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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 Girl is Murder
Kathryn Miller Haines

After her mother commits suicide and her father comes home from Pearl Harbor missing a leg, New York teenager Iris must leave her private school, move downtown, and start public school. Iris feels uneasy in the chaos of public school. To make matters worse, she senses that her father's private-eye business is failing. After Iris's father starts investigating the disappearance of one of her classmates, Iris tries to help solve the mystery, even though her father warns her not to. This page-turner will appeal most to mystery-lovers in 6th grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Haines
Reviewer: Janet P.   (8/10/11)


Book Cover Aliens on Vacation
Clete Barrett Smith

David (a.k.a. Scrub) isn't looking forward to spending summer vacation at his kooky grandmother's Intergalactic Bed & Breakfast with a bunch of sci-fi nerds. Then he learns it's actually a secret hotel for space aliens! It turns out Scrub has a knack for working with the "Tourists," but things get complicated when his new (human) friend Amy starts getting curious about the B&B -- not to mention the town sheriff wants to shut the place down! When Scrub's camping trip with baby aliens goes awry, everyone ends up in hot water. This humorous science fiction novel is a fun page-turner for grades 4 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Smith
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (7/26/11)


Book Cover The Golden Ghost
Marion Dane Bauer

Delsie and her friend Todd visit an abandoned house near an old mill and find evidence that someone has been living there. In this gently supernatural novel, a dog-loving girl gets her wish in a most unusual way. Recommended for second and third graders.

WPL Call Number: J Bauer
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (7/19/11)


Book Cover Inside Out & Back Again
Thanhha Lai

It's 1975 and the war in Vietnam is ending. Ten year-old Ha and her family have to decide if they should leave the country and where they should go. Soon they leave the only life they know for the unknown, first traveling on a crowded boat to Guam, then to a refugee camp in Florida until they get a sponsor in Alabama. Life is difficult there, adjusting to the language, the customs and the food of their new home. Ha prefers wartime in Saigon to peace in Alabama. This novel in verse is based on the author's childhood experiences. For ages 8 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Lai
Reviewer: Alice J.   (7/12/11)


Book Cover Small as an Elephant
Jennifer Jacobson

Jack heads off on a camping trip in Maine with his mother, but, on his first morning there, he wakes up in the tent to find himself alone. He's afraid to call the police to report her missing, since her past erratic behavior means that he may be taken away from her. This story of a brave and caring boy's struggle to safely find his way home makes for a novel that is both exciting and thoughtful. For grades 6 and older.

WPL Call Number: Y Jacobson
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (7/5/11)


Book Cover Guys Read: Funny Business

Funny guy Jon Scieszka has collected another group of stories aimed at guys, this one with a humorous bent. Stories by Jeff Kinney and Eoin Colfer will satisfy fans waiting for the next Wimpy Kid or Artemis Fowl book. Readers may discover new authors, too. After reading "A Fistful of Feathers," about a kid whose family's pet turkey gets just a little too much attention, I can't wait to read books by David Yoo. I squirmed at the gross "Bloody Souvenir" by Jack Gantos and laughed out loud at the grandfather in "What? You Think YOU Got it Rough?" by Christopher Paul Curtis. This collection is a hoot and will be appreciated by readers from about 4-7th grade, male or female.

WPL Call Number: J Guys
Reviewer: Janet P.   (6/28/11)


Book Cover Inside Out and Back Again
Lai Thanhha

When the Vietnam War reaches Saigon in 1975, ten-year-old Hà and her family flee on a ship and are rescued by American soldiers. After spending time in tent cities in Guam and Florida, a sponsor helps the family relocate to Alabama. The community does not welcome the immigrants with open arms, and Hà discovers a lot about herself as she learns English from a tutor, deals with attacks from bullies, struggles with her father being missing in action, and adjusts to her new life in America. This novel is told in verse, and each poem is an entry from Hà’s diary. Recommended for grades 4-8.

WPL Call Number: J Lai
Reviewer: Elisa G.   (6/27/11)


Book Cover Page by Paige
Laura Lee Gulledge

When high school student Paige Turner (so named because her parents are writers) moves from Virginia to New York City, she slowly finds a new circle of friends while also developing confidence in her artistic talents. This graphic novel, narrated in a first person voice, has great pictures and a compelling and believable main character. Recommended for junior and senior high readers.

WPL Call Number: Y Comic GU
Reviewer: Lyn P.   (6/27/11)


Book Cover Grounded
Kate Klise

Daralynne tells what her life was like B.C., before the plane crash that killed her father, brother and sister. Because she was grounded by her parents for going fishing without permission, Daralynne wasn't on the plane with them but feels she should have been. She also describes life in her small Ozark town A.D., after the deaths. Neither Daralynne nor her mother have dealt with their grief and this first year progresses with many changes. It takes an outsider to prove what this family still can do. A sincere family story for ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Klise
Reviewer: Alice J.   (6/22/11)


Book Cover Tall Story
Candy Gourlay

Bernardo has been waiting years to leave his village in the Philippines to join the rest of his family in London. When his papers finally come through, it's hard for Bernardo to leave. He's a giant, eight feet tall, and everyone in his village thinks he's the second coming of a mythical character who's preventing earthquakes from destroying their town. Once he's in London, he has a hard time fitting in--physically and socially. Slowly, he bonds with his half-sister, Andi, over their love of basketball. But what about Bernardo's village? Will it be safe from earthquakes without him? Narrated by Andi and Bernardo in alternating chapters, this is an unusual story about superstition and family bonds. Kids in about fifth through eighth grade will enjoy this book.

WPL Call Number: Y Gourlay
Reviewer: Janet P.   (6/16/11)


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