The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy (2014)

This is a book that will be of interest to boys as well as girls. The main characters are four brothers who are ages 12, 10, 10, and six. The two 10 year olds are not twins biologically. All of the brothers are adopted, and Jax and Eli were such friends as toddlers that their adoptive dads adopted them both at the same time. The oldest is Sam and the youngest is Frog (as in “Jeremiah was a bullfrog”.)  The brothers are all beginning a new school year in the opening chapter of the book.  As the school proceeds, things don’t go quite as each of the boys thought they would. 

I really enjoyed this book overall, and think boys (and girls) aged 8 to 10 would particularly enjoy it, as well as people who enjoy family stories.  However, something that bothers me now, and would have bothered me at that age as well (I spent time as a young child rather obsessed with what age everyone should turn in what grade.)   At 10, Eli and Jax were only starting fourth grade.  I was 10 when I started fifth grade.  It was the same with the others.  Frog was already six and only starting kindergarten, and Sam was 12 and starting sixth grade.  Excuse me, but I was 11 most of my sixth grade year . . .  perhaps all of their birthdays were in August right before the school year?

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj

Abby Spencer Goes to Bollywood by Varsha Bajaj (2014)

 This book, intended for middle grade readers (main character is 13 years old), is a fun read.  Abby Spencer does not know her father.  Her mother knew him when he came to the United States from India to attend college.  When they’d both graduated, they split up because they always knew that her (Abby ‘s father) would be returning to India in part because his parents were there.  Her mother did not know she was pregnant until later.  She wrote him a handwritten letter, which he never received.   

Now, Abby wants to know who her father is.   And she is shocked to find out that he is the hottest Bollywood star in India!  For Thanksgiving, she heads to India to meet her father and paternal grandmother for the first time.   

This is a fun read with some cultural clash as well as some angst of being a young teen.  Abby finds a boyfriend in India (although he is also from – another part of – Texas.)  I highly recommend this book!


The Weight of Water

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan (2012 in Great Britain, and 2013 in the US.)

This is a novel in verse about a girl new to England with her mother, from Poland. Kasienka (often known as Cassie in England) and her mother are there to look for their father and husband.  Kasienka’s tata had left them and gone to England some years before.   Her mother is desperate to find him.   They take a small room in a boarding house, and Kasienka starts going to school.  The school head incorrectly assumes that Kasienka needs to being in a lower grade level because English is not her first language.   Kasienka eventually takes tests and blows them all away.  She is moved up to her proper age group.  She navigates the pitfalls and bullying from other girls as she discovers the new life her father is living, a relationship with a boy, and how well she can do on the school swim team.  

This is a good read for middle grade kids.