Mia lives in a motel with her parents, and runs the front desk while her parents clean the rooms. Her parents hide immigrants in the empty rooms at the motel, and if the motel owner, Mr. Yao finds out, the Tangs will be out of work and a place to live. While these two secrets are really big, Mia's biggest secret of all is that she wants to be a writer. But she doesn't know how that's going to happen when all of her writing assignments come back from her teacher marked in red, and her mother wants her to stick to math.
Aru Shah is a liar. She doesn't necessarily mean to be a liar - she has such a large imagination that is sometimes difficult for her stories to stay firmly grounded in reality. One of her lies quickly gets out of hand, however, and Aru accidentally frees the Sleeper from his prison. Now Aru must stop the demon before it's too late!
The playground is no what it used to be. Nadia is charging a Playground Tax for all of the fun things, and Robin refuses to pay. Not only does Robin not get to play on the playground, but she can't even hang out with her best friend, Mary Ann, because they haven't spoken since the school year started. When Robin decides to take justice into her own hands, she faces the fury of Assistant Principal Johnson, and becomes the outlaw of Nottingham Elementary.
This was such a fun middle-grade read. It takes an irreverent look at some very dark subject matter - it felt like what I imagine A Series of Unfortunate Events would sound like without all of the breaking of the fourth wall.
When ROZZUM unit 7134 is activated on the island, she has no way of knowing that she does not belong there. She's been programmed to learn, so she immediately begins to learn. She learns to find shelter and how to survive in the wild. But none of the things living on the island, Roz included, expected her to thrive in the wild.
Ally's been able to fool a lot of smart people. She's made it all the way to 5th grade without anyone (her mother, her brother, her teachers, her classmates) figuring out that she can't read. But Ally has a new teacher, and Mr. Daniels not only sees that Ally doesn't know how to read, but he just might know how to help her.
I really wanted to like this story, and I'm sorry to say that I was sorely disappointed. The summary of this book sounds wonderful. It's an adventure story, Liza is the only one who can save her brother, she gets to explore a dangerous, fantastical world that she's only heard of from her babysitter. Everything about this book sounds like it should be so good. Which is why it made me so sad that it just wasn't a compelling story.
"The sofa wasn't there on Monday but it was there on Tuesday." River, Freak, and Fiona discover a rare zucchini-coloured crayon in the sofa that mysteriously appeared at their bus-stop, and it quickly puts them in the centre of a dastardly plot to take over the world. Because of course it does.
I absolutely love bizarre middle grade novels. Most of the time they do such a fantastic job of capturing the wild imagination of a ten-year old child. And A Friendly Town definitely checks off all of the bizarre boxes.
All superheroes have an origin story, and Ulysses is no different. The poor squirrel never saw the vacuum coming. Fortunately for him, Flora Belle Buckman is well versed in superhero lore, and is the perfect person to save him and assist him as he is born anew.