5 Books for Your Adventurous Elementary-Schooler

I’m over on the Washington Independent today with 5 book reviews perfect for your elementary-schooler!

These titles are perfect to grab this week for your young reader to enjoy this weekend or during the upcoming holiday breaks! Having trouble with your kids getting interested in reading? Follow these steps: read my reviews, order one that is similar to their interest and read it with them!

Happy reading!

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Book Review: What Alice Forgot

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

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  • Cost- $16.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 496
  • Star Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- YES!

 

Synopsis: Alice awakes from a fall during her spin class to a room full of strangers. Or are they? After being taken to the hospital she realizes that she can’t seem to remember many things except that she is a newlywed to Nick and is pregnant with her first baby. Yet, her husband isn’t at the hospital waiting for her or calling to check on her. It is then revealed that she is suffering from a great deal of memory loss, a great deal as in 10 years of her life.

Things I liked: I was hesitant about this book at first. I thought it be yet another simple easy-to-read fiction. I assumed it was just another, as I call them, “beach read” with nothing to take away from it just pure entertainment. Happy to report, I couldn’t be more wrong. This book made me think about my life in so many different ways. Who doesn’t compare one’s current self to the younger self we were ten years ago? Ten years younger without the increased amount of stress, without the aging worries, without ten years of debt, without ten years of making or trying to have children, a lot of life happens over ten years. And what about if all those memories and life lessons were just gone one day?

Would your younger self approve of your current self? Would you even like yourself? What decisions would you find yourself regretting? What things have you lost over that time period? What new things are you happy with? These are all questions Alice finds herself not only asking but having to live in a very blunt way.

The author takes each of these personal lessons Alice goes through and makes you feel them right along with her. You’ll find yourself annoyed with her, feeling sad with her and contrarily routing for her. Prepare to be emotionally invested in this novel.

I will avoid any spoilers but the ending was just magical.

Things I didn’t like: The beginning was a bit slow and then I was completely hooked. You won’t be able to put this book down once you’re about half way through. Also, there’s one character (the adopted grandmother) that is a narrator throughout the book that I found confusing. I’m not sure if it was necessary to make this character a narrator as after I finished I couldn’t understand her role.

Book Review: Dreaming in English

Dreaming in English by Laura Fitzgerald
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  • Cost- $16.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 432
  • Star Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- YES!

Synopsis: This book is a sequel to Veil of Roses you can read my review here.  Author Laura Fitzgerald states that she didn’t intend Veil of Roses to have a sequel but due to an outpouring request from fans of the book wanting to know more about Tami’s journey. Fitzgerald even dedicates this book to her readers- very thoughtful. Here’s the thing- sequels are tricky. I was so excited to read this book that when it flashed back to the original book, I skimmed those parts- but they are necessary. I was ready for the meat of the story! The first book ends with Tami succeeding in getting married before her three-month tourist visa expires. This book follows her journey to receive full citizenship with her new husband so she doesn’t end up back in Iran.

Things I liked: The twist and turns in this book are wonderful. They are realistic and keep you reading on the edge of your seat. As a reader you want so badly for Tami to have an easy life, but it’s anything but. Her struggles are real and she deals with them with such class, optimism and passion. She is a great female role model!

Things I didn’t like: Like I mentioned before, I was a little bored during the recaps, but that was probably because I read both books back-to-back. If the time gap was larger, they would be mindful refresher. That’s honestly my only minor dislike.

After reading these two books, they have become my all time favorite books. And Fitzgerald is now one of my favorite authors!

Book Review: This is Where I Leave You

This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Trooper

 thisiswhereileaveyou

  • Cost- $16.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 339
  • Star Rating- 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- Maybe

Synopsis: The father of four adult children passes away and his last wish is for his family to sit shiva together, which is basically the Jewish version of a week long viewing. This means the whole family stays under the same roof for seven whole days, which is when the entire book takes place. You travel with each quirky character as they deal with their own personal issues, family dilemmas all while also grieving for the lose of their father.

