Middle Grade Review – A Rambler Steals Home by Carter Higgins

A Rambler Steals Home by Carter Higgins, HMH Books for Young Readers (February 2017), Advanced Reader’s Copy courtesy of NetGalley (all opinions are my own)


So beautifully written, A Rambler Steals Home is a joy to read with its poetic language. Derby and her family are ramblers, but each summer they settle down beside the James Edward Allen Gibbs stadium in Ridge Creek and call it home for the summer. But this year, not everything has stayed the same in their absence, and Derby needs to find a way to tweak her image of home while helping others do the same.

This was such a touching, poignant and heartwarming story that captures summer in a small town. I loved the rich characters and quote worthy descriptions, and was disappointed the story was done so soon. I would definitely recommend this book, especially for a summer read.

4/5 stars

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser, HMH Books for Young Readers (October 3, 2017), Advanced Reader’s Copy courtesy of NetGalley

I read a lot of middle grade fiction. It’s probably my favorite genre. And it isn’t often that I can tell that a book is going to be special before the first chapter is even over, but this is one of those books.

This is the story of the Vanderbeeker family, who have lived in a brownstone in Harlem for several years, and have built a wonderful community of friends and neighbours. A few days before Christmas, they discover that their landlord, Mr. Beiderman, has decided not to renew their lease and expects them to vacate their apartment before the end of the month.

The Vanderbeeker children – Isa, Jessie, Hyacinth, Oliver and Laney – are determined to do whatever it takes to change Mr. Beiderman’s mind and stay in their beloved apartment. Their plans, schemes and ideas are delightful, but don’t pan out the way they hope, and time is running out. Will they get the Christmas miracle they need to stay in their home?

This is a heart-warming book, with a similar feel to The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. I can hardly wait until its release in October so I can share it with young patrons to enjoy before the holiday season. And even better…there’s a sequel on its way in 2018.

5/5 stars

Moon Shadow by Erin Downing

Moon Shadow by Erin Downing,  Aladdin (May 16, 2017) Ages 8 +             Advanced Reader’s Copy courtesy of NetGalley

The cover of Erin Downing’s new book, Moon Shadow, was the first thing that caught my eye. It’s gorgeous. I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I do, and when I saw that NetGalley had this book available, I immediately requested it.

Thirteen-year-old Lucia Frank is struggling with the changes that have happened to her over the past few months. Her parents divorced and her mom has temporarily moved to Sweden to be with her new girlfriend. Her former best friend, Velvet, wants nothing to do with her, and refuses to let her hang out with their mutual friend, Will. Her old sister, Romy, is distant, and her Dad doesn’t want to go out anymore. Nothing is the same as it used to be.

Then Lucia’s thirteen birthday takes place the night of the lunar eclipse, and strange things start to happen. Lucia has these weird dreams where she imagines she’s someone she’s not…daring, bold, and outspoken. But Lucia soon discovers these may not actually be dreams, and the moon magic might be affecting her in unexpected ways. How can she get things back to normal again, and does she really want to?

I really enjoyed this book, and think it’s magical realism will appeal to many readers who like a “touch of magic” in the books they read.  I like that Lucia learns what real friendship means, and discovers the power of her own voice.

4/5 stars