Back to top


Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Stepping into the story

Cover of Once Upon a Book
A review of Once Upon a Book by Grace Lin and Kate Messner

Step into this colorful book adventure! Authors Grace Lin & Kate Messner pull us into the pages in Once Upon a Book. A young girl wishes it wasn’t “so frozen and gray” and – suddenly! – finds herself stepping into the pages of a tropical wonderland. Flamingos, colorful flowers and more greet her. In exploring each new world (from riding a camel through the desert to swimming in an underwater reef to soaring with the clouds in the sky) she realizes that what she wants most of all is to be back in her cozy home with her mom and dad.

May 19, 2023

A little magic, some swashbuckling and a ball

Cover of Newt's Emerald
A review of Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix

I stumbled across this young adult gem as a read-alike to Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen. A smart, exciting mix of Regency and fantasy, "Newt" refers to Lady Truthful Newington and her "emerald" is a magical heirloom stolen during a family party on her eighteenth birthday. The precious stone's properties are properly harnessed only by the owning family which puts the Newington's in peril of misfortune and possibly worse if the jewel gets into the wrong hands.

May 16, 2023

One Wager lost, but this Wager is a winner

Cover of The Wager: A Tale of Shipw
A review of The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann

David Grann is an author who doesn’t like to rush into releasing work—his last full-length book appeared in 2017—but he continually proves that whatever he writes is worth the wait. The bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon and The Lost City of Z has a knack for finding little-known but intense and compelling stories in the dustiest corners of history, and his latest is no exception.

May 15, 2023

Knight Owl

Cover of Knight Owl
A review of Knight Owl by Christopher Denise

All young Owl has ever hoped and dreamed of is becoming a knight, but it was just a dream until suddenly knights begin disappearing from the castle. Taking advantage of this staffing shortage, Owl applies to Knight School and to everyone's surprise, he is accepted! He studies and works hard - even a small shield is tough for him to hold - and after graduating with honor, he is assigned to the Knight Night Watch. Other knights usually fell asleep during these long shifts, but Owl is very good at it. Until one night he hears a strange whooshing sound... 

May 12, 2023

Not the only one

Cover of My Brother is Away
A review of My Brother is Away by Sara Greenwood, illustrated by Luisa Uribe

This book is dedicated by Sara Greenwood “for the child I was and the child you are - hope, healing, love, light.” When Sara’s brother was away in prison when she was growing up, this book did not exist. Yet, like the little girl in this story realizes when they go to visit her big brother, “I see I’m not the only one whose brother is away.” In the children’s book world, we talk of books both as windows and mirrors - windows to better understand the experiences of those different from us, and mirrors to see our own experiences and feelings reflected and supported.

May 11, 2023


Cover of Gibberish
A review of Gibberish by Young Vo

"First Dat sailed on a boat, then flew on a plane..." and now Dat is starting a new school where everyone speaks gibberish and he can't understand a word. Feeling lost and alone, Dat soon makes a friend - after all, play is a universal language! Slowly Dat starts to learn new words and begins to feel at home in his new environment. This book shines in the illustrations - all the gibberish is represented by speech bubbles filled with symbols, and while Dat is illustrated in color, his surroundings start out as black and white cartoons.

May 8, 2023

Taking back their nights

Cover of Women Talking
A review of Women Talking by Miriam Toews

Based on a real events, Toews' slim, powerful novel is true to its name. One evening eight Mennonite women living in an isolated community in Bolivia meet to discuss and make a choice that will change their lives irrevocably - whatever they decide. These eight women, along with more than a hundred other girls and women in their community have been suffering repeated sexual violations for years. And while that is devastating, and it has been devastating to them, the fact that it's members of their own community who have perpetrated these horrors makes their situation that much worse.

May 4, 2023

Getting feelings under control in the great outdoors

Cover of Highly Suspicious and Unfa
A review of Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert

Celine Bangura dreams of landing a coveted spot in a prestigious mentorship program. Her grades are tops and her popular conspiracy theory TikTok attracts thousands of followers. Unfortunately, there's one thing standing in her way: Bradley Graeme. Best friends for years, Celine and Brad parted ways when Brad wanted to expand his friendship circle and Celine felt heartbroken and left behind. Making matters worse, Bradley's friends treat Celine horribly.

May 1, 2023


Subscribe to MADreads