Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

November 14, 2011

My Name is Mina

By David Almond
Rating: 4 stars

In Almond's wonderful book, Skellig, the boy Michael meets his unusual neighbor, Mina.  In this prequel to Skellig, we learn all about Mina's story.  Mina thinks outside of the box and questions everything in the universe with true wonder.  However, her propensity to wonder and question ends up causing her to not fall into line properly at school.  She has no real friends and while she can do great work, she also can do just the opposite.  When one day she takes a very serious test at school a bit less seriously than the teacher and principal do, her mother decides to homeschool her.  And so Mina keeps a journal of her homeschooling life, where she learns more than math or science or grammar--instead she also learns that she has to grow up a little bit and to not blame others for her problems because sometimes, a person has to learn to be brave.  And a person has to learn how to be a friend.  It is a story that will make readers to some of their own wondering, and perhaps, bring them to read the next book, Skellig.

November 08, 2011


By Sarah Weeks
Rating: 4 1/4 stars

The tiny town of Ipswitch is famous for one thing: Alice's aunt Polly's shop named Pie.  Polly's pies are so wonderful, she has won 13 Blueberry medals for best pie, an unprecedented achievement.  Then Polly dies unexpectedly, and in her will, she leaves her secret pie crust recipe to Lardo, her mean cat, and leaves Lardo to Alice.  As Alice grieves over her beloved aunt, she finds that how everyone around her reacts to the death seems much more selfish.  Then Lardo disappears and someone trashes Polly's shop--are they looking for the pie crust recipe?  Alice, with the help of her new friend Charlie, begins to investigate, but is her imagination just running away with her?  Is Lardo really the key to the pie crust recipe? But as time passes, Alice discovers that what her aunt always believed was the truth--that it is what you love, and your family and friends, that are the real treasures.  A wonderful story about family, friends and pie, with a healthy dose of mystery.  Readers will enjoy this fun tale and the quick-moving plot.