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Staff Book Reviews

Book Review: The Best of Enemies
Lancaster, Jen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I didn't like any of the characters in the beginning and almost put the book down and walked away. I am so glad I didn't! I ended up truly enjoying this book and the way the history of Jack and Kitty was revealed kind of slowly so you understood WHY they were the way they were. And it had a great ending!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: Honolulu
Brennert, Alan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A young girl desperate to escape her stifling existence in Korea in the early 1900s decides to become a "picture-bride" to a man starting life in Hawaii. This story was beautifully written, we follow Jin throughout her life, marriage, struggles and triumphs in Hawaii. Absolutely loved it. If you liked this - make sure to read Alan Brennert's other book, Moloka'i!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: The Notorious Pagan Jones
Berry, Nina
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Pagan Jones was a 1960s teen movie superstar until a terrible accident happened landing her in juvenile detention. A mysterious stranger
arranges her release, only if she will star in a movie being shot in Berlin.
This story is a fascinating race through the city at a time when the Berlin Wall is just being built. While the story has very fun moments (you get a great taste of 60s culture and clothing), there are also real characters and events sprinkled throughout that make it very interesting!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster
Wilbanks, Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

What would you do if you found a door in your backyard that led to the past? Annie and Elsbeth are going to find out! This book has a little something in it for everyone - magic, time travel, history, heartwarming characters, a mystery, and a wonderfully grouchy old lady who I wish I could have tea with. I absolutely loved it!

Reviewer's Name: Krista
Genres:
Book Review: George
Gino, Alex
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

George is a well-written book about the confusion of a boy who knows that deep down that she is really a girl. Writing from George's point of view, the author expresses George's frustration as a transgender child who unfortunately experiences bullying from the other kids. Luckily, George does have a best friend who understands and supports her. I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Book Review: The Maze Runner
Dashner, James
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a very good book. It's a teen fiction book, but I didn't notice that like I normally do. The main character found himself in a bizarre situation with very little memory of his past and who he was. This book was really about a group of kids overcoming insurmountable odds to beat a game, the success or failure of which determined their lives. There was a lot of mystery about what was going on behind the scenes. Small pieces became known as the book progressed, just enough to pique my curiosity, but not enough to ruin the suspense. I'd like to read the others in this series. Really VERY well done.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Book Review: Far Far Away
McNeal, Tom
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is and isn't your typical fairy tale. It is haunting, but not because Jacob Grim is the narrator ghost that only Jeremy can hear. Jeremy's mother may or may not be dead, a child may or may not be missing, the sheriff may or may not be evil, the baker may or may not be jolly, the girl may or may not be gotten and it may or may not have a happy ending. But read it and see if you can predict what happens in Far Far Away...

Reviewer's Name: Renee
Ash & Bramble
Prineas, Sarah
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a wonderful story that is set in a cruel fairy tale world filled with Godmothers (but not the Disney version of her), shoemakers and glass slippers. I loved the characters of Pin and Shoe and their fight against what is expected of them. The author has created a world that I became completely involved in. Highly recommended!

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Genres:
Book Review: Still Alice
Genova, Lisa
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

What a remarkable book! So real and poignant, I can't believe that this is a novel. This book is told from Alice's point of view as she copes her life with early-onset Alzheimer's disease. The title says it all, she's Still Alice in spite of the effects of this devastating disease. Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Genres:
5-Minute Palace Pet Stories
Fliess, Sue
2 stars = Meh
Review:

This book is little girl crack. It's unfair. They can't resist it. I mean, princesses and cute little pets with big eyes and impish smiles? Stories about their adventures? And did I mention, princesses?! Zoe ate it up. If it were up to her, this book would get 5,000,000 pink, sparkly stars. But it's not. I had to read it to her. 5 TIMES. Make it stop.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood
Benedictus, David
1 star = Yuck!
Review:

My daughter loves Winnie the Pooh. We read the first collection and she wanted to read more so I found this book, excited to read it to her. Imagine my surprise when I learned this was not written by A. A. Milne. The jacket looks like an A. A. Milne book. The illustrations look like an A. A. Milne book. But it's an imposter! My initial reaction was one of shock, but I decided to give it a try. I got two sentences in before I threw it down in disgust. This is merely a sad attempt at spoofing A. A. Milne's writing. I find it hard to believe that A. A. Milne's family would have agreed to this. If I could give this book less than one star, I would. Yuck!

