Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More Sunshine State Young Reader books

This week I've been trying to finish up reading the new Sunshine State Young reader books.  This first one I liked a lot. It's called "Freaky Fast Frankie Joe" by Lutricia Clifton.  Frankie Joe lives in a trailer park and has lots of friends, all of whom are retirees.  Frankie Joe's mom has made some questionable choices and suddenly, Frankie Joe's dad is there to pick him up and take him to his house.  As they are driving, Frankie Joe finds out that his dad has remarried (actually, he never married Frankie Joe's mom) and has four sons there.  Frankie Joe finds that some things are better at his dad's house (Lizzie, Frankie Joe's stepmom is a great cook), most of the people are very nice and are willing to pay for Frankie Joe's speedy bicycle skills.  But some are not so great, including his oldest half brother.  Frankie Joe makes an elaborate plan to run away to get back to his mom.  But things change and so does Frankie Joe.  It would be great paired up with "The Pictures of Hollis Woods" by Patricia Reilly Giff or "One for the Murphys" by Lynda Mullaly Hunt.
Here's a book trailer about it. 

Another one that is on the Sunshine State Young reader list for next year is one I read last year called "The Hypontists" by Gordon Korman.  This is a new series that Gordon is writing about a boy named Jackson Opus.  Jax has always been able to get people to do what he wants them to which doesn't seem too surprising, until people begin to take Jax exactly at his word.  So if he says "Oh, go jump in a lake," THEY DO.  When Jax makes the connection between what he's been saying and other people's actions, he's really afraid.  He finds that there are other people like him (some scary and some successful) and one of them is pretty famous and is willing to help him learn how to use his powers.  Jax goes and starts learning how to use his powers but starts to wonder if Dr. Elias Mako is really using his powers for good.  It's a really exciting mystery story with big themes of power and how you use it, loyalty, and friendship.  I liked this one a lot and it would be great middle grade and probably middle school fiction.    Here's a bit of Gordon Korman reading from the book. 

And here's a bit of a chat with him about the book.  

"A Snicker of Magic" by Natalie Lloyd is the last entry into the Sunshine State Young Reader pool that I'm going to review.  I read this one last year as well and I really loved it.  I'm so glad to see it's getting recognized.  This one is a really fun read.  It's about Felicity who loves words and sees them everywhere.  Her mom has been cursed with a nomadic heart and has been leading Felicity and her sister all over the US.  They have finally returned to her mom's home town, Midnight Gulch, where things used to be magical but are no longer.  Felicity believes that her luck is about to change and she's right, things are about to change in a really big way.  The language in this story is amazing and you can't help rooting for Felicity and her family.  Here's a little book trailer that shows what the story is about.

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