Contemporary

Book Review: Wild Bird

Wild Bird
Author: 
Van Draanen, Wendelin
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Wild Bird is about a girl named Wren who has to go to a Wilderness Survival Camp because she is in a horrible spot in drugs and alcohol. She stays at the Wilderness Survival Camp for eight weeks. At first she hates it and is mad at her family for sending her there, but as she realizes her mistakes and makes a friend named Hannah, she starts to have fun. Throughout the eight weeks, she learns wilderness skills such as how to make a fire without a match, how to make and take down a tent quickly, but most importantly, she finds her true self.
I really enjoyed this book. It is a great fast read and I feel anyone would love it. I related to some things Wren said, nothing with drugs or alcohol. This is a great book and I rate it ten out of ten.

Reviewer's Name: 
Mackenzie

Book Review: Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop

Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop
Author: 
Linfoot, Jane
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Don't let the titles of Jane Linfoot's books fool you. These are all very well-written, entertaining books with quirky, yet realistic characters you'd like to have for friends and beautiful settings along the coast of England. The books aren't "cute". Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop is a delightful story of a hippy wild child and her uptight sister and a wedding disaster. You'll love it!

I recommend all of Linfoot's books (except maybe the 50 Shades series that her publisher wanted her to write to get in on the Fifty Shades of Gray craze.). Wonderful characters and plots that really could happen.

Reviewer's Name: 
Susan G.

Book Review: The Vintage Cinema Club

The Vintage Cinema Club
Author: 
Linfoot, Jane
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Izzy, Dida and Luce are 3 friends who operate a retro, vintage clothing and furniture shop housed in an old movie theater in a small town in England. They each have personal situations that run into their business operation. Great characters, setting and plot. I don't want to give anything away, but I promise you will enjoy this book, want to shop at this store and be friends with these women.

Reviewer's Name: 
Susan G.

Book Review: Vinegar Girl

Vinegar Girl
Author: 
Tyler, Anne
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

This lightweight comedy of manners by Pulitzer Prize-winner Anne Tyler is based on William Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew. The 2016 novel is part of a Hogarth Press series of classic plays retold by modern, popular authors to honor the 400th anniversary (April 1616) of his death.
Set in modern-day Baltimore, Kate Battista is the 29-year-old daughter of eccentric scientist Louis Battista. The witty and sharp-tongued Kate is a socially inept college dropout after being expelled for criticizing a professor's efforts. She then drifted into a part-time preschool assistant job while caring for her detached, workaholic father and younger sister, Bunny.
Dr. Barrista's brilliant lab assistant, Pyotr, must leave the country due to an expiring visa, prompting the self-involved scientist to concoct a sexist plan where his daughter marries Pyotr to allow him to stay and work for him. Kate is appalled. But she warms to the idea after meeting Pyotr, who enjoys and shares her outspokenness, and realizes this arranged marriage may help her create a satisfying future.
Tyler's considerable skill at bringing characters and settings to life with humor and precision are a big help in this tale about finding a partner who appreciates and shares your idiosyncrasies and principles. It's a quick read and a fun one for Tyler fans.

Reviewer's Name: 
Joe P.

Book Review: A Good Girl's Guide to Murder

A Good Girl's Guide to Murder
Author: 
Jackson, Holly
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Five years ago in Pippa's small town Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend Sal Singh. Everyone believes the case is closed, but Pippa isn't sure. When she decides to look more into the case for her senior capstone (thesis) project, she discovers secrets about the case someone in her town wanted to keep hidden.
The plot of this book was very interesting and fast-paced. It wasn't predictable and the twists at the end were surprising. I really liked Pippa (or Pip) as a character. I appreciated her dedication to her friends and how they would be affected by her investigation. Also because she didn't take things at face value and looked into them more deeply before making a conclusion.
Some things I didn't like about this books is that Pip was a bit unethical in her investigation. She broke into houses, pretended to be a reporter and other people involved with the murder to get the information she needed. Also I had to suspend by disbelief at some parts because it was kinda hard to believe that a seventeen year old with little to no prior investigative experience was so much better then detectives at their job.

Reviewer's Name: 
Savannah

Book Review: Punching the Air

Book Cover
Author: 
Zoboi, Ibi & Salaam, Yusef
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Yusef Salaam is one of the "Central Park Five", young men of color who were incorrectly accused of raping and beating a woman jogging in Central Park in the late 80s. After the five had served their sentences of 5-15 years, they were exonerated when the real culprit came forward. This book is clearly heavily inspired by Yusef's story as it tells the story of Amal, a teen in prison for a similar crime that he did not commit. It starts with the conviction and then moves into Amal's experiences in a juvenile detention center.

