Sunday, April 9, 2017

Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm

Age Group: Middle Grade
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publishing Date: August 30th, 2016 by Random House Books

Summary:  Goodreads ~ Newbery Honor Book Turtle in Paradise is beloved by readers, and now they can return to this wonderful world through the eyes of Turtle’s cousin Beans.

Grown-ups lie. That’s one truth Beans knows for sure. He and his gang know how to spot a whopper a mile away, because they are the savviest bunch of barefoot conchs (that means “locals”) in all of Key West. Not that Beans really minds; it’s 1934, the middle of the Great Depression. With no jobs on the island, and no money anywhere, who can really blame the grown-ups for telling a few tales? Besides, Beans isn’t anyone’s fool. In fact, he has plans. Big plans. And the consequences might surprise even Beans himself.


“As a storyteller, Holm is superb.”— School Library Journal

“Holm impressively wraps pathos with comedy.”— Booklist

“Anyone interested in learning to write crowd-pleasing historical fiction for elementary school readers would be wise to study Holm’s work.”— Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Sweet, funny and superb.”— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

What I Liked: See, this is one of those books that "adults" like. I don't really mean that with any disrespect, just that, it isn't a book filled with too much superhero-action or anything like that. However, that doesn't mean the book was bland. It's sort of hard to explain why I liked this book. If anything it was holistically (overall). A good comparison, in my opinion, is that this book is sort of like To Kill a Mockingbird. Pretty bold statement I know, but not only was the setting and time accurate but just how everything played out. I'm really referring to only part 1 of To Kill a Mockingbird however, so if you know how that goes, you have an idea of the style of action, sort of mild but still interesting.

What I Didn't Like: Alright, I'm going to be honest, I'm going to "roast" To Kill a Mockingbird for a second (see even book bloggers can use slang too. It's not weird...I hope). To Kill a Mockingbird sort of lost me, and for my teenage mind that needed some mental stimulus from an action scene, I was, at times bored. Same with this book. I felt like at times it was, well, yawn-worthy. I didn't feel like it kept me going through the whole book. But who knows, maybe different age groups react differently to this book.

Rating: 8.6 out of ten,

Full of Beans


  1. I liked the setting and the quirkiness but would agree adults like this one more than the intended audience.

  2. I've heard flaming but not roasting...

  3. I haven't read this one, but I did enjoy some of Holm's other books. I totally agree with you that some MG books seem to be targeted more to adults (especially those books that are nostalgic). I think that's because a lot of the people who buy MG are teachers and librarians.
    Thanks for your honest review--I really enjoyed hearing a teen's take!

  4. I do love historical fiction and that time period particularly. Thanks for the review. I have this one on my TBR list.

  5. I would love to know what books you would recommend to a 13-year-old boy. (I'm guessing maybe not this one?) Have you ever made a list of your all time favourite books? I'm looking for books to recommend to my nephew.

    1. Kim-

      I believe I have made a list of all time good books but it does need to be updated. I'll list off a few that he'll be sure to love.

      -The Space Case, FunJungle, and Spy School series by Stuart Gibbs (mystery and thriller type)
      -Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Another Space Book)
      -If you're looking for a sports books then any middle grade book by Tim Green is good.
      - Escape from Mr. Lemencellos Library
      - Grandmaster by David Klass (a chess book, seems weird but it's super good)

      These are pretty good for a 13 year old boy, I would know mostly because I was 13 last year. I have some others but they are dependent on the type of genre he likes to read, so if you could respond, I'd love to recommend more good reads!