Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Planet Girl by Tommy Greenwald

Here’s the fifth title in the award winning (YALSA Amazing Audiobook) Charlie Joe Jackson series.  Perfect for reluctant readers in grades 3-6, these hilarious novels are all narrated by MacLeod Andrews, whose voice reminds me of an older teen.  Charlie’s big dilemma in book five is being the only boy in school without a girlfriend.  Smart boy that he is, Charlie looks for help in the library and ends up with a guidebook that holds the key to getting the girl. This is a fun read, perfect for boys and girls looking to brush up on their social skills before the new school year.

Audio published by Brilliance Audio. Available August 25, 2015.

 

Another Day by David Levithan

The eagerly anticipated companion to his New York Times bestseller Every Day, David Levithan now gives us Rhiannon’s side of the story. The storyline is rather complicated, and this review from School Library Journal summarizes better than I can.  “In Every Day, Levithan presented the story of A, a teenager who wakes up daily in other teens’ bodies. During one of those “hops,” A meets Rhiannon, the beautiful but insecure girlfriend of a boy who treats her as nothing more than an object for his needs. This companion novel gives readers the story from Rhiannon’s point of view and her growing affection for A.” I’m mid-way through Every Day and can’t wait to listen to Another Day next month.  Recommended for mature teens.

Audio published by Random House. Available August 25, 2015.

 

The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny

My mom just recommended this series to me. She’s a serial reader, and we are both drawn to smart mystery/thrillers with recurring characters. The latest by Louise Penny has already received multiple starred reviews (Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly), and is an August Library Reads pick.  A boy has disappeared from the village of Three Pines. Nine year old Laurent Lepage has a reputation for crying wolf, claiming to witness alien invasions, walking trees and dinosaurs in the village. But when the boy disappears, the villagers, including Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, are faced with the possibility that one of his tall tales might have been true. There are secrets deep in the forest of Three Pines. Monsters and magic, old crimes and betrayals await the listener.

Audio published by Macmillan Audio. Available August 25, 2015.

 

A Good Family by Erik Fassnacht

“Fassnacht’s debut works as a read-alike for both Jennifer Weiner and Jonathan Franzen for the way it so convincingly melds domestic drama, suburban angst, and beautifully descriptive writing.” –Booklist. Erik Fassnacht was a high school English and creative writing teacher. Spurred by a lifelong desire to write, he left teaching to get his MFA at Columbia College, where he wrote A Good Family.  His credentials alone tell me this novel is well written and meticulously edited. Get ready to escape the issues of your own life, and peer inside the walls of the Brunson family.  Henry is the once-magical father, whose fear of aging and endangered career lead him to the nightclubs of Chicago’s Viagra Triangle.  His wife Julie struggles to reclaim her life with a bottle of Zoloft, and dreams of her youthful independence.  Their oldest, Charlie, is back from Afghanistan, angry, damaged and uncertain of his place in the world.  Then there’s Barkley, the bumbling youngest.  Family drama at its finest.

Audio published by Blackstone Audio. Available August 25, 2015.

 

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey

This parenting book has been compared to The Blessings of a Skinned Knee (Wendy Vogel), a personal favorite of mine.  As the mom of 3 boys, spanning ages 7 to 17, letting go is a constant in my life.  Working full time has made that a little easier.  I’ve got enough on my own plate, so I let their teachers teach (and grade) and let their coaches coach (and bench, or yell, when warranted.)  It’s good to know I’m actually doing part of this parenting thing ok. The Gift of Failure focuses on the critical school years, when parents must learn to allow their children to experience the disappointment and frustration that occurs from life’s inevitable problems so they can grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults.

Audio published by HarperCollins. Available August 11, 2015.