chat loading...

All Book Reviews

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur BFF Vol. 1
Montclare, Brandon
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Lunella Lafayette is smart. Really really smart -- so much so that her parents and middle school classmates struggle to understand her. And as a latent Inhuman exposed to the terragen mists she should start expressing some kind of superpowers any day now. Nothing that being telepathically linked to a giant red Tyrannosaurus won't fix, right? This all ages comic works as the author has genuine respect for the voice and age of its protagonist. While the circumstances of this pairing are a little fantastic, the friendship is very real. This book is a great introduction to the wonder of comics for younger readers, and a great reminder for older ones.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca O.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe!
North, Ryan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

If you have not been following the all-ages meta-fiction joy that is the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, this stand-alone is a great place to start.
Armed with her trademark pluck, empathy, and more references to the Marvel Comics Universe history than you can shake a stick at, the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl faces her most formidable challenge yet: herself! (Well, sort
of.) Great fun from start to finish.

Reviewer's Name: Rebecca O.
Little House in the Big Woods
Wilder, Laura Ingalls
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Lovely book. It moves slowly and gently and paints a dream-like portrait of life in the woods in the 1870s. Nothing really exciting happens, but that's the beauty of it.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
The Phantom of the Opera
Leroux, Gaston
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux is a beautiful, classic novel that has an extremely compelling story. The book is about a Parisian opera house that is “haunted” by a mysterious and alluring phantom. The phantom falls in love with soprano Christine Daaè which causes a ton of trouble for the opera house. It is a story about romance, obsession, suspense and mystery. The book was extremely interesting and thought provoking. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of classic literature or the Broadway musical. The story does go more into depth in Christine’s childhood and the phantom’s backstory. I also enjoyed the psychological suspense aspect of the story as well. This book was very detailed and at some points extremely complicated, which made that story even more interesting. There were some boring parts, but most of the time the book kept me engaged. This book is a somewhat hard book because of it’s old fashioned style of writing that may not appeal to the younger reader.
There is no swearing in this novel. Overall, I would recommend this to an older teen who has an interest in Broadway based stories.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Riggs, Ransom
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a captivating story about a very odd home for a select group of young children.
When Jake’s grandfather mysteriously dies, he goes off on an adventure to find Miss Peregrine and solve the mysteries of his grandfather’s past life.
The answers to the mysteries are found at this special home. It is a book about adventure, family- both biological and situational, and being different. This book is definitely one of my favorites. It is an amazingly unique book unlike any I have read before. I enjoyed Ransom Riggs’s writing style and I loved seeing the photographs in between chapters. The photographs helped convey the story realistically. The peculiarities that the children had were also very interesting and unique. For example, one child had bees living inside of him, another was as light as air, and yet another could bring dead things back to life. It is an extremely fun reading experience that keeps you engaged and on your toes at all times. There is mild swearing in this book. I would recommend this book to everyone and would encourage people to read it before seeing the movie. Even better, have a group of friends read this book then watch the movie together so you can discuss and compare the two.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.
Awards:
Love, Lucy
Ball, Lucille
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Love, Lucy by Lucille Ball is an amazing depiction of the iconic bombshell actress, Lucille Ball. It is an autobiography and describes her early life, family dynamics, acting career, marriages, and divorces. I found the story to be quite inspirational and it is now one of my favorite books. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about what her life was like. In her early career, she wasn’t considered to be an exceptional actress and was told that she was untalented and would not be hired. Amazingly, she is now one of the most iconic female comedians of all time for her work on the show “I Love Lucy”. I have a newfound respect for her and her work after reading this book.
This book really speaks to the dreamers. If you’ve ever had someone tell you that you’re not good enough at the thing you love to do it professionally, read this book! One of the most interesting parts of the book is when Lucille depicts going to an acting school in New York City. After the first term, she was kicked out because she “didn’t have what it takes”.
As we all know, she ultimately proved them wrong. Her story is one of success when barely anyone believed in her.
I would recommend this book for ages 10+. It did not have an swearing in it and the book was easy to read. It is 286 pages which might be a little long for the younger readers.
The autobiography “Love, Lucy” by Lucille Ball is an amazing and inspirational story about the immensely talented actress who defied early critics to become a leading lady in American television.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.
The Outsiders
Hinton, S.E.
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Outsiders is a beautiful coming of age story that I would recommend for everyone in middle school and high school. The book’s plot is about the rivalry between the Greasers and Socs (focusing on the Greasers). The Socs are the rich, popular kids while the Greasers are the poor, bad kids. The story is about social status, growing up, finding yourself, and rebellion.
Anyone in middle/high school can relate to this book in one way or another.
The problems discussed transcend time and are applicable to today’s teens.
I think it’s very hard to find a book about teenagers that is about real teenagers, not unrealistic heroes that are facing problems that we never face. Of course, there is nothing wrong with that type of book, but it was really nice to find a book that I could relate to. It makes you feel like you are not alone and that other people are struggling with similar issues.
What makes The Outsiders such an amazing book is the characters and their relationships. Each character is important and unique. They are all their own individuals and have complex backstories. They are all “real” people.
Everyone who reads this book can find at least one character they identify with. For example, Ponyboy is an amazing student who feels like he is under immense pressure. And Darry is struggling with the responsibility of taking care of his younger brothers. The book also focuses on the relationships between the characters. All of the Greasers view each other as family members. They are very protective and loving towards each other. The relationship between the Greasers and the Socs is very strained. Most members of each gang despise each other.
A flaw with the book is that the solutions to the plot’s problems seemed simplistic. The plot is all wrapped up in one big bow which doesn’t seem realistic. To be fair, S.E. Hilton wrote this book when she was in high school and that perspective undoubtedly played into this.
I would recommend this book for ages 10+. The book does contain some mild swearing (it’s not too bad). It also contains underage drinking and smoking. It is a fairly short book that was easy to read.
I would definitely recommend The Outsiders by S.E. Hilton because of it’s interesting plot, realistic characters, and relatable story of teenage angst.

