ARC Review: The Kindness Club

happy

Release Date: November 1, 2016

They always say if you have nothing nice to say, then don’t say it all… luckily, I have many positive things to say about The Kindness Club by Courtney Shienmel.

The Kindness Club follows Chloe Silver, who despite her parents’ recent divorce and moving to a new school, stays determined to remain positive and find great new friends. Upon arriving at her new schools, Chloe catches the attention of the popular girls, also known as the “It Girls.” Before Chloe can call herself an It Girl, she must do whatever they want until they ask her to officially join the group. Their biggest request is for Chloe to be mean to her science project group.

I’ve read one other book by Courtney Shienmel (Sincerely) and one thing I really appreciate about her books is how realistically she portrays characters and relationships. Chloe struggles with many real life issues–she wants to be accepted, her dad is dating someone besides her mom–and reacts to the situations as you would an expect an 11-year-old to react. As a reader, you can feel Chloe’s pain and easily identify with many of her experiences.

I also love the dimensions that Shienmel adds to her characters. Monroe, the It Girls’ ringleader, isn’t just a stereotypical mean girl with blonde hair, pink wardrobe, and rich parents. With the glimpses you see into different characters’ lives, you can clearly see how their experiences impact their attitudes. That being said, I do think Lucy and Theo, the other Kindness Club members, could be fleshed out more because they came across as a little cartoonish. Since this is the first book in a series, I suspect readers will learn more about those two characters.

While I loved many aspects of this book, there were some aspects that could be improved. Some readers may find the book’s message as a little too overstated and juvenile. Having a popular girls club and Kindness Club seems a little too young for fifth grade, but since the target audience of this book is a little younger, it is not that big of an issue. I also think that their are many other books out right now dealing with the same subject. While Shienmel’s writing is definitely stand-out, the plot may not be exciting or new to readers.

I really appreciated the writing quality and realistic characters in The Kindness Club, but was slightly disappointed by the predictable and overused plot. I give The Kindness Club three out of five stars.

I recieved The Kindness Club from NetGalley for free in exchange for an honest review. 

#ThrowbackThursday: Middle Grade Mini-Reviews 2

mini review

Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day by Meg Cabot

Allie Finkle is a fourth-grade geode collector and best friend of crybaby Mary Kay until her parents announce that they are moving across town, meaning she will have to go to a new school, make new best friends, and get rid of her geode collection. Allie, determined to not move to a possibly haunted house, does everything she can to stop the move.

I absolutely LOVED this book. Allie Finkle was a hilarious protagonist with sass and spunk. All of the characters were very realistic and every situation Allie found herself in was fun and interesting! After reading this book, I’m definitely interested in reading more books in the series to see what happens to Allie. I give this book five out of five stars.

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Middle schooler Olivia Grace’s world is turned upside when she finds out her sister is Princess Mia Thermopolis, meaning she is also a princess of Genovia. Olivia Grace’s dream comes true when she has the chance to meet her dad and live with Mia and him in Genovia. Things get complicated when her guardians refuse to release custody.

I think younger readers who have never read The Princess Diaries series will enjoy this book, however I had some problems with it. I think the protagonist, Olivia Grace, is adorable, but doesn’t have as much personality as some of Meg Cabot’s other characters. I think most of the book was a sequence of events used to set up the rest of the series. That being said, if you read the final Princess Diaries book, I’d probably skip this one because this book is pretty much identical to the ending of Royal Wedding. I give this book three out of five stars.

Sincerely by Courtney Shienmel. 

Sincerely by Courtney Shienmel consists of two books (Sincerely, Sophie and Sincerely, Katie) and follows two 11-year-old pen pals, Sophie and Katie. In Sophie’s story, Sophie deals with her best friend ditching her for a different group of girls and her parents’ divorce. Then, Katie struggles to gain attention from her parents and best friend while organizing a charity run for an earthquake in Mexico.

When I picked up Sincerely, I was expecting a fluffy and lighthearted book, but it was much deeper than that. Both Sophie and Katie struggled with extremely real problems and both of their stories were very character driven. Every character was multi-dimensional and greatly added to the story. This book does have one minor swear word, so if you are a parent and aren’t comfortable with this, then I wouldn’t recommend buying this book for your child. I rate this book four out of five stars.