Cover Image: Ellie Engle Saves Herself

Ellie Engle Saves Herself

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This book made my inner child so happy! I saw so much of myself in Ellie, and it made me laugh several times. Quiet little book nerd, perfectly content to sit at home. Then there’s an earthquake, and she wakes up with superpowers… and what kid wouldn’t love that!? Middle school me would have loved that! This book feels absolutely genuine in every way 💙

Was this review helpful?

This book has a lot of potential, but it went in too many directions with conflicts that were touched upon but not fully developed. Ellie discovers she now has superpowers in the midst of also learning that she likes girls, while also dealing with her best friend drifting away, all while navigating life with a mom who works two jobs because her father left them and her grandfather as just passed away. I wish that Ellie's new friendships were more developed, as it would have been a great touch point for middle school kids who also experience changes in friend groups.

Was this review helpful?

Way too morbid and weird for a middle-grade audience. Could Ellie not have had a less Lovecraftian superpower? I was thoroughly disturbed - especially by the scene with the dogs in Willa Moon's studio.

Was this review helpful?

Middle School is rough. Everyone feels different, but wants to be able to be enough like the rest of the kids to have a lot of friends- or at least, like Ellie Engle, not be noticed and not be a target of the mean kids. That’s why, when she ends up with a super power that becomes too difficult to hide when she accidentally uses it in the middle of the class with the least kind girl and her followers, Ellie finds herself in a big mess. She struggles to find a friend to trust; she doesn’t want to worry her mom; she needs to find a way to manage her super power without hurting anyone; and she has to figure out how to survive school with everyone talking about her.

Anyone in middle school who wants to learn how to understand others, who loves comic books, or just loves a good story will enjoy this book

Thank you to Disney Publishing Worldwide, Netgalley, and the author for early access to this creative and powerful novel.

Was this review helpful?

This story is a wonderful story of a girl who is struggling with growing up and where she fits into the larger world. When her world is turned upside down by the gain of powers and the loss of a friend, Ellie learns about opening herself up to find people who can love and accept her as she is. Powerful message about learning to be comfortable in your own skin.

Was this review helpful?

If Ellie Engle had a superpower, it would be invisibility. Ellie likes things simple, normal. Especially after her dad left. Even more after her Poppy died. Normal means spending time at her best friend Abby's busy, happy house. It means feeding Burt the Betta fish. It means reading comics and waiting for Abby's gymnastics practice to end. But on the first day of seventh grade, an earthquake does more than shake Ellie's bed: she wakes up with real superpowers. And just like that, her almost-superpower of invisibility is replaced with the real superpowers of super hearing and bringing things back from the dead.
That is not simple and it's definitely not normal.
Add in a mean girl, friendship growing pains, Ellie realizing her feelings for Abby are more than friendship type feelings, and a growing stack of final notice bill envelopes addressed to her mom, and Ellie definitely would have had enough going on before the whole superhero thing.
What's a super girl to do?

In her middle grade debut, author Leah Johnson gives us the superhero we've been waiting for. Not because she'll save the world, or even the seventh grade. She's the superhero teaching us how to save ourselves.
"...if I leave how I feel about myself up to other people, I'm always gonna feel horrible."
Ellie Engle Saves Herself
Ellie Engle is the kind of book that makes you laugh out loud on one page and gives you something to ponder on the next. Ellie is a delightful character, and one young readers can relate to. Even without her superpowers, Ellie has to learn how to share her friend, how to stand up for herself, and how to open herself up to new possibilities. The supporting characters are just as well developed: flawed, imperfect, and realistic.
This novel has a lot of great messages and themes, but all are subtle and rooted deeply in the plot. The characters are relatable, flawed, and their choices -- even the wrong ones-- are understandable.
Ellie has discovered her feelings for Abby are more than friendship, but she isn't ready to tell her yet. When everyone in school is swooning over one boy, Ellie isn't. And it almost gets her outed. Instead, she's outed in a different way. A viral way. A superpowers way. Ellie's burgeoning feelings are handled delicately, in a way that's accessible and understandable for young readers. And just like as in real life, that is just one part of who Ellie is. I loved that Ellie wasn't a walking one-dimensional issue character-- she was a three dimensional character balancing a lot of relatable (BFF wanting to be with the popular crew) and fantastical (hello, superpowers!) new aspects of life.
This book has joy, friendship, a bit of heartbreak, the ups and downs of superpowers, and plenty of hope. It's a fun read with deeper messages. The fast-paced plot, incredible character development, and unique voice make this a fast but meaningful read.
Ellie Engle Saves Herself is available now. Thank you to the author, Disney Hyperion, and NetGalley for an advanced copy such that I could share my honest opinion.

Was this review helpful?

Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson is a Middle Grade Must Read!

Ellie Engle thinks she’s about to start seventh grade with her best friend Abby. But what she doesn’t know is that she’s actually about to start seventh grade with newfound superpowers and a best friend who is about to get swept up in the middle school popularity race.

I kept stopping while I read to take note of quotes and thoughts that jumped out at me. I’ll share a few here:

“Marley is the type of person who gets joy out of making anyone who is different than her feel uncomfortable. And even without the powers, I’m different.”

“There are a lot of people who hate what they can’t understand - who love power, but only if they can control it.”

“Poppy always wanted me to do and be whatever made me feel there most myself.”

“If I leave how I feel about myself up to other people, I’m always gonna feel horrible.”

Everything folks said about Ellie and her superpowers has been said recently about the LGBTQ+ community. The way Leah Johnson wove this story together was masterful. I loved that Ellie’s queerness was part of the story, but wasn’t the whole story. The author’s note at the end pulled it all together beautifully.

And I mean, of course I also loved all of the superhero/comic book references!

Was this review helpful?

Thinking back to when I was in elementary school, I think I would have really enjoyed this book (I did now as an adult but at that age I think I would have really connected with it).

Ellie learns that being herself isn't at all a negative thing and she will make the best friends being her true authentic self. Some LGBTQ+ topics but not the center of the story.

Ellie's dad leaves and she has to learn to live without him as well as her grandpa who passes - this is all eerily so similar to my childhood except my dad left much sooner. Having my Papa pass when I was in high school was a huge loss as he was a father figure to me. Navigating life after death is difficult at any age but I think moreso when you're still growing up yourself.

A great, fast read. Middle graders would love!

Was this review helpful?

It was quite entertaining to watch Ellie wake up and figure out she suddenly have the power to bring anything back to life with her touch. When she wakes up at the first day of middle school feeling weird, with her fingers buzzing she knew right away that nothing will ever the same.

Here are three reasons to read Ellie Engle Saves Herself:

- Queer representation. It's not a lot but it's enough. Ellie has a crush on her best friend which we find out after being woken up by an earthquake on their first day of middle school.
- The display of the fact that when one is able to give life, it's sourced from somewhere else. It was mentioned in passing, and its fairly easy to miss but it's there.
- The truth that having superpowers tests friendships and people's character. And the differences it brings also has the ability to find you those who deserve one's friendship.

Was this review helpful?

Ellie Engle Saves Herself has several positive messages and a lot of potential. It focuses on acceptance, friendship, changing loyalties, and accepting one's strengths. It also has a diverse group of characters and LGBTQ representation. That being said, it fell flat for me. I liked that Ellie loved superheroes and comics, but her own development of powers had plot holes and left me with questions. I would have liked more development on that part of the story. The story really focuses more on Ellie's changing friendship with her best friend and the way she's viewed (by herself and others) after her powers developed. The story has some positive and strong messages, but the plot itself just wasn't as developed as I would have liked and I often caught myself pulled out of the story and skimming to get to the end. This is a positive and uplifting story and younger middle grade readers may really enjoy it.

Was this review helpful?

I loved it- all the 🌟stars🌟! I have given Leah Johnson's other book 5 stars, as well. I just love how dynamic her characters are and the tear-jerking sincerity of her writing style. If you read this book and don't have a big on your face by the end, you should let me know. P.S. this is a middle-grade book, but I think teens and adults would equally love this book. I can't wait to add it to my classroom shelves.

Was this review helpful?

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Ellie is a character that a lot of young people will connect with. She has one best friend that she is really close with and they do almost everything together, but now that they are going to a new school that could change as their interests change. Ellie is really into comic books and being a superhero while her best friend is more into cheer and gymnastics and one day being famous.
Suddenly when the earthquake happens on their first day at their new school, Ellie feels a change in herself that no one else felt when the earthquake happens. While she's not sure what this change is she knows that something happens. It isn't until she is able to suddenly bring something back to life that she puts the pieces together, but she doesn't know what is going on or who she can even tell.

