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Book Reviews

The Rest of the Story
Sarah Dessen
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3 Stars

Emma Saylor is a girl with two first names who finds herself unexpectedly spending part of the summer at a lake with her deceased mother’s side of the family. As soon as she arrives, she learns about the two different sides to the lake where her parents met: the working-class side of her mom and a wealthier side where her dad used to work. As the weeks go by and Emma meets more relatives and friends, she begins to realize how little she knew about her mother’s troubled past. She also learns how different life is at North Lake, where she’s known as just Saylor and not Emma. This new realization starts to worry her father, who wants her to remain simply as Emma, but perhaps the Saylor side of her at North Lake is worth keeping. This novel is a fun read with enough romance and humor to keep you entertained as Emma Saylor attempts to survive an unforgettable summer at North Lake.

Posted 4/13/2021

This Lullaby
Sarah Dessen
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3 Stars

Remy is a tough cookie kind of girl who believes romantic relationships are never meant to last. Somehow, she ends up falling into a relationship with Dexter, a musician who doesn’t seem to take anything seriously. This relationship falls into the category of “opposites attract,” no matter how much Remy tries to push Dexter away. It’s the summer before Remy leaves for college and can finally begin living the more successful life she was always determined to have. She’s fine with having a bit of fun by entertaining the idea of dating Dexter, though, as long as they stay on track to break up by the time she has to leave for school. Dexter, however, doesn’t see it that way and wants them to take their time and enjoy what they have. He hits almost none of her checkmarks for an ideal guy, so why is it so hard to say goodbye as the deadline approaches? A cute but not always lighthearted story about an unexpected relationship between an unlikely duo that shows even if relationships require work and growth, it can be worth it.

Posted 3/16/2021

G.F. Miller
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3 Stars

This book has a creative and fun take on what it’s like to be a fairy godmother in modern society, specifically high school. Charity feels she’s living her life to the fullest doing what she does best: making other people’s happily ever after’s come true. All is going well until someone finds out about her secret abilities and starts blackmailing her into no longer granting wishes. Perhaps the “happily ever afters” Charity has been creating aren’t all they’re cracked up to be?

This book involves the normal quirks you can expect from most teen books but was a rather enjoyable read. If you enjoy teen romance or a lighthearted story and are looking for a new book to try, this might be the book for you.

Posted on 2/23/2021
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend
Box Brown
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4 Stars

In this richly detailed graphic novel, Box Brown humanizes Andre Roussimoff, better known as Andre the Giant. Behind the larger than life persona was a gentle giant, a man who was dealing with acromegaly, a disorder which led to his gigantism. Drawing from historical records and  anecdotes Brown details the adversity this gentle giant faced in this engaging life story of professional wrestling’s first superstar.

Posted 1/13/2021

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein
Kiersten White
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4 Stars

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein tells the story of the original novel from the perspective of Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s future wife, the morally ambiguous Elizabeth Lavenza. Born into a life of poverty and misery, the Frankenstein family – especially lonely, odd Victor – is Elizabeth’s only hope at a secure future. Taken in by them as a young child, Elizabeth spends over a decade ensuring she is indispensable to Victor and shaping a future where she lives comfortably as his wife. But as she follows him on his studies, Elizabeth realizes she may not know Victor at all – and it may be too late to escape the life she’s created.

This gothic horror novel is unapologetically feminist; the terror stems not from Victor’s objectives but from the helplessness of being a woman in the late 18th century. With a slow burn to an explosive final act, both fans of the original and those unfamiliar with Shelley’s story will find something to appreciate in White’s retelling.


Posted 10/16/2020

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Web Resources

Book recommendations, homework help, and more!

  • Path2Purpose Campaign: Evidence-based mental health tips and techniques to help cope with the COVID outbreak, the stay-at-home blues, depression, anxiety, and more so that we can all grow stronger together from this crisis.
  • Teen COVID-19 Resources: A collection of resources for teens living during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • YALSA Teens’ Top Ten: The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year!
  • YALSA Book Finder: Search 4,000+ books, audiobooks, and films from YALSA’s book awards and book lists.
  • Lincoln Award: Illinois Teen Readers’ Choice Award.
  • Explora Secondary: Explora supports both student research and classroom instruction with rich, reliable content and easy-to-use functionality.
  • Points of View Reference Center: Resources for students to understand issues, develop criticial thinking skills, and develop persuasive arguments. Includes essays, overviews, articles, and transcripts on, citizens’ rights, earth and environmental issues, global issues, health and medicine, and media and communications.