48 Hour Book Challenge

Rumors: A Luxe Novel (The Luxe) by Anna Godbersen- 419 pages
Thumbelina: Tiny Runaway Bride by Barbara Ensor- 149 pages
Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita- 255 pages
Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix- 227 pages
Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School by Ruth McNally Barshaw- 190 pages
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth- 162 pages
The Trial by Jen Bryant- 168 pages
Physics: Why Matter Matters by Dan Green- 122 pages


Total Pages Read- 1692
Total Time Reading- 9.5 hours
Total Books Read (so far)- 8

Physics: Why Matter Matters! by Dan Green

I hated physics in high school. Hated it with the fire of a thousand suns. I think there was just too much math involved, plus the concepts were always difficult to grasp. But I think if I had this book, I might have had an easier time. Physics: Why Matter Matters is a humorous but educational look at the various concepts of physics, complete with illustrations.

Definitely a great book for middle school and high school libraries. I can see students using this as a reference book, a study guide, or just a fun book to page through!

The Trial by Jen Bryant

Growing up and living in New Jersey, the Lindbergh baby kidnapping has always fascinated me. I’ve been to Flemington many times and even have friends who live there now. The as-yet-maybe-unsolved kidnapping and murder case is a huge part of the history in that area and comes up every so often in the media. The Trial, by Jen Bryant, is a verse novel that tells the story of Bruno Richard Hauptmann’s trial for the death and kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh. Katie, 12, finds herself in the courtroom day in and day out, acting as a secretary for her reporter uncle. She always thought her town was boring, but now that the trial and inevitable media circus have moved into town, she isn’t so sure if being exciting is worth it. As she watches the trial unfold, including the eventual guilty verdict, she struggles with her feelings on the American justice system and the media. Does she really want to be a reporter when she grows up? Can a man be partly responsible for the death of a child but not deserve the death penalty? Is there a such thing as a fair trial?

The novel is full of suspense, as Jen Bryant takes you into the fateful courtroom in Flemington. The Lindbergh trial was one of the most widely publicized criminal cases of the twentieth century and the birth of the American obsession with media and celebrity. The real life characters are the actual players from the trial and Bryant gives an unbiased view of the antics that took place during the case. Also included is a firsthand look at the media circus that was borne from the case- Katie sees Ginger Rogers and various other celebrities in the courtroom everyday. While one man fought for his life and family fought for justice, America watched it like it was a television drama with no real consequences. This is a fascinating book and one I would especially recommend to my NJ students who may not know a lot about the Lindbergh’s.

48 Hour Book Challenge

Rumors: A Luxe Novel (The Luxe) by Anna Godbersen- 419 pages
Thumbelina: Tiny Runaway Bride by Barbara Ensor- 149 pages
Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita- 255 pages
Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix- 227 pages
Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School by Ruth McNally Barshaw- 190 pages
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth- 162 pages
The Trial by Jen Bryant- 168 pages


Total Pages Read- 1570
Total Time Reading- 9 hours
Total Books Read (so far)- 7

Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth

Violet Raines reminds me a little bit of Anne of Green Gables. She’s impulsive, a bit of a wild child, and has a good heart. She is the perfect modern-day heroine for middle graders, especially those about to enter middle school.

Violet lives with her mother in Mitchell Hammock, a tiny town in Florida. Mitchell Hammock is small enough that she and her Ma don’t need a car to get around because everything they need is right there in the neighborhood. Violet’s best friend in the world, Lottie, even lives right down the street. Together Violet, Lottie, and their friend Eddie explore the woods around town, hang out in their secret hiding places, and collect BrainFreeze cups so that they can redeem them for a free BrainFreeze.

All of this changes when Melissa Gold moves to town. She and her parents move to Mitchell Hammock from Detroit, Michigan. Far from being small-town folk, they have central air conditioning installed in their house, they wear “city clothes”, and they obviously have more money than the rest of the townsfolk. Melissa’s hoity-toity attitude irritates Violet, who decides that playing pranks on Melissa and otherwise torturing her will be a great way to end the summer. She is counting on Lottie’s help in that area, but is shocked when Lottie befriends Melissa. Suddenly, Violet’s world is turned sideways. She is slowly losing her best friend, Melissa will not stop teasing her about her “boyfriend”, Eddie, and Violet can’t even begin to sort through all of her feelings.

To make things even worse, Lottie’s house is struck by lightning and almost completely destroyed.  Lottie and her sisters are staying with Melissa’s family and may lose their house completely.  So while Violet is furious at Lottie’s betrayal of their friendship (in her eyes), she is also heartbroken for the family she has come to know as her own.  Whoever said growing up was easy, never had to grow up!

Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning is the perfect book for rising middle schoolers. It beautifully depicts the struggles and triumphs of middle grade friendships- especially those tricky friendships that cross gender lines. It also provides a wonderful picture of growing up, growing friendships, and growing maturity. This is a home run book that I expect will find an audience similar to Shug.

As an aside, I love, love, love the first line of this novel:  “When Eddie B. dared me to walk the net bridge over the Elijah Hatchett River where we’d seen an alligator and another kid got bit by a coral snake, I wasn’t scared- I just didn’t feel like doing it right then.”  The voice in that line alone will pull you into the book, because you can already sense that little bit of defiance in Violet.

48 Hour Book Challenge

Rumors: A Luxe Novel (The Luxe) by Anna Godbersen- 419 pages
Thumbelina: Tiny Runaway Bride by Barbara Ensor- 149 pages
Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita- 255 pages
Turnabout by Margaret Peterson Haddix- 227 pages
Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School by Ruth McNally Barshaw- 190 pages
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth- 162 pages


Total Pages Read- 1402
Total Time Reading-  8 hours

Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School by Ruth Mcnally Barshaw

Ellie McDoodle’s life is over. Her parents have made the horrible decision to sell their house and move the family to a new town two hours away. Ellie is forced to leave behind her friends, her school, and her home. She is completely convinced that life will never be same again, and that she will be known as the new girl with no friends forever. Her entire journey is documented in her blank sketchbook, which serves as a journal, sketchbook, and confidant. While life in her new town isn’t perfect in the beginning, she learns that it isn’t so bad once she opens up and gives it a chance.

Ellie McDoodle: New Kid in School by Ruth McNally Barshaw is the perfect companion to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books that are so popular right now. The story is told in the same illustrated novel format, and both series star a new middle schooler. The themes are the same in the two series, and I think middle grade readers will be eating up Ellie McDoodle.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the second Ellie McDoodle book in print. I plan to share this ARC with my class this week to see if they take off the same way that Jeff Kinney’s books have. I imagine they will be a huge success!

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