Well, That Was Awkward by Rachel Vail

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

What a perfectly adorable book! In this middle school nod to Cyrano de Bergerac, Gracie’s best friend Sienna begins going out with Gracie’s secret crush, AJ. Frozen by the prospect of texting with AJ, Sienna has Gracie compose witty messages to him.

The characters are so wonderful and lovable that I wasn’t bothered in the slightest by how predictable the story was. I simply wanted to spend more time with them and have everything work out in the end.

I was astounded by how authentically Rachel Vail was able to capture how it feels to be in eighth grade and have your friends, who have all been friends basically forever, suddenly start to “like like” each other and awkwardly traverse this new terrain.

However, reading this book was much more bearable than actually being in eighth grade because Gracie is so charming and funny! Gracie’s clever, wry observations and self-deprecating humor channeled Princess Mia from Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries in a way I didn’t think was possible. (Even Meg herself rated it 5 stars on Goodreads!). Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet and fast read, no matter how many years stand between you and eighth grade.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC VAIL)

Hilda series by Luke Pearson


Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Beginning with Hilda and the Troll and continuing through 4 more books (so far), Luke Pearson’s charming graphic novel series is an utter delight. Hilda’s life is nestled comfortably between present-day mundanity and fantastical Scandinavian folklore, with our plucky, blue-haired heroine approaching daily magical mishaps with confidence and humor. The whimsical color palette and expressive comic style bring Hilda’s world vibrantly to life.

All books available through BRIDGES Library System

Canned by Alex Shearer


Reviewed by Jane Oliver-Purton (Library Staff)

What’s the grossest thing you ever found in a can? Lima beans? Spam? Beefaroni? Fergal Bamfield is a somewhat odd boy who decides to start a can collection – not open cans, but the unopened ones you find in the bargain bin at the supermarket, the ones with no labels. One day Fergal decides to open one, and is surprised at what he finds inside. The next can he opens has something ever weirder. And then he meets Charlotte, another can collector, reaching for the same can, and she has found some gruesome can contents. The more they talk, the stranger the mystery of the cans gets. Will they solve it before someone is badly hurt? An interesting and exciting read for Grades 3-6

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC SHEARER)


The Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

Isle Lost

Reviewed by Library Patron

This is the book about the new Disney movie Descendants and I think that it is amazing because it describes the struggles that everyone has with there parents–even villains kids have problems.

It is about the kids of Disney villains and how they have been banished to an island under a dome that doesn’t let any magic in. The four main characters are Evil, the daughter of the Evil Queen, Jay, the son of Jafar, Mal, Maleficent’s daughter, and Cruella De Vil’s son Carlos. The main character is Mal because she is the one in charge of everything.

But this is also about how even the evilest teens have enough good in there heart to make friends and go on adventures.

Available through the CAFE Library System


The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart


Reviewed by Grace S. (Library Patron)

This week I am reading The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart. Even though I have read these books before, there are many parts that I hadn’t remembered that I got to read again. The Mysterious Benedict Society is about four children that pass a series of tests to become secret agents for Mr. Benedict. Their mission is to stop an evil man named Mr. Curtain from controlling the world.

One reason that I like this book is that it is very suspenseful and the cliffhangers at the end of chapters make me want to keep reading. I also like how he made each of the four children have completely different personalities and traits that help, in their own special way, defeat Mr. Curtain.

I would recommend this series to anyone wanting a mystery, suspense, or adventure book to read.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC STEWART)

Everything On a Waffle by Polly Horvath


Reviewed by Melissa Rader (Library Staff)

I just finished the most adorable and heartwarming book by Polly Horvath. In it we meet eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp whose parents have been lost at sea and she is shuffled around to live with various residents in her Canadian seaside town. Despite her situation, Primrose remains remarkably and authentically upbeat, making observations and collecting recipes (which she includes at the end of each chapter). Despite the short amount of time that you get to spend with them (only 150 pages!), the idiosyncratic characters come to life and sidle right up next to your heart.

It is practically an oldie at this point (published in 2001!) but it has definitely survived the changing landscape of children’s literature. Unflappable heroine Primrose Squarp reminded me of Mo LoBeau in Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage with a dash of Flora Belle Buckman from Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo. If you have a special young reader in your life, you couldn’t go wrong putting this book in her hands.

PS–Last night I made the Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe on page 30 and they are DELICIOUS!

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC HOR)

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy


Reviewed by Tenzin T. (Library Patron)

Skulduggery Pleasant is a (so far) 5 book series about a girl named Stephanie Edgely (aka Valkyrie Cain) whose uncle–the famous writer of horror novels, Gordon Edgley (much like Edger Allen Poe)–has passed away. But when she attends the reading of the will, it is revealed that her uncle has left her his mansion and royalties to his books, which she will receive when she turns eighteen. But what she saw her uncle as was not the half of it. After spending a night in her uncle’s house she is plunged into a magical world of spies, murderers, and Skulduggery Pleasant…

Skulduggery Pleasant is an amazing series in whole. Every book ends (mostly) with all ends met, but cliffhangers are not off limits. The book has its share of violently described scenes but is suitable for those 10 years and above. I highly recommend it.

Located in Children’s Fiction (J FIC LANDY BK.1). Also available as a CD Book!