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Beverly B has commented on (251) products.

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-garcia
Gone Crazy in Alabama

Beverly B, July 13, 2015

I am so very very sad. Gone Crazy in Alabama is the last story (that started with the multiple award winning One Crazy Summer) of the lovable, yet exasperating, Gaither sisters and their amazing family. Rita Williams-Garcia ends the series by taking the sisters to Alabama to spend the summer with extended family. Readers will quickly see where the Gaither sisters get their sass, their spunk and their obstinance. The elder women of the Gaither clan are every bit as funny, opinionated and impish as the Gaither girls. I laughed out loud at their negative reactions to the first moon walk. Then it turns out they were right (or so they say) when a big tornado hits the next day. Life on a farm quickly turns little activist Fern into a vegetarian much to the dismay of her elders. Vonetta discovers the joy of independence much to the dismay of her bossy sister Delphine, and all three girls discover that being black in Alabama is not the same as being black in Brooklyn or Oakland. I loved every one the characters in this series. And I loved the complicated, but loving family relationships. As Grandma Charles frequently says, "Blood is blood whether you like it or not." I also appreciated how Williams-Garcia created a realistic portrayal of life for black families during the Civil Rights era in a way that can be understood by middle grade readers. I will most definitely read this entire series many times. I wonder if Rita Williams-Garcia would consider turning this series into a TV series? It would be a great one.
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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
The Darkest Part of the Forest

Beverly B, July 13, 2015

Holly Black's beautiful writing will quickly have readers immersed in a modern day secretive tight-knit community that has lived along the edge of the fairy world for centuries. Black's characters are intriguing, flawed and sometimes scary. Her plot is complex and dark, but also romantic and hopeful. When the fragile peace treaty between the human and fairy communities is broken, not only do strange things start to happen, but long held secrets are exposed complicating efforts to restore order. Hazel, Ben, and Jack are torn between the beliefs they have respected since childhood, and their new experiences with "The Folk." Do they trust their instincts or the wisdom of their elders? I am sure there will be sequels, the question is which of the engaging characters will be the next protagonist? There are several to choose from. That may mean many sequels.
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The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days by Lisa Yee
The Kidney Hypothetical: Or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days

Beverly B, July 4, 2015

Higgs Boson Bing discovers there is nothing like humiliation and rejection to inspire a major life change. Talk about a bad week. Higgs goes from BMOC to school looser in a matter of hours. At first readers will be sympathetic to Higgs' befuddlement over losing his girlfriend because he refused to answer a hypothetical question, but as the story progresses, the reader will discover (quicker than Higgs) that there is much more going on than Higgs' refusal to participate in a silly discussion. Turns out that Higgs has a much higher opinion of himself than his friends, classmates and teachers do. He had no idea most people believe how you treat people is more important than getting top grades and participating in the right after school activities. He had no idea getting into Harvard did not impress his everyone else as much as it impressed his family. Readers will laugh, cheer for Higgs, cheer for his tormentors, and cheer for Higgs again.
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Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
Lost in the Sun

Beverly B, July 4, 2015

Trent, and his only friend, Fallon, are wonderful characters. They bond over baseball movies and being misfits at school. Fallon embraces her misfit status and strives to be herself, and happy, regardless of the treatment from her classmates. Her wisdom and optimism very slowly have a positive impact on Trent. Trent's brothers are also great characters. They try to be there for Trent in funny, typical awkward boy ways. Even as Trent pushes them away, he knows they have his back, and he appreciates their incompetent loving efforts. I was conflicted while reading Lost in the Sun. The writing is so beautiful and compelling, but the adult characters are so flawed, I was angry from the first page through the last. Protagonist, Trent, is consumed by guilt over his part in a tragic accident. His personality has changed, he has abandoned his friends, has violent outbursts and is flunking, yet, none of the adults in his life get him the help he obviously needs. His parents and teachers all seem to think telling him it was not his fault, a few short lectures, and appropriate punishments will heal Trent's pain and rage. Maybe in Lisa Graff's next novel, the adult characters should be taking parenting classes from Fallon, Trent, and Trent's brothers.
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Stella by Starlight by Sharon M Draper
Stella by Starlight

Beverly B, July 4, 2015

Sharon Draper has mastered the art of storytelling so compelling it takes a while to come back to reality after finishing one of her books. Stella by Starlight is one of those stories. Draper's description of rural life during the Great Depression is as beautiful as it is accurate. She shows families working together to provide stability and an education for their children. She shows how insignificant material possessions are and how resilience can inspire creativity. Most importantly, Draper shows in a powerful, but never preachy, way how segregation was a result of hatred and was used to keep the black population poor, uneducated and powerless. Stella is an enthusiastic 6th grader who dreams of becoming a writer even though she knows her writing skills are weak. She is also a devoted daughter and devoted citizen of her tiny South Carolina town. When she happens upon a KKK rally late one night, her view of her life is turned upside down. She becomes fearful and suspicious of all of the white men she has known her entire life. She is warned that fearful is good. It means she will be prudent. I am sure Stella by Starlight will be on every one of this year's best books lists. I so hope their will be a sequel .
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