January 2018 Tween Reads

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Here’s another monthly review of some tween reads.  Each month I give a short summary of what my 9 and 11-year-olds have been reading.  These are the books that they read outside of school for leisure, not the books that they are required to read as part of their school curriculum.  If you are looking for new books for your own tweens to read, hopefully you can get some suggestions here.


The Complete Guide to Greek Myths by Heather Dakota
Published by:
  Sandy Creek, 2015
Pages: 144
Source: borrowed from classroom library
Price: starting at $7.62 used
Rating: 4/5 stars

My son’s teacher has been focusing on non-fiction reading and he was required to read non-fiction books for his daily reading homework.  He chose The Complete Guide to Greek Myths after reading Rick Riordan’s books (see below) and has become an expert on all things Greek mythology.  This book is a collection of many of the Greek Myths.


Creatures That Glow by Anita Ganeri
Published by: ABRAMS, September 1995
Pages: 30
Price: $19.95
Source: borrowed from classroom library
Rating: 3/5 stars

This is another non-fiction book that my son borrowed from his classroom library for his non-fiction reading homework. This book describes different creatures that glow-in-the-dark with illustrations.  It includes everything from fireflies to angler fish.  My son found this book informative but, “it wasn’t the best book ever.”


Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey
Published by: Graphix, December 2017
Pages: 256
Price: $9.99
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 4/5 stars

This is the fourth and newly released book in the Dog Man series.  This graphic novel series is written by Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants.  My son enjoyed this book enough that he read it twice.  In this bookDog Man has a new side kick, Cat Kid.  The two must help find a missing movie star.


Flora and Ulysses: the Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by: K.G. Campbell
Published by: Candlewick Press, September 2013
Pages: 233
Price: $6.99
Source: borrowed from school library
Rating: 3/5 stars

When Flora’s neighbor runs over a squirrel with her vacuum cleaner he develops superpowers.  Flora names him Ulysses, after the vacuum cleaner.  The two form an unlikely friendship and when Flora’s mom tries to kill Ulysses she must save him.  This book was the most recent selection for the school book club that my son attends.   Although it is a 2014 Newbery Medal winner, my son and the other book club members weren’t big fans of this book.


Inside the Whale and Other Animals by Ted Dewan
Published by:  DoubleDay Books for Young Readers, May 1992
Pages: 48
Source: borrowed from classroom library
Price: from $4.90 used
Rating: 4/5 stars

This was another non-fiction book that my son read. He enjoyed reading and learning about the inner organs of various animals.  He liked, “seeing the illustrations of the insides of the animals that we can’t usually see.”


The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1)  by Rick Riordan
Published by:  Disney Hyperion Books, March 2006 (first published June 2005)
Pages: 375 pages
Price: $7.99
Source:  own the book
Rating: 4/5 Stars

This is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.  12-year-old Percy Jackson discovers that he is a demi-god and is sent to Camp Half Blood.  Percy eventually ends up on a quest with Annabeth and Grover to find Zeus’ stolen lightening bolts and prevent a war between Zeus, Poseidon and Hades.  My son received The Lightning Thief  as a present and began reading this book after we had started reading The Lost Hero together (see below).  There are five books in this series and he has already started reading book two!  I also just discovered that this book was made into a movie, which we will hopefully watch soon!

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus #1) by Rick Riordan
Published by:  Disney-Hyperion Books, October 2010
Pages: 557
Price: $9.99
Source:  own the book
Rating:  4/5 stars

For the past several months my son and I have been reading The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan and finally finished it.  This is the first book in The Heroes of Olympus series, a spin-off of Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.  In this book Jason, Leo and Piper are brought together on a quest to save Hera from Gaea’s potential awakening.  The book is told from the various points of view of the three main characters.  These books are thick with small print. However, Rioradan is a great writer and these stories suck the reader right in.  The book is filled with humor and lots of adventure.  Since reading Riordan’s books, my son has become very interested in Greek Mythology and has been reading non-fiction books about the Greek Gods.



Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
Published by: Feiwel & Friends, March 2017
Pages: 336
Price: $16.99
Source:   borrowed from the library
Rating: 4/5 stars

Callie June has Tourette Syndrome and is nervous about starting another new school. Even though she is teased by her classmates, she is befriended by her neighbor Jinsong.  He helps her feel comfortable in her new town.  This novel is told in verse from the two points of view of Callie and Jinsong.  My daughter liked this book because, “it showed the story of true friendship” and she learned about Tourette syndrome.


I See Reality: Twelve Short Stories About Real Life by various authors
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, January 2016
Pages: 304
Price: $17.99
Source:  borrowed from the library
Rating: 3/5 stars

This book is a collection of twelve short stories by different authors.  This book is a YA book geared for older teens.  Only after reading reviews of this book did I realize that my daughter probably shouldn’t have been reading this book, as it deals with abusive relationships, sexuality, pregnancy and addiction.  My daughter felt it was an okay book.  “There were such a wide variety of topics and only some of the stories were interesting.”


It’s Not Me, It’s You by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Published by: Point, October 2016
Pages: 288
Price: $9.99
Source:  ARC
Rating: 4/5 stars

Days before the prom Avery Dennis is dumped by her boyfriend.  Then her American History teacher gives the class an oral history final project in which they are to interview adults about an event in American History that they had lived through.  In her interpretation of the assignment Avery decides to conduct her own oral history to find out why she always ends up single.  Thus, “It’s Not Me, It’s You:  An Oral History of Boys” is written. This story is told as an oral history with each chapter consisting of Avery interviewing her ex-boyfriends. There is commentary from various friends and family members as well that offer different perspectives on the same events. The oral history format of this book  is different and fun.  Although the main characters in the book are seniors in high school, the content is mild enough for middle school readers.  Readers will be able to relate to the topics of friendship, romance and jealousy.  I received an ARC of this book last year to review for Kiss the Book and my daughter wanted to read it, after seeing it at her school book fair this past fall.  She enjoyed the story and the format of this book, as did many of her middle school friends.