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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A lot of bad things happen to Plain Kate. Her parents die, the drawer she lives in is smashed to bits, and the people in her town think she's a witch. So Plain Kate makes a bargain with Linay, a real witch. In exchange for her shadow, Linay lets Kate escape and gives her cat, Taggle, the ability to speak. Kate and Taggle find a home on the road with a group called the Roamers, but even that goes wrong when a mysterious fog and sickness take over the land. Plain Kate suspects Linay is behind the destruction and sets out to stop him. Will something finally go right for poor Plain Kate? This book is a downer, but fantasy fans will be intrigued by the magic it brews. For sixth grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Bow
Orphaned early in World War II, young teenager Peter is rescued from an orphanage in Poland because of his German heritage, blond hair, and blue eyes. He feels fortunate to land in the home of a Nazi scientist in Berlin. But soon Peter begins to question the ideas of the Nazis and the terrible way they treat Poles and other groups. Together with his girlfriend, Anna, he finds ways to work against the Nazis. Peter's dangerous work and the turning tide of the war lead to a thrilling conclusion. For historical fiction fans in about seventh grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Dowswell
"Mickey Cray had been out of work ever since a dead iguana fell from a palm tree and hit him on the head." The story that follows this irresistible first sentence is full of adventure, humor, and hijinks. Mickey Cray, a wildlife wrangler, and his son, Wahoo, are hired to help an inept reality television star deal with the Florida Everglades. They are joined by Wahoo's classmate, Tuna, who is hiding from her abusive father. TV star, Derek Badger, bungles every animal encounter with hilarious if sometimes painful results. The most serious threat, however, comes from a human. Chomp is a page turning adventure mystery with a lot of humor. Readers from grades 5 through 8 should enjoy the story.
WPL Call Number: Y Hiaasen
R. J. Palacio
Auggie Pullman is starting middle school after being home schooled his entire life. Born with facial abnormalities, he has endured 27 surgeries yet still has an unusual appearance. Even with coping strategies for the stares and comments, Auggie isn't sure how comfortable he'll be in school. Told by Auggie, his sister, classmates and others, this story of being different and fitting in is truly amazing. For ages 9 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Palacio
How to Survive Middle School|
David loved elementary school, but he has to give middle school mixed reviews. Losing his best friend, being targeted by the school bully, and having an out-of-state mom with no telephone or internet access? Two thumbs down. Having your Daily Show-inspired videos go viral on You Tube? Two thumbs up. Getting to know Sophie Meyers? Two thumbs way up. This sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, look at starting middle school is recommended for grades 5 to 8.
WPL Call Number: J Gephart
Evyn’s mom died when she was a toddler, and she has always wanted a mom. Well, actually, she has always wanted to get to know her mom. She is definitely not ready when her dad announces he is getting married to Eleni, a woman he’s only been dating for two months! Soon Evyn, her brother, and her dad are moving from Maine to Boston to live with Eleni and her six kids. Evyn is miserable. The girls at her new private school are mean, her old best friend doesn’t have time for her, and perhaps worst of all, her dad and her brother actually seem happy. Be ready to laugh and cry with Evyn as she adjusts to her new life. Recommended for grades 6 to 9.
WPL Call Number: Y Friend
Turtle in Paradise|
Jobs are hard to come by in the Great Depression, so when Turtle’s mom gets a housekeeping job with a woman who won’t allow children in the house, Turtle is sent to Key West, Florida, to live with relatives she has never met. Turtle is not ready to live with a houseful of boys, but as she enjoys adventures with her cousins and meets a cast of colorful local characters, she begins to appreciate life in the place her mom has always called Paradise. Recommended for grades 4 to 6.
WPL Call Number: J Holm
The End of the Line|
Robbie's a murderer. That's why he's at so-called Great Oaks School, which is more like a prison. He's locked in his room with barely anything but a pencil and paper, and how he answers Mr. Lester's weird assignments determines how much he gets to eat. But finishing those assignments also helps Robbie understand the events that led up to Ryan's death -- and maybe not everything is as simple as Robbie has thought. This book, told in brief chapters that alternate between past and present, is a moving page-turner for readers in grades 6 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Cerrito
With a Name Like Love|
Ollie Love and her sisters travel with their preacher father from one small southern town to another, never staying more than three days. Now in Binder, Arkansas, the family sees an injustice which they believe needs their help. Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel and finds out that his mother is in jail for killing his drunken father, a crime she did not commit. The entire family decides to stay and help find the real murderer. A slice of life in the South in 1957 for ages 10 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Hilmo
The Genius Files: Never Say Genius|
Pepsi and Coke McDonald are thirteen year-old twins who are on a Midwestern leg of a road trip across America with their parents in this sequel to Mission Unstoppable. Chicago is part of their journey. Gutman deftly uses humor and interesting photos of real places and amusing signs to enrich their journey. But watch out! The twins are being pursued by comic book type assassins that send out weird ciphers for the twins to decode as they travel! The reader can follow Pepsi and Coke's route using Google Maps. This is a fun travelogue for kids. Grades 4-6.
WPL Call Number: J Gutman
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