The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm

FourteenthGoldfish_Cover

The Fourteenth Goldfish is a perfect example of everything a middle grade novel should be: fun, family, school, adventure, and quirk. I’ve already started spreading to word to my middle school Science teacher friends this would be a great way for Science teachers to support reading instruction, or a great way for ELA teachers to incorporate some Science concepts.

Blurb from Goodreads:

Galileo. Newton. Salk. Oppenheimer.
Science can change the world . . . but can it go too far?

Eleven-year-old Ellie has never liked change. She misses fifth grade. She misses her old best friend. She even misses her dearly departed goldfish. Then one day a strange boy shows up. He’s bossy. He’s cranky. And weirdly enough . . . he looks a lot like Ellie’s grandfather, a scientist who’s always been slightly obsessed with immortality. Could this pimply boy really be Grandpa Melvin? Has he finally found the secret to eternal youth?

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Cover Reveal: Home is Where You Are by Tessa Marie!

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Home is Where You Are by Tessa Marie COVER REVEAL Young Adult Contemporary Romance Anna’s life reads like a check list. Straight A’s (Check) Editor of the school paper (Check) Volunteering time at the local soup kitchen (Check) Ivy League (So close she can taste it) Falling in love with a homeless boy (Not on the list) Dean has a plan too. Survive. After being subjected to his foster father’s violent attacks, Dean made the hard choice to leave. Now he lives on the streets doing everything he can to get by, refusing to let people help him. But when he meets Anna, he realizes not everyone is out to hurt him. Slowly, Anna and Dean let each other in, blending their two worlds into one. But when a series of events brings Dean’s world into perspective, he pushes Anna away. Not willing to accept the line that divides them, Anna sets out to bring Dean back to her. Her determination and faith in their future puts her on the tracks of danger, and he is the only one who can save her.

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About the Author

Tessa

Tessa Marie lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her long time boyfriend and their fish. Her debut novel (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, released in Fall 2013 with Berkley (Penguin) and (ONCE) AGAIN released this summer under her real name, Theresa Paolo. She is also the coauthor of the Amazon bestseller KING SIZED BEDS AND HAPPY TRAILS and BEACH SIDE BEDS AND SANDY PATHS, a YA contemporary
series. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty, and uses her characters to relive the best and worst years of her life. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera, reading, or can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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In this, the latest title from the  incredible Jenny Han, protagonist Lara Jean has dealt with the end of each crush she’s had on a boy by writing a letter to him detailing the reasons she loved him and the reasons she’s done loving him… like a break up letter, but without every having an actual relationship. The problem, of course, is that when you write things down they can be discovered by others, and her letters actually get mailed to these boys she had crushes on in the past. Some of them she currently goes to school with and knows, some of them have moved on and live elsewhere, but regardless it’s awkward for all of them. Where I can picture myself completely freaking out and panicking, Lara Jean holds it together remarkably well and by the time you get to the end you’re so deeply invested in her and so completely rooting for her that you don’t want it to be over.

Jenny Han has a kind of quiet, understated way of developing really amazing characters that stick with you well after the book is over. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is reminiscent of her style with the Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy, which is great news for me – I absolutely adore those books. There are going to be more books to follow, but this one resolved well enough to satisfy while leaving just enough curiosity to make me look forward to the next one!

Find To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on Amazon or at your favorite local bookseller!

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

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I’ve been wanting to read this for forever because of its adorable cover and because I’ve heard so many good things about Kasie West, but for some reason I just got around to it recently. It was so much more than I could have hoped for! Kasie West has sealed herself solidly onto my must-read list, which means I have more books to read!

In The Distance Between Us, Caymen is a girl taught to be weary of the wealthy – she helps her mom run the doll shop that they own and live above, and money is always tight. When Xander comes in to pick up a doll for his grandma, it doesn’t take Caymen long to recognize him as one of the wealthy elite and write him off. Xander doesn’t give up. He’s instantly taken with Caymen and just starts showing up all the time. Just as Caymen starts to recognize her own feelings for Xander, things get super complicated.

This story is a sweet realistic fairytale of a romance mixed with some intriguing family drama that ultimately ends beautifully. I can’t wait to read everything else Kasie has already published, and I’m looking forward to her future works as well.

Some Boys by Patty Blount

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Mostly I want to say that Some Boys handles the topic of rape with intelligence and great storytelling, which is so often the most effective way to teach on such a sensitive subject. In the vein of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Some Boys tackles the difficult issues of rape, bullying, slut shaming, etc. which are all incredibly important topics for teens (and parents, teachers, and more) to be aware of and discuss openly.

I was troubled, though, by how teachers and school administration were portrayed in this. I am a teacher. I have worked in several schools and with plenty of different types of teachers so far in my career. I can’t speak for all schools, obviously, and it saddens me to know that there probably are some teachers and administrators who would choose to look the other way rather than get involved, but I can say with certainty that it’s not the norm. Teachers teach because they care. Administrators too. In that way, I felt like that aspect of this book was unfairly represented. There would have been more than just the Coach who tried to help, and it would have been before he finally actually stepped in. Also, schools do have the ability to intervene and discipline students based on social media harassment when it impacts what’s happening at school, as this obviously does. Grace may not have felt like there were caring adults around her, but I want to urge all of my teenage readers to seek out help at school – we’re there because we want to help, not to shame you.

All of that aside, I do think there’s a valuable message here, and I’d encourage high school girls, especially, and parents of teenagers to read it. And, I think the most valuable lesson here is to urge students and parents to communicate with authorities, whether police or school based, when they know minors are being harassed. Most of the adults in this earn a giant F from me in how they handled Grace’s situation.

Grace’s story is immediately compelling and engrossing, and ultimately is a sweet story of healing and love. Find it here on Amazon.