Reviewer's Name: Sophie L.
Isla and the Happily Ever After
Perkins, Stephanie
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is about a girl named Isla who has not so secretly liked one of her classmates (Josh). What happens when they have a chance encounter in Manhattan and have a romantic connection? Will Josh remember their encounter when school starts? I would rate this book a 3 out of 5 because it was a good story, but it was quite slow and didn't keep me interested most of the time. I would recommend this book to people who like teen romance. I read this book because I generally like Stephanie Perkins's books, but this one was not a personal favorite.
Grade 9

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F.
Lola and the Boy Next Door
Perkins, Stephanie
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins is about a high school student named Lola. Lola has a boyfriend whose a little older than her but still very sweet, a loyal best friend, and an impeccable fashion sense.
Her perfect world comes crashing down when her old neighbors move back into their old house. What happened with her and her neighbors? How will she survive living next to them? I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 because it kept me in suspense the whole time and the author made the romance between the main characters come to life. I read this book because I love Stephanie Perkin's books. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes teen romance.
Grade 9

Reviewer's Name: Gabrielle F.
Invictus
Graudin, Ryan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Faraway McCarthy was born to be a time traveler. Literally. His mother, Empra McCarthy, had him in the midst of a time traveling journey of her own and he was born outside of time. Currently, he's the #1 cadet at the time traveling training school and is looking forward to a career as illustrious as his mother's. But then his final exam is sabotaged, and he's unceremoniously kicked out of school. When a black market smuggler approaches him with the opportunity to recruit his own crew and travel to the past to steal ancient artifacts, Far takes the offer.

This was pure fun - I love heists and time travel shenanigans, and this had both. While it is a longer book, the fast pacing and well drawn characters make this a relatively quick read. Each member of the crew has at least one chapter written from their perspective, and I really enjoyed getting to know them all, particularly Imogen (Far's snarky but kind cousin). They are a somewhat diverse, fun group, and their strong friendships and healthy relationships were a joy to read about. Are any of the concepts or plot points particularly novel? Nope, but it didn't matter, because the cast and the story are just that fun.

In addition to the crew committing heists, there are other mysterious elements in the form of another time traveler who appears out of nowhere on a job (on the Titanic!) as well as in the mystery of where (when?) Empra is - she went out on a mission when Far was quite young and never came back. The reveals of both mysteries are pretty great, and I honestly didn't see either coming.

Also, and this cannot be stressed enough, but the crew of the Invictus has a pet and it is a RED PANDA (!!!) named Saffron. So much cuteness.

