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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 Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy
Bil Wright

This book was great! I only wish it was longer. Carlos Duarte, a NYC high school student aspiring to become a make up artist to the stars, is a very compelling narrator with a pungent voice. How he works toward his dream and how he overcomes some of the many obstacles in his way makes for a really good read. This is LGBTQ literature whose main point is not a coming out; Carlos' sexuality is not the book's the main point. The real story is his daring and focus and determination in the face of tough odds.

WPL Call Number: Y Wright
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/18/12)


Book Cover The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate

An incredible book. Moving, complex, beautifully written, elegiac and strong. Written from the perspective of a gorilla in a strip mall circus, based on a true story. The cover art is misleadingly cute; the writing is wonderfully muscular but NOT cute. Highly recommended by Gary Schmidt, Kathi Appelt, and Patricia MacLachlan. A cross over book -- adults will find a lot in the story for themselves. It reads in one sitting because each page has so few words (Gorillas don't babble.). Do yourself a favor and read this now. A Newbery contender.

WPL Call Number: J Applegate
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/18/12)


Book Cover Caddy's World
Hilary McKay

This book is such a delight! It's a new offering in Hilary McKay's great series about the artistic Casson family. In this book we go back and catch Caddy (Cadmium) when she's 12 -- and her mom is giving birth to Permanent Rose. If you've never read this series, do yourself a favor and start with Saffy's Angel. There is nothing quite like McKay's writing about family.

WPL Call Number: J McKay
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/17/12)


Book Cover Summer of the Gypsy Moths
Sara Pennypacker

Beautiful, nuanced story of a granddaughter (whose flighty mother is always gone) and a foster child who capably run a beach cottage resort to hide their grandmother's sudden death. The girls' rapprochement and slowly growing attachment shadowed by the fear of the foster care system is lovely. The book shines with a deep yearning for family and maternal love. A GREAT debut in older fiction for Pennypacker who has written the Clementine and the Flat Stanley series books. She's a new and powerful voice in upper elementary fiction. Can't wait for her next entry in this category.

WPL Call Number: J Pennypacker
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/17/12)


Book Cover The Great Cake Mystery
Alexander McCall Smith

Fun and sweet story about how Precious Ramotswe first solves a mystery as a young school girl in Botswana. It is great to have a strong capable female African lead in a easy chapter book format; the only thing to compare is Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke. There is a shameless plug at the end for The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, but I would vote for LOTS more young Precious Ramotswe mysteries.

WPL Call Number: On Order
Reviewer: Martha M.   (7/17/12)


Book Cover See You at Harry's
Jo Knowles

Fern feels invisible to her family while her older sister and brother face their own issues and her adorable younger brother, Charlie gets everyone's attention. While her parents try to increase business at their restaurant, Fern resents having to be responsible for Charlie. When tragedy strikes, Fern has to come to terms with her feelings. An emotional family story for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Knowles
Reviewer: Alice J.   (7/12/12)


Book Cover Icefall
Matthew J. Kirby

Solveig, along with her siblings and a handful of servants and soldiers, has been sent to an Arctic stronghold to wait in safety while her father, a Norse king, fights a war. But as the winter wears on, it becomes clear the isolated party is not safe at all. There is a traitor among them, endangering their lives, and everyone is a suspect. Mixing historical fiction with mystery and adventure, this book explores remarkable characters in a fascinating landscape and time of history. It's also a celebration of the power of storytelling. Recommended for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Kirby
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (6/1/12)


Book Cover Double
Jenny Valentine

What if there was a better life waiting for you -- even if it belonged to somebody else? Runaway Chap, who's had a rough life, is at a shelter when he's mistaken for a missing boy named Cassiel. Cassiel had friends, family, a nice house, money. It's hard for Chap to turn it down. But can Chap keep up the charade, especially when it turns out that Cassiel was mixed up in some very dangerous business? This suspenseful page-turner is an exciting mystery suggested for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Valentine
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (5/24/12)


Book Cover Remarkable
Lizzie K. Foley

In a sea of books about kids with super powers and mega talents, Remarkable is a refreshing read because of its very ordinary heroine. Jane Doe is the only kid in the public school in the town of Remarkable. All the other kids attend the Gifted School. The adults are all remarkably talented as well. Jane may be unremarkable, but it doesn't stop her from having adventures when four pirates and a set of evil twins come to town. And in spite of her averageness, she just might solve a mystery. Kids in third through sixth grade will laugh at this book.

WPL Call Number: J Foley
Reviewer: Janet P.   (5/13/12)


Book Cover Plain Kate
Erin Bow

A lot of bad things happen to Plain Kate. Her parents die, the drawer she lives in is smashed to bits, and the people in her town think she's a witch. So Plain Kate makes a bargain with Linay, a real witch. In exchange for her shadow, Linay lets Kate escape and gives her cat, Taggle, the ability to speak. Kate and Taggle find a home on the road with a group called the Roamers, but even that goes wrong when a mysterious fog and sickness take over the land. Plain Kate suspects Linay is behind the destruction and sets out to stop him. Will something finally go right for poor Plain Kate? This book is a downer, but fantasy fans will be intrigued by the magic it brews. For sixth grade and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bow
Reviewer: Janet P.   (4/30/12)


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