Staff Reviews / Book Reviews

Check out these book reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring reviews of fiction and nonfiction for adults, children and teens! These book reviews also are published at; follow us for the latest updates.

"Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital" by Eric Manheimer

'Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital' by Eric Manheimer

Adult Book ★★★★ What do a South American Immigrant, a cancer patient, and prisoners that live in New York all have in common? They all were somehow treated or impacted by the Bellevue Hospital. The author Eric Manheimer, writes about 12 different patients that he has treated and gotten to know during this time at the hospital, along with history about the medical field, the hospital itself, how the government influences the hospitals, and history about wh ...

Reviewed by Heather B. Read more reviews of "Twelve Patients: Life and Death at Bellevue Hospital" at »

"The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)" by Daniel O'Malley

'The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)' by Daniel O'Malley

Adult Book ★★★★★ To say that Myfanwy Thomas is in a bit of a fix is a huge understatement. She woke up in a park with no memory of her identity, surrounded by dead people wearing latex gloves. The letter she finds in her pocket tells her that she is the new inhabitant of Myfanwy’s body and that she has a choice to make—run as far as possible from London and start a new life using the funds set aside for her or assume the identity of Myfanwy Thomas. Int ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "The Rook (The Checquy Files, #1)" at »

"Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline

'Ready Player One' by Ernest Cline

Adult Book ★★★★★ Anyone interested in dystopian fiction, gaming or 1980's pop culture (or all of the above) will definitely want to check out this inventive novel by author Ernest Cline. Set in the year 2044, the world is generally a dismal place, with the gap between the rich and the poor larger than ever. To escape their dismal reality, the majority of the population spends their time in OASIS, an online virtual reality world where teleportation, inter-p ...

Reviewed by Dan R. Read more reviews of "Ready Player One" at »

"Trouble Is a Friend of Mine (Trouble, #1)" by Stephanie Tromly

'Trouble Is a Friend of Mine (Trouble, #1)' by Stephanie Tromly

Teen Book ★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Zoe Webster still can’t quite believe how her life has changed. After her parents divorced, she and her mom moved from Manhattan to a small town in upstate New York where she does not fit in. She can’t wait to get out and sees mid-year admission to an exclusive private high school in Manhattan as her ticket out. Then she meets Digby, who is on a quest to discover what happened to a high school girl from a wealthy famil ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Trouble Is a Friend of Mine (Trouble, #1)" at »

"No One Knows" by J.T. Ellison

'No One Knows' by J.T. Ellison

Adult Book ★★★★★ In this fast-paced new thriller, Aubrey Hamilton is still intensely grieving over the mysterious disappearance of her husband five years later. Not only was she accused (but thankfully acquitted) of his murder, she now receives a letter from the state declaring Josh officially dead, even though no body has ever been found. It seems that her ex mother-in-law needed the official letter to move on, and to fight Aubrey for Josh's hefty life in ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "No One Knows" at »

"Falling into Place" by Amy Zhang

'Falling into Place' by Amy Zhang

Teen Book ★★★★★ Liz Emerson planned her car “accident” carefully. She was determined not to be found by a loved one or provide any indication that her accident was actually suicide—she did not want the people she cared about to carry the burden of wondering what they could have done. Despite the fact Liz executed her plan, Newton’s laws of motion had escaped her and she survives the crash—barely. Through the eyes of an omniscient, mysterious nar ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Falling into Place" at »

"Dogtag Summer" by Elizabeth Partridge

'Dogtag Summer' by Elizabeth Partridge

Tween Book ★★★★ Tracey (Tuyet) is “con lai”, half breed; she has been told that she has the face of the enemy. Half Vietnamese and half American, her father was an American soldier serving in Vietnam. Adopted by an American family in California, she is not sure where or how she fits in. With the help of her best friend Stargazer she begins searching. When they discover an old ammo box in the garage containing a dogtag and a pair of boots, her Dad yell ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Dogtag Summer" at »

"Fates and Furies" by Lauren Groff

'Fates and Furies' by Lauren Groff

Adult Book ★★★★★ "Fates and Furies" is the story of the marriage of outgoing charmer Lancelot (Lotto) Satterwhite and the reserved, supportive Mathilde. Infused with Greek mythology, the story is told first from Lotto’s point-of-view before switching to Mathilde’s. As compelling as each perspective is, it’s the gaps between the two and the secrets kept that provide additional depth to the novel and raise thought-provoking questions about marriage, in ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Fates and Furies" at »

