Monday, August 31, 2020

Milly and the Tale from Across the Street by Martha Langager Klopp - ADVISABLE

Milly and the Tale from Across the Street by Martha LangagerKlopp, 253 pages.Odin Opus Publishing, 2019. $10             


Content: G


 BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS  - ADVISABLE


 AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE


 Milly has always wondered about the big house across the street. To her it seems mysterious, like secrets are hidden inside. If only she could get inside! During summer break from school a new family moves in the house and Milly quickly makes friends with the new girl, Cora. Milly and Cora spend a lot of time together and have great fun exploring the magnificent house. They find a secret room, filled with recipes for potions, and ingredients to make them. They have a great time trying the potions, and they actually work.! They are having the time of their lives, until they discover a menacing man, Lance, has made a potion that will take all the fun out of childhood forever. Will they be able to stop him before it is too late?        


 Wow! This was a fun tale of friendship, secrets and mystery. I loved the story of Milly and Cora, and how they rise to the occasion and make some pretty mature decisions. I liked how honest they were and how well they worked together with the potions. Potions like Canine Communications, Permanent Mood Enhancement, Human-Animal Conversation, and more. They worked liked real scientists in the secret room, with strange ingredients. They showed they knew how to follow directions, measuring, timing, mixing and stirring. I recommend this book. I read it in one sitting.       


 Ellen-Anita, LMS                                                                   


Sunday, August 30, 2020

Sisters of the War by Rania Abouzeid - OPTIONAL

Sisters of the War by Rania Abouzeid, 288 pages. NON-FICTION. Scholastic Focus, 2020. $19   


Language: G (0  swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG (Bombs, war); Violence: PG (Severe bombing and killing of people during the war in Syria)


BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS - OPTIONAL


AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW


Two small girls, unrelated, lived in Syria during the civil war that started in 2011. The girls, Ruha and Hanin, live in different parts of Syria. They love their families, shopping, paying with friends and going to school. At first when the war starts their parents do not tell them much about it. The war ends up being quite devastating for them, their families and their country as they knew it.           


I expected the book to be about two girls, but found that although we learn about the girls, the book is mostly about war in Syria.  It explains the war, and the causes of it really well. The book is well written, the language flows smoothly and I gained a greater insight and understanding of the people in Syria, the conflict and the war. It will be a great book to use when studying the life and conflicts of the Middle East.


Ellen-Anita - LMS                                                                 


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Which Way Is Home? by Maria Kiely - ADVISABLE

Which Way Is Home? by Maria Kiely, 179 pages.   Nancy Paulsen Books (Penguin), 2020. $18                      


Content: G


BUYING ADVISORY: MS - ADVISABLE        


AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE       


At the end of World War II the communists took over Czechoslovakia. They encouraged people to spy on each other and let the government know if they thought people had thoughts not in line with communist ideals. Anna lives with her family on a farm in Roven, Czechoslovakia. She has a happy childhood and loves to play with her cousins. Anna is 11. Her older sister is a concert pianist. Their dad has been missing for several months. One day they suddenly pack their bags and leave. Anna, her sister and mother had to flee their home because their father was wanted by the communist government. Anna is scared, but does what her mother says. Anna hopes and prays that they will get to safety and be reunited with her father. They have to try to escape Czechoslovakia and get out of the reach of the communists. They are no longer safe.


Anna's story is based on the real-life story of the author's mother and her family's flight from Czechoslovakia. It is an amazing story of staying strong through the most harrowing experiences and believing in the good in people.  Anna's father was a diplomat and a spy and he really was wanted by the government. It was a fantastic book and, again, I could not put it down. I will definitely recommend this book to students, teachers and friends. I remember the stories my own grandparents, and parents, always told of life in Europe after World War II. I really empathized with Anna and her family. This is the first published novel for this author, and I look forward to reading more of her books.


Ellen-Anita, LMS       

Friday, August 28, 2020

Running by Natalia Sylvester - OPTIONAL


Running
by Natalia Sylvester
336 pages. Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), 2020. $18 

Language: PG13 (18 swears 4 'f'); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G. 

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

15yo Mariana Ruiz is the daughter of a Cuban-American Florida Senator who is running for President of the United States. As long as she can remember, he's been a politician, but there's something different about this election. Her parents are concerned about every little thing Mariana does, they even made her delete all her social media. When the kids at school start a protest about the contaminated water in Miami that is making lots of people sick, Mariana discovers that her father's political priorities might be different than her own. Now she has more to worry about than the tabloids and the news shows. 

