Mimi Power and the I-Don't-Know-What by Victoria Miles

I'm a fan of Victoria Miles and her work.

I enjoyed Mimi Power, but there were times when I wanted to kill Waby, the little sister.

I don't recollect my two younger brothers or two younger sisters or either of my own two children being nearly so annoying!  (They are, after all, still alive.)

Mimi Power is 10 years old and has a seriously irritating 3 year old sister. Waby, (Lily Jean) can ruin any event or outing with instant hysteria when she doesn't get her own way. This causes problems for their whole family, but Mimi in particular since she narrates the story.

If you are a fan of Junie B Jones you will probably like this book. As annoying as she is, I admit that some of Waby's antics had me chuckling.

One chapter titled "Waby Goes to the Dentist" contains one sentence. "I don’t think I have to tell you how this went."

In another incident their father brought home a very expensive piece of prehistoric poop and Waby got her hands on it. I laughed out loud. I read parts of it to my partner much to his disgruntlement, since he was reading a "serious" book.

My complaint is that even while she worried about her art and buying clothes, Mimi herself didn't feel real to me. All of the humor and most of the grief comes about because of Waby. Perhaps it is because of this that Mimi's character never seems developed fully. What does come through is that these two girls love each other. (Perhaps this is why all little sisters and brothers survive?)

In spite of my piddling complaints, I can think of at least 5 kids off the top of my head I would recommend this book to.

This feels like the first in a series. I hope to get to know Mimi better in later books.

I'll read them, if only to find out what kind of mischief Waby gets herself into.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

“Life can be long or short, it all depends on how you choose to live it. It's like forever, always changing. For any of us our forever could end in an hour, or a hundred years from now. You can never know for sure, so you'd better make every second count. What you have to decide is how you want your life to be. If your forever was ending tomorrow, is this how you'd want to have spent it?”
This is my first Sarah Dessen novel. It won't be my last. While it may not have made me "sawooon," it was still a delightful, light read. It's about grieving and getting through it. It's about trying to be perfect and letting go enough to realize that being who you are is good enough. It's about friendship and what happens to us without it. It's about family. It's about loss, acceptance and forgiveness. 

Macy's father died traumatically. Since then she and her mother have lived together in a shallow, sterile existence. Macy works hard to be perfect so her mother won't worry about her. On the outside she looks "fine, just fine," but really, Macy is miserable. Her sister, Caroline, who has successfully dealt with her grief and been able to move on, does her best to support them, to help them realize that, “Grieving doesn't make you imperfect. It makes you human,” but they are trapped in their safe, regimented world. Then when Macy makes new friends and starts to be happy again, her worried mother grounds her. It looks like not even Caroline's advice can save her.

There were times while I was reading this book when I was very angry with Macy's mother.  Honestly, I suspect I would been much more vocal about my unhappiness than Macy was. In the end I realized that perhaps Macy's way was better. It was certainly better for Macy and her mother.

If you like realistic fiction that can make you cry, you will like this one. 

This book is probably more of a teen (12 +) than tween book. Mostly this is because there are parties where drinking takes place. 

Keeper by Kathi Appelt

I tried hard to read Appelt's, The Underneath, but the evil in it terrified me. In spite of that, I have had numerous children come to me with the book clasped tight against their heart, asserting it is the best book they have ever read.  So when Keeper came along, I didn't know quite what to think. Honestly, I avoided making a decision and consequently never purchased it. When I found it as an audio book in the public library, I decided I should give it a try.

I'm so so so glad I did.

First off, it is truly a beautifully written book. 

It's a story about an odd sort of family who live on a road that borders the Gulf of Mexico.  Keeper is a young girl who has had a DISASTER of a day. It was all because the crabs for the special blue moon gumbo told her they wanted to be set free. As a result of listening to them she ended up hurting all the people she loved most in the world. To make amends, she set off in the dead of the night of a blue moon in search of her mermaid mother. 

Second, It is truly a beautifully written book.

It's a dreamy whirlpool of a story.  With each drowsy rotation the story picks up and combines details into an increasingly complex, richer narrative. It spirals round and round revealing itself through the different perspectives of the characters. The reader, pulled deeper and deeper into its world, hangs on the cusp of that vortex. Each time it winds itself back to Keeper, not only do we learn more about her, we also see her spin closer and closer to calamity. 

Third, It is truly a beautifully written book. 

The language is pure poetry. It is magical, tense and harrowing. This should mean I could probably sell a large number of kids on it. But at the same time it is V E R Y slow paced. It edges snaillike towards the final climax - and even that is satisfying, but not spectacular. This is more of a book about characters and how they came to be who and where they are than it is about plot. 

I will most certainly get a copy for the library. 
I am positive I will find enough readers to justify its purchase. 
Perhaps I can convince a teacher to read it out loud to his or her class.