"A Night Divided" by Jennifer A. Nielsen

'A Night Divided' by Jennifer A. Nielsen

Teen Book ★★★★ Overnight, twelve-year-old Gerta’s world changed and her family was divided, forever it seemed. She woke up one August Sunday morning to a barbed-wire wall dividing East and West Berlin. Just a few days earlier, her father, a member of the Resistance movement, and brother Dominic became trapped on the other side of the wall after traveling to West Berlin a few days earlier to scout out potential employers and places to live. Desperately ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "A Night Divided" at »

"The Two of Us" by Andy Jones

'The Two of Us' by Andy  Jones

Adult Book ★★★★★ This is a love story, but not exactly a traditional one. Fisher and Ivy both work in the film industry where they meet and begin their romance. When our story opens, they have had a wild and all-consuming nineteen day fling, and both of them know without a doubt, that they have finally found "the one". What they don't know is that their new relationship and their love for each other is about to be tested in a very big way. The next year of ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "The Two of Us" at »

"The Wrinkled Crown" by Anne Nesbet

'The Wrinkled Crown' by Anne Nesbet

Tween Book ★★★★ Linny’s twelfth birthday is fast approaching and she’s being watched and protected even more than usual, lest she fall victim to an ancient curse. She is forbidden to touch a lourka instrument, but the call of music and the lourka is so irresistible that she secretly builds one. When she is compelled to play it on the eve of her birthday, her best friend Sayra strangely falls ill and begins to fade away instead of her. Filled with grie ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Wrinkled Crown" at »

"Calling Me Home: A Novel" by Julie Kibler

'Calling Me Home: A Novel' by Julie Kibler

Adult Book ★★★★★ Based on a family secret revealed to her, Kibler turns her grandmother’s story of forbidden love into an impossible-to-put-down, page-turner of a novel. This is the story of a journey taken by eighty-nine-year-old Isabelle McAllister and Dorrie Curtis, a single mom struggling to find her way. Dorrie has taken care of Isabelle’s hair for years, first in the salon and now at home as Isabelle’s health declines. Their closeness and mutua ...

Reviewed by Bettina P. Read more reviews of "Calling Me Home: A Novel" at »

"The Lightning Queen" by Laura Resau

'The Lightning Queen' by Laura Resau

Tween Book ★★★★★ Surprising, haunting, almost magical, this tween novel is unusual in that it spans generations. At the beginning of the story, eleven-year old Teo is suffering from the recent loss of his mother and sister Lucita on the Hill of Dust in Mexico, where hardly anything exciting ever happens. But when the gypsies roll in and he meets Esma, the self-proclaimed colorful and dashing Queen of Lightning, his life slowly begins to change. Even though ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Lightning Queen" at »

"The Little Shop of Happy Ever After" by Jenny Colgan

'The Little Shop of Happy Ever After' by Jenny Colgan

Adult Book ★★★★★ This lovely, new book by Jenny Colgan had me enchanted from the first page (just as all her others have). Readers meet the timid, but immediately lovable Nina, who's a librarian that suddenly loses her job in Birmingham, England due to a library closure. When her life suddenly shifts beneath her feet, Nina is forced to step outside her comfort zone and make the hidden dream of owning her own little bookstore a reality. When a van in Scotla ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Little Shop of Happy Ever After" at »

"Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen (No One Else Can Have You, #2)" by Kathleen Hale

'Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen (No One Else Can Have You, #2)' by Kathleen  Hale

Teen Book ★★★★ Kippy Bushman is still recovering from the physical and psychological damage caused by her investigation into her best friend Ruth’s death. She and her father have a rocky relationship, her former tormenter Libby is the closest thing she has to a friend, and the sociopath who killed her friend Ruth continues to contact her. At least things are going well for her with her boyfriend—at least until she finds him at his house, barely alive ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Nothing Bad Is Going to Happen (No One Else Can Have You, #2)" at »

"The Widow" by Fiona Barton

'The Widow' by Fiona Barton

Adult Book ★★★★ What would you do if you found out the innermost secrets your husband has locked away; that he has a whole other life he's been keeping from you? What if you realize your husband could really be a monster? These are the questions Jean is forced to face after a local girl suddenly vanishes and the police end up on her doorstep. The novel shifts between the past year of her life, to what eventually made her a widow. I would suggest reading t ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "The Widow" at »

