Review: Miles Morales

32793053

Title: Miles Morales
Author: Jason Reynolds
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Marvel
Source: Library
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Everyone gets mad at hustlers, especially if you’re on the victim side of the hustle. And Miles knew hustling was in his veins.”

Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He’s even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he’s Spider Man. But lately, Miles’s spidey-sense has been on the fritz. When a misunderstanding leads to his suspension from school, Miles begins to question his abilities. After all, his dad and uncle were Brooklyn jack-boys with criminal records. Maybe kids like Miles aren’t meant to be superheroes. Maybe Miles should take his dad’s advice and focus on saving himself. As Miles tries to get his school life back on track, he can’t shake the vivid nightmares that continue to haunt him. Nor can he avoid the relentless buzz of his spidey-sense every day in history class, amidst his teacher’s lectures on the historical “benefits” of slavery and the importance of the modern-day prison system. But after his scholarship is threatened, Miles uncovers a chilling plot, one that puts his friends, his neighborhood, and himself at risk. It’s time for Miles to suit up.

Review:

I love Jason Reynolds, and I think my expectations for this novel were too high. It wasn’t as good as I expected.

Jason Reynolds usually writes books about some kind of social and racial injustice. This theme wasn’t as prevalent in this book. There were some things that happened, such as Miles being treated unfairly by their racist teacher, but I hoped it would have been a larger theme in the book. It would have been a great way to tie Miles to the real world.

I didn’t like Spider-Man’s mission and enemies in this story. I won’t spoil the ending and tell you what happened, but the story could have been much more exciting. Some things were just silly and unnecessary, such as the presence of the cats. I didn’t understand the meaning of them.

I was also a little lost in the beginning, because I’ve never read a Miles Morales story before. I hoped there would be some introduction to him in the story. We do find out how he became Spider-Man, but I still had questions about his life. For example, why does he go to an expensive private school when his parents can’t afford it? They are struggling to pay their bills, and I don’t see any special reason that he attends that school. I wish things were explained better.

I was disappointed in this story, but fans of Miles Morales comics may like it better.

What to read next:

  • Runaways by Christopher Golden

  • 34849190.jpg
  • Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

  • 29749090-4.jpg

Have you read Miles Morales? What did you think?

Review: A Wrinkle in Time

33574273-3.jpg

Title: A Wrinkle in Time
Author: Madeleine L’Engle
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract”.

Meg’s father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

Review:

This is a great story! I can see why it’s a classic.

This book reminded me of other classics, such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz. In both of those stories, the main characters go on journeys through strange, fantastic lands, to find their way back home. Meg Murry also goes on a journey through fantastic lands, but it is to get her father back and then return home.

Though this story is more than 50 years old, it can be read today without a problem. There aren’t too many objects in it which point to the time period in which it was written, so it could just as easily be taking place today. The only thing I noticed that is mentioned is a typewriter, which would be replaced with a computer today. Other than that, the story could be written and read today!

Have you read this book? What did you think?

Review: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High (DC Super Hero Girls #1)

27245995.jpg

Title: Wonder Woman at Super Hero High (DC Super Hero Girls #1)
Author: Lisa Yee
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Random House
Source: Library
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

This groundbreaking new middle grade series follows DC Comics’ most iconic female Super Heroes and Super-Villains . . . as high schoolers. At Super Hero High, the galaxy’s most powerful teens nurture their powers and master the fundamentals of what it means to be a hero.

Review:

This is a great book for young fans of DC Comics!

This is the first book in the DC Super Hero Girls middle grade series. It introduces Wonder Woman, who has just been selected to attend Super Hero High. I loved her! She’s a unique character. She takes everything that people say literally. When they tell her to take a seat, she actually picks up a chair.

This story also featured other DC Comics favourite characters, such as Lois Lane, Barbara Gordon, and, my personal favourite, Harley Quinn.

I really enjoyed the story, even though it is written for middle grade audience. There was a great mystery when Wonder Woman was getting anonymous threats at school.

There were some typos in the story, including spelling Wonder Woman’s name wrong. This is a big problem when the book is aimed at early readers, because they are just learning to read and could get confused. But I still liked the story.

What to read next:

  • Supergirl at Super Hero High (DC Super Hero Girls #2)
    27405470.jpg
  • DC Super Hero Girls: Date with Disaster!
    35939539.jpg

Have you read this book or this series? What did you think?

Review: How To Be a Supervillain: Born To Be Good

36204263

Title: How To Be a Supervillain: Born To Be Good
Author: Michael Fry
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: jimmy patterson
Source: Library
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

A sequel has never been this good…at being bad! In this highly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling How to Be a Supervillain, Victor Spoil must save the world from an evil scheme to enslave the superheroes and villains–to his parents’ utter disappointment.

Victor Spoil hates the Junior Super Academy. It makes him cranky–and his parents couldn’t be prouder, because supervillains aren’t meant to be nice. Until Victor confesses he wants to leave and become a librarian. The horror!

But when superheroes and villains–including his parents–start disappearing, only a dedicated do-gooder like Victor can track them down. He discovers that the supers are being captured to square off against aliens in gladiator-like shows. And unlike the scripted fights that the supers usually sign up for, these battles are to the death!

