Contemporary Realistic Fiction

This category contains 140 posts


The Secret Life of Lincoln Jones is the newest addition from one of my favorite authors:  Wendelin Van Draanen.  Lincoln is 11 years old.  He and his mother have fled their home and his mother’s abusive boyfriend.  Lincoln now finds himself in a school where his southern accent and mannerisms often make him a target … Continue reading


Jason Parker lives in Japan with his parents, who teach at a university, and his younger sister, Cora.  He is in the 6th grade although he’s a year older than his Japanese classmates, having had to repeat a grade when his family moved to Japan. When I started Falling Into the Dragon’s Mouth I thought … Continue reading

RHODA’S ROCK HUNT by Molly Beth Griffin Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell…2016-17 Star of the North nominee

Rhoda’s Rock Hunt was a delightful surprise for me!  Rhoda’s experiences–both her fascination with rocks and her delight in finding them–mirror my own experience as a child on vacation during summers in northern Minnesota.  I wish Rhoda’s Rock Hunt had been around eight years ago when my daughter was constantly adding to the LOADS of rocks in … Continue reading

THE FIVE LIVES OF OUR CAT ZOOK by Joanne Rocklin…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook.  When we meet the main character, Oona, her father has died and she, her mother and her brother Freddy have brought their cat, Zook, to the vet because he is sick.  We learn from Oona that her father was a … Continue reading

GHETTO COWBOY by G. Neri…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division II

Ghetto Cowboy is one of the Lovelace nominees this year that has surprised me–in a great way!  As Ghetto Cowboy opens 12-year-old Cole is being driven by his mother from their home in Detroit to Philadelphia–where his father lives.  Although we are never given the specific details of Cole’s behavior which impelled his mother to … Continue reading

AVA AND PIP by Carol Weston…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

Ava is 10 years old and in the 5th Grade; her older sister, Pip, is in the 7th Grade.  Ava and Pip is really Ava’s story.  At one point Ava hypothesizes: The key might be to know, in your heart and your head, what you want to say and how you want to say it, … Continue reading

THE SECRET CHICKEN SOCIETY by Judy Cox…2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division I

Before I even start this review I feel obligated to admit that I am biased:  I don’t like chickens.  I wasn’t looking forward to reading this particular book.  I will also admit that my dislike of actual chickens faded to the background as I read Judy Cox’s The Secret Chicken Society. It begins with Daniel, … Continue reading

DOLL BONES by Holly Black….2016-17 LOVELACE nominee Division II

Doll Bones was not the story I expected it to be, based on my impressions of the cover art, the author’s reputation, the title and the book description blurb.  Unfortunately, once I started reading, it seemed to me that the author didn’t know what kind of story she wanted to tell.  Is this a story … Continue reading


Raymie’s father has run off with a dental hygienist but Raymie is convinced that if she can just win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition her father will be so proud of her he will immediately return home.  In pursuit of this plan Raymie is taking baton-twirling lessons where she meets Louisiana Elefante and Beverly … Continue reading


The Thing About Jellyfish immediately rocketed into my top 20 list of all middle grade fiction I have ever read.  Suzy’s voice is achingly genuine.  I think this book will resonate with anyone who has struggled to feel as if she belongs somewhere, finds a new friend and then had the experience of seeing a friendship that … Continue reading