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.”

For more information about YAR, please email Dora Ho at dorah2005@gmail.com


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge

High School Fiction

VG/A Hodge, Rosamund. Crimson bound. Balzer + Bray/ Harper Collins, 2015. 448p. 978-0-062-22476-7. 17.99.

 As a young girl, Rachelle was apprenticed to her aunt to become a woodwife, to learn protective charms and lore to protect her village from the forestborn and woodspawn, inhuman creatures of the Great Forest. At fifteen, Rachelle strays off the protective path and meets with a dark creature, becoming the very evil she had been sworn to protect against.  In penance, she serves the king and is set to protect the King’s son Armand from deadly enemies. Not what you would normally expect in a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, this rich, complex and dark tale will keep readers in suspense. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Denton Little's Deathdate

General YA Fiction

G/A  Rubin, Lance.  Denton Little’s Deathdate.  Knopf, 2015.  352p.  978-0553496963.  17.99

Thanks to DNA research and statistics, everyone knows when they will die (but not how). Unfortunately for high school senior, Denton Little, his deathdate is tomorrow. His funeral is held the day before his death, so that he can attend and eulogize himself. At midnight he will sit vigil with his family and closest friends, essentially waiting to die. A lot can happen in that time period though, including losing his virginity, getting the weirdest rash ever, meeting a man who claims to have known his mother, going to prom and getting in a crazy car chase. Rubin’s debut novel is a fun, twisty dark comedy. It’s laugh out loud funny while being thoughtful at the same time. Hopefully the sequel coming in April 2016 will be just as fun. Loren Spector, Memorial Branch, LAPL

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mike's Place: A True Story of Love, Blues and Terror in Tel Aviv

Graphic Novel

VG/A  Baxter, Jack and Joshua Faudem.  Mike’s Place: A True Story of Love, Blues, and Terror in Tel Aviv.  First Second, 2015.  189p.  978-1-59643-857-6.  22.99


In 2003, American documentary filmmaker, Jack Baxter decided to make a film about Tel Aviv bar, Mike’s Place. The bar was a popular blues club on the beach and the staff was like family. Baxter wanted to show a side of Israel that was not about politics, religion or war, but a human story. In April 2003, all that changed when there was a suicide bomber at Mike’s Place and 3 people were killed, including one of the waitresses. This book is a graphic adaptation of the events that took place and the making of the documentary film. The great artwork and storytelling (although a true story, some of the scenes are fictionalized) make this graphic novel worth reading. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Monday, October 5, 2015

Alex As Well

General YA Fiction

VG/A Brugman, Alyssa. Alex As Well. Henry Holt and Company, 2015. 214 p. 978-1-62779-014-7. 16.99.


Alex was born with both male and female body parts. Her parents chose to raise her as a boy, so throughout her childhood she has been on hormone drugs and has been treated as a boy. As the story opens, the 14-year-old Alex is five days in to going off of her hormone drugs. Following a brutal bullying incident in which she was stripped naked and thrown in a river (with the incident posted on youtube, no less) Alex enrolls herself in a new school without her parents’ consent. Here she IS a girl from day 1. The most appealing and humorous aspect of the novel is the internal bickering between “Alex” and “Alex” – the boy and girl personalities inside her head. At first, treating an intersex character in this way – essentially as a “multiple personality disorder” sufferer – seems insulting to people in this situation. Alex is not “sick,” she is struggling for self-acceptance and to be accepted by her parents. However, with going on and off hormone therapy at such a young age, and with Alex being aware of having to “act” in such a way as to be convincing as a boy at her first school, and then as a girl at the second, Brugman convinces us that Alex could indeed think of herself as having an unwelcome observer/commentator (male Alex). Complicating matters even more, Alex quickly starts falling in love with a girl in her class, and has to deal with a boy falling for her. The narrative is told from Alex’s point of view, interspersed with her mother’s confessions to the fictional website motherhoodshared.com. Brugman’s use of this device helps make the mother a believable character, not a screaming villain. The ending seems rushed, but this is still definitely recommended. Philip Levie, YA Librarian, Panorama City Branch Library, LAPL.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Ink and Bone: The Great Library by Rachel Caine

General YA Fiction

VG/A Caine, Rachel. Ink and Bone: The Great Library. New American Library, 2015. 978-0-451-47239-7. 17.99.


