Poppy Mayberry by Jennie K. Brown is my first 194 pages towards my Page Challenge from Book Dragon’s Lair. In case you didn’t read my previous post about this challenge, I’m only aiming for Bonsai Level which is 12,000 pages. So I just have to read about 65 more books this length. EEEK. Can I possibly allow myself this much spare time? I better! I signed up – I posted that I’d commit – I have to do it now. I’m much better at keeping promises made to others than to myself. So, another thanks to Book Dragons Lair for putting this challenge out there.
Poppy Mayberry, The Monday is the first book in Jennie K. Brown’s Nova Kids series. The kids from the town of Nova have a specific power based on the day of the week they were born. Poppy Mayberry is a Monday child. Sounds cool right? It is, only it took me a while to admit. I didn’t think I was going to like this book. So why do I own a book I didn’t think I’d enjoy? Let me flashback a bit.
I first heard of this book when I went to my first SCBWI conference in Lancaster last November. Jennie K. Brown was a speaker and a very good one at that. So I purchased her book (which she signed for each of us) and tucked it away in my TBR pile. It sat there for a while for a lot of reasons (some of which I’ll talk about shortly) until this challenge came up. I had already purchased a book from the booklist given by MG Book Village for their book club which I was going to read first for the Page Challenge, but poor Poppy was beginning to collect dust. How horrible. So I decided to finally read about Poppy Mayberry.
Poppy starts off fast just like listening to someone (of Poppy’s age) who talks without commas or periods and assumes you can keep up. Not that the book was difficult to follow, not at all, but it hits you immediately with that type of energy. This is a good thing. Without any reservations, we are told about nose-pickers and disgusting traits of the terribly boring teachers she has at school. I hear ya Poppy! I felt sorry for our resident nose-picker at her age too, poor guy.
Great start, very strong, but I have some doubts. I’m wondering how much I’m gonna like a book about kids with powers who go to a Power Academy. Sounded a bit too familiar at first and there’s even a supposedly haunted forest next to the school. The other thing that tried to stop me from reading was the overwhelming cutness of it all. The book cover is super cute with the cute little dog and cute purple Poppy and then introduces her typical annoying nemesis Ellie who dresses head to toe in perfect pink, and this all seemed a bit too cliché to me at first. Yet I couldn’t help but continue reading because it was actually very relatable. I definitely knew girls in fifth grade who dressed like career women and treated others like poop. And being back in fifth grade was very real, almost too real. I was getting anxieties while reading about the annoying teachers and zoning out in classes like Poppy. Ugh.
So there I was, back in grade school with two girls; one I didn’t really care about and one who seemed to care too much about the opinions of the first girl. Both were a bit too feminine compared to the tree climbing, dirt digging, mudpie making 10yr old I was. But it was too late, they had powers, Poppy is super nice and smart, and I needed to know more, so I kept reading and did not disappear like the Friday I am.
Yes, that’s right, I’m a Friday. I’ll cut to the end and tell you that their adventures at Power Academy are well worth it, even if you don’t find yourself relating to the characters. I believe 10-year-old me would have enjoyed this book. I may have been a tomboy as a kid, but I loved making friends and meeting new people. Seeing a book about having powers would have definitely gotten my attention as a kid. Poppy and Ellie meet new people at Power Academy and these four kids getting stuck together in a frustrating situation makes you keep reading. It’s a quick read and it’s fun. Enough action to keep you reading, enough emotion to keep you connected, and enough mystery to keep you hooked.
If you are like I was and have some doubts about enjoying this little book, go ahead and give it a try. I know my copy holds a bit of sentimental value because of how it came into my life and how it will always be a part of my own writing journey, but it earned a spot on my shelf because it was a good story. And soon I’ll have Return To Power Academy, Nova Kids book 2 to put next to it because yep, I ordered it as soon as I finished book one. I think you might do the same.