I finished three books since this weekend. No, make that four.
And here they are:
The Detective's Assistant by Kate Hannigan. Just plain fun! Cornelia Warne is dumped with her uncle's widow, Aunt Kitty Warne, after everyone else in her family has died. Aunt Kitty blames Cornelia's father for the death of his brother Matthew, her husband and does not want a 12-year-old hanging around. Kate - as Aunt Kitty prefers to be called - is Pinkerton's first woman agent. Based on the real Kate Warne, this book is a romp! Traveling around the eastern US in the days right before Abe Lincoln's inauguration, Nell, as Aunt Kitty decides to call Cornelia, ends up helping the Pinkerton's in several cases. Nell's letters to and from her best friend, Jemma, who fled to Canada to escape slavers, add background painlessly. American history delivered up with a lot of fun and some suspense and sadness, too.
Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger. Sophronia Temminick has a new weapon, the steel bladed fan - so fashionable!. She also has a dilemma of the heart. Should she choose Shoe, the sootie of entirely the wrong social class and race? Or go with Lord Felix Mersey - he of the influential Papa and Pickleman leanings? When Sidheag, one of Sophronia's closest friends at Madame Geraldine's, runs off to Scotland because of a huge family crisis (involving the death of a Beta werewolf and a renegade pack), Sophronia, Dimity, Soap AND Felix steal a steam train to help Sidheag's journey. Things get drastic and deadly serious toward the end.
Boys Don't Knit by T. S. Easton. Through no fault of his own - well, hardly - Ben Fletcher is on probation. He has to "keep a journal" - which he already does! - learn a craft or trade, and do community service. The craft class offerings at community college are a bit slim. He chooses knitting since the teacher is the hottest single female teacher at the high school. And he finds that he is a natural at knitting. It's so calming. What Ben needs is calming.
Ben's parents, extremely messy home and daft friends, stress Ben out in a major way. Add to that his tendency to take AS courses in math and science and his OCD leanings and you have one anxious teen. And then there is Megan! Does she like him or not?? He likes HER! He has to keep his growing knitting mania a secret from his dad and everyone else. But he's just sooooo good at it.
After you get past the corny behavior of Ben's dad and mom, this book is laugh out loud funny.
From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot. Olivia Grace Clarice Mignonette Harrison is about as normal as a 12 year old girl can be - except for the dead mom and invisible Dad and incredibly long name. Dad writes every month but Olivia has never met him. Ever. When the sixth grade queen bee, Annabelle, challenges Olivia to a fight after school and accuses Olivia of being a princess, Olivia is stunned. But, yeah, she is a princess and half-sister to Princess Mia of Genovia. And, there are some allegations of serious wrongdoing on the part of Olivia's aunt and guardian.
The premise of this series is every bit as awkward and unbelievable as the premise of the Princess Diaries but, you know what? The audience for these books will not care. In. The. Least. Cabot's writing is effortless; the pages turn themselves. If you want to escape from middle school worries, girls, here's the book for you.