Monday, December 21, 2015

Clementine for Christmas

Clementine for Christmas. Daphne-Benedis-Grab. 2015. Scholastic. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Did I enjoy reading Daphne Benedis-Grab's Clementine for Christmas? Yes, very much! Was I a tiny bit worried about the contents since there was a dog on the cover? Yes, I admit to being a tiny bit worried. Can the book be trusted? Will it break my heart and make me cry?!

There are three narrators in the book: Josie, Oscar, and Gabby. The three are unlikely friends, in many, many ways. Josie is at best invisible, and, at worst, unpopular. Gabby seems to have it all, and to have it easy. She may be the new kid, but, she has more friends, more popular friends, than Josie who's lived there forever. And Oscar's story? Well, he can be trouble. In fact, it is because he is IN trouble that he comes to meet Josie and get to know her.

What brings these three together? Besides the fact that they all attend the same school, I mean. A hospital. Josie volunteers at the hospital. She dresses up. She sings. She dances. She listens. She talks. She comforts. Oscar? Well, he's "volunteering." He's doing community service for a month. He's the opposite of Josie. He's like Oscar the Grouch. He doesn't want to sing. He doesn't want to dance. He doesn't want to do ANYTHING at all that other people think it's fun to do. (Can you tell I listened to this record growing up.) Josie gets VERY tired of him refusing to sing, dance, and dress up. He's her volunteer partner, so she's stuck with him. Some of the patients are cheerier than he is! Of course, readers know why Oscar is a bit out of sorts. And it has to do with his home life....

Gabby, the third narrator, is a patient at the hospital. She's super-shocked to see Josie and Oscar show up in her room one day. Her illness is supposed to be a major secret. NO ONE at school is supposed to find out about her health. Will Josie and Oscar prove trustworthy?

Will these three unlikely friends become close friends, hang-out-in-public friends?

Several things connect the three. More than just the hospital. The fact that it's CHRISTMAS and there is a show to produce, for one. And also Clementine, the dog. Josie and Clementine are the true partners who brighten everyone's day....

I did enjoy this one. And Clementine is still alive and well at the end of the book. 

© 2015 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
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  • fantasy
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I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
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  • 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.

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