Local Gone Missing by Fiona Barton

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

I eagerly picked up Local Gone Missing after reading Fiona Barton’s earlier novel The Suspect. That one I struggled from page one to put down and I did get to that point with this novel but it took 1/3rd to ½ of the book to reach it. It is steeped in mystery, a seaside town split into “the locals” and “the weekenders” at odds with each other over the town’s aesthetics. When one of their own goes missing, fingers point in all directions and it was that overarching mystery that kept me reading however the onslaught of characters at the beginning made it difficult for me to identify with a specific one. There’s one thread of the story I still wonder about, for the character’s sake, I wish she had addressed before the end.

Barton’s novel is unique in that the reader gets to know one of the main characters fairly well before he dies. My usual murder mysteries present a dead body right away and the reader works backwards to understand who they were and what happened to them. This involves the death of an incredibly flawed character, one running from one problem to the next and the author did a fantastic job drawing the reader through a rollercoaster of emotions while following him. Though I’d rank it second to her earlier novel, this is still an exciting mystery to spend the weekend with.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC BARTON)

The Snatchabook by Helen and Thomas Docherty

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Reading at bedtime and losing your place in your book is bad enough but to have the book snatched out of your hands and nowhere to be found would be a nightmare, which is what happens in a woodland neighborhood. Rabbit puts on their detective hat and tracks down a Snatchabook; who just wanted someone to read them a story. Sweet story with vignette illustrations.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E DOCHERTY)

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Viji believes that she and her sister Rukku are in danger at their home and decides that the best way to avoid that danger is to leave. They find that living on the streets of the big city is harder than she thought it would be. They do find some friends and helpers along the way, including Muthi and Arul, boys who have been living on their own for some time.

I thought the writing in this story was beautiful, and at many points in the tale I did not want to put the book down. There were both mean people and kind people that the girls meet, and it’s not always easy to tell who is who when you encounter them. I did enjoy reading this book, but it is a bit sad, so just know that going in! If you liked The War That Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley or A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata then you would probably like this book as well. Don’t miss reading the author’s note at the end!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC VENKATRAMAN)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Reviewed by Nick Knuth (Library Patron)

In Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? we follow the bounty hunter Rick Dickard in a post-apocalyptic San Francisco as he is hired to retire androids who have emigrated to earth. These androids are colonial slaves and have killed their masters to be able to emigrate back to earth. Counterintuitively, human life has drawn a great desire for real animals, after the earth-threatening War Terminus. One question still remains for Rick to answer. What is the main difference between androids and human life? What is Rick doing with his life retiring all of these androids? Rick will discover the unimagined when hunting down these androids.

I enjoyed reading the book because Philip K. Dick does a great job to paint the picture of a post-apocalyptic reality, where all known animals are on the brink of extinction, and how the role of jobs changes when manufacturers start to create almost identical android counterparts. It is exciting reading Philip K. Dick’s everchanging emotions of Rick when he is involved with these monumental tasks. This was for sure a page-turner, and Philip K. Dick makes sure the reader is always engaged, by leaving many cliffhangers at the end of important chapters. The only downside to the book is at some points where the reader can be very perplexed. It feels like there is a lack of information needed from Philip K. Dick to understand the direction in which the plot is heading. Besides that, it is a great read for high schoolers as far as appropriate material. I would recommend this book to enjoyers of other dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. Because books such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Big Brother by George Orwell, were the small match that created the larger flame of now multiple dystopian novels, that had the plot play out in very different societies from today’s standard. For those interested in the 1982 Blade Runner, or the 2017 Bladerunner 2049, this book is a great introduction to the same setting that both the protagonists deal with in discovering what is human and what is an android. However, many of the detail such as plot and characters are different between book and movie. I would recommend reading the book and then watching the movies if you have not watched them. But I would not recommend watching the movies, and then reading the book, because there are too many differences. Overall, I would give this book a 7.5 out of 10 as it is a fairly easy and fun read!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Notes On An Execution by Danya Kukafka

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

A friend warned me that I probably wouldn’t like Notes On An Execution, because a portion of it is written in the second person, putting the reader into the persona of the convicted murderer awaiting execution. (That is, it is told from the perspective of “you,” as in, “You are on death row.”) I guess I find it pretty easy to inhabit the mind of a serial killer, though, because the second-person narrative didn’t bother me at all.

The novel counts down the last few hours of the life of serial killer Ansel Packer, the “you” the reader is asked to become. Packer is a narcissist and sociopath, but it is impossible for the reader not to empathize at least with his desire to continue living. I think the author chose to use the second person specifically to evoke the reader’s compassion for a character who is objectively not at all empathetic. After all, one’s gut reaction to the statement “You are scheduled to die in 24 hours” is pretty much always going to be something along the lines of “I don’t want to die!”

The story of Packer’s last day is interspersed with chapters told from the perspectives of several women in his life: his mother, his sister-in-law, the detective who apprehends him. They all care about Packer–even love him at some point–and their relationships with this man profoundly affect each of their lives. This examination of the effects wrought on women close to a murderer–but not his victims–is something I can’t remember ever before reading in a novel. It is fascinating and thought-provoking.

One thing I don’t care for about Notes On An Execution is that it is categorized as a young adult novel. I’m not sure what the deciders were thinking when they gave it that designation, other than the fact that the violence is not graphic. I think it would appeal more to adult readers. But I’m the one who’s okay with being addressed as a serial killer, so my theories might be a tad suspect.

Available through the Bridges Library System

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022)

Reviewed by Jen Bremer (Library Staff)

If you thought you knew everything there was to know about Albus Dumbledore and the Wizarding World – no you didn’t. The film starts out with a shock and ends with an equally disquieting cliffhanger. Mads Mikkelsen does a disturbingly incredible job replacing actor Johnny Depp as the villainous Gellert Grindelwald. There are some humorous moments courtesy of side characters, Jacob Kowalski and Newt Scamander’s assistant, Bunty. You even get to see a young Professor McGonagall and Hogwarts! My teenager and I loved this film. It’s a great addition to the Wizarding World films.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End by Jeff Kinney

Reviewed by Ethan H (Library Patron)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Deep End by Jeff Kinney is a book mostly about the struggles that Gregory (the main character) faces after having to move into his grandparent’s home, because of what happened in the previous diary of a wimpy kid book. Greg is a boy in 6th grade who feels he needs some time away from his family because of how close they have been recently. His mom is not fond of this idea though because she thinks they should spend more time as a family before Greg and his siblings grow up. All of a sudden, Greg’s dad gets a call from his grandma saying there’s an old camper that Greg’s uncle left behind and that the camper is up for the taking. Greg’s family see this as an opportunity to get out of Grandma’s house and to just take a road trip for however long it is needed. Everything is going great on the road trip but after a day or two and getting kicked out of multiple places they start to get tired. Greg’s family starts to consider going home when they see a sign called “Campers Eden.” They decide to give this resort a try and find out they actually like it. There are a lot of activities to keep them busy and everything seems to be going amazing but after half a week or so things start to fall off the deep end. When it’s all over can they save their vacation “or are they already in too deep”?

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC KINNEY)

Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton

Reviewed by Diane Basting (Library Staff)

Love a counting book and Sandra Boynton is a favorite as well making this book a delight! One hippo is sad and lonely so calls some friends who brings friends along which allows the counting to start, in true Boynton fashion sprinkled with great lines for adult readers to chuckle at.

Located in Children’s Picture Books (E BOYNTON)

Fangs by Sarah Andersen

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

I first came across Fangs as a webcomic a few years ago. Its characters are Elsie, a vampire, and Jimmy, a werewolf. The short, gag filled comics follow their love story.

I like Fangs because it’s cute. Short and sweet. I’ve been a fan of Andersen’s comics for a while, and I love how much energy and personality they toss into every panel. If you want to read something quick and full of heart, then Fangs is a good one to pick.

Located in Adult Graphic Novels (GRAPHIC ANDERSEN)