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Category Archives: Middle Grade Reviews

Of Survival and Discovery | #SoRatherBeYoung

Back in December, Hannah from So Obsessed With and I decided to start a laidback feature where we introduce each other to favorite books of our childhood and joint read another. Well, we have certainly taken the laidback part of this feature to a whole new level. (Let’s blame a broken computer, summer, and life!) That being said, yay for […]

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November 5, 2015 - 10:34 am

Emma @ Miss Print - Confession: Scott O’Dell is one of a handful of authors where I soundly dislike all of his books–something I discovered as a kid. It was one of the first times I realized that the way some authors write just might not work for every reader.

It’s interesting to me that you were not a classics reader as a kid. That’s basically all I read aside from mysteries that I shared with my mom (like Lillian Jackson Braun) and some children’s books I’d pick myself at the library (but those often were classics too) until I discovered YA as a teen working in the library.

I don’t know that I loved The Secret Garden (I liked A Little Princes just a bit more) but I remember enjoying it. It’s one title my mom and I would read together before I went to bed when I was little. Such memories!

October 27, 2015 - 12:32 pm

Alexa S. - I have so much love for this feature, and the way that you both are drawing attention to some great classics! I loved both Island of the Blue Dolphins and The Secret Garden as a little girl. I have yet to reread them as an adult, but I will always have fond feelings associated with both. Happy to see how much you enjoyed them, E!

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth ⋅ Estelle Reviews

Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth ( web | tweet) Published August 26, 2014 by Scholastic Press Pages: 256 | Target: middle grade Keywords: foster siblings, urban settings, summer school, friendship Eleven year-old Jarrett is pissed off, and it has nothing to do with his mother taking in more foster kids. He’s not too psyched […]

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June 8, 2015 - 1:36 pm

Alexa S. - Kinda Like Brothers sounds like it packs a punch with its honesty! I really love the fact that it’s written for a younger audience, but still would pack a punch for any reader – even older ones. It’s always interesting to me to read about foster parents, and Jarrett’s mother seems like someone I’d want to learn more about (and Jarrett too, of course).

Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy | Estelle Reviews

Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy ( web | tweet ) Published by Katherine Tegen Books on April 28, 2015 Pages: 288 Target audience: Middle grade Keywords: grandparents, remarriage, cousins, new friends, popularity, parents & secrets Summary: After Grandpa Howe and Grandma Tess get married, Lana and Cassie are invited on their road trip honeymoon. Lana is hoping to embark […]

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May 18, 2015 - 12:55 pm

Alexa S. - I haven’t heard very much about Drive Me Crazy, so I’m really glad that you reviewed it today, E! It sounds like a great read, particularly since I love reading about different, unique family dynamics AND road trips. Sounds like a winning combination to me! 😉

Disneylanders by Kate Abbott | Estelle Reviews

Disneylanders by Kate Abbott ( web | tweet ) Publication Date: May 12, 2013 Publisher: Orchard Hill Pages: 242 Target audience: Young adult Keywords: Disneyland, starting high school, growing up, romance Format read: Paperback provided by author. (Thank you!) Summary: Casey is on her annual trip to Disneyland with her parents the summer before high school. This year […]

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January 28, 2015 - 4:55 pm

Emma @ Miss Print - This sounds adorable. My only reservation about reading it is that I might be miserable about not being able to go to Disney World immediately! For some reason reading your review also reminded me of Don’t Expect Magic and Unbreak My Heart–two other fun, younger YA reads.

January 26, 2015 - 10:49 pm

Alexa S. - I was so grateful when you gifted me a copy of Disneylanders, because it was such a great read! I thought it was charming and delightful, and infused with the magic of Disney – which is the best. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

January 26, 2015 - 6:28 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - It sounds like there is a lot to relate to in this book. Being 14 is so tough! I should definitely read this book. I love little Disney facts.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin | Estelle Reviews

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin ( facebook ) Publication Date: October 7, 2014 Publisher: Macmillan/Feiwel and Friends Pages: 240 Target audience: Middle grade Keywords: Aspergers, OCD, hurricane, family, dogs Format read: ARC paperback from Macmillan. (Thanks!) Summary: When a hurricane hits inland, Rose’s best companion — her dog named Reign — goes missing. What happens […]

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October 19, 2014 - 3:32 pm

Cassie G - Like you, I’ve got the nostalgia for Ann Martin’s books. I think I read them all when I was younger. I didn’t know she was still writing (though now that I think about it, it doesn’t really make sense that she would stop. I think I just forgot about her as I grew up), but your review makes me want to go find a copy! I love that it explores children with support needs, as that doesn’t seem to be a heavily covered subject.

