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Month in review

Reviews
Adele in Sand Land by Claude Ponti
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Arnold of the Ducks by Mordicai Gerstein
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
Black Ice by Andy Lane
The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas
Chile Death by Susan Wittig Albert
Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman
The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz by Katharine M. Rogers
The Lost Books: The Scroll of Kings by Sarah Prineas
Mazes and Labyrinths: Their History and Development by W.H. Matthews
Monster Trouble! by Lane Fredrickson and Michael Robertson
Murder Past Due by D.R. Meredith
No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll
Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett
Oscar Lives Next Door by Bonnie Farmer
Paths & Portals by Gene Luen Yang
The Phantom of Nantucket by Carolyn Keene
Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood
Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Secrets & Sequences by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Slug Days by Sara Leach
Somnambulance by Fiona Smyth
The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates
Tenements, Towers & Trash by Julia Wertz
That Book Woman by Heather Henson
This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang
This Is Not the Abby Show by Debbie Reed Fischer
Under His Spell by Marie P. Croall and Hyeondo Park

Miscellaneous
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 06, 2018)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 13, 2018)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 20, 2018)
July 2018 Sources
July 2018 Summary

Road Essays
FFFFFF: The far end of the spectrum: orphans who cross the cornfield to utopia
FFFF66: Orphans going off road to reach utopia
FFFF00: The highway to utopia leads to self discovery for orphans
FFCCFF: Orphans through cornfields and time How I classify the road narrative protagonist

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Rating System

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



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Be Prepared: 08/04/18

Be Prepared

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol is a middle grade graphic novel inspired by the author's two summers spent a Russian Orthodox summer camp. For narrative simplicity, the two years have been condensed into one summer as explained in the afterword.

Vera has her group of friends and she loves the sleepovers one of them hosts every year. This year, though, Vera feels left behind. The other girls all have fancy dolls and the many things that go with them. Vera, though, doesn't because her single mother can't possibly afford something so expensive.

Although she has an awkward time at the sleepover, Vera decides she can do her own special sleep over at their apartment. It goes even worse and the girls all end up going home early. By now, Vera feels very much out of step with all the other girls at her school.

The one place Vera feels part of something is at the church services (even though she speaks limited Russian and can't read it). It's through church that she learns about a summer camp for Russian Orthodox kids. Best of all, it's free!

The remainder of the book is about Vera and her brother's time in camp. It wasn't the paradise she thought it would be and for a good portion of it, she wanted to go home. But she did find her place, made friends, and came out a better person for it.

Throughout we have the author's fantastic illustrations that will appeal to fans of Raina Telgemeier. They are just the right balance of realistic and humorous.

The book happens to end with a hook involving the family moving. I hope this means there will be the further adventures of Vera and her family.

Five stars

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