"$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" by Kathryn Edin

'$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America' by Kathryn Edin

Adult Book ★★★★★ When conducting research in 2010, Edin, who had been researching poverty for 20 years noticed a fundamental change in many families she interviewed—they were living without any visible cash income. In the summer of 2012, Edin joined forces with Shaefer, a leading expert on the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), and they started in-depth studies of families living on $2.00 per person per day (or less) in four areas (Chicag ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America" at »

"The Rosemary Spell" by Virginia Zimmerman

'The Rosemary Spell' by Virginia Zimmerman

Tween Book ★★★★★ Books and words have always been important to Rosemary and her best friend Adam, so when they discover an extremely old book in a locked cabinet in her father’s old study, they are excited beyond words. Is it perhaps a secret, magical, ancient book? Did it once belong to Shakespeare or perhaps to Constance Brooke, an elderly poet suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who used to live in their house? When they begin to write in the book at ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "The Rosemary Spell" at »

"Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy" by David Joachim

'Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy' by David Joachim

Adult Book ★★★★ This is a new, beautifully illustrated cookbook that celebrates international cuisine on every page. Gorgeous pictures of completed meals are surrounded by a plethora of brightly added stories and information concerning the ingredients and culture behind each recipe. Even if you don't immediately want to start cooking one of the recipes, it's a great cookbook to just enjoy reading and learning about different regions, their culture, and th ...

Reviewed by Sarah M. Read more reviews of "Cooking Light Global Kitchen: The World's Most Delicious Food Made Easy" at »

"The Circle" by Dave Eggers

'The Circle' by Dave Eggers

Adult Book ★★★★★ Twenty-four-year old Mae Holland is elated to be starting her new job at the Circle, an internet company of the not-too-distant future that is a combination of Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other social media platforms. At first Mae is taken aback by the virtual networking required within the company and the negative attention she draws by staying the weekend at her parents rather than attending any Circle social events on campus. Before ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "The Circle" at »

"Paper Wishes" by Lois Sepahban

'Paper Wishes' by Lois Sepahban

Tween Book ★★★★ Ten-year-old Manami lives a carefree life combing Bainbridge Island, Washington with her beloved grandfather and dog Yujiin. But it’s 1942, and after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor they are forced by the U.S. government, along with other Japanese Americans, to live in a one room prison camp in the California desert. Worse yet, Yujiin is forced out of Manami’s arms on their journey to the camp. Every day Manami tearfully looks for sig ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Paper Wishes" at »

"Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)" by Marissa Meyer

'Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)' by Marissa Meyer

Teen Book ★★★★ This collection of nine stories takes place in the world of the popular Lunar Chronicles. Most of the stories serve as prequels to the series and provide additional backstories for a number of characters, including Michelle Benoit, a high-school age con-artist Carswell Thorne, and a young Cress. As charming and endearing as these stories are, the biggest draw for fans of the series is likely going to be the final story, which takes place a ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles, #4.5)" at »

"Pax" by Sara Pennypacker

'Pax' by Sara Pennypacker

Tween Book ★★★★★ Forced by his father to return his beloved pet fox, Pax, to the wild and move three hundred miles away to live with his grandfather, twelve-year old Peter is devastated. Still grieving his mother’s recent death, losing his father to the war effort (again) and being forced to give up Pax, his friend and soul-mate, is too much. Unconcerned with his own safety and the raging war in his path, Peter leaves on a desperate, seemingly impossible ...

Reviewed by Sharyn H. Read more reviews of "Pax" at »

"The Love That Split the World" by Emily Henry

'The Love That Split the World' by Emily Henry

Teen Book ★★★★★ Natalie has just graduated high school and has experienced visits throughout her childhood from a woman she calls "Grandmother" that no one else can see. Her last visit with Grandmother carries a foreboding warning about saving someone in the upcoming summer break. As Natalie tries to piece together what Grandmother's warning might mean, she starts to see other people that others cannot, one of whom is Beau. She and Beau are instantly attr ...

Reviewed by Ashley C. Read more reviews of "The Love That Split the World" at »

"A Mad, Wicked Folly" by Sharon Biggs Waller

'A Mad, Wicked Folly' by Sharon Biggs Waller

Adult Book ★★★★★ Seventeen-year-old Victoria Darling longs to be an artist; however, when her love of art leads to expulsion from her French finishing school, her high society London parents bring her home and lay out a plan for her rehabilitation, which includes an arranged marriage to a young man from a proper family. Her alternative: to be banished to a life of near-solitude with her unmarried aunt in Norfolk who has no use for art, literature, or fun o ...

Reviewed by Rachel H. Read more reviews of "A Mad, Wicked Folly" at »

25 | Based on the Goodreads API.