Wednesday, February 1, 2017

First-Ever ARClub Meeting!

The first-ever meeting of ARClub was held today at the Bohemia Panera! We were a small group, but we were mighty! Check out the books we discussed below, and keep an eye out for them when they're published. Join us for our second meeting on Wednesday, March 29 @ SCLS at 10 am. Click here to register or email Patty. There will be refreshments and fun! At the bottom of this post is a picture showing ARCs currently available (you can also read and review your own). Email Darla to be sent a copy.

Derek from SCLS

5/02/17 from Crown Publishers
This debut novel tells the story of Lemonade Liberty Witt, who has been taught her whole life that you should try your hardest to take lemons and make lemonade -- in other words, make the best of things. But this is the biggest lemon that Lemonade has ever been given - her mother has died. She has now moved to Northern California to live with her grandfather Charlie, basically a stranger to her. This is also the town where the famous Bigfoot video was taken, so everyone is obsessed with it. Her grandfather even owns a Bigfoot souvenir shop. Everything at her grandfather’s house is different - he has the wrong soap, the wrong breafkast, everything. Her first day there, she meets a little boy, Tobin, the founder and leader of Bigfoot Detectives, Inc. which he runs out of a garage to investigate local Bigfoot sightings. He stays at the grandfather’s house while his mom, a nurse, works. At first Lemonade and Tobin's personalities clash, but he takes her on as his assistant at the detective agency and they start to have a great time. Eventually we learn that Tobin’s father went to Vietnam where he became a POW and was thought to be dead, but one day they found out he was alive. When they went to meet him at the airport, he was gone - a double loss. Lemonade and Tobin's losses make them closer. The book is mainly about Lemonade dealing with the “volcano” of emotions inside of her. It’s about grief, finding your place in a new home, and finding family and friends during a hard time. Cute, funny, touching, and a tear-jerker. The author, who is a child psychologist by day, has a way of explaining Lemonade’s depression and anxiety that is real and relatable. Tobin is based on her son, who she lost when he was nine months old. This is her way of making her own lemonade out of her life’s lemons.

Four stars

Maeghan from Northport/Mastics-Moriches-Shirley

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
2/7/17 from Marvel Press
Maeghan got into this book because she’s already a big fan of Marvel's Squirrel Girl comics and wanted to see how it translated to the children’s novel form. She thinks it reads very true from the comics! Most of the book is told from Doreen’s (Squirrel Girl’s) point of view, with some switches. Doreen has just moved from California to an OK-sort of small suburb in New Jersey where a lot of juvenile vandalism like knocked over trash cans and graffiti is going on. The locals say it’s being carried out by the Skunk Gang, some kids from the next school over. Doreen was born with a squirrel tail that she’s always had to hide, but she loves it anyway and keeps it hidden under her clothes all day — which she gets made fun of for, but. The first person Doreen meets at the school is Anna Sophia, a Hispanic girl who is deaf. Anna Sophia is hesitant to be friends because she was burned by her last best friend who moved away and cut her off, but Doreen is enthusiastic about their friendship. As Doreen is coming into her powers (she has the proportional strength and speed of a squirrel - she can leap about 50 feet, run very fast, and is very strong), she discovers gathers groups of local kids who want to be “Squirrel Scouts” and help her, crossing clique lines. Everyone important in the story is a middle schooler, even the bad guys. Doreen has a great, humorous voice. All the chapters are in 3rd person, even Doreen’s, but there are footnotes throughout the entire book that are from Doreen’s first person perspective. The footnotes are goofy and add a lot from the story. There are appearances from other Marvel characters - she texts with some Avengers and some Guardians. 

4.5 stars

The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

Maeghan heard about this book from Nova Ren Suma’s talk at the YASD luncheon, and while she hasn't finished it yet, she wanted to give it a shout out for an awesome beginning. The story starts on Farah’s 12th birthday. Her and her Bangladeshi-American family have just moved from Queens to the Upper West Side, and she doesn’t really know anyone yet, AND she’s the only girl who wears a Hijab in her class, which they harass her about. Her only two friends at the party are her besties from her old school, with everyone else basically strangers and their nannies and families. Her family loves games of all types. Farah tries to drown out the party by playing marbles with her little brother, who has ADHD and is a bit of a spotlight lover, even on his big sister's birthday. Her aunt tells her she has a gift for her upstairs - it’s a game! She catches her brother about to open it, but she and her friends chase him away. They decide, let’s play the game before little bro gets everyone in trouble! The box, which is covered in beautiful etchings, has a heartbeat when they hold it and feels like it’s alive. Something surely exciting is going to happen with this game! A must-read for gamer kids and anyone who you think would like Jumanji. (rating to come!)

Darla from SCLS

Flying Lessons and Other Stories, edited by Ellen Oh
Published in January by Penguin Random House
Flying Lessons is a compilation of short stories written by a diverse array of superstar authors, compiled and edited by Ellen Oh, the founder of We Need Diverse Books. Not a note falls flat in this collection, which includes contributions from Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, Jaqueline Woodson, and newcomer Kelly J. Baptiste, the winner of a short story contest to be part of the book. Baptiste's story, "The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn," was a particular favorite. It tells the story of Isaiah, a little boy whose family has recently suffered the loss of his father. Much of the responsibility of caring for his 5 year old sister has fallen on his young shoulders as his mother grapples with crushing depression, but all that turmoil doesn't darken his his strong and lovable personality. One day Isaiah discovers the secret short story his father was writing about a boy who becomes a superhero whenever he eats his mom's rice and beans, and his mission becomes to find the time to enter it into a short story contest. But this is just one story among many that leave a lasting impression.
4.5 Stars, a must-buy.

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