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

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


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


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