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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I'll Give You the Sun

High School Fiction

E/A  Nelson, Jandy.  I'll Give You the Sun.  Dial, 2014.  384p.  978-0803734968.  17.99.

Artistic twins Jude and Noah have always been close, but lately they seem to be drifting apart. In this original novel, the story unfolds from both of their perspectives, but in Noah's chapters the twins are 13 and in Jude's they are 16. Eventually the reader learns what changed between them during that time period and if they can find their way back to each other. This is realistic fiction at it's best. It's an honest portrayal of growing up, relationships, family and forgiveness. I'll be recommending this one to teens and adults, since I think everyone will fall in love with the characters and story like I did. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch Library

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Andre the Giant: Life and Legend

YA/Adult Graphic Novel

G/A  Brown, Box.  Andre the Giant: Life and Legend.  First Second, 2014.  240p.  978-1-59643-851-4.  17.99.

Andre the Giant was one of the pioneers of professional wrestling. This graphic biography covers his life from boyhood (having to ride in the back of trucks because he couldn't fit in the cab) to his wrestling career, film debut (in Princess Bride) and death. Andre suffered from acromegaly, which caused him to age prematurely and continue to grow his whole life. Even through the pain (and heavy drinking) he continued to wrestle past his life expectancy. Unless your teen patrons are interested in the history of professional wrestling, this book will have more appeal to an adult audience, who is already familiar with Andre the Giant. Some of the content is questionable for teens as well, including bad language, violence and racism. Otherwise, the artwork is great and it's an interesting read about a man who was literally larger than life. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch Library

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave

Juvenile/Middle School Fiction

G/A  Boyne, John.  Stay Where You Are and Then Leave.  Henry Holt, 2014.  245p.  978-1-62779-031-4.  16.99

World War I started on Alfie's 5th birthday and the following day his Dad decides to volunteer, much to the dismay of his family. When the letters stop coming and 4 years have passed, Alfie is told that his father is on a secret mission, but Alfie thinks his father has died. While Alfie spends his days secretly shining shoes at the train station he discovers that his father is actually in England, only a few hours from home, in a hospital suffering from shell shock. Alfie decides to rescue him. Some of the English terms and content make it hard to imagine this book in the hands of a child, but a middle school student with an historical fiction assignment would enjoy it. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch Library

Monday, September 1, 2014



G/A  Cooper, Michael L.  Fighting Fire!  Holt, 2014.  128p.  978-0-8050-9714-6.  19.99.  Through ten horrific episodes of fires -- including New York's 9/11; Chicago's Great Fire of 1871; and San Francisco's 1906 fire, "ignited" in the aftermath of an earthquake -- we learn some history of firefighting.  Bucket brigades, simple hose carts and volunteer fire companies are a few of the early forerunners of today's safety codes, continuously updated equipment and professional firefighters.  Approximately 30 pages are devoted to a gallery of fire engines, a list of fire museums, internet sites, a glossary, an extensive bibliography, supplemental titles, source notes and an index.  This title could be handed to a student who expresses admiration for and/or shows an interest in preparing for fire service.   E.M. Roublow (ret.)