Codes for Reviews

First Initial (Overall Rating):
E = Exceptional
VG = Very Good
G = Good
F = Fair
NR = Not Recommended

Second Initital (Reading Level):
A = Average Reading Level
E = Easy
M = Mature

“The views expressed are of individuals and do not necessarily reflect the views of their respective institutions.”

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Friday, October 28, 2016



G/A  Coy, John.  For Extreme Sports -- Crazy Boys.  Feiwel, 2015.  155p.  978-1-250-04944-5.  15.99.  A predominantly black and white, double-column text plus small snapshots introduce readers to non-traditional sports.  Unlike baseball, soccer or hockey teammates, individual adventurers must be self-disciplined and dedicated to endless hours of practice.  They cannot afford to be ignorant regarding the dangers of mountain biking, pogo stick flips or skydiving, etc.  Nor can they be naive about the risks (including death) of BASE jumping, ice climbing and slacklining.  Informative paragraphs about X Games "heroes," charting of Olympics medal winners and short commentaries by extreme sports' pros make this title a fun browser for middle-school students (boys or girls).  Fitting for book talks.   E.M. Roublow (ret.)

Sunday, September 4, 2016



V/A Raczka, Bob.  WET CEMENT.  Roaring Brook, 2016.  43p.  978-1-62672-236-1.  17.99.  Have audible and visual fun by "stepping" into this interesting collection of "poeTRY."  Each poem's shape is unique -- perhaps a maze, a coat hangar or a kite.  Topics are also variable -- a musical instrument, weather, a sport, etc.  A good literary appetizer to be offered to classes at schools or in libraries.  
E.M. Roublow (ret.)



G/M  Jarrow, Gail.  BUBONIC PANIC.  Calkins Creek, 2016.  195p.  978-1-62091-738-1.  18.95.  It is estimated that an original outbreak of this disease occurred in the sixth century -- long before reaching U.S. shores.  In the early 1900's, when a medical plague developed in San Francisco's Chinatown, the area was unfairly quarantined.  An ignorant diagnosis of who contracted the sickness or where the illness could spread was ultimately disproved.  Politics was sometimes more of a hindrance than a help in determining causes and medical solutions.  This handsome presentation -- complete with drawings, b&w photos, glossary, index and graphs -- is useful as an introduction to more detailed research.   E.M. Roublow (ret.)



G/A  Pinkney, Andrea Davis.  RHYTHM RIDE:  ROAD TRIP THROUGH THE MOTOWN SOUND.  Roaring Brook, 2015.  166p.  978-1-59643-973-3.  22.99.  Detroit's Motown was the music production birthplace for R&B, soul and pop songs performed by that city's young black singers.  Berry Gordy's song-writing skills plus financial aid from his family were the initial investments into a  recording company in 1959.  Some of the voices that matured through that studio were Diana Ross, The Jackson 5, Lionel Richie, "Smokey" Robinson, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder.  Today, Motown is not what it once was but it will always be remembered for the finger-snapping, toe-tapping melodies plus its many talented artists.  A Timeline, an extensive Discography and a listing of TV and Motion Picture credits are included.   E.M. Roublow (ret.)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


High School Fiction

F/M  Smith, Sherri L.  Pasadena.  Putnam, 2016. 229p.  978-1-101-99625-6.  17.99.

In this modern noir style novel set in Pasadena, CA, Jude is called home from her vacation back east when her best friend, Maggie is found dead. Not believing that her death was suicide and against everyone’s wishes, Jude starts snooping around. Her investigation uncovers secrets, and not just those about Maggie. Jude is not a likeable character. She’s mean and rude and it’s no wonder she has few friends. The novel keeps readers on their toes trying to figure out what really happened, but in the end, when the mystery is solved, the wrap-up is a let-down. Mature language and lots of references to sex make this a book for older teens only. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


High School Fiction

VG/A Showalter, Gena. Firstlife. Harlequin Teen.2016. 468p.  978-0- 373-21157- 9. 17.99

In Firstlife, we discover a society where the people are given two choices to go when they die. There is the Myriads and the Troikans. For those who remain unsigned, after they die they go to the outer
realms to a place called The Many Ends which is a limbo of in-betweeness and seen as the rough place to be and live out their second life. Tenley aka Ten Lockwood's family is high up in the Myriads food chain and so it was assumed that she would happily sign with them. However Tenley refused to sign to any party and her family puts her inside an insane asylum where they will try and break Ten by making her choose. Her strength and ability to not be broken come to the attention of Myriads and Trokians and they both want her for their own reasoning as there was a prophecy about someone who held the right amount of light and darkness - had a balance that could make one party better than the other. So both parties send in a Labourer to try and get her to sign, but what happens when she starts to fall for one of the Labourers and sees the other as her new best friend. What will Ten do?
Dawn Fechter, Inglewood Public Library

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Long Game: A Fixer Novel

High School Fiction

VG/A Barnes, Jennifer Lynn. The Long Game: A Fixer Novel. Bloomsbury, 2016. 360p. 978-1-61963596-8. 17.99.

When Emilia Rhodes asks Tess for help in winning a high school presidential campaign, she never thought that it would turn deadly.  With Washington is under siege by a terrorist threat and the terrorist in question has personal ties to the White House, Tess is finding there are less and less people she can trust.  The threat soon finds its way right to Hardwicke School’s doorstep, despite having a campus full of armed guards.  Tess is rocked by a betrayal so great, she can only depend on herself to keep a dire situation from becoming even more tragic.  Will Tess be able to outwit these power players or will she be another sacrificial pawn in this long political game?  Camille Keo Campos, LAPL, Angeles Mesa Branch