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Staff Reviews: Fiction

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


Cover: 'Puss Jekyll Cat Hyde'

"Puss Jekyll Cat Hyde" by Joyce Dunbar

★★★★★ Puss Jekyll is the perfect pet, cuddly and sweet, but she has a secret. At night she becomes Cat Hyde, mischievous hunter of small critters, not an ideal house pet. How can these two distinct personalities coexist in one furry cat body? Puss Jekyll lounges in the sun, warming her paws, while Cat Hyde prowls the streets wreaking havoc. What trouble will...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction, Read-Alouds, Picture Book, Animals

Cover: 'The Turn of the Key'

"The Turn of the Key" by Ruth Ware

★★★★★ Author Ruth Ware has done it again! Easily one of my favorite authors, this utterly absorbing novel is her newest fantastic creation.  Readers meet Rowan Caine, who finds an ad for a live-in nanny position in the picturesque Scottish Highlands. Beautiful surroundings, a very generous salary, and a luxurious home make this opportunity seem too good...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts'

"Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts" by Esta Spalding

★★★★★ Look Out for the Fitzgerald-Trouts is a book you feel like you’ve dreamed up. Its realistic elements are: the four Fitzgerald-Trout children need to go to school, they need to eat, they need to do laundry and - most importantly - they need a better place to live. Its fantastical twist is: they have two terrible mothers and two (or three) awful fathers...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'A Boy Called Bat'

"A Boy Called Bat" by Elana K. Arnold

★★★★★ Nine year-old Bixby Alexander Tam - also known as Bat - loves animals, struggles to get along with his big sister, and also happens to be on the autism spectrum.  Author Elana K. Arnold allows us to experience Bat’s world first hand, and we find ourselves rooting for Bat as he cares for an orphaned baby skunk and learns to navigate his first friendship...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Body in Question'

"The Body in Question" by Jill Ciment

★★★★★ Courtroom dramas almost always focus exclusively on the plaintiff and defendant at the heart of a trial. After all, that’s where some of the most compelling storytelling tends to reside. The Body in Question, however, switches things up by following a six-person jury assigned to a murder trial in central Florida, where a teenage girl is accused of setting...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Cover: 'The Sense of an Ending'

"The Sense of an Ending" by Julian Barnes

★★★ This story is written as reminiscences of the times and adventures a group of friends shared in high school, and how their adult lives are altered by events that lead to a mystery.  Tony Webster (the narrator); his three friends Alex, Colin and Adrian; and Tony's girlfriend, Veronica, grow and change over the years.  The narration is...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Award-Winning, Fiction

Cover: 'Guinea Dog'

"Guinea Dog" by Patrick Jennings

★★★★ Rufus really wants to get a dog but his father won't even consider it. Then his mom brings home a guinea pig. She runs, fetches, sits and even plays Frisbee! Rufus and Fido have a number of funny adventures. We have guinea pigs and I wish they were trained like Fido! This book is a great read-together bedtime story for kids and their...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Sad Little Fact'

"The Sad Little Fact" by Jonah Winter

★★★★★ This book allows its readers to meet the Sad Little Fact and many other little facts along the way. The Sad Little Fact lives in a world in which facts are dismissed and ultimately deemed "fake," then thrown away. The authorities of the world declare that lies are facts, and the world grows dark and dreary. However, hope is on the horizon as...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Art of Racing in the Rain'

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein

★★★★★ Enzo loves his family, and loves car racing nearly as much. It just so happens that Enzo is also a dog. This is the story of Enzo reflecting back on his family, and how he sees the world, during his last moments on Earth. Does he want thumbs just like humans? Yes. Can he bark two times to tell Denny, his owner, to drive faster? Yes...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Paris Architect'

"The Paris Architect" by Charles Belfoure

★★★★★ This story takes place in Paris in 1942 during World War II. While so many people are struggling, the wealthy entrepreneurs are building factories and need architects to design them. Lucien Bernard is one of these architects, and is offered large amounts of money to build secret hiding places for Jews. Although he struggles with the risk that he is...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Historical Fiction, Fiction

Cover: 'Waiting for Tom Hanks'

"Waiting for Tom Hanks" by Kerry Winfrey

★★★★ Aspiring screenwriter Annie Cassidy loves romantic comedies. Growing up, she would watch the films relentlessly with her mom, dissecting scenes and deriving life advice from the characters and dialogue. As an adult, Annie can quote films like Sleepless in Seattle and You’ve Got Mail by heart and aspires to write movies herself. But she’s also unlucky...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Romance

Cover: 'The Girls'

"The Girls" by Emma Cline

★★★ It’s the summer of 1969, and 14 year-old Evie Boyd has a lot of time on her hands. She and her best friend, Connie, have had a falling out; the boy she has a crush on has left town; her father is now living with his new girlfriend in another city; and her mother is often absent after reentering the dating scene. Alone and feeling neglected, Evie becomes...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Red, White & Royal Blue'

