• Allison Wolfe

Believathon III and November TBR

Hello everyone! In November, I am participating in a middle grade centered readathon called Believathon. As I mentioned in my last post, I will also be doing the Clear Your Shit readathon through the rest of the year. I have a separate post about that readathon that will be linked below. I will not be reading ONLY books I own, but I will be trying to get to all the middle grade books I own for Believathon. Believathon has a Twitter and a website where it states all the prompts and everything else about it. I have never participated before, and I am so ready to do so! I did a middle grade readathon in the month of September, but I didn’t really read much middle grade in that month, and I started hitting a reading slump toward the end of the month. I'm excited to find new favorite authors in this month for the books I read which are not on my physical TBR! I also have a few other books to read that are not middle grade. Those will be listed at the bottom of this post.

Believathon Prompts

The Key: read a mystery

The Fingerprints: read a book written by an author from a different culture than you

The Scream: listen to an audiobook, or read a book aloud

The Torn Page: read a book with a supernatural element

The Crown: a book set in another world

The Spilled Ink: read a book that features ghosts

The Dagger: read a book with a dangerous setting

The Backpack: read a book by a new author

The Footprints: read a book that features a prominent villain

The Hand Mirror: read a book with a beautiful cover

The Chain: read a book that features a colorful cast of characters

The Flash of Lightning: read a book that incorporates folktales

The Shadow: read a book that was first published in 2020

Believathon TBR


The first book on my TBR for Believathon is Wonder by RJ Palacio. This one will fit The Backpack prompt to read a book by a new author. I have owned this one the longest out of all the middle grades on this TBR. I have in fact seen the movie already and have started the book before. I don’t remember why, but I did put it down for something else and never came back to it.

Synopsis: August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. Wonder, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others.


The next books on my TBR are The Getaway and The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney. These are the 12th and 13th books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. These two books have been on my TBR for every readathon I have done since, probably, June. This time, I am determined to ACTUALLY read them!

Synopsis: (of book 1): Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into a new year and a new school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving. Desperate to prove his new found maturity, which only going up a grade can bring, Greg is happy to have his not-quite-so-cool sidekick, Rowley, along for the ride. But when Rowley's star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend's popularity to his own advantage. Recorded in his diary with comic pictures and his very own words, this test of Greg and Rowley's friendship unfolds with hilarious results.


The next book is related to the last two being Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure. This one will fulfill the Shadow prompt to read a book that was published in 2020. This one is the second book in a companion series of Diary of a Wimpy Kid following the MC’s best friend Rowley. The first book focused mainly on Greg, but from Rowley’s perspective, and I hope this one will center Rowley more.

Synopsis (of book 1): Get ready for a whole new look into Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Introducing the newest Wimpy Kid author--Rowley Jefferson! Rowley's best friend Greg Heffley has been chronicling his middle-school years in thirteen Diary of a Wimpy Kid journals . . . and counting. But it's finally time for readers to hear directly from Rowley in a journal of his own. In Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid, Rowley writes about his experiences and agrees to play the role of biographer for Greg along the way. (After all, one day Greg will be rich and famous, and everyone will want to know his life's story.) But Rowley is a poor choice for the job, and his "biography" of Greg is a hilarious mess. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson's Journal offers readers a new way to look at the Wimpy world--one fans won't want to miss!

The next two books are the 3rd and 4th in series and they are Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race and Mr. Lemoncello’s All-Star Breakout Game by Chris Grabenstein. Both of these books fit the Key prompt to read a mystery. Each book has a different game aspect to them and takes place in a library owned by a game maker called Luigi Lemoncello. I absolutely adore this series and can’t wait to get to them!

Synopsis (of book 1): Kyle Keeley is the class clown, popular with most kids, (if not the teachers), and an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library. Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high. In this cross between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and A Night in the Museum, Agatha Award winner Chris Grabenstein uses rib-tickling humor to create the perfect tale for his quirky characters. Old fans and new readers will become enthralled with the crafty twists and turns of this ultimate library experience.

