Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Lying in the Deep by Diana Urban

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Sofia is a 12-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. Since she was 8 years old, on select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with other kids! She is one of the most well-read middle schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!


Dear readers,

Hello again, it is me, Sofia, and I am coming to you with an amazing book that I finished just minutes ago! Let me introduce Lying in the Deep by Diana Urban!!!! This YA thriller is a spectacular story with just the right amounts of murder, love, and plot.

Goodreads Summary
A juicy mystery of jealousy, love, and betrayal set on a Semester at Sea-inspired cruise ship, with a diverse cast of delightfully suspicious characters who’ll leave you guessing with every jaw-dropping twist. After being jilted by her ex-boyfriend and best friend, Jade couldn’t be more ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime-11 countries in 4 months, all from the luxurious Campus on Board ship-and to wedge an entire globe between her and the people who broke her heart. But when Jade discovers the backstabbing couple are also setting sail, her obsession with them grows and festers, leading to a shocking murder. And as their friends begin to drop like flies, Jade and her new crush must race to clear her name and find the killer they’re trapped at sea with….before anyone else winds up in body bags. Perfect for readers of Natalie D. Richards, E. Lockhart, and Karen McManus!

My Thoughts

I loved Lying in the Deep so much and there are many things that contributed to that. First of all, I love myself some good murder mystery vibes and this book served! I was constantly trying to figure out who did it and whenever I thought somebody did it, I was wrong! Secondly, there was a little bit of romance in there which I liked. I feel like it was the perfect amount so that the main focus was still on the mystery but there were some romantic scenes where the characters felt close to each other but nothing overwhelming. Thirdly, I really liked the character development that occurred during the story. Jade is definitely not the same person she was before the trip. Finally, the setting(s) were spectacular! Like having a book happen on a cruise ship while stopping in a place like London, just amazing in my opinion! I like to see some international settings or characters in a book and I liked the settings.

On Amazon, the age rating for Lying in the Deep is 14-17 years old. This is probably because there is murder in the book. Additionally, three of the characters talk about taking meth and there is some romance.

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We are really excited to read this book!

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Forever Twelve by Stacy McAnulty

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Sofia is a 12-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. Since she was 8 years old, on select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with other kids! She is one of the most well-read middle schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!


Dear readers,

Hey, it’s me again, Sofia! I love reviewing YA and sometimes children’s books! Today I will be reviewing Forever Twelve by Stacy McAnulty, an amazing story about kids who, can you believe it, stay twelve forever! I loved this book and loved the way it was told. It was funny at some points and sad at others and always mysterious. Another really cool thing about Forever Twelve is that it is written from different perspectives which I thought added more to the story. As soon as I saw it was coming out, I scrambled to get it, because I have read other books by the same author (Millionaires for the Month and The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl) and they were all great. I also feel like the fact that there were some kind of time travel-y elements in it was super fun, even though I usually don’t gravitate towards sci-fi. I rated this book 4 stars on Goodreads and the average is 3.99 stars (as of writing this).

Goodreads Summary

What if you were twelve for all of eternity? From the award-winning author of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl comes a magical mystery about a group of kids who have been alive for hundreds of years. At the elite West Archer Academy, all the students are gifted, but four are exceptional. Though the Evers look twelve, they’re actually centuries old, possessing knowledge and talents that make them extraordinary. And boarding school is the perfect cover for their brilliance — and their secret. It’s supposed to be a typical year in the anything-but-typical lives of these “kids” … until Ivy Stewart shows up. She resembles an Ever who went missing more than seventy years ago. And Ivy could be the key to unlocking their curse. But ambitious Ivy is at West Archer to achieve her own extraordinary goals, and nothing will distract her. Or so she thinks! With the desperate Evers determined to find answers, and her former classmate — and laid-back cool guy –Ronan determined to protect her, Ivy soon finds herself swept up in a mystery only she can solve. Will her life be changed forever … and ever?

My Thoughts

I liked this book a lot because of the characters! I felt like each character had their own personality and it was very interesting. For example, Ivy seemed very straightforward, trying to achieve her goals, but she also was curious about the Evers and how that related to her family’s past. Abigail seemed a little more innocent than everybody else but was also very set on something when she wanted to achieve it. I also liked, like I mentioned in the beginning, the time traveling/time warp element to the book and enjoyed when the Evers would talk about the past that they experienced!

I would recommend this book for ages 8-13 because the time elements are not that hard to understand and this book can be found in the children’s section at the library.

