It’s Monday! What are you reading? #IMWAYR 12/30/13


It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys and invites bloggers to recap what they’ve read this week while planning ahead on what to read next! Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee at Unleashing Readers added their own twist by focusing on kidlit, from picture books up to YA.

Ahhh! It’s the middle of winter break, and man have I been reading up a storm! I could get used to this.

Here’s what I read:

(Click on the book covers to add these titles to your Goodreads TBR piles)

ill be there

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
YA Contemporary Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
I picked this up at the Scholastic Warehouse sale because it was priced at two bucks. I then noticed that it was written by Holly Goldberg Sloan, who wrote one of my 2013 favorites Counting By 7’s (see my review  here). I had no idea she had other books, and this one is so good! It reminds me a little of How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr and involves a mysterious boy and seventeen year old Emily Bell who believes she was destined to meet him. I almost read this one straight through. Highly recommend!

a mutiny in time

Infinity Ring, Book One: A Mutiny in Time by James Dashner
MG Science Fiction / Adventure
My Goodreads Rating: 3/5 Stars
Infinity Ring is a pretty hot series right now, with various and very popular kidlit authors writing each book. I definitely see the kid appeal – high action, relatable characters and after the book is read, there is a code you can use to continue the adventure online (a la 39 Clues). All things kids like in a series, right? This may be picky – but I couldn’t stand the way that the kids talked to each other and were always arguing and calling each other out. I also hated that the female character kept saying “For the love of mincemeat!”, and it became pretty annoying. Not sure if the other books in the series are like this since they all have different authors, but this book just didn’t wow me.

dirty little secrets

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu
YA Contemporary Fiction
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
This title came highly recommended from one of our school’s ROTO tutors, so I was thrilled to find it for a great price at the Scholastic Warehouse. It centers around a teenage girl who lives alone with her mom, because her older siblings have moved away and her dad has recently left to start a new life. Lucy’s mom is a hoarder and it has taken a toll on the family. I really felt for Lucy as I read her story and was shocked and saddened at how her mother treated her. This is an excellent book and the ending left me wide eyed and wowed.

aesops secret

Aesop’s Secret by Claudia White
MG Fantasy
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5 Stars
I was sent this book by the author for a possible review. Isn’t the cover cool? Turns out that I really liked this curious little book! You can read my review from 12/29 here.


Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
MG Fantasy
My Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
My Goodreads review of this book only needed one word – perfection. This book is magical and I couldn’t put it down. It would make an excellent read aloud for upper middle grades, even if it is a little bit over 300 pages. Such a masterfully written story about a brave little girl named Hazel who is having trouble surviving fifth grade, but finds herself trying to save her best friend from an evil witch who lives in a world that is just beyond the woods by their homes. Cannot say enough about this one. Great book!

Here’s what I plan to read next: (Click on the cover for more info from Goodreads)

city of bones eye of minds siege and storm perfect scoundrels

I would love to get to City of Bones and The Eye of Minds before school starts up again. I am nervous about starting City of Bones because there are SO MANY books in this series!  The other two books were Christmas presents and I have been dying to read both of them. Love both of these series so much!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan


From Goodreads:

In the tradition of Out of My Mind, Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.

Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.

My thoughts…

Out of the 83 books I have read in 2013, Counting by 7s is my favorite so far. I am in LOVE with this story. Willow Chance is a character that will stick with you long after you are finished with the last page. Her questions and quirks will fill your heart and her honesty and sincerity will make it full.

I love that Willow spends her days working in her backyard garden, reading strictly factual information, and writing in her observation journals. These are not typical hobbies of a twelve year old and readers will quickly find out that Willow is different. Her amazing adoptive parents are very supportive of their genius daughter and try and help her navigate confusing things like what to wear to school and how to make friends. I think that kids will identify and sympathize with Willow. Throughout the course of the story, young readers will learn that different is ok. Different is cool.

Willow Chance’s name is definitely a misnomer – her scientific way of looking at life leaves nothing to chance and she loves rules, logic and science. When the unthinkable happens, Willow is forced to realize that there are some things in life that have no explanation and are beyond our control.

This book is fantastic to pair with others that have the “Choose Kind” message. I think it will make a great read aloud and lead to excellent classroom discussion about topics such as kindness, adoption, grieving, unique families, and friendship. I plan to read this book to my 6th grade classes after we finish Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. These two books actually have a lot in common and will go great together.

Bottom Line…

Readers of ALL ages will love Willow Chance and the cast of characters that impact her life in ways that she could never have predicted in one of her journals. If you’re looking for the next Wonder, you’ve found something even better in Counting By 7s.