book review

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Hayden

Review date: February 1, 2021 - Publish date: February 2, 2021

This is not the Jess Show

Review by Hayden

This is Not the Jess Show by Anna Carey

3 and a half stars of 5

This Is Not the Jess Show, written by Anna Carey, is a newly-published young adult thriller novel. It is a very fast-paced book with lots of action, written in the first person point of view of Jess Flynn. The plot-twisting story begins with seventeen-year-old Jess Flynn simply living through her junior year of high school.

Jess is a seemingly average high school student in the ‘90s. Her daily life consists of dealing with strict parents, a new crush on her old friend, and her sister’s rare blood disease. However, things start to get very weird at school. She hears strange chanting when she wakes up in the morning, and half the school is absent from a strange flu epidemic. Suddenly, Jess’s own dog seems off, and a tiny device with an Apple logo has fallen from her friend’s backpack. At this point in the novel, the story completely changes direction as Jess starts to pick up and put together all of the unnatural things in her town.

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Hiba

Review date: November 30, 2020 - Publish date: January 21, 2021

Your Corner Dark

4 stars of 5

Your Corner Dark by Desmond Hall

Desmond Hall’s "Your Corner Dark" is an action-packed thriller following the story of a young man as he faces some of the most tragic events in his life.  I would give this book four stars for its intriguing plot and eye-opening setting that shows the actual situation of Jamaica.

The story begins by introducing the main character, Frankie, and showing the reality of his country, Jamaica.  Frankie has great dreams and plans to escape his poverty through his scholarship to the University of Arizona.  He has worked hard his entire life, so he could become an engineer in America. 

Review by Katie

January 25, 2021

Secret History by Donna Tartt

4 stars of 5

The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt begins with its climax: The murder of a dear friend is revealed with equal parts remorse and resign, creating an immediate sense of intrigue before it circles back to the birth of this chronicle. The Secret Historyis a murder mystery dressed in pompousness. It tells the story of Richard, a young man studying classics in college with a group of people who are excited to step over boundaries of morality to pursue their fantasies. The consequences of their unbelievable actions prove to be repulsive, yet each character is addicting in their own way.

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Katie

Review date: December 2, 2020 - Publish date: March 2, 2021

Yolk Mary H K Choi

4 stars of 5

Yolk by Mary H. K. Choi

Mary H.K. Choi’s Yolk opens with a warning of the book’s descriptions of disordered eating and body dysmorphia. The warning is written personally and tenderly, indicative of the entire book’s cathartic and human story. Yolk is a young adult novel that follows Jayne, a college student living in New York. It chronicles her life cracking open upon the revelation that her estranged sister, June, has cancer. The diagnosis chaotically brings them together, opening the floodgates of their relationship, Jayne’s view of herself and her world, and the ultimate totality of death and loss.

Review by Samantha

January 27, 2021

The DoOver

3 stars of 5

The Do-Over by Jennifer Honeybourn

The Do-Over by Jennifer Honeybourn stars Emilia, a high school girl who loves spending time with her best friends Marisol and Alistair. Emilia’s life seems to be perfect, but then she is asked to prom by two guys: her crush Ben (the most popular boy in school), and her best friend Alistair. Not wanting to mess up her friendship, Emilia chooses Ben, but after dating for a few months, Emilia realizes that she isn’t content with her choice. When a fortune teller at the town fair offers Emilia a crystal that will take her back in time to redo a moment in her life, Emilia jumps at the chance to take it and reverse her choice. Although it seems like a good decision, going back in time and making changes doesn’t turn out the way Emilia expects. When one small tweak begins to unravel her life, Emilia doesn’t know what to do. This book explores Emilia’s life and the difference that each small choice truly makes.

Review by Samantha 

February 25, 2021

The Cruel Prince

5 stars of 5

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is a novel about a normal girl named Jude who was kidnapped by her parents’ murderer to live in the High Court of Faerie. Jude and her two sisters, Taryn and Vivi, are raised by their kidnapper - a military general named Madoc who is Vivi’s biological father. However, Jude’s life isn’t without complications. She is human, which means she is despised by the fey living in Faerie, especially Prince Cardan. Ten years after being taken from her home and parents, Jude realizes she wants to win a place at the Court, but in order to do this she must take a huge risk and defy both Cardan and Madoc. On her journey, Jude quickly realizes that Faerie isn’t what she thought, and that betrayal, danger, and deception play a larger part in the Court than she had ever known. 

Review by Samyukta
 
February 22, 2021

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera CR: Bloomsbury

4 stars of 5
 

Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera is a beautiful story about dealing with damage from the past, friendship, culture, love, and magic. This book was so captivating that readers won't put it down. This story is an adaptation of the Greek myth; Orpheus and Eurydice. The book is about Eury, who moves to the Bronx to stay with family through some difficult times. She is followed by a dark force of evil bent on taking her with it. She expects the worst from it, until she meets Pheus. Pheus is a kind, talented person with a soft spot for Eury. The two of them deal with family, evil, and  drama together. This book makes the readers ask, "Will love prevail in the hardest of times?"

Review by Sweksha

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

4 stars of 5

The novel “Everything Everything,” written by Nicola Yoon, is centered around 17-year-old Madeline Whittier, who suffers from SCID, more commonly known as “bubble baby disease.” Due to her condition, Madeline has been trapped inside her house in Los Angeles with her doctor mother for 17 years. Things change, however, when a new family moves into her neighbor’s house.

