Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #6: Changes For Molly by Valerie Tripp

Changes for Molly Cover
Changes for Molly Cover

Title: Changes For Molly

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Bakes

Summary: Molly can hardly wait for Dad to come home! She’s especially excited because he’ll arrive in time to see her dance the part of Miss Victory in the big Red Cross show. Molly isn’t worried about her tap dancing because she’s the best in Miss LaVonda’s dance class. But she wants to look sophisticated so Dad will know how much she’s grown up while he’s been away at war. Unfortunately, Molly’s hair is all wrong. When Jill finally finds a way to give Molly glorious curls, everything seems to be perfect. Then Molly gets sick. Things couldn’t be worse – until the doctor comes just in time.

Initial Thoughts

Why the hell did I agonize about putting this off for so long when that back summary gave away nearly the entire book?

Seriously though, this project shouldn’t have taken as long as it did for me to complete. That’s all on me, but, I think maybe it’s for the best I did wait until now to finish this recap. Things right now are a nightmare because of the coronavirus pandemic. People are dying and this country’s healthcare system’s finally been exposed as the joke it is. Unemployment’s on the rise and toilet paper’s being hoarded like gold. [Wing: This recap has been waiting awhile for me to comment on it, and I want to recognise the ongoing violence against Black people, including the extrajudicial murder of so many by a corrupt, over-powered, unchecked police force. This is not new, of course, but the wide-spread coverage is bringing light to a problem that Black people deal with daily. I hope the protests and demands bring actual, practical change. The Nostalgic Bookshelf family of recap sites have made donations to various bail funds and community support systems, but there is so much more fighting to do. Here is one potential resource, a Google doc, of things people in the USA can do; it also links to a Google spreadsheet with more.]

Right now both my stadium and census jobs have been delayed and my biggest fear’s losing the comic shop. My sibling works at a Trader Joe’s and my dad’s a security guard at a nursing home, so both of them are dealing with worse shit. In fact, my grandpa’s staying at the very same home and the virus has gotten into the building. Thank God he’s okay for now, but my dad doesn’t feel well and he doesn’t know if it’s the virus or not.

So, re-reading this book, it talks about the way life changes during a time of crisis. This isn’t a war we’re dealing with, but it feels like it. This also talks about doing what you can in similar situations, which makes me realize I need to do more writing for myself and others. I’m not sure how much these recaps can help, but if they put a smile on at least one person’s face that’ll be worth it.

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #12: Claire Can’t Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #12: Claire Can't Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #12: Claire Can’t Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Claire Can’t Lose

Front Blurb: Zoey still can’t choose between Aaron and Lucas, so Aaron asks Claire’s advice on how to win Zoey’s heart for good. But Claire wants Aaron for herself. If he’s crazy enough to follow her advice then… Claire Can’t Lose.

Back Blurb: Claire can’t lose in the game of love. For once she’s found her soulmate—a manipulative schemer just like herself. And she’ll do whatever it takes to make Aaron forget Zoey forever.

 

 

 

 

Initial thoughts:

These books are blurring into one. I remember the vague storylines, but what happens in specific books is very fuzzy. The titles and blurbs don’t really help either. I guess it must still be the Christmas break and we’re carrying on the love-square of Claire-Aaron-Zoey-Lucas. Yay.

[Dove: Same. I think we can all agree that it’s basically a soap opera right now and each book is not a contained story, but a single episode in an ongoing saga. Which was really frustrating to read as a teenager. Especially when you remember that I bought the books piecemeal and not in order.]

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate

Summary: Aisha found out first and she told Nina who had to tell Zoey, who let it slip to Lucas. Now Ben’s big secret isn’t a secret any more and they’re all waiting to see what will happen when…

Initial Thoughts

Ben in the title and it opens with a Zoey entry. We’ll all be lucky if I don’t break into bullet points within the first 50 pages. Or maybe we’ll be lucky if I do.

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Posted in The Famous Five

Famous Five #10: Five on a Hike Together by Enid Blyton

Famous Five 10: Five on a Hike Together by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #10: Five on a Hike Together

Summary: When Dick is woken by a light flashing through his window, he is puzzled. Is someone trying to send him a coded message? And when the Famous Five hear of an escaped convict in the area, they are on red alert. The police won’t help, so the Five have no choice. Yet again, they’ll be solving this mystery by themselves… [Wing: Does anyone else ever solve a mystery? Ever?] [Dove: Adults are useless. Where have you been?]

