Two Quick Reviews — Dream Within a Dream & The Battle of Junk Mountain

Thought for the Day:

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
~ Madeleine L’Engle ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

Writing poetry is good discipline and good for the soul. I try my hand at it now and then and have even been published a few times. HERE you will find a great post on Free Verse Poetry from the Writer’s Cookbook.

Revising and editing are always, always hard to do, at least for me, so whenever I find a post with good tips, I am happy to share it. Masters in English has a good one HERE with ten tremendous tips for revising and editing.

Follow through is so important in writing. HERE you will find a great post from Anne R. Allen’s blog that deals with follow through.

Last week I offered a gently-read ARC of Free Lunch by Rex Ogle to one of you. This week’s winner is Danielle Hammelef. Congratulations, Danielle! Thanks for sharing my link for extra chances and for reading and commenting. I appreciate it. I’ll get your book out to you soon. For the rest of you, please keep reading. No giveaway this week, but a couple of interesting books to discuss.

Battle of Junk MountainI read a couple good books this week — one from my toppling TBR pile and one from the library. I want to review them while I still have them in my poor old mind.

The Battle of Junk Mountain by Lauren Abbey Greenberg is the story of 12-year-old Shayne who visits her grandmother in Maine each summer. It’s just her grandmother since Shayne’s grandfather passed away. Shayne has a best friend, Poppy, who seems to be growing up a bit quicker than Shayne, which seems to cause a bit of a rift between them. And Grandma is acting odd — buying junk from yard sales, hanging on to every little thing until her house is choking with junk, going back to work because she can’t pay her bills. And Shayne finds herself trying to sort it all out since her mother hadn’t come this summer. A new neighbor next door, a cranky old man, and his grandson, Linc, who was Shayne’s age, come to be good friends and help Shayne navigate her strange summer.

Lauren Greenberg
Lauren Abbey Greenberg

Lauren Abbey Greenberg has written a sweet story that takes a good look at some difficult problems middle-graders face — the changing of friendships, what it means to be a true friend, the issues that come with aging grandparents, and much more. The characters are all both credible and engaging, the setting is perfect, the story is very compelling, and the writing is terrific. I loved this one and recommend it.

The other book I read this week was Dream Within a Dream by Patricia MacLachlan. I just can’t resist when I hear of one of her books. This is a lovely little book — more of a novella than a novel, and the title is truly appropro. The whole story reads like a dream.

Dream within a DreamLouisa and her brother, Theo, go to Deer Island to spend the summer with their grandparents, Boots and Jake, while the kids’ parents, world-famous ornithologists, were away for work. Louisa can hardly wait to leave the island while Theo would like to find a way to stay forever. Jake is losing his eyesight and has asked a young neighbor boy, George, to learn to drive his beloved antique car. George is Louisa’s age and African-American. George and Louisa strike up a great friendship that grows over time to a sweet romance. George’s parents have a lovely, romantic relationship as do Boots and Jake, both of these modeling what might come in the future for George and Louisa. Summer ends in a surprising way.

Patricia MacLachlan has written another beautiful story. The writing is simply gorgeous and the whole story has a dream-like quality. The characters are all interesting and unique, and the book is a pleasure from beginning to end.

Patricia MacLachlan

No giveaway this week. I donated my hardbound copy of The Battle of Junk Mountain to the school and sent Dream Within a Dream back to the public library. But check back next week. I might well have a giveaway then. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.




12 thoughts on “Two Quick Reviews — Dream Within a Dream & The Battle of Junk Mountain”

  1. Congrats to Danielle! Thanks for the links. I’m the opposite of you. I’d much rather revise than write my first draft.


  2. The Battle of Junk Mountain is a book I’d forgotten about. I have also published poetry, so I’m going to take a look at the link about free verse. I find revising and editing a challenge, but the best part of writing–it’s like solving puzzles for me. Thank you for my book!


  3. Two great shares today. Am delighted you enjoyed Dream Within a Dream. And, The Battle of Junk Mountain sounds like a timely book. I love multigenterational stories. Junk Mountain touches on some tough issues, but sounds like a good read!


  4. Great selections as I’m always looking for compelling MG contemporary fiction titles. They both have engaging characters and stories. I’ve put them high up on my TBR list.
    The links are pulling me to take a look, especially the ones on editing and follow through. Alas, I will have to wait until time allows as this week has overflowed with commitments. I have them bookmarked and ready to go for another day.


  5. I love the sound of Dream Within a Dream. Meanwhile, like Natalie, I’d rather revise than write the first draft. I love starting the first draft. But about halfway through I struggle with getting stuck. Once the draft is done, I love revising.


  6. Rosi- you inspired me to blog again today! 🙂 Thanks for all your wonderful posts. And I didn’t know Patricia MacLachlan has a new book out! I love her stories. Thanks, as always.


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