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: The Hired Girl
Schlitz, Laura Amy
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Newbery winning author Laura Amy Schlitz has written a wonderful story set in 1911 about 14-year-old Joan Skraggs who runs away from a dismal home life on a farm to Baltimore where she finds employment as a hired girl in a Jewish household. The book is written as Joan's diary so it reveals her innermost thoughts and feelings which made me really want her to succeed. Her deep love of literature really hit a nerve for me too! Highly recommended.

Reviewer's Name: Lisa
Genres:
Book Review: The Terrible Two
Barnett, Mac
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A great book for reluctant readers, particularly boys. It started out okay, Miles was a bit lame, but this was the authors' intention. They set him up as the novice prankster. Niles schools both Miles and the reader in the fine art of pranking. Miles schools Niles in how to be a friend. Well played, Terrible Two.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Book Review: Fever, 1793
Anderson, Laurie Halse
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This started off as a typical teen novel, adult writer trying too hard to relate to young people. But as the book went on, either I got used to it, or the narrative improved. I positively enjoyed about the halfway point onward. Good historical fiction. Educational and compelling.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Genres:
Book Review: Half of a Yellow Sun
Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

It started off pretty slow, but story continually became more intense and ended in a sadly beautiful way. Great character development and an insight into a war I knew nothing about. Down to earth writing style and loved the varied perspectives from such a wide array of personalities.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Genres:
Book Review: The Sex Lives of Cannibals
Troost, J. Maarten
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

This one was pretty fun. A white guy's experience living in the Southern Pacific on a incredibly remote island called Kiribati. Definitely had some humorous moments. The most I got out of it though was that I had never heard of Kiribati and that I should do more research on it.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Genres:
Book Review: Super Sad True Love Story
Shteyngart, Gary
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This certainly was a super sad, albeit not really true, love story. I really enjoyed the near-future setting with the destruction of the U.S. and the "sci-fi-ish" element with the Post-Human Services idea, and the fact that it was written like journal entries is a plus because that makes any book crazy easy to read. Makes one wonder about the prospect of love and the future.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Genres:
Book Review: Normal
Cameron, Graeme
2 stars = Meh
Review:

It started off really intriguing, almost like a Dexter meets Hannibal premise. Ended I don't know where. I couldn't tell how the author was trying to portray the narrator. Was he a psychopath with daddy issues or a hopeless romantic who deserved empathy and compassion? It's a big meh.

Reviewer's Name: Cassie
Genres:
Book Review: Denton Little's Deathdate
Rubin, Lance
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is a totally out-there look at death and dying young. In a world where everyone knows the day that they're going to die, Denton Little has known that he would die when he was 17 for his entire life.

Though this could be more of a tear jerker along the lines of a John Green novel, Rubin has turned a gruesome topic into a hysterical read. Denton's end of life adventures are super funny and irreverent. A great read for anyone who enjoyed "Going Bovine" or "Grasshopper Jungle".

Reviewer's Name: Corrie
Genres:
Book Review: The Animals
Kiefer, Christian
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

There are parts of this book so heartbreaking that I almost hesitate to recommend it, especially to anyone who loves animals. However the writing is so wonderful that it transcends that negative aspect. This is the gritty story of a man attempting to overcome a past filled with addiction, petty crime, and character flaws by running an animal rescue operation in rural Idaho. It's not long, of course, before that past returns to haunt him and threaten his new life. The characters, both animal and human, are brilliantly portrayed and a chapter written from the perspective of Majer the bear is a highlight of the book. A great exploration of the possibility of redemption and the inevitability of heartache when one cares for animals!

Reviewer's Name: Alan

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