Categories
#PubDayTuesday ARCs Book Reviews

#PubDayTuesday | ARC Review: Camp Famous by Jennifer Blecher

Book Review logo

Thank you to Greenwillow Books and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review! Camp Famous is OUT NOW!

"Camp Famous" by Jennifer Blecher (cover)
Image via NetGalley

Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: The Princess Diaries meets Harriet the Spy when Abby—the most ordinary girl in the world—finds herself undercover at a summer camp for famous kids. From acclaimed author Jennifer Blecher, Camp Famous is an accessible and fun summertime adventure about fitting in, being brave, and letting others see who you truly are. Camp Famous is pitch-perfect for anyone who loves Disney’s Camp Rock.

Eleven-year-old Abby Herman is beyond excited that her parents are letting her go to summer camp for the first time ever. Maybe camp will be the place she’ll finally find what she’s always wanted: a best friend. But—surprise!—she’s not going to just any summer camp, she’s going to Camp Famous, the one exclusively for famous kids escaping the spotlight.

Desperate to fit in with the pop stars, princesses, and geniuses, Abby creates a fake identity as a famous author. Everything goes as planned: the other girls welcome her, she participates in camp activities, and she even inspires a pop star! But as camp comes to a close, Abby finds herself torn between who she has pretended to be and who she truly is.

 

REVIEW: An ordinary girl attending a summer camp for famous kids instantly drew me in. What a fun summer camp story about friendship and being your true self! It was easy to relate to Abby and her desire to fit in, be accepted, and make friends easily as everybody else.

The difference between Abby and the other kids presents a compelling juxtaposition of perception versus reality. Abby feels compelled to lie about her identity in order to fit in. She already has preconceived notions about celebrities and is adamant that pretending to be a famous writer will help her chances of making friends. Minus the lying, Abby’s actions are genuine

I liked getting to know some of the other campers. At Camp Famous, these kids are getting the summer camp experience and a break from the spotlight and people who think they know them but actually don’t. For a few secluded weeks, these famous children can be their true selves. To just breathe and be kids. I felt bad for one girl in Abby’s cabin whose mother has clearly been exploiting her for fame and fortune without her consent. The reality these child celebrities display is that they are still just like other kids with thoughts, feelings, and wishes. Slowly, Abby begins to see this in her interactions and discussions with them. I think it also helped that there’s variety in what each camper is famous for that kids of today connect to (i.e., inventing slime, viral dances).

I would love to read a story of how Abby navigates her new friendships with famous people in the real world. The ending was great and I think set up the right conditions for a sequel.

Camp Famous was endearing, enjoyable, and unputdownable!


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Instagram

Categories
Book Reviews

Book Review: Ana on the Edge by A. J. Sass

*this post includes 24/7 LGBTQIA+ resources*

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Middle Grade, LGBTQIA+ Fiction
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐☆
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: Twelve-year-old Ana-Marie Jin, the reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion, is not a frilly dress kind of kid. So, when Ana learns that next season’s program will be princess themed, doubt forms fast. Still, Ana tries to focus on training and putting together a stellar routine worthy of national success.

Once Ana meets Hayden, a transgender boy new to the rink, thoughts about the princess program and gender identity begin to take center stage. And when Hayden mistakes Ana for a boy, Ana doesn’t correct him and finds comfort in this boyish identity when he’s around. As their friendship develops, Ana realizes that it’s tricky juggling two different identities on one slippery sheet of ice. And with a major competition approaching, Ana must decide whether telling everyone the truth is worth risking years of hard work and sacrifice.

 

My Review: I have been wanting to read Ana on the Edge for the longest time and it was just as good as I thought it would be. It was superb and heartfelt. What drew me in was the cover art, the plot, and that the main character was a figure skater.

There’s a lot of figure skating terminology used throughout, but you don’t need to fully know the ins and outs to enjoy this book. The author’s care and attention to detail made this story easily accessible and immersible.

Our MC, Ana, is not feeling the princess-themed vibes of her new skate program. It doesn’t feel right and she thinks it sends the wrong message about who she is as a person. But without a clue as to why or how to express her ambivalence, Ana struggles in more ways than one throughout the story. That is, until she meets Hayden, who is a transgender boy, prompts her to question and explore her gender identity.

My heart broke for Ana and all she struggled with internally and externally. She’s also stressing about living up to high expectations as a top skater, being able to afford to skate, pretending to be a boy so she can keep hanging out with Hayden, and more.

Ana’s a good kid who lives and breathes figure skating. She’s worked so hard and put in countless long hours to get to where she is today. All of this is a lot for a 12 year old to handle.

Ana’s journey felt genuine and organic. She’s at that age where kids begin to really think about their identity, where they fit in, and how they’re perceived by others.

I could feel Ana’s indecisiveness on telling the truth, how to deal with her program, and who she is before it’s too late. Is she a girl or boy? Ana-Marie Jin, reigning US Juvenile figure skating champion or Ana, someone else entirely?

She’s methodical in her search for answers since she has no one to ask or is too afraid to ask (I think partially in fear of letting down those who matter most to her, like her mom, coach, best friend, and eventually Hayden). All the while Ana tries to maintain her passion for figure skating and leveling up.

Ana’s whirlwind journey led to a realistic and satisfying ending. You couldn’t have asked for a better one. It stayed true to the heart of the story.

Ana on the Edge is a must-read, all-around, good middle grade novel. I think many people will be able to connect really well with Ana on some level. I definitely recommend adding this book to your tbr. I also encourage reading the author’s note for a fuller picture of the story as well as LGBTQIA+ resources.


