It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/21/2019 #imwayr

Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give Kathryn’s (at Book Date) “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” meme a kidlit focus, reviewing books in children’s literature (picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, or anything in the world of kidlit). If you enjoy this type of reading, join us every Monday!

Pretty in Punxsatawney_RD3Pretty in Punxsutawney
Laurie Boyle Crompton
January 15, 2019

My thanks to NetGalley and Blink for releasing an e-ARC of this book to me before publication so I could offer an honest review. Pretty in Punxsutawney is the story of red-headed Andie whose family has just moved to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania (home of THE groundhog for Groundhog Day) the summer before her senior year of high school. Having spent her entire summer hanging out at the local theater, she knows exactly two people from her new school: Colton and Tom. Andie has a pretty strong crush on Colton and is elated when he offers to drive her to school on their very first day of school. The night before the big “first day of school,” Andie and her mom settle in to watch Pretty in Pink, one of her mom’s favorite movies (in fact, she is named after red-headed “Andie” in the movie). By the end of the infamous prom scene, something feels off. This uncomfortable feeling clings to Andie as she walks into her first day of school, frustrated over a wrong ending that should be remedied. What she soon discovers is that she will end up repeating this first day of school until she gets it right — including figuring out who she has real feelings for and what her primary purpose should be at Punxsutawney High.

This book really took me back to high school (for me, that was 1987-1991) mixing together all sorts of 80s and 90s memories and movies, such as: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, and, of course, Groundhog Day. There was plenty of discussion about the composition of each teenage clique (cheerleaders, goths, jocks, thespians, etc.) as Andie’s experiences reveal that we only judge one another harshly when we don’t understand and empathize with one another. After many attempts at her “first day of school,” Andie learns it is important to seek the best in everyone because we’re all fighting difficult battles. But how will she share this revelation with her entire class?

As the book is focused on the senior class of Punxsutawney High, this would be considered a very “clean” novel for that age group. The kids don’t use profanity, they’re not having sex or doing drugs, and basically everyone is shown to be a good human being, despite their personal struggles or salty personalities. There’s one party with underage drinking, one incident of sexual harassment, and the mention of a student struggling with bulimia. It’s mild enough that even middle schoolers will be able to read and enjoy it. NOTE: When you pick this book up, make sure you grab a box of Whoppers candy (it applies!) and maybe pop in some Cyndi Lauper background music.

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman
October 2, 2018
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

This book was seriously a nightmare! I grew up in an area of Texas where we often had water shortages and were regularly limited on our water usage throughout every summer (only water lawns on Tuesdays/Thursdays, etc.). I’m also very much aware of how little awareness we collectively have over environmental concerns and the effects on our rapidly changing climate. So this was so hard to read because of the horrific possibility of these events transpiring one day. Yet simultaneously, it was so hard to put down because I HAD to see how it was going to all end. The story takes place in southern California where they experience a “tap-out” when the drinking water supply runs DRY. The grocery stores are flooded with people fighting over water and, eventually, the desperate mobs begin to turn against families who are well prepared for the drought (demanding they share their supply). The focus of the story is on a group of teens who are attempting to reach a safe house where they will have plenty of water, food, and other survival supplies. The terrifying part of this novel, however, is how quickly society falls apart when they become utterly desperate for one more sip of water. People turn against friends and neighbors without hesitation. Oh my… A frightening, but believable outcome! Be prepared to drink LOADS of water while you’re reading this one. I was surprised to find myself visiting the bathroom far more often than normal at the mere suggestions of not having enough water. LOL

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

40159King of Attolia
(The Queen’s Thief #3)
Megan Whalen Turner
January 4, 2006
Greenwillow Book

One more book from “The Queen’s Thief” series down, three more to go (although the last one will be published in March of 2019). This is an older series and I really cannot share much of book #3 without spoiling things from book #1 and #2, so just do yourself a favor and pick up the first book of the series and give it a go. With each new book, I keep thinking I’ve arrived at a new favorite. The development of these characters/kingdoms is so well done. I have a feeling I will be re-reading this series once I get to the end. Hubby has even given me the green light to purchase the set for our home library. YAY! I already have book #4 checked out and ready to go.

You can add book #3 to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

42422210The Princess and the Moon
Zhang Xiaoling
Gao Qing, Illustrator
August 1, 2018
Cardinal Media Llc

I picked this picture book up from the public library and couldn’t help but smile as I read it. It’s from a series of Fables and Folktales being published by Cardinal Media. The story is about a princess who wants to eat the moon for her birthday. Her father wants to fulfill her request, but he doesn’t know how to accomplish such a task. Everyone has ideas of how to make this possible, but none satisfy the princess. Finally, a young boy has the ultimate answer. Best of all, he can fulfill her request and feed all the hungry children at the same time. This book would work very well with the study of the moon cycle as the moon changes shapes throughout the story.


You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

34024032The Spooky Express Nebraska
Eric James
Marcin Piwowarski, Illustrator
August 1, 2017
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

I don’t imagine this book will be as exciting to others as it is to Nebraskans, but it looks like it has been reproduced for all states (using various cities throughout the state in the rhymes). So you can go find a copy for YOUR state. It’s a 30-paged book with a long “spooky” rhyming poem about a journey across the entire state on a spooky train. Everyone ends up back where they should be by the end and the final page announces “Happy Halloween.” What I especially liked about it is that it included our tiny town’s name on one of the pages!! I will plan to check it out again closer to Halloween, next fall! Here’s one page spread as an example:

Collage created using TurboCollage software from

You can add it to your Goodreads list HERE.
If you do not have a local bookstore, you may purchase it HERE.

