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Month in review

Reviews
Adele in Sand Land by Claude Ponti
American Street by Ibi Zoboi
Arnold of the Ducks by Mordicai Gerstein
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
Black Ice by Andy Lane
The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole by Michelle Cuevas
Chile Death by Susan Wittig Albert
Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman
The Heart and Mind of Frances Pauley by April Stevens
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
L. Frank Baum: Creator of Oz by Katharine M. Rogers
The Lost Books: The Scroll of Kings by Sarah Prineas
Mazes and Labyrinths: Their History and Development by W.H. Matthews
Monster Trouble! by Lane Fredrickson and Michael Robertson
Murder Past Due by D.R. Meredith
No Man of Woman Born by Ana Mardoll
Orion and the Dark by Emma Yarlett
Oscar Lives Next Door by Bonnie Farmer
Paths & Portals by Gene Luen Yang
The Phantom of Nantucket by Carolyn Keene
Ruddy Gore by Kerry Greenwood
Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Secrets & Sequences by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Slug Days by Sara Leach
Somnambulance by Fiona Smyth
The Spook in the Stacks by Eva Gates
Tenements, Towers & Trash by Julia Wertz
That Book Woman by Heather Henson
This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang
This Is Not the Abby Show by Debbie Reed Fischer
Under His Spell by Marie P. Croall and Hyeondo Park

Miscellaneous
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 06, 2018)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 13, 2018)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (August 20, 2018)
July 2018 Sources
July 2018 Summary

Road Essays
FFFFFF: The far end of the spectrum: orphans who cross the cornfield to utopia
FFFF66: Orphans going off road to reach utopia
FFFF00: The highway to utopia leads to self discovery for orphans
FFCCFF: Orphans through cornfields and time How I classify the road narrative protagonist

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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


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This Is Just a Test: 08/27/18

This Is Just a Test

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang reminds me of Rose Kent's Kimchi and Calamari in that it's a middle grade novel about a boy growing up in a blend of cultures. In this case, it's about a Chinese-American boy, David Da-Wei Horowitz getting ready for his bar mitzvah. As it's framed around a bar mitzvah, it's also a good match for My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman.

While David is trying to get ready for his bar mitzvah he has to contend with two very opinionated grandmothers who both believe their way is the best way. In the past, David's only had to worry about one but now both are living in his home — at least for the duration of the preparation. It doesn't matter what it is, they each will insist they know the right way to do it. A great scene demonstrating the clashing grandmothers comes at Hanukkah where they get into a latke competition (wok and chopsticks vs frying pan and fork). The upside is that David and his family have more latkes to eat as they "judge" the best way.

All of this mayhem is set against the backdrop of the made for TV movie The Day After which aired in 1983. It gets David's friends thinking about nuclear war and they decide to prepare. They do this by trying (and failing) to dig a fallout shelter.

As some one who was just about David's age in 1983, I can say the historical setting is written with an authentic voice. That backdrop isn't necessary for such a family and friend oriented story but it does fill out the fictional world.

Four stars

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