the link back to marvelous middle grade monday founder's post so you can keep moving along! Will be back with an update to this post as I figure out the computer!
EDITED TO ADD:
Okay. I am up and running-ish now. SO--here (finally) are the books I would like to share for this #Cybils Round Up. Not part of our shortlist, but great just the same and each for their own reasons. All descriptions are from GoodReads. Will be back next week with more. Until then, happy reading and I hope you have time to check these three out.
Ungifted by Gordon Korman (go here to browse inside the book!)
The word gifted has never been applied to a kid like Donovan Curtis. It's usually more like Don't try this at home. So when the troublemaker pulls a major prank at his middle school, he thinks he's finally gone too far. But thanks to a mix-up by one of the administrators, instead of getting in trouble, Donovan is sent to the Academy of Scholastic Distinction (ASD), a special program for gifted and talented students.
It wasn't exactly what Donovan had intended, but there couldn't be a more perfect hideout for someone like him. That is, if he can manage to fool people whose IQs are above genius level. And that becomes harder and harder as the students and teachers of ASD grow to realize that Donovan may not be good at math or science (or just about anything). But after an ongoing experiment with a live human (sister), an unforgettably dramatic middle-school dance, and the most astonishing come-from-behind robot victory ever, Donovan shows that his gifts might be exactly what the ASD students never knew they needed.
What I loved was the twist on who was fitting in with who. That is, this time it was someone trying to fit in with the "nerds", the super smart kids who are really good at something-science, art, math. Genius level smart in some cases. Along comes Donovan who figures he is not really good at anything but getting into trouble. And let's face it he's good at that...really good at that, with hilarious results. Okay, teachers make not find it all that hilarious, but I did and so will other readers young and old. His latest foray into trouble making lands him quite by accident into a school for the gifted, something he is convinced he is not and something each and everyone of his public school teachers are convinced of. But sometimes we really do rise up to what is expected of us and reach heights we didn't think possible because of what everyone else believes about us. With humor and incredible insight the author shows us that in a story that will captivate younger readers who love to laugh.
Justin Case: Shells, Smells, and the Horrible Flip Flops of Doom by Rachel Vail
Justin is going to start fourth grade—but first, he has to survive the summer. He “gets” to go to camp every day on a bus. He “gets” to experience all sorts of new things: Bugs. Mess hall food. Flip-flops (they hurt the space between his toes and they’re hard to walk in). And (gulp!) swimming.
Justin’s little sister, Elizabeth, seems to deal with camp just fine. So do his friends. Justin is trying very hard not to be a worried kid anymore, especially when it comes to making friends at camp, including a new kid who is kind of . . . rough. After all, Justin is going to be in fourth grade. It’s time to be brave. Right?
The voice in this story is so crazy dead on, just like it was in book one. This boy is one believable kid and other kids will totally relate to his day to day worries, whether they are worriers or not. Heartfelt storytelling from page one captured and kept me reading until the end. Even writing this post I marvel at how well the author does kid speak and tells a story that kids will relate to. As a side note, I would say that if you ever have the opportunity to hear Rachel Vail speak...take it. I heard he speak last year and she is someone who is passionate about writing for children. It shows in her books.
Secret of Fortune Wookie Tom Angleberger
With Dwight attending Tippett Academy this semester, the kids of McQuarrie Middle School are on their own—no Origami Yoda to give advice and help them navigate the treacherous waters of middle school. Then Sara gets a gift she says is from Dwight—a paper fortune-teller in the form of Chewbacca. It’s a Fortune Wookiee, and it seems to give advice that’s just as good as Yoda’s—even if, in the hands of the girls, it seems too preoccupied with romance. In the meantime, Dwight is fitting in a little too well at Tippett. Has the unimaginable happened? Has Dwight become normal? It’s up to his old friends at McQuarrie to remind their kooky friend that it’s in his weirdness that his greatness lies.
With his proven knack for humorously exploring the intrigues, fads, and dramas of middle school, Tom Angleberger has crafted a worthy follow-up to his breakout bestsellers The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back.
Friends to the rescue in this one. Friends who know how important it is to stay true to yourself, with all the wacky included. What a fabulous ensemble of middle school characters that come together in a story that is just as good as the first two. The author knows how to portray the dynamics and dramatics of middle school life, the funny and the not so funny.