October 15, 2014 - 4:54 pm

Alexa S. - I really, really enjoyed Rain Reign! There’s just something magical and comforting about Ann M. Martin’s writing. And I adored Rose Howard, who’s spunky and smart and all sorts of wonderful in her way. So glad you liked this one too!

October 14, 2014 - 11:26 pm

candy - Thanks for the wonderful review. While I don’t know if I would read it because I usually read upper YA,I am considering it. However I am pretty sure my son would read it. He had to read Mockingbird a in 7th grade (he’s now in 9th) and loved it.Though I don’t think he has Asperger’s though he may be very high on the spectrum but not enough for a diagnosis he did come home after the teacher introduced the book and explained Asperger’s to them and told me what she described sounded like him and it was always a thought imy head that he could be but I never told him that,but my twin sister’s son does have Asperger’s and my son isn’t quite like him.My son does have social issues that he seems to be growing out of this year and slightly ODD on a few things he would always have just one thing he played with in each stage of his life and only be able to play with one friend at a time again that is finally changing this year and both my kids don’t know when and what is appropriate or inappropriate to say in public but growing up I had that issue too.Anyway like I said thanks for the review I will pass this information to my son and may read it myself.And oh,I totally get the hurricane thing I live in South Central Louisiana and we’ve seen our share of hurricanes hitting us or near hits.I would be happy to not ever have another one but I guess it comes with the territory. My kids and my family laugh at me bc I’m terrified of anything Cat 3 or higher bc I was traumatized by Hurricane Andrew. My 2 siblings and mom slept through the worst of it I however clawed my dad’s arm all night in fear bc I couldn’t sleep it was too loud and then we were following it on the radio and it spawning tornadoes like crazy just south of us then they lost it bc it unexpectedly turned east right before hitting us head on unfortunately where it turned put it in the path of my grandparents and cousins but thank God they were ok.Yes I’m rambling so I tend to do that.

October 14, 2014 - 12:12 pm

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) - I loved this book! I think you hit the nail on the head with all of your points on this review. I love that Rose is the one telling her story and that we are able to see the heartbreaking side of things and also how she is far more able to deal with things than people assume. I did have to read this one in small doses to begin with because Rose is such a BIG character – eventually that is what I grew to love about her, but it took me a little bit to adjust to that (:

October 14, 2014 - 10:49 am

Brianna - I loved the BSC when I was a kid. I got to meet Ann M. Martin once and didn’t know what to do with myself. This sounds a bit like the MG version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in Nighttime. Thanks for sharing your review.

Estelle: Jessica Darling’s IT List 2 by Megan McCafferty

Jessica Darling’s IT List 2 by Megan McCafferty ( web | tweet ) Publication Date: 9/16/2014 Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Pages: 208 Target audience: middle grade/JD fans! Keywords: making friends, middle school, big sisters, family Format read: ARC from Elena at Novel Sounds. (Thanks!) Summary: Despite the “luck” she had with the last […]

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January 4, 2015 - 9:01 am

A Tribute to 2014: End of Year Survey | Estelle - […] Jessica Darling’s IT List 2 was fantastically charming and funny; Complete Nothing by Kieran Scott was a nice look at a serious couple in high school struggling with all the challenges graduation brings. (This Cupid stuck in NJ series is just hilarious.) […]

September 17, 2014 - 11:57 pm

elena - you review made me re-affirm that i REALLY need to re-read the jessica darling series!! this sounds like a delightful middle grade and yay grandma relationships. sounds like the perfect amount of nostalgia!

September 17, 2014 - 2:52 pm

Quinn @ Quinn's Book Nook - I recently brought the first book in this It List series home. I’m excited to read it. It looks soooo cute!