//
archives

Contemporary Realistic Fiction

This category contains 158 posts

THE BOY AT THE BACK OF THE CLASS by Onjali Q. Rauf

There are many things about The Boy at the Back of the Class that make it a great reading choice for the younger middle grades–more 3rd & 4th grade specifically. Alexa is 9 3/4 years old. A new student named Ahmet appears one day at the formerly empty desk at the back of the classroom. Alexa’s … Continue reading

ORBITING JUPITER by Gary D Schmidt

Orbiting Jupiter is a beautiful story, ultimately about compassion, kindness and empathy. The story is partially about fourteen-year-old Joseph Brook, and is told by twelve-year-old Jack. Jack’s perspective provides the second half of the story. Jack’s family lives on a farm in Maine. At the beginning of the book Joseph comes to live with Jack’s … Continue reading

OTHER WORDS FOR HOME by Jasmine Warga

When we first meet 12-year-old Jude she is living in Syria with her parents and her older brother, Issa. Jude and her friend Fatima love to watch older American rom-com movies and act them out at home. Jude dreams of being a famous actress like Julia Roberts. As the unrest in Syria builds (mid-2010s), Issa … Continue reading

WILD BIRD by Wendelin Van Draanen

I picked up Wild Bird because it is written by one of my favorite authors for middle grade readers–Wendelin Van Draanen. The Wild Bird of the title is 14-year-old Wren Clemmens. When we initially meet Wren she is stoned and being woken by professional Youth Transporters. We follow this chaotic, emotional scene as Wren is … Continue reading

GENESIS BEGINS AGAIN by Alicia D. Williams

After finishing Genesis Begins Again I wanted to live with the experience of reading it for a day or two before I wrote a review. I have now had the opportunity to do just that. Genesis is thirteen years old.  We first meet her as she is coming home from school–bringing friends with her for … Continue reading

EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

December Lee Morgan is eleven years old.  She has been placed in numerous foster homes over the past three years. December is convinced that the scars on her back are from where her wings once existed–and where they will break free from her human body again, returning her to her rightful form as a bird.  … Continue reading

THE LOSERS CLUB by Andrew Clements…a 2020 LOVELACE nominee Division I

I know it will be unpopular for me to make this first admission: Andrew Clements’ books are really hit or miss for me.  I know that younger readers enjoy them–his work is sought after in school libraries all the time–but they just don’t usually hit the mark for me. Sometimes I find them too affectedly … Continue reading

A TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman was a 4.5/5 star read for me! After reading Venkatraman’s most recent work–the middle grade novel The Bridge Home–I was curious about her backlist.  A Time to Dance was originally published in 2014.  The main character is Veda Venkat, a young, Indian girl who is extremely talented and skilled … Continue reading

OPERATION FROG EFFECT by Sarah Scheerger

Operation Frog Effect was a delightful surprise for me.  I picked it up after having read about it on Goodreads and seeing the title come up in our Mock Newbery Group. I was put off by the juvenile nature of the cover, which conflicted with reviews I had read regarding its content.  I am extremely … Continue reading

GREETINGS FROM WITNESS PROTECTION by Jake Burt…2020 LOVELACE nominee Division II

After finishing Greetings from Witness Protection I find myself stewing in irritation.  This is why: parts of the story are extremely well crafted, but the parts that fall flat do so in a way that detracts from the best parts of the book; as a result, the whole thing never completely came together for me. … Continue reading