Beautiful and important: George by Alex Gino [REVIEW]

25615902Title: George
Author: Alex Gino
First published in August 2015
Tags: Middle GradeContemporary, LGBTQIA (T)

Source: Storytel (audiobook app)
Rating:  photo five stars_zpsr2o5iiuv.png

“When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her (4th grade) teacher announces their class play is going to be “Charlotte’s Web.” George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part …because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.”

“Mom, what if I’m a girl?”

A mini-review for a mini-book. It’s short and sweet and definitely worth picking up because oh my god, this book is so lovely. I adored it to pieces. I listened to it on audio, and it was such a pleasant experience. 

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I’m not crying, you’re crying: Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt [ARC Review]

orbiting jupiter reviewOrbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt
Published on December 31 2015
Tags: Contemporary, Middle Grade, Young Adult

Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | B&N 

Source: ARC  (NetGalley)

Rating:  photo four half_zpszfonypqk.png

A heartbreaking story, narrated by twelve-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for fourteen-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.

What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby – no matter the cost.

I received a free ARC ebook copy from Penguin Random House UK via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I was so happy to find this NetGalley even though it was published over a year ago, as it’s been on my TBR for quite some time now. I had wanted to read this book because I kept seeing reviews that talked about how it made them ugly cry and it intrigued me. 


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Review: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

good middle grade booksWonder by R.J. Palacio
Published by Knopf in February 2012
Pages: 315

Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Rating: good middle grade books

My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He’s about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you’ve ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie’s just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

This is a middle grade novel, the main character Auggie is 10 years old, but I think this book can speak to you no matter your age.  

Auggie, or August, was born with a facial deformity. He’s had several surgeries on his face, but he still looks far from all the other kids. You really feel for Auggie when you read his story and you feel bad for him when you see the way people jump, freeze, look away, or smile just a little big too widely when they look at him or talk to him. Auggie feels like the only one who doesn’t judge him, on any level, because of his face is his beloved dog. His relationship with the dog is heartbreaking. ;_;

The story isn’t only told from Auggie’s perspective though, which I wasn’t aware of before I started. I liked that, I especially appreciated his older sister’s POV because I understood her situation. Eventually we also get to see the POV of some of the friends Auggie makes, as well as his sister’s friend and boyfriend. I didn’t think the boyfriend’s POV added that much though, his was the only one I didn’t enjoy as much as the rest. 

I also have the version of this book that includes “The Julian Chapter,” which I think is about 85 pages long and is written from Julian’s POV, Auggie’s main tormentor. I didn’t read this one yet, as it’s not a part of the original book, but I will eventually. I’m curious to see what he’s thinking and why he acts the way he does. 

I see a common criticism about this novel is that it’s cheesy and a bit too uplifting considering the heavy subject matter. And yes, the ending is quite uplifting, but what you have to remember is that this is a middle grade novel and I don’t think they’re often written to be super depressing. They’re hopeful and encouraging, which is often the main difference between books for children and books for adults. I found the ending really sweet, it’s only one day in Auggie’s life after all, we don’t know if the rest of his life will be this uplifting (probably not, unfortunately). But at the end of the book he’s happy, which made me happy because he deserved it. 

Overall I enjoyed this book a lot. I read it in one setting, as it’s very easy to read. It’s a very moving read, I recommend it to children, teens, and adults alike, especially if you’re a fan of contemporary books. If you’re prone to crying while you read you might want to pull out the kleenex. 

good middle grade books

Have you read Wonder? What are your thoughts on it? 

What are your thoughts on happy endings in books for children?
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