Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Review: 2 Non-BSC Ann M Martin Books :)

I haven't read a Baby-Sitters Club book since April. I'm never going to finish the series at this rate. :p I need to get back on top of that, stat! I like to say STAT! when I really! mean! something! Lol...okay, not really. But I am going to get back to it soon. Until then, I have these 2 books that I got at TXLA and will be giving away at least one, if not both, of in my next giveaway. (Also slacking on, gah!) Okay, on to the reviews.

Ten Rules For Living With My Sister
3 out of 5 stars

This was such a cute little book...kind of like an updated Ramona & Beezus. I gave it to my youngest sister, 12 yrs, because I thought she'd appreciate it but I don't think she's read it. She's like my older younger sister (figure that out lol), she has to really be in the mood to read and doesn't take suggestions very well. Oh well, maybe I can get it back from her and give it to one of you instead! :)

Pearl is 9 years old and all she wants to do is hang out with her 13 year old sister, Lexie. This leads to problems, because Lexie, of course, wants nothing to do with her. The two girls have a typical sibling relationship, plenty of arguing and miscommunication. Pearl doesn't understand why Lexie won't play with her anymore and Lexie just wants to talk on her phone and be left alone in her room. There's a funny bit where Lexie has to put up a "you must wear pants if you want to come in my room" sign to keep Pearl out. My sister has the same sign, only it says "...if you want to come out of your room" hah!

I really enjoyed Pearl as a narrator. She has very few friends at school and only one in her neighborhood, a first grade girl who is kind of odd. The only boyfriend she has ever had is her cat Bitey and he's not very reliable. Pearl sincerely wants to get along with Lexie and so she decides to make a list of rules she should follow to get along with her, such as "take her seriously, she has no sense of humor". Pearl's attempt at following the rules is tested when their Grandpa, Daddy Bo, has to move in with them for a few months and the two sisters have to share a room. Along with the sister dynamic storyline, we also get a more serious one concerning Daddy Bo's memory loss and early Alzheimer's. It was very touching and heart-breaking at times to read about his problems and Pearl's attempts to help him. I would definitely recommend this as a starter book for a child having to deal with a grandparent getting older. And of course how to deal with your older sister. :)

Better to Wish: Family Tree #1
4 out of 5 stars

This is Martin's brand new series and I was so happy I got to read it. It's such an interesting premise and done so well, I'm really looking forward to the next books. Also, I got this one signed, so someone will definitely be getting this one. :)

The first book starts off in the 1930s with 8 year old Abby. Each book after this will focus on another generation of her family so I'm guessing that eventually the series will end up in present time. Abby is a much more serious child than Pearl and the subject matter reflects the time period, so I would recommend looking this one over before giving it to a young reader. The story is told by 100 year old Abigail looking into the past and she has picked both good and bad days to focus on. The bad days seem to outweigh the good, but only because they are just so sad and deal with some heavy issues...her mother had 2 miscarriages before her & her sister and it has caused a severe depression in the mother. When she gets pregnant again and the son is born with severe defects, this pushes her even closer to the edge. The father is a hard-working man who only wants the very best for his family, but he is also quite racist against anyone not the same as him and it takes its toll on Abby's friendships all thru school. So as you can see, there is some serious stuff here, but I still think it would be a good book for the right child.

Of course, it's not all sad. There is a lovely chapter telling of the Christmas Abby buys her sister a much sought-after gift. And as the girls get older, they learn how to deal with their father and still keep their friends. Abby is smart and resourceful and even though bad things have happened to her family, she doesn't dwell on them. She looks ahead and sees the silver lining in almost everything. I can see this series being liked by American Girl seems to have the same uplifting hope, but for a more mature audience. (Note I didn't say older, because what is okay for a mature 8 year old may not be okay for a not-so-mature 11 year old.)

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