Jess Brightwell lives in a world in which the Great Library of Alexander rules everything with an iron fist. Owning a personal book is illegal.  However, that doesn’t keep people from stashing books illegally in their private collection. Jess’s family makes their fortune in black market of trading original works. One day, Jess’s father decides that Jess will be of better use to his family as a spy and sends him to take part in the difficult examinations to work for the Library.  Jess passes the exam and begins his training in Alexandria.  He soon realizes that the training is not only highly competitive, but dangerous as well, and sometimes even deadly.  Ink and Bone is imaginative, exciting, and thrilling new title from Rachel Caine, author of the Morganville Vampire series. Camille Campos, YA Librarian, Angeles Mesa Branch Library, LAPL

Monday, September 28, 2015

HOW TO BABYSIT A LEOPARD

G/A  Lewin, Ted.  How To Babysit A Leopard.  Roaring Brook, 2014.  136p.  978-1-59643-616-9.  22.19.  A wistful desire to enjoy animals prompted a husband/wife - author/illustrator team to travel all over the world beginning in the 1970s.  Ted and Betsy Lewin have produced a travelogue of experiences with wildlife in parts of Africa, North America, Europe, South America and Asia.  Multiple drawings and color photographs are interspersed alongside the text - making this an interesting browsing item.  Great for sharing as a read-together family title.  E.M. Roublow (ret.)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Awakening

VG/A Duffy, Shannon, Awakening. Entangled, 2015, 342p. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1622665228

Desiree Six – The six being the sixth day of the week and the number that determines the age when someone will die. She has always believed in the Protectorate and the laws that had been made but she begins to question them when her loyal, childhood friend Darian One is charged with murder – a crime punishable by life in the Terrorscape, he escapes jail and tries to convince her of the faults within their society and what they are being forced to believe. She soon learns that the dreamscape they use to sleep is brainwashing them and even changing their memories. The concept was interesting – the dystopian world we are introduced to has the Protectorate governing where their sole purpose is to eradicate the manic world’s problems by devising a system where marriage, dreams and jobs are determined for each citizen; those who don’t comply are known as non-compliant and are put in a nightmare Terrorscape at Olympus Jail which is witnessed by the population. Shannon Duffy’s writing is vividly detailed and engaging; I enjoyed the characters overall and I found the plot to be fast-paced and the world-building creative.


Dawn Fechter, Children/Youth Librarian, Inglewood Public Library 

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Code Buster by Penny Warner

VG/A Warner, Penny The Code Busters. Egmont, 2014, 181p. $16.99 ISBN: 978-1606844595

Cody, Quinn, Luke, and M.E. are infatuated with solving codes. In fact, they even have their own club, with a secret hideout and passwords that change every day. One day they are on a school trip to a museum and they encounter a mystery to solve by using their wits and code solving skills. It a great fun and joy to read and solve codes at the same time. Especially for the Steganography lover, one will be so immersed into all the code solving activities in this book. There are keys and solutions for the novices.

This is part of the Code Buster series, case 4: The Mummy's Curse!

Dora Ho, Young Adult Librarian
Los Angeles Public library

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad

Young Adult Non-Fiction

VG/A  Anderson, M.T.  Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad.  Candlewick, 2015.  464p.  978-0-7636-6818-1.  24.99

M.T. Anderson’s first foray into young adult non-fiction is a love story to the city of Leningrad, just like the Shostakovich symphony that he writes about. World famous composer, Dmitri Shostakovich was born in St. Petersburg, Russia at a time of great turmoil in the country. After the Tsar was overthrown, it wasn’t long before the country was taken over by Lenin and Communism. While the book covers Shostakovich’s entire life, the focus is during World War II, when the city of Leningrad was under siege for 872 days. During the siege, Shostakovich wrote his Seventh Symphony for the city of Leningrad and miraculously it was performed in Leningrad even though the musicians were literally starving to death. His symphony performance was a turning point for the Russians, it was symbolic of their patriotism and spirit of survival. A fascinating read for history buffs and/or music lovers. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Exquisite Corpse

Adult Graphic Novel

G/M  Bajieu, Penelope.  Exquisite Corpse.  First Second, 2015. 124p.  978-1-62672-082-4.  19.99


