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MADreads

Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Portals to the unknown

Cover of Exit West
A review of Exit West by Moshin Hamid

This is Portland, Oregon's "Everybody Reads" book for 2018, so I was reading it for a book group discussion. Nadia and Saeed first meet at a class; slowly we are drawn into their world in an unnamed country teetering between a secular government and a fundamentalist takeover. They fall in love and hope to have a normal life in their country, but as things get more and more dangerous they begin to search for a way out.

May 22, 2018

A Celebration of Girls

Cover of I Am Enough
A review of I Am Enough by Grace Byers

A beautiful picture book celebrating girls! Simple text, "Like the sun, I'm here to shine. Like the voice, I am here to sing," make the book accessible to preschool aged children. The use of similes make it something that early elementary school students will enjoy and can think of wonderful things to compare themselves to. The main character and a diverse mix of friends are shown singing, playing, studying, and even falling and getting back up again. Some of the rhymes don't quite work, but the book still has a lovely message of love, helping, and celebrating who you are.

May 18, 2018

For the young "Hamilton" fan

Cover of Sophia's war : a tale of t
A review of Sophia's war : a tale of the Revolution by Avi

Newberry Medalist, Avi, writes a gripping story of the American Revolutionary War through the eyes of Sophia Calderwood.  Sophia, a well-educated young lady, lives with her parents in British occupied New York.  Her beloved older brother is a captured soldier in the Continental Army and her parents are secretly committed to the cause of the American Patriots.  Sophia, herself an ardent Patriot, wants nothing more than to help the cause and free her brother from a horrific British prison.  She is enlisted as a spy; however, the plot she uncovers is almost too outrageous to believe!  Can Soph

May 11, 2018

Cold cases and basket cases

Cover of The Awkward Squad
A review of The Awkward Squad by Sophie Henaff

Anne Capestan knew she’d be punished for her itchy trigger finger, but the sentence is like no other she’d ever heard of. After firing one too many bullets, the Parisian police commissaire was lucky to still have her job, but is stunned when she learns that she is to lead a new police squad in charge of cold cases. But Capestan’s squad consists entirely of the police officers that have run afoul of the police judiciare, and since they cannot be fired, they can at least be relegated to some brigade, starved of funds and support until they quit in frustration.

May 9, 2018

Starting Over

Cover of The Ethan I was Before
A review of The Ethan I was Before by Ali Standish

Ethan and his family are getting a fresh start in the hot, coastal town of Palm Knot, Georgia, or at least they are trying to. While there's a promise of finding new friends and rebuilding family relationships, Ethan's guilt of who he was and what he did continues to haunt him. Whispered phone calls at night, family secrets and the secrets of his possible new best friend, Coralee, ultimately contribute to Ethan's understanding of the importance of remembering and forgiveness. This is a capably written story that discusses death, forgiveness, and the effects of guilt on a young mind.

May 4, 2018

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