Alone in the Woods by Rebecca Behrens

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Jocelyn and Alex have always been best friends, and their annual joint family vacation to the Northwoods of Wisconsin has usually been a time of ritual fun (donuts and jumping off piers, anyone?) But this year Alex doesn’t seem like herself, and the trip gets off to a strained start as Jocelyn feels like Alex thinks her phone is more important than anything else. An argument leads to disaster on their rafting trip, and suddenly they have no one but each other to depend on in the woods.

This is a great story for people who like to read stories about friendships, adventure, or who like to explore feelings. The author grew up in Wisconsin, and you can feel how much she loves to go “up north.” Great characters and suspense will keep you turning pages!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC BEHRENS)

Star Trek: Beyond (2016)

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Quarantining at home means lots of extra time for rewatches of movies! My husband and I just finished watching (for me) and rewatching (for him) all the original and new Star Trek movies. One of the most pleasant surprises was the rediscovery of this entry, Star Trek: Beyond. After the negative critical and fan reaction to the previous entry, Star Trek: Into Darkness, Star Trek: Beyond wasn’t given a fair shake, as the story itself is compelling–after being unexpectedly attacked and crashing on an alien planet, the crew of the USS Enterprise is scattered and alone. With the help of resident alien Jaylah, they will learn where they are and who they are up against. The action sequences are fun, the writing by the delightful Simon Pegg always snaps and the acting is sound. Definitely worth another look!

Located in DVDs (DVD STAR TREK)

Tisha: the story of a young teacher in the Alaska wilderness by Ann Hobbes as told to Robert Specht

Reviewed by Jayne S (Library Staff)

I read this book, published in 1976, for the first time over 25 years ago. I enjoyed it so much I lent it to my parents. They loved it and then shared it with my aunt, who had taught in a one-room schoolhouse like the author.

This book was well worth a re-read in 2021. The issue of racism that is weaved throughout her adventure still resonates today.

It is the memoir of 19 year-old Ann, who travels by mule train to the Village of Chicken to teach in 1927. She encounters hardship, poverty and racism between the settlers and the native population. When she takes in two orphaned Indian children and puts them in school, she receives strong backlash and threats of expulsion from her post. She stands up to the School Board for what she knows is the right thing to do.

There are light moments too – when her student does not return from the outhouse, she finds him frozen to the seat; she sleeps with her bag of potatoes so they don’t freeze solid; the beauty of the land; AND she meets the love of her life.

This easy-to-read book is just wonderful, please check it out.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Princess in Black and the Perfect Princess Party by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

Princess Magnolia loves frilly dresses and dainty hats, tea parties and unicorns. Today is her birthday and she can’t wait to celebrate with her other Princess friends! But where does Princess Magnolia keep going during her party?? Why, the Monster Alarm won’t give her a moment’s peace since she’s not only Princess Magnolia–she’s the Princess in Black! Fighting monsters and protecting goats are all in a day’s work for the Princess in Black but will Princess Magnolia be able to enjoy her special day? This delightful entry in the series is full of the same whimsical illustrations by LeUyen Pham and the story level is great for medium level chapter readers. Fun for kids and parents, too!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC HALE)

Float Plan by Trish Doller

Reviewed by Emily Terasa (Library Staff)

Anna was supposed to go on a sailing trip with her fiancé, but after a heartbreaking loss, she decides to sail by herself. But after a tough night at sea, Anna realizes that she can’t sail alone so she hires a handsome Irish professional, Keane who also has demons to deal with. What follows is an enjoyable trip through the Caribbean as both Anna and Keane grow and learn.

This was a charming story that I enjoyed, especially the two main characters. The settings were gorgeous, and I now want to go sail around the Caribbean!

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC DOLLER)

Mercy Watson: Something Wonky This Way Comes by Kate DiCamillo

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

One of the joys in life is seeing your child discover the love of reading. My daughter began easy chapter books this year and has been flying through series as she tries to find her reading niche. One of her absolute favorite series she found was about Mercy Watson the pig, by award-winning author Kate DiCamillo. Mercy is the beloved porcine wonder “daughter” of Mr. and Mrs. Watson and certainly gets into shenanigans with some of her colorful neighbors: Baby and Eugenia Lincoln, Leroy Ninker and Francine Poulet. The flowing repetitive text made for easy reading for her and the beautiful illustrations by Chris Van Dusen brought to life each larger-than-life character. This last one in the series is a particular highlight and we didn’t want to see it end. Couldn’t recommend highly enough for the emerging reader in your life!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC DICAMILLO)

Time Travel for Love and Profit by Sarah Lariviere

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

I really wanted to love Time Travel for Love and Profit by Sarah Lariviere. The premise is great: Nephele “Fi” Weather has a terrible freshman year, so she invents a time travel app on her phone to give her a do-over. However, something goes wrong, and so she keeps trying, repeating ninth grade ten times. Overall, I liked the story’s plot, but I was certainly confused throughout. The science behind everything didn’t make sense to me, but science is not my strong point, so I wasn’t too concerned about that. I’m also not sure how the characters come to their big realizations and breakthroughs throughout. I just couldn’t follow the logic at times. (The book also creates science that doesn’t currently exist, so that probably added to the confusion).

Unfortunately, I didn’t really like or understand the main character either, which is probably the main reason this book did not succeed for me. At first, she attempts to redo freshman year to get her best friend back, but when she finally finds new friends, she pushes them away. And sometimes, she is just plain mean to people for no reason. Part of the problem here may be that the book does a massive time jump. In a book about time travel, that would normally be expected, but here we don’t see anything from the majority of Fi’s repeat freshman years. This causes readers to miss out on a huge chunk of her character arc. Because of this, it seems like her entire arc is crammed in the tenth redo, rather than occurring over the span of those ten years. Maybe that’s the case, but I would have thought there would have at least been some gradual change over that time. If you don’t mind massive time jumps and science concepts that are difficult to understand, this is an interesting read. Unfortunately, though, it just wasn’t my favorite.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

Reviewed by Lia (Library Patron)

Henry Montague, also known as Monty, is a young aristocrat in 1700s England. We learn early on that Monty isn’t very pleased with his life, especially hearing the constant disappointment from his father for “mucking around with boys.” He decides to put a little distance between them for a while and take a Grand Tour. Monty is accompanied by his best friend and secret crush Percy, and his little sister Felicity, who he isn’t very fond of. In this book, the three of them face adventure, love, and the occasional enemy.

I think that this is a great read for both teens and adults. It is a relaxing and enjoyable book. It also has fun-loving characters who grow tremendously throughout the book and the action and fighting sequences towards the end of the book are exciting. Something that I commend the author for is tapping on the issues of racism, gender equality, and sexual preference. I think it’s unusual to see these things addressed so directly in the genre of fantasy or historical fiction. I don’t read much historical fiction but this book was really fun to read. Both my sister and I liked it enough that we encouraged my mom to read it and she liked it enough that she read the sequel right away.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC LEE)