Scripted – Maya Rock

51rLvqVzFrL      Scripted – Maya Rock, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, (9780399257339), 2015.

Format:  Hardcover

Genre: Realistic fiction

Rating: 4

What did you like about the book? This was an original concept. With all the dystopian out there, Maya Rock mixed it up by adding reality TV. I enjoyed the peek into a “reality” tv show and Rock kept the tension building by increasing the pressure on the characters to be entertaining enough to bring in ratings. If they were cut, the Characters would be immediately removed and would face an unknown future. I really liked the main character Nettie who keeps on looking for answers about the cut Characters’ futures even when her ratings soar and her plot lines start giving her everything she’s dreamed of.

What didn’t you like about the book? The author tried to take a shortcut in world building by using made up slang, but some of the phrases were hard for me to define. For example, the word “fralling” was used extensively and a definition wasn’t given until page 122. I felt the end resolution came a little too easily and the opposing force of Media1 didn’t put up much of a fight, but it was still a good read.

To whom would you recommend this book? Fans of lighter dystopian books

Who should buy this book? YA collections

Where would you shelve it and why? YA

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Susan Ramsbottom, Assistant Circulation Librarian, Hudson Public Library, Hudson, MA

Date of review: 7/27/2015

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George written by Alex Gino

31f6dny4nOL  George written by Alex Gino, Published by Scholastic Press, (9780545812542), 2015

Format: Paperback

Rating: 5

Genre: Realistic Fiction

What did you like about the book? George is an important book. There are so few chapter books on kids dealing with being gay or transgender, and George tackles the topic with sensitivity and delicacy. Author Gino skillfully handles George’s absolute certainty of being a girl, while stuck in a body that the world sees as a boy. The book’s plot centers on a school production of Charlotte’s Web, with George desperately wanting to be Charlotte – but being shot down by the teacher in a charge for daring to audition for a girl’s part. George’s quest to be Charlotte ends up revealing her true identity to her best friend, mom, and brother; their reactions encompass doubt and fear, but resolve into gentle acceptance. One of the key scenes is a conversation between George and Mom: Mom expresses her fears about how hard it’s going to be for George to be different from everyone else . . . and George counters with, “Trying to be a boy is really hard”. Cue tears from Mom and a big hug.

What didn’t you like about the book? Nothing. Absolutely loved it!

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is just right for that 8-12 year old that’s feeling different or is trying to understand a friend or family member’s situation.

Who should buy this book? School & public libraries

Where would you shelve it and why? Children’s/Chapter Books

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Please!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Robin Fosdick, Morse Institute Library, Natick, MA

Date of review: 7/27/15

 

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High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs – Lisa Kahn Schnell, Illustrated by Alan Marks

51u8gfWubkL      High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs – Lisa Kahn Schnell, Illustrated by Alan Marks, Charlesbridge, (9781580896047),   2015

Format:  Hardcover

Rating: 5

What did you like about the book? Two-page spreads and a minimum of text illustrate the life of horseshoe crabs so simply, yet succinctly, that a young child can understand and appreciate. Two page of further explanation follow the story.

What didn’t you like about the book? Nothing at all!

To whom would you recommend this book? I would recommend this book to everyone, as it is interesting, informative and attractive and could serve as a jumping-off place for further exploration.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries and elementary schools

Where would you shelve it and why? 595.4

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Where subject matter for a younger audience is needed, yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

Date of review: 7/25/2015

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We Are All Made of Molecules – Susin Nielsen

61T5Uq+eYPL   We Are All Made of Molecules – Susin Nielsen, Random House, (9780553496864), 2015.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5:  3

Genre:  Realistic fiction

What did you like about the book?  Stewart is “different”, brilliant and endearing but socially awkward. Several years after Stewart’s mom died from cancer, he still misses her terribly. When he learns that he and his father will be moving in with his father’s girlfriend and her daughter, he is cautiously optimistic as he pictures a sort of mini-Brady Bunch. On the other hand, Ashley, his new “sister” is horrified. She has kept secret from her friends the true reason that her dad and mom divorced – her dad is gay. She is still furious with him for breaking up their family, and also wants nothing to do with Stewart and his dad. Chapters alternate between Stewart and Ashley as they deal with an ambitious set of “issues” –death of a parent, gay parent coming out, bullying, divorce, mean girls, and date rape. Readers will want to find out how Stewart, Ashley, and their parents work their way towards becoming a family.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  Stewart was a little too perfect and Ashley too horrible to seem believable. The party scene near the end is uncomfortably explicit, and it strained belief that these parents, knowing their children’s respective limitations, would leave these particular teens alone like that.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to young people who have had to move or combine families and to students who enjoy “issue” books. Molecules is reminiscent of Wonder, with its multiple viewpoints, its hero who is outside the norm, and its message of tolerance for those who are different.

