Rapid Reviews is a new feature I’ll be doing for those books that I want to recognize without writing out long, full reviews. Often, these will be 3-star reviews that just didn’t grab me the way they seemed to grab everybody else.

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Quick Stats
Title: Girls Like Us
Author: Gail Giles
Pages: 210
Age Level: MG to YA
Illustrated: No
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Library

 

 

This book got a lot of rave reviews, and I can see why, but it didn’t resonate as strongly with me. It’s a fast read with many short chapters, told in alternating points of view of two girls, both recent graduates of a special education program, who are put into an apartment together and must learn to get along with each other and the world. The characters grow and it’s a great coming-of-age story. Part of my problem was the grammar (or lack thereof) of the narrators. It was the right choice for the story, just a peeve of mine. I’d still suggest it to patrons who are likely to connect with the characters.

18465566

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Quick Stats
Title: This One Summer
Author: Mariko Tamiki
Illustrator: Jillian Tamaki
Pages: 320
Age Level: MG to YA
Illustrated: Graphic Novel
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Library

 

 

I’m having a hard time finding the right adjective for this book, so instead, I’ll explain how it made me feel. It reminded me of growing up and away from younger friends, and trying to figure out how to grow up when the adults in your life have distanced themselves from the world. It reminded me of that summer crush on the older boy (ice cream shop in my case), the one you can’t see anything bad about. I think it’s simplicity of language and depth of illustration were spot on. Understated. That’s the world I’m looking for. Two national awards committees recognized it (Caldecott and Printz). Go, try it out. It won’t take long, you won’t regret it.

18894760

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Quick Stats
Title: Grasshopper Jungle
Author: Andrew Smith
Pages: 400
Age Level: Upper YA
Illustrated: No
Rating: 3 stars
Source: Library

 

 

This is the second Andrew Smith title I’ve read. I must say, I liked it better than the first. It isn’t really quite my thing, but I could see handing this to so many teenagers I know. This would be a great summer read. It’s long, but light most of the time. The language and the narrator are honest. He’s a historian after all, as he will tell you numerous times. The characters are great. The main character is quite confused sexually, and the I wavered between wanting to scream “make up your mind!” (mostly due to the effect he was having on others) and feeling that is was a great portrayal of someone who has a hard time fitting into the dichotomy that others impose. Add some giant killer bugs to everything else, and it’s a pretty good read with plenty of laugh out loud and cringe worthy moments.

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