Category: Fiction

Book review: Four

By , July 22, 2014

By Veronica Roth

2014 is the summer of Divergent. Last fall we finished up the book trilogy. Here’s what I said then. In March, the first movie came out, starring  Shailene Woodley and Theo James. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve heard really good things both from folks who read the books and those who didn’t. Good thing NPL has the Divergent DVD on order. Better place your hold today, though, because this list isn’t getting any shorter (I think I’m 178…sigh).

But luckily for you, while you’re waiting for the movie, a new collection of short stories was just released featuring Four aka Tobias. I always like when authors go back and add scenes or rewrite things with an opposite perspective from their original (even with Twilight’s “Midnight Son“). With this Divergent collection, we get four stories about Four. They are pretty easy reads – I managed to polish them off in a couple of hours. It was fun, though, to be back in that world and get a better picture of how things unfolded.

Just to whet your whistle a little – the first story is called “The Transfer” and described Tobias’ choice in becoming Dauntless. Then we learn about his Dauntless training in “The Initiate” (made me want to punch Eric in the face even more than I already did). In the third story, Roth shows us why Tobias chose not to lead Dauntless in “The Son”. And finally in “The Traitor”, we see Tobias try and save the world.

So make sure you get your hold placed today. There will be a few folks in front of you in line, but nothing like for the DVD plus we bought A LOT of copies, so your wait will hopefully be short and sweet.

Happy reading…

:) Amanda


Comics review: Afterlife with Archie

By , July 17, 2014

Jeremy returns to remind us that even good, wholesome kids can get turned into zombies. What’s best about this is that he assumes we still know who the characters from Archie are. Summer Challenge is a great time to get reacquainted with the (re-animated) gang from Riverdale.

Afterlife with Archie: Book One, Escape from Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa & Francesco Francavilla

old school Archie comics

Archie meets Glee

Archie meets KISS

The Walking Dead TV show

The Walking Dead comic

The Black Beetle by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

music by Black Dice Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive

Book review: The Deepest Secret

By , June 26, 2014

The Deepest Secret

By Carla Buckley


How far would you go to protect your child?

One day while Eve was driving, a horrible accident occurred, forcing her to make a fast decision. A decision with results so powerful, that it created a domino effect on those around her. Destroying the lives of people in her small community, turning neighbor against neighbor and ultimately revealing secrets best kept hidden.

Carla Buckley’s fast paced storytelling will keep you riveted until the last page….don’t miss The Deepest Secret.




 If you enjoy The Deepest Secret you may want to try Carla Buckley’s other novel:













Book review: Long Division

By , June 19, 2014

Jesse the mumblecore librarian is back! Long Division is like Back to the Future but with Lil Wayne instead of Chuck Berry. Things get awkward when he talks about race. This is a great book for adults and teens to read together during Summer Challenge.

Long Division by Kiese Laymon

Dhalgren by Samuel Delany

Haruki Murakami

The Help

Kiese Laymon’s website

Kiese Laymon on twitter

music by Black Dice Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive


Book review: Delicious!

By , June 10, 2014

By Ruth Reichl

You know something is a good book when you keep reading through the recipes and author’s note and acknowledgements and about the author (even though it’s exactly the same as what you already read on the back book flap), just so you can delay the let down that comes with finishing a fully engrossing and enjoying work. “It’s not over yet,” you tell yourself as you read about the typeface used in this book (Filosofia, in this case). But eventually, the pages will run out and you think, and may even say out loud, “Man, that was a great book,” then sigh contentedly.

Enter Ruth Reichl.

Reichl has been popular for years as a food writer, but with Delicious! she enters the wonderful world of fiction. Set in New York City, Reichl’s book follows Billie, our heroine, as she begins her journalistic career at Delicious!  - the most prominent food magazine of the day. Being a Midwestern girl myself, I must admit that New York has always sort of intimidated me, but the first part of this book made me wish I lived there, just like Billie. It gave the city such a cozy, homey feel. I almost wanted to work at Sal’s cheese shop, but I don’t have the palette that Billie did, so he probably wouldn’t let me.

