Monday, January 2, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: The White Assassin

Shannon Whitney Messenger decided to shine a spotlight and give some middle grade books the attention they deserve. This week, I'm playing along.

The White Assassin by Hilary Wagner


I thought this one would be a perfect choice for my first post of 2012. It's a fabulous MG book and if any of you are looking for a way to spend those gift cards, this is a great choice!

This is the 2nd book in Hilary's Nightshade Chronicles series. Nightshade City is the first book (which you'll love as well!).

I love the characters in this series. They are layered, complex individuals - whether they're rats, snakes or bats. Carn is probably my favourite - he put me through all kinds of emotions!! And the villain, Billycan, is much more complicated than you'd expect. The flashback scenes are powerful and pull you in directions you're not expecting, and not always prepared for. They're so well done!

It's a fabulous world of adventure and intrigue. Hilary ramps up the tension, so you just have to keep reading! As an added bonus, the book is dedicated to the fabulous Lenny Lee!

This is a perfect choice for anyone who loves adventures and mysteries. I know my students are going to love it too. They're going to be on Team Rat for sure! :)

Check out Shannon's blog for all the other participants in MMGM!

What's your favourite book with animals as main characters?

67 comments:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful book Jemi worth reading.

    Happy New Year.
    Yvonne.

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  2. I definitely want to read Hilary's books. My favorite book with animals as the main characters is Watership Down, altho it doesn't really qualify as MG.

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  3. I"m not sure what mine are but my daughter absolutely loves the Redwall books! Can't tell you how many times she rereads them.

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  4. Yay for the Rats!!! And thanks for the amazing review too!!! Take care
    x

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  5. This sounds like a good read, I'll have to look for it.

    Favourite books with animal characters: Probably Watership Down. But I love any well-written story with animals as main characters. My daughter likes the Silverwing books.

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  6. Thanks for this. Must get this one read, too. Met a few kids who LOVED it. One of my favorites with animals is Kenneth Oppel's SILVERWING. Amazing it is! Happy New Year!

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  7. Yvonne - it is! And you don't have to be a kid to enjoy it. I loved it! :)

    Karen - you'll really enjoy them! Watership Down is another one of those special books too!

    Laura - I really enjoy Jacques' Redwall series too. If she loves those, she'll love Hilary's too! :)

    Old Kitty - thanks! And Rats Rule :)

    Andrea - it's a great read! I really enjoyed the Silverwing books too - great characters in that series!

    Deb - Silverwing is great! And Hilary's books carry on that kind of tradition. Happy New year to you as well! :)

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  8. That's easy- I don't usually like books about animals, especially if they talk! do have a soft spot for Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, though!

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  9. Ms Yingling - NIMH has a lot of admirers - but I don't think I ever read it. I'm going to have to dig that one back out! :)

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  10. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Have a great 2012 Jemi!!

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  11. I'd have to go back to my childhood and say The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

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  12. I read this months ago and really enjoyed it. I look forward to Hilary's next book.

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  13. When I was a kid I loved reading stories with animals as the main characters. I really liked the Redwall series and Watership Down!

    I've heard of this series and have had it on my to-read list for awhile. That list just keeps growing, LoL.

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  14. Thanks for the review! I like Stellaluna. Love reading it to my kids.

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  15. Agnes - thank you! I hope 2012 brings you peace and happiness *hugs*

    Alex - those Mouse books are so popular with the kids too! Fun stuff :)

    Medeia - me too! Hilary's got a great talent!

    Laura - I know! My wishlist and TBR piles are ridiculous! So many great books out there :)

    Stephen - Stellaluna is a great choice!! Such a great book :)

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  16. Jemi, you are so kind to post such a nice review of the book! The series is so dear to my heart! Right now I'm deep in my undersea book, Goblin Shark Rising, and also writing Book II of the Nightshade Chronicles!

    Thanks Jemi and everyone!

    Here's to 2012!!

    Hilary

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  17. I've been intrigued by this series since Hilary found an agent, but want to read them with my daughter. What age group would you say would this be best for? She's only five, but she loved the first three Harry Potter books and the Tale of Despereaux.

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  18. Hilary - you're very welcome. It's well deserved - such a great story! Looking forward to the sharks too! :)

    Stephanie - I think she might enjoy them in another year or two. Some of the battle scenes and the concepts are a little intense - but they're SO well done! :)

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  19. I've always been partial to Stewart Little. E.B. White is one of my favorite story tellers.

    Loved the cover for The White Assassin. It makes me want to open it and read!

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  20. Lee - it is a great cover - and the story lives up to it! :)

    And EB White has written some amazing stories! :)

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  21. argh. I want to get these so badly for my little girls's kindles... I'm going to run over and do the "request" thing right now. They look amazing! thanks, Jemi!

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  22. Leigh - they really are terrific books! I know your girls will love them :)

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  23. ...Nightshade City was real treat. Great for young and old. Congrats to Hillary ;)

    El

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  24. Elliot - I agree! Anyone who likes adventures will love it :)

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  25. This looks like an interesting read. I'm always on the lookout for the book that will launch my 8 yo into reading longer-length novels. This might be the one!

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  26. Belle - this might just be the one! It's hard to get kids to transition to longer stories sometimes - but if he/she likes animals and adventures, he/she'd like this one! :)

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  27. I guess the only ones that come to mind are Charlotte's Web and Animal Farm. Can't recall many books starring animals that I've read.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  28. Oh, for LTM, e-books for both Nightshade City and The White Assassin come out any day now! They are set for release this Spring, but may be ready earlier!! So excited about this! :)

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  29. Lee - those are 2 good ones! I didn't discover C's Web until my kids were little and I loved AF in high school! :)

    Hilary - good to hear they'll be available as e-books! So many people are using ereaders now. I bet a lot of kids got them for Christmas! :)

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  30. Stopping by to wish you a happy, healthy and creative new year!

