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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 Zero Tolerance
Claudia Mills

Seventh-grader Sierra Shepherd is an honors student who has never been in trouble. One day, she accidentally brings her mother’s lunch bag to school instead of her own. Unfortunately, the lunch bag contains a small paring knife for cutting up an apple, and knives are strictly prohibited by the school’s zero tolerance policy against weapons. Though her friends tell her to just hide the knife, Sierra decides to do the right thing and turn it in. She is surprised when her actions land her in an in-school suspension, awaiting an expulsion hearing. Her dad, a high-powered attorney, is determined to fight the school. Her principal is determined to stand his ground – zero tolerance means no exceptions. Sierra just wants to get back to class and extracurriculars, but as her time in suspension drags on, she gets to know some of the school troublemakers and begins to question right and wrong in a way she never has before. This book will really have you thinking about what it means to do the right thing. Recommended for grades 5 to 8.

WPL Call Number: Y Mills
Reviewer: Keren J.   (1/16/14)


Book Cover Chews Your Destiny
Rhode Montijo

This heavily illustrated chapter book stars Gabby Gomez, a young bubblegum addict whose mother has banned her favorite pastime after an unfortunate gum-in-the-hair incident. As luck would have it, chewing a verboten piece of limited-edition Mighty-Mega Ultra-Stretchy Super-Duper Extenda-Bubble Bubble Gum changes Gabby's life: now whenever she pops a bubble, she turns into Gum Girl, with sticky, stretchy superpowers! (To turn back, she dumps peanut butter on herself.) Gabby soon sets about saving the day. This series opener sets the scene for future entries. Suggested for grades 2-3 (and older kids who want/need a fun, easier read).

WPL Call Number: J Montijo
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (1/13/14)


Book Cover Better Nate Than Ever
Tim Federle

Nate wants nothing more than to leave his small Pennsylvania town, where he fits in with nobody except his best friend Libby, and become a Broadway star in New York City. When auditions are announced for E.T.: The Musical, Nate's got to go. But is he up to lying to his parents (and just about everyone else), navigating the big city on his own, and dealing with a bunch of snotty show biz professionals? This funny, heartfelt read will make you cheer for Nate as his world expands and he discovers a place he can truly fit in. Recommended for readers in grades 5 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Federle
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (5/29/13)


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
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (5/13/13)


Book Cover The Bully Book
Eric Kahn GAle

Sixth grader, Eric Haskins believes there is a book which tells his classmates how to bully and pick on a student. It seems to him that each year one student is selected to be the "Grunt" and everyone else agrees. Since he has been chosen, he keeps a journal as he tries to find out how and why he was chosen and what he can do to change this. Eric seeks older students who have experienced this horrendous bullying to solve his problem. Author Eric Kahn Gale claims that this story is based on his life as a bullied sixth grader. Good for a discussion on bullying for grades 4-7.

WPL Call Number: J Gale
Reviewer: Alice J.   (5/10/13)


Book Cover Stella Batts Needs a New Name
Courtney Sheinmel

Ever since the unfortunate incident that has rude boy Joshua calling her "Smella," Stella Batts hasn't liked her name. Then one of her friends has a great idea: change it! Soon all of Stella's friends are changing their names, too, causing confusion, arguments, and even hurt feelings. Is changing her name worth it, or is Stella Batts better off as Stella Batts? This chapter book, the first in a series, should appeal to readers who like Judy Moody, Clementine, and Junie B.. Suggested for grades 2-3.

WPL Call Number: J Sheinmel
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (5/9/13)


Book Cover Joshua Dread
Lee Bacon

Think your parents are embarrassing? Imagine having supervillains as parents! Joshua's parents are the Dread Duo, the Botanist and Dr. Dread. Joshua can barely get through the day without them trying to destroy the earth. Usually they're thwarted by Captain Justice. But when mysterious smoke creatures start whisking away supervillains, Joshua starts to worry about his parents. At the same time, he finds out he has his own super power. When the time comes, can Joshua save his parents? And whose side is Captain Justice really on? Fourth through sixth graders will enjoy this lively and humorous fantasy adventure.

WPL Call Number: J Bacon
Reviewer: Janet P.   (4/29/13)


Book Cover Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers
Chris Grabenstein

If you liked The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander, you'll like this book about another middle school fix-it artist. Riley and his friends are known at their school for defending kids from bullies and solving all manner of problems. When the town police chief and his son pick a fight with Riley, Riley does his best to stay away from them. But when a dog-napping and trouble at the local bank both point to the police chief's family, Riley knows he has to act. Riley's crew's problem-solving skills are impressive, and also hilarious. For kids in about fourth through seventh grades who like far-fetched but fun adventures.

WPL Call Number: J Grabenstein
Reviewer: Janet P.   (4/29/13)


Book Cover The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys
Julian Fellowes

Kindly Doc the bear lives a fulfilling life in the children's ward of the hospital. But when the playroom is remodeled, he's unceremoniously sent to the dump. There, he finds a new life with other lost and rejected toys. Despite their scroungy surroundings, the toys, each one with a distinct and appealing personality, have thrilling adventures. This would make a great family read-aloud, with appeal for kids who are Toy Story fans. Adults who enjoy Downton Abbey or Monarch of the Glen may enjoy finding out just what a children's book by Julian Fellowes is like.

WPL Call Number: J Fellowes
Reviewer: Janet P.   (4/29/13)


Book Cover White Fur Flying
Patricia MacLachlan

Poetic and wise story about a family that rescues dogs, a bird and, once, even a boy. Beautifully written and realized, the book will appeal most to girls looking for GREAT dog stories, but everyone can and should read and enjoy it! White Fur Flying is written by the author of Sarah, Plain and Tall and is highly recommended.

WPL Call Number: J MacLachlan
Reviewer: Martha M.   (4/29/13)


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