12 and up



                               

5M4B disclosure

the swapEllie is a 7th grade girl. Her “best friend” won’t stop badmouthing her. She’s not sure how she’s going to get through this year. When she overhears Sassy’s hurtful words when they’re changing for gym, she runs out and ends up in the nurse’s office.

Jack is an 8th grade boy, also known as The Prince. He’s polite, super cute, and a good athlete. But that day, he can’t take a kid’s mouthing off, and he hits him. Before going to the principal, he ends up in the nurse’s office.

Somehow before they get up to leave, they’ve swapped bodies! Maybe that new nurse has something to do with it. They’ve just got to get through the weekend, then they’ll make her switch them back. They both agree on the plan: stay in your room as much as possible.

But what fun would that be? Ellie (as Jack) plays video games with the guys, works out with Jack’s brothers, and even endured a talking-to from his strict father.

Jack (as Ellie) goes on a mother-daughter shopping trip, aces soccer try-outs, and attends a girls’ sleepover.

It sounds cheesy, but the switch helps them understand themselves better and see how the other half lives. It wasn’t cheesy at all. I laughed and even teared up.

There is talk about periods and boobs and Jack’s “morning tent pole,” so I would recommend it to the older end of the recommended age group, probably 6th grade and up, but it’s a book that boys and girls alike would appreciate, both the humor and the struggles that they each face (friend problems, the absence of a parent, expectations and insecurities about their sport).

The Swap by Megan Shull did start a little slow. The first 75 pages of this 350 page book were the set up and background of each of the characters. It was needed but wasn’t nearly as page-turning as the story became once the swap took place. The rest was so good, and the ending so satisfying that it’s still a book that I highly recommend.



                               

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Just Call My Name

I read I’ll Be There to get up to speed on the characters whose story continues in Holly Goldberg Sloan’s new book Just Call My Name. The first book was fine. The characters certainly intrigued me, but I wasn’t 100% wowed. Wanting to follow the characters, and especially knowing there was another book hat was going to continue the story kept me reading. This book had a stronger pacing than the first one. Maybe it’s just because the scene was set, and I already knew the characters and the situation. The characters each had a lot of growth during this novel, and new characters were introduced as well. The background from the first novel that led into the story is this: Seventeen-year-old Emily is singing
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Deep Blue

I frequently enjoy YA books, as they may be meant for teenagers but still appeal to the kid in me, too. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly felt more like a book that needs a teenage girl to truly appreciate it. This first book in the Waterfire series is set under the ocean and features the world of mermaids. Serafina is the princess of Miromara, and she is getting ready to celebrate her Dokimi, which is a series of tests that prove that she is ready to take on the mantle of ruler one day once her mother dies – as this is a matrilineal society and the men don’t rule. It is also when her betrothal to a prince from another kingdom will become official. In
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Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A Choose Your Path Book #Giveaway

Recently I received Greek Mythology’s Twelve Labors of Hercules: A Choose Your Path Book (Can You Survive?), which I read and reviewed over on 5 Minutes for Mom. The publisher was kind enough to send the rest of the set, and while deciding between “Dracula,” “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” and “Sherlock Holmes,” pretty much everyone in my family said I should read Bram Stoker’s Dracula as the next one to review. I’ve always been a fan of vampire stories, but have never read this classic novel, so it didn’t take much for me to agree. Like the other Choose Your Path books, “Dracula” starts out with you as the main character, beckoned by a classic book. You’re then suddenly in the story as the
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Treasure Island, a Choose Your Path Can You Survive Book #Giveaway

The gold of Captain Flint is buried somewhere on Treasure Island, and only you have the map to find it. You and your friends set sail to gain riches beyond your wildest dreams, but when your crew reveal themselves as pirates, your island adventure becomes a dangerous struggle to survive. Do you have what it takes to locate the hidden treasure, or will Long John Silver and his pirates steal your wealth – and your life? Step into this adventure, and choose your path. But choose wisely, or else… I loved these kinds of books when I was a middle grade reader myself, so when I saw the Can You Survive? series that adapts classic works into this format, I was interested in checking them
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Happy to Be Alive, Because

