Monday, April 04, 2011

Super Quick Roundup

Don't have time for lengthy reviews today, but wanted to touch on my recent reads before I got too far behind in my posts.

Small Persons With Wings

I'm not big on fairy stories, but this is not your typical fairy story. Mellie is teased for her insistence that fairies (or, as they prefer, small persons with wings) are real. After her family inherits her grandfather's rundown inn, she learns that her family has a very important connection with the fairy world. This is a clever and witty, at times, novel (although some may not like the sly references to swear words, but it's a very minor aspect to the story). I thought it might supersede Young Fredle as my frontrunner for the Newbery (keeping in mind that it's barely April and we have until September-October for books to be considered), but not quite. It came awfully close.

Inside Out and Back Again

In the span of one year, a young Vietnamese girl's sudden departure from Vietnam and her resettlement in Alabama is effectively and movingly told in this verse novel. I have it on my Newbery shortlist. I didn't think it was as gripping as All the Broken Pieces, but it's definitely something to keep in mind for upcoming Mock Newbery discussions.

Four Seasons

The super competitive world of music prodigies is something that's completely foreign to me; auditioning and playing for my local district's honors band for two years was the extent of my competitive music career. I knew children who were musically talented (and currently know some teens who are quite serious about their instruments), but teens like Allegra Kent, who endure the rigors of The Juilliard School's pre-college division and worry about not playing Carnegie Hall before they turn 15, are a rare breed. Four Seasons is an engrossing look at the sacrificies that Allegra takes in order to pursue her music career (and the consequences of those sacrificies). This may not have a very wide appeal, because I think you have to be into "backstage looks at the world music/ballet/theater" books and movies. I love that kind of stuff. If you couldn't care less, on the other hand, this may not be for you.

Currently reading: The Latte Rebellion. So far, so good. Asha's a cool character.

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