Initial Thoughts

At last I have returned from the war! The war known as life. I’m certain the dear Famous Five have changed not one whit and will be as precocious and fun and sometimes assholey as ever I’m looking at you Julian.

(I love how the cover shows them actually on a raft and not hiking at all.)

Onward to adventure. And probably some hatred of Julian.

[Dove: I figured this would be helpful: For reference, the kids’ ages should be roughly: Anne: 14; George and Dick 15; Julian 16. I have a spreadsheet that figures out their ages, because I’m pretty sure Blyton couldn’t be bothered.]

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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #5: Molly Saves The Day by Valerie Tripp

Molly Saves The Day Cover
Molly Book 5: Molly Saves The Day Cover

Title: Molly Saves The Day

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly loves Camp Gowonagin from the moment she arrives. She spends two wonderful weeks there singing, hiking, canoeing, and making arts and crafts projects with her friends Linda and Susan. When the camp director announces the beginning of Camp Gowonagin’s Color War, Molly is afraid that the fun may end. Molly and Susan are on the Blue Team. They have to capture the flag hidden on Chocolate Drop Island by the Red Team. Linda is on the Red Team. She is their enemy and their friend. Will the Color War ruin camp for everyone, or can Molly think of a way to save the day?

Initial Thoughts

WOW SO GUESS WHO TOOK LIKE FOUR MONTHS TO FINISH THIS.

Guys I’m really, really sorry for how I let the Molly recaps slip so badly. I lost steam focusing on these and I hope I didn’t wreck the schedule too badly. I wanted these done by the end of 2018 but clearly that didn’t happen. So here’s hoping I’ll have the last two done for real before the year is over.

I’m not good at this.

Head’s up Wing there’s a prank involving bugs and spiders, but it focuses more on worms.

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Posted in The Famous Five

Famous Five #9: Five Fall Into Adventure by Enid Blyton

Famous Five 9: Five Fall into Adventure by Enid Blyton
Famous Five 9: Five Fall into Adventure by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #9: Five Fall Into Adventure by Enid Blyton

Summary: Julian, Dick and Anne are really worried – George and her devoted Timmy have just disappeared! Not only that, somebody has broken into Kirrin Cottage. Could there be a connection? The Famous Five think so, but it’s going to be tough getting to the bottom of this mystery when there’s only three of them…

Initial Thoughts

I have literally no idea which one this is. I used to read these religiously but that title really couldn’t be more generic, could it?

So let’s instead talk about the cover, in which George is winching Tim up some rocks. That looks painful, for George as well as Tim.

(For reference, the kids’ ages should be roughly: Anne: 14; George and Dick 15; Julian 16.)

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #10: Nina Shapes Up by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #10: Nina Shapes Up by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #10: Nina Shapes Up by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Nina Shapes Up

Front Blurb: At first Nina thought Ben was fooling around with Aisha. But then she discovered the truth: Ben’s facing a decision that could change his life for ever and she’s scared he’ll leave unless… Nina shapes up. [Dove: That is literally fuck all to do with this book. That’s a recap of the last book, and a throwaway line in this one.]

Back Blurb: They’ve all grown up together on a tiny island. They think they know everything about one another… but they’re only just beginning to find out the truth.

Nina shapes up because she’s desperate to keep Ben’s love. She’s terrified that if he regains his eyesight, he won’t need her any more. And if Ben can see Nina, will he still love her? [Dove: as before.]

Initial Thoughts:

This is where everything starts to blur together for me. The titles, beyond Zoey Fools Around, Nina Won’t Tell, and Aisha Goes Wild, don’t really have much meaning, to be honest.

I’m going to tell you right now: Nina does nothing that comes close to shaping up in this book. But in her defence, she wasn’t unshaped to begin with.

Don’t get me wrong, I continue to love the hell out of these books. I just find the titles to be word soup. $name $verb $thing [Rosey: The blurbs and titles are so inaccurate for the most part. I get that they had a formula they want to stick to, but surely they could have come up with things that actually reflected the book?] [Wing: I wonder if the person writing the blurbs wrote them early on, without having read the books and only a synopsis of the overall series.]

