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Recent Staff Reviews

Not sure what to read next? Check out what the staff at WPL have been reading. You might get some ideas! Click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

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Book Cover Mister Death's Blue-eyed Girls
Mary Downing Hahn

Nora and Ellie are ten minutes behind Cheryl and Bobbie Jo as they walk through the park on the way to school. When Cheryl and Bobbie Jo turn up in the park, murdered, Nora and Ellie are devastated. Ellie’s sent away for the summer, but Nora must stick around to deal with the aftermath. As the summer goes by with no killer caught, Nora questions her mortality, her faith, and her friendship with Ellie. She’s also the only person in town who doesn’t think that Buddy, Cheryl’s bitter ex-boyfriend, is the killer. That means that somewhere out there, Mister Death is on the loose. The narration in this 1950s suspense switches between Nora, Buddy, and the enigmatic Mister Death. For mystery lovers and questioning minds in seventh grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Hahn
Reviewer: Janet P.   (9/21/12)


Book Cover The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate

Ivan the gorilla has lived for over 20 years in a run down circus themed mall with other animals. With minimal care, these animals are supposed to entertain visitors. When Ruby, a baby elephant joins them, Ivan realizes this is not how she should live. These animals talk and share their thoughts when humans are not around. This story is based on a real gorilla who now lives at the Atlanta Zoo, which gently teaches us about animal rights. For ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Applegate
Reviewer: Alice J.   (9/18/12)


Book Cover Dachshund Disaster
Tui Sutherland

Charlie longs for a pet of his own, a pet who likes him best, the way Bowser, his surly brother David's dog, only likes David. When he gets King, a dachshund, for his birthday, he thinks his dream has come true. But soon King is snapping at everyone, deepening divisions in the family. With the help of some friends, Charlie looks for a way to turn King from a one-kid dog to an everyone dog. For budding dog trainers in grades 3-5.

WPL Call Number: J paperback SU
Reviewer: Janet P.   (8/31/12)


Book Cover The False Prince
Jennifer Nielsen

Sage is living in an orphanage when he is bought by nobleman Bevin Conner. He soon learns that Conner has acquired a number of orphans in the attempt to have one of them recognized as Prince Jaron, long missing and presumed dead. Feisty, reckless Sage does not want to become the prince, but the boys not chosen at the end of the two weeks of training will most likely be killed, and he does want to survive. This book is full of intrigue and adventure, and you won’t want to stop reading until you discover Sage’s fate. Recommended for grades 5 to 8.

WPL Call Number: Y Nielsen
Reviewer: Keren J.   (8/13/12)


Book Cover Miss Annie
Frank Le Gall

In "Freedom!", the first volume of this new comic book series, Miss Annie the kitten is so proud to be growing up! She's great at keeping an eye on the house while her people are away (if she knocks over a few things in the process... oh well), and she's even made her first friend: a mouse! Now if she could only escape into the outdoors and do everything the big cats do! This extremely cute graphic novel will appeal to kitty fans as well as pet lovers of all stripes. Suggested for grades 2 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Comic LE
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (8/3/12)


Book Cover Surviving the Angel of Death: The Story of a Mengele Twin in Auschwitz
Eva Mozes Kor and Li Buccieri

This harrowing and heart-wrenching true story will open your eyes to more of the horrors of the Holocaust. Eva Kor and her twin sister were ten when the Nazis took their family from rural Romania to the Auschwitz death camp. The entire family was killed, except for the twins -- who were taken by Dr. Josef Mengele for his cruel medical experiments. Even as you weep for Eva and the other children of Auschwitz, you will be amazed by at her strength and determination to survive. A must-read for junior high readers on up.

WPL Call Number: Y940.53 KO
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (8/3/12)


Book Cover The Moon Over High Street
Natalie Babbitt

If someone offered you a million dollars, would you take it? Even if it meant leaving behind everything you know... even your dreams? That's the choice Joe is faced with when Mr. Boulderwall, rich inventor of the swervit, decides to make him heir to the swervit empire. This quiet, cozy book by the author of Tuck Everlasting will make you wonder what you'd change about your life if you could -- and what the cost might be. Suggested for readers in grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Babbitt
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (8/3/12)


Book Cover Close to Famous
Joan Bauer

Love Joan Bauer! She's got her wonderful down-on-their-luck scrappy heroines -- and Foster Akila McFee does not disappoint. Beautifully handled is Foster's inability to read at 12. So this is a worthy book for all those kids still struggling with reading past the 2nd grade. It is in Y fiction because of Foster's mom's boyfriend, who is abusive, though they are leaving him in the opening scene. One of the best parts of this book are the vivid, almost tactile, descriptions of each of Foster's fabulous cupcake masterpieces. Prepare for a great cupcake hunger by the end.

WPL Call Number: Y Bauer
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/18/12)


Book Cover Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
Bil Wright

This book was great! I only wish it was longer. Carlos Duarte, a NYC high school student aspiring to become a make up artist to the stars, is a very compelling narrator with a pungent voice. How he works toward his dream and how he overcomes some of the many obstacles in his way makes for a really good read. This is LGBTQ literature whose main point is not a coming out; Carlos' sexuality is not the book's the main point. The real story is his daring and focus and determination in the face of tough odds.

WPL Call Number: Y Wright
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/18/12)


Book Cover The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate

An incredible book. Moving, complex, beautifully written, elegiac and strong. Written from the perspective of a gorilla in a strip mall circus, based on a true story. The cover art is misleadingly cute; the writing is wonderfully muscular but NOT cute. Highly recommended by Gary Schmidt, Kathi Appelt, and Patricia MacLachlan. A cross over book -- adults will find a lot in the story for themselves. It reads in one sitting because each page has so few words (Gorillas don't babble.). Do yourself a favor and read this now. A Newbery contender.

WPL Call Number: J Applegate
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/18/12)


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