Friday, June 11, 2010

Princess or Bust?

Every little girl seems to be enamored with princesses. It seems only natural the whole "princess thing" will would continue as they grow older. Of course, if you begin referring to cliques as princesses the term may not be held in such high regard for long.

“Diary of a Would-be Princess”

By Jessica Green
For ages 9 - 12
This "school" story follows Jillian, a fifth grade girl in a small Australian town. “Diary of a Would-be Princess” has potential, but the pacing and coloquial Australian dialogue drag it down. It has some highlights worth reading, but the rest falls flat. Rated 2.5 (cliques, adolescent relationships, procrastination)

What appears to be a great new book for young girls about how to deal with life, relationships, and school turns out to be only mildly interesting. The story follows Jillian James, a fifth grader in a rural Australian town. Written as a journal, everything is told from Jillian’s perspective, aside from a few notes from her teacher. The journal offers an interesting look at a girl who begins the year wanting to be in the popular “princess” clique, but throughout the year develops group of friends, mostly male outcasts, that are uniquely her own.

The pacing is slow and the Australian slang can be difficult to decipher at times. Jillian has a nice flare for humor and her character is well developed, but the supporting cast remains a little flat. Unfortunately, by the time Jillian makes her climactic and thoroughly entertaining speech on the virtues of procrastination, most readers will have put off reading this book until later in the summer.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spirited Summer Reading

Okay with supernatural story lines, but don't want your daughter reading "Twilight?" What are you to do? Sift through the book shelves at your local bookstore and keep your eyes peeled. There are plenty of books that fit that description without the violence and sexuality that comes with most of the vampire genre. I happened upon this fun summer read and enjoyed it enough to share.

“I So Don’t Do Spooky”

By Barrie Summy
For Ages 10 - 15
Best suited for 10 - 13 year old girls, "I So Don't Do Spooky" follows a spirited young girl and her ghostly accomplices as she solves paranormal mysteries. It is entertaining and fun with just enough drama to keep it honest, but it probably won't leave a lasting impression. Great for vacations. Rated 3.5 (mystery, ghosts, humor.)

Think 13-year-old Nancy Drew with ghosts thrown in. This is the second book in the series by Summy that follows Sherry Holmes Baldwin. It’s a teen mystery with a twist. Sherry’s mother is a police officer who passed away and is now a ghost at The Academy of Spirits. With the help of her ghostly mother and grandfather Sherry sets out to discover who is stalking her step mother. Summy keeps the pace quick and the content light-hearted even when discussing death and family loss.

At the heart of this mystery is a story about friends, family and relationships. The dialogue is believable and the situations are somewhat universal to 13-year-old teens without being overly dramatic. It is not shifty enough to really draw you into the mystery, nor does it really qualify as a super natural thriller. I see these books as fun, light vacation fare that are best read in paperback. They are charming and enjoyable, but probably won’t leave a lasting impression.

Sorry for the Delay

I have been delayed in posting new reviews, discussions, interviews and such and I apologize. With my recent move to North Carolina came a new job, house hunting, and generally finding a new work flow for my book reviews. The good news is I have not stopped reading. So I now have a stock of books to review. I will begin by posting a review for a fun summer read later this evening.

Thank you for your patience and support.