It’s Monday! What are you reading? – travels you aren’t expecting

The week I read both realistic fiction and fantasy. They are travel books but travel that you didn’t expect and wasn’t so pleasant. I began the week by reading reviews from others on this meme and found myself off on an exciting adventure with Duncan and a sad but learning journey with Liberty.

518N6Bow6KL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_The Sign of the Cat by Lynell Jonell.  (released June 16th) Duncan take us on to the high seas with a small white cat. Duncan has grown up hidden away on a small island. He has been asked by his mother to not do his best, to always be aware of strangers, wear your hat low over your face and basically just stay inside.

As he is coming of age he has lots of questions –

  • about his Dad,
  • why is his mother so afraid
  • why not show what he knows and
  • how can he help his mother – poor, afraid and overworked

In his effort to make a bit of money Duncan finds himself on a trip of a life time – on the high seas. Fun?? Maybe but things are not as they seem and people are not who they say they are. It is up to Duncan and his small kitten friend to solve the many mysteries of his family and the people of his nation. Oh – did I tell you Duncan can speak cat. A handy trick to know when you find your self in trouble.

A great intermediate read. This book has lots of action, high interest and just plan fun. Jonell’s other book is The Secret of Zoom that came out in 2009. I have seen it around but have not read it yet.

My realistic fiction was The Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave51I4dC5aGtL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ by Jen White. This is also a new release in June. This story pulls on your heart strings as you travel with Liberty and her sister Billie. These two find themselves after the loss of their mother on a summer camping journey with their long lost Dad. They are thrilled and excited until they soon realize Dad may not be up for this trip. At least this trip with two young girls.

Dad is lost in his own struggles and after frustrations and losing control he leaves them at a gas station along the desert road. This story is of resilience, family, trust and learning. White has done a wonderful job of taking us into the thinking, planning and the hearts of this two girls. You will find yourself cheering, worrying, frustrated and excited as these two navigate their way home.

A good book for discussion about family, trust and how writing can help us work through our thinking. This would be a wonderful read aloud early in the school year. Perfect for modeling small moments in our life for your writing workshop. The chapters are short and each is a moment in time helping us to understand our main characters.

I also finished the thing about jellyfish by Ali Benjamin due out this fall. I will tell you more about that this week. A new middle grade novel.  It is a story of over coming loss of a friend while dealing with all the changes of middle school.

On my Reading list

  • We Never asked for Wings (due out in August)
  • Dead Wake (for my adult book group)
  • All the Bright Places ( for my children’s book group)


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Book Review, genres in writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to It’s Monday! What are you reading? – travels you aren’t expecting

  1. It looks like you’ve been doing some good reading. I’m interested in both The Survival Strategies of the Almost Brave and The Sign of the Cat. I’ve got The Thing About Jellyfish downloaded from Netgalley and hope, now that I’m almost done work for this school year, to get into some serious reading.

  2. Myra GB says:

    Love your detailed reviews Joanne. The Sign of the Cat looks really interesting.

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