Favorite Blog Posts of 2017

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Earlier this week, I discussed my top five favorite book reviews that I featured on my blog in 2017. In this post, I’ll discuss some of my other favorite bookish posts featured on my blog. This year, I wanted to focus on posting more frequently on my blog. After I graduated college, I was able to start a more frequent and consistent posting schedule on my blog. As a result, I had a lot of posts to choose from! Here are five of my favorite posts from this year:

goodreads-challenge

I loved reflecting on my reading using the summary created by Goodreads. I loved looking at the interesting graphics that detailed my ratings, the length of my books, and their popularity. I can’t wait to see what my 2017 book graphics look like!

book-personality-challenge

This year, I create a tag… and other people actually did it! After taking dozens of personality quizzes online, I decided to relate it to my love of books. I loved reading about other people’s personalities and how they could connect their lives to their favorite books. (If you’re reading this, I tag you to complete the Book Personality Challenge!)

blog-feature

I was inspired by Heather from Bookables on Youtube to use different sorting features on Goodreads to learn a little bit more about my reading (see her original video here). It was interesting to see what authors I keep grabbing for… some of them were definitely a surprise!

blogmas

The Unpopular Book Opinion Tag is one of my favorite book tags. This year, I decided to only focus on books that I read in 2017. Since I read so many books this year, I definitely had more choices to go off of then when I first completed this tag on my blog.

the-brittany-awards

Since I wrapped up The Brittany Awards last year, I couldn’t wait to write them again this year! I had so much fun creating new categories this year (re-reads, graphic novels, and separate categories for contemporary and fantasy). I really tried to branch out and try new books this year, so it was exciting to reflect on everything I read in these awards.

 

What were some of your favorite blog posts that you wrote this year (please link them below, I would love to read them!)?

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The Brittany Awards 2017 Part Three: Middle Grade

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  • Part One: Re-Reads
  • Part Two: Graphic Novels

In the third installment of The Brittany Awards 2017, I will be discussing my favorite middle grade books of the year. Middle grade books hold a special place in my heart. Their humorous, heartbreaking, and filled with great messages for people of all ages. Here are my five favorite middle grade books of the year (book reviews will be linked to book titles):

  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree was a book that I knew I would like before I even read it. The main character, Ally, is a great representation of a student with a learning disability and gave me more perspective into my own teaching and how I interact with students. Overall, this a a great book with an even greater message.

The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match (The Great Shelby Holmes, #2)

I enjoyed the first book in this series last year and may have loved this second installment even more. Both main characters in this book show a lot of growth and practically leaped off the page. Especially Shelby, who sometimes came across as unbelievable in the first book, really showed a lot of depth and made me connect with her character more.

Judy Moody Declares Independence (Judy Moody #6)

This book was on my top re-reads list and also earns a spot on this list as well. In my opinion, this is the best Judy Moody book. Judy shows a lot of growth in her character by taking more responsibility to herself and her actions. This book also brings up bias in history and brings up historical figures seldom mentioned in textbooks. Overall, I appreciated Judy’s character in the book and the book’s message.

Stage Fright (Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls, #4)

Allie Finkle is one of my favorite characters in middle grade and this book was no exception. I literally laugh out loud when reading the Allie Finkle books for the crazy situations Allie finds herself in.

Red Thread Sisters

Red Thread Sister was such a wonderful book to read! This book provided a lot of perspective on adopting a child from China. Since this book is written by a woman who adopted her own daughters from China, there was not only a great story line, but a lot of solid background information as well.

 

 

What were your favorite middle grade books of the year?

 

The Brittany Awards 2017 Part One: Re-Reads

the-brittany-awards

The Brittany Awards are my annual end-of-the-year lists to celebrate my favorite books of this year. For 2017, I have divided my list into five preliminary categories (re-reads, graphic novels, middle grade, contemporary, and fantasy) and one overall favorites category. For each category, I will select my top five favorite books as well as two honorable mentions. Since I read 100 books this year, there’s a lot of competition for the top spots in each category!

