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Chad Morris

Autor/a de Mustaches for Maddie

9+ obres 499 Membres 27 Ressenyes


Obres de Chad Morris

Mustaches for Maddie (2017) 160 exemplars
Squint (2018) 103 exemplars
The Inventor's Secret (2013) 96 exemplars
Willa and the Whale (2020) 30 exemplars
Virtually Me (2023) 14 exemplars
New Light on the Atonement (2006) 5 exemplars

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This novel is a 2024 Lone Star selection.

With school shut down during the pandemic, students can attend a virtual school if they choose to not go back to physical school. Talk about changing their lives! Unlike online school where there are just faces and it's a big Zoom meeting, this virtual school uses VR (virtual reality). Students receive a box with goggles, gloves, and whatever is needed to make going to school feel real. The first task involves creating your own avatar. Here's the deal. Do you create an avatar that looks like you? Do you use your real name? Creating this avatar allows the users to decide if they would like to reinvent their lives. What are the consequences?

Hunter loves school and loves being the center of attention. He makes himself be courageous, stepping forward and talking to the "pretty" girls even though he is very nervous. He pushes himself to be noticed and to be a winner. He excels in sports and worries VR school will be too different, performing in the VR equipment. VR school allows him to hide his diagnosis of alopecia and enjoy being himself without dealing with losing his hair in public. He would never hide his name or his looks, so his avatar looks like him with curly blond hair, athletic build, and he keeps his name.

Edelle must attend VR because her mother makes her. Her mom wants Edelle to stop focusing on how she looks. The previous year, Edelle was obsessed with "the list." It determined which girls were the prettiest, and Edelle was up for the competition. She was friends with Hunter, running with the popular kids. Everything revolved around looks. Her mother removes her from this world and will only approve an avatar that actually looks like Edelle, no filters. Edelle feels invisible and ignored. She chooses to go by the name Vanya. Hunter treats her very different because she's not absolutely gorgeous. Edelle transforms to who she really is as a person. She finds a best friend in Daebak and returns to honing her skills as a videographer and editor. She creates amazing videos and finds that she really enjoys talking to people, seeing who they truly are, and helping them.

Bradley knows he can totally reinvent himself. Unlike Edelle, he relishes VR school. He creates a pink-haired, super cool avatar named Daebak. Bradley carries extra weight, saying he's a big guy. He loves to dance, but he worries people will make fun of him. Hunter make Bradley a joke in school, so Bradley's is always alone and has no friends. He can be the cool guy here. He decides to be confident. Daebak talks to people, takes chances, and shows people his moves. He can really dance! He's also kind to people.

These are the three characters that the chapters alternate between. One other prominent character is Jasper, the. guy in the yellow track suit. He's the glue that holds everyone together. As team captain, he cares about everyone and strives for everyone to have a good time and to support one another. A fifth character is Keiko. She rarely smiles and often has sometimes doomsday-ish sounding. Daebak never gives up on getting to know her, nor does Vanya or Jasper. When you remove physical appearances, the students become themselves, for better or worse. Hunter's world revolves around him. Daebak wants friends and wants a life, performing his dances. Vanya wants her old life until she discovers what invisibility is like and discovers that she wants to help people.

Overall, I found the novel's premise that everyone wants to be seen and treated nicely neatly done by using the Virtual School construct. It should make the reader do some personal reflection. Which character am I? Would I want to reinvent myself? This VR world allows the students to ignore looks and concentrate on the true person. That's a really nice idea. We should do this kindness in real life!
… (més)
acargile | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Jan 15, 2024 |
Juniper has always lived off the grid with her family, but when her younger brother must go to a hospital, the whole family (re)enters Society, where Juniper is passionately curious about everything (including how the refrigerator works, which no one seems able to explain). An incredible fish-out-of-water story (see also: Schooled by Gordon Korman).
JennyArch | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Dec 16, 2023 |
This tender story told with heart and humor, and will leave you smiling and full of warm fuzzies.

Having been around a good number of 11 year odds over the years, I would say that the authors did an amiable job of writing in a believable voice, making Juniper Bean really sound her age. I loved that about this story. Told entirely from Juniper’s point of view, we learn about her family and how they have lived in the mountains, off grid, and wholly reliant on what they can glean from wild, Juniper’s entire life. But when a medical emergency for her brother sends them back into the city so he can get treatment, Juniper suddenly has to learn to navigate a foreign—and seemingly cutthroat—world.

I adored Juniper’s curiosity and confidence. Her little confidence boosting talks she would give herself were beautiful, and I hope my kids can say things like that to themselves. Juniper is a character who puts her all into what she does, and is extremely resourceful and resilient. I loved watching her navigate this new world, with new relationships, and do so with her head up high.

There are also some deeper themes throughout this one, including strong family and friendships, bullying, parental abandonment, split families, life-threatening illness, and anxiety attacks. But it’s all written in age-appropriate ways, and I think any middle grade reader could benefit from the lessons woven throughout this delightful story.

**thanks to the publisher for the copy!

Quotes I loved:

Stupid can get you dead.

She had a big heart that leaked out her eyes.

I was fine. You’ll never learn to do flips if you’re afraid of flopping sometimes. You’ve got to try.
… (més)
LovelyBookishDelight | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Nov 11, 2023 |
“‘And I learned that being good is a lot more important than looking good.’ I took a deep breath. ‘I know, it sounds like a fridge magnet, but it’s true.’ Me. No filter. Smiling.”

Virtually Me is a clever, heartfelt, realistic fiction middle grade readers will enjoy! Three Jr. High students share their hopes, fears, and deepest secrets as they attend an experimental virtual school during the 2021 pandemic year. Through their experiences, they learn valuable lessons about self acceptance, valuing things other than appearance, reinvention, second chances, and true friendship. It’s a thoughtful story with great messages. There are even references to K-pop!

Bradley, Hunter, and Edelle all have their own reasons for attending virtual school. Ever since having a mean prank pulled on him in 3rd grade, Bradley has withdrawn himself and tried to remain in the background. He longs for friendship and acceptance. His secret dreams of sharing his talent for dancing and love of K-pop remain hidden. Attending virtual school gives him an opportunity to reinvent himself. He can design his avatar any way he wants and create a new, more hip persona.

Hunter is hiding a secret from his friends. He’s experiencing a form of alopecia most likely alopecia areata and is embarrassed about his patchy hair loss. He’s extremely competitive and for one so focused on appearance and winning, this trial is extremely difficult. Virtual school allows him to be his popular, competitive self yet hide his real appearance. But, his drive to win may just be his downfall.

Edelle is attending virtual school because her mom hopes to convince her that appearances aren’t everything. For the popular girl who lives for likes on social media, being forced to adopt a plain avatar and miss out on in person school is going to be difficult. Edelle is in for a huge shock when she learns what it’s like to be just average looking. When her supposed best friend who fawned all over her in real life doesn’t recognize her or give her the time of day, she has to decide what real friendship is.

This is one of the first middle grade books I’ve seen that subtly addresses the pandemic and what kids were going through during that time. I loved the lessons each kid learns as they navigate online school The virtual setting allowed the kids to really explore who they were. I liked how each one had a different problem to overcome which made them easily relatable. I also loved Jasper. He’s the glue that keeps everyone together and when you learn his reason for attending virtual school, it really drives home the messages the authors were trying to convey throughout.

It’s well written, fun, and even enjoyable for adults to read. This is definitely one book I’d recommend to ages 10 and up. I received advanced complimentary copies from the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.
… (més)
Melissas-Bookshelf | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Jan 31, 2023 |



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