Contemporary Realistic Fiction

This category contains 131 posts


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

NICKEL BAY NICK by Dean Pitchford….LOVELACE Nominee I & II –

    Nickel Bay Nick is the newest contribution from Dean Pitchford–whose Captain Nobody has become a staple in my read-aloud repertoire with middle grade students. Sam Brattle lives with his dad in Nickel Bay, a town hit hard by the economic downturn. A former firefighter (and local hero) Sam’s dad is now struggling to … Continue reading

PERFECT GAME by Fred Bowen…2015-16 Lovelace Nominee Division I

 Perfect Game was a surprise for me.  I will admit right from the beginning that I am NOT a huge baseball fan so I was sort of dreading reading this Lovelace nominee.  Perfect Game is, certainly about baseball, but it is more than that as well.  In the tradition of the best sports-themed stories Perfect … Continue reading

A HANDFUL OF STARS by Cynthia Lord

Lily lives with her grandparents in a small town, her mother having died in a car accident when she was very young.  At the opening of the book Lily’s dog, Lucky, who is old and blind has taken off running and Salma Santiago (a daughter of one of the migrant worker families who comes to pick blueberries … Continue reading

FISH IN A TREE by Lynda Mulally Hunt

Linda Mulally Hunt’s touching new novel is based on the words of one of her characters: “…if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking that it’s stupid.” Ally has struggled to read for as long as she can remember.  As she has watched her … Continue reading

LOST IN THE SUN by Lisa Graff

Lisa Graff’s newest novel, Lost in the Sun, refers to the phenomenon often referenced in baseball when an outfielder attempting to catch the ball loses track of where the ball is due to the angle or brightness of the sun. “Lost in the sun” perfectly describes how Trent feels about the course of his life. He … Continue reading

CALLI BE GOLD by Michele Weber Hurwitz…2015-16 LOVELACE Nominee Division I

Calli Be Gold is Lovelace nominee choice which will particularly appeal to young female readers because Calli is such a genuine and convincing character.  The youngest of three siblings, Calli’s older brother is a basketball star and her sister is a member of a competition synchronized skating team.  Their calendar at home is covered in post-its, … Continue reading

WISH GIRL by Nikki Loftin

Wish Girl–like Nikki Loftin’s work Nightingale’s Nest–has moments where the characters and language seem to transcend the pages of the book.  Peter has been severely bullied at school.  In an effort to change his situation her parents have moved his family to a rural area of Texas. His parents are more extroverted than Peter and … Continue reading

COUNTING BY 7’S by…2015-16 LOVELACE Nominee Division II

Counting By 7s is the story of Willow Chance.  She is 12 years old.  She’s a genius.  She’s different.  She has already had to search and find one family.  This is the story of losing and searching for another. Willow’s voice will absolutely fill your heart.  If you liked Out of My Mind (Sharon Draper), … Continue reading

ZOMBIE BASEBALL BEATDOWN by Paolo Bacigalupi…2015-16 LOVELACE Nominee Division II

Zombie Baseball Beatdown was not the book I expected it to be. The cover art indicates silly, slapstick-y zombie zaniness.  There is definitely humor sprinkled throughout, provided primarily by the sarcastic one-liners from Joe (a secondary character).  The majority of the novel, however, centers on themes of corruption and immigration law. Rabi, Miguel and Joe … Continue reading