Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Dying to Meet You: 43 Old Cemetery Road by Kate Klise May 22, 2011

Ignatius B. Grumply needs a place with peace and quiet to end his writer’s block and write his next bestselling book.  He chooses a Victorian mansion in Ghastly, Illinois and has his lawyer sign the paperwork on his behalf.  When he moves in, he realizes this isn’t the sanctuary he was seeking.  There is an eleven-year-old boy and a cat living on the third floor and someone (the boy, right?) who slams doors, cooks dinner, and plays the piano.

The realtor informs Mr. Grumply that the boy and the cat come with the house, and the boy’s parents will come back for him when he stops talking nonsense about his friend, Olive, the ghost.   Will Olive and the boy be able to convince Grumply there is such thing as a ghost?  Will Grumply ever write his bestselling book?

This book had a fun format- it is a self-proclaimed epistolary graphic novel.  The characters communicate by writing letters back and forth.  There are other graphics that add to the storyline including portraits of the characters and newspaper articles.  The characters also have clever names like the realtor, Anita Sale.  This is a quick, entertaining read.


Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O’Malley May 21, 2011

Filed under: adult graphic novel — Bethany @ 10:54 pm
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Scott Pilgrim is 23 and dating a girl in high school.  He lives with his gay roommate, Wallace, who thinks the high school girl is too good for Scott.  The problem is that Scott keeps having dreams about a different girl.  One that he’s never even met.  When he sees her while he’s awake, he knows he has to figure out a way to meet her.

Little does Scott know that his mystery girl has a jealous boyfriend that’s out to fight to win her back.

This was an interesting read, definitely for adults.  It was funny in places and I could see why a movie came out of the series.


Stolen Children by Peg Kehret May 13, 2011

Filed under: ages 10-14,drama,suspense — Bethany @ 9:22 pm
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When 14-year-old Amy takes a last-minute babysitting job, she thinks it will be an easy afternoon.  She drifts off by the pool only to wake up and realize little Kendra is missing.  When the kidnappers come back, they take Amy with them.  Amy and Kendra are taken to a hidden cabin in the woods and Amy must keep them safe and, most importantly, alive .

The kidnappers make a DVD of the girls each day to send to the families.  The kidnappers use the DVDs to ensure a ransom, but Amy realizes this is her chance to send clues to her mother, her friend Jorja, and the police.  Will Amy be able outsmart the kidnappers and lead the police to them in time?

Many of the ideas in this book were far-fetched, but I liked Amy’s quick thinking and cool head under pressure.  She had very clever ideas to plant clues in the DVDs.  If I ever had a child and she was kidnapped, I would want Amy to be there.

2010-2011 Golden Sower Award winner


Fakie by Tony Varrato

Alex and his mother left town in the middle of the night as they had so many times before.  This time they were headed south.  In the car, they talked about their new identities.  Alex decided he would be a skateboarder this time.

Things weren’t always like this.  Before Alex saw a brutal murder, before a man he put in jail wanted him dead, before he and his mother had to keep running to stay alive, life was normal.

Although many of the ideas in the book were far-fetched, Fakie had a fast-paced, suspenseful, and interesting plot.  Combined with its short length (142 pages), I would recommend it to boys, especially reluctant readers.

Golden Sower Honor Book


Savvy by Ingrid Law

Mibs (short for Mississippi) is about to turn 13.  For the Beaumonts, turning 13 is a big deal, but not because they are teenagers.  This is the day the savvy is revealed.  Her brother caused a massive hurricane on his 13th and the family was never the same.

The day before Mibs’ birthday, they find out their father has been in a major car accident and is in a coma in Salina, Kansas.  When the younger kids are left behind with the preacher’s wife, Mibs realizes her savvy could be just the thing to save her father’s life.

The Beaumont and the preacher’s kids stow away on a pink Bible bus and set out on an unexpected journey that will change all of their lives.  Will they make it in time for Mibs to save Poppa?

I didn’t love this book.  It was a decent coming-of-age story about a girl who realizes she is no longer a child with some magic thrown in.  Being a Nebraska native, I wasn’t a fan of portrayal of Nebraskans either.  (I’ve never told anyone to “get frittered.”)

2009 Newbery Honor Book

2010-2011 Golden Sower Honor Book


Hank Zipzer: Niagara Falls- Or Does It? May 11, 2011

Hank Zipzer is supposed to write five paragraphs about his summer.  Five!  Impossible!  Instead, Hank comes up with a great idea.  Instead of doing a boring essay, he’ll build a working model of his summer vacation to Niagara Falls.  With the help of his friends Frankie and Ashley, he just might pull it off.  Or he might have a disaster on his hands.

This was a quick read that is funny but touches on the “learning differences” some students have that make a five paragraph essay seem impossible.  The main character had a great voice and the plot was authentic.  (Hank is the class clown to cover up his difficulties with school and his parents assume he doesn’t do well because he is lazy.)  This is a great book, especially for reluctant readers and boys.


Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King May 10, 2011

Please ignore Vera Dietz.  Please ignore Vera Dietz.  This is Vera’s mantra as she navigates her senior year of high school.  The book begins at her best friend Charlie’s funeral.  Vera knows things that led up to Charlie’s death, but she isn’t telling anyone.  Yet.  This is why Charlie must haunt her until she clears his name.  So Vera Dietz, high school senior and pizza delivery technician has to deal with her father, her job, and Jenny Flick and the other Detentionheads with a ghost breathing down her neck.

With an absentee mother and a dead friend, I was worried that this would be another formulaic teen novel, but Please Ignore Vera Dietz redeemed itself over and over.  I liked that Vera upheld her values, even when she was tempted to do otherwise and that she was a little rebellious without being obnoxious.   Vera was a likeable, realistic character and the pacing was well done.


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