Monday, May 27, 2013

Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace by Nan Marino

Happy Memorial Day!

We're nearly finished Deb Marshall's #MiddleGradeMay Reading Challenge and I've already surpassed my goal of reading at least 10 MG books (I read 12). Next week, I'll be interviewing Jennifer Angus and giving away a signed hardcover copy of her book as part of the blog tour for In Search of Goliathus Hercules. So be sure to come back for that.

Today's MMGM and #MiddleGradeMay feature:

Hiding Out at the Pancake Palace by Nan Marino (Roaring Brook Press, April 2013, for ages 8 to 12)

Source: hardcover won from Katia Raina (thanks, Katia!)

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Eleven-year-old musical prodigy Elvis Ruby was supposed to win the most coveted reality show on television, TweenStar. None of the other contestants even came close to his talents. But in the middle of the biggest night, with millions of people watching, Elvis panicked and froze on national TV. So Elvis must run from the paparazzi camped outside his door and spend the summer working with his aunt and cousin at Piney Pete's Pancake Palace in the remote wilds of New Jersey. It's the perfect place to be anonymous, that is until Elvis meets Cecilia, a girl who can't seem to help blurting out whatever's on her mind.

Why I liked it:  Quirky characters, an unusual premise, and a gorgeously-rendered setting, which itself becomes one of the main characters. The Pine Barrens of New Jersey are brought to life beautifully here and it's obvious that Nan Marino loves them. She lives in a town that borders the Pinelands,where she's a librarian. (I also loved the reveal near the end. There's a reason Elvis froze up and it's not what you think it is!)

Have you read any middle grade books where the setting becomes a character?


21 comments:

  1. There is a book I read last year, it immediately popped to mind for setting as character. The Humming Room by Ellen Potter. And Kimberly Griffiths Little books.

    I am really really looking forward to reading this one I must say. Thanks for the heads up on it!

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    1. The Humming Room has been on my TBR list since I saw it on several blogs last year. And oh yes, Kimberley Griffiths Little! I've read Circle of Secrets. Good example.

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  2. Books where setting becomes character are among my favorites! Kimberley Griffiths Little is a master at this.

    I'm adding this one to my list. Thanks, Joanne.

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    1. I so so agree on Kimberley. You know another book that comes to mind is Lee MacKenzie's Alligators Overhead...and it is humorous too.

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    2. Haven't heard of that one, Deb.

      Yes, Barbara, she is really great at that.

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  3. Oh yes I did! Three Times Lucky! The setting is a character on its own.
    I love the premise of this book and hope to read it sometime soon. So I'm adding it to my list. :)

    ~Akoss

    PS: congrats on the reading. That's a lot of books. :)

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    1. Another book that's already on my TBR list. Thanks, Akoss!

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  4. Sigh...I came over to read a post I already read. Time a little nap I think!

    Ditto from me on Three Times Lucky and setting as character.

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  5. I just received a copy of this and can't wait to read it. It looks great!

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    1. Yay! I knew you had also won a copy from Katia. Hope you enjoy it, Rosi.

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  6. I have this bookmarked and hope to buy and read it.

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    1. You certainly read more books than anyone I know, Medeia!

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  7. Sounds like one to add to the to-read pile. I agree with Deb - The Humming Room definitely. Another that would fit with setting is Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool.

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    1. Oh, yes! I've read Navigating Early. Great example. Thanks! The Maine woods really becomes a character there.

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  8. This one sounds good, and I love the cover! Thanks for the recommendation. I agree about Three Times Lucky and will have to check out The Humming Room.

    Cindy

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    1. It really is a cool cover, isn't it? And another vote for Three Times Lucky. Clearly, I need to read that!

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  9. You rocked this challenge out, Joanne-- color me impressed! What a delightful-sounding book. I love when the setting is like a character... but of course I can't think of any book off the top of my head where this is the case. :0) My brain is tired on this Friday!

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    1. Ah, if you think 12 books is a lot, Kat, you should follow Ms. Yingling...

      Your brain has every right to be tired. Take care of yourself! And the baby on the way.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.