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Book reviews by library staff and guest contributors

Deciding what to try first

Cover of Chinese menu : The History
A review of Chinese menu : The History, Myths, and Legends Behind your Favorite Foods by Grace Lin

This book should come with a warning - it is going to make you hungry. I ordered take out when I was about half way through, and again when I finished and I would like to try pretty much everything mentioned in this book.

Grace Lin does a fantastic job combining food, history, myth, and personal stories  in this collection of stories of Chinese and American Chinese cuisine. 

Apr 19, 2024

Dream or memory?

Cover of The Berry Pickers: A Novel
A review of The Berry Pickers: A Novel by Amanda Peters

A Mi'kmaq family travels from Novia Scotia to Maine to pick blueberries every summer. They arrive seasonally and live near the fields in a warm and inviting cabin. One summer, their four-year-old daughter May goes missing in broad daylight sending the family into a decades-long cycle of heartbreak and trauma that changes the family dynamic forever. 

Apr 17, 2024

Road trip fun?

Cover of Huda F Cares
A review of Huda F Cares by Huda Fahmy

With summer just over the horizon, who doesn’t love a good family road trip story? In this sequel to Huda F Are You?, the Fahmy family travels to Disney World, where hijinks and chaos ensue – including a fight between Huda and a boy who makes fun of her hijab. Huda F Cares is an easy-to-love graphic novel, every bit as hilarious, heartwarming, and thoughtful as its predecessor.

--reviewed by Ros

Apr 16, 2024

Aghybogey life

Cover of Big Girl, Small Town
A review of Big Girl, Small Town by Michelle Gallen

Majella O'Neill lives in the small town Aghybogey in Northern Ireland that has been torn apart by The Troubles that have only recently "ended". To say that the Troubles have ended is a bit of a misnomer. Certainly the violent attacks between Catholics and Protestants have stopped for the most part, but the lingering divide between the factions continues. As the townsfolk go about their lives in this recovery period Majella observes it all from her job in a chip shop (the Catholic one, naturally).

Apr 15, 2024

Two holidays, one family

Cover of Two New Years
A review of Two New Years by Richard Ho
Lynn Scurfield

This beautiful picture book tells the story of a family who celebrates two New Years - Rosh Hashanah in the fall and Lunar New Year in the spring.

The simple text details the any differences between these two holidays - for example, one follows the Jewish calendar and one follows the Chinese calendar - as well as some of the similarities - both inspire delicious dishes! Bold colorful illustrations are full of cheerful details, and this is a great book for kids who celebrate these New Years to see themselves represented, or for anyone to learn more about different holidays.

Apr 12, 2024

Middle school truth

Cover of Picture Day
A review of Picture Day by Sarah Sax

It's school picture day at Brinkley Middle School and Viv decides to shake things up by giving herself a haircut. In the bathroom. While waiting for her turn to have her photo taken. This is brave, bold, and possibly regrettable. But Viv embraces the change. When her mom schedules an emergency appointment at a salon to have her hair "fixed," Viv shares her vision with the stylist and ends up with a cool angled bob. She becomes famous for being true to herself, even though the road was a little bumpy at first.

Apr 8, 2024

Secrets and lies

Cover of Ace of Spades
A review of Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Chiamaka and Devon, two Black students at a prestigious high school, couldn't be more different from each other. Devon's goal is to keep his head down until he can get into Juilliard; Chiamaka, to claw her way up the social ladder and graduate as homecoming queen. That makes it all the more mysterious when they're targeted by an anonymous saboteur named Aces. Aces's meddling starts with rumors spread throughout the halls, but escalates into a dangerous game that could ruin the students' futures forever.

Apr 5, 2024

The rich, they are different

Cover of The Other Half
A review of The Other Half by Charlotte Vassell

There has to be something very satisfying about killing off a rich person. The mystery genre’s very foundations rests on the corpses of the well-to-do; that any hereditary titles survived the Golden Age is astonishing. Those plump inheritances, the isolated country houses and silently judgmental domestic staff, often coupled with a victim and cadre of suspects that usually don’t generate too much sympathy (they did have a pretty comfy existence before the fatally poisoned claret, after all)—the mystery basically writes itself.

Apr 3, 2024


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