Category Archives: book review

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

liarI finally read this book because of Justine Larbalestier’s new book Razorhurst, which just came out in the beginning of March.  While talking to a friend about the interesting concept of Razorhurst, she asked if I had read Liar.  I admitted that I hadn’t and decided I should read the older book before moving on to the new book.  The only problem is that I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this story.  There was just something about this book that rubbed me the wrong way.  I mean…

S
P
O
I
L
E
R

W
A
R
N
I
N
G
Continue reading

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

every-last-wordSometimes I read books because the covers look cool.  Other times, it’s because they come highly recommended by friends, colleagues, and/or reviewers.  Every now and again, though, I think fate reaches out to me.  This book was most definitely fated.  When I got an email from NetGalley that had a spotlight on this book, which included the phrase “Pure-Obsessive OCD” (aka “Pure-O OCD”) in the summary, I knew I had to request a galley.  Since I have been struggling with controlling my own Pure-O OCD recently, I decided to read this book (1) to see how accurately it portrayed Pure-O OCD (based on my own experiences), and (2) as bibliotherapy.  For those who don’t know, by the way, Pure-O OCD is a lesser-known form of OCD that “has fewer observable compulsions, compared to those commonly seen with the typical form of OCD (checking, counting, hand-washing, etc.)”  It was very obvious that Tamara Ireland Stone did a lot of research and took her time interviewing the teen who inspired her interest in this topic.  Sam’s intrusive thought spirals and panic attacks felt very real, and her therapist often sounded just like mine!   Continue reading

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

darkest-part-of-the-forestHappy Teen Tech Week, everybody!  Before I get to the actual audiobook review, I would just like to take a moment to remind y’all that public libraries are about WAY more than just books.  Of course we lend out books and audiobooks — but we also lend music, movies, and video games.  Many public libraries even lend e-books and downloadable audiobooks FOR FREE via OverDrive.com!  As someone who listens to audiobooks ravenously, always has an ebook waiting on her Kindle, and is cheaper than cheap, this service is something I’m thrilled to take advantage of and to share with my library patrons and blog readers.  (There are even streaming video and magazines available now on OverDrive, though I haven’t fully explored those options yet.)   But, I digress.
Continue reading

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

BelzharAs the outgoing President of the Youth Services Section of the NY Library Association, I had the honor of sitting at the head table for the 2014 YSS Empire State Award Luncheon.  During the luncheon, the ESA winner, Jacqueline Woodson, was discussing some of the books she had read recently and could not stop gushing about Belzhar.  (I didn’t realize at the time that she was also the featured blurb on the back of the book, but she had me sold.)  I somehow managed to forget to add a request on the book when I returned to work, though.  Fortunately, a colleague put Belzhar on the “Staff Picks” display last week and my friend [upon seeing it on display] asked whether I had read it yet.  I said that I didn’t yet but certainly planned on it.  She insisted that I take it home RIGHT THEN so that she would have someone with whom she could discuss the ending. Well, I picked it up for a “short” reading break yesterday afternoon, and I read more than half the book.  I had to stop reading to eat dinner and to read bedtime stories with my kids, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Belzhar and had to finish reading it before I could go to sleep!   Continue reading

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

laughing at my nightmare I was shocked to see that this book was a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist.  Not because I didn’t think it was deserving, though, but because I was shocked it didn’t actually win!  Shane Burcaw’s self-deprecating sense of humor and unwavering positivity in the face of adversity have already garnered tens of thousands of readers for his blog [laughingatmynightmare.tumblr.com], so it comes as no surprise that the book has also been universally well-received.    Continue reading

Fairy Tale Reform School: Flunked by Jen Calonita

flunkedI have always loved fairy tales, though I have often wondered how it was that all the “big bads” got away with so much.  Why was it that no one ever stepped up and did anything about the people who abused their power?  Sure, Cinderella got away from her terrible stepmother — but why wasn’t her stepmother held accountable for the things she had done?  This story goes outside the box and brings a little bit of justice into the mix with the Fairy Tale Reform School.  The teachers at FTRS — such as Cinderella’s stepmother, the sea witch from the Little Mermaid, and the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood — are actually working to atone for their bad deeds.  Such a clever premise!

Continue reading

Ask the Passengers by A.S. King

ask the passengersWhen Astrid Jones and her family moved from New York City to Unity Valley, PA, none of them quite realized how drastically their lives would change.  Astrid’s mom became so concerned with how other people saw her and so controlling that it seemed nothing Astrid did was ever even close to good enough.  Her little sister, Ellis, was so concerned with popularity and upholding her reputation that she’d probably have disowned Astrid if it would have guaranteed her immunity from the rumor mill.  This apparently pleased her mom, though, since she frequently invited Ellis to “mommy and me” nights out.  And their dad?  When he wasn’t moping about his lack of job prospects and smoking pot in the garage or attic, he seemed content enough to sit silently while his wife belittled him in front of the kids. Continue reading