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Month in review

Reviews
Aground on St. Thomas by Rebecca M. Hale
Art & Max by David Wiesner
Ava and Taco Cat by Carol Weston
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly
Emily and the Strangers Volume 2: Breaking the Record by Rob Reger
Eric by Terry Pratchett
FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics Vol. 1: The Paradigm Shift by Simon Oliver
5 Centimeters per Second by Makoto Shinkai
The Flying Beaver Brothers: Birds vs. Bunnies by Maxwell Eaton III
Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner
The Gods of Second Chances by Dan Berne
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
Hanging by a Thread by Monica Ferris
Hip Hop Family Tree, Vol. 2: 1981-1983 by Ed Piskor
I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
Monkey Truck by Michael Slack
Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb
Omens by Kelley Armstrong
The Outside Dog by Charlotte Pomerantz
Paper Things by Jennifer Richard Jacobson
A Place to Call Home by Alexis Deacon
Rutabaga the Adventure Chef: Book 1 by Eric Colossal
The Salamander Spell by E.D. Baker
Sophie's Fish by A.E. Cannon
Speak Easily by Clarence Budington Kelland
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett
25 Roses by Stephanie Faris
Ukulele Hayley by Judy Cox
The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter

Miscellaneous
My favorite books published in 2015
Reading goals for 2016

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



25 Roses: 12/20/15

25 Roses by Stephanie Faris

Valentine's Day was a popular topic this year in middle grade fiction. It seems like an odd choice to me as that's the age when kids are too old to bring cards and candies for an entire class but too young to be really dating anyone. This is the age of receiving those awkward cards from grandparents who like to send a card for every single holiday.

25 Roses by Stephanie Faris is centered on a fundraising event at a middle school. Different grades compete in the selling and delivering chocolate roses to students. The idea is that someone buys a chocolate rose for someone else and writes a note that the recipient can read when the roses are passed out.

The rose buying falls into three categories: roses for couples, roses for the popular kids, and self bought roses for those who don't want to feel left out. Left behind are the quiet kids who are too shy to interact with others and lacking even the self confidence to buy themselves a rose.

The grade that sells the most roses wins a lock in prize at a local popular hang out. Mia's sister helped win the prize for her grade years ago. Now she feels the pressure to also win but also to one up her sister.

Mia's competitive nature and her soft heart for the quiet kids sparks a good idea that is horribly executed. She decides to buy roses for all the kids who never get roses. She signs the cards a "secret admirer." The only problem here is that not many kids actually sold roses, so it's hard for Mia to hide the fact that she bought them. Also the reactions of the kids who receive them isn't what she expected.

This book is about the fallout from Mia's gesture. It seems with this books the reactions of the adults never quite balance with reality. They either ignore everything or blow everything up into a big deal with major consequences. At worst, Mia's class should have been disqualified from the competition but instead it's treated like some major piece of bullying.

Mostly though it felt like a plot that belonged in a high school rather than a junior high or middle school. Mia and the others act older than they are cast.

Two stars

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