Category Archives: Staff Recommends

My Heart and Other Black Holes REVIEW

my-heart-and-other-black-holesAvailable in Print, eBook & eAudio.

Warning: this is book is sad. It deals with sad things and unhappy people. That being said, it is a marvelously well written book that will give you all the feels and make you tear up a time or two.

Warga takes on the complicated subject of depression which is never something easy to write about or portray in a character. I, myself, have not dealt with mental illness but I have many family and friends close to me that have had their battles with depression over the years. I think Warga did an excellent job of conveying the feelings, both emotional and physical, of depression.

While her story ends on a promising note, I know that is not the case for most. But I believe Warga’s intentions are to make readers see that there are always options. There is always someone out there to support you no matter what you are going through.
I recommend this story purely because it is well written and a beautiful story. I also recommend this story for anyone that has struggled or known someone who is struggling with their own personal illness. There is always an answer and there is always someone who will support you.

Happy reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch

The Leaving REVIEW

the-leaving-coverAvailable in Print & eBook.

Six kindergartners disappear. Eleven years later, five return. What happened in the meantime? Where is the sixth child? How do the families pick up the pieces and start over?

That’s where The Leaving starts. With questions and accusations and no answers. This book hooked me from the start. I love mystery and intrigue and this story has it in spades. The story is told in alternating viewpoints from two of the survivors and one of the siblings of the original six children. Each character has a unique voice and the author even uses visual text images to put the reader in the mindset of the characters.

Besides the intriguing premise, the story was fast paced and kept me engaged. It kept me guessing almost all the way through. I started to pick up the pieces and figure out the story line about two thirds of the way in but there was still some questions I hadn’t figured out till the very end.

This book is probably one of my favorites of 2016 so far. I highly recommend it to anyone! But if you love mystery and suspense, then this is a must read for you.

Happy reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love REVIEW

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

Available in Print.

Graham really likes Roxy. They have been friends ever since Graham moved next door to her after his mother died eight years ago. The first thing she asked him was which Hogwarts house he would be sorted into. How could he not love her after that? Graham is ready to tell Roxy how he really feels, and he is planning to do it at Comic Con.

Graham and Roxy collaborate on their own graphic novel (he writes, she illustrates) and are huge fans of the reclusive Robert Zinc, creator of The Chronicles of Althena. Zinc has not been seen in public for years, but with the movie adaptation in production he will be appearing at the convention in a Q&A session with limited seating. What a perfect time for Graham to express his true feelings.

Things are complicated from the start. To get tickets to see Zinc, Graham will have to wait in line all night outside in New York City. Roxy’s parents would never allow her to do that, so Graham convinces his best friend Casey to get Roxy’s ticket (but not before agreeing to convince his sister to go out with Casey).

And it only gets worse. Graham could not have foreseen the large number of fans willing to do anything to see Zinc. Or the attractive guy who attaches himself to Roxy from the beginning of the con. What should be the best Comic Con of Graham’s life turns into a series of frustrating events.

For all of Graham’s misery, this is fun excursion into the New York Comic Con. It’s all you could ever want from a con without being there – laughs, suspense, adventure and pop culture references galore.

Burn Baby Burn REVIEW

Spring-Latino-Books-MedinaGuest review from Mollie at the Lawrence Branch.

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

Available in Print, eBook and Audio.

It’s summer in New York when Son of Sam is on the loose and a lengthy blackout causes lots of rioting! Nora, nearly 18 and ready to graduate high school, meets the description of his victims; she has long dark hair, has a new boyfriend, and often walks home from working late shifts at the deli, where she met her new beau. Her younger brother, Hector, is causing major trouble, and not just petty crimes. Dealing is a route to quick cash for him. Despite his income, Nora is forced to help support her family when her mother’s hours are cut at work. Nora’s apprehension that her best friend can’t relate to this vida loca puts a strain on their relationship. How is she to enjoy the few remaining months with her best friend while she trying to figure out college and life plans?

The story is a fast-paced page-turner. Nora is a relatable character. Meg Medina’s writing emphasizes emotions the characters feel and convey it to the reader. My heart was pounding from fear in many of the scenes.

With such suspense, the ending felt a little rushed. Perhaps I enjoyed the characters too much to want to put it down.

Teens who like historical fiction, murder and crime stories, or a strong female character, may enjoy this book.

Scarlett Epstein Hates It Here REVIEW

scarlettAvailable in Print & eBook.

Meet Scarlett Epstein, BNF (Big Name Fan) in her online community of fanfiction writers, world-class nobody at Melville High. Her best (read: only) IRL friends are Avery, a painfully shy and annoyingly attractive bookworm, and Ruth, her weed-smoking, possibly insane seventy-three-year-old neighbor.

This book is not something I would have picked up for myself but that being said, I did enjoy it. It’s a more contemporary modern story about an average teenager in high school. Not my normal genre at all. It was part of my book subscription series from Uppercase but I’m always pleasantly surprised with Uppercase’s selection.

That being said, I really enjoyed this author’s writing style. She was witty and sarcastic in all the best ways. Her style kept me engaged in the story even when I wasn’t that interested. This is Breslaw’s debut novel but I think, given time, she’ll come into her own as a writer.

My biggest qualms were with the plotline and characters. Which yes, I know that’s well, the whole book, but like I said, the author’s writing style was great. However, the plot seemed rushed and major characters were left one dimensional or seriously underdeveloped. This book could have used another 100 pages to really beef things out a bit. The plot points were easy to guess and I could see what was coming from a mile away.

I would still recommend this book is you want a light and fun read. I polished this one off on a Sunday afternoon while battling my mongoose cough from a case of bronchitis. This delightful little read helped me forget about my aches and pains for a little while. I will probably keep tabs on this author to see what she does next. Like I said, storyline aside, the writing was awesome and I think Breslaw shows some real potential as a writer.

Happy reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch