waiting on wednesday (61)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013 | | 5 comments
Today I’m participating in "Waiting On" Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Its purpose is to spotlight upcoming book releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I enjoyed Shannon Hale's The Goose Girl, a YA fairy tale retelling, and it prompted me (back in, what was this? 2007 or so... ?) to pick up Hale's Austenland as well.  Which I also liked very well.   And her Newbery award-winning Princess Academy!  Lovely beyond belief.  Just this weekend I saw the awesome that is the Austenland film.  Go see it if you haven't already.  100% joy.  Needless to say, anything Hale writes is instantly on my radar.  And her science fiction young adult novel Dangerous releases on April 1, 2014 from Bloomsbury USA Children’s (Macmillan).  Wow.  Wishlisted.

dangerous by shannon hale book cover
She never thought her friends were capable of killing.

She never thought she would be the one to stop them all.

When Maisie Danger Brown holds the token in her hand, she’s not sure what to think. But when the searing pain begins, and it becomes clear that there’s no going back, Maisie is thrust into a battle she never imagined fighting. For her family, for the planet, for everything she knows. She had only wanted to get away from home for a summer, to see something new. Instead she’s stumbled into something much more terrifying, something that has killed her friends and just might kill her next. From award-winning New York Times bestselling author Shannon Hale comes a unique, powerful novel for teens that asks, How far would you go to save the ones you love? And how far would you go to save everyone else?

What books are you waiting on?

top ten most memorable secondary characters

Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | | 12 comments
Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we all get to exercise our OCD tendencies and come up with bookish lists.  If you’d like to play along, check out this post.

top ten tuesday

When I think about the stories I love, I usually remember the hero, the heroine, or perhaps a particularly effective antagonist (in the case of the best stories, all three!).  It is rarer that a secondary character comes to mind, but I think when one does it is the mark of good storytelling.  Below is a list of characters that are memorable in their own right, even if they aren’t the focus of the stories and worlds they inhabit.

Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

1. Mogget from the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix – What is Mogget, after all?  Mysterious, cat-like, more-powerful-than-he-appears, with a helping of sharp humor on the side, for a start.  One of the most memorable parts of a fantastic world and series.

2. Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Everyone remembers Luna, if only because she’s so… quirky!  Radish earrings, missing shoes and all. 

3. Ell the Wyverary from the Fairyland books by Catherynne M. Valente – September’s dragon-library cross of a friend from Fairyland is a wonderful bit of make-believe and magic.

4. Puddleglum from The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis – My favorite of the Chronicles of Narnia was this dark tale that unpacked the power of words, of slipping into unbelief and forgetfulness, and of a depressing marsh-wiggle with more sodden humor than Eeyore.  Oh, and he had a pipe!  I remember that, too.

5. Suzy Turquoise Blue from The Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix – Another Garth Nix character, and one of my favorites of all time, secondary character or no.  Suzy’s an inventive, energy-charged force of friendship and mischief.

6. Morwen from Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede – Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles began with the story of Princess Cimorene running away to live with a dragon.  But she wouldn’t have done nearly as well without the help of the witch Morwen and her numerous cats and books.  I’d like to live with Morwen for always, I think.

7. Lord Akeldama from Soulless by Gail Carriger – Akeldama is a most unusual vampire, with a keen fashion sense and a friend in that soulless creature, Alexia Tarabotti.

8. The Fairies (Cobweb, Moth, Mustard Seed and Peaseblossom) from Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev – Full of mischief and obsessed with glitter and sweets, these tiny tyrants are part of the magic and joy that fills Mantchev’s riff on Shakespearean playacting.

9. Marquis de Carabas from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – Neverwhere is my favorite Gaiman book, and I was tempted to put any number of character names in this list.  Trust me to pick the most shifty, mysterious and unexpectedly helpful of the lot!  The Marquis is part of a dark tale of London below, and you could say he has the most dramatic journey of anyone in the book.

10. Una from Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery – Una reminds me that L.M. Montgomery wasn’t very nice to one of her nicest characters.  I can’t think of Una without tearing up a little.  Ah, the feelings!

