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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A Monster Calls|
The monster in Conor’s bedroom can’t believe that Conor’s not scared of him. But Conor has lots more to be worried about than a monster, especially one who just seems to want to tell stories. His mother is dying of cancer, his father only cares about his new family, and his crotchety grandmother is taking over. At school, the only people who seem to see him at all are his annoying neighbor and the class bully. And at night, the real nightmare comes. This book will have you thinking about family, friendship, and the power of a good story. Recommended for grades 6-9.
WPL Call Number: Y Ness
The Emerald Atlas|
Kate, Michael, and Emma don’t know their parents. They don’t even know their last name. Only Kate remembers the Christmas Eve when their parents disappeared, after telling her to take care of her siblings and promising that the family would be together again one day. Since then, the three children have been shuffled from one orphanage to another, each one worse than the last. Their newest home, however, is the oddest that any of them can remember. For starters, they are the only children in it. The owner is a sorcerer. And, oh yeah, there’s a magic book in the cellar that allows them to travel through time. Solving the mystery of their new home and its reclusive owner may just bring Kate, Michael, and Emma one step closer to the truth of their own past. This book is part mystery, part adventure, part fantasy, part family drama, and all fun. Recommended for grades 5-8.
WPL Call Number: Y Stephens
Under the Mesquite|
Guadalupe Garcia McCall
This novel in verse describes Lupita's life as a Mexican-American in a Texas border town. As the oldest of eight children, she has many responsibilities around the house. When her mother is diagnosed with cancer and undergoes treatment, Lupita tries to help her close knit family while keeping up her grades in school. This warm family saga is based on the author's life. A heartbreaking story for ages 12 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y McCall
The Whole Story of Half a Girl|
Sonia isn't sure if she is black or white. Her dark skin looks more like her Indian father rather than her Jewish mother. When her father loses his job and she switches to public school, Sonia is not sure where she fits in the middle school social life. All of these changes confuse Sonia. This is a biracial family story for ages 10 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Hiranandani
Travis is not looking forward to the start of eighth grade. His dog is missing, Grandpa has stopped drinking but is as grouchy as ever, and most of all Travis is terrified that someone in his new town will find out that he can’t read. But with the help of some unlikely friends – including his reading teacher, the class brain, and a girl named Velveeta with secrets of her own – he begins to discover his own strengths. Recommended for grades 6-9.
WPL Call Number: Y Schmatz
Okay for Now|
Doug doesn't have much going for him. His older brothers have made a habit of beating up on him. His abusive father got himself fired from his job and the family has to move away to a small town. The new town feels unfriendly and their new home is very shabby- a "dump." But one day Doug goes to the library. On display there under glass is a huge book, open to a picture of a bird, falling- "the most terrifying picture I had ever seen. The most beautiful." The sight of this picture, by Audubon, begins a transformation in Doug's life. This is a complex story about change and hope. Doug's voice is likeable, believable, and very funny. Recommended for boys and girls 5th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Schmidt
R. J. Anderson
One second, Alison is having a fight with her school rival, Tori. The next, Tori has disintegrated before her eyes. It doesn't make sense, but it's the only way Alison can explain it. Now, Alison has been sent to a mental institution, where the only person who doesn't think she killed Tori is a visiting scientist who has big secrets of his own. I *loved* this book. Not only is it full of intrigue and beautiful figurative language, but it keeps surprising you as Alison's special abilities and the true nature of Tori's disappearance are revealed. Highly recommended for imaginative readers grades 7 and up who appreciate divergences from "normal" life.
WPL Call Number: Y Anderson
War & Watermelon|
Summer of 1969 is confusing with the war raging in Vietnam, the Apollo landing on the moon, the concert at Woodstock, the horrible Mets almost in first place and junior high starting for Brody Winslow. He barely made the football team and hopes to prove himself during their daily practices. His brother, turning eighteen, does not want to go to college and wants to protest the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Brody listens to the arguments between his brother and his father as he contemplates his future. A simple view of an interesting time in recent history for ages 10 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Wallace
Bigger Than a Bread Box|
Rebecca's parents have been fighting for ages, but she never expected her mom to pack up the whole family -- except Dad -- and move to Gran's house in Atlanta. Rebecca misses her father and friends terribly, but things begin to look up when she finds a bread box in the attic -- a bread box that grants wishes! Suddenly Rebecca can have candy, money, a phone, an iPod... but what about her biggest wish: for her family to be together again? Fans of both realistic fiction and fantasy will enjoy this funny, sad, and exciting book for grades 4 and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Snyder
Felix, age eleven and Jewish, and his little friend Zelda (whose parents, now dead, were devoted Nazis), have jumped off a Nazi death train and are fleeing on foot. "Then" is the story of their friendship and fierce devotion to each other amid the brutal circumstances of the Jewish Holocaust in Poland. Good reading for mature readers 6th grade and up.
WPL Call Number: Y Gleitzman
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