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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Monday, February 23, 2015

Vanishing Girls

High School Fiction

VG/A  Oliver, Lauren.  Vanishing Girls. Harper Collins, 2015.  368p.  978-0-06222-410-1.  18.99.

Sisters Dara and Nick are no longer on speaking terms. After a terrible accident left popular Dara scarred and more responsible Nick feeling guilty, the sisters won’t even be in the same room at the same time. As Nick tries to make amends with her sister and come out of her shell at her new job at the amusement park, Dara goes missing. Now Nick is determined to find her and thinks her disappearance is related to another local missing girl. But not everything is as it seems and the plot twist at the end will surprise you. Teens (and adults) will devour this book. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

In Real Life

High School Graphic Novel

G/A  Doctorow, Cory.  In Real Life.  First Second, 2014.  175p.  978-1-59643-658-9.  17.99.

In Cory Doctorow’s first graphic novel, he explores the relationship between gaming and economics. When Anda joins the massive multi-player role-playing game, Coarsegold Online, she meets other hardcore gamers that absolutely hate gold farmers (players that mine for gold to be sold for cash and help others advance quicker). But when Anda befriends one of them, she learns that he is just a teenager like her that loves gaming but actually works as an online gold farmer in China to make money. As Anda struggles to help him, she learns how to live in both her real life and her very real Coarsegold life as well. The artwork is very clean and simple, which makes for an easy read. Either skip or read Doctorow’s heavy-handed introduction after finishing the graphic novel, otherwise it might scare you off. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth

Middle Grade Graphic Novel

G/A  Lendler, Ian.  Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: Macbeth.  First Second, 2014.  74p.  978-1-59643-915-3.  12.99.

When the lights go out and the zookeeper goes home for the evening the animals all get together to watch a production of Macbeth. Macbeth is played by the king of the jungle himself, the lion. With quirky scenes from the audience, including the elephant blocking the audience’s view of the bloodiest scene while trying to find his seat, this graphic novel is a fun adaptation of the Shakespeare classic. Although geared towards a younger middle school audience, any fan of Shakespeare would enjoy this quick (and humorous) version of the tragic play. Stay tuned because next up in September 2015 the animals are back to perform Romeo and Juliet. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch

The Wrenchies

Graphic Novel

F/A  Dalrymple, Farel. The Wrenchies.  First Second, 2014.  302p.  978-1-59643-421-9.  19.99.

The Wrenchies are a gang of teens in a post-apocalyptic world. They got their name from a comic book of the same title. In order to survive into adulthood, they must kill the shadowsmen who will turn them into monsters if they don’t cut off their heads first. When Hollis is transported via an amulet into the world of the Wrenchies he has to help them defeat the shadowsmen. The artwork is great, but the story is very hard to follow. It took over halfway through to even understand a little bit of the connection between all of the characters storylines. Many of the characters are interesting, but they aren’t developed enough. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch 

Hades Speaks!: A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead

Middle Grade Non-Fiction

G/A  Shecter, Vicky Alvear.  Hades Speaks!: A Guide to the Underworld by the Greek God of the Dead.  Boyds Mills Press, 2014.  128p.  978-1620915981.  16.95.

Hades, the Greek God of the Dead, leads readers on a tour of his dark underworld in this short, quirky non-fiction title. Told from his snarky point of view, Hades introduces us to the underworld and those that protect and guide people within, including ferryman Charon, guard “dog”, Cerebus and Hades’ wife, Persephone. Along the way he tells short tales about other deities and heroes that are in the underworld or have visited at some point, including Odysseus. Humor abounds, especially when Hades pokes fun at both Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. The book includes a guide to ancient gods and heroes, glossary, bibliography and index. Other books in the series include Egyptian God, Anubis and coming soon, Viking God, Thor. The titles serve as a great introduction to mythology for younger readers or a fun read for those already fascinated with it. Loren Spector, LAPL, Memorial Branch