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We are really excited to read this book!

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: A Few Books that I Read Recently that were Amazing!

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Sofia is a 12-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. Since she was 8 years old, on select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with other kids! She is one of the most well-read middle schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!


Dear readers,

Hi, my name is Sofia and today I am bringing to you a list of a couple of books that I have read recently that were amazing! The reason why I am not doing individual book reviews for all of these is because I have read a lot of good books recently and just wanted to cover all of them in one review. Also, fun fact, all of the books on this list other than Thieves Gambit are told from two different perspectives! These are all young adult books!

Thieves Gambit by Kayvion Lewis

This is a spectacular book about 17 year old Ross Quest who is a thief. She lives in the Bahamas with her family that is the biggest thieving bloodline in North America. She eventually makes a plan to run away because she is unhappy but when that falls through, she finds herself entering the Thieves Gambit, a big competition with a couple other young thieves like herself including her arch-enemy. I highly enjoyed this book full of twists and turns, with nobody she feels she can trust, and a little bit of romance. I liked this book because of the thriller aspect of it and I just felt like the story flowed nicely. One of my book loving friends even saw me reading this and commented on how good it was! I loved this and definitely can’t wait for the second book, coming out in November of 2024. 

Happily Ever Island by Crystal Cestari

Oh, my gosh! I just finished reading this book and let me tell you, it was enchanting (while still being realistic fiction)! Happily Ever Island is one of those feel good books which just makes you feel so happy while reading it. It has lovable and relatable characters and the storyline is oh so fun!  This book is about Madison and Lanie, two friends with completely different personalities. It alternates perspectives by the way which I find pretty fun! Madison is the playful extrovert and Lanie is the academic introvert. Unlikely friends, am I right! Anyway, Madison is a hardcore Disney adult/teen and when the opportunity arises to visit Disney’s newest attraction (Happily Ever Island), she jumps at the chance to enter the lottery (to win the tickets) with her current girlfriend. But, soon afterwards, her girlfriend dumps her and right afterwards she gets the call, she is going to Happily Ever Island! She chooses Lanie to go with her, who has not seen very many Disney movies but is her best friend. They are both excited for the trip of a lifetime and will share many things along the way. 

The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Holy guacamole, this is a heart twisting story! The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love at First Sight first caught my attention because I was looking for a relatively quick read and the title is really intriguing! There is also a Netflix movie (called Love at First Sight) interpretation which I have definitely added to my “To Watch” list! Anyway, this remarkable tale starts at JFK airport, with 17 year old Hadley having missed the flight that she didn’t really want to go on anyway. Why, you might ask and that is because she is flying to her dad’s wedding to a lady she hasn’t even met! So she rebooks her flight, unwillingly, and waits for the next plane, leaving in a couple of hours. While in the squished waiting area, she meets a boy named Oliver who happens to be in her row on the plane! They talk in the waiting area and on the plane and promise to see each other after going through immigrations but they lose track of each other. Hadley is distraught and spends the next day finding him and loses hope but when they meet again, she will realize her life isn’t that bad. 

My Mechanical Romance by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Wow, was this interesting! I first picked this book up from my local library’s bookshelf because of the cover, the colors are so cute! Then, when I learned one of the main characters was a young woman in STEM, I knew I had to read it! This is also a double perspective book so that was pretty cool, to see what was going on in both of their lives. Bel is a girl who doesn’t like thinking about her future. Teo seemingly has it all planned out. He is an overachiever, taking all AP classes while Bel is just “normal” until a teacher sees her creativity in engineering and VERY strongly encourages her to join the robotics club. This is where she meets Teo and they start off well with her making the team but they soon start to butt heads. With them staying after school together and building a robot, they realize they are not as incompatible as they thought. 

This Day Changes Everything by Edward Underhill

I’m speechless, the way that Edward Underhill wrote this book will never cease to amaze me! This Day Changes Everything is a rom-com about two young people who are finding their queer place in this world. They are both part of different marching bands that are going to compete at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade that come from like the middle of nowhere. A little bit of backstory for each of them: Amy is a gay girl who is in love with her best friend Kat. Kat doesn’t know yet but Amy is planning to tell her in New York, where their favorite book is set. Leo is a transgender boy who has already come out to his parents and sister but they won’t let him come out to their extended family. Back to the plot, Leo and Amy both miss their train to the tour they are on for their marching band and decide to spend the day together, finding souvenirs to help Amy confess her love to Kat but along the way Amy realizes that she is slowly falling in love with the random boy she just met. 