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Posted in American Girls

A Molly Mystery: The Light In The Cellar by Sarah Masters Buckley

Image result for molly mystery light in the cellar

Title: A Molly Mystery – The Light In The Cellar, a.k.a. “Molly and the Mystery of the Horrible Hoarders”

Author: Sarah Masters Buckley

Cover Artist: Jean-Paul Tibbles

Summary: Molly wishes she and her friend Emily had an exciting volunteer job that really helped in the fight to win World War Two. Instead, they’re magazine delivery girls at Oak Knoll Hospital. Soon, however, Molly and Emily start to suspect something very un-patriotic is going on at Oak Knoll – and their snooping leads them deep into trouble!

Initial Thoughts

I’ve really let myself slip with these reviews and I’ve no one to blame but myself. I apologize again for holding up the schedule and I promise I’ll work harder next year to bring consistent reviews and articles.

It’s incredible good luck I was able to review this book for the website. I found it at the freebie rack at my local library, but I pulled it before I planned to do reviews for the website. This is a change of pace for the other Molly books, being significantly longer (at least three times as long) and has no illustrations. It focuses more on Molly’s friendship with Emily Bennett and sheds some more harsh truths about the effects WWII had on people back then.

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Posted in The Famous Five

The Famous Five #8: Five Get Into Trouble

Famous Five 8: Five Get into Trouble by Enid Blyton

Title: Five get into Trouble

The Famous Five #8: Five Get Into Trouble

Summary: Curious about the big house on Owl’s Hill, the Five go into the grounds one night….only to find that the big wrought-iron gates have closed mysteriously behind them.

Initial Thoughts:

Everything about that summary is wrong. For one thing, they don’t go into the grounds because of some random curiosity about the house; they go LOOKING for the house for reasons. For another, more important, thing, that ellipsis should have three dots, not four, because the sentence doesn’t end during the dot part.

Anyway. I remember loving this book, and my own copy is incredibly battered and soft.

But what I DON’T remember is ever being aware of how bloody old Julian is in this. Okay, if book six was set at Easter, and they were thirteen (Anne), fourteen (George and Dick), and fifteen (Julian), and book seven is the following Easter (so…they’re the same ages?), then THIS book, which is Easter again, is another year entirely. JULIAN IS SIXTEEN? In my head Julian is never that old. Even Anne is fourteen by now. [Dove: I think the last book was summer from the comments about the moors being cold in the summer, but it wasn’t clear. But otherwise your maths lines up with mine.]

That…that isn’t how I ever thought of them, when I was young and reading these. It completely changes everything. THE FAMOUS FIVE ARE OLD ENOUGH TO BE POINT HORROR CHARACTERS.

…damn, now I want to read that. Five Find a Body. Five Accidentally Run Someone Over. Five and the Kirrin Island Phantom. Five Visit Fear Street. [Dove: *blink* Well, I think we’ve found Necro’s NaNo project!] [Necromommycon:OMG, that sounds like fun. I think I have to try this. ] [Wing: Well this sounds delightful.]

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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #4: Happy Birthday, Molly! – A Springtime Story by Valerie Tripp

Image result for happy birthday molly american girl

Title: Happy Birthday, Molly! – A Springtime Story

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Backes

Summary: Molly is excited to learn that an English girl is coming to stay at the McIntires’, and just in time for Molly’s birthday! But Emily Bennett turns out to be different from the glamorous girl Molly pictured. Emily is shy, and she seems unfriendly. Then Molly discovers that Emily is worried about her family in war-torn London, just as Molly is worried about her father, and the girls become good friends. They even plan to turn Molly’s tenth birthday celebration into a real English tea party. But they can’t agree about what’s important, and it takes a special birthday surprise to patch up their hurt feelings.

Initial Thoughts

I’m really ashamed of myself because of how late this is. Between work and getting sick and things just being God awful over here, I really slipped up and now I have to scramble before the year ends.

This one was difficult to re-read because a lot of the characters display a nasty side that wasn’t totally present in the last few books. But it also presents a much more sobering look at what life during wartime was like for these girls, in a manner different than Molly’s fears about her father’s life. But mainly, this book introduces Emily Bennett, who becomes a semi-reoccurring character in the “Molly” books. She even received her own spotlight tale, “Brave Emily.”

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