Today, I will be reviewing my top five favorite re-reads. This year, I wanted to go back and read some of my favorite books. With so many books being released every year, sometimes I forget to go back and read the books that made me love reading so much in the first place. For this category, I decided to forego the honorable mentions and just talk about my five favorites of the year (reviews will be linked to book titles):

Just Listen

Just Listen is one of my all-time favorite young adult books, so it’s no surprise that it is on this list! This book has such a great message and is filled with realistic and complex characters. I’ve probably read this book over ten times already, but I always find something that I didn’t see before. This will most likely always be a five star read for me.

Judy Moody Declares Independence (Judy Moody #6)

This book actually showed up in my favorite middle grade books of 2016. In this book, I think Judy Moody shows a lot of growth and it also gives an important message about unrepresented heroes in American history. I reread this book earlier this year because I had the opportunity to create unit on it for one of my student teaching placements. I’m so happy that I had the opportunity to share this book with some of my students!

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

When I read Fangirl the first time, I enjoyed it but it probably wouldn’t have appeared on a favorites list. After rereading it, there are so many little details that I missed the first time around that made me like this book even more! Now that I’ve graduated college, it was fun reading this book and thinking about my own college experiences.

  • This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

This Lullaby

This Lullaby is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books, so it’s no surprised that I enjoyed it this time around. Every time I read this book, I resonate with Remy and further appreciate her relationship with Dexter. This is always a book that I read whenever I need a pick-me-up.

The Truth About Forever

This is the third Sarah Dessen book on my list! Even though I don’t like repeating authors so much on a list, I can’t help but hide my love for my favorite Sarah Dessen books. Like with Annabel and Remy, I relate to Macy which really invested me in this story. Even though this book has sad moments, I am always happy and hopeful when I finish reading it.

 

What were your favorite re-reads of the year?

Books that Feature Good Families

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During Thanksgiving, I always feel thankful for my family. In middle grade and young adult literature, I typically find that finding a good family to be thankful for can be few and far between (f they are shown at all). However, there are some supportive families across middle grade and young adult literature that I want to show some appreciation. Here are five of my favorite bookish families (any book with a review will be linked to the book’s title):

  • The Vanderbeeker family from The Vanderbeekers at 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

Even though I had mixed feelings towards this book, one aspect that I loved was the dynamic between the family members. Each member of this family possessed their own unique personality and they worked together to solve their problems. You could tell in this book each member of the family really cared about each other and helped each other recognize their individual strengths.

The Hate U Give

I think the Carter family would have to be one of my favorite families featured in a young adult novel of 2017. The Carter family faced a lot of adversity before the novel takes place and during the novel. However, they continue to support each other and make tough decisions for the best of the family. The relationships between Starr’s parents, Starr and her parents, and Starr and her siblings were depicted realistically.

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

The Song family from To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the main reason that I loved this series. Every member of this family is different, however, they all support each other no matter how near or far away they may be. Additionally, the family in this book grows and changes throughout this series. All of these changes aren’t always easily welcomed, however, they eventually learn to accept another family member’s decisions and love them despite their differences.

Sophomore Year Is Greek to Me

I think my favorite aspect of this book would have to be Zona’s new relationship with her mother’s side of the family. While Zona only knew her father, a year abroad allowed her to meet family that she’s never met. Zona’s family is lively and fun with a lot of new family traditions for Zona to experience. I liked how the author showed the cultural differences between Zona and her father’s relationship compared to the dynamics of her other Greek family.

Wonder

I love the Pullman family from Wonder and how readers get to experience multiple family member’s perspectives in this book. Each family member is impacted by Auggie and it was interesting to see the exact way he impacted all of their lives.

 

What are some of your favorite families from books?

The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy ARC Review

book review

The second installment of The Kindness Club needed a make it work moment to really shine.

The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy is the second book in The Kindness Club by Courtney Shienmel. In this novel, fashion forward club member Lucy Tanaka is determined to stick to the club’s goal, completing three acts of kindness a day. When a classmate’s mother passes away, Lucy sees this as the perfect opportunity. Her classmate, Serena, loves birthday parties, so Lucy wants to throw her the perfect party at her family’s bowling alley. However, unforeseen circumstances threaten Lucy’s plans.

I read Sincerely, a two-in-one book, by Courtney Shienmel and absoutely loved it for its realistic characters and situations. When I received an ARC of The Kindness Club last year, I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t my favorite work by this author. When I saw the second installment of The Kindness Club on NetGalley, I requested it right away. Unfortunately, out of all the books that I’ve read by this author, this book is my least favorite.

I think one of my biggest issues was with the characters, especially the main character Lucy. While I appreciated the characterization of The Kindness Club in the first book, it was a little overkill in this book. The group’s personalities and conversations felt so unnatural and it felt like they walked on eggshells around each other in fear they would say something that would accidentally offend someone.

Out of all the characters, Lucy especially annoyed me because she refused to listen to anyone’s advice. After devising the plan for Serena’s birthday, even after numerous warnings from friends and family members that it wasn’t her place to do this and tat she should find another way to show Serena that she cared because her plan would make Serena uncomfortable, Lucy never stopped. Especially since Lucy also lost her mother, it would make more sense if she understood Serena’s need for privacy at this time. I felt myself cringing throughout the entire book at her actions. I felt like so many characters tiptoed around Lucy because they didn’t want to hurt her feelings, instead I think they needed to be more frank about how some of Lucy’s ideas weren’t the correct way to handle specific situations.

While there were several aspects that I didn’t enjoy about this book, there were a few things that I did enjoy. Even though I think the book focused too much on the party idea, I do think it resolved that particular story line fairly well. I think Lucy’s fashion talents were used in a creative way beyond making clothes. I also think Lucy’s relationship with her father and grandmother were portrayed realistically and appreciated how much they were involved in the story.

The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy wasn’t my favorite book of the year, but I still liked some aspects of the story and the overall message this series strives to send. I give The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy three out of five stars.

ARC Review: The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street

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Release date: October 3, 2017

The Vanderbeekers may live on 141st Street, but I’m only giving this book three stars.

In Karina Yan Glaser’s debut novel The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, a group of five siblings strive to save their family’s apartment after their grumpy landlord refuses to renew their lease. Since it’s right around Christmas and the family must leave before the new year, the siblings only have about five days to change their landlord’s mind. However, their plans start to go awry.

I haven’t heard a lot about this book, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I went in reading it. From the book’s description, I knew it took place around Christmas time, so I expected a heartwarming family story perfect for the holidays. This book is uplifting and family friendly, which I enjoyed, but some minor issues held me back from giving this book five stars.

In this book, I mostly enjoyed the characters but had a few minor problems with their characterization. I appreciated that each sibling had their own personality, even the twin siblings. Since the book follows the perspectives of all the siblings, the author did a great job of differentiating the characters and their voices. However, I felt like some of the actions of the characters didn’t match the age of their characters. Sometimes, the youngest child (four and a half years old, I believe) acted her age by pretending to be a panda in a black and white sweatshirt, but sometimes they way she talked and acted seemed much older. Sometimes I confused her behavior with her older siblings. However, I still overall enjoyed the characters and their unique voices in this novel.

Another aspect of this book that I had mixed feelings towards was the plot. Sometimes, this book moved extremely slow and it took awhile in the book for the children to actually start putting their plan into action. Additionally, I found many of the “plot twists” to be fairly standard for similar holiday stories, especially the landlord’s background story. I also thought the “romance” plot in the book had a lot of plot holes which didn’t make me quite believe the characters’ reactions to that part of the story line. That being said, I still think the plot offers a cute, heartwarming story that a lot of reader will enjoy reading around Christmas.

Overall, The Vanderbeekers of 141st is a great family friendly book that I think a lot of families would enjoy reading together around Christmas time. However, I do think there were several areas of this novel that needed improvement in order for me to completely love it. I give this book three out of five stars.

 

I received this ARC free from the publisher via the Shelf Awareness Pro newsletter.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Fall TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is books on my fall TBR. In the summer, I prefer to read light, fluffy contemporary books. When fall rolls around, I still like to read contemporary books, but I find myself reading more fantasy and historical fiction as well. Here are the top ten books I plan to read this fall:

  • All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Steifvater

All the Crooked Saints

In All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater, the Soria family is able to perform miracles. I’m not sure about much else that takes place in this book, however, I hope to read and review this book after receiving an ARC through the Self Awareness Pro newsletter. I’ve only read one other book by Maggie Steifvater, The Scorpio Races, and it wasn’t my cup of tea. However, I’m interested to see if I enjoy another one of her books. There’s also a lot of controversy surrounding this book, but I’m interested to see how it actually develops in the book.

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo follows six outcasts as they complete an impossible heist. This book sounded really interesting to me and I’ve heard so many positive reviews that I’m really excited to read it! Also, I read Summer Days and Summer Nights recently and I really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s short story, so I have high expectations for this read.

  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt follows Ally, a girl who uses pranks and jokes to distract her classmates from her learning disability. However, when Ally encounters a new teacher helps her see herself in a new light. This is a book I’ve been wanting to read for awhile, but it hasn’t been the right time. With the new school year starting, I think it will be the perfect time to finally read it!

  • Surviving High School by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz

Surviving High School

In Surviving High School by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz, Lele is an unpopular girl in high school despite her large following on social media. Instead, she faces bullying daily while trying to perform well in school. I’m not sure what to expect out of this book. I haven’t heard the best reviews and I haven’t been extremely impressed with fiction that I’ve read by social media stars. Additionally, I read a Melissa de la Cruz earlier this year and wasn’t too impressed with it either. However, I think this could be a fun book to read as the school year starts. Hopefully, this book exceeds my expectations!

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas follows Feyre who helps her family survive through hunting. One day, she kills a predator that is actually a faerie and she’s forced to live in the faerie court.

I tried to read this book earlier this year, but DNF’d it a little over halfway through. I’ve also tried reading the Throne of Glass series, but couldn’t get past the first fifty pages. I want to try this book again since I’ve heard the series gets better. However, if I put this book down again, I can’t seeing myself picking up a book by this author again because her writing just might not be for me.

  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

In Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige, Amy Gumm is swept off to Oz. There, she discovers that Dorothy seized power of Oz and it went to her head. Amy is then recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked to kill Dorothy and save oz.

I read Danielle Paige’s Stealing Snow last year (see my review here) and didn’t enjoy it very much. I had many problems with the characters, plot, and romance. However, I want to give this series a shot. I’m not sure if I will actually end up reading or enjoying this book, but I’m looking forward to see another work by this author.

  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab takes place in a divided city separated by monsters. On Kate Harker’s side of the city, her father rules by letting the monsters run free and forcing the citizens to pay for his protection. On the other side lives August Flynn, a monster who just wants to be human.

This doesn’t sound like a book that I would normally pick up, however, I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews of this book online. I’v discovered a lot of books that I loved by going out on a limb from reviews that I’ve seen in the blogging community, so hopefully I enjoy this book! Since this book involves monsters, I think it will be a great book to read during the fall months.

  • Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys 

Salt to the Sea

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys follows several teenagers whose paths converge on a ship during World War II. I’ve been wanting to read this book for awhile, but for some reason, have never gotten around to actually reading it. I love every book that I’ve read by this author and I have seen nothing but glowing reviews for this book, so I definitely have high expectations going into it. Hopefully, I can read this book before fall ends!

  • The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy by Courtney Shienmel

The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy

The Kindness Club: Designed by Lucy by Courtney Shienmel follows the three members of The Kindness Club in a new adventure. This time, Lucy wants to help a classmate that recently lost her mother by throwing a birthday part for her at a bowling alley.

I discovered Courtney Shienmel when I found one of her books at my local dollar store. I loved both Sincerely (see my review here) and the first book in this series (see my review here), so I requested this book as soon as it appeared on NetGalley. This book will be released on November, so I definitely want to read and review it before the release date.

  • Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk by Megan McDonald

Stink and the Midnight Zombie Walk (Stink, #7)

In Stink and the Midnight Zombie walk, Stink awaits for the next book in his favorite series to be released. He wants to be the first in line to participate in the midnight zombie walk. Between preparing his costume and clocking in his minutes read, Stink starts to fear that he is being hunted by zombies.

I read the first book in this series, Stink the Incredible Shrinking Kid (see my review here), and didn’t enjoy it as much as I enjoyed Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody series. However, I found four of the books in this series for a great price at a bargain store. I hope I will enjoy this book more than the first one, especially since I can read it around Halloween.

 

What books are on your fall TBR?

