Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Underneath

The Underneath
by Kathi Appelt

I have mentioned this book on so many blogs recently, that I decided I needed to post a review. Right off the bat I want to say, if you have not read this book, READ IT. Even if you don't like the storylines (and you will) you should read it to study Kathi Appelt's mastery of craft.

I don't know anyone who has read The Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and not marveled at the beauty of the language and the cadence of the sentences. The Underneath is the upper MG equivalent of The Kite Runner. Seriously. Within the first chapter, I was captivated by the originality and beauty of the writing. I fell under the spell of the sentences and the words and the rhythm of this book. I did not want it to end. But wait - there's more...

In addition to the magic of the individual sentences and language choices, Kathi weaves together three seemingly unrelated storylines. She gets and holds our attention while shifting between characters and their stories, and then expertly brings them together for a stunning conclusion.

I can't explain the overall beauty of this book. When I think of it or share it with someone, I'm never sure whether I love it more for the story or for the beautiful way the story is written. It is a masterful example of craft.

What book/s have you read that blew you away because of the beauty or power of the writing?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday - It's Raining Cupcakes

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday  

It's Raining Cupcakes
by Lisa Schroeder

Goodreads Blurb:

Twelve-year-old Isabel is dying to get out of Oregon. She spends her free time in the library, reading and dreaming about faraway places. When her mom decides to open a cupcake shop in their little town of Willow, Isabel feels just like buttercream frosting to a cupcake-stuck. It seems as if it will be another disappointing summer, until Isabel learns of a baking contest. 

If she can come up with a winning recipe, she might have a chance of competing in the bake-off in New York City! But Isabel's best friend, Sophie, is also entering the contest, and things always seem to go Sophie's way. To make matters worse, Isabel and her mom don't exactly see eye-to-eye on the type of recipe Isabel should enter. In this sweet treat by popular teen author Lisa Schroeder, Isabel discovers that maybe it's not about where you go in life as much as it is about enjoying the view from wherever you are.

I loved this book.  The relationship between Isabel and her parents is an interesting storyline, as is the idea of the bake-off contest. Her mother is a bit difficult to like, but she grows up some by the end, just like Isabel--and parents aren't perfect. Despite thinking I had it all figured out, the end surprised me and left me smiling.

The chapter titles are awesomely creative cupcake names--so fun. I have no doubt this book will leave even non-cupcake-lovers craving cupcakes by the end. It's a fast and easy read and it's totally charming. This is one of my main go-to books when I need an MG gift for girls. I've given it to three nieces and my daughter. So far.  :-)

Happy Monday!

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