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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 The End of the Line
Angela Cerrito

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
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (3/28/12)

 

Book Cover With a Name Like Love
Tess Hilmo

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
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/28/12)

 

Book Cover The Genius Files: Never Say Genius
Dan Gutman

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
Reviewer: Sue K.   (3/27/12)

 

Book Cover Breaking Stalin's Nose
Eugene Yelchin

Ten-year-old Sasha Zaichik goes to bed thinking of nothing but the Young Pioneers. At long last, he will be joining the Soviet youth organization the next day. But Sasha's life changes in the middle of that wintry night--Stalin's men come to arrest his father. Sasha's now homeless. The next day at school, he accidentally breaks the nose off a statue of Stalin. Everyone at school is a suspect in this terrible crime, and anyone can be taken away to prison. Soon Sasha starts to question everything he knows about Stalin. Maybe he doesn't want to be a Young Pioneer after all. This is a thought-provoking historical fiction novel for kids in about third through fifth grade and even adults.

WPL Call Number: J Yelchin
Reviewer: Janet P.   (3/26/12)

 

Book Cover The Beginning of After
Jennifer Castle

Laurel's life changes drastically when her parents and brother are killed in a car accident. At school, she feels like she is in a fishbowl and that no one in town will ever treat her the same. She has to figure out how to handle her new life with the support of her best friend and a therapist. Her understanding grandmother allows her to make her own decisions while helping with daily life. Watching how Laurel functions under these extreme circumstances offers an honest portrayal of grief and maturity for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Castle
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/26/12)

 

Book Cover Starcrossed
Elizabeth Bunce

Digger is a street thief with just three rules: stay alive, don’t get caught, and don’t get involved. Then, in the wake of a robbery gone wrong, she escapes from the city with Meri, a wealthy girl who takes her on as a maid. At first, life in Meri’s remote castle seems comfortable, if a bit boring. Soon, however, Digger finds that life in the castle is more than it seems, and all three of her rules are about to be tested. Recommended for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bunce
Reviewer: Keren J.   (3/5/12)

 

Book Cover Jefferson's Sons
Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

All of Jefferson's slaves knew the big secret that Sally Hemings' children were fathered by Master Jefferson. Both Sally and her children had more privileges than others. Three of the four were so light-skinned that when freed at the age of 21, they would be able to "pass" for white. This story is told by her sons and another young slave at Monticello. An insightful view of our country's history for ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bradley
Reviewer: Alice J.   (2/21/12)

 

Book Cover A Monster Calls
Patrick Ness

The monster in Conor’s bedroom can’t believe that Conor’s not scared of him. But Conor has lots more to be worried about than a monster, especially one who just seems to want to tell stories. His mother is dying of cancer, his father only cares about his new family, and his crotchety grandmother is taking over. At school, the only people who seem to see him at all are his annoying neighbor and the class bully. And at night, the real nightmare comes. This book will have you thinking about family, friendship, and the power of a good story. Recommended for grades 6-9.

WPL Call Number: Y Ness
Reviewer: Keren J.   (2/14/12)

 

Book Cover The Emerald Atlas
John Stephens

Kate, Michael, and Emma don’t know their parents. They don’t even know their last name. Only Kate remembers the Christmas Eve when their parents disappeared, after telling her to take care of her siblings and promising that the family would be together again one day. Since then, the three children have been shuffled from one orphanage to another, each one worse than the last. Their newest home, however, is the oddest that any of them can remember. For starters, they are the only children in it. The owner is a sorcerer. And, oh yeah, there’s a magic book in the cellar that allows them to travel through time. Solving the mystery of their new home and its reclusive owner may just bring Kate, Michael, and Emma one step closer to the truth of their own past. This book is part mystery, part adventure, part fantasy, part family drama, and all fun. Recommended for grades 5-8.

WPL Call Number: Y Stephens
Reviewer: Keren J.   (2/6/12)

 

Book Cover Under the Mesquite
Guadalupe Garcia McCall

This novel in verse describes Lupita's life as a Mexican-American in a Texas border town. As the oldest of eight children, she has many responsibilities around the house. When her mother is diagnosed with cancer and undergoes treatment, Lupita tries to help her close knit family while keeping up her grades in school. This warm family saga is based on the author's life. A heartbreaking story for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y McCall
Reviewer: Alice J.   (2/5/12)

 

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