Tag Archives: young adult fiction

Book review: Code Name Verity

ImageWe’ve neglected this blog over the busy summer, but we’re back now and we have plenty to share! Over the next few weeks we’ll be posting about some of our favorite books from this summer, starting with one that absolutely blew us away: Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein.

Librarians don’t like to tell people they have to read something – reading is a highly personal endeavour, after all, and the book that makes one person swoon may make another want to throw something. Our motto is: a good book is a book you enjoy. If you’re not enjoying it, it’s not the book for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect book for someone else.

But occasionally, a book comes along that makes us want to break this rule.

So this is why we’re daring to respectfully suggest that perhaps, maybe, possibly you might wish to consider reading Code Name Verity.

Why? What makes this book so special?

That’s a hard question to answer, because almost anything we could say about this book could be a spoiler, and this is a book where spoilers matter – really matter.

Here’s what we can tell you:

Code Name Verity is a story about the incredible bravery and indomitable spirits of a girl spy and a girl pilot during World War II. It’s about friendship and loyalty, sacrifice and love. It’s about enemies and unexpected allies, deception and truth wrapped so tightly together it’s hard to tell which is which. And if you’re anything like us, it will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, terrified for the fate of the characters but unable to stop reading.

This is a story that may cause tears, but I for one wouldn’t take even one of them back.

“But I have told the truth. Isn’t that ironic? They sent me because I am so good at telling lies. But I have told the truth.”

―  Code Name Verity

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Rapid Reviews: what we’ve been reading

  •  Here Lies Arthur, By Philip Reeve
    A new way to look at the classic tale of King Arthur, this time through the eyes of Gwynna, a young girl rescued by the master storyteller himself, Myrrdin.
  •  Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling
    You might know Mindy from her role in The Office, but she wears a lot of other hats as well – comedy writer, off- Broadway performer, playwright. This book is part memoir, part essay, and all fun!
  • The Lacemaker and the Princess, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley Set in the time of the French revolution, Bradley writes with a wonderful voice for both the time period and the social status of her protagonist… a young lacemaker named Isabelle who becomes the unlikely friend of a princess.
  • Building the Great Cathedrals, by Francois Icher
    Ever wondered how our medieval ancestors built such soaring, intricate structures? In a blend of illustrations, photographs, and text, this book will show you the process all the way from the job of the most skilled architect to the lowliest stone-cutter.

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Book Review: Matched

 Matched

by Ally Condie

Young Adult Fiction

“I don’t know what happens when people break the rules, because people in the Borough don’t break them.”

Cassia doesn’t have much control over her life. Her free time activities are decided for her. The food she eats and her portion sizes are chosen by others. When she’s done with her education, she will be assigned a career. At the end of her life, her death will be carefully orchestrated by others.

But Society has figured out a way to give everyone the best chance at optimum health and happiness. Who could argue with that? Why would you insist on free will if you knew your choices would likely lead to an early death, illnesses, or an unhappy marriage? Who would throw away a chance at a perfect life?

On Cassia’s seventeenth birthday, her future husband – her Match – is chosen for her. Xander is the boy statistically most compatible with her, most likely to create a successful Match. Cassia is sure of this… Until one tiny moment creates a sliver of doubt, doubt that causes her to consider that perhaps Society isn’t as infallible as she thought, doubts that lead her to start breaking some of those rules.

 

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Why celebrate Banned Books Week?

 

Libraries believe in many things, not the least of which is the freedom to read –  we’re all about preventing censorship and encouraging intellectual freedom. The American Library Association says it best when they define intellectual freedom as  “the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.”

Every September since 1982 libraries have been raising awareness of the many challenges to intellectual freedom by observing Banned Books Week, when we highlight some of the books challenged or outright banned. Some are banned from an entire country, such The Da Vinci Code in Lebanon. Some are banned from a specific school or library, like the California school district which removed all copies of the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary from their schools, though this ban was later overturned. You can see where and why some books have been recently challenged by using this interactive map. Yes, there are some in Oklahoma!

To draw attention to Banned Books week, we’re giving away copies of Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which won the National Book Award in 2007 and the California Young Reader Medal in 2010. It has been challenged many times and banned by at least one school board. It’s a book about racism, bullying, and what it means to be Native American … and most of all, how to find the strength to overcome challenges.

Libraries are for everyone, and so we strive to have something for everyone.  Not every book is right for every reader, but we each have the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or watch.

Celebrate your freedom to read … and stop by to enter to win a copy of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. We’ll be drawing names daily until Friday!

 

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Book Review: A Brief History of Montmaray & The FitzOsbornes in Exile

 A Brief History of Montmaray
The FitzOsbornes in Exile

by Michelle Cooper

Young Adult Fiction

It’s easy to see why these books are often compared to I Capture the Castle: the impoverished aristocracy,  crumbling castle, quirky characters, and first-person narrative work together to create a similar feeling. Of course, this castle and these characters are the independent kingdom of Montmaray, a tiny island off the coast of England. That is, if you can call an insane king, three princesses, a housekeeper, and a handful of elderly villagers a kingdom.

In A Brief History of Montmaray, the FitzOsbornes’ quiet life is shattered by the arrival of German soldiers. Innocent historians or spies looking for a landing strip from which to launch their aerial attacks? No one knows for sure, but it seems best for the FitzOsbornes to keep their distance – something that proves difficult on such a small island.

The sequel, The FitzOsbornes in Exile, finds them a kingdom without a country. The princesses are more interested in finding a way to regain control of Montmaray than making their debut into London society, much to the dismay of their aunt, but as the events leading up to World War II become increasingly dire, they realize that more is at stake than just their island.

 

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Book review: City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels
by Cassandra Clare

Young Adult Fiction

The 4th installment of the Mortal Instruments series finds Clary and Jace back in New York City – the Mortal War is over, Clary’s mother is getting married, Jace is finally her boyfriend, and there is peace between the Downworlders and the Shadowhunters … or is there?

Tensions mount between the Downworlders and the Shadowhunters – and between Jace and Clary. Slowly Clary begins to realize that it was her actions that are causing a heartbreaking chain of events that may cost her the very thing she was trying to protect.

Action-packed and full of surprises, fans of the Mortal Instruments series will surely find this a satisfactory continuation of the story.

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