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Is a weekly feature here at The Hopeful Heroine where I give short and sweet reviews of books I’ve read. I don’t always have the time to sit down and do a full review for every book I read, but I still want to share my thoughts! Plus, many of these reviews are of books I read prior to staring up the blog and wish to share with you!

I’ve slacked on my book club reviews these past couple of months, and I have been meaning to share them with you because I thought they were some fabulous reads! This past year my bookclub has been reading through middle grade literature, and I’m sad to say we finish it up this month with my pick.
But it has been a fabulous year of classics, humorous reads, and new books finding a place on my shelves.

Up this week
[Each image will link you to the book’s Goodreads’ page]

Al Capone Does My shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

“Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I’m not the only kid who lives here. There’s my sister, Natalie, except she doesn’t count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook’s or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don’t want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you’re me. I came here because my mother said I had to.”

-Summary via Goodreads

My Thoughts: I think I have read more historical fiction these past sixth months than I have read in my life. Horrible of me to skip out, I know. But if you’re a fan of history, this is definitely a book to pick up. Before I opened this story, I expected lots of humor, lots of Al Capone sightings, and perhaps even some mischief and Mayhem around Alcatraz.
This story was nothing like I expected. Firstly, there’s less focus on Al Capone and more focus on family–which become an important theme in this story. We learn that Moose’s (the main character) sister Natalie is actually Autistic, which is something that was unknown and treated much differently back in the 30’s, and ultimately, their relationship becomes an important part of the plot.
Don’t worry, Al Capone makes an entrance or two–and there is humor involved–but this turned out to be a much more serious story than I expected, which I think is why I also really, really enjoyed it.
Published | Publisher: April 20th, 2006  | Puffin
Pages: 240
Age Group | Genre: Mg | Historical Fiction, Realism
Lasting Impression:
Definitely worth a read as well as good discussion! AND it’s part of a series!

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. . .”

Summary via Goodreads

My Thoughts: Confession time–this is my first Gaiman read. GASP! I know…so many authors, so little time.
Seeing as how it’s Spring and the world is sunny and blooming, I was initially thrown off by this pick because of it’s subject–ghosts, and graveyards, and scary things. But then I started the audio book on a dreary rainy day, and there was no going back. Firstly, you need to listen to the audio book because Gaiman reads it, and he is absolutely fabulous. The book just comes alive!  But you must also check out the tangible book because there are illustrations which I totally almost missed.
I hardly have words for this story because it’s just so good that I do not want to give anything away! It is reminiscent of the Jungle Book, which Gaiman freely admits, in that Nobody Owens is raised by ghosts (not humans), and the novel is set up as a collection of short stories. I love how Gaiman connects everything together, and overall this story is full of hope. I did feel the story had a slow start, but again that could just be connected to the time of year for me. It could also be scary for younger readers, so I would say at least 10 and up.
Otherwise, if you haven’t picked up of any Gaiman’s stories–start with this one!
Published | Publisher: September 30th, 2008| Harper Collins
Pages: 312
Age Group | Genre: MG | Paranormal, Supernatural, Fantasy
Lasting Impression: I definitely need to re-read this one around Halloween time, as well as pick up more of Gaiman’s books!
Favorite Quote: “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”

Hopeful Reading!

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