Monday, January 10, 2011

In the Middle Monday
Review of Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson

Monday, January 10, 2011

Welcome to In the Middle Monday where I review middle level books geared towards grades fifth through eighth.

Meet Priscilla Sumner, an ordinary seventh grader with extraordinary gifts. As if middle school isn’t hard enough, not only does Priscilla have to fight pimples and bullies, but genetically enhanced assassins trying to kill her and her family. Armed with wit, strength, and a genius best friend, Priscilla must defeat the Selliwood Institute, an organization dead set on turning children into killing machines.

Add an older brother annoyingly obsessed with Christina Aguilera, mischievous baby twin brothers who could scare the sin off of Satan, and parents more puzzling than a Rubik’s cube in the Bermuda triangle and expect a smoking page-turner! (Publisher's summary from Goodreads)

Priscilla the Great has it all, humor, adventure, secrets, one very hot ability, and a not so typical family unit, making Sybil Nelson’s new middle level book one very impressive tween read.

Told from Priscilla’s point of view I have to say I was immediately drawn into the book by Priscilla’s voice. She is a no holes barred kinda kid facing the world of middle school with the normal trepidation felt by most seventh graders. And if starting seventh grade isn’t difficult enough, Priscilla is facing it with a newly developed ability to shoot fire from her fingers. I think Nelson did a terrific job capturing the essences of middle school through her characterization of Priscilla, her best friend, Tai, and Kyle, who definitely had a thing for Priscilla, but didn’t quite know how to go about telling her.

Another aspect of this book that kept me glued to the page was the quirky family unit. Her stay at home dad was overly protective, which turns out to be warranted later on in the book. Her mostly absent mother made for a very strained relationship in the beginning, but as the plot unfolds Priscilla and her mother end up being very close. I loved Priscilla’s five year-old twin brothers who were hell on four feet and whose antics were hilarious. Finally, I also loved her other brother, who actually looked out for Priscilla and did a lot to round out this unusual family. My only problem with him was I would have liked to know a lot more about him than was provided in this story. Hopefully, there will be another book.

Priscilla the Great was a surprising and highly enjoyable read. I can’t wait to turn my middle school students onto this book and am recommending it as a possible addition to next year's book battle list.  

 Source: Received review copy from author


Misha said...

I don't read Middle Grade novels but this book sounds perfect for my young cousins. Thanks a lot for the review!

Staci said...

I'm sending myself this link right now so that I can make sure I order this one for the fall!! I spent all my book budget today...crazy huh? This is sure to be a winner!!

Melissa (i swim for oceans) said...

Ooooh I just got this from Sybil, and I can't wait to read it! I'm so glad to see you enjoyed the quirky nature of the book, too. Great review, Jan! :)

Jenny said...

I don't read much middle grade but this sounds like a great read! I love that the family is so involved, so many of the teen books I've read lately have no parents or siblings present. The twins sound thoroughly entertaining! Nice review Jan:)

Bella said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bella said...

Great review! I know you don't accept awards, but just letting you know that I thought of you when I picked my 15 bloggers to pass it on to! The post is here if you want to see:

Happy Reading!

thebookfairyhaven said...

I'm also not normally a fan of MG novels, but I love the sound of Priscilla - she sounds like a character definitely worth getting to know.

Natalie (Mindful Musings) said...

Hmm...I'll have to keep this one in mind for my 11 year-old cousin. She's a readaholic...kind of like my own personal mini-me! Thanks for the recommendation!

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