24/7 Resources Here For You

The Trevor Project
1-866-488-7386
TrevorChat available
Text START to 678678

Gender Spectrum
https://genderspectrum.org

GLSEN
https://www.glsen.org

PFLAG
https://pflag.org/

Trans Youth Equality Foundation (TYEF)
http://www.transyouthequality.org

Trans Youth Family Allies (TYF)
http://www.imatyfa.org

Categories
About Books

Black Lives Matter: Recommended Books & TBR Books By Black Authors

Happy Sunday, Bookworms!

What are some black voices or POC books you love and would recommend?

Joining in the initiative to raise up Black voices, I’ve compiled some recommended reading of books by Black authors as well as books by Black authors that are on my TBR.

Most of the books I’ve read have been slave narratives and poetry. But I would like to read more contemporary works and diversify my shelves.

Here are books I’d recommend:

 

And, here are books on my TBR:

A Love Hate Thing by Whitney D. Grandison, Kindred by Octavia Butler, and The Marrow of Tradition by Charles W. Chesnutt are my top absolute favorites from the first list.

The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory has been on my TBR for a while, so I’m hoping to get to that one at some point this year. I’m also looking forward to reading Blended by Sharon M. Draper and Slay by Brittney Morris. And Legendborn by Tracy Deonn I received an e-ARC from NetGalley, so I’ll be reading that very soon.

As Always, Happy Reading!!!

 

 

 

 

Images via Goodreads

Categories
Bookish Memes Top 10 Tuesday

Top 10 Tuesday: Book Titles With Numbers In Them

Happy Tuesday, Bookworms!!! It’s time for another Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today’s prompt is: Book Titles With Numbers In Them

This list was actually really hard to come up with. I had to look way way way back in my Goodreads shelves. This is list has mostly books I’ve read and a few that I have marked “to be read.” I picked books that are either standalone novels or books from series that can be read as standalones without feeling lost.

Here’s my list:

 

Book of A Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of Saren’s refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.

As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. With the arrival outside the tower of Saren’s two suitors–one welcome, the other decidedly less so–the girls are confronted with both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.

 

Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Sevenwaters #6)

Maeve, daughter of Lord Sean of Sevenwaters, was badly burned as a child and carries the legacy of that fire in her crippled hands. After ten years she’s returning home, a courageous, forthright woman. But while her body’s scars have healed, her spirit remains fragile, fearing the shadows of her past.

Sevenwaters is in turmoil. The fey prince Mac Dara is desperate to see his only son, married to Maeve’s sister, return to the Otherworld. To force Lord Sean’s hand, Mac Dara has caused a party of innocent travelers on the Sevenwaters border to vanish—only to allow their murdered bodies to be found one by one.

When Maeve finds a body in a remote part of the woods, she and her brother, Finbar, embark on a journey that could bring about the end of Mac Dara’s reign—or lead to a hideous death. If she is successful, Maeve may open the door to a future she has not dared to believe possible…. 

 

Once And For All by Sarah Dessen

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

 

One Enchanted Evening by Lynn Kurland (de Piaget #5)

A duty-bound knight has taken on the task of rebuilding the most dilapidated castle in all of England. 

A costume designer gets her chance to shine by showcasing her fairy- tale designs at an upscale party in an authentic medieval castle. 

And the magic that whispers along the castle’s hallways is about to orchestrate an improbable happily-ever-after.

 

One Magic Moment by Lynn Kurland (de Piaget #11)

Medieval studies scholar Tess Alexander is thrilled for the chance to live in a medieval castle. But then a trip to the village brings her face-to-face with the owner of the local garage, who looks a great deal like the man who married her sister…800 years in the past. She’s determined to remain objective about magic and destiny, but she can’t help wondering about that mysterious, sword-wielding mechanic.

 

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

 

Seer of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier (Sevenwaters #5)

The young seer Sibeal is visiting an island of elite warriors, prior to making her final pledge as a druid. It’s there she finds Felix, a survivor of a Viking shipwreck, who’s lost his memory. The scholarly Felix and Sibeal form a natural bond. He could even be her soul mate, but Sibeal’s vocation is her true calling, and her heart must answer.

As Felix fully regains his memory, Sibeal has a runic divination showing her that Felix must go on a perilous mission-and that she will join him. The rough waters and the sea creatures they will face are no match for Sibeal’s own inner turmoil. She must choose between the two things that tug at her soul-her spirituality and a chance at love…

 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Six of Crow #1)

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone….

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

 

The Song of Seven by Tonke Dragt

At the end of every schoolday, new teacher Mr Van der Steg entertains his pupils with tall tales of incredible events, which he claims really happened to him – involving hungry lions and haunted castles, shipwrecks and desert islands. One day, when he can’t think of anything suitably exciting to tell them, he invents a story about a very important letter which he’s expecting that evening, with news of a perilous mission. Evening arrives and so, to his surprise, does an enigmatic letter…

And so Mr Van der Steg is drawn into a real-life adventure, featuring a grumpy coachman, a sinister uncle, eccentric ancestors, a hidden treasure, an ancient prophecy and Geert-Jan, a young boy who is being kept prisoner in the mysterious House of Stairs. Although the treasure rightfully belongs to Geert-Jan, his uncle is determined to seize it for himself. As Mr Van der Steg, with the help of his pupils, sets out to rescue the boy, he becomes more and more entangled with the strange history of the Seven Ways, the House of Stairs and the powerful Conspiracy of Seven.

 

Ten Apples On Top! by Theo LeSieg

“A hilarious story in rhyme about a number of animals who could carry 10 apples on their heads.”– Elementary English


And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!


CONNECT WITH ME | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram