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, August 8, 2014


G/A  Matson, Lynne.  Nil.  Henry Holt, 2014.  376p.  978-0-8050-9771-9.  17.99.

There's a flash of heat and when Charley wakes up she's naked and alone in a strange place. After 12 days, she finally runs into some other teens and finds out that she is on the island of Nil. No one knows how or why they are there, but they do know that they only have 365 to escape through a "gate" before they perish. "Gates" come once a day and only one living thing can go through each one. Charley develops a relationship with Thad, whose days on Nil are numbered. Told in alternating viewpoints from Charley and Thad, you get to know the characters better, although their voices are pretty similar. Even though there are several holes in the story and a lot of questions left unanswered, this science fiction debut is an adventurous story. Fans of television shows like Lost or Survivor will definitely enjoy this novel. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch Library

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Pure Grit: How American WW2 Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific

YA Non-Fiction

VG/A  Farrell, Mary Cronk.  Pure Grit: How American WW2 Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in the Pacific.  Abrams, 2014.  160p.  978-1-4197-1028-5.  24.95.

In December 1941, the Japanese attacked the Philippines where thousands of United States Army and Navy soldiers were stationed, along with over 100 Army nurses. The nurses were not prepared for a war zone. By 1942, the nurses were all considered POWs and were forced into internment camps in Manila. With limited food and many sick people, the nurses persevered and worked hard until they were finally liberated in February 1945. Unfortunately, they were not recognized by the military as the heroes that they were when they first returned to the United States. This book chronicles the experiences of these heroic nurses. It includes archival photos, a glossary, timeline, list of nurses, bibliography and index. The only problem with the book is in the editing, there were several chapter headings with the wrong year listed, which made the reading a little confusing at times. Otherwise it was a fascinating read and look at a little recognized piece of World War 2 history. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial

Monday, August 4, 2014



V/M  O'Reilly, Bill.  Last Days of Jesus.  Henry Holt, 2014.  298p  978-0-8050-9877-8.  19.99.  Jesus' life, from birth through crucifixion, unfolds among many black and white drawings in this youth edition of the author's KILLING JESUS…  There are also fifteen pages of color illustrations that show a scale replica model of ancient Jerusalem's Temple Complex -- complete with clay figures.  This prose version  of biblical scriptures is a very comfortable read for both young teens and adults.  Additionally, there are approximately thirty-five pages of mini--chapters that cover information relative to:  the Jewish calendar; Dead Sea Scrolls; Roman Religion, Twenty-First-Century Jerusalem sites, etc.  Families can easily enjoy the significance of this era of history together.  (An independent audio version -- read by Edward Herrmann -- is superb.)    E.M. Roublow (ret.)