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by Sweksha

Review date: January 12, 2021 - Publish date: February 2, 2021

Review by Sweksha

Love is a Revolution ARC

4 stars of 5

Love is a Revolution by Renee Watson

Love is a Revolution written by Renee Watson is centered around Nala Robertson, a young woman exploring her identity. On an open mic night at her cousin’s birthday party, Nala meets the perfect boy, Tye Brown. As the two grow closer together, Nala begins to lie about her passions and her identity. The novel follows Nala’s life and relationships with her friends, family, and Tye. One of my favorite components of this novel is the character development.In the beginning of the book Watson describes a standard family living a relatively normal life. However, as the novel progresses, you can see the underlying issues and the tension increasing between the family members. This novel evokes several emotions, making it the perfect combination of romance and reality.

Review by Sweksha

October 30, 2020

The Cage

5 stars of 5

The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender

“The Cage,” written by Ruth Minsky Sender, is a nonfiction novel based on events surrounding the Holocaust. Riva Minska (a thirteen-year-old girl) narrates the horrors her Jewish family faced during these difficult times. 

In my opinion, “The Cage” is a fantastic book that incorporates all the elements necessary for an interesting story. The events were well-developed and unpredictable, which encouraged the reader to continue reading. The characters that Ruth Minsky Sender incorporated were also easy to understand and visualize. In the beginning of the story, Sender developed each person thoroughly and gave the readers a chance to bond with them. Throughout the novel, as the victims suffered traumatic events, the reader could imagine what exactly they were feeling.

Review by Sweksha

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

3 stars of 5

Nicola Yoon, the author of the well-known novel, The Sun Is Also a Star, provides a new and diverse view on the controversial topic of immigration. The story is centered around Natasha Kingsley, an illegal immigrant and Daniel Bae who is an aspiring poet. Both Natasha and Daniel must work together to overcome challenges and obstacles which will allow them to rise to their full potential. 

Review by Sweksha

The Thousandth Floor, by Katherine McGee

4 and a half stars of 5

"The Thousandth Floor," written by world-renowned author Katherine McGee, is the first novel in the spectacular trilogy. The book is set in a futuristic world where various families live in  different floors of a 1000 story tower. The top of the tower represents the elite and wealthy and the bottom represents the poor and working class. The novel communicates various themes and important life lessons that are emphasized through each of the characters’ point of view. The novel itself is told through an omniscient point of view, which allows the reader to better visualize the plot of the novel through the characters’ eyes.

Review by Sweksha

4 and a half stars of 5

Uglies by Scott Westerfield

"Uglies," written by Scott Westerfield, is a novel that exemplifies one of the most popular ideals in modern society: being beautiful on the inside. The novel is set about 300 years in the future after an oil virus that caused explosions and pollution which completely destroyed civilization. Most of the plot takes place in a small isolated town in the wilderness known as “the smoke.” The main character of the story, Tally Youngblood, is about to turn sixteen years old. In a few weeks, Tally will have the operation that will turn her into a bubbly and beautiful “pretty.” As a pretty, Tally will travel to a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun with her friends. But, Tally learns a life-changing secret and now she faces an impossible decision whether to save herself or everyone else. 

Review by Sweksha

December 14, 2020

Fever 1793 Laurie Halse Anderson

3 stars of 5

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson

Fever 1793, written by Laurie Halse Anderson, describes the events surrounding the yellow fever epidemic. The novel includes several plot twists that successfully convey history and engage readers. This novel takes place during the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged Philadelphia in the summer of 1793. The protagonist of this novel, 14-year-old Mattie Cook, learns to deal with the hardships brought on by this awful epidemic.

PRE-PUBLICATION Review of Advanced Reader Copy by William

October 28, 2020

Even If We Break

3 stars of 5

Even If We Break by Marieke Nijkamp

“Even If We Break” by Marieke Nijkamp is a mystery-thriller about a group of friends who are spending a night together in a cabin in the woods. This group of friends is falling apart and they plan on playing a role-playing game for one final time before their friendship comes to an end. The friends all seem to be hiding secrets from each other, and as the night goes on, the secrets are slowly revealed.

The book has a great premise which interests the reader from the start. The reader begins the book by wondering about the characters’ pasts and is kept intrigued by the reveals of each character’s secrets. Nijkamp also does a great job creating suspense. This book is a constant stream of horrific events, leaving the reader in a constant state of wanting to figure out what happens next.

Review by William

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

4 stars of 5

“Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe is one of the classics of world literature. Achebe’s writing, packed with details and proverbs, immerses readers into the life of Okonkwo. This novel takes readers through an emotional roller coaster as it deals with themes such as morals, masculinity, tradition, and change.

Signs of life!

As the snow begins to melt, we see positive signs of brighter days ahead.  Infection rates in town continue to drop and the COVID Committee of the Board of Trustees continues to monitor virus progress in the community.  We have been meeting regularly to evaluate whether conditions are right for re-opening.  As always, the safety of our patrons and staff is of prime importance. 

We are happy to announce that we will once again open to computer use by appointment on Monday, 3/1.  As before, we ask that you make an appointment for a 45 minute slot at least the day before and we will not take advance appointments beyond 1 week.  Social distancing requirements only allow us to make 2 computers available. 

We look forward to safer conditions as vaccinations proceed and will continue to update you as our re-opening plans progress.

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