The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner stars a very snarky narrator - somewhat bossy, actually - and two very smart twins, a girl and a boy. There is a handsome but despicable whiny villain, a loving but grieving widowed inventor Dad, a ridiculous dog, a bossy Nanny and a nefarious plot. PLUS! Review questions (hahahahaha) at the end of the chapters. So, pay attention readers. Fans of Cuthbert Soup (where is the third book, hmmmm???) will definitely enjoy this book as will readers of Smells Like Dog.
Meg Medina's The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind tells the story of Sonia, who at 16, has led a life of duty. The villagers in her mountain mining town believe that Sonia's prayers have special value and so she must sit by every death bed, attend every birth, follow every bride down the aisle. When her prayers do not save the life of a boy who is killed by bandits, she loses her faith and resents her burden. She leaves for a job in the capital. Then her beloved brother disappears.
The book describes the plight of the poor South American miners, and their counterparts who serve in the mansions of the capital's rich. But it is Sonia's coming to grips with reality and the love and faith of her friends that make this book a satisfying read. I appreciated the mythical weight given to the events surrounding Sonia's birth. I was pleased that she did not actually have magical powers - that her "powers" are all in the minds of the villagers. The ending - not at all the happy ending I hoped for - was more realistic and more touching than I expected.