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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: 'Lucy Rescued'

"Lucy Rescued" by Harriet Ziefert

Lucy, a small white dog, is adopted from an animal shelter just in time. But adjusting to her new home and family is tough on her and her new family.  Lucy can’t seem to stop howling; she howls all day and night. In this sweet, simply but beautifully illustrated story, we follow Lucy and her family on their journey to love, understanding and acceptance...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, pets

Cover: 'No Such Thing As Dragons'

"No Such Thing As Dragons" by Philip Reeve

★★★★★ Ten-year-old Ansel, a mute boy, is sold by his father to Brock, a self-proclaimed dragon slayer who needs someone who will keep his secrets safe. They travel town to town on horseback searching for food and shelter in exchange for protecting villagers from dragons. In Drachenberg, his master accepts a quest to climb the steep mountain and rid the village...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Breaking Stalin's Nose'

"Breaking Stalin's Nose" by Eugene Yelchin

★★★★★ Ten-year-old Sasha Zaichik has prepared to become a member of the Soviet Young Pioneers since he was 6 years old.  Just as he is almost ready to realize his dream, his world and his family seemingly collapse, as he discovers that everything that he believed growing up in the Communist Soviet Union was a lie. This simply-told but powerful historical...

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

Cover: 'Someone Like You'

"Someone Like You" by Barbara Bretton

Two sisters struggle to come together when their formerly famous mom suffers a stroke and burns down her house, but their own issues with intimacy get in everyone’s way. Bretton’s book shows promise, but the story ends almost before it begins with a too convenient and hurried ending.  

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Brahms Deception'

"The Brahms Deception" by Louise Marley

“The Brahms Deception” is a music history meets sci-fi thriller novel. When a musicologist travels back in time to unravel a mystery that has haunted musicians for centuries, her rival must find a way to undo the damage she creates. The book has an unexpected and interesting premise and well-developed -- if slightly stereotypical -- characters. The average...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, science fiction, music

Cover: 'Furthermore'

"Furthermore" by Tahereh Mafi

★★★★★ Ferenwood is a community of sharp, bright colors, predictable, common magic, and adventure. Unfortunately Alice Alexis Queensmeadow doesn’t quite fit in. She’s stark white except for her ginger colored eyes, she doesn’t appear to be very good at magic, and her hopes for an adventurous life have been smashed by the disastrous results from her Surrender...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Foxheart'

"Foxheart" by Claire Legrand

★★★★★ Quicksilver is not your ordinary heroine. Left on the steps of Saint Martta’s convent when she was three-years-old, presumably nameless, with an unusual mane of gray hair, she is continuously taunted with names like pig and witch. Saved by a kind yellow dog she names Fox, who becomes her partner, she steals in order to survive in the dangerous Star Lands...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'A Most Magical Girl'

"A Most Magical Girl" by Karen Foxlee

★★★★★ Suddenly thrust by her mother into the care of two unknown aunts who have an old, dusty magic shop full of broomsticks, wands, and magic potions, Annabel Grey is more than a little confused. Raised in Victorian England as a prim and proper young lady with a beautiful wardrobe and set of manners, this is nothing like the life she has known. While she is...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Littlest Bigfoot'

"The Littlest Bigfoot" by Jennifer Weiner

★★★★★ Off to her eighth boarding school, this one an Experimental Center in the woods proclaiming to respect everyone’s uniqueness, twelve-year-old Alice Mayfair knows instinctively that this new school will still be like all the others. Teased and bullied at her previous seven schools about “the Mane,” her big, wild, uncontrollable hair, her large body, her...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'All the Missing Girls'

"All the Missing Girls" by Megan Miranda

★★★★ 28 year-old Nicolette Farrell reluctantly returns to her North Carolina hometown after a 10-year absence in order to renovate and sell her childhood home and care for her father, who is ailing from Alzheimer's. While back in town, Nic reconnects with her brother Daniel, with whom she has a strained relationship; and her high school boyfriend Tyler, whose...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery, suspense, thriller

Cover: 'Jane Steele'

"Jane Steele" by Lyndsay Faye

★★★★★ At first glance, Jane Steele’s life mirrors that of the heroine of her favorite book, Jane Eyre. Both are orphaned, treated poorly by their extended relations, sent to oppressive boarding schools, and seek employment as a governess. (Don’t worry, Bronte fans. There’s a Mr. Rochester, albeit in the guise of a traumatized British doctor born and raised in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'Secret of Dreadwillow Carse'

"Secret of Dreadwillow Carse" by Brian Farrey

★★★★ Two lives, a twelve-year-old princess named Jeniah and a peasant girl named Aon, are both deeply affected by Dreadwillow Carse, a dark, foreboding bog in the center of Emberfell that is said to hold all the community’s sadness. In preparation for her new role as queen, Jeniah learns that if monarchs dare enter Dreadwillow Carse their monarchy is doomed. Aon...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction

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

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