Sheila, Jen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting the #IMWAYR meme.
Finally, a middle grade fantasy with cats! Given the title and topic of The Forbidden Library, I thought it might be one of those books that appeals more to librarians than anyone else. As it turns out, though, it is a rich fantasy with a sympathetic protagonist and some interesting (and shady) secondary characters. Set in a Victorian-era-esque time, Alice overhears her father being threatened by a menacing fairy shortly before his death. She is sent to live with an “uncle” who has a creepy, magical library. Before long, she is entering books (à la Inkheart) and trying to figure out who is friend and who is foe. One of the more endearing characters in this rich book is Ashes, a talking cat (or, as he likes to remind Alice, half cat). Like so many other characters in this story, Ashes is not clearly good or clearly evil - his identity keeps shifting, keeping readers guessing about his intentions. The Forbidden Library appears to be the first in a planned series and I look forward to the next one!
Tony Abbott has published ninety nine books. Yes, ninety nine! He has it down. His latest series, The Copernicus Legacy starts with The Forbidden Stone. In it, four preteens and one dad head to Europe to attend the unexpected funeral of Uncle Henry, an astronomy professor who has, as it turns out, been murdered. One of the kids has a star chart given to him years before by Uncle Henry; quickly the group realizes that the chart holds the key to a tremendous, deadly mystery. Together, they try to solve it. For whatever reason, I had a hard time feeling invested in this quest. The characters all worked well, but their mission itself never quite became cohesive to me. This may be because The Forbidden Stone is only the first of a planned twelve book series and it is just getting off the ground.
The most astonishing thing about Just Jake is that it was written by a 7th grader (Jake himself). Jake is living at the pinnacle of "awesomeness" when his family must abruptly move from Florida to Maryland, where he is decidedly less cool. He slowly makes inroads with his new peers, constantly assessing the best way to become cool once again. The format of this book is very friendly, with cartoons, sketches and photographs embedded throughout. For readers who enjoyed The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and are ready for a slightly older narrator, this will be a hit!
Finally, I was thrilled to receive an advance readers copy of Anita Diamant's The Boston Girl from NetGalley. I've read a few of Anita Diamant's books and my memory of them is that they are a bit tome-like. The Boston Girl was much lighter, easier, in a sense, to read. It takes place in Boston in the early 20th century and it is really the coming of age story of three sisters who are daughters of immigrants. The narrator, Addie, is the youngest daughter and she yearns to escape the confines of her parents' rigid upbringing and the constrictions placed on women in the early 1900s. Through her eyes, we see the way a woman, a family, a city and the world change over the course of close to one hundred years.
Now that the (Red Sox) baseball season is over, I'm happily becoming even more of a book geek. Happy reading to all!