Which secondary characters count as your most memorable?  Do any of my picks make the list?

a greyhound of a girl

I go to Ireland in less than a month!  It’s going to be fabulous!  I can’t wait for September!  And how am I progressing on my goal of reading all those Irish middle grade and young adult books anywa…?  Oh dear.  I fell off the wagon.   I’ve been so busy planning my actual trip and trying out Irish pub recipes that I’ve failed to read kid lit by Irish authors.  EXCEPT!  Look at this: today’s review qualifies!  Roddy Doyle’s A Greyhound of a Girl is a lovely, haunting little book – a ghost story with heart.  Set in Ireland.  By an Irish author.  I’m saved!

a greyhound of a girl by roddy doyle book cover
Mary O’Hara is a sharp and cheeky 12-year-old Dublin schoolgirl who is bravely facing the fact that her beloved Granny is dying. But Granny can’t let go of life, and when a mysterious young woman turns up in Mary’s street with a message for her Granny, Mary gets pulled into an unlikely adventure. The woman is the ghost of Granny’s own mother, who has come to help her daughter say good-bye to her loved ones and guide her safely out of this world. She needs the help of Mary and her mother, Scarlett, who embark on a road trip to the past. Four generations of women travel on a midnight car journey. One of them is dead, one of them is dying, one of them is driving, and one of them is just starting out.

Mary is a precocious girl whose best friend just moved away (such cruelty!) and whose beloved grandmother is in the hospital.  She's at the intersection of childhood and teenage angst, and she's that special mix of angry-at-the-world/loving/rude that goes along with upsetting life change.  Enter a ghost and the memories and perspectives of four generations of women in her family. The resulting interactions transform each woman, and show them the things that connect them all.

Doyle’s strength is his dialogue – it is funny, moving, and only contains the absolute necessary – there are no info-dumps or long, over-wrought passages full of description.  At the same time, this is not a spare, minimalist story – it is Just Right, as Goldilocks would say.  Really, beautifully, right.  It’s nominally fantasy (there’s a ghost!), but it reads a bit like Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls, the fantastical is woven into a very real, solid contemporary setting, with threads of the past woven in too with distinct narrators and voices.

In all, A Greyhound of a Girl is a lovely little book that impressed me with its depth, its sense of place, and its sentiment.

Recommended for: readers of all ages who appreciate funny, emotional fiction, fans of middle grade ghost stories, and anyone interested in Ireland as a setting for literary children’s fiction.

saved by cake

Over a year ago I saw a fellow blogger’s review of Marian Keyes’ Saved by Cake, and I knew I wanted to read it posthaste.  After all, the cookbook featured baked goods (my purview!) exclusively, and the author’s voice was straight-up hilarious in the short excerpt.  However, I couldn’t find a listing for the US release date, and when I looked into purchasing an international edition, I realized I wouldn’t do well with the metric weights and measurements. 

So I put it on my wishlist and waited.  And waited.  And then!  It was finally available in April.  I bought it immediately and it sat on my bookshelf for far too many months.  A few weeks back I finally picked Saved by Cake up again, and here we are today, with cake.  All is right with the world.

saved by cake by marian keyes book cover
Beloved novelist Marian Keyes tackles the kitchen with a new cookbook featuring desserts that are both simple and delicious, with step-by-step instructions and stunning photography.

“To be perfectly blunt about it, my choice sometimes is: I can kill myself, or I can make a dozen cupcakes. Right so, I’ll do the cupcakes and I can kill myself tomorrow.”

In Saved by Cake, Marian Keyes gives a candid account of her recent battle with depression and her discovery that learning to bake was exactly what she needed to regain her joie de vivre. A complete novice in the kitchen, Marian decided to bake a cake for a friend. From the moment she began measuring, she realized that baking was the best way for her to get through each day.

Refreshingly honest and wickedly funny, Saved by Cake shines with Keyes’ inimitable charm and is chockfull of sound advice. Written in Marian’s signature style, her take on baking is honest, witty, extremely accessible and full of fun. Her simple and delicious recipes—from Consistently Reliable Cupcakes to Fridge-set Honeycomb Cheesecake—are guaranteed to tempt even the most jaded palate.

I’ve never read Marian Keyes’ novels, but based on the dark humor and honesty in her cookbook, I’d say she’s got a flair for the descriptive, a thing for cookie cutters, and is also dealing with a really troubling bout of depression.  Oh, and she’s not-so-mildly obsessed with cake!  This cookbook struck a personal chord for me – I too have baked myself through rough spots.  It’s rather special to see someone else, quite accomplished at writing, struggle and come through with the same sort of ‘therapy.’

As for the recipes themselves, Keyes has a bit of a fussy bent, so many include unique flavor combinations, unexpected ingredients, and long-ish prep times.  Keyes has a good knack for describing baking tips that you may not have thought of before, and I will incorporate several of these into my usual routines.  My favorite section of the cookbook was the one on ‘Classics,’ though I look forward to also trying recipes from the ‘Fruit and Veg’ section as well.  The photo below is from my attempt at the Victoria Sandwich, which I’d make again (it was a snap!) but vary the filling.  My favorite THINGS about the cookbook at large were the introductory paragraphs and the beautiful photos accompanying each recipe.  This is where Keyes shines – in her conversational writing style and self-deprecating humor.

victoria sandwich cake

In all, Keyes’ book is fun, funny and personal, with drool-worthy photography and delicious recipes.  It’ll stay on my shelf, and come down for many rereads in the future. 

Recommended for: Marian Keyes fans, those who would appreciate a funny, slightly irreverent take on food and mental health, and anyone with a ken for cake.  Especially making it (and devouring it afterward!).

Interested in other food-related posts?  Check out Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking!

top ten things that make my blogging life easier

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where we all get to exercise our OCD tendencies and come up with bookish lists.  If you’d like to play along, check out this post.

top ten tuesday

This week’s list is about the ‘tools of the trade’ that make my life as a book blogger stress-free and fun.  If you’re into the blogging scene, you’ll recognize the majority of these as necessities or ‘givens.’  If you don’t blog, I encourage you to check out these resources anyway – they’re great tools for the serious reader as well as the hobbyist blogger.  Anything that introduces you to more books is a good thing, right?!

Top Ten Things That Make My Blogging Life Easier

1. Goodreads – This is THE social network for readers.  It’s a database where you can keep track of the books you’ve read, write reviews, give star ratings, and interact with your favorite authors (if that’s your jam).  I get great recommendations from fellow readers every time I log in.

2. Bloggiesta – Hosted biannually, this is a blogger ‘work party,’ where an entire weekend is devoted to updating whatever needs updating on your blog, and also learning new tricks of the trade.  I learned basic HTML coding from participating in Bloggiesta!

3. Weekly memes – Events like Top Ten Tuesday (this post!) and Waiting on Wednesday are great ways to find new blogs to read and fellow readers with the same taste.  TTT is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, and WoW is hosted by Breaking the Spine.

4. Arlington County Libraries and King County Library System – Libraries.  They remain a favorite method of mine for accessing new and not-so-new releases.  Arlington County is my current location, and they’ve got a good selection of YA in print and digital formats.  KCLS is ‘back home,’ and I still peruse their digital collection on a weekly basis.

5. Twitter – My preferred social network, and a great way to discover the latest news in the publishing world.  I follow agents, editors, authors, bloggers, and more.  What’s noteworthy?  You’ll find people talking about it on Twitter.

6. Blank journal/notebook – I like to write most of my reviews longhand before I type them up.  I find that this allows me to edit, deliberate over word choice, and make sure my conclusions are sound before I hit the ‘publish’ button.  Because the internet doesn’t forget.  And you can still cross things out in a notebook!

7. Kindle, OverDrive, iBooks and Blio – I don’t have an e-reader, so I rely on these reading apps for iPhone.  They offer digital access to galleys, library books and ebook purchases, free of charge.  And then I can read happily on my phone during my commute!

8. NetGalley access to digital ARCs – Speaking of galleys (not-quite-final books that are circulated to selected reviewers and influencers before publication to create hype), I use NetGalley to request early reading rights from publishers.  I don’t use this service as much as I once did, but a couple of times a season I’ll peruse the site and get stars in my eyes from all the books on offer.  If you review books, or are a librarian, bookseller or educator, you too can sign up!

