Marathon County Public Library

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Staff Reviews

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring book and DVD reviews for adults, children and teens! Staff book reviews are also published on Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


'Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library ' by Don Borchert

"Free For All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library " by Don Borchert

★★★★ Ever wonder what it's like to work in a big city branch library? Well look no further than this short memoir by Don Borchert. He writes about all of his up and down experiences of being Branch Assistant in a California Library. He started out taking small time jobs before landing his job in the Branch. Here he learns that libraries are where anybody and...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Prim Improper'  by  Deirdre Sullivan

"Prim Improper" by Deirdre Sullivan

★★★★★ Meet Primrose “Prim” Leary, the quirky and charming 13-year-old star of Deirdre Sullivan’s Prim Improper.  Prim is coping with the sudden loss of her mother, and you might expect a story like this to be dark and brooding, but Prim tells her tale (in diary form) with a precocious and wittily observant voice that delves into sensitive – and even...

Audience: Children, Teens, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'The Handmaid's Tale'  by  Margaret Atwood

"The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood

★★★ In the not-too-distant future, a restrictive, invasive patriarchy has taken over and dismantled the American government. In this new society, known as Gilead, women have few roles they can play: as cooks and housekeepers, as the wives of the society’s leaders (known as Commanders), and as handmaids. Acting as surrogates for the Commanders’ wives,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Dystopian

'Be Prepared'  by  Vera Brosgol

"Be Prepared" by Vera Brosgol

★★★★ Vera is ashamed of her Russian heritage in front of her American girlfriends. She just wants to be as American as they are with their perfectly planned birthday parties and summer camp culture. When she tries to imitate them and utterly fails, she turns to an alternative—Russian camp. At ORRA, maybe she will meet better friends who are like she is for...

Audience: Tweens | Genre: Graphic Novels

'Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan'  by  Chloe Coscarelli

"Chloe Flavor: Saucy, Crispy, Spicy, Vegan" by Chloe Coscarelli

★★★★★ The newest cookbook from Chloe Coscarelli features a new batch of delicious vegan recipes. Included are recipes for breakfast, brunch, snacks, soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta, main meals, drinks, and dessert. Full of tantalizing photographs and snippets about Chloe's journey to veganism, this is another favorite of mine from one of my all-time favorite...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Cookbook

'Hello Lighthouse'  by  Sophie Blackall

"Hello Lighthouse" by Sophie Blackall

★★★★★ This beautifully illustrated children's picture book traces the daily life of a lighthouse keeper and his wife in a lighthouse on a very tiny island in the middle of the sea. We see the keeper doing his daily chores such as polishing the lamp’s lens, filling the oil and trimming the wick to keep the lighthouse lamp lit. We experience the birth of their...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

'Creative Quest'  by  Questlove and Ben Greenman

"Creative Quest" by Questlove and Ben Greenman

★★★★★ Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is a busy guy: drummer for the rap group The Roots, which is also the house band for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon; DJ; restaurateur; and author of two previous books, Mo' Meta Blues and somethingtofoodabout. His newest book, as the title suggests, is all about creativity: what defines it, how to tap into your...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'The Feather Thief'  by  Kirk W. Johnson

"The Feather Thief" by Kirk W. Johnson

★★★★ In 2009, 20-year-old American Edwin Rist broke into the Tring museum, a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. His quest: to steal rare bird specimens - some collected more 150 years earlier - with gorgeous feathers sought the world over by people who shared Edwin's obsession of the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying....

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'The Broken Girls'  by  Simone St. James

"The Broken Girls" by Simone St. James

★★★★★ Part ghost story, part murder mystery, this atmospheric novel captivated me from the first page. Centered around a now abandoned school for troubled girls, Idlewild Hall holds secrets of the past within its walls and grounds. The reader learns the stories of the abandoned girls who were forced to attend, the ghost who forces its victims to relive their...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Mystery

'Leah on the Offbeat'  by  Becky Albertalli

"Leah on the Offbeat" by Becky Albertalli

★★★ In this direct sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the focus shifts from Simon to one of his best friends, Leah Burke. It’s about a year after the conclusion of Simon, and Leah and her friends are in the home stretch of their senior year. The gang experiences visiting colleges, getting ready for prom and figuring out how they’ll stay in each other’...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, LGBT

'One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays'  by  Scaachi Koul

"One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays" by Scaachi Koul

★★★★★ Scaachi Koul is the daughter of Indian immigrants. She was born and raised in Canada surrounded by western culture. She is also thoughtful and hilarious. All this comes together in “One Day We’ll All Be Dead And None Of This Will Matter,” a delightful collection of essays. Many of Koul’s stories clue us in on what it is like to bear the scrutiny of being a...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Memoir, Essays, Humor

'Behold the Dreamers'  by  Imbolo Mbue

"Behold the Dreamers" by Imbolo Mbue

★★★★ For years, Jende Jonga dreamed of making a life for himself and his family in the United States. A native of Cameroon, Jende has been living and working in New York City on a temporary visa for three years when his wife, Neni, and six year-old son, Liomi, immigrate to Harlem to join him. It’s 2007, and a world of opportunity opens up for the Jongas while...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Diverse

'The Witch Boy'  by  Molly Knox Ostertag

"The Witch Boy" by Molly Knox Ostertag

★★★★★ Aster wants to learn how to be a witch, but the men in his family are supposed to be shapeshifters and warriors. Aster doesn't care about those things; he just wants to learn witchcraft with the girls. He spies on them, jotting down notes and teaching himself spells. His mother warns him that what happened to his great uncle could happen to him, that his...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction, Tween Graphic Novel, Identity

