Category Archives: Staff Recommends

Wink Poppy Midnight REVIEW

wpmAvailable in Print, eBook, Audiobook & eAudiobook.

This book was whimsical, magical, mysterious and mystifying. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the characters and their intricacies. The bulk of the story revolves around the actions of the three title characters. Wink is a quiet and ethereal girl with much mystery about her. Poppy, at first glance, is your typical high school ‘it’ girl. She’s bossy, mean and she knows it. Midnight is the unassuming ‘boy next door’. But he means more than he knows to Wink and Poppy.

This story is best described as a mystery. A mystery with elements of fairy tales, thrilling danger, heroes, villains and battles. I was enraptured the whole way. Just when I thought I knew what each character’s next move was, they threw in a curve ball.

Each main character has their flaws and weaknesses and even when you think you know who you are supposed to love and hate, they surprise you with their many layers of personality and backstory. No character, no matter how small the part, is left with just one dimension. Each character’s life and personality are explored by the author and their impact on the main characters are evident.

I don’t know how else to summarize this story without spoiling it. But it’s a lovely story that will keep you engaged the whole time. If you enjoy a little mystery and intrigue, this story will not disappoint.

Happy reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch

Harmony House REVIEW

harmony houseAvailable in Print & eBook.

Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.

Do you like scary stories? Creepy old houses? Supernatural activity? Then I’ve got the book for you. ‘Harmony House’ is one part Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ and one part ‘The Haunting’ movie and all other movies that make you jump when you see a shadow in your house.

This book is a great read if you want something a little spooky but don’t want to get slogged down with a behemoth novel. It’s a quick read you could finish in one sitting, on a dark and stormy night, when suddenly the power goes out…

Mostly, I enjoyed this book for the same reason I enjoy horror movies. I could sit there yelling at the character, ‘No! Don’t run upstairs! Now you’re trapped, dummy!’ just like I do watching movies. The story was not overly complex, hence why it’s a short read. But it did provide some interesting backstory on the house and all the ‘evil’ that’s tainted it. My only gripe was that one early backstory moment was never fully flushed out. It felt like it was just left in there and then forgotten about for further explanation.

So if you a fan of horror movies and thrilling YA, give this book a read. If you can’t watch horror movies without all the lights on and during the middle of the day, well, then you should probably pass on this one…

Happy Reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch

Highly Illogical Behavior REVIEW

HIBAvailable in Print, eAudiobook & eBook.

I picked this book up after I saw John Green (Paper Towns, Fault In Their Stars, yeah, that John Green) post about it months ago. He raved about it and once I read the plot, it sounded pretty interesting.

‘HIB’ has three main characters. Lisa is a determined student who wants to attend one of the best psychology programs in the country after high school. Clark, her boyfriend, is a laid back, kind and funny soul that hasn’t quite figured out what the next step will be. Solomon is an agoraphobe with severe anxiety and hasn’t left his house in three years. He’s also Lisa’s ticket out of her hometown in California.

Lisa plans to ‘cure’ Solomon of his anxiety and agoraphobia and then will detail her experience in her college admissions essay. Clark is the only one that knows her secret. From the very start, you stop and think, ‘Oh great, this won’t blow up in her face at all…’. What Lisa doesn’t expect to find is a very functional, funny, smart and rather well adjusted teenager in Solomon.

I loved this story from the start. Whaley writes excellent dialogue that turns into witty, clever banter between the three main characters. His characters all had their own flaws, which that’s the way it should be since none of us are perfect in real life anyhow! Through the story, you experience Sol’s growth as he becomes more confident in himself and learns to control and face his fears. His progress may seem small but for someone with such anxiety, it’s the little steps that count. Not only do you see a change in Sol, but Lisa and Clark grow together as a couple and as young adults. Lisa learns more about herself and her relationship with Clark in her attempts to learn more about Sol.

I don’t want to give too much away but this really was a wonderful story. I don’t usually pick up contemporary books but this one had enough quirkiness to intrigue me. If you are a fan of John Green, David Levithan or Stephen Chbosky, you will enjoy this book.

Happy reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch
Indianapolis Public Library

Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston REVIEW

exit coverAvailable in Print, eBook & eAudiobook.

Just a forewarning about this book. It deals with the matter of rape which I know not everyone wants to read about. So if this is a trigger for you, feel free to pass on this review.

With that being said, I don’t think this book is solely about rape. The sexual assault of the main character, Hermoine Winters, is by far a pivotal action of the story. But the resulting months and story line after her assault are about much more than that. This story, for me at least, was about growth in personal lives, in relationships and in maturity. Hermione’s story starts at the beginning of her senior year in high school, which is a year of growth and change in of itself. She is already thinking about how things will be changing and how something as simple as sleeping in a bunk at cheer camp will be the last time. But then her life is thrown upside down. She is drugged and sexually assaulted while at cheer camp.

In the wake of the Stanford case & Brock Turner’s ‘sentencing’, this book struck a chord with me. It gave me a look at the process and people that ultimately end up being involved when something terrible like this happens. While Hermione’s ordeal is by no means the standard situation a survivor deals with, her handling of the situation, her relationships and healing were a perspective I would not have any knowledge of prior. I think the author wrote an intriguing story not about rape, but about how rape changes a person and the people around them. Characters in the book grappled with blame, fault, ignorance, empathy and anger in their own ways. Johnston gave the reader a look at how sexual assault can affect people involved directly and indirectly in many ways.

I know this isn’t a book that many people would want to go out of their way to read. However, I would still recommend it greatly. It is well written and provides a story line of a situation often not discussed enough. If you aren’t willing to give this story a try, you might check out one of Johnston’s other stories such as ‘One Thousand Nights’. I’ve already read and enjoyed that story as well.

Happy Reading!

Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch
Indianapolis Public Library

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan REVIEW

apolloAvailable in Print, Audio Book, eAudio Book & Large Type.

I’ve been binge-reading Riordan’s series lately in preparation for this book. Riordan’s series are great for middle readers but I love them as an adult and I know many teens that enjoy keeping up with the series.

Trials of Apollo, Riordan’s 5th series, centers around the god, Apollo, after he is punished by Zeus and turned into a mortal. Not even a demi-god, just a mortal, awkward teenage boy. Some of our favorite characters from the Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus series make cameos in the first book. With mention of many main characters that may pop up in additional books of the series.

I enjoyed this first story of Apollo a lot. It’s interesting to see the world that Riordan has created from the perspective of a god instead of a teenage demigod. Apollo’s perspective on the wars and demigod’s actions is quite contrasting from what we’re used to hearing from characters like Percy Jackson.  I think Riordan has set up an interesting story arch for Apollo in the coming ‘trials’/stories of the series. I look forward to learning more about Apollo and hopefully seeing some appearances from old beloved characters.

For anyone a fan of Rick Riordan’s books, this series will not disappoint. If you haven’t read Riordan’s books before, I strongly suggest reading the Percy Jackson series and then Heroes of Olympus series first before diving into this one. Riordan’s other series, Kane Chronicles and Magnus Chase series, can be read without reading the others. But once you start, you’ll find it hard not to read all of them!

Happy reading!
Maggie
Librarian
Warren Branch