Zoe hates her job as a booth babe and is unhappy in her abusive relationship. One afternoon in the park she sees a man peeking out from behind his curtains and taking a chance, asks to use his bathroom. Unbeknownst to Zoe, the man is the famous novelist, Thomas Rocher. The two become involved and Zoe moves in. It isn’t until she goes to a bookstore though to find one of her new boyfriend’s books that she finds out that Thomas Rocher is dead. This graphic novel, translated from French, has great artwork and a good story, but it isn’t recommended for teens because it doesn’t have much teen appeal. Adults who read graphic novels will enjoy it though. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Porcupine of Truth

General YA Fiction

VG/A Konigsberg, Bill. Porcupine of Truth. Alfred A. Levine, 2015. 978-0-545-64893-6. 17.99.

Rather than getting to spend summer at home in New York, Carson is stuck in Billings, Montana with his mom and estranged father.  He has not seen his father in fourteen years, and who is now dying of alcoholism.  While his mom settles in, Carson is left at ZooMontana, where he befriends Aisha, the most beautiful girl he’s ever met.  The two become friends right away. When Carson finds out that Aisha has been living at the zoo ever since her father kicked her out for being lesbian, he invites her to stay with his family.  While the two are cleaning up, they discover papers about Carson’s grandparents –divorce papers and old letters.  Carson’s father claimed that his father, Russell Smith, abandoned him when he was young. His father just disappeared when he was seventeen and he never heard or saw him again.  Obviously, the disappearance of his father still haunts him, and despite Carson’s father’s plea to leave the past alone, Carson decides if there’s any chance of reuniting his father and grandfather before his father dies, he’s going to try his best.  So, Carson and Aisha set off together in Aisha’s red Dodge Neon with the “porcupine of truth” to embark on an unforgettable road trip, retracing the same journey that his grandfather took so many years before.  A heart-wrenching, inspiring novel by Konigsberg. Camille Campos, YA Librarian, Angeles Mesa Branch Library, LAPL



Thursday, August 6, 2015

Daughter of Deep Silence


YA Fiction

G/A Ryan, Carrie. Daughter of Deep Silence. Dutton, 2015. 378p. 978-0-525-42650-9. 17.99.

Frances Mace is one of only three survivors of the Persephone yacht disaster.  The other two are Senator Wells and his son, Grey.  At first, Frances is overjoyed when she learns that Grey has survived, but then realizes something is terribly wrong when Senator Wells and Grey claim that a large wave swallowed the Persephone. However, Frances knows the truth – that men with guns attacked the Persephone and massacred three hundred and twenty-seven people.  Frances has lost both her parents and her friend, Libby, in the aftermath. Frances is rescued by Libby’s father, and he decides that the only way to keep her safe is to have her assume Libby O’Martin’s identity.  Now four years later, France puts her plan into action. Intent on exposing the Senator and Grey and uncovering the truth of the massacre, Frances will stop at nothing to get revenge, even if it means hurting Grey, the boy she once fell in love with years ago.  Camille Campos, YA Librarian, Angeles Mesa Branch Library, LAPL

Illuminae: The Illuminae Files_01

YA Fiction

E/A Kaufman, Amie and Jay Kristoff. Illuminae: The Illuminae Files_01. Knopf, 2015. 608p. 978-0-533-49911-7. 18.99.

The day that Kady dumps Ezra – their whole world falls apart. Their remote mining colony, Kerenza, is attacked by a warship, the Lincoln, which is owned by a rival corporation—BeiTech Industries.  Kady and Ezra escape with their lives to end up on two different ships.  Kady and her mother are on the Hypatia, the scientific exploration vessel, while Ezra is on the battlecarrier Alexander and is later conscripted by the United Terran Authority, as a pilot for their Cyclone fighter crafts.  The Lincoln is relentlessly pursuing them, and it’s only a matter of time before it catches up to them.  Meanwhile, a deadly and highly contagious plague breaks out, and their artificial intelligence, AIDAN, seems to have gone mad and turned against them.  When Kady realizes that Ezra is stuck onboard the Alexander the ship where the virus is getting out of control, (even though she swore she never wanted to see or talk to him again) she risks everything to go and save him. A great sci-fi thriller illustrated and told as a dossier of memoranda, reports, emails, journal entries, intercepted messages and other “classified” documents.  Camille Campos, YA Librarian, LAPL, Angeles Mesa Branch Library


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Last of the Sandwalkers

Graphic Novel

VG/A  Hosler, Jay.  Last of the Sandwalkers.  First Second, 2015.  312p.  978-1-62672-024-4.  16.99


Jay Hosler is not only the author and artist of this book, but also a biology professor, and it shows in this great graphic novel. Lucy is one of 5 beetles that sets out from their home in New Coleopolis on a scientific expedition trying to discover if there is life outside of their small oasis. When they find a human skeleton they can’t believe their luck of discovering such a giant and unusual specimen. Professor Owen wants the credit for the discovery and to keep control of what information is brought back to their community, so he launches the other 4 beetles out of the area. Lucy and her 3 companions survive and land in a foreign place where they see and survive dyno-soars (birds), spiders, snakes and lots of other beetles. On their journey back they learn more about the history (and secrets) of New Coleopolis and the world outside of their community. Hosler manages to incorporate lots of scientific information about beetles and other creatures without making it feel like a science text. He also has a great section of annotations that are informative and funny and a resource guide for readers that want to know more. It’s a great graphic novel for all ages and interests. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tommy: The Gun That Changed America

Young Adult Non-Fiction

VG/A  Blumenthal, Karen.  Tommy: The Gun That Changed America.  Roaring Brook, 2015.  232p.  978-1-62672-084-8.  19.99


Blumenthal brings readers back to the 1920s and 1930s that she explored in her book, Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine and the Lawless Years of Prohibition, to discuss the invention of the Thompson submachine gun and its effects on the United States war on crime and gun laws. Although the Tommy submachine gun was originally invented to be used by the military, it was more likely to be seen in the hands of criminals. Blumenthal traces the history of the gun, from inception to production to its use by gangsters such as Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger and to the Department of Justice and NRA’s involvement in the creation of gun laws. It’s a fascinating look at an iconic weapon of the 20th century and how its’ invention led to debate over weapons that we still deal with today. Great resource for students interested in the time period, gun history, gangsters or gun control. Book includes many archival black & white photographs and a detailed bibliography. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Monday, August 3, 2015

HITLER'S LAST DAYS

GENERAL YA NONFICTION

G/A  O'Reilly, Bill.  Hitler's Last Days.  Holt, 2015.  306p.  978-1-62779-396-4.  19.99.  From his command post, an underground ti-level bunker, Hitler and his military advisers attempt last ditch efforts to establish an idealistic Aryan Germany.  Defeat, however, is imminent as American and European forces execute some definitive battles.  This adaptation from the author's Killing Patton
is filled primarily with descriptions of military maneuvers.  Format is handsome -- including news designed end-papers; a gallery of key participants; multiple historic b/w pictures; Hitler's "will"; and a detailed index.  Useful for studies involving WW II.
E.M. Roublow (ret.)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Orbiting Jupiter

General YA Fiction

VG/A Schmidt, Gary.  Orbiting Jupiter.  Clarion, 2015.  192p.  978-0544462229.  17.99


When Jack’s parents decide to foster 8th grader Joseph they know that he has had a rough past. Even though Jack’s friends all think he should stay away from Joseph, Jack befriends him anyway and they watch out for each other. Joseph is not a bad kid, he’s been through a lot in his short 14 years including fathering a child with a young girl that he loved. Jack and his family promise to help Joseph find his baby daughter, Jupiter. You can’t help but fall in love with Joseph, Jack and Jack’s parents (plus some of the teachers) in this book. Kleenex are necessary. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Secrets We Keep

High School Fiction

F/A  Leaver, Trisha. The Secrets We Keep.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015.  304p.  978-0374300463. 17.99


When identical twins Maddy and Ella are involved in a deadly car accident, Ella was driving Maddy’s car. When she wakes up in the hospital, everyone thinks that she is Maddy and that Ella died in the crash. Ella is confused and doesn’t bother to correct anyone, instead she decides that she will just be Maddy from now on, thinking that everyone loved her more anyway. Little does she know that Maddy has some secrets that even Ella didn’t know about. But how long can Ella pretend to be someone that clearly she is not? The premise is frustrating because it’s so unlikely that she could keep up the fa├žade (and why would she want to), but the writing is decent. Teens will love it, even if it’s not exactly plausible. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B

General Young Adult Fiction

G/A  Toten, Teresa.  The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B.  Delacorte Press, 2015.  304p.  978-0553507867.  17.99


From the moment Robyn Plummer walked into his teen OCD support group, Adam was in love. So much so, that he decides to start participating more and help both her and him get better. As Robyn’s health improves, Adam deteriorates, in part because his mother’s own mental illness worsens. While the book deals well with the issue of OCD and the fact that people are not always what they seem, the plot is lacking. It’s still a good read for teens that like realistic fiction or for teens potentially dealing with family or friends that suffer from OCD. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Ghosts of Heaven

Young Adult Fiction

G/A  Sedgwick, Marcus.  The Ghosts of Heaven.  Roaring Brook, 2015.  368p.  978-1-6268-2125-8.  17.99


This novel consists of four semi-interconnected short stories (that the author states can be read in any order). Each “quarter” takes place in a different time and place, but they all have one thing in common, a fear or obsession with spirals. From cave drawings to spinning tops to spiral staircases and spiraling through space, all the characters of the four stories are focused on the meaning of spirals and surviving their circumstances (although not all do). Each individual story is compelling, but it may all be a little too mysterious and philosophical for most teens. It may be better suited and appeal to adult readers more. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch Library

Monday, April 27, 2015

FOR SOCCER-CRAZY GIRLS ONLY

G/A  Downing, Erin.  For Soccer-Crazy Girls Only.  Feiwel, 2014.  145p.  978-1-250-04709-0.  15.99.  With much gung ho and rah-rah, there's information here that will genuinely appeal to female athletes dedicated to the game of soccer.  Enthusiasm and hard work are key elements for those who are already engaged in the sport.  There are adaptations of the game for those who are disabled and there's even a league -- in the U.S. -- for players who are homeless.  Beside advice on diet, exercise and strategies, there are mini-biographies on noted professional players (including a few men).  And there are brief histories and statistics related to the Olympics and World Cups.  Most of the tricolor pages (black, green, white) are illustrated with drawings and pictures.  Such a reasonable price makes this a worthwhile purchase for library collections in communities where soccer is popular.  As there is ample space provided for note taking, the title can also be given as a personal gift.  
E.M. Roublow (ret.)  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Try This! 50 Fun Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You

YA Non-Fiction/General YA G/A Young, Karen Romano. Try This! 50 Fun Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You. National Geographic, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-4263-17118, 160 p.; $16.99 Readers will find 50 fun and easy science experiments inside this colorful large size book. The experiments are listed by categories and they are easy and straight forward. This book will be good for supplementary reading or to be used as part of a STEAM (STEM) program. The fun categories include: Plants, Bugs and Microbes, People and other animals, Water, Reactions, Weird Physics, and Machines. Each experiment identifies the concepts of the science, how long it will take to do the experiment, and what is need for the exercise. With step by step instruction, it is easy to follow and complete the experiment. Also, author indicates what is expected from each experiment and their outcomes so that teachers or instructors will know ahead of time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler's Army

Young Adult/Adult Non-Fiction

G/A  Rauch, Georg.  Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army. FSG, 2015. 352p. 978-0-3743-0142-2.  17.99.


Georg Rauch was 19 in 1943 when he was drafted into the German Army. Even though his mother was anti-Hitler (and actively hiding Jews in the family attic) and the government knew he was a ¼ quarter Jewish, he had no choice but to join. Good with electronics, he was assigned to be on a communications squad on the Russian front. After 9 months on the front in Russia and Romania, Georg was captured. He spent the next almost year of his life, moving between POW camps and hospitals, before finally making his way back to Vienna. His memoir gives harrowing detail of all the suffering he went through and includes letters that he wrote to his family from Russia during the war. It provides an interesting and little known perspective from a German soldier not invested in the war, but forced to participate and the horrors of the battle in Russia. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America

Middle Grade Non-Fiction

G/A  Bartoletti, Susan Campbell.  Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America.  Houghton Mifflin, 2015.  240p.  978-0-544-31367-5. 17.99


