Saucy by Cynthia Kadohata

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Becca would like to be very good at something, but she just can’t seem to find the thing for her. Then a piglet enters her life, and she is sure that saving this little piglet will be the thing for her! The problem is, the pig, whom she names Saucy, is just not cut out to be a house pet. How can she be good at something she might have to give up?

Fans of Mercy Watson who are looking for a longer tale would enjoy this one very much. Saucy gets into all kinds of mischief while still being beloved by the family. I also liked how Becca is trying to understand her place in her family, her school, and life in general. A delightful story.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC KADOHATA)

How to Find What You’re Not Looking For by Veera Hiranandani

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

Ariel and her sister Leah are very close, even though Leah is six years older. So, when Leah starts spending a lot of time with Raj, eleven-year-old Ariel isn’t sure what it will mean for their relationship, even though Raj seems nice and even takes her out for ice cream. But then, the girls’ Jewish parents reject Raj, and eloping seems like Leah’s only option. Ariel’s world is turned upside down, and everything seems harder without Leah, including managing her dysgraphia and working at the family bakery. How can she help the family come together again?

This historical fiction story is quite interesting. Like Ms. Hiranandani’s Newbery Honor winning title The Night Diary, this book talks a lot about how the main character is feeling. I loved the setting, in part because it takes place the same year my parents got married. 54 years seems like a long time, but it was a great reminder that the Supreme court case Loving vs. Virginia was decided only a couple of generations ago. I believe it makes court cases much more interesting when you consider the impact they had on people’s day to day lives. Kids who like historical fiction, deep characters, or books about feelings would probably enjoy this book.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC HIRANANDANI)

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reviewed by MJ (Library Patron)

The Hate U Give is a book by Angie Thomas follows a girl named Starr Carter in her fight against racism. She works to bring justice to her childhood friend, Khalil, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Garden Heights. In addition, she struggles with the feeling that there are two versions of herself, one at the white majority high school she attends, the other in the black neighborhood where she lives in. To win the justice Khalil deserved she must overcome her internal conflict and find her voice to speak out against the racism only she witnessed.

I enjoyed this book very much because of the meaningful storyline it has. Every event contributes to the plot, and the whole story really makes you think. I am not very familiar with this genre, however, this book really stuck out to me. I recommend it to people around the age of 13 or older.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC THOMAS)

Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi

Reviewed by Lisabeth Heather B. (Library Patron)

Crispin, a medieval peasant boy, discovers his identity after his mother’s death. On the run from vicious guards, he finds a friend in juggler Bear. Together, they travel to Great Wexly to find more about Crispin’s past, when the friends are almost torn apart.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC AVI)

The Secret Recipe for Moving On by Karen Bischer

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

It’s the beginning of senior year and Ellie’s boyfriend, Hunter, has just dumped her. To make things even worse, he immediately starts dating someone else—and their relationship may have started before the breakup. Ellie has to watch the two of them be all lovey-dovey during their shared home economics class, and it becomes her goal to beat them in the home ec competition. However, her group consists of Luke, AJ, and Isaiah, people who many in the school would consider social misfits. What follows is a semester of shenanigans, surprises, and mishaps.

I loved this book. Ellie’s journey of figuring out who she is without Hunter was done very well. The characters felt like real people, and the romance is both sweet and believable. Ellie and her love interest have a lot of chemistry. If you are looking for a feel-good YA novel, I highly recommend this one!

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, illustrations by Sophie Blackall

Reviewed by Andrea Bisordi (Library Staff)

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong.

We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

These words are the first words that Beatryce writes in the presence of the brothers of the Chronicles of Sorrowing, but they bring only questions rather than sweet answers. Who is this Beatryce, who came to them sick and alone? Why did she make such easy friends with the goat Answelica, who seems to despise all of the brothers? How did a girl learn to write? (It is, after all, forbidden by the law.) And, what should happen to her next?

Kate DiCamillo has once again given us a beautiful story with surprising twists and turns, wonderful characters, and sparse text that sparks our imagination. If you have enjoyed her other stories, such as The Tale of Despereaux or The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, you are sure to be delighted by this one.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC DICAMILLO)

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

A beautiful, haunting story, Firekeeper’s Daughter is a story you won’t be able to put down. The story follows Daunis, a Native American teenager bound for college when tragedy strikes her family and community. Given the chance to help, Daunis takes the weight of the world on her shoulders when she agrees to help the FBI with an investigation into drug deaths in her community. Touching on topics like racism, homophobia and poverty, Boulley pulls no punches in her writing. The notable weak spot is, unfortunately, the ending, as the frenetic pace of events strains credulity. Still, heart wrenching and harrowing, Daunis’ journey will live with you long after you read the last page.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN BOULLEY)

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland was an intriguing and interesting, but ultimately underwhelming, story. When they were little, the three Hollow sisters (Grey, Vivi, and Iris) disappear without a trace and then reappear a month later with no recollection of what happened. They reappear with strange identical scars and the ability to control others. Grey, the eldest sister, seems to know more about what happened than she lets on, but when she disappears again, Vivi and Iris are in a race against time—and a mysterious man wearing a bull skull—to find her.

The atmosphere was fantastic, the characters were interesting, and the buildup was creepy and exciting. However, I just felt underwhelmed by the story’s big reveal. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I was just expecting more from the finale. Maybe I was expecting it to be more like a twisted fairytale. It’s marketed as a dark fairytale, but the ending felt more zombie-esque than anything else. Overall, I did enjoy the story, but something just fell a bit flat for me.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC SUTHERLAND)

Darling by K. Ancrum

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Darling turns the classic Peter Pan story into a mind-blowing and fast-paced dark thriller.

New to Chicago, Wendy Darling is enticed out of her bedroom window by the sexy and sinister Peter, who invites her to a warehouse party. What follows is a treacherous adventure through the city where Wendy must navigate the shifting dynamics of a large cast of characters and their relationships to the protective and predatory Peter. Ancrum imposes the familiar elements of the Peter Pan story so thoughtfully and brilliantly into modern times–for example, the Mermaid Lagoon is a drag club and the pirates are the police force taking liberties with their power, helmed by ruthless Detective Hook.

The bright spark of dangerous glamor drew me into the story, but the ever-unexpected and continually rising stakes propelled me through to the end. Absolutely astonishing.

Available through the Bridges Library System

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)

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