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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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 

The Fixer

High School Fiction

VG/A Barnes, Jennifer Lynn. The Fixer. Bloomsbury, 2015. 372p. 978-1-61963-594-4. 17.99.

Uprooted from her life in Montana when her grandfather becomes too ill to take care of her, Tess Kendrick is forced to move in with her estranged sister in Washington, D.C. After enrolling in the esteemed Hardwicke School, where the children of the nation’s capital elite attend, Tess learns that her sister, Ivy, is a fixer”, someone who fixes the problems of D.C.’s politicians.  Without meaning to, Tess soon develops a reputation for being her high school’s resident fixer, after helping the vice president’s daughter out of a terrible situation.  Her new friend, Vivvie, comes to her, confessing that she overhead her father’s conversation and suspects him of having done something dreadful, connecting him to a Supreme Court justice’s recent death.  In investigating, Tess finds herself embroiled in the machinations of Washington and surrounded by secrets and lies that soon turn dangerous.  Barnes weaves a clever tale of secrets, cover-ups, conspiracies, and political intrigue.  Camille Keo Campos, LAPL, Angeles Mesa Branch   

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Raven King: Raven Cycle Series #4

YA Fiction

E/A. Stiefvater, Maggie. The Raven King: Raven Cycle Series #4. Scholastic, 2016. 439p. 978-0-545-42498-1. 18.99.

The Raven King is the fourth and final installment of Maggie Stiefvater’s amazing and beautifully written Raven Cycle series.  Richard Gansey III has been on a quest for the lost king Owen Glendower for years, and with his friends Adam, Ronin, Noah, and Blue, his search is drawing ever closer to the discovery of Glendower.  However, there is an evil force working against them, unmaking the very essence of Cabeswater, the mystical forest in Henrietta. Even Ronin’s dreams have been corrupted by this mysterious darkness.  Can Blue, Gansey, and the other Raven boys discover a way to save the forest and save Gansey from his foretold fate? Camille Keo Campos, LAPL, Angeles Mesa Branch 

Gemina: The Illuminae Files_02

YA Fiction

E/A. Kaufman, Amie and Jay Kristoff. Gemina: The Illuminae Files_02. Knopf, 2016. 672p. 978-0-533-49915-5. 19.99.

The sequel to Illuminae picks up the action in the aftermath of the Kerenza colony’s destruction. The only survivors on board the Hypatia are making their way to Jump station, Heimdall, a space station that maintains and operates the wormhole leading to core space.  However, BeiTech Industries has sent an assault fleet to intercept and destroy the Hypatia and a second one to secure the Heimdall station.  It is up to Hanna Donnelly, the privileged daughter of the space station’s commander and Niklas Malikov, a convicted criminal from a notorious crime family, to stop the invaders.  With deadly alien parasites on the loose and the impending collapse of the wormhole, they’re in a race to not only save themselves, but also the fate of the universe. A well-crafted, visually captivating book, Gemina is full of fast moving action and mind-blowing plot twists that will keep readers engaged and on the edge of their seats. Camille Keo Campos, LAPL, Angeles Mesa Branch 

Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey

High School Graphic Memoir

VG/A  Samanci, Ozge.  Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey.  FSG, 2015.  190p.  978-0-374-31698-3.  16.99.

In graphic novel format, Ozge Samanci shares the story of her school days, from childhood to college in Turkey, during a time of great change in that country. While Ozge thinks she wants to follow in her older sister’s footsteps and please her father, she also must be herself and follow her own path. Mixed in with the great drawings are collages and photographs of ephemera, including stamps, buttons and letters. Ozge’s story is filled with funny moments that lighten the much more serious, political turmoil of the time period. Although it is a coming-of-age story, there are references (and drawings) of some violent acts, so this memoir is better suited for high school students. It would be a great addition for libraries where Persepolis is popular. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch