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Reviews by Alice J.

Titles are listed alphabetically by the author's last name. You can click the title of each book to check its availability in the WPL catalog.

Book Cover The Bridesmaid
Hailey Abbott

Abby lives in a wedding world where her parents own a banquet hall and cater weddings. She is surrounded by crazy monster mothers of the brides and lovely women who turn into Bridezillas while planning their big day. After witnessing weekly weddings, young Abby and her older sister Carol promise they will never do this. Upon her college graduation, Carol gets engaged and their professional wedding planner parents have a short summer before the wedding. Everyone's life is turned upside down as the big day approaches. Abby objects to it all and doesn't really want to be involved although she is supposed to be the Maid of Honor. A funny family story for ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Abbott
Review Date: 10/26/05


Book Cover Defining Dulcie
Paul Acampora

With her father's sudden death, Dulcie's mother decides they should reinvent themselves and drives across the country in his old truck, moving from their home in Connecticut to California. Unhappy being away from the only life she knew, Dulcie steals her dad's truck and drives back home to her grandfather by herself. As punishment, her grandfather lets her work as a janitor with him in the high school for the rest of the summer. Dulcie befriends a girl who was hired to work there. Readers will like the sadness and humor in Dulcie's situation while cheering her independence. For ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Acampora
Review Date: 11/14/06


Book Cover Recess at 20 Below
Cindy Lou Aillaud

Imagine bundling up just to go out to play! These Alaskan students go outside for recess even when winter temperatures are below freezing. They climb on snow-covered playground equipment and even kick a soccer ball in the snow.

WPL Call Number: JE979.8 AI
Review Date: 10/1/06


Magic book Less Than Perfect
Louise Albert

When her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, fifteen year old Laura does not want to deal with it. She avoids her mother, preferring to focus on her new boyfriend and his seemingly perfect family. Seeing how Paul copes with his family situation helps Laura realize that having someone to love makes it easier to accept changes. Ages 11 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Albert
Review Date: 5/11/04


Book Cover Finding Miracles
Julia Alvarez

Millie Kaufman never gave a thought to her biological parents. She knew she was adopted but had loving parents and siblings in her small Vermont town. When a family of refugees from her native Latin American country moves in, Millie raises questions about her background. At first she wants to hide from the truth but after visiting the country, Millie understands who she is and what makes a family. For ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Alvarez
Review Date: 6/20/05


Book Cover Return to Sender
Julia Alvarez

When Tyler's family hires undocumented Mexicans to work on their Vermont farm while his father recovers from an accident, he thinks they are being unpatriotic. After befriending the oldest daughter, Tyler realizes the dangers Mari and her family live with. He and his family try to help and hope they will not be sent back to Mexico. An unusual but timely topic for grades 4-8 with a lot of Spanish words and an introduction to Mexican culture.

WPL Call Number: Y Alvarez
Review Date: 2/9/10


Book Cover The One and Only Ivan
Katherine Applegate

Ivan the gorilla has lived for over 20 years in a run down circus themed mall with other animals. With minimal care, these animals are supposed to entertain visitors. When Ruby, a baby elephant joins them, Ivan realizes this is not how she should live. These animals talk and share their thoughts when humans are not around. This story is based on a real gorilla who now lives at the Atlanta Zoo, which gently teaches us about animal rights. For ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Applegate
Review Date: 9/18/12


Book Cover Unsettled: The Problem of Loving Israel
Marc Aronson

Aronson presents a thorough history of Israel and the Palestinians. Views from both Jews and Arabs are given on how Israel was established and what its future should be. Many comparisons are made to the beginnings of our country, the effects of white settlements on Native Americans, and issues of slavery. Although he raises many questions, Aronson writes clearly about these issues. A great nonfiction book for ages 12 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y956.94 AR
Review Date: 4/22/09


Book Cover Never Mind!: A Twin Novel

By Avi and Rachel Vail. Seventh grade twins who are total opposites choose to attend different schools for the first time. Tall and brainy Meg chooses a school for the gifted where she hopes to join the High Achievers Club with all the popular girls. Short and unmotivated Edward has chosen an alternative school where he is satisfied with only one friend. While listening in on his sister's phone conversation, Edward plots to embarrass his sister at a classmate's party. He pretends to have a rock band and agrees to perform. Chapters alternate between both twins as their party plans backfire. Humorous and realistic view of family and school life. For ages 10 and up.

WPL Call Number: Y Avi
Review Date: 11/29/04


Book Cover Hold Fast
Blue Balliett

Eleven year old Early Pearl has to hold her family together when her father disappears from their Woodlawn apartment. The police are not helpful when the family's apartment is ransacked and the Pearls are taken to a homeless shelter. Hoping that their father, Dash, will find them, Early, her mother and younger brother are convinced that he is alive and looking for them. This is an eye-opener to the world of poverty and crime on the south side of Chicago. For ages 9 and up.

WPL Call Number: J Balliett
Review Date: 3/22/13


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