Back to top


Posts by Jody M

Starting Over

Cover of The Ethan I was Before
A review of The Ethan I was Before by Ali Standish

Ethan and his family are getting a fresh start in the hot, coastal town of Palm Knot, Georgia, or at least they are trying to. While there's a promise of finding new friends and rebuilding family relationships, Ethan's guilt of who he was and what he did continues to haunt him. Whispered phone calls at night, family secrets and the secrets of his possible new best friend, Coralee, ultimately contribute to Ethan's understanding of the importance of remembering and forgiveness. This is a capably written story that discusses death, forgiveness, and the effects of guilt on a young mind.

Jul 20, 2023

A quest to save the future of all creatures

Cover of Wingbearer
A review of Wingbearer by Marjorie Liu

Zuli is determined to find out why the souls of birds have stopped returning to the Great Tree and bring them back. Adventures and mishaps happen one after another as she gets closer to finding out who’s responsible and learns about who she really is and what she’s capable of. There’s magic and a slew of magical creatures like goblins, griffins, a dragon  and the cautious, yet faithful owl, Frowly. The cliffhanger promises more adventures with Zuli’s newfound friends and more information about her past.

Jul 29, 2022

The need to belong

Cover of Belonging in YA (Teen) Gra
Belonging in YA (Teen) Graphic Novels

Belonging is a common theme in many young adult stories. Graphic novels provide an excellent visual of capturing the experiences and emotions as characters grow and find themselves. It’s as if we’re dropping in or hovering over a character’s shoulder to see a slice of  their life. Here are three insightful and at times, humorous graphic novels to check out:

May 18, 2022

Este cuento entró por un caminito plateado, y salió por uno dorado / This story entered through a silver path and left on a golden one

Cover of The Last Cuentista
A review of The Last Cuentista by Donna Higuera

It’s not very often a science fiction book wins the Newbery Award and the Pura Belpré Award but The Last Cuentista did this year. The Last Cuentista is a dystopian story with tales of Mexican folklore woven within. ‘Cuentista’ in Spanish means storyteller and the main character, Petra Peña, is truly the only cuentista left in the world.

Mar 3, 2022

A very sweet story indeed

Cover of Magic Candies
A review of Magic Candies by Baek Heena, translated by Sophie Bowman

Baek Heena is one of Korea’s most famous picture book authors and artists.She grew up with a vivid imagination and her inner child shines through in her books. She makes a conscious effort in her artwork and storytelling to show the perspectives and emotions of children. You’ll definitely get a sense of awe along with a few giggles reading this book.

Dec 17, 2021

Siblings at their best and worst

Cover of Twins
A review of Twins by Varian Johnson, illustrated by Shannon Wright

Maureen and Francine Carter are twins and inseparable until the start of sixth grade. Maureen doesn’t understand why Francine doesn’t want things to be as they always have been. Francine’s acting different now. She wants to be called Fran, starts joining other groups, she cares about being stylish, and wants to run for class president?! Tired of not being the ‘smart twin’ and with a twinge of anger at Fran, Maureen decides to run for class president too. Can they be competitive and still be loving sisters? It’s going to be a bumpy election with lessons to be learned on both sides.

Apr 21, 2021

Opening the floodgates about PTSD

Cover of The Valley and the Flood
A review of The Valley and the Flood by Rebecca Mahoney

Somewhere in the Nevada desert, Rose Colter hears her best friend’s last voicemail message broadcasted on the radio. With her car broken down, she runs towards the broadcast tower into a town called Lotus Valley. The townspeople have been waiting for her; in fact, she was prophesied to arrive and in doing so would bring about a great flood within the next three days. Is Rose the cause of the flood and if so, why?

Mar 31, 2021