Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Julia Gillian (And the Dream of the Dog) (MG)


Julia Gillian (And the Dream of the Dog). Alison McGhee. Illustrated by Drazen Kozjan. 2010. July 2010. Scholastic. 336 pages.

Welcome to sixth grade," said Mr. Lamonte. "We have a great many forms to fill out, so let's get started, shall we?"

Julia Gillian (And the Dream of the Dog) is the third in the Julia Gillian series by Alison McGhee. The first two are Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing) and Julia Gillian (And the Quest for Joy). I love Julia Gillian. I love her best friend, Bonwit Keller. I love her dog-of-my-dreams, Bigfoot. I love how connected she is with her parents, her neighbors, her community, her school.

Julia Gillian is still uncomfortable with change. She's learned the best way is to move forward, to work past the fear, the anxiety. But it doesn't always make it easier in-the-moment. Her sixth grade teacher has introduced Julia to the concept of controlling variables. And Julia Gillian has taken his words to heart in just about every area of her life. From how to best avoid the Crazy Eights (eighth graders), to how to take care of her aging dog. Yes, Bigfoot, is getting older. And slower. And Julia Gillian isn't ready for what's coming. (I wasn't either.)

I loved this one. It was bittersweet. I have to warn you. But it was good, very good. It not only made me cry, it kept me crying. The last couple of chapters it was impossible to read without tears. To read her project for the Reading Buddy Extravaganza, it was definitely emotional!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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