Reviews by Joanna N.
Titles are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. You can click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.
Annemarie's family calls her "Shug"- for Sugar. Shug is a gifted student but she wishes a lot of things in her life were different. She wishes she were pretty and popular like her 16 year old sister, Celia. She wishes Mark, her oldest and dearest friend, would kiss her and realize she is special. She wishes her mother loved her more and didn't drink so much, and was more like their cozy neighbor, Mrs. Findley. She wishes her father didn't travel so much on business. She wishes she lived somewhere exotic, instead of in a small, unsophisticated southern town. The common hopes and heartaches of a twelve year old girl are made vivid and memorable because the story is told uncommonly well. Recommended especially for girls 6th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Han
Ida B. and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World|
Ida B. loves exuberantly everything about her life -- especially her parents and her beautiful apple orchard where she has given all the trees names. When her mother becomes ill, Ida B.'s spirit is almost crushed, but she finds ways to triumph. It's easy to care about Ida B. For boys and girls grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Hannigan
In 1942, the Japanese navy invaded the Aleutian Islands. As a consequence, the Aleuts, inhabitants of these islands for nine thousand years, were evacuated by our government to densely forested inland Alaska. Karen Hesse, who is so versatile, writes a very short, poetic, beautiful novel about one girl and her longing for her lost sea island and way of life. A part of history I knew very little about.
WPL Call Number: Y Hesse
A rugged, exciting story of 15 year old Jason who joins the chaos and danger of the 1897 Gold Rush to Alaska. Jason's character enables him to survive and in the course of the story I grew to admire him greatly. Author Jack London makes an appearance. Finally, I was surprised to learn the sad truth about the Gold Rush! For boys and girls grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Hobbs
Into the Wild|
Rusty, a young, restless house cat, is persuaded to join the Thunderclan where he hopes to become a Warrior. Thunderclan cats live wild in the forest, which is populated with many clans of cats. Their fierce lives are governed by ancient codes of honor. A fantasy about friendships, betrayals, and challenges, recommended especially for boys, grades 7 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Hunter
Once Upon a Marigold|
Christian, who ran away from home at age 6, has been raised ever since by Edric the troll. Their home is a cave studded with multi-colored crystals, beautiful but rather isolated. Christian has no human companions. With a telescope, Christian starts watching life at the castle across the river, where four little princessess live. One princess in particular catches his attention. He notices, over the years, that in spite of her beauty, almost nobody ever touches her! Watching her makes him feel as if his life is missing something. He finds a way to send her a message and the rest is, not history, but a delightful, funny fairy tale with very flesh-and-blood characters. Highly recommended for boys and girls 5th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Ferris
Diana Wynne Jones
Two young orphans, one of whom is a witch, are sent to live at the castle of the splendid, enigmatic and somehow terrifying "Chrestomanci." "Cat," the younger orphan, just hopes to survive it all, but when the story ends he finds he has more power than he realized. Fun adventures in a world filled with witches, warlocks and necromancers. For boys and girls 5th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Jones
Colt is so glad he can take his twenty pound much loved Maine coon cat, Smoke, with him when he has to move with his divorced mother from Idaho to California. At first, he is sad and misses Idaho and his friends there. This is a cheerful, well written family story with lots of happy outcomes. Colt's divorced parents like each other and love Colt. In California, Colt learns to play soccer and makes new friends. One night Smoke goes out and doesn't come home. Colt has to learn to be brave and hopeful and to make one dangerous decision all by himself. Recommended for grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: J Jukes
The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place|
E. L. Konigsburg
Margaret Rose Kane is rescued from overnight camp and spends the rest of vacation with beloved "Old World" Uncles Alex and Morris, who have spent 45 years building three huge towers constructed of scrap metal, pieces of colored glass, porcelain fragments and clock parts which make the towers "sing in the wind." Konigsburg creates this family with such a sure hand that the characters leap out of the pages, and when the eccentric uncles and their beautiful towers are threatened, I felt ready to do battle with Margaret Rose to save them. For grades 5 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Konigsburg
Gail Carson Levine
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?" Not Aza, who lives in the magical kingdom of Ayortha, and is so unsightly that people stare at her. Mostly, she keeps her hand before her face, but her name means "lark," and she is able to sing most gloriously. In spite of this gift, Aza is consumed by a longing to be beautiful. When the opportunity arrives, perhaps the price of beauty will be too high? A novel with humor, danger and intrigue. Aza is such a real girl in the midst of the powerful magical forces of a fairy tale. Especially for girls 6th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Levine