9. Edelweiss & Shelf Awareness emailsEdelweiss is a service that, like NetGalley, offers digital access to ARCs.  But my favorite part of Edelweiss?  Their weekly Monday emails with publishing catalogue updates.  I do a lot of new title discovery on Monday afternoons (thanks, guys!).  Shelf Awareness’ daily emails are essential for anyone interested in the publishing  industry.  If you like books, you should sign up for Shelf Awareness.

10. Book Expo America – This yearly conference is basically book heaven.  I go to meet up with fellow bloggers, make contacts among publishing professionals, and see what’s new and awesome in book world.  While not necessary to maintaining a successful blog, BEA is a great help and a lot of fun besides.

Do you use any of these tools or resources? Which one is your favorite?

waiting on wednesday (60)

Today I’m participating in "Waiting On" Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. Its purpose is to spotlight upcoming book releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Here we are again at the corner of seduced-by-typography-on-book-covers and mythology.  Actually, I don’t know if I’ve been on this particular corner before or not, but it sounded good in my head.  I am smitten (smitten, I say!) by this latest find.  It has elements of classical Greek mythology.  The publisher’s catalogue says the writing is snappy and snarky – my favorite!  AND it has a gorgeous, I-want-to-own-the-artwork-cover with feathers and cool fonts.  Basically, I am all about this book, and I haven’t even read it yet.  Justina Ireland’s Promise of Shadows will be released by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 11, 2014.  2014 can’t come soon enough!

promise of shadows by justina ireland book cover
Zephyr Mourning has never been very good at being a Harpy. She’d rather watch reality TV than learn forty-seven ways to kill a man, and she pretty much sucks at wielding magic. Zephyr was ready for a future pretending to be a normal human instead of a half-god assassin. But all that changed when her sister was murdered—and Zephyr used a forbidden dark power to save herself from the same fate. 

On the run from a punishment worse than death, an unexpected reunion with a childhood friend upends Zephyr’s world—and not only because her old friend has grown surprisingly, extremely hot. It seems that Zephyr might just be the Nyx, a dark goddess that is prophesied to shift the power balance: for hundreds of years the half-gods have lived in fear, and Zephyr is supposed to change that. 

But how is she supposed to save everyone else when she can barely take care of herself?

What books are you waiting on?

box office poison: review, giveaway & blog tour

Today’s review is part of the blog tour for Phillipa Bornikova’s new book, Box Office Poison.  It’s an urban fantasy/law procedural/mystery with Hollywood flair and a clever (or lucky?) heroine.  It was released by Tor (Macmillan) on August 6, 2013.

One of my roommates is currently obsessed with the show Suits.  As a result, I have recently watched an episode (or two!) featuring ruthless lawyers, unbelievable shenanigans, and really, really well-dressed members of the firm and their clients.  It may have been this peek into the Hollywood version of law that prompted me to pick up Phillipa Bornikova’s Box Office Poison, a fantasy that feels very real, and features not only werewolves, vampires and elves (Álfar), but also a resourceful and indomitable human lawyer, Linnet Ellery.

box office poison by phillipa bornikova book cover
What happens when exquisitely beautiful elves start getting all the roles in Hollywood? Human actors sue, that’s what. In a desperate attempt to keep the squabbling inside the Screen Actors Guild from going public, the president of SAG forces the two sides into arbitration. 

Enter Linnet Ellery, a human lawyer working for a vampire law firm, to serve as arbitrator. Linnet discovers that there are sinister forces at work in Tinsel Town determined to shatter the fragile peace between elves, vampires, werewolves, and humans. Someone has been coercing famous elven actors into committing sudden and terrible acts of violence against humans in a series of tragedies that could turn the tide of public opinion against all the supernatural Powers. 

During the course of her investigations Linnet realizes that a puzzling secret surrounds her, and that a strange power has been affecting the very course of her life…

In this second installment in Linnet’s adventures in law as a human dealing with Powers, Linnet has traded snowy New York for sunny L.A.  She’s being called upon to serve as one of the arbitrators between human actors and their Álfar counterparts after a suspiciously high number of roles go to elves over humans.  The already-tense situation is complicated by the fact that elven actors are committing horrible crimes against their human counterparts.  Linnet, acting as one-part impartial observer and one-part private investigator, is about to find out just how hot (in a dangerous sort of way) California can get.