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We loved these books, too!**

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Sofia is a 12-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. Since she was 8 years old, on select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with other kids! She is one of the most well-read middle schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!


Dear readers,

Hi and welcome back to Sofia’s Reading Corner where I recommend amazing YA books! This time I will be reviewing Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon! This book was honestly amazing and I was hooked!! I read it in two days which usually never happens, especially with a 400 page book! It was more of a comfy enemies to friends to lovers book which, if you don’t know what that means, it’s exactly what it sounds like: They were first enemies, then worked together and became friends and finally fell in love with each other. I rated this book 4.5 stars on Goodreads and the average rating is 4.09 which is pretty good!

Rowan Roth is finishing high school when it becomes time to play the infamous senior scavenger hunt. She is a straight A’s student and would be the best, except there is a boy named Neil who hates her. They are always competing with each other to be the greatest and as the year is coming to an end, they can’t wait to see who is the best, which in her eyes is becoming valedictorian. Rowan has a list of things she wants to accomplish by the end of high school and becoming valedictorian might be her last chance at crossing at least one off her list. When Neil is named valedictorian, her only chance at crossing something off her success list is winning Howl, the senior game I was talking about earlier.

The game is about trying to complete a checklist and taking pictures at each spot to show that you have completed the task. You can team up but you also can’t really trust anybody because another main part of the game is getting people out. To understand how to get people out, you need to know that everybody is wearing some sort of bracelet and at the beginning of the game, everybody gets a name on a piece of paper of the person they have to “kill”. Then once they get them out, they get the name that person had to “kill” and so on. You must imagine how hard it is to team up with somebody if they could have your name! Anyway, Neil and Rowan team up thinking that they could work together until the end and then destroy each other but as they get to know each other more, Rowan realizes that Neil isn’t that bad, and he is maybe even the boy of her dreams.

On Amazon, this book is recommended for ages 12 and up and I mostly agree. There is a mention of them taking marijuana towards the end of the book which means it is definitely for more mature 12 year olds. There is also a closed door sex scene which basically means there was acknowledgment of sex but it wasn’t really described.

I loved this book so much! Like I said, it was a page turner and I LOVE that about books! I also loved Solomon’s way of writing, it made me feel fully immersed! I also liked the complex plot and how the romantic part of it wasn’t overdone! I really think this should be something you read, no matter how old you are and it was just too good to put into words! Happy reading!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We are really excited to read this book!

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier

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Sofia is a 12-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. Since she was 8 years old, on select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with other kids! She is one of the most well-read middle schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!


Dear readers,

Hi! My name is Sofia and I used to write book reviews for Unleashing Readers when I was nine. I, now twelve, have recently gotten out of a huge reading slump and would love to write more book reviews, but this time for mostly YA books. The book I will be reviewing today is A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier and I must say it has truly captivated my heart. I was first drawn to it by the cover and its good average rating on Goodreads (3.95) and I must say it didn’t disappoint! It was a fun, almost whimsical story about a girl who works as an intern at a hotel in the Swiss Alps. I rated this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Sophie, a hotel intern at the Grand Castle in the Clouds Hotel high in the Swiss Alps is there to make sure that everything runs smoothly through the busiest season of the year, winter. While she is there she realizes there are way more challenges than she expected, like taking care of sassy children and two cute boys who have both taken an interest in her. As things get more hectic for the infamous New Years ball she begins to realize not everyone is who they seem! 

I liked this book a lot mainly because of the suspense and how it built up towards the end! This definitely wasn’t one of the books where you could guess how it was going to end halfway through the book. This book can be read any season but I would recommend reading it during winter because it feels cozy and the perfect book to read cuddled up on the couch by the fire. I also loved how Gier made me feel like I was in the story, living in the fancy Castle in the Clouds! 

I would recommend A Castle in the Clouds for anybody over twelve. I read it with my mom for our book club and we both enjoyed it a lot. If anything, she enjoyed it more than me! If you do end up reading this hidden gem, which you should, enjoy reading!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We are really excited to read this book!

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Charlie Thorne and the Lost City by Stuart Gibbs

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Sofia is a 10-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer, who started with us when she was 8 years old. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!