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  31. Buttercup - thank you so much! I wish you the very same :)

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  32. Great! Hmm... I'm not usually a huge fan of anamorphic books, but sometimes they work super well. Does Frog and Toad count? :D

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  33. Lisa - Frog and Toad always count!! Not all authors can pull off animals as MCs, but Hilary does a great job! :)

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  34. Good question! I think I would have to go with "The Art of Racing in The Rain." It is a story of a family from a very philosophical (and smart) dog. My book club read it and loved it. (adult)

    For kids books, right now it would have to be "Chester" by Melanie Watt. (Canadian picture book) Chester is a real nut who interferes with the author/illustrator as she tries to tell the story. He takes a red marker to her work. It caused my daughter to 'modify' the Shreddies box one morning with a red Sharpie. :)

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  35. Jean - I haven't read either of those! I'll have to get on that! :) I think my kids at school would love Chester - and it would be a great lesson on editing and revising!

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  36. So great to see Hilary's book here! Nightshade has been on my TBR list for awhile now. Charlotte's Web is my all time favourite book with an animal main character. And The Cricket in Times Square runs a really close second.

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  37. Lynn - you'll love the series! I love C'sW too - such a great story. Haven't read the Cricket in a long time - I'll have to find that one again! :)

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  38. Well, Chester just sort of takes over! There isn't much editing... more how to change your story part way through. ;p

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  39. Jean - that would work too - I'll definitely have to look it up :)

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  40. Hi Jemi,

    Sounds like a wonderful book and worth reading!

    Happy New Year!

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  41. Romance R - it really is! Hope your 2012 is full of fun! :)

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  42. I love that is has animals as the heroes instead of stupid vampires or supernatural creatures :) which seems to be the trend in YA books

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  43. Ooh! I'm gonna have to go find this! I got the ARC of Nightshade City before it came out and LOVED it!

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  44. Dez - the animals are awesome! Very complex, interesting folks :)

    Rebecca - lucky you! Hillary is a great author - you'll love the 2nd book! :)

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  45. Sounds like a great book! I'm always a sucker for Middle Grade.

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  46. I loved Nightshade City! This is on my TBR list too! Hilary can really bring the rats and their underground city to life with her descriptive words!

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  47. It's spomething I'd read to kids in middle grade! Thanks for the review.

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  48. Deniz - me too! The good ones bring me right back to that joy of discovering the really good books for the first time :)

    Kelly - she really does! The swamp rats home was so well done. I love the whole concept. :)

    Harvee - my students are going to love this one! It's a perfect story for MG :)

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  49. I read Nightshade City, but haven't read White Assassin. My favorite book with animals--Charlotte's Web.

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  50. I've been meaning to read this series! My TBR pile is way too big.

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  51. This sounds like a terrific book... I will check it out :)

    And Theresa reminded me.. I LOVED Charlotte's web.. and there are many others too, that just aren't coming to mind right now.

    Happy New Year to you Jemi!

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  52. Theresa - you'll enjoy the Assassin too - lots of fun! :)

    Nicole - I know! It's crazy how many great books I've got waiting in my piles!

    Writing Nut - happy new year! :) This is a great series - and I loved Charlotte's Web too.

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  53. I haven't read this series yet but I am really hoping this year I'll get to it. I have heard so much good about this series and Hillary is such a great gal!

    Hope your 2012 is starting out well!

    Angela @The Bookshelf Muse

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  54. Sounds fantastic! Will definitely keep an eye out for this one when I go to the library. *What? No one gave me gift cards this year. :( *

    XD

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  55. Angela - Hilary is great! And I know you'll love the books :)

    Cherie - no gift cards! Sad :( Definitely check it out at the library though :)

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  56. hi miss jemi! i love love love both miss hilarys books. now i cant wait til the shark book get out. im soooo excited. i hope you have a happy and fun new year.
    ...hugs from lenny

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  57. Lenny - Hilary is awesome! And I agree - I'm hoping her shark book is out there soon :) Hope your new year brings you the best of everything.

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  58. I really like that title, NIGHTSHADE CITY.

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  59. Rachel - It IS a great title - and the book lives up to it! :)

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  60. It sounds like a great story! :)

    My favorite book with animals? Hmm . . . probably Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel.

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  61. Golden Eagle - I love Silverwing! Such a great story. You'll love Hilary's books if you love that one! :)

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  62. I always loved the Redwall books, and *A Dog's Life* by Ann M. Martin. My mom read that last book to me when I was stuck in bed with pneumonia, and I remember her crying her eyes out.

    I also used to be really into the Warrior books by Erin Hunter.

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  63. Jenna - those kiinds of memories are the very best of all! Having a mom read to you like that really solidifies a person as a reader - awesome!! :)

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  64. Oh fun. Yes, I've heard a lot about this series. I liked Redwall and this looks like it might be in a similar vein. :)

    By the way, I mentioned one of your posts on my blog today. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  65. Amy - if you like Redwall, I'm sure you'll like the Nightshade City books - they have the same kinds of excitement!

    You're a sweetie! I'll pop on over to check it out :)

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  66. I'm a HUGE Janell Cannon fan. Verdi is my favorite of hers, but I have a huge soft spot for her lesser known Trupp. Of course Charlotte's Web has a special place in my heart forever. The Nightshade City series looks like it would be a hit in my classroom. I hear my gift cards calling.

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  67. Leslie - hmmmm, I haven't read Cannon's works - I'll definitely have to check them out. It's a really great MG book! :)

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