Spoiler alert: No one with cancer dies in this story. They do play Uno, shave their head, get stabbed, make new friends, enjoy glitter, attend camp, get kissed (!), and above all else, discover they are brave enough to continue living life.
This sweet novel has all the elements of a great read - a plucky main character (Lucy, aka Lightning Girl - she was struck by lightning that made her a little OCD and a LOT brilliant at math), a secret (she doesn't want anyone at her new middle school to know she's Lightning Girl), new friend drama, understanding adults, and rescued dogs that need to be adopted.
Not only do I now know what in-season fish and shellfish to look for at the grocery store and at restaurants, but I have a deeper understanding of how what I'm buying and eating affects fishing overall and the fisherman who catch them.
Basically, this can be considered a contemporary retelling of The Paper Bag Princess, where the prince is the U.S. president's son, the princess is the son's former best friend and daughter of the president's former body guard, and the dragon is a Russian operative.
While the story could have been ripped from the headlines, the subject of senseless public shootings was treated with tenderness and sensitivity, humanizing both the victims and the shooters.
Scheherazade's "The Thousand and One Nights" meets Alan Gratz's "Refugee" in this important debut novel. A 12th century fable about an apprentice mapmaker is interwoven with a modern-day Syrian refugee searching for home, as the plot follows both girls through the Middle East, encountering tremendous dangers and immense acts of kindness. A must-read for teens and adults, this is an incredibly moving and lushly described story of family and friends, meaningful culture, changing landscapes, and universal hope.
This makes a great addition to the canon of fantasy books featuring strong White women like the His Fair Assassins series by R.L. LaFevers, the Leigh Bardugo Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and the like. All of that said, I felt like this story didn't really add anything new to this genre.
Confession: Not all of these books are about the type of two-wheeled bicycles that one pedals with their feet. Some of these books are about the motorized kind of bike, because I happen to ride those, too. And one very special book is a fake-out entirely - its title is Bicycles, but it's really a collection of love poems.
In #46, Dark in Death, JD ROBB almost makes a play on her own life in ways, as Eve is after a murderer who finds inspiration in a specific author's murder mysteries. Robb literally pays homage to the master of the meta, Hitchcock, with mentions of Psycho and Dial M for Murder, and I'm pretty sure the author she describes is modeled after Robb herself (physically).
Meet Princess Serena, aka Princess Pulverizer! She must complete 8 good deeds on a Quest of Kindness to become a Knight. Deed #1: Rescue jewels, a scared knight, and a gassy, cheese-eating dragon from a sleepy ogre. Silly, funny, and empowering. Ages 4+