Happy Book Birthday to The Cassandra Curse by Hope Bolinger

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It’s release day for The Cassandra Curse by Hope Bolinger! I got to read an advanced copy of this book, and it was super fun. It’s a little different style of book that I generally gravitate toward, but I still really enjoyed it. I get the feeling that when my sister was in junior high, she would have liked it. Some of her favorite books around then were joke books and The Cooper Kids by Frank Peretti. You might be able to describe The Cassandra Curse as like the Cooper kids except super funny instead of super scary, but I’m not sure that makes sense. 🙂

There is a quirky sense of humor in this story and a distinct voice in the narrative. Both of those things can be hard to carry through an entire story and may even wind up sounding forced at the end. However, Bolinger managed to pull them off and make it seem effortless. The main character, Charity, was so fun. I had to love the way she kept trying, even when everything went wrong. I have a fear of failure, so I really admired that Charity didn’t give up.

And oh my goodness! The nods to nerd-dom were amazing! There’s a role-playing game, and the gamers made me think of my LOTR role-playing friends in high school and all my DnD playing friends today. That whole aspect of the story made me smile every time it showed up.

The biggest thing about this story, though, is the heart (which shouldn’t surprise me since the publisher is Chicken Scratch Books). The characters have real, fun, and sweet relationships with each other. The characters’ relationships with their families are real, challenging, and wholesome. I definitely teared up in spots (when I wasn’t laughing at the other spots).

Some kids start to gravitate toward thrillers and horror stories at a fairly young age (I’ve taught some of them in my classes). That can be concerning to some parents because the content of thrillers and horror stories isn’t always uplifting or wholesome. I think Cassandra Curse, while not a thriller or a horror story, could attract some of those readers and satisfy that urge while still providing them with an age-appropriate and good story. There’s an element of mystery reminiscent of murder mysteries or horror but totally age-appropriate, and it’s fun to journey with Charity to solve it.

But of course, lots of other kinds of readers will enjoy Cassandra Curse, too.

Overall, I give this book 5 stars and say, “Congratulations!” to author Hope Bolinger and publisher Chicken Scratch Books. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!

Order your copy of The Cassandra Curse today!

P.S. Note for sensitive readers which contains **spoilers.**
There is a death and a disappearance that happened 13 years ago. It’s treated fairly light and doesn’t get too heavy, but sensitive readers or readers who recently had a friend pass away may find it troubling. There is also some bullying (which led to the death in a roundabout way) and divorce. They are all dealt with at age-appropriate levels and add to the heart of the story. I don’t think any of this is a problem or should keep anyone from reading it unless that reader is sensitive to these challenges. If you think your reader might be, just preview the book first.

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