The second portion of the book begins a treasure hunt through letters written from a young girl named Lulu to James Beard as he worked for Delicious! during World War II. Honestly it was really a 180 degree shift from where we had been, but in Reichl’s hands, the material works. As a reader, you find yourself getting caught up with Billie in figuring out how to find the next letter. You don’t even miss the rest of the staff when Delicious! closes and Billie is left alone in the office/grand mansion.

If you are looking for a great summer read – definitely start here. There is a little romance to spice things up if the food portion seems too boring for you. I hadn’t read anything from Reichl before, but now I’m interested in reading her nonfiction books like  Comfort Me with Apples or Tender at the Bone. Hopefully they will be as tasty as Delicious!

Happy reading…

:) Amanda

PS This book was so good that I’m going to get a copy so my grandma can read it. Come on…no one can argue with Grandma right?



Book List: New Teen Novels for Summer

By , June 3, 2014

The library is a lovely place in the summer. All those books you passed over during the school year are now begging to be read. Books are like mini-vacations; they can take you to faraway places and allow you to meet new characters. If a book is not available at your local library, you may place it on hold, and it will be delivered to whichever library you choose.

Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley

Call Me By My Name 
by John Ed Bradley

School has just let out in the summer of 1969, where racism heats up  a small Louisiana town worse than the hot afternoon sun. Twins Rodney and Angie are white kids who know the rules separating blacks and whites. But they don’t understand how anybody could see Tater Henry as a threat. When Tater proves to be an outstanding athlete, the rules of discrimination seem to melt around him.

Well, not all of the rules.

Author John Ed Bradley is the author of It Never Rains in Tiger Stadiuma memoir described by Sports Illustrated as the best sports book of the year [2007.] He can write about sports as poignantly as he can write about matters of the heart.

Exile by Kevin Emerson

by Kevin Emerson
Also available in ebook format from Overdrive.

PopArts Academy at Mount Hope High is a young musician’s dream school. For starters, the Fall Kickoff concert takes place in the school’s stone amphitheater tricked out with state of the art light and sound systems. Everyone is in a band, or, like Summer Carlson, learning the management end of the music business. Summer starts her senior year feeling adrift, but on Day 1 she meets Caleb Daniels, a charismatic musician who could form the core of a new band.

Caleb does not come without baggage. To Summer’s astonishment, he turns out to be the son of a famous rock star, Eli White, who is now dead. But White left behind three lost songs, and Summer joins Caleb on a mission to track them down.

Music fans will love the Nirvana references and debates over musical styles. But be warned: Exile is the first in a trilogy. This volume ends a bit abruptly. Check out Kevin Emerson’s accompanying soundtrack below.

Exile Soundtrack Vol. 1 by Kevin Emerson

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

What I Thought Was True 
by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Gwen’s family lives on an island populated by wealthy people in elegant mansions, and the working folks who walk their dogs, prepare their food, and clean their houses. Gwen herself has landed a relatively cushy job as a companion to an elderly (and very rich) woman. But she is stunned to find Cass  Summers, a gorgeous boy who knows  Gwen’s dreadful secret, working on the island as a yard boy. Awkward!

Life can be easier when people fall into convenient stereotypes, such as rich and poor. Gwen finds many of her assumptions challenged, however, over the course of the summer. And maybe she realizes that love is more forgiving that she ever dreamed.

The Chapel Wars by Lindsey Leavitt The Chapel Wars
by Lindsey Leavitt

Sixteen year-old Holly inherits the pride of her grandfather’s heart: His very traditional wedding chapel on the Las Vegas strip. She’s determined to uphold her grandfather’s elegant standards and not devolve into a tacky circus of a chapel like the one next door. Then handsome Dax Cranston moves in with his grandfather, and life gets all confusing for Holly.

