Megan’s parents have decided to spend the summer in Vermont in an old house with no internet, no cable TV and a million blood sucking insects. To say Megan hates it is putting it mildly. She hates it so much she wishes she had gotten worse grades so that she could be at home in summer school instead. At least she could have gone to the mall on the weekends.
Being stuck in Vermont MIGHT have been at least bearable if her best friend Lucy had come with her, but she didn’t, and the reason why is bugging Megan too. It’s as if nobody understands how bad she has it. At least, that’s what she keeps whining about.
Megan keeps whining and stomping her feet and acting like a teenage brat for a lot of pages. When she gets lost in the woods and has to fend for herself a different part of Megan comes out, and it’s a part I liked a whole lot better. At the beginning I didn’t really like Megan too much, but I still liked reading about her because who hasn’t felt like her at one time or another? I have. You feel like nobody cares or understands or has any sympathy for you. The trick is getting to the point where you can fix whatever’s bugging you and move on. When you have an attitude problem nobody can really fix that but you. Watching Megan get a grip on her attitude problem while having some funny experiences as a cell phone addicted mall-chick stuck in the woods is fun.
And the reason Megan’s friend Lucy chose not to come to Vermont gives Megan some perspective too. There are worse things in life than not getting your own way. Author: Jane Kelley
Look Inside Nature Girl
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The students in Mr. Magro’s class submit stories for the SOS file about their biggest emergencies, and then they read them aloud for extra credit. Young Hoosier Book Award, 2008-2009, 4-6 Nominee
Children looking for humors short stories to take a break from rigorous homework will find The SOS File by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey and Laurie Myers the answer. Throughout the school year teacher, Mr. Margo asked his students to write a short story about an emergency to receive extra credit in the class. Twelve students take him up on his offer and all but one receives extra credit.
Children will love the twelve wonderfully written funny stories. My favorite is the ¬Chocolate SOS were the writer must sale candy bars for his baseball team only to have to borrow forty dollars from his mother because he eat the candy bars. Find out if his mother loans him the money and read the one story that the student did not receive extra credit for writing. Sit back and enjoy these humors stories, you will sure have a belly ache from laughing so hard.
Recommended by: Denyce Malone, Flanner House Branch
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Living with his family in a prison in Bolivia due to his parents’ convictions for drug trafficking, twelve-year-old Diego does his best to live a normal life, but when his mother receives additional fines, Diego risks everything to earn quick money.
I read this novel because of the odd title. Diego, age 12, lives in a prison in Cochabamba, Bolivia. His parents, falsely accused of smuggling drugs, must serve out a 16 year sentence. Diego, however, can come and go; he attends school and earns money as a “taxi,” running errands for other inmates. After a stroke of bad luck, Diego is forced to look for additional ways to make money. His friend, Mando, convinces him “big money” will come from working for foreign men deep in the jungle. The men turn out to be cocaine smugglers and the boys become slaves in the coca pits, stomping coca leaves into a paste that will become cocaine. Attempting escape, Mando dies and Diego barely escapes with his life. The ending of the book is as odd as the title, but the fast pace will keep readers glued to the text, eager to find out if Diego ever sees his family again. I learned a great deal about prison life, “taxi” work and the production of cocaine and plan to read the sequel, Sacred Leaf, very soon.
Recommended by: Nancy Poppleton, Glendale Branch
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Nine-year-old Allie Finkle has rules for everything and is even writing her own rule book, but her world is turned upside-down when she learns that her family is moving across town, which will mean a new house, school, best friend, and plenty of new rules.
Allie Finkle appreciates rules. There are lots of rules for math and science. But, there aren’t many rules for friendship, and this makes Allie’s life a little complicated. There are also not many rules about what to do when your parents decide to move across town, which means that you have to go to a new school. And get rid of most of your awesome geode collection. And leave behind your best friend (who can be a little bit of a crybaby, so maybe that’s not too bad). Allie’s homemade notebook of rules may be her only option for survival.
Recommended by: Hannah Wheeler – Lawrence Branch Library
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Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.
“A simple coin stamped with the image of an angel doesn’t really have super powers but somehow this little talisman brings together four students from a performing arts magnet middle school in a magical way. The Broadway musical, “The Big River,” an adaptation of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, is the backdrop for this delightful novel. Bette is grieving over the death of her mother, her sister has gone away to college and her father is so involved in his new nightclub he’s never home. Joe is a bully; angry at his absent father, trying to be a loving and supportive son to his divorced mother, while preying on weaker kids at school. Andy is small for his age, plays the violin and is the victim of Joe’s abuse. Viv is Andy’s twin sister, an accomplished pianist, trying to grow up with severe asthma and transitioning from being home-schooled back to a regular classroom. Ilene Cooper takes these diverse personalities and weaves their stories into an engrossing story about finding friendship in unexpected places.”
Recommended by: Emilie Lynn, East 38th Street Branch Library
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