The next book is also in a series called Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. This is a book in a graphic novel non-fiction series following the author. All of Raina Telgemeier’s books are graphic novels that she writes and illustrates herself. The first book is called Smile and follows the author when she accidently knocks out her two front teeth and goes through many painful years of trying to make her smile look normal again.

Synopsis (of book 1): Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts, she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly. This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.

The next book is the first in a series called Greenglass House by Kate Milford. This book is the November and December pick for the Whimsy Book Club, which is a middle grade book club. It fits the the Scream prompt to listen to an audiobook. This is one that I do not own however, it is available on Hoopla. Depending on how well I do and how much I like it, I might try to read more than the first book. Hoopla has the first three books in the series.


Synopsis: It’s wintertime at Greenglass House. The creaky smuggler’s inn is always quiet during this season, and twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeepers’ adopted son, plans to spend his holidays relaxing. But on the first icy night of vacation, out of nowhere, the guest bell rings. Then rings again. And again. Soon Milo’s home is bursting with odd, secretive guests, each one bearing a strange story that is somehow connected to the rambling old house. As objects go missing and tempers flare, Milo and Meddy, the cook’s daughter, must decipher clues and untangle the web of deepening mysteries to discover the truth about Greenglass House—and themselves.


The next book I have is another that I don’t own and it is called King and the Dragonflies by Kacen Callender. I have really been working on diversifying my reading for many years and I realized I haven’t really been reading Indigenous authors. I will be working on this more in 2021 however, November is Indigenous people’s month so, I want to get some books by Indigenous authors in where I can. This one will also fit the Fingerprint prompt to read an author from a different culture than you.

Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live down by the bayou in their small Louisiana town. Khalid still visits in dreams, and King must keep these secrets to himself as he watches grief transform his family. It would be easier if King could talk with his best friend, Sandy Sanders. But just days before he died, Khalid told King to end their friendship, after overhearing a secret about Sandy—that he thinks he might be gay. "You don't want anyone to think you're gay too, do you?" But when Sandy goes missing, sparking a town-wide search, and King finds his former best friend hiding in a tent in his backyard, he agrees to help Sandy escape from his abusive father, and the two begin an adventure as they build their own private paradise down by the bayou and among the dragonflies. As King's friendship with Sandy is reignited, he's forced to confront questions about himself and the reality of his brother's death.


The next one will also be an audiobook from Hoopla called I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day. It fulfills the Hand Mirror prompt to read a book with a beautiful cover. This sunset cover is so beautiful, and I could just stare at it all day! This one is about a little girl who is disconnected from her Indigenous heritage because she was not raised around them, as her mother was adopted by a white family.


Synopsis: All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers. Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her. Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now?


This next one is one of the highest rated middle grade book on the Goodreads Choice Awards of 2020, and that is Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodsen. I am going to be reading a lot of the books on that entire list through the next year, and it is never too early to start. This one is available on Libby and is very short.


Synopsis: For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone's hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he's as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ's house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ's mom explains it's because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that--but it doesn't make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can't remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?


The next book is also on the Goodreads list and it is Ghost Squad by Claribel Ortega. This one will fit the Torn Page prompt to read a book with a paranormal element and the Spilled Ink prompt to read a book featuring ghosts. I have been hearing good things about this one, and it is also a pretty short one. I think I can crawl my way out of this reading slump with all these short books.


Synopsis: Coco meets Stranger Things with a hint of Ghostbusters in this action-packed supernatural fantasy.For Lucely Luna, ghosts are more than just the family business. Shortly before Halloween, Lucely and her best friend, Syd, cast a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits, wreaking havoc throughout St. Augustine. Together, they must join forces with Syd's witch grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town and Lucely's firefly spirits before it's too late. With the family dynamics of Coco and action-packed adventure of Ghostbusters, Claribel A. Ortega delivers both a thrillingly spooky and delightfully sweet debut novel.


