My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Beauty and the Beast


Title: My Rotten Stepbrother Ruined Beauty and the Beast
Author: Jerry Mahoney
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Stone Arch Books
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

It’s Halloween and Maddie wants to dress up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Her stepbrother, Holden, decides he will be the Beast. But when his costume is too gruesome, their parents make him change into a suit and call himself a lawyer instead. Once they return from the Halloween party, Holden notices that their Beauty and the Beast story on his iPad has changed. The Beast still looks like a beast at the end, instead of the handsome prince that he is supposed to change into. They both enter the story, Maddie as Belle and Holden as a lawyer, to try to save the fairytale. 

This is a good story. Holden often points out the negative parts of the story, such as Belle having Stockholm syndrome and the Beast’s vanity. This shows young readers that you have to read everything critically, even beloved fairytales. 

This story is a cute adventure for middle grade readers. 

How To Be A Supervillain


Title: How To Be A Supervillain
Author: Michael Fry
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: jimmy patterson 
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Victor Spoil has supervillain parents called The Spoil Sports. But Victor is too good. They want him to be more evil so he will be a supervillain too. They hire the villain “The Smear” to teach Victor how to be bad. The Smear’s super power is making stains that won’t come out. He takes Victor to a fight he has scheduled against MegaMole. Along the way, Victor meets Octavia who is traveling with MegaMole to learn how to be a superhero. Octavia’s parents think she’s too bad to be a good superhero. Just like Victor, she doesn’t behave the way her parents want her to. All battles between heroes and villains are scheduled and scripted. They know who is going to win before it even begins. But The Smear is tired of losing. He wants to win this time. He travels around with Victor, battling many superheroes and teaching Victor how to be a supervillain. 

This story is so funny. I love all the rules the superheroes and villains had to follow, like having their fights scripted beforehand. The powers they have are also ridiculous, like being able to create stains that can’t be removed. It’s also funny that Victor is too nice and polite to be a supervillain. The typical story of the “bad” child is reversed with the child being too good. 

This book reminded me of Captain Underpants because of the crazy plot and the illustrations within the story. Captain Underpants was one of my favourite series when I was a kid. 

I really enjoyed this unique plot. It’s a great, funny read for middle grade readers and their parents. 

The Crowns of Croswald

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Title: The Crowns of Crosswalk
Author: D.E. Night
Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Fantasy
Publisher: Stories Untold Press
Release Date: July 21, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Ivy Lovely was a scaldrony maid. The scaldrons are dragons that cook the food in the kitchen of the castle. When one of them gets sick, Ivy is kicked out of the castle. Then, she finds that her belongings have been left outside for her, along with a note from her friend Rimbrick, a dwarf. He is sending her to the Halls of Ivy, a school for royals and scrivenists. Ivy will be a scrivenist, a person who writes and works for a royal family. They have some magic in them, but not as much as the royals. When Ivy arrives at the school, she realizes she has always dreamt of this place. She knows things that others don’t. She is able to remember things that everyone else has forgotten. Ivy has to use her special powers to save the Halls of Ivy and all of Croswald.

This book is a lot like Harry Potter. Ivy had a unique upbringing in a place that did not welcome her. Then she suddenly found out she had special powers and was sent to a magic school. Unlike Harry Potter, Ivy doesn’t know her family history, so it remains a mystery for the reader too.

I found it hard to get into this book for the first couple of chapters because there were so many strange things, such as the scaldrons and the hairies (creatures that create light). But once Ivy went to the school, it started to make sense.

I enjoyed this book. It’s a great start to a new series.

Sisters


Title: Sisters
Author: Raina Telgemeier 
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: August 26, 2014
Rating: ★★★★

Raina and Amara are sisters. They go on a road trip with their mom and younger brother, Will, from California to Colorado for a family reunion. There are flashbacks throughout the story of their relationship. When Raina was little she asked for a sister and then she got one. But she wasn’t the best friend she thought she would get. Amara cried and whined a lot, and she didn’t want to do the same things Raina liked. They also had to share a room. They had different opinions on pets, with Amara wanting a snake and Raina being terrified of them. When Raina gets her own room, Amara is finally given a snake for a pet. But it needs to be fed live mice which their mother doesn’t want to do. They take it back to the pet store but it slithers out of the bag and into the car, disappearing for a long time. In the end, Raina and Amara have to learn that though they don’t get along all the time, they have a special sister relationship. 