Victor and his fellow super students must join together and harness their super powers to battle this dastardly mega-villain. But to be a hero, Victor finally has to embrace his inner villain. Will he be able to stoop that low?

Review:

This series is so funny. Victor is the son of super villains, but he doesn’t want to be a villain. In the first book, he learned that his super power is tickling. It’s not a very ferocious power for a super villain.

In this book, Victor decides that he doesn’t want to be a super villain, and wants to be a librarian instead. But before he can quit being a super, all of the parents of kids at the super academy disappear. Victor has to work with his friends and his mentor, the Smear, to get them back.

This was a very funny book. The narrative is interspersed with pictures, like a graphic novel. This format reminds me of the Captain Underpants books. The super villain characters with odd powers reminded me of the Incredibles. This book would be great for fans of both Captain Underpants and The Incredibles.

Have you read this series? What did you think of it?

Review: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

78411.jpg

Title: The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)
Author: Lemony Snicket
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Library
Release Date: September 30, 1999
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dear Reader,

I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Review:

I can’t believe this book is almost twenty years old! I first read the series years ago, and I’ve wanted to reread the whole series for a while. I’m finally doing it, and I’m going to read them in order this time (when I was little, I had to read whichever one was available at the library).

I love the writing style in this series. The author, Lemony Snicket, who is a character himself, speaks directly to the reader throughout the book. My favourite parts were when he would explain what a word meant. When I was little, I usually knew the word, and sometimes his definitions were funny, depending on the situation. As an adult reader, I still found this meta-narrative funny.

I also love that the Beaudelaire children are very resourceful. As the series progresses, their problems become more and more complex. This first book is fairly short, but I remember being surprised at how they defeated their horrible guardian, Count Olaf.

The new Netflix TV series of A Series of Unfortunate Events is very good. It even has some surprises for fans of the books, though it does stay faithful to the stories.

Have you read this series? What did you think of it?

Review: Clara Voyant

36592401.jpg

Title: Clara Voyant
Author: Rachelle Delaney
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Clara can’t believe her no-nonsense grandmother has just up and moved to Florida, leaving Clara and her mother on their own for the first time. This means her mother can finally “follow her bliss,” which involves moving to a tiny apartment in Kensington Market, working at a herbal remedy shop and trying to develop her so-called mystical powers. Clara tries to make the best of a bad situation by joining the newspaper staff at her new middle school, where she can sharpen her investigative journalistic skills and tell the kind of hard-news stories her grandmother appreciated. But the editor relegates her to boring news stories and worse . . . the horoscopes.

Worse yet, her horoscopes come true, and soon everyone at school is talking about Clara Voyant, the talented fortune-teller. Clara is horrified–horoscopes and clairvoyance aren’t real, she insists, just like her grandmother always told her. But when a mystery unfolds at school, she finds herself in a strange situation: having an opportunity to prove herself as an investigative journalist . . . with the help of her own mystical powers.

Review:

I really liked this middle grade novel!

This story is set in Toronto, in Kensington Market. It’s a quirky area of the city, so it is perfect for Clara’s mystical mother.

I liked the twist on the story when Clara had to write horoscopes. She didn’t want to write them because she didn’t want to be like her mother, and then she was shocked when they started coming true! She was given the nickname Clara Voyant, but she suspected it was probably just a coincidence that her horoscopes came true.

One thing I would have liked to see more of was Clara’s grandmother. Clara used to live with her grandmother, but she recently moved to Florida. Her grandmother was so busy having fun at her new home that she didn’t even answer Clara’s phone calls! I found that strange, and I wish she would have communicated with Clara or visited her.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Tara Takes the Stage

36373349-2.jpg

Title: Tara Takes the Stage
Author: Tamsin Lane
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

There are many ways this story can go. YOU decide what happens next. And if you don’t like how it ends? Just start again! The Yes No Maybe So series is an interactive reading experience about friendships, family, and all the feelings.

Every day before and after school, Tara Singh helps her parents at their Indian sweet shop, but the only business Tara is interested in is show business. When a local theater announces a casting call for The Wizard of Oz, Tara is determined to wear the ruby slippers.

As she prepares for the audition, Tara is distracted by some unexpected drama: There is Rohan, the delivery boy her parents hired. Hiro, her forever crush, who wants to rehearse with her. And Desmond, a shy theater nerd who has started lighting up her heart. Can Tara win the part and get the guy?

You have the power to choose what happens…and the chance to choose differently next time!

Review:

This is a great story. It is similar to a “choose your own adventure” book, but it has less choices. The story takes two paths: either Tara will go to her audition or she will go to a wedding. So the endings are limited, and both positive.

I liked that Tara was conflicted between helping her family and following her dreams of acting. This is a very real conflict. However, I had one problem with the story. Tara auditions for the role of Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. When she was auditioning and talking about the part, no one mentioned that Tara is Indian, so she doesn’t look like the character of Dorothy. It was great for Tara that she didn’t face this obstacle, but I don’t think it’s realistic. In real life, someone probably would have commented on Tara playing a role that is usually played by a white girl.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s a great middle grade book!