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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 Whole Story of Half a Girl
Veera Hiranandani

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
Reviewer: Alice J.   (2/3/12)


Book Cover Bluefish
Pat Schmatz

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
Reviewer: Keren J.   (1/25/12)


Book Cover Okay for Now
Gary Schmidt

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
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (1/17/12)


Book Cover Ultraviolet
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
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (1/12/12)


Book Cover War & Watermelon
Rich Wallace

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
Reviewer: Alice J.   (12/19/11)


Book Cover Bigger Than a Bread Box
Laurel Snyder

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
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (12/7/11)


Book Cover Then
Morris Gleitzman

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
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (12/5/11)


Book Cover The Summer I Learned to Fly
Dana Reinhardt

Drew spends her summer helping out at her mother's cheese shop. Frequently alone, Drew dreams about the handsome surfer who works in the shop. She doesn't remember her father but is thrilled to discover his journal and learn about him although she does not tell her mother. A pet rat and a new friend help Drew grow into a confident teen who can handle all of life's challenges. A realistic story of small town life for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Reinhardt
Reviewer: Alice J.   (11/29/11)


Book Cover Young Fredle
Cynthia Voigt

Curious Fredle Mouse smelled something delicious in the pantry and so he ate it. Since the delicious something was a chocolate peppermint pattie, it made him very sick! It's a law of mousedom that a sick mouse has to be "wented"- pushed out of the nest. Poor Fredle finds himself adventuring in a dangerous world which includes rowdy robber raccoons. But he also gets to see the stars; he wonders, has any other inside mouse ever seen these beautiful sparkles? Fun reading for grades 3 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Fiction
Reviewer: Joanna N.   (11/18/11)


Book Cover The Name of the Star
Maureen Johnson

Rory expected boarding school in London to be exciting, but she never imagined this. The night she arrives coincides with the beginning of a string of gruesome murders replicating the serial killer Jack the Ripper's "reign of terror." Not only that, the killer never shows up on film, and Rory's the only person who's seen him. Can she solve the mystery before she ends up dead herself? This chilling mystery will keep you turning the pages long past bedtime (not to mention make you want to visit London!). Suggested for grades 6 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Johnson
Reviewer: Lisa B.   (11/17/11)


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