This is a really funny graphic novel. It’s the follow up to the book Smile, which is about Raina getting braces. This story also deals with think that kids experience, such as wanting a sibling and going on family road trips. Neither of these things turn out as planned either, since Raina and Amara don’t get along, and they don’t have a good time on the trip. 

Though I don’t have any sisters, I really enjoyed this book. It’s very funny, and has Raina Telgemeier’s familiar style. I hope she makes other follow up stories. 

The Truth About Stacey (Baby Sitters Club Graphic Novel #2)


Title: The Truth About Stacey (Baby Sitters Club Graphic Novel #2)
Author: Raina Telgemeier, Ann M. Martin
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Rating: ★★★★★

Stacey McGill has diabetes. she has to go to New York City for a lot of appointments. Her parents want her to go to a special doctor who they’ve seen on TV. But Stacey wants a second opinion. Meanwhile, the BSC has new competition, The Baby Sitters Agency. The Agency has older sitters who can stay out later, driving away some of the BSC’s clients. The girls have to come up with a clever way to save the BSC.

This story deals with the serious issue of Stacey’s diabetes. Though she was ashamed of it at first, the baby sitters accept her when they find out. They don’t think it’s a big deal, though Stacey was afraid they wouldn’t like her when they found out. Stacey also demonstrates her maturity and independence by taking her health into her own hands when she tells her parents she wants to see a different doctor from the one she picked out.

The babysitters have to be very creative when trying to save their club. They learn that the truth is the best policy, when they have to expose the secrets of the Baby Sitters Agency when a child is in danger.

This graphic novel is another great adaptation of the original Baby Sitters Club.

Thea Stilton and the Hollywood Hoax

Title: Thea Stilton and the Hollywood Hoax
Author: Thea Stilton
Genre: Middle Grade, Children
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

The Thea Sisters return in this mystery. They go to Hollywood to visit Jenna, their friend, and her sister Terri, who works at a film studio. They get to visit the set of The Powerpaw Mouselets. They watch some filming, including scenes with the famous Johnny Ratt. But one night when Terri is working late, she is locked in a closet and the film is stolen. Meanwhile, the princess of Mousitania has gone missing. The Thea Sisters have to help Terri find the missing film so she doesn’t lose her job, as well as keeping an eye out for the princess.

Like the other books, there are many mouse references. They say other mice are “squeaking” instead of “speaking,” and their investigation has “more holes than a slice of  Swiss.” There are also mouse versions of celebrities. The famous actor is Johnny Ratt instead of Johnny Depp, and the director of a movie is Ratatino rather than Tarantino. They also pass the Mouselor on the street, who is like the Bachelor.

This was a clever mystery. I couldn’t figure out what happened and was surprised at it. This is a good story, which would be great for middle grade readers!

Smile


Title: Smile
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Graphic Novel
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: February 1, 2010
Rating: ★★★★★

Raina is going to get braces. They have to alter the plan when she falls and knocks one of her front teeth out and the other is slammed into her head. After getting those teeth fixed, she has a root canal. Then, she gets the braces but they don’t fix her front teeth. So her orthodontist decides to remove her front teeth completely and use the braces to bring her other teeth together to fill in the gap. All this happens, and she’s only 13-years-old. Raina also has to face bullying at school, that has to do with her unusual dental situation.

This is a true story about the author. I squirmed through a lot of the book. There were some graphic descriptions (and images) of her dental problems. I can’t imagine what this was like to go through, but now she has a beautiful smile and an incredible story to share!

This book would be great for kids who are getting braces or other serious dental work done. They probably aren’t having the same amount of extensive work that Raina had, so reading about someone who had a lot more dental problems could calm them down. Also it shows a character in a book who has braces, which isn’t demonstrated much in young adult graphic novels.