Avery has a summer to remember. It doesn’t start off that way, far from it. During her senior year in high school, her mom got cancer. When she passed away, Avery was lost. Her mother is all she has, and all the plans she made in her last year of high school — like staying at the local community college after she graduates — were all made so she could help care for her mother. After receiving yet another casserole from a well-meaning friends, she feels like she has to get away. When she finds some tickets and a travel itinerary for a trip her mother hoped to take with her to her hometown on the beach. Avery decides to take the trip alone in
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The Search for WondLa audiobooks read by Teri Hatcher #Giveaway #audiomonth

The Search for WondLa is a 3-book series by Tony DiTerlizzi (author of The Spiderwick Chronicles). A Hero for WondLa is the finale in the trilogy and has just been published and released on audiobook. I haven’t listened to more than just a sample of the audiobooks, but I actually have had a copy of the first book on my shelf since it first came out, so I finally started reading it aloud with my 10-year-old son. We’re almost finished, and we’re hooked! Click through to read more of my thoughts on this series at 5 Minutes for Mom and enter the giveaway for all 3 books on audio, sponsored by Simon & Schuster audio in honor of Audiobook Month.
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Cool Beans, the Further Adventures of Beanboy #MMGM

At first I wasn’t sure to make of this second book featuring “Beanboy” Tucker MacBean. The book was fine, but I had really enjoyed the humor and heart in the first book, and I felt that this one might not be living up to my expectations. I reviewed the first book here when it was named a Cybils Middle Grade finalist in 2013. The story is different — more of a school story than a sort of coming-of-age story that we got in The Adventures of Beanboy. But there’s nothing like a good school story. Like a novel that draws me in as I see themes of my everyday life — friendship, balance, identity, motherhood — reflected in the pages, such is a school story
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Are You Looking Forward to The Giver? {Books on Screen}

Published in 1993, Lois Lowry’s The Giver has been hailed as the quintessential piece of dystopian children’s literature, winning the Newbery Medal in 1994. (Lowry is one of only a few people to have ever won this prestigious award twice!) I’m guessing that because it was published during the craziness of my own senior year in high school, I somehow missed reading it as a young adult. A friend of mine who is just a few years younger than me had been saying for a long, long time that it was among her favorite books, and on her recommendation, I finally got around to reading it earlier this year. My thirteen-year-old son and I started reading it aloud together, but he got impatient with our limited
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Love and Other Foreign Words, a 5-Star Read

Josie is a precocious 16-year-old girl. She loves languages, and she’s become an expert at all of the languages she hears each day: her best friend Stu speak (even Stu Chewing), those of her volleyball teammates at school, the college kids she sees each day in her Early College Program, sisters, fiancees, parents and more. The word most on her mind is love. Her older sister Kate says she’s in love, but Josie knows Geoffrey Stephen Brill is not right for her. She can’t be in love with him. Kate, he’s the single most uninteresting person in the world. You’re not really going to marry him, are you? Is this a delayed rebellion? Is this the boyfriend you should have had when you were sixteen
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5 YA Books to Read to Get Ready for the Movies, 2014 {Friday’s Five}

The Fault in Our Stars – June 6 There’s been a lot of talk in the #kidlit world about the fact that John Green’s book isn’t the only popular, well-written, well-reviewed YA book out there, but to listen to mainstream press, you might think it is. No, it’s not. It’s good, and he’s good, and I think the movie will be good, so it definitely belongs on this list. The movie comes out first, so I’m including it at the top of the list. I think that people will want to pick up the book after they see it, but I’m urging you to go ahead and take a couple of days and read it before you see it. Or not. I don’t really care
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Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival

Though Anne Frank’s personal story is likely the best known tale of hiding from the Nazis during World War II, hers was one of many. Too many to even imagine. Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis have worked to gather and share more accounts from Jewish people who survived this terrible time hiding in the Netherlands, which was occupied by the Germans during the war. Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival is a challenging read, filled with emotion and horror, but with reminders of human kindness and bravery. In the foreword, it is stated that about 28,000 Jews went into hiding in the Netherlands, with about 16,000 ultimately surviving, while the other roughly 12,000 were caught or betrayed. The stories included in this collection tell of
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