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ll say that I didn’t read the first in this series, This Case Is Gonna Kill Me.  Obviously I would have had a much better understanding of the circles of power and Linnet’s back story if I had picked up the previous entry.  That said, the writing is straight-forward even as the mystery sets characters from with varying motivations and different backgrounds into play.  Linnet herself is a reliable narrator with a sort of blunt charm and a side helping of sass.  She’s also dealing with a world that is inherently unfair to women and downright dangerous for humans, so her self-possession is admirable.

Plot-wise, Box Office Poison is at times legalese-heavy, and that’s not something I’m in the habit of reading.  Action scenes break up some of the slow-moving political wrangling, as does Linnet’s interest in horses.  Still, the pacing is a bit uneven, although there are moments of humor (some prompted by awkward interactions) between Linnet and her immediate superior, David (a vampire), and the Hollywood-style banter kept the book from tedium.  Linnet’s talent for being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and escaping with her life, are sure to be the subject of ongoing interest in future books.

In all, Box Office Poison was a mixed bag for me – it had some fun/funny moments and featured a strong, lawyer-turned-PI heroine transplanted into a sunny new environment, but the pacing suffered a bit from an excess of procedure, and in the end the reader is left with more questions than answers (although that could have been my own fault for not reading book one first!).

Recommended for: those who enjoy law, mystery and urban fantasy, fans of Wen Spencer’s Tinker and Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assasin series, and readers who fancy a smart, unflappable heroine who has the wits to survive a complex, supernatural situation.

If the book sounds intriguing to you, enter the giveaway!  Two entrants will each receive a finished copy of Box Office Poison.  To enter, simply fill out the FORM.  Giveaway open to US/Canadian addresses, will end August 25th at 11:59pm EST.  Winner will be selected randomly and notified via email.  Giveaway prize provided/mailed by the publisher.  Good luck!

Fine print: I received a finished copy of Box Office Poison for review from Tor (Macmillan).  Giveaway prize will be provided by the publisher.  I did not receive any compensation for this blog tour post.

lemon craisin cookies

Saturday, August 10, 2013 | | 10 comments
I originally posted this recipe in October 2009.  I called these lemony crowd-pleasers Sunshine Lemon Craisin Cookies.  I’ve altered the recipe a bit this go-round – I halved the ingredients (except for the lemon zest and juice, which I doubled!), and I didn’t roll the dough in sugar before baking.  They’re still wonderful.

It was a gorgeous, sunny weekend in DC last week, and I’d had a great lunch with friends and had played a hockey game.  And yet.  Sadness reached into that otherwise perfect day and squeezed my heart until I wanted to cry.  Does this happen to you too?  I don’t know why it does to me, but I know how I fixed it – I baked Lemon Craisin Cookies.  Not for myself (no, I’m on Weight Watchers and being good!), but for the crowd at work on Monday morning.  And something about mixing ingredients, taking a tiny taste of lemony sweet/tart dough, and inhaling the aroma of baking cookies turned my mood inside out.

Lemon Craisin Cookies


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 teaspon vanilla
3/4 cup Craisins (sweetened, dried cranberries with a sweet/tart flavor)
zest of a lemon, plus juice


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Line baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper and set aside.

Blend butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a medium bowl.  Add in the rest of the ingredients, except Craisins and lemon zest/juice and mix thoroughly.  Fold in the final ingredients.

Drop tablespoon-sized dollops of batter onto the cookie sheets about 2-3 inches apart.  Place in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes (I switch racks midway to promote even baking, but you don’t have to).  Remove from oven when cookies are just very lightly brown at the edges.  Let cool for 10 minutes, then enjoy!  Or you know, store in an airtight container.  Yields 2 dozen cookies.

Note: I did the math so you don’t have to – these cookies are 2 Weight Watchers points each. 

Intellectually, I know that this recipe is just a variation on the basic sugar cookie.  You add a little citrus and a handful of dried fruit, and it doesn’t turn the result into something magical.  Except… it kind of does.  These cookies are like edible sunshine for me, or a draught of felix felicis. 