As it's not exactly a novel concept, I think this books screams for comparison (Doctor Who seems inevitable), but I would almost think of this more like an entirely human time traveling version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. I read it when I was suffering from reading fatigue, and it was a total refresher. I really liked it! 4 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Britt
Book Review: Save Me a Seat
Weeks, Sarah
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This is a really good quick read about two 5th grade boys that are bullied and the beginning of a friendship. It's told from the perspective of each boy, Joe and Ravi. Ravi is from India, Joe has special needs. Smart and engaging, this book gets 5 stars.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
Genres:
Moby-Dick
Melville, Herman
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

Mobs-Dick, or The Whale by Herman Melville is a novel, in which the narrator, Ishmael, befriends Queequeg, a South Seas harpooner, and together they look for a whaling crew. Eventually, they join Captain Ahab aboard the Pequot.
Ishmael soon finds that Ahab had lost his leg and vessel to a powerful whale, who is called Moby-Dick. The captain and his crew sail around the world to hunt down the whale for revenge. The book does have a very deep and ambitious theme, as Herman Melville addresses many controversies throughout his writing, with subtle remarks. The characters and plot fit perfect together and everything is well developed with some sort of backstory. My only problem with this book is that it includes many useless and boring chapters. They don't add anything to the story, and while they attempt to bring up a deep topic, they completely and utterly fail to. Overall this book is decent and definitely aspires to be the "mighty book" that it's meant to be. I would recommend it to people who like high seas adventure novels.

Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Steven L.
Awards:
Thr3e
Dekker, Ted
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Thr3e by Ted Dekker (great title after reading the book) is one of the greatest murder mystery novels out there. The book begins with the main protagonist, or so it seems, Kevin Parson. He receives a phone call from a psychopath in Killer named Slater saying that he has three minutes to confess his sin to the world or else his car will blow up. This is just one of the many events that take Kevin, Samantha, his greatest friend, and Jennifer, an FBI agent, through a world of mystery and motives. The twists and turns are the main attraction of this novel, as the reader won't expect what comes next. Character backstories also play a gigantic role in this novel, and all of them are well crafted to fit the plot. Anyways, I would recommend it to anyone willing to take the time to read a book.

Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Steven L.
Awards:
Shiloh
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The book Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is about Marty Preston and his willingness to, in a sense, serve an abused dog. The dog is named Shiloh after he runs away to young Marty, after being abused by Judd Travers. He keeps the dog in secret for fear of being caught by his family or Judd.
Unlike other typical dog books or even movies, the book shows a very deep bond between Shiloh and Marty, in which Marty has to earn Shiloh by working for Judd. Every single character put into the book is well developed and plays some sort of part in the story. Several other conflicts, such as Marty's mother not wanting to keep secrets from her husband, arise, and they are all well though-out. Overall, the book is a very emotional book, and should be deeply felt by the reader. I would recommend the book to any sort of animal lover or people who like realistic fiction.

Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Steven L.
Black Water
McHale, D.J.
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Black Water is the fifth book in the series Pendragon by D. J. MacHale. The story is engaging and tells of the protagonist's, Bobby Pendragon, endeavor to save a world by the name of Eelong. Saint Dane, the antagonist, allows the cat inhabitants of Eelong to spread mysterious plague, which could destroy their own civilization. The book excels at depicting the universe of Halla and creating a society that could function in today's world. The characters and their self-doubts are communicated to the reader in depth, and the book continues to expand the universe of the series. It also seems to show the problems with racism and oligarchy through the book's deeper meaning. The only problem that I have with the book is that it doesn't include or really expand upon the side characters much. I saw ample opportunity for the author to do this, and the book felt somewhat blank without it. I would recommend this book to people who like science fiction or adventure, as the book is filled with many of those elements.

Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: Steven L.
Book Review: Like Water for Chocolate
Esquivel, Laura
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I love this book. The magic surrounding Tita and her cooking is at times beautiful, funny, and heartbreaking. This book is told by Tita's great-niece and one can imagine the magic as real or as a result of storytelling. Your choice. Either way, this captivating quick read is a must.

Reviewer's Name: vfranklyn
Awards:
Genres:
Children of the Mind
Card, Orson Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Just like Xenocide before it, Children of the Mind is difficult to separate from the previous books in the Ender’s Game series. In fact, Xenocide and Children of the Mind are considered by Orson Scott Card to merely be two parts of the same book, separated at a point in the plot that makes sense.
Even further to the point, I would consider Children of the Mind the last “part” of a story that stretches across four books. While it was easy to take Ender’s Game by itself, every additional piece of the story needs the previous parts for it to have the full impact of what Card was trying to accomplish.