Top Ten Tuesday: The First Ten Books I Reviewed on My Blog

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is a throwback freebie. I decided to discuss the first ten books that I reviewed when I started my blog. When I decided to start blogging, it was the first time I started reading books after a large break from reading. I read all the time in high school, but once I started college, I either didn’t have enough time or didn’t want to read after reading textbooks all week for my classes. During the winter break of my junior year, I discovered Booktube and book blogs and picked up a few books that I put off for a few years. In this post, I’m going to celebrate the time I fell in love with reading again by sharing the first ten books I wrote reviews for in my blog (reviews will be linked to the book’s title):

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

This was my first review EVER on my blog! I remember reading this over winter break my junior year of college (awhile after this book was released). Somehow, the ending wasn’t spoiled for me! This was the perfect book to start my book blog because I had so many mixed feelings for this book, I had enough to write about for my first book review. Let’s just pretend I didn’t spell the book’s title wrong in the image at the top.

Wonder

I remember that I picked this book up at the thrift store over winter break on a whim because I heard about it in one of my education classes. I absolutely LOVED this book and it was great to talk about my experience reading this book on my blog! Now, I can’t believe that I will get to see the movie soon in theaters.

All I Want for Christmas Is You

I remember I received this book as a gift for Christmas. Since it was a Christmas themed book, I quickly wrote a review and posted it on my blog. Thinking about this book makes me think about the early days of my blog. Like with Wonder, I loved this book and enjoyed talking it about it online!

Let it Snow

This book is one that I actually found through the blogging community! While I didn’t love everything about this book, it brings back so many memories of books that the blogging community introduced me to that I really love today. I would never have picked up some of my favorite books if I didn’t see the opinions outside of my friends and family!

Kissing Snowflakes

This blog post doesn’t bring back the best memories… it was my first mostly negative review of a book! I remember seeing this book at a thrift store and was so excited because I saw it on so many winter reading lists. Even though I was disappointed with this book, I’m happy that I was able to gather my thoughts and organize them in a post.

Jessica Darling's It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection

When I first started my blog, I still didn’t have a typical way that I wrote my reviews. Also, as soon as I read a book, I wanted to post about it online instead of planning ahead and spreading out my reviews. That’s what I think about when I see the next three books on my list.

Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream

Looking at the book above and below this one, I know I had a lot more thoughts on these books that just a paragraph or two. Instead of thinking it through, I crammed them all into one post.

Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (Judy Moody, #10)

Looking back, I would have given each of these books their own individual post to go into more detail about what I liked or disliked about these books. However, it makes me happier to think about what I post now. Even when I do mini-review posts, I make sure to take my time and explain all of my thoughts towards a book, even if it’s in fewer words.

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Like with the three books I previously mentioned, I put this book and the book below into one post. When I see these books, it reminds me of my old posting schedule. Before, I started all of my posts with hashtags, like #TeenTuesday for young adult books and #ThrowbackThursday for picture books and middle grade books.

We Were Liars

However, I eventually figured out this wasn’t the best way for me to post. I didn’t like the clunky titles, or even sometimes misleading titles (I thought the Throwback Thursday might confuse some people if it wasn’t an older book). Plus, I already did posts on Tuesdays… Top Ten Tuesdays! Now, I work on a different schedule that spaces out my posts and use more accurate titles.

 

What were some of the first books that you reviewed on your blog?

Captain Underpants Review

captain underpants

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a review of Captain Underpants!

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey follows two elementary school best friends who love to cause trouble and school and draw comics. After a prank at a football game lands them in major trouble, the two boys decide to hypnotize their principal in order to avoid punishment. Inadvertently, the turn their principal into their comic book creation, Captain Underpants.

Over the summer, I saw a full-length feature film of Captain Underpants was being released. Seeing the trailer brought me back to second grade where I devoured the Nancy Drew, Dear America, and Babysitter’s Club series. I distinctly remember seeing many of the boys in my class reading a series completely different than my own–The Captain Underpants series. With underwear and toilets slapped on the covers, my first though upon seeing a Captain Underpants book was ew, gross, or any unflattering word that a second grader could imagine.

