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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 Wonder
R. J. Palacio

Auggie Pullman is starting middle school after being home schooled his entire life. Born with facial abnormalities, he has endured 27 surgeries yet still has an unusual appearance. Even with coping strategies for the stares and comments, Auggie isn't sure how comfortable he'll be in school. Told by Auggie, his sister, classmates and others, this story of being different and fitting in is truly amazing. For ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Palacio
Reviewer: Alice J.   (4/7/12)


Book Cover How to Survive Middle School
Donna Gephart

David loved elementary school, but he has to give middle school mixed reviews. Losing his best friend, being targeted by the school bully, and having an out-of-state mom with no telephone or internet access? Two thumbs down. Having your Daily Show-inspired videos go viral on You Tube? Two thumbs up. Getting to know Sophie Meyers? Two thumbs way up. This sometimes poignant, sometimes funny, look at starting middle school is recommended for grades 5 to 8.

WPL Call Number: J Gephart
Reviewer: Keren J.   (4/6/12)


Book Cover Bounce
Natasha Friend

Evyn’s mom died when she was a toddler, and she has always wanted a mom. Well, actually, she has always wanted to get to know her mom. She is definitely not ready when her dad announces he is getting married to Eleni, a woman he’s only been dating for two months! Soon Evyn, her brother, and her dad are moving from Maine to Boston to live with Eleni and her six kids. Evyn is miserable. The girls at her new private school are mean, her old best friend doesn’t have time for her, and perhaps worst of all, her dad and her brother actually seem happy. Be ready to laugh and cry with Evyn as she adjusts to her new life. Recommended for grades 6 to 9.

WPL Call Number: Y Friend
Reviewer: Keren J.   (4/6/12)


Book Cover Turtle in Paradise
Jennifer Holm

Jobs are hard to come by in the Great Depression, so when Turtle’s mom gets a housekeeping job with a woman who won’t allow children in the house, Turtle is sent to Key West, Florida, to live with relatives she has never met. Turtle is not ready to live with a houseful of boys, but as she enjoys adventures with her cousins and meets a cast of colorful local characters, she begins to appreciate life in the place her mom has always called Paradise. Recommended for grades 4 to 6.

WPL Call Number: J Holm
Reviewer: Keren J.   (4/6/12)


Book Cover The End of the Line
Angela Cerrito

Robbie's a murderer. That's why he's at so-called Great Oaks School, which is more like a prison. He's locked in his room with barely anything but a pencil and paper, and how he answers Mr. Lester's weird assignments determines how much he gets to eat. But finishing those assignments also helps Robbie understand the events that led up to Ryan's death -- and maybe not everything is as simple as Robbie has thought. This book, told in brief chapters that alternate between past and present, is a moving page-turner for readers in grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Cerrito
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (3/28/12)


Book Cover With a Name Like Love
Tess Hilmo

Ollie Love and her sisters travel with their preacher father from one small southern town to another, never staying more than three days. Now in Binder, Arkansas, the family sees an injustice which they believe needs their help. Ollie meets Jimmy Koppel and finds out that his mother is in jail for killing his drunken father, a crime she did not commit. The entire family decides to stay and help find the real murderer. A slice of life in the South in 1957 for ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Hilmo
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/28/12)


Book Cover The Genius Files: Never Say Genius
Dan Gutman

Pepsi and Coke McDonald are thirteen year-old twins who are on a Midwestern leg of a road trip across America with their parents in this sequel to Mission Unstoppable. Chicago is part of their journey. Gutman deftly uses humor and interesting photos of real places and amusing signs to enrich their journey. But watch out! The twins are being pursued by comic book type assassins that send out weird ciphers for the twins to decode as they travel! The reader can follow Pepsi and Coke's route using Google Maps. This is a fun travelogue for kids. Grades 4-6.

WPL Call Number: J Gutman
Reviewer: Sue K.   (3/27/12)


Book Cover Breaking Stalin's Nose
Eugene Yelchin

Ten-year-old Sasha Zaichik goes to bed thinking of nothing but the Young Pioneers. At long last, he will be joining the Soviet youth organization the next day. But Sasha's life changes in the middle of that wintry night--Stalin's men come to arrest his father. Sasha's now homeless. The next day at school, he accidentally breaks the nose off a statue of Stalin. Everyone at school is a suspect in this terrible crime, and anyone can be taken away to prison. Soon Sasha starts to question everything he knows about Stalin. Maybe he doesn't want to be a Young Pioneer after all. This is a thought-provoking historical fiction novel for kids in about third through fifth grade and even adults.

WPL Call Number: J Yelchin
Reviewer: Janet P.   (3/26/12)


Book Cover The Beginning of After
Jennifer Castle

Laurel's life changes drastically when her parents and brother are killed in a car accident. At school, she feels like she is in a fishbowl and that no one in town will ever treat her the same. She has to figure out how to handle her new life with the support of her best friend and a therapist. Her understanding grandmother allows her to make her own decisions while helping with daily life. Watching how Laurel functions under these extreme circumstances offers an honest portrayal of grief and maturity for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Castle
Reviewer: Alice J.   (3/26/12)


Book Cover Starcrossed
Elizabeth Bunce

Digger is a street thief with just three rules: stay alive, don’t get caught, and don’t get involved. Then, in the wake of a robbery gone wrong, she escapes from the city with Meri, a wealthy girl who takes her on as a maid. At first, life in Meri’s remote castle seems comfortable, if a bit boring. Soon, however, Digger finds that life in the castle is more than it seems, and all three of her rules are about to be tested. Recommended for grades 7 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Bunce
Reviewer: Keren J.   (3/5/12)


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