'And She Was'  by  Jessica Verdi

"And She Was" by Jessica Verdi

★★★ 18 year-old Dara Baker is a recent high school graduate with big dreams. Living in a small town in New York with her mother, Mellie, Dara has aspired to be a pro tennis star as long as she can remember. She’s on the verge of entering her first major tournament when she finds out a shocking secret: Mellie is transgender and is actually her biological father...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, YA Fiction With Adult Appeal, LGBT

'The Changeling: A novel'  by  Victor La Valle

"The Changeling: A novel" by Victor La Valle

★★★★★ One night, Apollo Kagwa's wife, Emma, chains him to a chair, kills their infant son and disappears.  Was it postpartum depression or something much worse?  He sets out to discover whether his wife is still alive and what exactly happened to his son.  Apollo has some baggage of his own that he has to grapple with along the way,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism, Fiction

'Dear Girl'  by  Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal

"Dear Girl" by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Paris Rosenthal

★★★★★ Written like a letter from a mother to a daughter, this children's book is one of my new favorites. I would recommend anyone to read this to the young girls in their lives; daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and friends. This is the perfect story to give girls permission to be themselves, love themselves, and express themselves. The story is fun and...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

'Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows'  by  Balli Kaur Jaswal

"Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows" by Balli Kaur Jaswal

★★★★ Nikki is a modern twentysomething living and working in central London. The daughter of Indian immigrants, Nikki has spent much of her adult life embracing a life of independence and feminism while distancing herself from the traditional Sikh lifestyle that the rest of her family prefers. While still figuring out a career path for herself, Nikki finds a...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

'I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy'  by  Erin Carlson

"I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy" by Erin Carlson

★★★★ This book provides readers with a brief history of Ephron’s life prior to her filmmaking years, but the main focus is a behind-the-scenes tour of the writing, filming, and releases of Nora Ephron’s three classic romantic comedies: When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. While the spotlight is on Ephron and her transition from...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

'Shadow Weaver'  by  Mercy Kate Connolly

"Shadow Weaver" by Mercy Kate Connolly

★★★★ Emmeline has never been alone. Ever since her best friend Dar, her shadow, spoke to her when she was a baby, she has always had her trusted best friend with her. With her unique gift, Emmeline is able to conjure up and weave shadows together whenever she desires. Her magical talent is threatened when it is discovered by Lady Aisling who threatens to take...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden'  by  Kevin DeYoung, Don Clark

"The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings Us Back to the Garden" by Kevin DeYoung, Don Clark

★★★★ This brilliantly illustrated book covers the Bible’s central message in just 10 chapters using simple, casually styled language. It describes the Bible story of the snake crusher (that’s Jesus), defeating death forever so that we can live with God in the garden as the biggest story the world has ever known. DeYoung’s writing makes the Bible accessible to...

Audience: Children | Genre: Nonfiction

'Emma in the Night'  by  Wendy Walker

"Emma in the Night" by Wendy Walker

★★★★★ Eighteen-year-old Cass stands on her mother’s doorstep, steeling herself. Her mother and the police must believe her—Emma’s life depends on it. It’s been three years since she and her older sister Emma, then age 17, disappeared. Her story—that she and Emma, who gave birth a few months after they disappeared, were held captive by a reclusive couple who had...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'Granted'  by  John David Anderson

"Granted" by John David Anderson

★★★★ Ophelia Delphinium Fidgets lives an idyllic sort of life in the Haven where all the fairies have a special job to do. She is a Granter. This means that it is her job to grant the wish of one human person from one of the twelve fallen leaves (wishes) of the over five million on the large Great Tree. Unfortunately, with less world magic available less wishes...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

'Mrs.'  by  Caitlin Macy

"Mrs." by Caitlin Macy

★★★★ At an Upper East Side preschool in New York City, groups of gossiping mothers and nannies gather to pick up their children day after day. Among them, is the fabulous Phillipa Lye and her childhood acquaintance, Gwen Hogan. Phillipa's life seems perfect: she is married to a wealthy banker and has three beautiful children. But, Phillipa's scandalous past...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

'Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein'  by  Lita Judge

"Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein" by Lita Judge

★★★★★ Dark and beautiful watercolor illustrations bring Mary Shelley's biography to life in this captivating graphic novel. Told in verse, this was a quick read and peek into Mary Shelley's odd, dark, and intense life. Mary was barely sixteen when she left home to follow the man she loved, the married Percy Shelley. It was a daring move for a 19th century British...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Biography, Horror

'I Am a Cat'  by  Galia Bernstein

"I Am a Cat" by Galia Bernstein

★★★★★ What happens when Simon, a normal house cat, tells a group of big cats from around the world that he is just like them? They are stunned, and then laugh hysterically! Lion, Cheetah, Puma, Jaguar, and Tiger each go on to tell Simon how they differ and how Simon is not "cat" enough. The lion has a mane and roars, Simon doesn't have a mane, nor can he...

Audience: Children | Genre: Picture Book, Fiction

'The Last Black Unicorn'  by  Tiffany Haddish

"The Last Black Unicorn" by Tiffany Haddish

★★★★★ Stand-up comedian and actress Tiffany Haddish makes a living out of entertaining others and making people laugh. That might not seem like anything extraordinary, until you learn about all of the strife and setbacks Haddish faced in her life, especially before reaching adulthood. While growing up, Haddish had an absentee father, a mother who verbally and...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography And Memoir, Memoir, Celebrities, Humor

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