Bethany's Readers' Advisory

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

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary March 31, 2012

Filed under: children's realistic fiction,youth fiction — Bethany @ 10:59 am
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Ramona Quimby is starting kindergarten.  She loves her teacher, Miss Binney, and she loves school.  She never tries to be a pest.  But things don’t always go the way she plans.  During rest time, Ramona tries to show that she is the best rester in the class by letting out a delicate snore.  Her snore gives the class the giggles and she is not chosen as the Wake Up Fairy.  When Ramona just wants to touch her classmate’s think, springy curls, she has to sit on the bench during recess.  One day Ramona goes too far and she has to decide whether she can be good or become a kindergarten drop-out.

I have fond memories of Ramona from my childhood, so I decided to revisit it.  She is just as smart, funny, and quirky as I remembered.  The Ramona series should be a must-read for all children.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Hazel’s lungs suck at being lungs.  Even though a miracle drug has kept her alive for the past few years, she knows a long life is not going to happen for her.  Then a welcome distraction comes into the cancer support group her parents maker her attend.  Enter Augustus Waters, a good-looking guy with a prosthetic leg and a crooked smile.  Hazel and Augustus have an instant connection.  But the perks for Cancer Kids don’t last forever.

Be prepared- this is a tear jerker.  It’s an excellent book, as we’ve come to expect from author John Green.  Intelligent, witty characters with a sense of humor and, of course, a road trip.  Just don’t expect a happy ending.


Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler March 22, 2012

“You either have the feeling or you don’t.”  This is written on the top of the box that Min is taking to Ed, the popular jock.  Inside the box are all of the mementos from their relationship.  Min is giving him these things; each one represents why they broke up.

The reader knows right away that Min and Ed did not belong together.  Min likes classic films, Ed plays basketball.  But they meet at a party and have an adventure-filled first date.  Min is different than all of the other girls Ed has dated.  She will not have her heart broken like the others… will she?

This book was too predictable, too formulaic.  The artwork was fun and added a unique element to the book, but not enough to save it from the ho-hum characters and plot.  I finished the book, but it was a struggle.

2012 Printz Award honor book

2 out of 5 stars


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Filed under: adult drama,adult mystery — Bethany @ 12:57 pm
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The circus arrives in town.  There are no advertisements, no advance notice.  It simply appears in an empty field.  But this is unlike any other circus- it is only open at night.  It is not bright and colorful- everything from the costumes, to the tents, even the bonfire is black and white. It is Le Cirque des Reves.

There is more to this circus than what its enchanted patrons see.  It is the venue for a competition between two young illusionists, Marco and Celia.  They were bound to the game when they were just children, not old enough to understand the stakes.  They finally discover they are competitors, that the game ends when only one of them is left standing.  But by then, it is too late.  They are deeply in love and must decide how far they are willing to go to be together.

This was a magical book- full of mystery, suspense, and even a little romance.  I enjoyed the fantastical elements as well as the characters’ interactions with each other and the descriptions of the circus.  I was intrigued by The Night Circus, hoping it had the drama and mystery of the HBO series, Carnivale.  It did not disappoint.

5 out of 5 stars


Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson March 10, 2012

The last thing Amy Curry wants to do is get in a car.  Her dad died and her mother moved from their home in California to Connecticut.  Amy is the last one to leave their childhood home, but she can’t bear to get behind the wheel and drive the family car where it needs to go.  Her mother comes up with what she believes to be the perfect plan- her friend’s nineteen-year-old son, Roger, will drive Amy across the country.  Roger, on his way to Philadelphia to stay with his father for the summer, is unexpectedly cute and has some emotional baggage of his own.  What’s a girl to do?

Once on the road, Amy and Roger decide to stray from her mother’s carefully planned itinerary and take an epic detour.  They drive the Loneliest Road in America, cross the Kansas Plains, and visit Graceland.  Along the way, Amy gains an unexpected friend to help her let go of the past and get closer to the person she used to be.

Finally, a good book!  The last few books I read were not great, so I was excited to have a quick, enjoyable read in my hands.  Amy and Roger were both likable characters, there was good character development, and the plot was fun yet believable.  There was only one part near the end that didn’t seem to fit with the rest of the book.  I would recommend this to teen girls looking for light drama, romance, and/or adventure by road trip.


Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea March 5, 2012

A young hippo has to show his dad how to do everything, including how to get dressed, how to get in the car, and how to give big hugs.

This one was very popular in Toddler Time.  I used it for the theme Getting Dressed, but it would work for a number of other themes as well.  I liked how it showed the little hippo doing things by himself.  The illustrations were wonderful.



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