I am stopping myself at this last book being We Dream of Space by Erin Entrada Kelly, who also is on the 2020 Goodreads list. This one involves 3 siblings, two of which are twins, and I love seeing sibling relationships in books, especially twin relationships. I will be stopping here for my TBR, but I hope to get in many more books in this month.


Synopsis: Cash loves basketball, Dr. J, and a girl named Penny; he's also in danger of failing seventh grade for a second time. Fitch spends every afternoon playing Major Havoc at the arcade and wrestles with an explosive temper that he doesn't understand. And Bird, his twelve-year-old twin, dreams of being NASA's first female shuttle commander, but feels like she's disappearing. The Nelson Thomas siblings exist in their own orbits, circling a tense, crowded, and unpredictable household, dreaming of escape, dreaming of the future, dreaming of space. They have little in common except an enthusiastic science teacher named Ms. Salonga—a failed applicant to the Teacher in Space program—who encourages her students to live vicariously through the launch. Cash and Fitch take a passive interest, but Bird builds her dreams around it. When the fated day arrives, it changes everything.


Other TBR:

The first book I have to read that is outside my TBR is Ghosting: A Love Story by Tash Skilton. My husband and I will be buddy reading this book in November. Another plus is that I do own this book, making it the 9th book on this list that I own!

Synopsis: Dumped by his fiancée, not only is Miles couch-surfing across New York City, but downsizing has forced him to set up shop at a local café. Also, he no longer believes in love. Not a good look in his line of work…helping people find love as a ghostwriter for a failing dating site.Zoey’s eccentric L.A. boss sent her packing to New York to “grow.” But beneath her chill Cali demeanor, Zoey’s anxiety makes her terrified to venture beyond the café across the street into the big city… Finding themselves competing for space at Café Crudite, the only thing Miles and Zoey think they share is their daily battle for last day-old biscotti and a mutual dislike of each other. They don’t know they’re both writers, creating “authentic” profiles for rival online dating services. They think they have absolutely nothing in common... until they meet anonymously online while pretending to be their clients and sparks fly. As they become more deeply connected online, their mistaken identities get more complicated when their clients experience a dating disaster IRL. Once they find out their lives have crossed in more ways than one, will their online connection be the real thing—or vanish into the ether?

The next two books are by the same author and got to my TBR via different book clubs. The first is Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones. This book was the pick for the Spooky Bitches Book Club. I didn’t read their pick for October, or much else, but I did read their September book and I loved it. I am ready to get back into reading in November. I am going to be getting this book from Hoopla.

Synopsis: He was born an outsider, like the rest of his family. Poor yet resilient, he lives in the shadows with his Aunt Libby and Uncle Darren, folk who stubbornly make their way in a society that does not understand or want them. They are mongrels, mixedblood, neither this nor that. The boy at the center of Mongrels must decide if he belongs on the road with his aunt and uncle, or if he fits with the people on the other side of the tracks. For ten years, he and his family have lived a life of late-night exits and close calls—always on the move across the South to stay one step ahead of the law. But the time is drawing near when Darren and Libby will know if their nephew is like them or not. And the close calls they’ve been running from for so long are catching up fast, now. Everything is about to change. A compelling and fascinating journey, Mongrels alternates between past and present to create an unforgettable portrait of a boy trying to understand his family and his place in a complex and unforgiving world. A smart and innovative story—funny, bloody, raw, and real—told in a rhythmic voice full of heart, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly novel that illuminates the challenges and tender joys of a life beyond the ordinary in a bold and imaginative new way.

The last book I have to add to my TBR is The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones. This one is the book club book for the Literally Dead book club. I have been following this book club since it started, but I don’t always get to the books. I have had this one on hold for months on Libby and I am due to get it in a few weeks.

Synopsis: Seamlessly blending classic horror and a dramatic narrative with sharp social commentary, The Only Good Indians follows four American Indian men after a disturbing event from their youth puts them in a desperate struggle for their lives. Tracked by an entity bent on revenge, these childhood friends are helpless as the culture and traditions they left behind catch up to them in a violent, vengeful way.

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