Overall I flew through this book. Ellie suddenly getting these magical powers is a good and bad thing for her and she knows this. She is very careful about when she uses this power and makes sure no one besides her best friend is around when she uses it because she doesn't want to be made fun of. All of that suddenly changes though when she goes viral due to the mean girl in school making fun of her. With this, everything blows up and we see what friendships are truly made of and who is there for Ellie and who isn't. The new friendships she made were some of my favorites because you could tell they were ones that were going to last through middle and possibly even all of high school because of the similar interests they shared.

This book is a great representation of who will be there through thick and thin and who will just be there when it's easy. It's also showing how difficult it can be for young people now to have normal life experiences because everyone is constantly connected and never able to get away from it all. It also shows the struggles of a single parent and how trying to keep everything afloat isn't easy and it does it in a way that still has the parent involved in the child's life in a fairly big way.

The LGBT+ references were mentioned but they were not the main focus of the story, they are just a part of who Ellie is and not made to be a big part of the story.

Review going up on my blog on May 1, 2023 as a part of Turn the Pages Tour!

Was this review helpful?

I liked the main premise of the book. Changing friendships, loyalty, etc…were great themes. It felt like the references to being LGBTQ were just added to be added. There really wasn’t much of a connection to the overall story. The fantasy part of the story would appeal to kids who enjoy “low fantasy”.

Was this review helpful?

As a story about accepting one's strengths and weaknesses and growing up (especially reevaluating one's relationships and friendships at that point), this is strong. There's also strong LGBTQ+ representation, and the main character is a character of color, so that inclusivity is awesome. I do wish the system of superpowers were stronger; there are a lot of plot holes about how Ellie got her powers, how another side (but important) character got the same powers, and how their powers manifest. The premise is intriguing, but it's not explained particularly well; it really took me out of the story. Overall, though, it's a heartwarming, uplifting read.

Was this review helpful?

Ellie is a very engaging and charming protagonist. I was rooting for her to come into her own the entire time. Readers will find something to relate to in her friendship struggles.

Was this review helpful?

I don’t avoid middle grade books but I also don’t actively try to find them. I have not been the demographic for middle grade for a very long time. But when they’re queer focused i have a higher chance of reading them because for me it’s healing my inner child with stories I didn’t grow up with. When I saw the synopsis for Ellie Engle Saves Herself I just knew I had to request a copy. I am very grateful I did.

This was a lovely story about growing up and learning how to be older but also about still being a kid. Change and responsibility are two very scary things and I loved how it was represented in this book. It was done really well. There were tougher themes shown in the story but it still stayed true to being meant for the younger population. It was never overwhelming and it was still impactful.

Ellie’s new friendships were the most wholesome development and I think that’s what I loved the most. She was able to learn being herself wasn’t a negative thing and she will find people that cherish aspects of her that others might not like. It was so beautiful.

My copy has so many highlights of moments that I’m gonna cherish for awhile. This will be one book I’ll always recommend.

Was this review helpful?

An adorable read filled with female power! Despite the book being geared for younger readers, it was still enjoyable to adults.

Was this review helpful?

Ellie is navigating friendships and life at the beginning of 7th grade when something unexpected happens. This is a good choice for those who like to read fantasy and science fiction that mostly feels like realistic fiction with just a slight twist (or for realistic fiction fans who have to read fantasy or science fiction for a genre study). Great representation in the book - Ellie is Black, her best friend is Latinx, another friend has two moms, her teacher has a nonbinary partner.

Was this review helpful?

Middle school/junior high is a lot. Lots of drama. Lots of issues. Lots of questions. Lots of insecurity. Lots of self-examination. Lots of cliques. Ellie Engle’s life has all of that. She’s a smart student and quiet, supportive friend who is happy to stay in the background. When she finds she has super powers after an earthquake strikes, Ellie is totally unprepared. Who would be? Follow along with Ellie as she navigates her newfound powers and learns what is most important. This book will be an easy sell in my middle school library.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this arc in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Of what I read in this book, I really enjoyed it! Leah Johnson never misses! Unfortunately, the file formatting was so unbelievably messy that I couldn't finish it all the way. I'm really hoping to read this book properly once it comes out.

Was this review helpful?