Things I liked: If you were a fan of the show Arrested Development, you will love this book. You can’t read this book with a serious mind frame. It’s dry and sarcastic. My girlfriend read with a serious tone and did not find it as humorous as I did. I really enjoyed all the characters especially, the mother with her boob job, short skirts and the openness she has with her children about sex. If you think you have a crazy family, meet the Foxman clan and you’ll realize things could be worse.

Things I didn’t like: Clearly this book was written by a man. The tone is different throughout the entire book during sex scenes and how the characters describe women, love and lust. It is abundantly clear when the author dedicates an entire page to describing how it feels to be kicked in the testicles. Basically ladies, it hurts.

Disclaimer: I’m not a fan of books that become movies, I read this as part of my monthly book club and I probably won’t see the movie. Although, it would be date night movie, because the man in your life would enjoy it.

Book Review: Veil of Roses

Veil of Roses by Laura Fitzgerald

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Stats:

  • Cost- $13.00
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 307
  • Star Rating- 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- Yes

Synposis: Main character, Tamila Soroush lives in Iran and is a dreamer, in a country that doesn’t encourage dreaming. Her parents want a better life for her so they purchase her a one way ticket to America where her sister lives. Once she steps foot on American soil she has exactly three months unit her Visa expires and has one goal to focus on. Finding an Iranian-American to marry so she can stay in the country and receive a green card. The book takes place over her three-month stay. Think Sex and the City, rated PG13 meets Iranian arranged marriages. Enticing, right?

Things I liked: I adored the main character, Tami and her fearless journey into the unknown. I love the education you gain about what it’s like being a woman in Iran versus America. How we can buy lacy bras in Victorias Secret with no shame, hold hands with our significant other in public, fall in love with anyone male or female and even go for a walk alone. This book isn’t just a love story, it’s a story about being a woman and going after what you want.

Things I didn’t like: Not to be cliche, but honestly the thing I didn’t like about the book was that it leaves you wanting more. The book ends at a pivotal point for Tami and I finished with my jaw dropped that it was the end. This is the type of book you will want to gift to every female that you know.

Nerd Alert: I loved this book so much, I wrote to the author and expressed my thoughts. She replied that she was thrilled I discovered her work via a used book sale at my local library. The best news is that there is a sequel to Tami’s story called Dreaming in English, which I am now currently reading.

Book Review: Eleanor and Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Stats:

  • Cost- $18.99
  • Category- Fiction
  • Page Count- 325
  • Star Rating- 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommend to a friend- Yes- An adult.

Synopsis: Eleanor has a troubled home life, is the new girl at school and stands out with her vibrant red curly hair and unusual way of dressing. She meets Park and in the classic high school style- they fall for each other. The book follows their journey to be together amongst criticism at school and hiding it from Eleanor’s family over the duration of their junior year.

Things I liked: The characters were wonderful and relatable! I was in high school during the 90s which is when this story takes place and the author looks about my age, which makes sense. Park’s father was one of my favorite characters. He has this style of being hard on Park but the amount of love he has for his family is so heart warming. Eleanor is also a wonderful character. She’s different and doesn’t hide it or try to conform even during some harsh high school moments. The ending was really, really great. I often get nervous about endings in love stories but this one left me satisfied.

Things I didn’t like: I started reading this on a whim because my 12 year old step-daughter wanted to read it and we read the same books as a way to bond- it’s lovely. This book I believe was too mature for her age. Sure, she probably watched things worse on television but reading it and being invested in this book is different in my eyes. The language is vulgar. The bullying is mean and there isn’t really a lesson within the bullying theme. But it’s not a book about bullying- it’s a love story. I also think the relationship is too mature for her to read. As I mentioned, Eleanor has a troubled home live and I found it a pretty serious issue in the book. The ending did elude to a happy conclusion for the family- but again was only eluded.

I think this book is more appropriate for high school readers not middle school, but that is just my opinion. I would recommend this book to an adult friend around my age because it’s like reliving our high school days in the 90s for the good or the bad.

Find out more of what I’m reading by connecting with me on GoodReads!