Dear readers,

I am back with another amazing book that will knock you off of your feet! Introducing…Charlie Thorne and The Lost City by Stuart Gibbs! This is the second book in a series called Charlie Thorne. I have already reviewed the first one, but do not worry if you haven’t read it because this book is still understandable without the knowledge of the first book. This is another book that I have read in the book club with my friends and our book loving secretary and they all rated it a 10/10. I think this would be a great gift for any tween or teen who loves action, adventure, mysteries and comedy! This book also taught me and my friends a lot of things and I thought that was really good. This book is recommended for ages 10+.

Charlie Thorne is on another adventure again! After her first adventure she is hiding in the Galapagos Islands. She has made friends with the people living there and is even helping out at the Tupiza Tortoise Breeding Center. One day a woman named Esmeralda shows up at her tiny house with a code that was engraved into the shell of a dead turtle by the famous Charles Darwin. She says she came to her because her co-workers said that if anyone could solve the encrypted code then it was Charlie. While she and Esmeralda are talking, Charlie sees a strange man talking to her surfing friends and then her surfing friends pointing to her house. Charlie Thorne has always been living on the edge of caution so she decides to make a dramatic escape. They take off in a seaplane that belongs to the company that Esmeralda works for.

At first they head off in the direction of the Darwin Research Station where the dead turtle is. Then, Charlie remembers that the seaplane for the Darwin Research Station is easily trackable and suspects that the mysterious person who was following her would know what plane it was and head over to the Darwin Research Station to see what its course is! To avoid being tracked down they change course to an airport nearby.

They follow clues to Quito. The clue says something about finding the devil’s stone so they go to the place that the devil’s stone is supposed to be. What will happen? You have to read the book to find out!

I love this book so much! I expected adventure from this book and I got it! This is an amazing book for explorers because it talks so much about wilderness and exploring all of these hidden places in the Amazon! I found this book very interesting because it talked about Charles Darwin’s work! I also loved how I learned so many things. I thought that a book could not be exciting and educational together but this book proved me wrong! Have fun!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We love that this series combines excitement and education!**

 

Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: The Friendship War by Andrew Clements

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Sofia is a 10-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer, who started with us when she was 8 years old. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

I present to you…The Friendship War by Andrew Clements! This is a definite must-read! You might have heard of Frindle by the same author and maybe even read it and thought it was good but I must say this book is even better than Frindle! This book would make an amazing read aloud story! It is not extremely long and it’s super interesting! I definitely recommend this book! This book is for ages 8-12!

Grace has an addiction to collecting things. She has all types of things strewn all over her room. When her grandpa invites her over for the summer, she gets to see his old mill that he just bought. He lets Grace explore inside of it and the mill is pretty run down because it hasn’t been lived in for 15 years. Her grandpa explains that the mill used to be many different things over the years. While exploring, she finds a closet full of big boxes that are filled with buttons! She suddenly feels an itching to have them and asks her grandpa if he can ship her all of the boxes. He agrees, laughing a little because his granddaughter wants to keep buckets of buttons.  Just then Grace makes a decision to keep all of her buttons a secret from everybody outside of her family.

When school starts up again Grace continues to keep the secret from everybody, even her best friend! On that first day of school, her teacher talks about social studies and she volunteers to share some of her pictures and objects with her classmates that she collected from the mill. Later that day at lunch, her best friend, Ellie, suggests that everybody brings as many buttons to lunch as they can and they will compare who has the most buttons. Everybody agrees and Grace is excited because she knows she is going to win with her 24 boxes full of buttons that nobody knows about! When she gets home she fills five plastic baggies with buttons and stuffs them into her backpack. At lunch she decides only to bring one plastic baggie to the lunch table. Everybody shows off their buttons at the lunch table and some other kids come to watch around the table. Grace lets everybody take at most six of the buttons she has on her tray.

When she comes back to school the next day, she discovers that there is a button fad! People are trading buttons at her school like crazy and trading button jewelry and other button-made things. Grace and Ellie find somebody who is willing to trade a beautiful button and Ellie offers one of her button bracelets and Grace offers some really special buttons. Grace ends up getting the button and Ellie gets really mad. So mad that she doesn’t want to be friends anymore! To read more about this one of a kind tale, read the book!

I love this book because it is such a quick and fun read! Even as a 10-year-old, this book taught me some things and I think that this book should be a part of everybody’s life! This is a really amazing book! Another thing that is just nice about this book is that it is short. It has 168 pages and makes for a quick read. That is probably why I would recommend it highly for a read aloud book! As a reader who reads books that usually fall under the 250-600 page category, it is good to read a short story once in a while! Have fun reading the book!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We love a good read-aloud!**