What’s most interesting about this series is how each book has a different focus, almost putting them in distinct genres. Ender’s Game was militaristic sci-fi, while Speaker of the Dead was more along the lines of a mystery. And while Xenocide was the philosophical heart of the series, Children of the Mind was almost a romance in comparison. I appreciated the loose strings and sub-plots being tied up by the end of Children of the Mind, especially when it came to defining the relationships between the characters I had come to know over the last few books.

Even though the basic plot of these last three books was a simple “avoid destruction” motif, the complexity of the whole scenario did require the amount of text dedicated to it. Each element of these stories came into play in some fashion to create a satisfying ending. I’m still in awe of the technological foresight and brilliant solutions to fundamental physics limitations that Card was able to develop in these four books. I rarely have found a series that has been so consistently good across all parts of its story, and I believe the saga of Ender Wiggin is now my new favorite.

A satisfying ending to an incredible series of books, I give Children of the Mind 5.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
Xenocide
Card, Orson Scott
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Much like authors Jules Verne and H.G. Wells were well ahead of their time in their science fiction writing, Orson Scott Card once again shows that he understood some of the key concepts of our universe. Written in 1991, Card’s Xenocide deepens and furthers the continuing adventure of Ender Wiggin that he began back in Ender’s Game . Picking up where Speaker for the Dead left off, Xenocide adds a powerful adversary while also tying plot points back to the first book in the series. In this sense, the tight intertwining of Xenocide with its predecessors makes it difficult to separate and review by itself.

I appreciate what Card has done by creating a multi-book narrative that requires the reader to have started from the very beginning of the story.
While Xenocide is not nearly the end of the series, as made clear by the astounding twist near the end, it does pull enough unresolved threads from Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead to create the next segment of the story. In this sense, the whole story is a multi-book epic so well-written that no detail or specific piece of continuity is overlooked. Plus, with so much history behind it, Xenocide reads at a frenetic pace, just trying to “beat the clock” of an almost assured planetary destruction.

Surprisingly, if you told me that there was a sci-fi book comprised almost entirely of dialogue and profound, philosophical arguments, I would probably assume it was boring (or at least written by Robert Heinlein). And yet, Card has brought the reasoning proposed in the previous books of this series and pulled them through to their logical conclusions, creating an engaging discussion of artificial intelligence and sentience, while wrapping the whole thing in the context of moral arguments for and against exterminating an entire species. There are no easy answers in this book, but Card has masterfully included concepts like cloud computing, interdimensional travel, and genetic engineering to get his point across.

A fantastic continuation of Ender Wiggin’s story that leaves the reader begging for more, I give Xenocide 5.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories From the Stacks
Sheridan, Gina
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Of course I loved this book since I too work in a public library. Most of the stories, I have experienced from time to time. And could probably add a few! But I am so glad, that no one has ever taken off their shoe and asked me if their foot was inflamed or infected!! LOL! Now that I have said this, it is probably going to happen. But anyway, this is a great book for anyone who wants to know what it is like to work in a public library. Along with the crazy, funny stories, there are some nice ones where someone's life was changed for the better because of the library. That makes the job at the Reference Desk worth it!

Reviewer's Name: Melissa
Genres:
'Book Review: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind'
Kamkwamba, William
2 stars = Meh
Review:

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, by William Kamkawamba and Bryan Mealer is a nonfiction book or biography that describes William Kamkwamba's rise to fame. He undegoes a transformation from being a poor farm boy to emerging as a creative, and intuitive inventor. The book exceeds at telling not about the facts of William Kamkawamba's, but rather, telling the reader about his story. In times of need, William decides to build a windmill to provide electricity for himself and his family. This gives him something to do and learn, as he is prohibited from going to school, thanks to poverty. The book then proceeds to tell the reader about inventions and ideas that have no impact on anything, and just seem like filler content. William then becomes famous and gets to go to school. Through the story, the book fails by providing no depth to any of the characters or real plot. While the book also tries to insist that the theme is about one bright idea lighting up the world, there is no evidence or real example of William influencing people. He just gets some money and gives electricity and better conditions to his
fellow townspeople. Overall the book is exciting at first, but once the creation of the windmill is over, the book becomes dry and dull. I can not
recommend this book to anyone else, as it was really a boring read.

Reviewer's Name: Steven L
Awards:

Pages