the badlands and with the dinosaurs. I don’t know if the New York City setting was really ideal for a book where the mystery revolves around dinosaurs. I also feel like some of the twists could have been done a little better. Overall though, it was still a fun read and we even got to meet another one of Dev’s friends.
Do you ever find reading middle grade to be de-stressing? What kind of middle grade books do you like to read? Let me know all your thoughts and feels in the comments below!
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