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Author Website |
Release Date: April 16th, 2013 | Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Genre: contemporary, realism, music | Pages: 256

Hey readers! Today’s MMGM is not only a BRAND NEW STORY (it’s not even out yet!) but I’m debuting a little bit of a new layout. Captain Nosy is just like me in that he LOVES middle grade reads. (He’s forever sniffing away at them, reading by osmosis) so I thought I’d start featuring him.
I’m super excited to share such a great book with you today. It’s got music…laughs…and a little bit of paparazzi! Definitely one that will be going on my classroom bookshelves!

I was graciously provided a copy from Macmillan Kids. I was not compensated in any way for my review (cross my heart) nor did I promise a good rating. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine.


Ceclilia Wreel has lived in Wares Grove, New Jersey her whole life. It’s one of those places that everyone just drives through on their way to another place. It’s also one of those towns where nothing. exciting. happens. EVER.
That is, until Super Teen Star Elvis Ruby shows up.

See, Elvis was supposed to win Tween Star and take his New York City roots far into the land of stardom. But then, on the biggest night of the reality show–the finals–Elvis freezes up. And he doesn’t sing a note.

So, somehow he makes his way to Wares Grove to hide from the paparazzi and the rest of the billion people who watched him fail so he can try to hear his music again. But then he meets Cecilia, the most unmusical person he’s ever met, and she wants his help in making the trees sing.

5 reasons why this book is marvelous!

  1. Firstly, I immediately fell in love the with the characters of this story. Not only does Marino write strong, round characters, but they are so different and lovable! Though Elvis is supposed to be this famous tween super star (think Justin Bieber) he’s really easy to relate too. I enjoyed how he had a deeper side to him once he was in Wares Grove and that despite his normal, human mistakes, he’s willing to take a step back to find himself. For a boy main character, he is fabulous, and he struggles with inner feelings that boys deal with…but don’t talk about. He’s one of those boys (Elvis Ruby—just say his name out loud!) that I want to talk to my future MG students about and say, you need to know this boy. He is awesome!
  2. Then there is Cecilia. Oh my goodness….that child was me as a young girl! I can say nothing about her except that I absolutely loved her. She truly was a girl who marched to the beat of her own drum…considering she has no rhythm, whatsoever…and even though she wanted to somewhat fit in with the other girls, she eventually learned that she was perfect the way she was. What I loved most about her was that no matter who tried to stop her from hearing the music, she kept listening.
  3. Marino tells this story in such an interesting way. Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace is told from the perspective of a third person omniscient narrator (someone who knows EVERYTHING) and so as readers, we get the story from both Elivs’s and Ceclia’s point of view. Marino alternates the chapters with another perspective that talks about the Pinelands and the Jersey Devil…another thing of legend. (You’ll have to read the book to find out the FIRST thing of legend!) I love how the story constantly changes views because Marino weaves the perspectives well. She never comes back on the story, and the constant shift from chapter to chapter moves the plot along nicely.
  4. As for the extra part about the Jersey Devil and legends of the Pinelands…it was a part of the story that I just loved. I wasn’t expecting it when I first started the story, and so as I kept reading along and being pulled into these myths, I felt the deepness and symbolism of the rest of the story being filled out. If you’re looking for some good storytelling, this has it!
  5. Finally, the novel is about music, and about listening, and hearing, and how the three are part of our lives even if we don’t know it. I’m a closet musician, and deep down I would love to know how to play more instruments or go to Julliard or even just be able to sit down at a random piano and play something beautiful. So when Cecilia talks about the trees singing and says something like–” ‘Because I know.’ She pointed to her heart. ‘Inside me. I know.’ ” –my own heart skips a beat, and suddenly, I can hear the music too.


I wholeheartedly agree with Captain Nosy!

Book Talk: Are you looking forward to reading Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace? Are you musical in anyway? Ever wanted to be? What about a famous musician? (always wanted to be one!)

Hopeful reading!