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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 A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
Emily Horner

High schooler Cass has just lost her best friend, Julia. Their friends plan to perform the musical Julia wrote before she died -- Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad -- but Cass, not a theatre person herself, feels like she's on the fringes. When Heather, her middle school nemesis, is cast in the starring role, Cass can't take it anymore and sets out on a cross-country bike trip. This sensitive, sometimes painful, and often funny novel tracks Cass's journey toward self-discovery as she deals with grief over Julia and her evolving relationship with Heather. Highly recommended for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Horner
Review Date: 7/30/10


Book Cover Stormbreaker: The Graphic Novel
Anthony Horowitz

Alex Rider always thought his Uncle Ian was a bank supervisor -- until he was killed on a secret mission for the British government. Now MI6 wants 14-year-old Alex to fulfill that same mission, going undercover to investigate a mysterious and sinister supercomputer called Stormbreaker. Armed with all sorts of cool and powerful spy gear, Alex finds himself facing off against a group of international criminals who don't mind killing people who get in their way -- including Alex. This full-color graphic novel is a fast-paced, action-packed introduction to Horowitz's immensely popular Alex Rider Adventure series (think James Bond for kids). Recommended for grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Horowitz
Review Date: 10/17/07


Book Cover The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang
Amy Ignatow

Fifth graders Lydia and Julie are determined to unlock the secrets of being popular by the time they start junior high. Taking notes and imitating the popular girls' behavior doesn't seem to translate to instant popularity, however. (In fact, it gives Lydia a bald spot!) Even worse, Lydia and Julie seem to be drifting apart. Will they solve the mystery of popularity and save their friendship before it's too late? This funny book filled with drawings and comics should appeal to fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Ellie McDoodle, grades 3-5 or so.

WPL Call Number: J Ignatow
Review Date: 7/12/10


Book Cover Bad Kitty
Michele Jaffe

Jas has a nose for trouble and an eye out for crime. While on vacation in Las Vegas with her family, Jas finds herself thrown into the middle of a real murder mystery involving a famous actress, a hunky guy who works at the Snack Hut, a frightened little boy, and a naughty cat named Mad Joe. And then there's the Evil Hench Twins (Jas's cooler-than-thou cousin and her best friend), not to mention Jas's three crime-fighting friends who drive up from L.A. to help out -- or possibly just get her into more trouble. From the hotel pool to trendy nightclubs, hijinks abound, and witty Jas will keep you laughing. This is a very smart and silly mystery for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Jaffe
Review Date: 1/11/07


Book Cover Lost and Found
Oliver Jeffers

What would you do if a depressed penguin showed up at your door? The little boy in this picture book decides, sensibly enough, that the penguin is lost. After a few failed attempts to find the penguin's proper place in the world, the two voyage to the South Pole through sun and storm, becoming fast friends on the way. When they arrive, however, the penguin looks even sadder. Only after rowing away does the boy realize his mistake: that the penguin was not lost, but lonely. Fear not, a joyous reunion is on the horizon. With gorgeous, saturated watercolor illustrations, adorable characters, and a charming storyline, this book is a very sweet package and a storytime winner.

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


Book Cover Invisible Inkling
Emily Jenkins

Lots of kids have imaginary friends, but it's pretty unusual to have an *invisible* friend! But that's what Hank Wolowitz gets when Inkling, an invisible, rare, and extremely cute (or so it claims) animal called a bandapat arrives at his family's ice cream parlor in New York City. Can Inkling help Hank survive fourth grade, especially the bully who keeps stealing his lunch? Can Hank keep Inkling supplied with his favorite food (squash) on zero allowance? Learn the answers in this funny novel for readers in about 3rd grade and up.

WPL Call Number: J Jenkins
Review Date: 10/24/11


Book Cover Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic
Emily Jenkins

This is the story of the Little Girl's three best friends: Lumphy, Plastic, and StingRay. The toys undergo adventures that test their bravery and love for the Little Girl. Washing machines, trips to the beach (with possible sharks!), and birthday parties take on new life when these special toys go out. This book is a delight to read, funny and touching and just plain fun. The black and white illustrations by Paul Zelinsky are adorable. Highly recommended as a family read-aloud for ages 5 and up; curl up, relax, and enjoy!

WPL Call Number: J Jenkins
Review Date: 11/29/06


Book Cover The Name of the Star
Maureen Johnson

Rory expected boarding school in London to be exciting, but she never imagined this. The night she arrives coincides with the beginning of a string of gruesome murders replicating the serial killer Jack the Ripper's "reign of terror." Not only that, the killer never shows up on film, and Rory's the only person who's seen him. Can she solve the mystery before she ends up dead herself? This chilling mystery will keep you turning the pages long past bedtime (not to mention make you want to visit London!). Suggested for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Johnson
Review Date: 11/17/11


Book Cover A Very Fine Line
Julie Johnston

The seventh daughter of a seventh daughter, 12 year old Rosalind is just coming into her sixth sense. But seeing the future isn’t fun, especially when tragedy strikes her family and Ros can do nothing to stop it. Thinking that if she can trick Fate into taking away her power, she can also stop the bad things from happening, Ros does all she can to be a boy – Ross – instead. Tricking Fate isn’t easy, though. More of a quiet character study than a fantasy, this book nonetheless tickles readers’ sense of wonder and longing for special powers of their own. Just be careful what you wish for. For grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Johnston
Review Date: 5/25/07


Book Cover Kimchi & Calamari
Rose Kent

When 14 year old Joseph’s teacher assigns him to write a paper on his heritage, he faces an identity crisis. Joseph’s adopted. He knows plenty about his adoptive family’s Italian ancestors, but nothing about his Korean birth family. What on earth is he supposed to write about? Can Joseph figure out how to be both Korean and Italian? Joseph is a thoroughly likeable and funny character, and his story will ring true for anyone who has wondered about his or her place in the world. Recommended for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Kent
Review Date: 5/24/07


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