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, May 6, 2014

Teen Spirit

G/A  Block, Francesca.  Teen Spirit.  HarperTeen, 2014.  234p.  978-0-06-200809-1.  17.99. 

Right before Julie’s grandmother, Miriam, passed away she told her she had something to tell her, but never got to finish the sentence. Everything changes after her death. Julie’s mom loses her job and the house, forcing them to move and for Julie to start her senior year at a new school. When Julie and her new friend, Clark, try using a ouija board to contact her grandmother they bring back another ghost. The remainder of the book is spent finding clues to help Julie contact her grandmother’s ghost and sending the other ghost back to where he belongs. Along the way, Julie discovers love and herself. You don’t have to be a fan of the paranormal to enjoy this book, although a little suspension of disbelief will help. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch Library

Buried Beneath Us

Middle School Non-Fiction

F/A  Aveni, Anthony.  Buried Beneath Us: Discovering the Ancient Cities of the Americas.  Roaring Brook Press, 2013.  90p.  978-1-59643-567-4.  18.99.

What makes a city? That is what author, Anthony Aveni, attempts to explain in this middle school book. He discusses four different ancient cities in the Americas with four different cultures that archeologists and anthropologists have been studying for years. Discussion includes daily life, religion, how the cities grew and then were eventually destroyed and what we can learn from them. The topic is interesting, but the author often jumps from city to city, making it hard for the reader to remember which city/culture he is referring to. The answers to the questions he poses are not easily found in the text. Better organization of the information would have made the book more reader-friendly. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch Library

Sunday, May 4, 2014



G/A  Jarrow, Gail.  Red Madness.  Calkins Creek, 2014.  978-1-59078-732-8.  16.95.
Red skin rashes, sore mouths, diarrhea and mental deterioration were annual springtime symptoms of "pellagra" during the early 1900's.  This rampant disease was most obvious in the American South and usually lead to death.  Approximately 50 years of experiments plus trial and error hypotheses revealed that pellagra occurred in vitamin deficient diets -- particularly niacin.  As a handsome, non-technical health history, the book includes patient episodes, a timeline, both the author's notes and chapter notes, a bibliography, detailed index and credits for the multiple black and white pictures.    E.M. Roublow