I loved the perspective - daughter of a presidential candidate who wasn't a huge socialite. Watching this family navigate the primaries while also dealing with Mariana's concerns was great. A well-written coming of age story, but I may have to hand sell it - politics with no teen romance. 

Lisa Librarian

The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane by Kate O'Shaughnessy - ADVISABLE

The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane
by Kate O'Shaughnessy,
288 pages. Knopf Books for Young Readers (Penguin Random House), 2020. $17 

Language: G (1 swear 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

11yo Maybelle Lane wishes she knew more about her father.  Her mother doesn't talk about him - all she has is an old voice mail message. But one day she hears him on the radio and her mom quickly changes the station - ah ha! So, she secretly listens to his talk show - one day he announces he will be the judge for a singing contest in Nashville!  Mom has a job singing on a cruise ship, so Maybelle jumps at the chance to convince Mrs. Boggs (the neighbor put in charge of Maybelle) that she needs to get her to this contest.  Maybelle isn't the only one searching for something. The drive from Louisiana to Tennessee becomes a real adventure - one of the bullies from the neighborhood stowed away in the RV, and it turns out that Mrs. Boggs isn't the strict/mean school teacher Maybelle thought she was. 

I loved this summer read!  Engaging, sweet and heartwarming.  A great story about getting to know people, and finding that they aren't who you expect. Perfect for upper elementary or middle school.


Lisa Librarian  

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Forever Glimmer Creek by Stacy Hackney - ADVISABLE

Forever Glimmer Creek by Stacy Hackney, 307 pages. Simon and Schuster, 2020. $18

Content: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE       

Rosie lives with her mom in Glimmer Creek, Virginia. She has two best friends, Henry and Cam. They do everything together. Once a year a miracle occurs in Glimmer Creek. Rosie loves to make movies and she is making a documentary about the miracles. she doesn't just want to know about the miracles, she wants to discover what the miracles are and what causes them. A lot of things happen, and the friendship between the three best friends might not make it through all the stress. Henry disappears and how will they find him? She has never met her father and figures out a "sure" way that he will come to meet her.  

Hackney follows Rosie through hardships and frustrations. I like the book, I liked Rosie, and how I could see her growth and development through the book. I think middle school students would really like this book.

Ellen-Anita                                                                


Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo - HIGH

Clap When You Land
by Elizabeth Acevedo
432 page. Quill Tree Books (Harper Collins), 2020. $19

Language: R (17 swears 8 'f'); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG 13 (sexual assault) 

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Camino's father works in New York City, but comes back to the Dominican Republic every year for the summer. This year, Camino waits at the airport only to find there has been an accident, the plane has gone down, her father is lost. In New York City, Yahaira learns that her father has been killed in a plane crash, the last time they spoke, there was an argument. Both girls are grieving their father, but they don't know that he was leading a double life, and that the girls are sisters. "I'm the child her father left her for in the summers. While she is the child my father left me for my entire life" 

Elizabeth Acevedo's novel in verse is told through two voices - the change in poetic voice between the American girl and the Dominican is brilliant, the story is poignant and sad. It's a multi-layered story, with grief, pain, tension, sexual assault, stalking, danger, love and crisis. I loved the universal emotions, reflected in the grief of the sisters, and the disconnect as cultural differences emerged. 

Lisa Librarian

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown by Ann E. Burg - ESSENTIAL

Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown by Ann E. Burg, 352 pages. Scholastic Press, 2020. $18                  


Content: G


BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL


AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE       


Johnstown was a working-class town with a steel mill.  Through the voices of six children we learn of the life in the city below an earth filled dam. People work long hours at the steel mill and children go to school. The dam has a lot of problems with leaking and people in Johnstown complain to the rich owners who have built a fancy resort club on the lake held back by the dam. On May 31, 1889 the dam broke and flooded the Johnstown. Over 2,200 people died that day.      


The story is told in beautiful verse by six children who lived through the disaster. I did not know of this flood, and was so captivated by the story I could not put the book down. The devastation of the flood was devastating to the people and to the town. Clara Barton came and set up Red Cross shelters for the survivors. She helped people carry on after the disaster. This is a remarkable story and a "must read." It would be a great read-a-loud to a class studying U.S. History. I highly recommend this great book. It is well written and easy to read. Read this book!      


Ellen-Anita, LMS       

The Upside of Falling by Alex Light - HIGH

The Upside of Falling
by Alex Light
288 pages Harperteen Harper Collins, 2020. $18.

Language: R (24 swears 3 'f'); Mature Content: PG13 (teen intimacy); Violence: G. 

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

17yo Becca loves romance novels. They have been her escape for a while now. Her parents divorced when she was 10 and she no longer believes in actual love. But when a former friend gives her attitude about not having a boyfriend, Becca lies and says she's been secretly dating someone. Brett Wells is popular, talented and has perfect parents, but he's so busy trying to live up to his dad's expectations (star of the football team) that he has little time for dating. So, when he overhears Becca's lie in the hallway, he steps in and quickly joins the charade as Becca's "mystery" boyfriend. A perfect arrangement for both, right? But, when acting like the perfect couple starts to turn into actual feelings for Becca, and then Brett's world starts to crash, he realizes that Becca may be more than just a ruse to keep his friends and dad happy, 

Oh! This was such a cute novel. Oh my, the romance was just right, the drama was realistic (not just school drama) and the issues were real - coping with divorce, parent troubles, best friend issues, grades, social status - a great high school read. 

Lisa Librarian

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yousef Salaam - HIGH

Punching the Air
by Ibi Zoboi and Yousef Salaam,
400 pages. Balzer + Bray (Harper Collins), 2020. $20. 

Language: R (53 swears 53 'f'); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG13 (prison violence)

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

16yo Amal Shahid has been tried and convicted of assault and battery - a crime he didn't commit, and sent to juvenile prison. Amal is an artist and a poet, except for a fight in 5th grade he has never been in trouble, but a bias system that sees Amal as what he is rather than who he is works against him. Amal had been attending an arts high school, but even there he was seen as difficult and uncooperative, the only brown face in his classes. When a night out with friends turns into a terrible fight with a group of white boys, Amal finds all the cards stack against him. He's not safe in prison either - targeted by guards and other inmates, Amal is praying that the boy he hurt wakes up from the coma and tells the truth. 

Punching the Air is a novel in verse; heartbreaking, and impactful. Inspired by the story of Yusef Salaam, a young man of color wrongly convicted in the 1980s of attacking a jogger in Central Park, Amal's experience reflects the fear, confusion and pain of a young man of color caught up in a racist society. Zoboi's poetry is beautiful and the story is staying with me. A generous use of the "n" and "f" words makes this a consideration for older students, with a timely message and lots of points for conversation. I'm excited to recommend it. I listen to the audiobook (provided by Libro.fm) and loved Ethan Herrise's narration. 

Lisa Librarian

Monday, August 24, 2020

Cursed Objects by J.W. Ocker - ADVISABLE

 

Cursed Objects
by J. W. Ocker
272 pages. NON-FICTION Quirk Books, 2020. $20. 

Language: PG (2 swears 0 'f'); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG. 

BUYING ADVISORY: HS, ADULT - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

When an object is cursed, it seems to have powers to cause harm - or at least takes the blame for said trouble. Ocker recounts the stories of more than 30 different items including the Hope Diamond, the Tomb of Tutankhamen, Shakespeare’s Grave, Painting of “The Crying Boy,” even Rudolph Valentino’s Ring and the Annabelle doll. There’s a section about museums which house these strange items, creepy things that ought to be cursed like a book covered in human skin, and the story behind James Dean’s death car. and people who investigate and collect these items. 

If your patrons like the macabre, horror movies or just creepy stories, this was a great read. The illustrations were fun, and well detailed. Ocker writes in a funny conversational tone - like we were sitting around a campfire or Halloween dinner party. Each anecdote is short, making Cursed Objects a fun reference book. Includes a bibliography.

Lisa Librarian

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Three Keys by Kelly Yang - ADVISABLE

 

Three Keys (Front Desk #2) by Kelly Yang, 288 pages Scholastic Press, 2020 $17 

Content: G. 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Mia Tang’s family (along with a bunch of investors) have bought the Calivista Hotel. Mia really enjoys working the front desk, with her best friend Lupe’s help, and is looking forward to a new year of school. Jason Yao isn’t in her class this year, but Lupe is. Their teacher, Mrs. Welsh, is a surprise. She doesn’t think Mia is as good a writer as last year's teacher and she supports Proposition 187 - which would prevent undocumented immigrants from coming to school if it passes in the election. This proposition is causing a lot of contention, at school, in the community and statewide. When Mia suggests Hank add “Immigrants Welcome” to the hotel’s sign, one of the investors is unhappy and threatens to pull his support, plus someone is leaving racist messages around the hotel. 