"Red, White & Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston

★★★★★ Alex Claremont-Diaz is like American royalty. His mom, Ellen, is the first female President of the United States and he aspires to follow in her political footsteps one day and also become prez. During his time in the White House, Alex has had a not-so-secret rivalry with Henry, the Prince of England. Alex has always thought of Henry as being spoiled,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Cover: 'The Sun Is Also a Star'

"The Sun Is Also a Star" by Nicola Yoon

★★★★★ Natasha is going to be deported at 10pm tonight. Daniel has an interview that he isn't interested in attending as his parents are. Is it fate or coincidence that Natasha and Daniel meet this morning? To Natasha it is pure coincidence but for Daniel, it's meant to be. As the day unfolds and they learn more and more about one another, and...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Cook and the King'

"The Cook and the King" by Julia Donaldson, David Roberts

★★★★ In this new fairy tale, a hungry king needs to find a cook. After trying many cooks and rejecting them all, he ends up with Wobbly Bob. The king then asks for his favorite dish—fish and chips—but Wobbly Bob is “terribly scared” about every aspect of food preparation. The king looks sympathetically on the shaking cook and helps him to prepare the meal....

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Daisy Jones & The Six'

"Daisy Jones & The Six" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

★★★★ Classic rock bands from the 1970s and 80s are known for great music that defined a generation. But part of what also made them famous – and perhaps even inspired some of their greatest hits – were the bands’ interpersonal relationships. Groups like Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, and Jefferson Starship were subject to infighting, firing and hiring band members,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Lock Every Door'

"Lock Every Door" by Riley Sager

★★★★ One thing New York City is known for is the exorbitant cost of rent and real estate. So when twentysomething Jules loses her job and breaks up with her cheating boyfriend all in the same day, she is instantly in need of money and a place to stay. Jules answers an ad looking for someone to live rent-free at the Bartholomew – an elite, historic and...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Suspense, Fiction

Cover: 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey

★★★★ Order and routine are the two main tenets that keep the Salem State Hospital running smoothly. Under the strict control of Nurse Ratched, members of the ward (comprised of “acutes” and “chronics”) have a set schedule, know their limitations, and stick to the rules. That is, until R.P. McMurphy arrives. McMurphy is an unruly, insubordinate inmate...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Classics

Cover: 'The Dress and the Girl'

"The Dress and the Girl" by Camille Andros

★★★★★ There is a little girl who wears a dress. The dress and the girl experience a lot together, like playing and exploring, until one day they travel to a new country together to find a better life. The dress and the girl get unexpectedly separated when getting off of the boat in their new county; the dress in a trunk and the girl moving on in her...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Night Visitors'

"The Night Visitors" by Carol Goodman

★★★★★ Alice, desperately fleeing an abusive relationship, finds herself and 10 year-old Oren getting off a bus in the midst of a snowstorm, relying on the help of strangers to protect them. Mattie, the social worker who collects them, ends up breaking protocol and bringing them to her house in the middle of the woods instead of the local shelter. She tells them...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'I Owe You One'

"I Owe You One" by Sophie Kinsella

★★★★ Fixie Farr is the youngest of the Farr family, helps to keep their family shop a success, and lives by the family motto of "family first" to a fault. Fixie and her siblings are charged with the task of keeping the family shop in good working order when her mother takes a holiday in Spain. It should be easy, but in reality her...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Remember Balloons'

"The Remember Balloons" by Jessie Oliveros

★★★★★ James is a little boy whose memories are represented by balloons, as are Grandpa's memories.  James loves talking to Grandpa and sharing balloons.  But one day, Grandpa doesn't have as many balloons, and his favorite balloon, the silver balloon is floating above his head.  James questions why the balloons are floating away.  This is such...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'This Is How It Always Is'

"This Is How It Always Is" by Laurie Frankel

★★★★ Rosie and Penn are a happily married couple living just outside Madison with a house full of delightfully eccentric sons (four, to be exact). In hopes of having a daughter, the two decide to have one more child, which turns out to be…another boy, whom they name Claude. But around the time he starts kindergarten, Claude begins to question his gender...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Cover: 'The Last One'

"The Last One" by Alexandra Oliva

★★★★ Imagine being a contestant of a survival type of reality television show. Now imagine a world that encounters a deadly virus that wipes out much of the Earth's population the same time you become a contestant of a survival reality show. That is the exact scenario that the author of The Last One has conjured up.  The story starts out...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Norroway'

"Norroway" by Kit and Cat Seaton

★★★★★ Once upon a time, a mother with three daughters decided it was time for them to marry. "Look out the back door and the first thing you see is your destiny." The first daughter sees a wealthy farmer.  The second daughters sees a fine prince.  The third daughter sees a large black bull.  So begins the fairy tale, "The Black Bull of Norroway...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Fantasy

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