Now, much older, I decided to give The Adventures of Captain Underpants a shot. Just from reading this series, I can tell you that I won’t be for everyone, especially parents put off by potty humor and boys that weasel their way out of trouble. However, after reading the first book in this series, I actually enjoyed the first book and can see how many younger readers would do the same.

I think the biggest aspect of this book that I enjoyed was the author’s personal connection. In the author’s biography at the end of the book, Dav Pilkey remembers how his story mirrors the characters in the book. Like the boys in Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey also played practical jokes, created comics books, and caused his teacher’s strife who told him “to straighten up because he could never make a living creating silly books.” Additionally, Pilkey actually created the character Captain Underpants in second grade. I enjoyed learning more about the series’ creation and it made me appreciate this book even more.

Another aspects of this book that I really enjoyed was its interactive features. At one point in the book, you flip the pages really fast to “animate” the book. I can imagine young readers really enjoying this part of the book. I also enjoyed how the book also incorporated comics that the main characters made. As an adult, it was funny to see how they spelled certain words, the pictures that they drew, and the story lines that they created.

While Captain Underpants isn’t my favorite early chapter book, I have a greater appreciation for this book than I did in the second grade. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but it is a quick read with a lot of enjoyable features. I give The Adventures of Captain Underpants four out of five stars.

ARC Review: The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match

meets her match

Release Date: September 12, 2017

The first book in this series meets its match as its sequel shines.

The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match by Elizabeth Eulberg picks up shortly after the first book with a new case for Watson and Shelby. With a new school year afoot, there’s also new classes, new friends, and new mysteries waiting to be solved. This time, a new teacher’s watch disappears and Watson and Shelby are on the case! However, Shelby’s skills are soon questioned after she makes a mistake that comprises the case.

I read an eARC of the first book in this series last year, and I enjoyed it despite a few issues, so I was excited when the second book appeared on NetGalley (see my review of the first book here). In the first book, I really liked the main character in this series, Watson, and the book’s unique take on a mystery frequent in middle grade novels. However, I didn’t like how difficult the clues were for younger readers and Shelby’s almost cartoonish personality. I was happy that the sequel contained elements I enjoyed from the first book, but also worked on areas that needed improvement from the first book.

I think the highlight of this series definitely remains within the main character. Watson is a great character who not only grows as a character throughout the novel, but serves as a great role model for readers. Sometimes in books, authors treat mental illnesses or medical conditions as a “quirk” instead of an issue that the character struggles with everyday. However, Elizabeth Eulberg doesn’t do this with Watson’s diabetes. Readers get a good picture of what it’s like to live with diabetes since it greatly affects the plot line. Additionally, Watson is an all-around good guy. After an incident in the novel, Shelby starts a rumor that Watson is the hero, not her, because she’s afraid it will hurt his ego. Watson, however, not only declares this untrue, but proceeds to tell everyone the truth that Shelby is the real hero. I like how Watson is confident in who he is as a person and doesn’t conform to traditional male stereotypes.

I also enjoyed Shelby’s character more in this novel. In the first novel, all of her behavior felt too cartoonish and there weren’t enough moments to see her as a multi-dimensional, real character. However, Shelby’s character grows tremendously throughout this novel since everything she believes about herself is questioned. Shelby learns that even though she is intelligent, she can still make mistakes. Additionally, she starts to rely more on other people for help which further develops her friendship with Watson and helps her express herself more emotionally. I liked how Shelby’s character grew throughout this novel because it showed she can be strong through her intelligence, but through her emotions as well.

As for the case in this novel, I have mixed feelings. One aspect of this case that I liked was there were more details that younger readers could point out so they would feel more involved in the case. Since Watson is learning to pick up clues better, younger readers have the opportunity to do this as well. On the other hand, this case didn’t seem as well though out as the case in the first novel and the mystery is solved about halfway through the novel. Since the case isn’t the main focus, however, readers see a lot more character development from the two main characters. Therefore, if you’re looking for a more intricate mystery, I’d look towards the first book. If you’re looking for more complex characters, I’d look towards the second book.

Overall, The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match is an enjoyable read with likable characters and a decent mystery. I would recommend this book for any fan of the first book or anyone looking for a cute middle grade mystery. I give The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match four out of five stars.

 

***I received this eARC via NetGalley from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.