Recommended for: a quick, simple cookie that will brighten your day no matter what the season.

Interested in other food-related posts?  Check out Beth Fish Reads' Weekend Cooking!


Friday, August 9, 2013 | | 3 comments
Reading slumps seem to hit randomly, with no regard for things I’ve promised publicists and fellow bloggers, or time off, or anything, really.  One snuck up on me at the end of July and has been firmly sitting on my chest for this first bit of August, too.  It caught me midway through John David Anderson’s middle grade superhero novel Sidekicked.  Luckily, that’s also the book that eventually broke me out of the slump.   Something special about the superheroes and sidekicks of Anderson’s tale kicked my reading apathy right out of the area.

sidekicked by john david anderson book cover
With not nearly enough power comes way too much responsibility.

Andrew Bean might be a part of H.E.R.O., a secret organization for the training of superhero sidekicks, but that doesn’t mean that life is all leaping tall buildings in single bounds. First, there’s Drew’s power: Possessed of super senses – his hearing, sight, taste, touch, and smell are the most powerful on the planet – he’s literally the most sensitive kid in school. There’s his superhero mentor, a former legend who now spends more time straddling barstools than he does fighting crime. And then there’s his best friend, Jenna – their friendship would be complicated enough if she weren’t able to throw a Volkswagen the length of a city block. Add in trying to keep his sidekick life a secret from everyone, including his parents, and the truth is clear: Middle school is a drag even with superpowers.

But this was all before a supervillain long thought dead returned to Justicia, superheroes began disappearing at an alarming rate, and Drew’s two identities threatened to crash head-on into each other. Drew has always found it pretty easy to separate right from wrong, good from evil. It’s what a superhero does. But what happens when that line starts to break down?

Andrew Bean, or Drew for short, is not a normal middle schooler.  Oh, he’s been picked on, he can’t stand school lunches, and his mom still manages to worry over him to the point of embarrassment fairly often.  But Drew is hiding half of his identity – during 4th period science class three days a week he’s not just a kid – he’s a sidekick.  To a superhero.  He’s training to save the world. But mostly, the Sensationalist (aka Drew) is just trying to survive the year.  It won’t be easy to act normal with a new supervillain in town…

Drew is that relatable, introspective, verging-on-worrywart kid that we all were or knew in middle school.  He has typical problems (avoiding bullying, being terrible at organized sports, trying to figure out if his best friend ‘like’ likes him), but he is also pulled out of his teenage self-absorption by his talent and the code he’s striving to live by.  The continued absence of his superhero doesn’t make it easy, but he’s keeping his head above water until true danger rolls into town.

The best thing about Drew is his voice.  Anderson has written a sarcastic, smart and perceptive Drew, and it makes the whole story click.  Take this example, from page 44 (of the ARC version):

“Last week I read the fine print on a credit card application from forty feet away.  I identified the sound of a feather landing on a pillow.  I smelled one part lemon juice in five hundred parts water.  Sharks around the world, eat your hearts out.”

That understated humor thrown in with everyday (and not-so-everyday) observations adds to the sly charm of Sidekicked.  Lest female readers be dissuaded from picking up the book, I can assure you that while there isn’t a female voice, Drew’s best friend Jenna figures prominently.  She’s described through the lens of Drew’s experience, so there are a few layers of mystery, but this isn’t a boys-only superhero club – the most powerful superhero in town is Jenna’s partner, the Fox, a dynamo of crime-stopping and action.

Since Drew is by nature an observer, there are quieter bits in Sidekicked than I expected for a superhero book, but that doesn’t mean that the story lacks action.  There’s plenty of dangling precariously over vats of acid, plot twists, fights, losses of faith, keeping the code, protecting the cover story and, of course, saving the day.  It’s a well-written, satisfying, and wryly funny book with a great hook and an engaging teen voice.

Recommended for: fans of superhero stories, those who enjoy clever books with humor and humanity, and readers on the older end of the middle grade range – 10-14 year-olds.

Fine print: I received an ARC of Sidekicked for review from Walden Pond Press (HarperCollins).  I did not receive any compensation for this post.
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