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Reviews by Lisa B.

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.

Book Cover Two Parties, One Tux, and a Very Short Film About The Grapes of Wrath
Steven Goldman

Until now, the spring of his junior year, Mitchell has led an unassuming life. He’s quiet, a good student, and definitely not a girl magnet. But now life’s getting complicated. Mitchell turns in an irreverent Claymation film as his Grapes of Wrath project, parents complain, and his English teacher takes a sudden leave of absence—is Mitchell to blame? As prom approaches, the most popular girl in school starts pursuing Mitchell—is she for real? And Mitchell’s best friend, David, tells him he’s gay—what does that mean for their friendship? Realistic and sensitive but also VERY funny, this novel is recommended for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Goldman
Review Date: 1/24/09


Book Cover Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems
John Grandits

In these hilarious poems, you will meet Jessie, a high school student who plays cello and volleyball, (sometimes) hates her little brother, and has a wicked, sarcastic sense of humor. “Concrete poetry” means the poems have meaning in how they look on the page, not just what the words are. For example, in “Bad Hair Day,” about Jessie’s terrible encounter with blue hair dye, the words sprout crazily from a girl’s head. In “Bowling Party,” the words follow each mortifying path the ball takes during the game. Jessie has an opinion about everything – for instance, cheerleader Andrea: “I don’t actually hate Andrea, since we’ve never spoken. But if we ever did speak, I would hate her.” Haiku about the nasty smells at school, “The Name-Your-Rock-Band Chart”, and “The H-U-P Song” (instead of A-B-C) are just a few more of the funny poems in this book. Highly recommended for readers 5th grade and up, especially those looking for pageturners.

WPL Call Number: Y811 GR
Review Date: 9/14/07


Book Cover Like a Hundred Drums
Annette Griessman

"It started quietly, with a small flutter of leaves on the old oak tree." So begins this simple but lovely picture book, and our anticipation of a thunderstorm. We see, smell, and feel the signs: the sky turns purple, animals whiff the breeze, and children run to the porch for shelter, to the refrain, "It was coming." Griessman's vivid, precise language beautifully evokes the tension of waiting for a storm, the excitement when it arrives, and the calm that follows. Meanwhile, Monks' soft, bright illustrations match the story’s simplicity with their folk art sensibility. A pleasant story for sharing together on a cozy sofa, especially on a gray day. Illustrated by Julie Monks.

WPL Call Number: JE Griessman
Review Date: 9/1/06


Book Cover The Julian Game
Adele Griffin

Raye has been socially invisible ever since she arrived at her rich, all-girls prep school. Then queen bee Ella Parker takes Raye under her wing. Ella's mean even to her friends, but if you've made her angry -- WATCH OUT. Raye, eager to make it onto the social scene, agrees to use Facebook to help Ella get revenge on Julian, a boy who dissed her. But things get complicated when Raye falls for Julian and Julian falls right back. Now Ella is out for revenge on Raye! Will Raye turn the game back around on Ella? This well-written novel presents a familiar "mean girl" scenario in the age of cyberbullying. Suggested for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Griffin
Review Date: 9/1/10


Book Cover Double Identity
Margaret Peterson Haddix

This is another seamless thriller from the author of the "Shadow Children" series. With no explanation, Bethany's parents drive her halfway across the country, dump her with an aunt she's never met, and disappear. Worse, everyone she meets looks shocked and says she looks "just like Elizabeth" -- but they clam up when Bethany asks questions. Who is Elizabeth? What are Bethany's parents running from? Every answer Bethany gets leads to more questions until the exciting conclusion! As usual, Haddix has created believable, complex characters and put them in a bizarre yet compelling situation. For readers grades 5 and up, and a great choice for reluctant readers.

WPL Call Number: Y Haddix
Review Date: 12/12/05


Book Cover Deep and Dark and Dangerous: A Ghost Story
Mary Downing Hahn

Ali's mom doesn't want her to go to the lake house for the summer with Aunt Dulcie and Cousin Emma - but she won't say why. One thing's for sure: the vacation isn't turning out as fun as Ali hoped. The weather is crummy, and the only other kid around is Sissy, an obnoxious brat. Sissy also tells Ali the story of a girl who drowned in the lake, years and years before, and implies that Ali's own aunt and mom had something to do with it! Is Sissy lying, or has Ali's family really been hiding a terrible secret all this time? This is a well-written ghost/mystery story for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Hahn
Review Date: 2/26/08


Book Cover Witch Catcher
Mary Downing Hahn

Jen is excited to move into a castle-like house in the country with her father, but things quickly go wrong. Her dad isn't acting like himself, and Jen's sure his new girlfriend, the mysterious and malevolent Moura, is to blame. Meanwhile, Jen has found a beautiful glass globe hanging in the tower window, and Moura, who tells her it is a trap for magical beings, will stop at nothing to get her hands on it. Then the globe breaks, and the magic really begins. A fast-moving fantasy for readers, especially girls, grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Hahn
Review Date: 8/3/06


Book Cover Tempo Change
Barbara Hall

Blanche Kelly has always resisted her artistic tendencies. After all, what good did they do her rock star father (now hiding/hanging out on a remote island)? But when Blanche's mom starts dating Ed, who's only a guitar salesman, Blanche thinks she knows how to bring her father back: becoming a rock star herself. Early success makes Blanche hopeful, but it soon becomes clear no one believes in the band as much as she does. It's almost enough to make Blanche pray to a Higher Power... almost. This engaging book delves into questions of spirituality, artistic drive, and finding one's path in life, without ever being teachy or preachy. Recommended for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Hall
Review Date: 9/11/09


Book Cover [Peanut]
Ayun Halliday

Sadie knows she'll be a nobody at her new school if she doesn't find a way to stand out. The solution? Fake a peanut allergy! Sadie buys a medical alert bracelet and everything. The plan works: soon Sadie is making friends left and right. But Sadie's little fib becomes complicated as teachers freak out, friends dig for details, and one very special boy gives her a bronzed peanut necklace. How long can Sadie conceal the truth? This slice-of-life tale of teen drama will appeal to readers who like Raina Telgemeier's books Drama and Smile.

WPL Call Number: Y Comic HA
Review Date: 5/13/13


Book Cover How to Save Your Tail: If You Are a Rat Nabbed by Cats Who Really Like Stories About Magic Spoons, Wolves with Snout-Warts, Big Hairy Chimney Trolls-- and Cookies Too
Mary Hanson

In Arabian Nights tradition, Bob the rat’s only way of saving himself from two hungry cats is to share his delicious cookies and spellbinding stories with them. Readers will recognize Bob’s stories, all about his ratty ancestors, as hilariously fractured fairytales. For instance, did you know that Jack didn’t climb the beanstalk? Stupid Jack was off searching for his cow while Bob’s great-great-grandpa outwitted the giant and stole his magic cookie-baking spoon! A terrific read-aloud for homes and classrooms, this book is recommended for independent readers grades 2 and up, as well as younger listeners.

WPL Call Number: J Hanson
Review Date: 5/30/07


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