The Las Vegas setting is fun and vibrant. If you’ve been there, you’ll love the references to the ever-present Elvises and tourist traps. If you haven’t been there in person, here’s the next best thing!


When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds

When I Was the Greatest   
by Jason Reynolds

If you’re looking for an urban adventure, here’s a book that’s set in one of the grittier Brooklyn neighborhoods. Narrator Ali lives there with his mom and little sister, and their neighbors, Noodles and Needles, are as close as family. The love is strong, even if the neighborhood threatens constant danger.

Needles has Tourette syndrome, which causes him to blurt out words uncontrollably. As Ali explains, “Not regular words like ‘run’ or ‘yo’ but crazy words like ‘buttface’ and ‘fat ass.’” Not good, when the tiniest insult can trigger off a violent reaction.

For a story of love and loyalty, check out Jason Reynolds’ heartwarming debut novel.

In the Shadows by Kiersten White

In the Shadows  
by Kiersten White, illustrated by Jim Di Bartolo

This unique book tells two connected stories. White’s textual narration introduces five teen characters. Arthur is a haunted, silent young man, who comes to stay at the Johnson’s boardinghouse after his mother dies. His past includes a terrible curse. Two Johnson daughters, coolly beautiful Cora and bright-eyed, adventurous Minnie, have no idea why Arthur is there, but he’s a guy, so…cool. Then brothers Thom and Charles show up. There is a mystery surrounding their father’s sudden decision to send them away, especially since Charles is dying.

Di Bartolo’s sequential art segments alternate with chapters of text. This story revolves around a young man who has a scar near his right eye (very helpful for spotting him) who seems to be both pursued and pursuing evil persons. The young man and the bad guys do not age. Both stories are satisfyingly eerie and suspenseful.

Books into Movies – Summer and Fall 2014

By , May 22, 2014

Gone Girl, Unbroken and Mockingjay are just a few of the books being made into movies this summer and fall. If you prefer to read the book before you see the film, here is your chance!


 The Fault in Our Stars    

Based on the young adult book by John Green

“Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.”

Movie Release Date: June 6, 2014



The Hundred Foot Journey

Based on the book by Richard C. Morais

“The Hundred-Foot Journey “is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages–charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.”

Movie Release Date: August 2014



Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 

Based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller

“It’s one of those hot nights, dry and windless. The kind that makes people do sweaty, secret things. Dwight’s thinking of all the ways he’s screwed up and what he’d give for one clear chance to wipe the slate clean, to dig his way out of the numb gray hell that is his life. And he’d give anything. Just to cut loose. Just to feel the fire. One more time. And then Ava calls.”

Movie Release Date: August 22, 2014



Gone Girl

Based on the book by Gillian Flynn

“On the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick’s wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy’s friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn’t true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren’t his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what really did happen to Nick’s beautiful wife? “

Movie Release Date: Oct. 3, 2014



Mockingjay: Part 1               

Based on the young adult book by Suzanne Collins

“Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. A revolution is unfolding, and it is up to Katniss to accept responsibility for countless lives and to change the course of the future of Panem.”

Movie Release Date: November 21, 2014



Based on the book Unbroken: a World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand

“On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared–Lt. Louis Zamperini. Captured by the Japanese and driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor .”

Movie Release Date: December 25, 2014





Book List: Teens and Homelessness

By , May 20, 2014

Inspired by a recent issue of The Contributor (Volume 8, Issue 12, May 12-19, 2014) that featured a list of “Nine Must-Read Books on Homelessness,” here is a list of Young Adult novels about teens who experience homelessness.

Tyrell by Booth Coe

By Coe Booth

Tyrell is only fourteen years old, but he carries an adult-sized load of responsibility. His dad is in jail, and his mom plays the party girl. Thanks to her consistently irresponsible behavior, Tyrell and  his seven year old brother, Troy, stay with their mom at a homeless shelter. But as soon as their time at the shelter runs out, they will be sent to the roach-infested Bennet Motel. Tyrell needs money to take care of his family, though his legal options are few. There is one excellent skill that Tyrell learned from his father – and that’s how to DJ. It might just be the advantage Tyrell can use.


