Mini Reviews

Yup, I'm back with more mini reviews. I like this for when I start to feel a "backlog" -- or want to say something about a book, without really doing a "whole" review. And since the purpose of this blog is to have fun and share my thoughts on what I'm reading, I get to do whatever it takes to stay fun. Plus you get a handful of very different titles in one day!

The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail
Richard Peck
Dial, 2013

This book is almost ridiculously cute. A little nameless mouse ("Nameless is blameless," he hears it all the time), with a question mark of a tail. A scrappy mouse, a mysterious mouse. A mouse on a mission: to see the Queen. Yes, the human Queen Victoria. But along the way, there are some misadventures and unfortunate encounters. Like bats, and a swim in strawberry punch. And discovering that everything he thought about the world is just one big front for a huge, life changing discovery. Literally. Because it turns out, this little mouse isn't so nameless after all.

An incredibly cute, fun read for upper elementary/early middle grades. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and remembered all the reasons I used to love reading Peck when I was younger. (I think I'm old enough to return to him now, to paraphrase CS Lewis wholly out of context). And the illustrations! Such wonderful additions to an already fun story. I especially liked the full-color pages.

Book provided by my local library.

Paul Rudnick
Scholastic, 2013

I heard about this book during a School Library Journal web conference over the summer, and was intrigued - even though I wasn't entirely sure what I'd be reading. The book is weird. In a mostly good way, but still weird. It feels like a lot of shifting smoke and mirrors, with a little firework-flash thrown in for good measure. Nobody is quite who they seem. There are twists and turns and fairly insane developments. But it works. Which is perhaps the weirdest bit of all: just how well it all works together.

Becky was always a plain girl, the one trying to sink into the background and escape notice. When her mother dies, she finds herself inexplicably journeying to New York to meet with Tom Kelly - designer extraordinaire and standard of all things beautiful. He makes Becky a deal: he will turn her into the most beautiful woman in the world, if she'll wear three dresses. The catch? She's got to fall in love and be married within a short window of time. And he really does mean fall in love, not just snag some guy who wants to marry the most beautiful woman in the world. Rebecca gets right to the threshold of making everything come true, after a lot of misadventures and growth, and watches everything fall to ashes. Tom was teaching her more about Life than she realized, and there's more to both Tom and her life than Becky ever guessed. This is a crazy read, nowhere near realistic, but also darkly fun to read.

Book provided by my local library.

Lola and the Boy Next Door
Stephanie Perkins
Dutton, 2011

I thoroughly enjoyed Perkins's debut Anna and the French Kiss, and was very excited to finally get my hands on Lola. I was not disappointed: Lola is an endearingly chaotic 'heroine', in only good ways. She's a super creative girl, and has all the impetuous enthusiasm of seventeen. She makes mistakes, she misunderstands, she crashes. But she doesn't stay down. Especially with the help of her best friend Lindsey, and the surprising pick-back-up of childhood friend Cricket Bell. (Anna and St Clair also make a reappearance, and are voices of experience in Lola's ear. Plus St Clair is just fun!). How do I explain Cricket? He's awesome. Amazing. If not for the skinny pants, I'd be in love with him myself. He's not perfect, but his imperfections make him even more a long-legged puppy you can't help but adore. That's actually a pretty good summary of the book: On the surface, it seems just "too much" -- Lola never repeats an outfit/always dresses in costume; she's dating a much older, bad boy musician; etc. But it works. Because Lola is real, and all the characters could literally be walking down the street. It's life, in a book.

Book provided by my local library.


  1. Fun mini reviews! I haven't read any of these yet, but they're all on my TBR list. *Sigh* So many books, so little time ...

  2. I found Gorgeous just a bit weird as well-not sure what to expect when I picked it up and I found it hard to talk about but I'm really glad I gave it a shot.