Saturday, August 31, 2019

Book reviews with a giveaway: Middle grade books by Melody Carlson

About the Book

Book: Zoey: Meet the Misfits & Zoey: Odd Girl Out
Author: Melody Carlson
Genre: Middle grade fiction for girls
Release Date: April 15/ August 15, 2019

Zoey’s pretty sure her life is over when her wannabe-rockstar mother uproots her from from their home in Seattle and deposits her in Nowheresville, Oregon to live with her whackadoodle grandparents. Things start to look up, though, when she reconnects with Louisa, the girl from across the street. Maybe, just maybe, Louisa won’t mind that Zoey’s always been a bit of a misfit. Louisa’s ex-BFF, however, doesn’t seem too happy to welcome Zoey to the neighborhood. And when they all end up at church camp together, it’s not just a matter of whether or not Zoey can fit in…it becomes a firsthand lesson in what it really means to “love your enemy.”

When the school year begins, Zoey’s terrified to go without Louisa—who’s out with a nasty flu. The same enemies she made over the summer are there to haunt her, but she and another new girl stick together…and even seem to find a place among the in-crowd. But is this who Zoey wants to be? Are they really her friends? Who’s going to stick beside her when cyber bullying leaves her as the odd girl out?

Click here to grab your copy.

My Reviews

Meet the Misfits
The first book of the Being Zoey series, Meet the Misfits, was easy to enjoy.  For being a middle-grade novel, it was a pleasant read for this adult.  Why?  Because the first-person narrative worked.  It was especially important to get inside Zoey's head.  Secondly, Zoey was a believable character.  She was a pretty upbeat, down-to-earth girl, who appreciated beauty and authenticity, and was willing to try new things.  She reacted to good and bad events in a way that is expected of someone her age.  The final thing that I especially appreciated was that even in the midst of plenty of conflict, the story did not get too angsty.  The reactions of characters were always age-appropriate.

Author Melody Carlson gets her audience, and I highly recommend this book for tween readers.

Odd Girl Out
In this continuation of the Being Zoey series, Melody Carlson continues to write a story with its pulse on today's middle-school culture.  Events from the previous book were filled in, so it can be read as a stand-alone, but I enjoyed being able to read about Zoey's continued adjustments to her new town.

What I especially liked about Zoey in this novel was that she had a solid sense about herself:  "I'm good at sports."  "I'm not a techie!"  "I don't want to be a cheerleader."  That made it clear to the reader that something was wrong when her actions deviated from her true self.

There is a theme of bullying and cyber bullying in this book-how easily it can happen, and how damaging it is to a person.  This was done naturally over the course of the story.

I recommend this book to middle grade readers, especially girls.

I received e-ARCs of these books from the publisher, WhiteSpark Publishing, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.
About the Author

Melody Carlson has written more than 200 books for teens, women, and children. That’s a lot of books, but mostly she considers herself a “storyteller.” Her young adult novels appeal to teenage girls around the world. Her annual Christmas novellas become more popular each year. She’s won a number of awards (including RT’s Career Achievement Award, the Rita and the Gold Medallion) and some of her books have been optioned for film/TV. Carlson has two grown sons and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and yellow Lab dog.

More from Melody

Being a tween these days is more complicated than ever. With our culture’s fast pace, social networking, peer pressure . . . growing up is hard to do. So I wanted to create a relatable character with some tough challenges. And Zoey Petrizzo definitely gets more than her fair share. About to start middle-school, Zoey is forced to relocate her life with her less than conventional grandparents. And it’s not easy! My hope is that readers will either relate to Zoey, or develop more empathy for ‘misfit’ kids like her.

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, August 29
Blogging With Carol, August 29
Andrea Christenson, August 30
Library Lady’s Kid Lit, August 30
Where Crisis & Christ Collide, August 31
Christian Bookaholic , August 31
Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, September 1
Remembrancy, September 1
Older & Smarter?, September 2
Artistic Nobody, September 2
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 3
Back Porch Reads , September 3
Through the Fire Blogs, September 4
Just the Write Escape, September 5
amandainpa , September 5
A Reader’s Brain, September 6
Patiently Waiting, September 6
Godly Book Reviews, September 7
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 7
Texas Book-aholic, September 8
For the Love of Books , September 8
Reader’s Cozy Corner, September 9
Vicky Sluiter, September 9
Hallie Reads, September 10
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 10
janicesbookreviews, September 11
Inklings and notions , September 11


To celebrate her tour, Melody is giving away a grand prize package of Meet the Misfits and Odd Girl Out, Sketching Pencils, and a Sketchbook!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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