A great follow-up to Front Desk - Mia’s story continues on a larger scale, now it’s not just her immigration story but extends to her friends. Lupe struggles with her parent’s status, Mia’s mother makes friends, but although they are Chinese, they are prejudice, and of course, Mrs. Welch. I love the conversations Three Keys can generate, a great selection for book club or a class novel. 

Lisa Librarian

All These Monsters by Amy Tintera - HIGH

All These Monsters by Amy Tintera, 464 pages. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2020. $18. 

Language: R (150 swears, 15 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Seventeen-year-old Clara might not be ready to fight scrabs, but she is ready to leave home - and never set foot in Texas again. Clara joins up with Grayson’s group to fight the scrab presence in Europe, discovering more about herself and the kind of life she can have than she knew was possible.

I love Tintera, and I have read all of her books; I was more than excited to get this book to review. My excitement might have been a little over the top, though, because I was disappointed by the slow beginning of this book. Thankfully, Tintera came through for me with relatable characters, skillful balancing of seriousness and humor, and a deeper plot than I at first suspected. I also appreciate that Tintera comments on difficult topics in her books, speaking on the subject of abuse -- and the hope of moving forward -- through several points of view in All These Monsters. The mature content rating is for alcohol use, including underage drinking, and mentions of sex; the violence rating is for domestic violence, child abuse, verbal and physical abuse, gore, battle, and death.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Body Talk by Kelly Jensen - OPTIONAL

Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy by Kelly Jensen, 256 pages. Algonquin Young Readers (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill), 2020. $17.

Language: R (44 swears, 5 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

While all of us have bodies, not all bodies are the same. Most of us have several similarities, but the media often focuses on our differences and what makes us imperfect. Each of the voices sharing their story here admits their imperfections as assigned by the media thrown into our faces, and each of them choose to dismiss that view and love themselves instead.

This book has two main purposes that I could see. First, the writers are fighting stereotypes of ableism, sexism, racism, and sizeism by informing readers of their realities. Secondly, the writers address fears and issues that not everyone experiences but use their differences to reach out to all readers, saying that, no matter how you fall short of the image of the media, you are amazing. The mature content rating is for mention of alcohol, sexual assault, oral sex, digital sex, and vaginal sex; discussion of masturbation and sexual organs; and drawn illustrations of nude men and women. The violence rating is for mention of child abuse, self harm, and eating disorders.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Sunday, August 16, 2020

So This is Love: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim - ESSENTIAL

 

So This is Love: A Twisted Tale by Elizabeth Lim, 411 pages. Disney Hyperion, 2020. $18. 

Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: G.  

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS – ESSENTIAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Cinderella went to the ball, leaving her slipper at midnight, but when the Duke comes around to try the glass slipper on eligible young women, Cinderella doesn’t get her chance.  When the Evil Stepmother sells Cinderella as a servant to a gruff man, Cinderella decides to escape from his wagon.  Cinderella is wandering on the side of the road when she meets a nice servant girl from the castle who helps Cinderella find a job at the castle.  As Cinderella starts to unveil the corrupt Grand Duke and befriend the King’s sister, the Duchess, she also crosses paths with the prince.  

I loved this twist on the Cinderella story.  Cinderella was an empathetic character who was like-able and easy to cheer on.  Although the corruption of the Grand Duke was predictable, it was a fun turn in the story.  I also liked the development of Cinderella and the prince’s relationship.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson.              

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Bookish and the Beast by Ashely Poston - OPTIONAL

 

Bookish and the Beast by Ashely Poston, 288 pages. Quirk Books, 2020. $19.

Language: R (81 swears, 0 “f” + Spanish and British swears); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Rosie is more than just a part of the Starfield fandom -- it’s in her blood, passed down by her late mother. This love for Starfield, especially for the villain of the series, ends up getting Rosie in more trouble than she could have ever expected, including falling in love with a stranger who cosplays as General Sond and being forced to spend time around the actor himself who plays Sond. But trouble has a way of working out as more of a blessing in disguise when, finally, all the masks are lowered.

