Monday, May 11, 2015

Speed Dating with Middle Grade: Part 4

Title: Brown Girl Dreaming
Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Genre: Poetry, Memoir
Read If You Like...: Books with a historical setting, novels told in verse, poignant memoirs
Three-Sentence Thoughts:  This autobiography shares Woodson's experiences growing up in New York City and small-town South Carolina in the 1960s and 70s, particularly how different her experiences were in two different parts of the country still suffering remnants of segregation, each in their own way. Her descriptions conjure up feelings that everyone experiences—often the ones that are brief and pass without much consideration, but are poignant nonetheless. As a non-fan of poetry, I actually really enjoyed and appreciated the creative way Woodson shares her experiences of a pivotal moment in history with younger readers.

Title: Zombie Baseball Beatdown
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Genre: Humor, (slight) Fantasy
Read If You Like...: Absurd scenarios, comic book plots, humorously relatable characters
Three-Sentence Thoughts: It's an ordinary day of baseball practice for Rabi, Joe, and Miguel...until they nearly get eaten by Coach Cocoran, who is a jerk, yes, but flesh-eating member of the undead? The trio uncover a cover-up plot by the local evil meatpacking plant to hide the fact that their cows are turning into zombies and so is anyone who eats their meat! Bacigalupi packs a lot of important issues—food politics, immigration, racism—into this humorous story that will entertain readers with its likable characters and utter ridiculousness.

Title: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Romance
Read If You Like...: Everyday stories about teen issues, novels told from alternating perspectives, emo boys who deserve more attention
Three-Sentence Thoughts: Lucy and Owen meet unexpectedly when a city-wide blackout leaves them trapped between the 10th and 11th floors of their New York City apartment. Their relationship continues to grow despite the distance that keeps pulling them apart as circumstance moves their families across land and sea. There is a romance aspect here (sometimes told in an annoyingly "affecting" kitschy way—see below), but it's more about these two characters who mature as they learn to build a life despite the obstacles thrown their way.

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