I read five books this month. Kindof. Two were DNF (did not finish) for different reasons. I don’t want to throw any authors under the proverbial bus (is that used correctly?) so I won’t tell you what they are (unless you corner me on the street), BUT – they came with a lot of BUZZ, touted as AMAZING! MUST READ!

My dear librarians BOUGHT these two books for the local library b/c I asked for them – and then I didn’t like them. Oh dear.

I sometimes wonder about these reviews, this whole “buzz” thing – who gets it, who doesn’t and why?


The two books that I loved this past month? BOTH middle grade reads! Middle grade is hot right now! Both of these books I HIGHLY recommend for you adults out there. Both have huge potential in a book club or as a conversation with younger readers:

The Miscalculations of Lightening Girl by Stacy McAnulty

Lucy Callahan’s life is changed forever when she’s struck by lightening. The zap gives her genius-level math and science abilities that she tries to keep under-wraps as a middle schooler. Technically, she could be in college – but surviving middle school is WAY HARDER. Can she do it? And what happens when her friends find out she’s a genius? This is a fantastic book, with themes of acceptance, differences, OCD, and friendship. It made me laugh out loud a few times – always a plus!

The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden

From my Instagram review: I really really loved seventh-grade Zoey. She’s a girl who takes small brave steps to transform herself and her family when the adults in her life have forgotten how. Poverty can so easily kill the spirit. Zoey takes herself and the reader to a place of realization that you can – and you should – say NO when you’re made to feel less than. It’s hopeful, but know there are rough issues explored- ones that will prompt good and necessary discussion. Braden writes deftly about the things we see but don’t want to see. It’s a reminder to me, personally, that there is suffering I NEED to see and act upon, esp when it comes to children. Highly recommended! Great job, Ann. A stellar debut 🐙

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray

Hailed as a dazzling debut, I wanted to like this more than I did. Althea, Viola, and Lillian are three sisters dumped in the middle of hardship. There’s relationship trouble, identity issues, and even jail time! But…I had a hard time caring about the characters (not sure why?) Many other readers really liked this book and Gray is certainly a very talented writer.

There you go! Now tell me – what did YOU read? Recommendations???


Song I’m loving: TAYLOR SWIFTS’s ME! I mean, so good. Makes me want to RUN!!!



  • Kelly Farnsworth says:

    I’ve been through this as well- getting a book with a lot of buzz and then either not finishing it or reading it just to finish. I will definitely look into Lightning Girl. I read Benefits of Being an Octopus and absolutely loved it. It definitely deserves the attention it has received. I have another question for you but I’ll send it via Messenger. 🙂

  • Julia Tomiak says:

    I am currently listening to LIGHTENING GIRL with my youngest son during our commutes to and from soccer practice. We both are enjoying it and have had some conversations about OCD. Will definitely check out the OCTOPUS book too.
    And, maybe via email, you can tell me about the DNF. I think it’s okay to put a book down. There is too little time and too much to read. And as you well know, the book business is a subjective one. I bet someone at your library might like those books. 😉

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