Goodbye Stranger

goodbye stranger

Author: Rebecca Stead
Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Genre: Middle Grade
Source:  BEA

Goodreads: Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?
This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?
On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?

Ope’s Opinion: This book started out a little scattered for me.  As Rebecca Stead was introducing all the characters in the book, it seemed to jump all over the place.  As I got to know each character it came together.

I do feel like Stead really knows how to get in the mind of a middle grade student.  I would recommend this one for parents to have their student read.  The language, subjects and situations were appropriate for this age group.

There are lessons to be learned from reading this book, but I do not feel like I was hit over the head or preached at.  This book could open a lot of discussions with middle grade students.


The Truth About Twinkie Pie

Author: Kat Yeh
Publisher:  Little, Brown books for Young Readers     twinkie pie
Genre:  Middle Grade
Source:  BEA



Goodreads:  Take two sisters making it on their own: brainy twelve-year-old GiGi (short for Galileo Galilei, a name she never says out loud) and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi (short for Delta Dawn). Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the Gold Coast of New York. Mix in a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, a first crush, and a generous sprinkling of family secrets.
That’s the recipe for The Truth About Twinkie Pie, a voice-driven middle grade debut about the true meaning of family and friendship.

Ope’s Opinion:  This book had a lot of twists and turns you didn’t expect.  It made me keep reading.  The story itself kept my attention.

I did not think this was a book I would want my middle grade student to read.  I think this is for an older audience.   GiGi’s voice was not consistent.  At times I felt like she was a thirteen year old and other times she was much older.

The writing was easy to read and follow.  The characters were likable and well developed. Overall, it was an enjoyable read.

Rating:  Three Chairs – I like the book enough to suggest it to a friend or two.
3 chairs

The Battle of Darcy Lane

 Author:  Tara Altebrando            darcy
 Running Press Kids
 Genre:  Middle Grade
 Source:  BEA



Goodreads:  It is summertime, and twelve-year-old Julia Richards cannot stand the anticipation. Everyone on Darcy Lane seems to be holding their breath waiting for the cicadas to emerge, but what Julia and her best friend, Taylor, want is some real excitement. Which arrives in the form of a new neighbor named Alyssa, who introduces a ball game called Russia . . . and an unwelcome level of BFF rivalry.

Suddenly nothing stands unchallenged—not Julia’s friendships, her crush, or her independence. But while Julia realizes that she cannot control all the changes in her life, she hangs onto the hope that everything will go in her favor if she can just win one magnificent showdown.

Acclaimed author Tara Altebrando’s middle-grade debut features a voice that is true to the adolescent experience, where everything is felt acutely in a whirlwind of all-or-nothing emotion.

Ope’s Opinion:  Tara Altebrando really knows how to write from a young middle grade perspective.  I think any one in that age range would enjoy this and I think any parent would approve their child reading this book. 

This is a realistic look at how friendships grow and change.  It also showed the pain of letting a friend go when that relationship doesn’t work anymore. Julia’s summer was full of learning experiences.

I was impressed with Altebrando’s writing of the parents. It seems a large number of books for young teens leave the parents out of the picture.  In this book Julia has two wonderful involved parents, who also have a great relationship.  It is great to read about parents who are setting a good example for their children.

The ending felt satisfying to me, but also open ended.  I hope that means we will see Julia again.  I would like to know how she does when she gets back into the school routine.

Rating: Four Chairs – I like this book so much I know several friends to share it with.

Truth and Kisses

Author:  Laurie B. Friedman         kiss
Publisher: Lerner Classroom
Genre:  Middle Grade
Source:  BEA


Publication Date:  September 1, 2014


Goodreads:  April’s New Year’s resolution: to get back together with sweet, funny Billy. But what’s going on between Billy and their friend Brynn? And why does April want to keep her friendship with Matt, her hot neighbor, a secret?

Ope’s Opinion: This is the third book in this series.  I have not read book one or two.  Book three read just fine without having read one or two.  I do think I was missing some back ground of April’s relationship with Brynn, but it was still a good read.

April, Brynn and Billy are average middle school students.  They miscommunicated and got their feelings hurt – it felt realistic.  I like the way the adults treat the students.  The adults are obviously in charge and have a relationship with the kids.

I think a parent would be comfortable having their middle grade child reading this book.

I would read another book from Laurie Friedman.

Rating: Four Chairs: I like this book so much I know several friends to share it with.


Annika Riz, Math Whiz


Author:  Claudia Mills
Publisher:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux                              annika
Genre:  Middle Grade
Source:  Claudia Mills





Goodreads:   Annika Riz loves math more than anything. She’s trying to teach her dog, Prime, to count. She’s determined to beat fellow math whiz Simon Ellis in a Sudoku contest at the public library. She even sleeps under number-patterned sheets. But Annika’s best friends Kelsey and Izzy think math is boring. All they care about is the upcoming school carnival: their principal is going to be dunked in a dunking tank and their class is going to have a booth selling home-baked cookies. But then disaster foils the friends’ cookie-baking plans. Can math save the day?

Ope’s Opinion:  Claudia Mills really knows how to write a story in the perspective of a  middle grade student.  She has an awesome way of showing the positive attributes of each  student.  I am also impressed with her writing of the friendships between the girls.  They are supportive of each other, but everything isn’t all perfect. 

If you have a person in your life who is looking for books to read – Claudia Mills has several that I can recommend.   Kelsey Green, Reading Queen and Zero Tolerance are both great!  She has written several others too.

Rating:  Four Chairs – I like this so much I know several friends to recommend it to.