Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Holiday Gift Guide 2017: Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari Will Help Middle School Aged Children Through Their Journey of Growing Up and Trying to Fit In and Make Sense of Life at This Moment in Time (Review)

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

Even though this book is too old for my girls right now, I know when they get older and are in middle school, that they will enjoy this book.  I asked to review this book as I have read some great reviews from others who have purchased this book and shared with their tweens/teens.  I kept hearing in their posts about how hard it is to find a book that covers all the pressures and changes middle school aged children experience, as they venture into new territory -- a new school, more responsibilities and expectations from their elders, peer pressure, trying to fit in and body changes.  This book really resonated with parents and had their children thanking them for sharing the book with them.

I ended up sharing this book with friend's daughter who just entered 6th grade this year.  I told her about the book and how I had read it in a night, and really enjoyed it.  I wished books like this were around when I was middle schooler, as it really would have made the craziness of all the newness and changes easier, and more bearable, as I could see I wasn't alone in how I was feeling back then.  My friend's daughter ended up reading this book in a weekend, and we chatted about the book yesterday.  She really liked this book, and said it felt like some parts were mirroring her life right now, or that of her close friends.  It was hard for her to put the book down, as she wanted to see what was going to happen next with Emily.  

About this Book:

"A poignant, charming middle grade novel, perfect for fans of The Thing About Jellyfish and Fish in a Tree. A beautifully layered story about navigating the often shifting bonds of family and friendship, and learning how to put the pieces back together when things fall apart.

Emily Murphy is about to enter middle school. She's sort of excited…though not nearly as much as her best friend Hazel, who is ready for everything to be new. Emily wishes she and Hazel could just continue on as they always have, being the biggest fans ever of the Unicorn Chronicles, making up dance moves, and getting their regular order at The Slice.

But things are changing. At home, Emily and her mom are learning to move on after her parents' divorce. Hardest of all, her beloved sister Mina has been in a treatment facility to deal with her anorexia. Emily is eager to have her back, but anxious about her sister getting sick again.
Hazel is changing too. She has new friends from the field hockey team, is starting to wear makeup, and have crushes on boys. Emily is trying to keep up, but she keeps doing and saying the wrong thing. She wants to be the perfect new Emily. But who is that really?"


I was so happy to hear how great this book was from a tween, after reading it myself and loving it.  I know that when my girls get older, this book is one I am going to be sharing with them, as I remind them time and again that I am always here for them to talk to about anything.  I want to be sure I keep the lines of communication open with them, and am happy that there are books out there that will help their journey through the craziness and ups and down of hormones, emotions, and whatever life throws at them during their middle school years.  Will definitely be keeping an eye out for more books from this author.  

If you have a middle schooler, you should consider picking up this book to share with them.  Add to their stocking, or just give it to them, when you remind them that you are always there if they need to talk or just vent about life.


About the Author:

Jennifer Maschari is a classroom teacher and the author of THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE and THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU. She is hard at work on her next middle grade novel with Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins. Jennifer lives in Ohio with her husband and stinky (yet noble) English bulldogs, Oliver and Hank. To learn more, and to download a free curriculum guide, visit

Disclosure: I was sent a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.

1 comment :

  1. Thank you so much for your wonderful review and for including THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU in your holiday gift guide! I love that you shared it with a young reader, too!