To Be Read:

I’ve already started both of these great books and I cannot wait to finish them!



21 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 1/21/2019 #imwayr

  1. Great selection of books. I have Dry and it is on my Must Read list for this year, as I have been loving Neal Shusterman’s books over the last few years. Punxsatawney looks like an interesting nostalgic trip, and I might have to look that one along with some of your picture books. Have a great week, enjoy the end of Coyote Sunrise!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oooh, I don’t have Game Changer yet. Almost bought about ten times but kept putting off…. So glad you’re enjoying the Queen’s Thief series! Book #4 is my least favorite, to the point where I really didn’t like it. But then I love #5, so if you don’t like #4 either, it will pick up in the next book! (And if you do like #4, you’ll have to help me see its merits!) I just bought Coyote Sunrise, figuring it will be popular among our Children’s Lit students. I need to get through my middle grade novels more quickly so that I can book talk and start loaning. I feel like I’m book hording right now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t tell me that — don’t you DARE tell me that about book #4!! I’m about 1/3 of the way in. It’s highly unusual since the entire narrative is one character telling another character what happened. But even if this one is simply a bridge to book #5, I’m good. But I miss, um, the King of Attolia. Barely heard a peep about him, so far. Coyote was my one “home” book purchase of January. I am loving it so far!


  3. The Princess and The Moon sounds like lots of fun, and your ‘high school’ memory visit does, too. I wonder if my daughter & son would like it, memory lane! I shared Dry today, too, & had the same feelings considering our Colorado water problems. What a story, and sad in parts because of the people’s behavior. Happy reading this week, Shaye. I certainly want to read Coyote Sunrise!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, for those of us who have experienced water shortages, Dry is especially scary. We have a lot of “preppers” in our local community and I’ve wondered how people would treat them if things really did become that devastating. Thanks for visiting, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I just used an idea from Game Changer to promote and encourage students to choose to read at unstructured times (waiting for bus/restroom, at lunch, during recess, etc.) We launched Sneaky Readers (based on Kristin Ziemke’s vignette) a couple of weeks ago. Children earn tickets for a weekly book raffle if they are caught reading. On Fridays, I choose 6 names of students and they each win a book of their choice. I am so pleased with the enthusiasm getting kids to read more and putting new books in kids’ hands. Win win! Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I want to turn this into a poster: “we only judge one another harshly when we don’t understand and empathize with one another” I think I must find a copy of Pretty in Punxsutawney!
    Your description of the breakdown of society In Dry reminded me of one of the books I read last week, Moon of the Crusted Snow, that also deals with an apocalyptic scenario. The social breakdown isn’t as profound thankfully as most of the indigenous community are capable of providing for themselves and used to loss of power and other technology. It still made me work to get my emergency preparedness kit under control.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Awww… what a great poster! 🙂 I do like that Pretty in Punxsutawney examines the things we assume about different cliques. For example, the school thinks the cheerleaders must be all huffy and unapproachable and that the “goths” do drugs and are violent, etc. But Andie, having a chance to repeat the day again and again, gets in with every group on the first day of school and learns so much about the true nature of these individuals. This is only possible because it’s her first day of school and none of these people know her, yet. It’s a pretty inventive idea. I’m going to have to look into Moon of the Crusted Snow. It’s sad that our modern society is not so capable of providing for ourselves if technology collapsed. We depend heavily on trucks of food, on cleaned water, and on gas for heating/cooling. Several of my friends are “preppers” though — saving food and water and supplies they would need if everything collapsed. I hope it never comes to that, but I imagine it’s comforting to have a solid plan! Thanks for dropping by, Cheriee!


  6. I remember reading the first book in the Attolia series and enjoying it somewhat – admittedly, I am not a plot-driven reader, though. Neal Shusterman is such a talented and powerful author – will definitely read him next year. 🙂 Pretty in Punxsutawney also intrigued me – that is quite the mouthful. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m really enjoying the series, so far. I finished book #4 earlier this week and I’m currently working on book #5. YAY! And yes, Pretty in Punxsutawney is a mouthful! HAHA! Fun play on “Pretty in Pink” and the repetitive Ground Hog Day that happens in Punxsutawney. Thanks for visiting, Myra!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pretty in Punxsutawney sounds like so much fun!! Groundhog Day is one of our favorite movies, and I LOVED Pretty in Pink (and all movies of that ilk) when I was a teen.

    And I love, love, love Neal Schusterman! His Unwind series is one of my all-time favorites, and I loved the Everlost trilogy…as well as his stand-alone novels. This looks like maybe his son is co-authoring with him? Very cool. The story does sound super scary, though! Laughed at your going to the bathroom more while reading lol!

    Enjoy your books this week –


    Book By Book

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, yes! I loved Groundhog Day so much. And it really is neat that Schusterman was co-authoring with his son. I’m not exactly sure how best to prepare your family for such devastation, but I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit since finishing this book. Scary to think about! Thanks for dropping by, Sue!


  8. DRY was my first Shusterman book, and definitely not my last! It really is a scary reality to think about how (when?) something like this could happen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me, too, Michele — my very first Shusterman book. I’ve been wanting to read the Scythe series for a long time, so now I’m even more excited about it. And it is a bit terrifying to think about how to handle something like this. We have several local friends who are dedicated preppers, so if we really wanted to do something we know who to ask. We were one of those crazy families who stored up water and canned books before Y2K — shhhh, don’t tell anyone! LOL We lived way out in the country and didn’t want to end up being wrong and not have water or food available for a few weeks before everything was sorted out. I guess it’s better to be prepared than not.


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