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Little Willow
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Author Spotlight: Megan Shull

Megan Shull writes truly refreshing and realistic stories for kids and teens. Here now are my thoughts on her three books to date.

Yours Truly, Skye O'Shea - Ages 8 and up

Shortly after Skye enters middle school, she feels overwhelmed by her homework, her first crush, and her afterschool sports. Skye worries that she'll never be as skilled or as smart as her older sisters, twins Shannon and Shelby. At home, they always make Skye feel as though it's two against one. On the ice, all three girls excel at hockey. Even after Skye makes the big team, she thinks she has push herself even more in order to prove her worth.

Skye's the Limit - Ages 8 and up

The summer between sixth grade and seventh grade is here, and most of Skye's friends are going to typical summer camps or taking vacations with their friends. Skye decides to go to an outdoor camp in Vancouver, even though she's a little scared to be so far away from home. Both her inner strength and physical strength are tested as she battles homesickness, makes new friends, learns how to kayak, and bicycles her heart out. This book shows kids that it's natural to be worried about going to a sleepaway camp, and that while a different sport or activity might seem weird at first, they should give it a try - they just might discover a new and exciting hobby!

After you read these books, I bet that you, like me, will be wishing there were more Skye stories.

Amazing Grace - Ages 13 and up

Amazing Grace is an absolutely sweet story about a tennis pro who takes a much-needed break from it all. It has so much heart and it made me smile. Readers can't help but root for Grace to find her way. I feel that Amazing Grace is the one of the best attempts at the "de-celebrity" or "makeunder" storyline, something which many teen books have tackled in recent years. Amazing Grace is plausible and realistic without ever relying on modern-day tidbits and namedropping to make it more hip and marketable. This is the story of a girl who wanted and needed to get out of the spotlight and lead a normal life. I highly recommend this book.

The Swap - Ages 12 and up

If you like the concept of comedic body switches a la Freaky Friday, then you will dig The Swap. When an encounter at school causes them to unwillingly swap bodies, thirteen-year-old Jack and twelve-year-old Ellie have to figure out a way to deal with their very different bodies, families, friends, and afterschool obligations until they can swap back.

This is a smart and sensitive look at what it would be like for two middle school students of opposite genders to switch places. The narrating duties flip back and forth in alternating chapters, and the story is easy to follow. The Swap considers the different ways we treat girls and boys, the different things we expect of our sons and daughters, and it's a great take on upper middle school life, a time that a lot of TV shows glaze over, jumping from little-kid-dom right into the teen age rather than dealing with the simultaneous horrors and happiness of those in-between wonder years.

Read my full-length review of the book.

Related Booklists:
Full of Grace
Hey There, Sports Fan
But I Don't Want to Be Famous!

Tags: american girls, author spotlight, books, reviews
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