Book Reviews, Contemporary, Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, Middle Grade

Mini Book Reviews: June 2020 – Part 4

MiniBookReviewsJune2020-4

*Books included in this batch of mini book reviews: Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl #1) by Eion Colfer, Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson, Rick by Alex Gino, and The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay

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» Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl #1) by Eion Colfer

ArtemisFowl

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5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» I’ve been meaning to read this book for years, but never really had the motivation to actually pick it up.  When I saw that Disney was working on a movie adaptation, I decided that this was the perfect excuse to finally give it a go.

» Artemis Fowl will appeal to a wide audience from middle grade readers up to adults.  It really makes for an excellent MG/YA crossover fantasy book as well.

» Artemis is an excellent main character.  He is clever, smart, cool-headed, and above all – interesting.  I’m a fan of anti-hero types of characters, so I enjoyed reading about a 12-year-old “evil” genius.

» I found this book to be very witty and amusing.  I’d definitely recommend this book to fans of Terry Pratchett, as I think they both have a similar type of dry humor.WhatIDidntLike» I feel like we were sort of thrown into this world without enough build up and back story.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of Terry Pratchett


» Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

HarborMe

add-to-goodreads-button5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» Harbor Me was a beautiful MG contemporary novel about 6 kids, all with different backgrounds, that come together every Friday afternoon to share their experiences with each other.  This felt like a diverse middle grade version of The Breakfast Club

» For such a short book, it really packs a punch.  This book addresses heavy topics like illegal immigration & deportation, incarceration of a parent, language barriers, race, bullying, death of a parent, and touches upon police brutality.  To balance out this heaviness, Woodson also weaves themes like friendship, hope, and unconventional family throughout.

» This would be an excellent book to utilize in a classroom setting.  I feel like middle school aged kids could particularly benefit from the core message that you never know what someone else is truly going through until you stop and listen.  I would highly recommend all educators adding this one to their classroom libraries.WhatIDidntLike» The abrupt time jumps were a bit disorienting.  The transitions from present to the flashbacks were off.

» While I appreciate a short book, I think this could have benefited from being longer to allow for more development.

› Recommended to ⇒ fans of movie The Breakfast Club

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ incarcerated parent; deported parent; bullying; death of a parent


» Rick by Alex Gino

Rick

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5-Star Rating SystemWhatILiked» Alex Gino writes such relevant and informational books with LGBTQIA+ elements for the middle grade audience, and I’m here for it!  Rick includes a main character that is questioning and exploring the idea they might be aromantic.  Some reviews feel that Gino is too heavy handed with these elements, but I feel these are meant to be more informative since MG books with these elements are almost nonexistent.  The LGBTQIA+ elements are appropriate for the audience and handled with care.

» Rick dives into the hard situation of toxic friendships.  I think this is a very important topic of discussion in the middle grade audience in particular.  Gino shows that you can hold your friends accountable for their problematic words & actions, and that sometimes cutting ties with a toxic friendship is necessary.

» The blossoming relationship between Rick and his Grandfather throughout the course of this book was everything.  I loved watching the bonding between them over an old TV show – which is totally Star Trek.  As they get to know each other better, they start to realize that they have more in common than they first realized.WhatIDidntLike» Where were Rick’s parents?  I would have liked to see more of Rick’s family, aside from his Grandfather, in this story.

› Recommended to ⇒ those looking for LGBTQIA+ rep

› Trigger/content warnings ⇒ bullying

› If you liked this book, try ⇒ George by Alex Gino

george


» The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay

TheTimeofGreenMagic

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5-Star Rating System

*2.5 Stars*WhatILiked» At its core, The Time of Green Magic is about the dynamics of blended families.  I think the author did a wonderful job portraying the complexities of two families coming together and forging a new life together.

» McKay’s writing is lovely.  I found the writing to be very atmospheric, adding to the overall eerie tone of this story.  The atmospheric writing, paired with the eerie tone, suited the story well.

» I’ve always been a sucker for books centering around a mysterious house.  Bonus points for a mysterious house covered in ivy.WhatIDidntLike» While I was anticipating a MG fantasy, this was more of a MG contemporary with some magic realism elements.  Unfortunately, there was zero development in the fantastical elements, so the magic felt forced and odd.  Even after finishing, I still have many questions surrounding the magical elements.

» This is a very slow moving plot without much action.  I remember reaching the 40% mark and wondering if anything was actually going to HAPPEN.  After the majority of the book dragged, the climax & ending was rushed.

» I feel like the story would have been better suited had it been told in Abi’s point of view.

***Big thanks to Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for providing me with a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.***

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Have you read any of these books?  If so, what did you think?

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