Posts Tagged: Middle Grade

Monday, July 15, 2019

Cute But The Science is Lacking: Blastaway by Melissa Landers

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Cute But The Science is Lacking: Blastaway by Melissa Landers
Blastaway
Melissa Landers
Genre: Adventure, Middle Grade, Sci-Fi
Publication date: July 9th, 2019
by Disney Hyperion

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Kyler Centaurus isn't your typical runaway. All he wanted was a quick trip to the legendary Fasti Sun Festival. Who wouldn't want to see new stars being born? Um, try Kyler's entire family. They couldn't care less about mind-blowing wonders of science.

When an accidental launch sequence ends with Kyler hurtling through space on the family cruiser, the thrill of freedom is cut short by two space pirates determined to steal his ship. Not happening!

Luckily, Kyler bumps into Fig, a savvy young Wanderer who makes a living by blowing up asteroids. She could really use a ride to Earth and Kyler could really use a hand with the pirates.

But when Kyler learns the truth about Fig's mission, the two must put aside their differences long enough to stop the threat of astronomical proportions racing towards Earth?
-A copy was provided by Disney-Hyperion for review-

While I never got the chance to read Alienated, I have read Lander’s romance novels so when I heard about Blastaway, I was immediately onboard. I expected something akin to Alienated (even though I hadn’t read it) and in my excitement, missed that Blastaway wasn’t YA. It is middle grade. I read middle grade so that didn’t really turn me off but this book wouldn’t really hit the mark for adult middle grade readers the way it would for middle grade middle grade readers – aka the intended demographic of the book.

Blastaway is incredibly cute and I love that it uses its sci-fic setting to draw attention to very real world issues in an accessible manner to younger readers. My biggest issue – keeping in mind that I was not the intended audience – was that a lot of the science was lax? There were many things that weren’t really thought out evolution-wise when it came to wanderers. This wouldn’t even have been a particularly difficult problem to fix, the book could have been set way way way into the future rather than just 500 years.

It also heavily relied on pop culture references from this century even though the book is set 500 years in the future. This is definitely me being nit-picky because I realize that having those references makes this futuristic world more accessible to younger readers but for me, it took away from the sci-fic experience. I wish that instead of trying to tone down this world, Landers explored it a bit more and tried to ground readers in it in other ways. 

The plot is also riddled with lucky coincidences that propels it forward without having to work around the struggles of being two runaway children on a ship on their own, trying to stop an evil plan to take over the universe and potentially harm both humans and wanderers. 

So, Blastaway is not a particularly dense book but I do love that it also explores familial relationships as well as friendships. Kyler struggles a lot with finding a place within his family. He constantly feels like an outcast and pre-teen hormones probably don’t make navigating those relationships easy. It’s definitely clear to the reader that his family loves him just the way he is but I loved watching him come to terms with that. I also loved his and Fig’s blooming friendship. They are both very stubborn people and I loved that even though they were quick to become friends, they also had their ups and downs. 

Overall, I feel like this book would be more appropriate for elementary school readers rather than middle school ones because this book feels younger than the ages of its characters. The kids who love adventures sans adults, love the running away from home stories (as I did at those ages) will gobble this book up.

2.5 Stars
2.5 Hot Espressos

An Emotional Rollercoaster: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

An Emotional Rollercoaster: Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Posted by on 03/22/2019 • 0 Comments

Rick Riordan Presents is probably the only imprint I can say I want to read EVERY SINGLE BOOK FROM. I saw the synopsis mentioned a raw chicken inside a locker and was immediately sold. I WANTED IT and I READ IT and YEAH. I am not really sure if Sal and Gabi Break the Universe has mythology vibes??? But what I can say is that it is truly a work of art.

There is a good chance I’ve said that about another book or two before but I don’t know how else to describe how truly well written this book is. Carlos Hernandez knows how to pace a book, he knows how to pull at your emotions and he knows just how to crack and build tension. There were so many…

Not the Worst: Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

Not the Worst: Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

Posted by on 12/10/2018 • 1 Comment

I love Kenneth Oppel. I’ve been reading him since I was but a wee lass (middle school.) I was extremely excited to read Inkling but honestly, it didn’t live up to my expectations. It’s not that it isn’t a good book, but Kenneth Oppel is not a writer of good books, he is a writer of excellent books and nothing about this book in particular screamed excellent too me.

Don’t get me wrong, it has a lot going for it, but I think I never really connected to the characters and perhaps I am just too fucking old now to appreciate adorable monsters created from Ink.

Ethan has a hard-knock life. His mother passed away a while ago and his father does not know how to function as a human…

Featuring the Cutest Donkey: Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

Featuring the Cutest Donkey: Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech

Posted by on 11/07/2018 • 2 Comments

One of the coolest things about being a blogger is occasionally you will get the chance to review a book by an author you grew up reading. Sometimes of course, reading books you loved when you were younger doesn’t always turn out as well but its Sharon Creech. She changed my life a million times over when I was a child so it is safe to say that I loved Saving Winslow.

But of course, writing a review for a book you loved is not fun even though you get to share your love for it because writing is hard and you (read: I) are a lazy bum.

Saving Winslow is the story of Louie, who doesn’t really do the whole nurturing animals thing well. But one day, his…

Man-Hunting WHALES: And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

Man-Hunting WHALES: And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

Posted by on 10/31/2018 • 1 Comment

I think we need to get one thing clear right off the bat and that is that this book, And the Ocean Was Our Sky is fucking weird. And the Ocean Was Our Sky follows Bathsheba, who happens to be a whale. This book is 110% literary middle grade fiction and at times feels like it is trying too hard but you know what, I still thought it was great.

The entire time I was reading it, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around how weird it was that we had a whale narrator whose voice read very much like a human but also, the humans were the enemy. I definitely had no issues with the humans being the enemies since we all know humans suck but it was still…

Diverse Books Out June 2018

Diverse Books Out June 2018

Posted by on 07/01/2018 • 2 Comments

HELLO AGAIN. I missed doing the May round up which sucks but this time I am back and back on time for a round up of June releases. Anyway, just a reminder that these round ups are primarily YA/MG. I try to be as thorough as possible so if I miss something or if a book I’ve included has bad rep, please let me know!

                 

 Any of these on your TBR? What are you most looking forward to diving into??

Jason Reynolds Mini Reviews

Jason Reynolds Mini Reviews

Posted by on 05/15/2018 • 2 Comments

April was basically the month of Jason Reynolds books. We got not one but TWO NEW RELEASES but THE GREAT and since I wasn’t doing that great last month and sucked at reviewing, I FINALLY got around to talking about these great books. Ratings haven’t been included since I cannot make up my mind and regardless, Jason Reynolds writes great books.

For Every One Jason Reynolds

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Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world.  

     

I don’t think anyone…

Diverse Books out April 2018

Diverse Books out April 2018

Posted by on 05/06/2018 • 5 Comments

Helloooooo. Look at me. I didn’t publish this post late this time. Anyway, so. Welcome to the April roundup of Diverse Releases. These roundups focus on Young Adult and Middle Grade releases with the occasional romance release (which, there are way way way better roundups out there of diverse romance books.) I do also include books by authors of color that don’t necessarily have characters of color. Anyway, let me know if I miss a book or include one with bad rep!

                     

 Any of these on your TBR? What are you most looking forward to diving into??