Who should buy this book?  Middle school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  No.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  7/24/15

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The Leveller written by Julia Durango

514GOKlEZWL     The Leveller written by Julia Durango, Published by Harper Teen, 9780062314000, 2015.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 4.5

Genre: Action/thriller.

What did you like about the book? Fast paced thriller that kept me turning the pages; I read the last few pages of a chapter while walking home as I just HAD to know what happened. Strong female character; good plot; teen equivalent of a James Patterson thriller. Very happy I have this title on order!

What didn’t you like about the book? Plot resolution was a bit too quick – could have used one more chapter. I liked the characters and would have liked more resolution or a hint of a sequel.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Teens that enjoy action/adventure and thrillers, especially Alex Rider or Ally Carter’s Gallagher Girls. Main character is a girl, but it’s set in a gaming world, so guys may want to read it, too.

Who should buy this book? Public libraries.

Where would you shelve it and why? Teen Fiction

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Sure.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Robin Fosdick, Morse Institute Library, Natick, MA

Date of review: 7/24/15

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Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert

41uY3QMGDqL      Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert, Disney Hyperion, (9781423197386), 2015
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 1-5 (5 is excellent or a Starred review) 3
Genre:  YA Realistic Fiction
What did you like about the book? Braden is a young boy with a strict radio-preacher father and a distant step-brother living as a restaurant manager in NYC.  When Braden’s father is arrested for the murder of a cop, he begins trying to reconnect with his brother Trey who comes to be his guardian and wrestles with his faith, his feelings for a girl, and his moral compass. It’s a bit “Find Your Self” mixed with “What is God/Faith? And How do you love a person you’ve always been told is a “sinner”?” mixed with “Baseball Is Awesome And Can Help You Find the Meaning Of Life”.
Anything you didn’t like about it? This was a mix of compelling writing that kept me engaged all the way to the end; and long passages about God and/or Baseball that I had to eventually start skimming to get past.
To whom would you recommend this book?  It will definitely appeal to fans of Christian fiction and fans of baseball; and may also enjoy a bit of readership with coming-of-age story-fans who don’t mind large sections of those two topics.
Who should buy this book? High Schools, Large public libraries
Where would you shelve it? YA Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: April Duclos, Hudson Public Library, Hudson, MA
Date of review: 7/24/15
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Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box – Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, Illustrated by James E. Ransome

61OycnM0+VL   Granddaddy’s Turn: A Journey to the Ballot Box – Michael S. Bandy and Eric Stein, Illustrated by James E. Ransome, Candlewick Press, (9780763665937), 2015.

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5:  5

Genre:  Picture Book

What did you like about the book? An African-American boy remembers the day he and his grandfather dressed up for a special occasion; his grandfather was going to vote for the first time under a new law that had just been passed. When they get to the polls, they wait while white folks go ahead of them because “that’s just how things worked where we lived.” Before getting to vote, his grandfather is given a difficult passage to read and his blank ballot is torn up when he cannot tell what it says. Though both are angry, Granddaddy urges his grandson to have patience. When the young man votes for the first time years later, he holds a photo of his grandfather who has passed on without ever getting the chance himself, but whose hope has now been fulfilled. Warm, autumnal colors add to the pensive feel of the story. An author’s note further explains the practice of barring people of color from voting by imposing arbitrary restrictions to block them. This is a timely reminder and warning given recent changes in legislation regarding voting rights.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommend to teachers to use as an introduction to the topic of civil rights in America.  Pair with Because They Marched or Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, the Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement which contain a similar message of gratitude to those who worked for civil rights in the past.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it? Shelve with the other Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Not necessary.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  7/24/15

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