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Always, Clementine — Review & Giveaway

Thought for the Day:

“Until the lion learns how to write, every story will glorify the hunter.”
~ African Proverb ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

I see a LOT written about voice and how important that is. HERE is a great article from Ronald Kelly in Writers’ Digest called 5 Tips for Forming Your Own Distinct Voice (and Why That’s Important).

NaNoWriMo is coming up quickly. HERE Ellen L. Buikema has a great post at Writers in the Storm with 10 Ways to Start Your Story. These will help you out if you decide to participate in NaNoWriMo.

We all want readers to keep those pages turning. Cliffhangers can be a good tool for that. HERE K. M. Weiland has a great post on chapter-ending cliffhangers — subtle and not-so-subtle.

The baseball playoffs have been taking up a lot of my time this week. The games have been surprising and, in some cases, spectacular. Yesterday’s pitching battle between the Houston Astros and the Seattle Mariners ran to 18 innings, longer than any playoff game ever, I believe. There were three other games on yesterday as well, and because of the long game, I wasn’t able to see any of the others all the way through. And the games have been long in other ways. The Dodgers/Padres game was only nine innings, but I think it ran four and a half hours. And by the way, about the meme, I was really rooting for the Cardinals this year. It would have been so much fun to see Albert Pujols, Yadi Molina, and Adam Wainwright finish their careers in the playoffs.

I know I have said on more than one occasion that I don’t read books told from an animal’s point of view. And then, of course, I do. But not too often actually. Over the past couple years, I read two books by Carlie Sorosiak, and kind of fell in love, even though her books are told from an animal’s point of view. The first book I read was Leonard (My Life as a Cat). You can find my review of it HERE. It was clever and funny and very endearing. Then I ran across I, Cosmo and loved it just as much, but for different reasons. It was profound and sweet and very real to me. You can see my review of it HERE. I saw that Sorosiak had a new book coming out, Always, Clementine, and requested it when I saw it on the review list. Then I received an email from the publicist at Walker Books/Candlewick Press asking if I would like a review copy. Since I don’t always get the books I request (there are a lot of reviewers asking for books), I asked the publicist to send me a copy. I didn’t love it as much as the first two, but it’s very good. Anyway, I ended up with two copies and was able to pass one along to a young friend and still have a giveaway! Lucky one of you! Here is the review I wrote for the book review (I don’t know which one it will go in), but I’ve expanded it a bit.

Clementine is a lab mouse, but not a run-of-the-mill mouse. She has been treated with something to make her much more intelligent. She escapes from her cage often and makes friends with a chimpanzee, Rosie, another test animal in the lab. But a man who works at the lab takes Clementine and another mouse that looks exactly like Clementine. He takes them to a mailbox where he leaves them with a note asking whoever finds them to make sure they are taken care of and kept safe. A boy, Gus, finds them, and he and his grandfather, realizing they are not ordinary mice, hide them. Soon there are news reports on the TV and radio about the missing mice and even people from the lab knocking on doors looking for them. In order to save the mice from the lab people, they teach Clementine to play chess, so she can demonstrate her high intelligence. Gus’s grandfather had been a chess champion. They enlist the help of some terrific people from the chess club at the park, and it becomes quite a rescue operation.

Carlie Sorosiak

Author Carlie Sorosiak has Clementine tell her story in a series of letters she writes in her mind to Rosie, letters she hopes to deliver in person someday. The writing is fine and the story is compelling and filled with tension. One must suspend disbelief more than in other books by this author, and the characters aren’t quite as endearing. This book will probably be most enjoyed by younger middle-grade readers (3rd and 4th graders). The cast of characters is fun, and it is an engaging story.

I have a gently-read ARC for one of you. All you need do is be a follower or subscriber (it’s free!), have a U.S. address, and leave a comment below. If you would like extra chances, please share the link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media outlet and let me know you have done that. And don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

18 thoughts on “Always, Clementine — Review & Giveaway”

  1. I hadn’t watched an entire baseball game the whole season, but I didn’t miss a pitch of the Dodgers/Padres game. As a lifelong Padre fan, we’ve never had much to cheer about. I know the Dodgers are still the better team and proved it throughout the season, but anything can happen in a short series.

    I typically feel the same about stories told from the animal’s point of view, but I have read some good ones. It has become a slightly overdone theme.

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    1. On paper, the dastardly dodgers are a better team, but they almost always blow up in the post season. The Phillies/Padres series is exciting. Thanks for taking time to read and comment. Good luck in the drawing.

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  2. I absolutely loved this author’s books you mentioned above and can’t wait to read Clementine too. The cover is so cute! Thank you for the chance! I shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and tumblr.

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  3. I really enjoyed I, Cosmo so this newest title will be added to my future read list. The story line is unique enough that a mouse could pull it of as the MC.
    Thanks for the links. They sound great as always but they will have to wait until mid week when more time comes my way. Anyway, thanks for featuring your excellent review on MMGM!

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  4. I jumped back to my youth at the idea of a book written by an intelligent mouse. I enjoyed Ben & Me as a younger person and re-read it not too long ago.

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  5. Love the cover- such a cute mouse! This sounds interesting, I don’t think I would ever be able to write a book with an animal as the main character. But who knows. Thanks for the review.

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    1. I couldn’t quite imagine writing a book with an animal point-of-view character, but I’m working on one now that is an informational STEM picture book. Who knew? Thanks for reading and commenting. Good luck in the drawing.

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    1. Chess is a tough game. I was never very good at it, but my husband was. I think he liked me because I was so easy to beat at chess! It’s a cute book. Thanks for the comment. Good luck in the drawing.

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  6. I’ve read Carlie Sorosiak’s books, I Cosmo and My Secret Life as a Cat and enjoyed them. When I first saw the title, for some reason I thought this was going to be a story about a pig. But the experimentation of mice story sounds interesting — especially intelligent mice playing chess.
    This book also reminded me immediately of The Secret of NIMH movie and the books behind it. I enjoy books written in an animal’s POV if they are done well and are short.

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    1. I’m surprised how much I am becoming a fan of animal protagonists. I guess when they are well done, that’s what it takes. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Good luck in the drawing.

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  7. I love the idea of super-intelligent chess playing mice! I actually have a copy of Leonard, My life as a cat, on my TBR – I must move it up now, having read your review of it! This book sounds a fun read too. Thanks for sharing!

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