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)

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)