• By Margaret Adam
  • Posted Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Books We Like

If you read only one book this summer, consider The Wild Book, whatever your age.
If you’re an adult or teen, you might also like Falling Over Sideways.
If laugh-out-loud fantasy for ages 8 and up is your thing, scroll down for 2017’s new book by Cressida Cowell, author of How To Train Your Dragon. These books are all fun, each in its own way.

What if your father had a stroke one morning when you were the only ones home? So starts Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick. Sonnenblick skillfully turns a serious medical incident and the months that follow into an engaging, amusing account of Claire’s eighth-grade year. Her life was complicated enough navigating friends and enemies at school, wishing she danced better after school, and envying her driven, overachieving older brother. Now with her family scrambling to adapt to post-stroke reality, Claire’s struggles intensify. She tells it all with an authentic voice of humor, sarcasm, honesty, and hope. Somehow, Sonnenblick treats Claire's family's experiences with a balance of seriousness and humor. The result is a fun story because it's so compelling.

In The Wild Book by Juan Villoro, thirteen-year-old Juan and his new friend Catalina are pulled into a suspenseful hunt through his Uncle Tito's irresistible, haphazard, multi-room library over the course of one summer. Their prey? An elusive book which no one has ever read, a book intended for Juan alone. These characters, Villoro's writing style, and Eko's illustrations at the start of each chapter should charm even reluctant readers.

If you prefer reality to fantasy, The Wild Book is set in a present-day city that could be anywhere in the real world. The human characters are completely human. The only catch: as Juan discovers, the books turn out to have lives of their own.

Villoro is one of Mexico’s most acclaimed writers in many adult genres who has penned children’s books as well. Before its New York publication last November, The Wild Book sold more than a million copies in Spanish. Readers of any age who remember the first time they discovered the magical power of books might find that feeling again in this story.

And now for fans of Cressida Cowell . . . If you so much as peak inside the cover of The Wizards of Once, it will pull you in with its artwork, plot, characters, and humor. As the unnamed narrator says at the start, Xar is a Wizard boy who has no Magic and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns a banned Magical Object, and she will do anything to conceal it. When they both sneak out of their respective kingdoms one night and collide, unexpectedly, in the wildwood, an adventurous romp ensues.

Enlivened by Cowell’s amusing and mood-intensifying illustrations, this book takes you on a roller coaster of fun without needing to buckle in. No sooner do these adventures conclude and these conflicts resolve themselves, then you realize you are very curious to know what will happen next. In three months, we can find out: The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic, Book 2 is due out September 20th.

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