Every year, there's a book that I promote really heavily in classrooms. This will definitely be that book. It's so good. So sad. So spare in that way that only books in verse can be. It takes a while to read, because sometimes you just kind of have to sit with it for a while to process it. It does such a great job of illustrating just how deeply flawed and racist our "justice" systems are. I dare you not to empathize with Amal. I can't wait to share this important book with everyone I know! Also, like, that cover y'all. So pretty. And it's relevant to the story! Anyway, consider this required reading, especially for all the folks trying to "read woke". 5 stars.

Thanks to Edelweiss and Balzer + Bray for the eARC which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. Punching the Air is out 01 September - put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Ghost

Book Review: Ghost
Author: 
Reynolds, Jason
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

I had taken a break from reviewing books until I read Ghost. This book is really well written. The narrator is believable and the plot illustrates his struggles and growth. Ghost is a troubled kid who stumbles onto a track team and turns his life for the better. I both loved and hated the ending, because it was so good but I didn't want the book to end. Great quick read. I highly recommended giving it a whirl.

Reviewer's Name: 
vfranklyn

Book Review: The Pros of Cons

The Pros of Cons
Author: 
Cherry, Alison & Ribar, Lindsay & Schusterman, Michelle
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The Pros of Cons is a book about three girls at different conventions become friends. Vanessa Monotoya-O'Callaghan is going to a Fan Fiction convention with her friend Soleil. Pheobe Byrd is going to a Indoor Percussion Association convention with her percussion friends. Callie Buchannan is going to a Taxidermy convention with her dad as his assistant.

Vanessa and Soleil had never met but at the convention. They were online friends and they wrote fan fiction together, but they never met. It all started out great. The one issue is that Vanessa thought that Soleil was her girlfriend. On the first day Soleil read her own story in front of people instead of the one they worked on together. This made Vanessa angry but she kept it to herself. Then a few nights later Vanessa kissed her and that's when they fought. She had already met Callie. Soleil kicked her out of the
hotel room, and she went to stay with Callie. The the three friends decide to make a podcast for Vanessa's Creative Corner entry.

Pheobe runs into Callie while her and her friends where bringing percussion equipment places. They run into each other than Pheobe and Callie accidentally switch bags. In the group ensemble performance she realizes that she does'n't have her mallets. Then her friend Scott takes the mallets she was using for a solo. She ends up have to us scalpels from the solo and cuts up her hands. After the performance she has to put band aids on her hands. She gets in a fight with her best friend, Scott, and her roommate. The ends up in Callie's room.

Callie is with her dad and his turkeys. She is her dads assistant. On the first of the convention Callie meets her dads old assistant Jeremy. Jeremy is one of the judges, and Callie makes fun of her dad in front of him. After Jeremy leaves her dad yells at her for making fun of him in front of a judge. Callie is mad at her dad after this because he yelled at her and doesn't know she is even alive sometimes. Callie decides to sabotage her dads turkey seminar. During the seminar he deals with everything as if it was on purpose. Then Callie and her dad get in to a huge fight, because her mom left and court only gave Callie 4 weeks to live with her mom, but her mom offered full time. Her dad without even talking to Callie told her mom she didn't want to go. Callie was upset, but in the end they made up and are all good now.

I chose this book because of the clever title and how it was written in different point of views. I think the plot is excellent.

Reviewer's Name: 
Jaime

Book Review: Today Tonight Tomorrow

Today Tonight Tomorrow
Author: 
Solomon, Rachel Lynn
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

(4.5 stars)
Today Tonight Tomorrow by Lynn Solomon tells the story of high school senior Rowan and her nemesis, Niel. They’ve been competing since freshman year, from writing contests to student body elections, and now, for the title of valedictorian. But at the end of their last day of high school, the seniors--partaking in the school’s tradition of Howl, a scavenger hunt-like game-- find themselves teaming up and realize that perhaps they’re not the enemies they thought they were. I thought this book was really cute. It made me smile much more than I thought it would. I really enjoyed seeing the progression of the characters as the story went on, such as learning their little quirks or about their pasts. I liked the romance, and even though the haters to lovers trope is kinda cliche, it turns out I really, really like it. The author did a great job of executing their relationship. I strongly recommend this book, not just for those who like the YA romance genre. It was so sweet and fun, and even though I’m not yet a senior, I think it covered the topics of nostalgia well and that feeling of leaving what you know behind.

Reviewer's Name: 
Cora

Book Review: Wonder

Cover of the book Wonder
Author: 
Palacio, R. J.
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Wonder is about a boy with Treacher Collin Syndrome (TCS) who goes through the adventures of a sixth grader. To everyone else, this may be just the first day of school. But to Auggie Pullman, this is the first day in a public school. Before sixth grade, he was homeschooled. Through the ups and downs in of middle school, Auggie Pullman manages to get through it, make new friends, and shows he doesn't care what they think or say. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotion pulling book or just a good and fast read. I loved this book. There was never a dull moment. I couldn't put this book down for a second. Whenever someone asked me for a good recommendation, this was first on the list. This book was one of the best books I have ever read.

Reviewer's Name: 
Mackenzie H.

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