Friday, December 29, 2017

Smart Cookie by Elly Swartz

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Elly Swartz's upcoming book, Smart Cookie. First of all, it is almost never that I get to read a book with a female protagonist named Frankie so that was a real treat.  But even without that added perk, I LOVED this book.

There are some authors who write realistic fiction perfectly for middle graders.  It is not an easy thing to write for this age. The combination of depth and humor, big life issues and daily struggles is tricky and Elly Swartz seems to have this age of reader totally figured out.  I am always amazed when authors get writing for this age so perfectly.

Smart Cookie has lots for readers to think about which is really important. These things are embedded in things of daily life. They are very real. And the book deals with several things at once, just as in life. Grief, family, secrets and friendship are things many middle grade students deal with day in and day out.  This book captures all of this. This book also made me laugh out loud and cry a little. And then there is a little bit of a mystery that is perfectly woven into the story.

The characters are fabulous.  I loved Frankie (I mean, how could I not?). But I loved Frankie's dad, her grandmother, her friends and her town.   I wanted to live there or at least visit while I was reading Frankie's story.

This book seems perfect for grades 4-5. And I can imagine a few of my 3rd graders (from last year) reading it later in the year when they were ready for more realistic fiction with real life stuff.  I have not read her other book Finding Perfect, but have heard great things and will move it up on my stack. I am so glad to have discovered Elly Swartz!

So thankful I got to read this book early and I can't wait to share it with my students next week!

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