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Month in review

Reviews
All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper
The Best Man by Richard Peck
Big Mushy Happy Lump by Sarah Andersen
Bloom by Doreen Cronin
Candor by Pam Bachorz
The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase by Wendy Mass
The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett
A Day's Work by Eve Bunting
The Dervish House by Ian McDonald
Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas
In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
Iron Ties by Ann Parker
The Lens by N.K. Guy
The Magic Cornfield by Nancy Willard
Merman in My Tub, Volume 1 by Itokichi
Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
On the Trail to Sunset by Thomas William Wilby and Agnes Anderson Wilby
One Witch at a Time by Stacy DeKeyser
The Only Road by Alexandra Diaz
The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton
Sealed with a Secret by Lisa Schroeder
Showing Off by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins
Storm by Amanda Sun
They Came in from the Road by Marjorie Starbuck and Elizabeth Platko
VanDerZee by Deborah Willis-Braithwaite
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
Who Is AC? by Hope Larson

Miscellaneous
Books with Strong Families
Collaboration
Half year round-up - Favorite books read in 2017
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 05)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 12)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 19)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (June 26)
May 2017 Inclusive Reading Report
Read Our Own Books May 2017

Thirty years of tracking my reading
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Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Showing Off: 06/10/17

Showing Off  by Sarah Mlynowski

Showing Off by Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle, and Emily Jenkins is the third of the Upside-Down Magic books. As this series progresses, it reminds me more and more of a magical school anime (for both the good and the bad of that genre).

The title refers to a school-wide competition where the different magic classes by grade try to win prizes for the best magical performance. Dunwiddle Middle School's set up reminds me most of the school in Bako to Tesuto to Shokanju (aka Baka and Test). Both schools are rigidly divided by student's talents and age and are apparently asked to compete against each other. The difference here, though, is that Dunwiddle only does it once a year.

The problem with a story that's entirely based around a school-wide competition is that the plots are predictable. These things always seem to be from the bottom class's point of view because everyone loves an underdog (or in Nory's case, an underdritten). Of course the bottom class is too disparate in its skillsets and the other classes are all perfect and amazing in one way or another. Of course they have to embarrass themselves as they practice. Of course there's the added threat of parents not approving or not attending and carefully forged friendships being torn apart.

That said, if you're in the intended audience range — upper elementary or lower middle grade, these tropes and plots are still rather new and school wide competitions (though usually over mundane things like box tops and food drives) are a reality. So why not take that competition and throw magic into mix?

On a closing note, the book ends on a positive note — one where Nory comes to appreciate her magic and to think outside of the box. Her magic might be wonky not because it's inherently broken, but because she's a creative thinker.

There is a fourth book planned, Dragon Overnight.

Three stars

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