Fairy tale retellings are my favorite kinds of books, but I have a hard time swallowing Poston’s versions. Poston has created a nerdy, modern backdrop for the classic stories, but the way she writes more like an under-edited fanfiction story is too rough around the edges. The misuse of concepts like cosplay, the sudden switch from past to present and back again, and the things that characters know without the reader being able to follow along were distracting and detracted from the fun references Poston made to her previous books and outside media, the cute romance, and the message that we can be more than what others -- and ourselves -- expect. The mature content rating is for alcohol, mention of condoms and sex organs, and innuendo.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Friday, August 14, 2020

A Foreign Crown by Jen Geigle Johnson - OPTIONAL

 

A Foreign Crown by Jen Geigle Johnson, 240 pages. Covenant Communications, 2020. $16.

Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Prince Layton is in England to secure allies and naval assistance for his little country and absolutely not to spend time courting women. But, if Layton were to entertain such an idea, he would spend his time with the lovely Lady Aribella. Too bad they are both bound by duty, unable to listen to what their hearts insist is a good thing.

I enjoyed reading the story, though the ending seemed a little anticlimactic as it tied everything together, simply by nature of a book that is 99 percent internal conflict. Both main characters war within themselves: duty or love, mind or heart. I hesitate to encourage the theme of choosing one or the other because life is often messy, and I hope readers will choose a balance in their lives and seek what is best for them individually rather than making a rash choice because of the message of a book.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Take Me With You by Tara Altebrando - OPTIONAL

Take Me With You by Tara Altebrando, 384 pages. Bloomsbury, 2020. $18.

Language: PG13 (22 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Four high school students receive odd messages to meet with the band teacher after school -- but he is nowhere to be found. Instead, they find a black box giving them instructions: do not tell anyone else about it and to take it with them...or else. These students must obey the device and figure out what it wants or find out what “or else” means.

While I was intrigued by the story, I was also confused about what was going on the whole time. I think there are valuable lessons to be learned from these high schoolers about being careful and conservative with technology use, but the mystery still feels unresolved by the end of the book. The mature content rating is for mentions of sex, sexting, and drugs.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

I Know When You’re Going to Die by Michael J. Bowler - OPTIONAL

 

I Know When You’re Going to Die by Michael J. Bowler, 212 pages. Michael J. Bowler, 2020. $10.

Language: R (71 swears, 0 “f” + Spanish swears); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Sixteen-year-old Leo isn’t like the other rich kids in the community, as illustrated by his nickname Shy Boy and having a grand total of one friend. Having a hard time even looking people in the eye, Leo prefers to stay in the background anyway. However, when he’s given the power to see when people will die, Leo has a choice: let someone be murdered or find the courage to stop it.

The premise of Leo’s story is fun, though the execution could be cheesy at times, especially at the end. I enjoyed the suspense and how Bowler crafted the foreshadowing. While I’m disappointed that readers can’t figure out who the bad guy is on their own, the foreshadowing allowed me to feel a sense having figured other details out before the grand reveal at the climax. The mature content rating is for drug and alcohol use, mentions of groping, and illegal activity. The violence rating is for knife and gun use, blood and gore, and murder.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

A Proper Charade by Esther Hatch - ESSENTIAL

 

A Proper Charade by Esther Hatch, 224 pages. Covenant Communications, 2020. $15.

Language: G (0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

While a lady by birth, 20-year-old Patience is determined to show her brother that she is more than a lady of leisure. So, of course, the only practical course of action is to pretend to be a maid and serve for a month in another household without the knowledge of her mother and brother. Then Patience will know what the real world is like.

Patience’s story is probably the most enjoyable book I’ve read all year. Yes, I knew from the start how it would end, but I appreciate reading a cheesy romance where the two main characters don’t have to hate each other at the beginning before they fall in love. While I waited for the moment Patience’s plan would inevitably fall apart, the scene was not as painful and exaggerated as is often the case in books like this. I liked that Patience and her love interest had to change, but the changes were not radical nor impossible in the time frame.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Fighting for the Forest by P.O'Connell Pearson - ADVISABLE


Fighting for the Forest by P. O’Connell Pearson, 197 pages.  NON-FICTION Simon and Schuster, 2019.  $18.  

Content: Language: G; Mature Content: G; Violence: PG.  