There is not a lot of information about Mary Mellon available. We know she was Irish, worked as a cook and was a healthy carrier of the typhoid virus. After unknowingly infecting over 20 people with typhoid, Mary was nicknamed Typhoid Mary by the medical community. Bartoletti has pieced together Mary’s story, including her strong spirit and her confinement on North Brother Island. She also brings to light the fact that there were actually many healthy carriers of typhoid and none of them were treated as harshly as Mary was. The facts raise questions about differences in gender discrimination and civil rights. Book includes archival photographs, a timeline, notes and index. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch Library

Monday, February 23, 2015

Vanishing Girls

High School Fiction

VG/A  Oliver, Lauren.  Vanishing Girls. Harper Collins, 2015.  368p.  978-0-06222-410-1.  18.99.


Sisters Dara and Nick are no longer on speaking terms. After a terrible accident left popular Dara scarred and more responsible Nick feeling guilty, the sisters won’t even be in the same room at the same time. As Nick tries to make amends with her sister and come out of her shell at her new job at the amusement park, Dara goes missing. Now Nick is determined to find her and thinks her disappearance is related to another local missing girl. But not everything is as it seems and the plot twist at the end will surprise you. Teens (and adults) will devour this book. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

In Real Life

High School Graphic Novel

G/A  Doctorow, Cory.  In Real Life.  First Second, 2014.  175p.  978-1-59643-658-9.  17.99.


In Cory Doctorow’s first graphic novel, he explores the relationship between gaming and economics. When Anda joins the massive multi-player role-playing game, Coarsegold Online, she meets other hardcore gamers that absolutely hate gold farmers (players that mine for gold to be sold for cash and help others advance quicker). But when Anda befriends one of them, she learns that he is just a teenager like her that loves gaming but actually works as an online gold farmer in China to make money. As Anda struggles to help him, she learns how to live in both her real life and her very real Coarsegold life as well. The artwork is very clean and simple, which makes for an easy read. Either skip or read Doctorow’s heavy-handed introduction after finishing the graphic novel, otherwise it might scare you off. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth

Middle Grade Graphic Novel

G/A  Lendler, Ian.  Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth.  First Second, 2014.  74p.  978-1-59643-915-3.  12.99.


When the lights go out and the zookeeper goes home for the evening the animals all get together to watch a production of Macbeth. Macbeth is played by the king of the jungle himself, the lion. With quirky scenes from the audience, including the elephant blocking the audience’s view of the bloodiest scene while trying to find his seat, this graphic novel is a fun adaptation of the Shakespeare classic. Although geared towards a younger middle school audience, any fan of Shakespeare would enjoy this quick (and humorous) version of the tragic play. Stay tuned because next up in September 2015 the animals are back to perform Romeo and Juliet. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

The Wrenchies

Graphic Novel

F/A  Dalrymple, Farel. The Wrenchies.  First Second, 2014.  302p.  978-1-59643-421-9.  19.99.


The Wrenchies are a gang of teens in a post-apocalyptic world. They got their name from a comic book of the same title. In order to survive into adulthood, they must kill the shadowsmen who will turn them into monsters if they don’t cut off their heads first. When Hollis is transported via an amulet into the world of the Wrenchies he has to help them defeat the shadowsmen. The artwork is great, but the story is very hard to follow. It took over halfway through to even understand a little bit of the connection between all of the characters storylines. Many of the characters are interesting, but they aren’t developed enough. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch 

Hades Speaks!: A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead

Middle Grade Non-Fiction

G/A  Shecter, Vicky Alvear.  Hades Speaks!: A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead.  Boyds Mills Press, 2014.  128p.  978-1620915981.  16.95.


Hades, the Greek God of the Dead, leads readers on a tour of his dark underworld in this short, quirky non-fiction title. Told from his snarky point of view, Hades introduces us to the underworld and those that protect and guide people within, including ferryman Charon, guard “dog”, Cerebus and Hades’ wife, Persephone. Along the way he tells short tales about other deities and heroes that are in the underworld or have visited at some point, including Odysseus. Humor abounds, especially when Hades pokes fun at both Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. The book includes a guide to ancient gods and heroes, glossary, bibliography and index. Other books in the series include Egyptian God, Anubis and coming soon, Viking God, Thor. The titles serve as a great introduction to mythology for younger readers or a fun read for those already fascinated with it. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch