Book Review Tuesday

Lots of great books this week! Read the book reviews below, and learn more about my favorite reads:


Agent 9: Flood-A-Geddon! by James Burks (graphic novel)
Gr. 2-3. Agent 9 has been put on probation for some reckless choices while on missions for the Super-Secret Spy Service (completing a mission probably shouldn’t come at the price of an avalanche that destroys a town). But when the rest of the Spy Service team is taken hostage, Nine is the only one left to battle the evil King Crab and stop his plans to take over the world.

Lots of fun, fast-paced action, and laughs. This will be perfect for fans of Dog Man and InvestiGATORS, feeling ideal for those 2nd-3rd graders. Looking forward to more.


Allergic by Megan Wagner Lloyd (graphic novel)
Gr. 3-5. Maggie is so, so excited for a puppy to call her own. Her parents have the new baby to worry about, and her twin brothers always have each other. It’s Maggie’s birthday, the shelter has the perfect puppy, and Maggie is about to bring it home–when she passes out.

Turns out, Maggie is allergic to everything with fur and feathers. While she can get allergy shots to help long term, she will never be able to own her own dog. Terribly disappointed, Maggie creates a list of pets she could have, determined to find the perfect one for her. But pet after pet simply doesn’t work out, and soon her allergies start to affect other parts of her life too. Her new class at her new school has a pet guinea pig that they have to give to another room because of Maggie’s allergies. No one wants to be friends with the new girl who cost them a class pet, and Maggie is feeling lonelier than ever. Can she find the perfect pet and also make a friend or two?

Sweet, fun, and a little heart wrenching, this is sure to be a winner with all readers looking for readalikes to Raina Telgemeier, Shannon Hale, Baby-Sitters Club, and the other assortment of realistic fiction friendship and family graphic novels. Perhaps because this is based on the author’s own experiences, this feels a little deeper and more nuanced than some other recent additions to the realistic fiction graphic novel genre, managing to still be funny while also balancing real feelings of sadness, frustration, and loneliness. This will be hard to keep on the shelves.


Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
Gr. 4-7. Amari Peters just wants to find her brother. Quinton Peters was the favorite child of their local community, with perfect grades, involved in all the right clubs, and he even ran a local tutoring group for younger kids. When he vanishes, the police don’t seem to really care. No one is looking hard enough. Everyone is out of leads…until Amari discovers a briefcase left for her in her brother’s closet.

The briefcase opens Amari’s eyes to a magical world she never knew existed. Amari’s brother nominated her for a special summer training program for the secret Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Amari is swept into a world filled with all kinds of amazing and incredible things, but she also knows that this place has to hold the secret of what happened to her brother.

So, in between getting to know her weredragon roommate (and best friend), studying for her training exams, and dodging the racist and classist remarks of the “legacy” kids whose rich families have always been a part of the supernatural crime fighting force, Amari does everything she can to find information about her brother’s last case before he disappeared. That isn’t particularly easy when she is revealed to be a magician–an illegal type of supernatural being that is known for harming and killing Bureau agents–including Amari’s own brother.

THIS BOOK THIS BOOK THIS BOOK! This is going to be my go-to fantasy series recommendation from now on. The world building is fantastic, with so much here to explore that many series could easily be spun off of this one title. The plot is fast-paced, giving the reader just enough time to get comfortable before moving on to the next twist–but not in a way that feels overwhelming or too unrealistic. And of course there is Amari–spunky, cunning, sarcastic, amazing Amari. Where is the sequel? The movie adaptation? Add this to your library, throw it at every child, and someone buy the film or TV rights to this series now because this is going to be big.

(This is going to get compared heavily to Harry Potter–as any magical school book does–but I think this book deserves better. If you must compare it to something, Lockwood and Company has the fast-paced supernatural mystery and Rick Riordan’s mythology worlds have the summer-experience and the talking inanimate objects. But really–let this shine on its own.)


InvestiGators: Off the Hook by John Patrick Green (graphic novel)
Gr. 2-4. Gators Mango and Brash are on another crime-fighting spree. This time they are determined to track down the missing snake-armed-plumber all while trying to figure out who could have robbed a local bank. Costume changes, travel by sewer, and fantastic spy tech help our heroes prevail. But when it comes to saving their partner or capturing the villain–which will the InvetiGATORS choose?

More InvetGATORs fun. This series continues to be ideal for Dog Man fans, capturing the humor, puns, and sometimes non-sensical combination of mystery, adventure, and action. I appreciate how even the villains show character development through the Dog Man series; that hasn’t happened yet here, but I hope it does soon so these books don’t begin to feel too repetitive.


The Leak by Kate Reed Petty (graphic novel)
Gr. 4-5. Ruth Keller might be twelve, but she is already a passionate journalist, running her own email newsletter sharing fun rumors and stories about her community. When she runs into something very real–and very strange–at the local lake, she knows she has a story to find. This shiny black slime surely doesn’t belong here (and really it probably isn’t from aliens, as she first assumed). After she tells some adults about it, she finds a mysterious clean-up crew at the lake removing all traces of the strange sludge.

Ruth’s mind jumps to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but surely nothing like that could happen here. Her endless cavities might be a mystery (since Ruth brushes AND flosses every single day), but this water issue can’t be related…right? Soon Ruth is forced to take matters into her own hands when the adults around her try to bury any controversy and avoid her questions. Ruth is on the brink of something big–she just needs to find the evidence to make everyone believe her.

This was good–really good. The mystery leaves clues in the words and the illustrations, with the reader spotting clues along with the main character. The comparison to the Flint water crisis (and the cover up) was on point. And I love a strong, smart heroine who isn’t about to let anyone bully her into silence. Really well done!


Quincredible Vol. 1: Quest to Be the Best! by Rodney Barnes (graphic novel)
Gr. 5-8. Meet Quin. After a meteor shower, he (and many other people in New Orleans) were given special powers–the powers of superheroes. Quin is invulnerable–but that doesn’t feel very useful when you can’t run fast or throw a punch (it just means you can take a lot of punches from a lot of bullies and get back up again afterwards).

But after catching the eye of another local superhero, Quin decides he wants to use his super talent and his brains to try to be an actual hero. But where there are heroes, there are always villains, and Quin finds himself trying to keep his identity hidden while figuring out who the real villains are as racial tensions mount after more and more disasters strike his hometown.

This doesn’t hold up quite as strongly as some other recent superhero comics, but it feels like a realistic origin story that makes me want to dig more into this character. I want to read Vol. 2–I feel like this story has created a setup that gives it plenty of room to develop and stand on its own as more issues are released.


Welcome to Wagmire by Melody Mews (first chapter)
Gr. 2-3. Itty is so excited to visit her friend Prince Pip in his kingdom of Wagmire! Itty wants to spend time with her friend, but things sure are different in Wagmire: there are dog toys everywhere, a giant castle that touches the sky, and everyone travels by dragon (instead of cloud). When Itty and her new friends get stuck in a treehouse, can Itty figure out a way to help them get down?

Another cute Itty Bitty adventure! This series is sure to please with its friendship-filled stories, messages about kindness, and kitty, unicorn, fairy, and glitter-filled illustrations. Lots of puppy love in the newest addition!

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