Monday, November 20, 2017

Tiny Infinities (review)

Tiny Infinities
Author: J.H. Diehl
Publisher: Chronicle Books (To be released May 8, 2018)
Borrowed ARC.

All 12-year-old Alice wants to do is focus on getting her name up on her swim team's record board, but life is way beyond her control. After a bad car accident, her mother is sullen and will barely leave her room. Her dad has moved out, and her brothers have gone to live with her aunt.

Furious and confused by the scattering of her family, Alice decides to move out to a tent in the backyard, and not move back inside until her parents come to their senses and her dad moves back home. Thus begins a long summer where Alice struggles to meet her cherished swimming goal, find a way to get her family back together, and maybe even help the little girl next door who watches Alice but never says a word.

TINY INFINITIES is a lovely, complex story which will tug at your heart and make you smile as well. Alice and Harriet, her new and confusing friend, are such real early teens, with all the complexities of figuring out both what is right and wrong, and what is right and wrong for YOU. One thing I especially love is how every other character, from Alice's mom and dad to little Piper next door, are drawn with both warm and depth, none falling into simple stereotypes or roles.

This is a phenomenal book, and I strongly recommend it for 11-14 year olds, and anybody else who remembers that age when life was complicated, out of your control, and yet full of promise. STEM friendly.

Five stars!

To be released in May 2018, but available for pre-order now.

On Amazon

STEM friendly

I've added a new category in the reviews, marking the ones that are STEM friendly, meaning they have good, positive messages and themes relating to science and math, especially for girls but also for boys. It may take a while for me to go back and identify earlier books, but going forward I will make sure to add that label when appropriate.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The 11:11 Wish (review)

The 11:11 Wish
Author: Kim Tomsic
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (February 13, 2018)
Borrowed ARC.

Megan is starting 7th grade at a new school, and she's determined to leave her awkward, nerdy past behind, but middle school has a way of upending plans. Caught between two rivals before she even makes it to her first class, Megan has to use her wits to try and rescue her social status, but her wits aren't helping much. Just when social disaster seems certain, Megan happens to wish on a magic clock at 11:11 exactly, and mysterious, wonderful things start happening.

If only magic didn't come with such a high cost.

An absolutely charming romp through the intricacies of middle school politics, crushes and the desire to fit in, mixed with magic and math and mayhem. Against the poignant backdrop of a first year without mom, and a sister and dad who are struggling to cope as well, this story does a great job of wrapping everything up in a satisfying package.

I strongly recommend for tweens and teens. It's possible that the fashion-related elements will discourage some boys from reading, but that's their loss if it does. The embrace of STEM is very welcome.

Five stars!

Won't be released until February, but go ahead and pre-order it for your favorite teen today.