Monday, October 7, 2019

The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair (MMGM review)

The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair
Author: Amy Makechnie
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (hardcover June 12, 2018, paperback June 4, 2019)

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, and I have a fascinating book to recommend. Amy Makechnie's debut middle grade is difficult to categorize. Part mystery, part slice-of-life, part family dynamics, it follows the story of the eponymous Guinevere St. Clair, also known as Gwyn, as she moves from New York City to her parents' hometown of Crow, Iowa with her little sister, Bitty, and her father and mother to try to help her mother, referred to as Vienna, regain memories lost when Gwyn was four years old.

Vienna doesn't remember her daughters, or anything else that happened after she was thirteen. While this might sound like an "issue" book, and it certainly deals with a serious issue of brain injury and the impact on a family, the characters are so rich and the story so compelling, you don't feel like it is an issue book. (Not that I mind such books, but some find them too heavy.)

And oh my, those characters. Gwyn is feisty and difficult and headstrong, but also a passionate defender of her quirky friend, Micah (who I adored), and his constant companion and best friend, Jimmy. Micah's mother, Gaysie Cutter, is scary and unpredictable, but Gwyn's father firmly believes in her. When Gaysie's one friend, an older man named Wilbur, disappears, Gwyn feels compelled to solve the mystery of where he has gone or what has happened to him, and her number one suspect is Gaysie.

Hang on for the ride as Gwyn tries to find evidence and understand the complex world of adults in this close-knit but relatable rural town.

I heartily recommend this, and think you will find, as the title suggests, both the book and the characters quite unforgettable.

Order The Unforgettable Guinevere St. Clair on Amazon US, or find where you can order it from a local indie bookstore.

Find the rest of the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday reviews for October 7, 2019

Monday, June 10, 2019

The Monster Catchers (MMGM review)

The Monster Catchers
Author: George Brewington
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (March 5, 2019)

It's another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, and I have a great new book to recommend, perfect for the occasion. George Brewington's debut middle grade novel is an entertaining romp through a world where cryptids (supposedly mythological beasts) are real and Bailey Buckleby knows all about them. He should, he's the son in Buckleby & Son, the people you call when your unpleasant neighbors or uninvited visitors are non-human and an infernal nuisance.

Seventh grader Bailey is amazing with Frisbees, but he doesn't use them to goof around or play with his friends. Instead, they are his weapon-of-choice when dealing with meddlesome monsters or uppity upperclassmen. But after a strange visitor comes calling, looking to buy a certain monster of whom Bailey is especially fond, everything starts to go to pieces... including Bailey's faith that his father is 100% truthful about the family business.

Wild, exciting, and more than a little manic, this book will delight children who love the unusual and aren't entirely sure that grownups always know best. I heartily recommend this madcap adventure, and hope that Mr. Brewington has the sequel underway.

Note: Under a new policy on the blog, I am doing away with ratings. I'll simply recommend books I can recommend.

Order The Monster Catchers on Amazon US, or find where you can order it from a local indie bookstore.

Find the rest of the Marvelous Middle Grade Monday reviews for June 10, 2019