Monday, August 24, 2015

All About Middle Grade Review: Crenshaw

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate, September 22, 2015. 256 pages. Published by Feiwel & Friends. Source: publisher.
In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.
First Sentence:
I noticed several weird things about the surfboarding cat.

Sometimes a book shows up in the post that you'll know you're going to love. An even bigger sign is one you get an email from a certain someone, not the author, who's just as excited about you reading the book as you yourself are. =) While I usually post my reviews of new releases closer to release date, I just couldn't not wait that long to talk about this one.

You may be more familiar with the name K.A. Applegate, at least that is the name of the author that I'm most familiar with. You know, Animorphs (thank you library and my curiosity for the introduction to this series), right! That right there is why I was excited to give Crenshaw a chance...that and it sounded quite interesting. As much as I loved the Animorph books, I must say that her newest work blew me away and significantly eclipsed those books (be still my heart).

You know you're going to love a book when the very first sentence captures your attention and pulls you in. With just that short line about a surfboarding cat I knew that this book and I were off to a great start...also that it was going to have so much to offer. Firstly, the writing is absolutely captivating and Jackson's story just goes right to your heart. I am epically going to fail on words for this review, but, read Crenshaw!!!!!!

I usually don't like books that feature imaginary friends, yet, with Crenshaw I found myself enjoying the reason for the return of Jackson's imaginary friend from years ago. I liked the idea that imaginary friends are just waiting around for their creator to need them. Unlike some stories were the imaginary friend is evil, it was nice angle on the topic and I liked how the author managed it and blended it with the overall story-line.

One of the things that stood out the most, at least for me, was how Jackson knew things were not going well with their family's situation. I loved how honest this was because children notice more than they're given credit for. So, yes, it was nice to see  how well she handled the stress of knowledge of the situation that Jackson went through.

While Crenshaw made me smile and laugh, there were somethings that are, well, not funny throughout the book. Like the fact that Jackson and his family may loose their home, that there's not enough to eat, and how his family is struggling. Yet, it is the way that the author handles all of this that makes it such a great read. I really enjoyed how well she handled a struggle that so many families face and something that is kinda of pushed under the rug, you know.

I didn't think it possible that I would find a Katherine Applegate book that I would love more than her Animorph books. Yet that is exactly what happened by the time I reached the last word on the final page. Her writing is just so beautiful and the her storytelling, well, it reminds me of why I enjoy reading!!

Even though I could probably babble on about Crenshaw and Katherine Applegate's writing, I am going to end my review here. Just know this: The characters and overall story are something that you should not miss out on. I am sure that readers, from the recommended age and up, will absolutely love this wonderful, wonderful read!!

Final Verdict: Crenshaw- You need this book in your life!! I don't care your age, you just need to read this incredible book!!!

Crenshaw earns
 An ARC of this book was received for review consideration. All thoughts are my own.

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