Wednesday, December 2, 2020

JUST BETWEEN SAM AND ME: A Review and Giveaway

 Congratulations to Susan Rice who won Memoirs of a Tortoise from last week's blog.

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Ever since August, I've been sharing Cat Michaels and Rosie Russell's co-publishing journey. Now, it's time to review this novel for 8-12-year-old girls and for you to win a copy of Just Between Sam and Me! 


REVIEW

Right from the beginning, the reader discovers the reason for the title.  As Olivia opens a brand new journal and starts pouring out her feelings about sixth grade, she writes as if she is talking to her cat, Sam. At the end of the first chapter she writes, "Remember Sam, it's just between you and me."

On the first day of school, Olivia meets the new girl, Candace, who makes it clear that she thinks Olivia's town of Spring Hope should be re-named Spring Hopeless. Although Olivia is put off by Candace's spangly sequined jacket and fancy phone, she has more empathy for her when she discovers Candace's realtor father works all the time, her parents are divorced, and she recently lost her beloved grandmother.

But problems start. Olivia, Candace, and Isabella, Olivia's BFF, string bracelets that Olivia plans to sell to save money to buy a new halter for her horse, Star, at the next Spring Daze competition.  Soon after Olivia consigns the bracelets, the ones which Candace made break.  The weak ties of friendship between the two girls fall apart too. 

The tension between the two girls escalates and Candace starts bullying Olivia. She begins doubting herself and her friendship with Isabella but refuses to confide her fears to anyone--except to Sam.


Springtime brings Spring Daze and an essay contest. When Candace makes fun of Olivia's essay, their teacher steps in. "We have zero tolerance in this school for children who make fun of others or who are cruel in any way." Although Olivia appreciates her teacher's kindness, she refuses to snitch and reveal all the ways Candace has been tormenting her.

She finally divulges Candace's bullying to Isabella. "I figured if I didn't talk about them [the mean notes she had received], it would be like they weren't real and never existed."

One of my favorite parts of the book is when Olivia finally confronts Candace. Although she feels like blowing up, she realizes that she would end up sounding as mean as Candace. Instead, she quietly tells her, "No more lying. No more bullying. I've had it with you, Candace. Everyone is on to you. You won't have any more friends in Spring Hope unless you stop."

It takes a tornado tearing through the town for Olivia to learn a lesson about priorities and for the truth to come out about Candace. 

My other favorite part is the last chapter. But, no spoilers here. Buy this book for the 8-12-year-old reader in your life and read it with her. I think you'll agree that Sam is the real Star of the show. 


CURRICULUM RESOURCE

The back matter not only includes directions for making friendship bracelets and a recipe for queso dip (mentioned in the book) but also excellent notes to the reader about ways to handle bullying and websites for more information.



GIVEAWAY

To enter this giveaway, please leave me a comment or send me an email. If you are new to my blog, make sure you leave me your email address. U.S. residents will receive an autographed copy; overseas residents will receive the e-book. Giveaway ends at 6 PM on Friday, December 4. For an extra chance to win the book, share my blog on social media or start following my blog. Just let me know which you do in the comments. 




11 comments:

Connie Porter Saunders said...

This sounds perfect for my 6 year-old, cat loving granddaughter. I shared this post on FB & Twitter.
Connie
cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

Blessings!

Antoinette said...

This sounds like a great read for tween girls. I especially like the journaling part.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Connie-- you're in twice. Antoinette, I need your email address to include your name! Carol

TheUndergroundToySociety said...

My daughters love cats and the cover is so cute! Having a paperback copy would be so awesome!

Kathy d said...

This book sounds like a great book for girls!!! Thanks for a great review!

Cat Michaels said...

Carol, Rosie and I are so excited for you share your thoughts about our book with your readers! I wonder who your lucky winner of our book will be. Ready to send Sam on his way as soon as the winner is chosen. You picked up on points we hope young readers will also uncover. And that last chapter you mention is one of my faves (thanks for not giving away that twist).

Cat Michaels said...

Carol, Rosie and I are so excited for you share your thoughts about our book with your readers! I wonder who your lucky winner of our book will be. Ready to send Sam on his way as soon as the winner is chosen. You picked up on points we hope young readers will also uncover. And that last chapter you mention is one of my faves (thanks for not giving away that twist).

Carol Baldwin said...

Glad to see you entered, Kathy and Jessica. I'm glad I found some of the major points of the book, Cat!

Rosie Russell said...

Thank you again, Carol.
We have enjoyed sharing our insights about our story with you these past months. You have really made our book shine with your lovely review, too.

Cat and I thank you all for your kind words.

Happy Reading!
~Rosie Russell

Carol Baldwin said...

You are welcome, Rosie. It's been fun!

Rosi said...

Thanks for telling me about this book. I'll keep an eye open for it. I will pass on the giveaway. I am buried in books.

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