MADreads

A review of Whisper to Me by Nick Lake

Cassie is writing a letter, trying to explain to the boy she might love why she hurt him.  The truth is hard to admit; the truth is, the voice told her to.  The voice told her to do a lot of things that summer, few of them good.  This story focuses less on the romance and more on Cassie’s internal struggle as she learns more about her mental illness and how to cope with it.  Cassie is a compelling protagonist and the supporting characters surrounding her have equal depth, ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
July 1, 2016 | 0 comments
A review of Little Red Henry by Linda Urban

Little Red Henry is the baby of his family.  His mother, father, brother, and sister never let him do ANYTHING on his own.  They make his meals, cut his food, pick out his clothes and brush his teeth for him.  When Henry decides he wants to do these things himself, he turns out to be quite capable; but what will his family do with all their new free time?  Have fun, of course!  This is a great book for kids who have reached the “I can do it myself!” stage. ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
February 19, 2016 | 0 comments
A review of Just Itzy by Lana Krumwiede

Itzy the spider is starting spindergarten and is eager to shed his baby nickname, Itzy Bitzy.  To prove he’s no longer a little spiderling, he needs to spin a web and catch his own lunch.  He tries several different locations, but keeps running into problems; a girl on a tuffet screams and scares the fly away, an old lady accidently swallows him, and the rain washes him right out of the water spout!  Children will easily identify with Itzy’s desire to be more grown up, and will ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
October 23, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of Creature Features by Steve Jenkins

Some animals are cute and cuddly, some are ferocious and scary, and some are just plain weird.  In this book, 25 animals explain some of their stranger features.  They might look odd to us, but those features are important to the animal’s survival.  So, why is a giraffe’s tongue purple?  Why is the Egyptian vulture’s face bald?  I’ll let them tell you! ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
March 20, 2015 | 0 comments
A review of The Good Sister by Jamie Kain

The lives of the three Kinsey sisters have been shaped primarily by the knowledge that the oldest of them will die young.  However, it is not the life-long battle with cancer that does her in, but a fall off a cliff.  A fall which may or may not have been an accident.  As the younger Kinsey’s try to forge their own identities, independent of their sister and her illness, they must come to terms with the fact that their oldest sister may not have been what they thought. ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
December 5, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Everything Leads to You has a little something for everyone. A coming of age story a la Sarah Dessen, a mysterious letter which leads to a beautiful girl, a hardworking protagonist who is already on her way to becoming a Hollywood set designer, and of course, romance. Emi is spending her last summer before college living in her brother’s apartment while he is away. His only instruction was to do something epic in it. Emi’s not quite sure what that means, but ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
September 26, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods

Eleven year old Violet Diamond has a pretty good life. A loving mother, a close relationship with her older sister, and fun grandparents. While she recognizes her good fortune, she also often feels out of place. Violet is bi-racial, and the rest of her family is white. Her sister’s father was white and her father was black. She is used to people staring at her and asking if she’s adopted, but that doesn’t mean she likes it. Violet’s father died before she was born and, due to a falling out ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
July 4, 2014 | 0 comments
A review of The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson

The Great Trouble is the best kind of historical fiction. It tells the story of a real event, the 1854 London cholera outbreak, through the eyes of a fictional thirteen year old boy, Eel. Eel is a likable protagonist with a secret and a story of his own. He is a mudlark, sifting through the muck of the Thames river for things to sell. He supplements his income by doing odd jobs around his neighborhood and beyond. One of those jobs is cleaning the animal cages of the great Dr. John Snow ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
March 28, 2014 | 4 comments
A review of Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch

Behold the awesome power of the volcano! Leveling cities, creating mountains, capturing a child’s rapt attention. If you know a child who appreciates the more explosive aspects of Mother Nature, you’ll want to check out this title by Elizabeth Rusch. Describing the different types of volcanoes and the way they destroy and create, Rusch pulls off an impressive feat of writing. The text is simple enough for younger kids to understand, yet provides enough detail to keep older readers engaged. ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
December 27, 2013 | 0 comments
A review of Gideon & Otto by Oliver Dunrea

Gideon and Otto are best friends. Gideon is a playful little gosling and Otto is his very special toy octopus. Parents of children with Very Special Friends will appreciate just how strong that bond is. And children will understand how Gideon feels when Otto goes missing. Simple, yet adorable, guache illustrations accompany this sweet story, perfect for a snuggly read-aloud. ...read more

Reviewed by Jill O on
October 3, 2013 | 0 comments