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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: 'The Vanishing Year'

"The Vanishing Year" by Kate Moretti

★★★★★ Zoe Whittaker is leading a life most can only dream of. Living in a Manhattan penthouse with a handsome, extremely wealthy husband, Zoe appears to have it all. But the past she ran away from is suddenly creeping back, edging ever closer to ruining her perfectly constructed life. Zoe doesn't know who to trust, what to do, or where to go. Her life begins...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'A Discovery of Witches'

"A Discovery of Witches" by Deborah Harkness

★★★ Diana Bishop, an Oxford scholar and non-practicing witch, discovers a long-lost alchemical manuscript that promises to reveal the origins (and future) of all supernatural species: witches, vampires, and "demons." However, Diana's reluctance to share this discovery puts her at odds with the supernatural community and drives her into an unlikely romance with...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, paranormal, fantasy, romance

Cover: 'Crosstalk'

"Crosstalk" by Connie Willis

★★★★★ Briddey Flannigan is thrilled when her boyfriend, Trent, proposes that they both undergo a relatively new and popular surgical procedure that enhances one’s ability to experience a romantic partner’s feelings. Sure, it’s literally brain surgery, but who wouldn’t want to share such an emotionally significant moment as a marriage proposal at a deeper level...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, science fiction

Cover: 'Nanette's Baguette'

"Nanette's Baguette" by Mo Willems

★★★★★ Nanette loves warm and wonderful baguettes. And today she gets the responsibility of going to the bakery by herself, without her mom. Nanette is set. Then, Nanette meets a pet. Does Nanette forget the baguette and become upset? Find out in this fun, tongue-twisting tale by the beloved author/illustrator Mo Willems. Willems' illustrations...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Executioner's Daughter'

"The Executioner's Daughter" by Jane Hardstaff

★★★★ Moss is the executioner’s daughter. That’s right; she lives in the Tower of London in England with her father who serves King Henry VIII, and lately they are way too busy with executions. Her job is to catch the severed heads in a basket after her father chops them off, a job she detests. She longs to escape and see more of the world beyond the castle...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Girl Who Drank the Moon'

"The Girl Who Drank the Moon" by Kelly Barnhill

★★★★★  Every year a newborn baby from the Protectorate is left in the nearby forest in an effort to appease the witch. Xan, the forest witch, doesn’t understand this tradition, but in order to rescue the infants she scoops them up and delivers them to adoptive families in the town on the other side of the forest.  When she rescues one special baby and...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, newbery award winner, award-winning

Cover: 'The Poet's Dog'

"The Poet's Dog" by Patricia MacLachlan

★★★★ Trapped in a bitter blizzard, two children, Flora and Nickel, are led to a safe, warm cabin by a dog named Teddy who speaks in a language they immediately understand. They find food and firewood to make a fire and share life stories while they plan how they can get word to the childrens' mother. Teddy knows instinctively how to rescue them, just like he was...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Eleven and Holding'

"Eleven and Holding" by Mary Penney

★★★★ Macy is not celebrating her upcoming birthday.  She’s determined not to turn twelve without her father.  Her father has been gone for months now and no one is telling her the truth about his disappearance.  Jack, her baby brother, is getting most of her mother’s attention, her beloved grandmother, Nana, has recently died and her shop has been...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child'

"Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" by J. K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

★★★★★ Taking place 19 years after the events of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," Harry Potter and his wife, Ginny, are happily raising their kids James, Albus, and Lily. Harry, the head of Magical Law Enforcement, finds it hard to connect with Albus, who leaves for his first year at Hogwarts as the story begins. Over the next few years, Albus becomes an...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'The City Baker's Guide to Country Living'

"The City Baker's Guide to Country Living" by Louise Miller

★★★★ In this cozy new novel we meet Livvy, who left her high pressure pastry chef job literally in flames. With no money and no job, Livvy escapes to rural Vermont, where her best friend sets Livvy up with a baking job at a quaint inn. Complete with loveable characters, a gigantic dog, and delicious descriptions of decadent desserts, this was a cozy read that...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Ghosts'

"Ghosts" by Raina Telgemeier

★★★★ Cat and Maya's family moves to a new town in California for Maya's health; Maya has cystic fibrosis and the town's fog and mist from the ocean will help Maya breathe easier. Cat and Maya explore the town and meet Carlos along the way. Carlos is the town's young ghost tour guide. Ghosts?! In this town? Cat is terrified of all scary things, but Maya is eager...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, graphic novel

Cover: 'Little Blue Truck's Halloween'

"Little Blue Truck's Halloween" by Alice Schertle

★★★★★ Beep! Beep! Boo! Little Blue Truck is back just in time for Halloween. Little Blue Truck and his friend Toad are on their way to the barn for a Halloween party. While journeying to the barn, they encounter different farmyard animals in their Halloween costumes. When you lift the flap, the identity of the costumed animal is revealed. This book is recommended...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The  Seventh Wish'

"The Seventh Wish" by Kate Messner

★★★★ Charlie Brennan reluctantly agrees to go ice fishing with a neighbor to earn money for a beautiful Irish dancing dress that she wants for an upcoming competition. The small first fish she catches is unusual with glowing green eyes, like emeralds, and it speaks and promises her a wish in exchange for its freedom. She is so shocked she doesn’t even know what...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Leave Me'

"Leave Me" by Gayle Forman

★★★★ "Leave Me" is the debut adult novel by popular young adult author Gayle Forman. The story follows Maribeth, a woman who experiences a heart attack at a young age and how that event makes her evaluate her life and how she lives. In an instant she decides to leave her family to help herself heal. What happens after this decision, how Maribeth heals, and the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Girl From Everywhere'

"The Girl From Everywhere" by Heidi Heilig

★★★★★ Sixteen-year-old Nix has only known life as a time-traveling vagabond on her father’s Portuguese tall ship. (Yes, it looks like a pirate ship.) Her father, Slate, has a special ability to navigate to any location at a specific point in time, even mythical locations, as long as he has an authentic map created on that date. Nix has been to 21st century New...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Singles Game'

"The Singles Game" by Lauren Weisberger

★★★★ Charlotte "Charlie" Silver has the good girl image down in the world of tennis. She's sweet, plays by the rules, her brother is her manager, and she keeps her personal life top secret. After a devastating injury at Wimbledon, Charlie needs to re-brand herself and re-train her mental and physical game. After letting her friend and longtime coach Marcy go,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, chick lit

Cover: 'Strong Female Protagonist'

"Strong Female Protagonist" by Brennan Lee Mulligan, Molly Ostertag

★★★★★ I don't always cry while reading books.  Mostly my sniffles are reserved for a good romance, but the graphic novel "Strong Female Protagonist" got me sniffling. "Strong Female Protagonist" tells the story of Alison Green, AKA Mega Girl, a former superhero turned college student.  After Alison is confronted by the damaging results of her...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, graphic novel, superheroes

Cover: 'The Daylight Gate'

"The Daylight Gate" by Jeanette Winterson

★★★★★ It's the best time of year for a suspenseful, spooky story and Jeanette Winterson has just the book for you! "The Daylight Gate" is a fictionalized account of the Trial of the Pendle Witches. In short chapters, Winterson relates the story of Alice Nutter, former student of the great alchemist John Dee and wealthy widow, who is accused of witchcraft, along...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'After the Woods'

"After the Woods" by Kim Savage

★★★★ Almost a year ago, Julia and Liv went for a run in the woods. Seeing her friend attacked launched Julia into action, attacking the man and allowing Liv to get away. Julia ended up spending two mysterious days with this man. The novel opens almost a year later, with Julia struggling to remember what happened, how she got away and learning to deal with the...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Uninvited'

"Uninvited" by Sophie Jordan

★★★★★ It seems as though every time you turn on the news you hear/see reports of violence. What would happen if there was a way to test and see who would be most likely to commit those crimes before they happen? This book delves into an example of that. Author Sophie Jordan writes a very well done novel exploring the possibility of being able to test DNA to see...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Lock In'

"Lock In" by John Scalzi

★★★★★ It’s twenty-five years since an illness that became known as Haden’s Syndrome swept the world and left 1% of those afflicted in a state known as “lock in.” Those in lock in are aware of the world but unable to move or otherwise respond to their environment without the implantation of neural networks that allow them to connect to a virtual, Haden’s-only...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, science fiction

Cover: 'The Weight of Feathers'

"The Weight of Feathers" by Anna-Marie McLemore

★★★★★ This is a story of feuding families, superstition, love, and a hint of magic. While it may strike familiar chords, this is a beautifully written story not to be missed. The Corbeau family, descendants of tight-rope walkers, has a traveling act that showcases their balancing skills as they artfully jump from one slender branch to another in the tallest trees...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, teen awards, morris award winner

Cover: 'Ink and Bone'

"Ink and Bone" by Lisa Unger

★★★★ Finley does not know what it feels like to really be alone. Sitting on the floor by her bed is a young boy playing with a train, and on her way down the hall she passes a woman watching her carefully, both of whom have been long dead. Haunted by a gift she neither wants nor understands, Finley is quickly pulled into a missing persons case. Merri has been...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'How It Went Down'

"How It Went Down" by Kekla Magoon

★★★★★ Tariq Johnson hurried down the sidewalk, hunched over a bit carrying stuff and wearing a hoodie. A shopkeeper calls after him, and a bystander steps in to stop him, thinking Tariq stole something from the corner store. Someone says, “He’s got a gun,” and the bystander steps back, arms raised. He doesn’t see a gun when two shots are fired and Tariq Johnson...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, realistic

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