Sorta Like a Rock Star by Matthew Quick0.

Sorta Like a Rock Star
By Matthew Quick

“Mom’s taste in men is akin to a crackhead’s taste in crack cocaine. Any old hit will do.” This is why Amber Appleton is living in a bus named Hello Yellow with her alcoholic mother and adorable dog. It’s cold out. Amber’s clothes are all stuffed in a trash bag. Things can only get worse, of course, and they do.

Quick’s debut novel is tartly humorous as he explores one girl’s odyssey of hope.


No Place by Todd Strasser

No Place  
By Todd Strasser

For Dan’s family, the slippery slope to homelessness began when his mother lost her stockbroker job five years earlier. Then his father loses his job, and they move out of the house to live with relatives. That temporary solution quickly pans out, and the family moves into a tent, joining a homeless community dubbed, “Dignityville.” Dignityville receives water, electricity, trash pick-up, and other kinds of support from the town. Some townsfolks are happy to help those down on their luck, while others are furious that their tax money goes to people too “lazy” to work. Strasser presents multiple aspects of homelessness and community response in the telling of Dan’s story.


Runaway by Wendy Van Draanen

By Wendy Van Draanen

Holly is only twelve years old, but she is living in her fifth foster home. It’s unbearable. When her foster father plunges her head in a toilet (think Sani-Flush), Holly knows it’s time to go. But this time, she’s not headed for another foster home. Holly takes to the streets, alone. It’s rough, and dangerous. Holly sleeps on the streets in the cold, and steals food to stay alive. Through it all, Holly just can’t forget her mother, whom she believes loved heroin more than she loved Holly. As Holly realizes how deeply she was hurt by this, she begins to take back control of her life.


Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones

Blink & Caution 
By Tim Wynne-Jones

Two teens, living on the streets of Toronto, meet on a train. Both of them are on the run. Blink has witnessed a terrorist crime, and now his knowledge of the players puts him in danger. Caution, living with a drug dealer nearly twice her age, has an intimate connection to the terrorists. At first, Caution sees Blink as someone to rob. But as the two become entangled in a blackmail scheme that thrusts them in mortal danger, something beautiful and unexpected grows between them.


Comics review: Prophet

By , May 15, 2014

First time vlogger Jeremy tells us about Prophet version 2.0. Can 1990s comics icon / schlockmeister Rob Liefeld be redeemed?

Prophet Volume 1: Remission

Prophet Volume 2: Brothers

Prophet Volume 3: Empire

Rob Liefeld and Spike Lee hock Levi’s

The Great Escape – an awesome place to find back issues

music by Black Dice CD | Freegal | Hoopla | Free Music Archive


Book review: Ringstones

By , May 3, 2014


by Sarban

Ah, Spring…when a young man’s fancy turns to love…when the pagan rites of old return to haunt the living. Isn’t that the saying?

Subtlety is a characteristic too often missing from much supernatural fiction, but one that can leave a stronger impression than blatant horrors or obvious menace. A perfect example of this style of weird tale is Ringstones, by Sarban.

A young woman takes a summer job as governess to three children at an estate in a remote area of Northumberland.

Let’s review.

The words “governess”, “estate”, and “remote” appear together in a single sentence – first red flag.

However, despite this bad omen (and because otherwise we would have no tale), Daphne Hazel accepts the position and the weeks that follow are full of lovely days spent educating and frolicking. Mostly. Except that you know that this is a “tale of dark and mordant horror”, as the book cover states, and the less said the better about the nature of that horror.

Sarban, whose real name was John Wall, only published three books, all during a short period of output in the late 40’s and early 50’s. His approach is often understated, but his writing is elegant and his suggestions are effective. As the weather warms up and the days get longer, it’s the perfect time for an atmospheric excursion to the English countryside (pagan rites included)!

- Ben

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