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt promised the American people that he would help the country economically and environmentally.  One of his best-known programs was the Civilian Conservation Corps which provided jobs for young men and helped improve National Parks and taught classes for farmers so they would know how to rotate their crops.  Starting with an explanation of the country’s fall into the depression and the idea to start the CCC, this book builds up to the CCC’s work mostly in Shenandoah National Park.  

My grandparents were cooks for the CCC in Yellowstone National Park during the Great Depression, so I was highly interested in this book.  I was disappointed that more National Parks weren’t discussed, but by concentrating on the Shenandoah Park I feel like the author paints a detailed enough picture that I could imagine what was going on in other places.  There are a lot of cool pictures included and side stories discuss minorities and the challenges that these CCC projects caused down the road.  This would be a great read for U.S. history teachers.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson    

This Vicious Cure by Emily Suvada - HIGH


This Vicious Cure (Mortal Coil, #3) by Emily Suvada, 404 pages. Simon Pulse, 2020. $20. 

Content: Language: R (100+ swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: R.  

BUYING ADVISORY: HS – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH  

Cat exists without her body and is trapped in a computerized loop.  With hope of gaining a body and helping her friends finally rid the world of Cartaxus and it’s confusing mission, Cat has to find a way to exist in the real world.  Working with her friends, Cat fights against time and technology to try and save humanity.  

I enjoy this series and was highly satisfied with the ending.  Cat is easy to cheer for and her friends are just as likable as Cat.  The dystopian setting is well built and intense.  The violence includes gore and creative violence that is upsetting.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson       

Monday, August 3, 2020

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo - OPTIONAL


Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo, 326 pages. Farrar Straus Giroux (Macmillan), 2019.  $18.  

Content: Language: PG-13 (59 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: G.  

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Lucky is a sixteen-year-old K-Pop star who is rising in popularity, but losing her connection to her audience and her music.  Jack is an eighteen-year-old who knows he wants to pursue photography, but his family is pressuring him into banking.  Jack takes side jobs of taking tabloid-worthy pictures of popular people, so when Lucky gets lost evading her bodyguards in pursuit of a hamburger, Jack sees a story.  Jack persuades Lucky to spend the day with him and he will show her Hong Kong, but what he doesn’t expect is to fall for Lucky.  

This teen romance explores the idea of following your dreams and respecting others.  Jack and Lucky had good banter, but there isn’t much action going on.  They move from one location to another throughout the book, with the predictable conflict of Lucky finding out Jack’s motives hanging over them.  Cute romance, but nothing new. 

Reviewer, C. Peterson

Saturday, August 1, 2020

D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History by Deborah Hopkinson - ADVISABLE


D-Day: The World War II Invasion that Changed History by Deborah Hopkinson, 350 pages.  NON-FICTION Scholastic Focus, 2018. $17.  

Content: Language: PG (9 swears); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG-13.  

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – ADVISABLE  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

This account of D-Day builds from the time that D-Day became an idea for the allied forces and moves through the battle and the effects for the overall war.  The planning and logistics of the battle are explained but interspersed throughout are stories about individual soldiers.  Sidebars, photographs and added stories help explain terms and positioning of the armies throughout the book.  

This is a comprehensive, yet readable history for young adult readers.  I enjoyed the human-interest aspects of the book because it was easy to imagine what it was like for the soldiers.  The perfect blend of battle action, history and individual’s stories. It looks daunting because it is text heavy, but it is so well written I couldn’t put it down.  The content does include war violence, including paratroopers who are impaled and shootings.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson        

Larkin on the Shore by Jean Mills - OPTIONAL


Larkin on the Shore by Jean Mills, 310 pages.  Red Deer Press, 2019.  $15.  

Content: Language: R (16 swears; 2 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG.  

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS – OPTIONAL  

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE  

Larkin is a sixteen-year-old who had a bad year in school, so for the summer she is moving to Nova Scotia to live with her grandmother.  Larkin feels lost and broken, but she slowly builds a relationship with her grandma and befriends a boy named William who has his own secrets.  As Larkin helps her grandma with her bookstore, she begins to feel herself coming back, but then someone starts a fire at the bookstore and Larkin begins to uncover clues as to who might have started it.  

I like Jean Mills writing because her character development feels real and she makes empathetic characters.  If not for the “f’ words, this would be an advisable read.  I loved how Larkin’s family supported her and let her work through her problems without judgement.  This was a feel-good read.  

Reviewer, C. Peterson