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Staff Reviews by Rachel Hitt

Cover: 'Who Done It? An Investigation of Murder Most Foul'

"Who Done It? An Investigation of Murder Most Foul" by Jon Scieszka

★★★★★ Herman Q. Mildew, an editor renowned for his lack of social skills (which is putting it very nicely!), a penchant for crushing dreams, poor hygiene, and love of stinky cheese is dead, and the police have requested alibis from the many writers and illustrators of young adult and children’s fiction that have reasons to wish him dead. These alibis range from a...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, mystery, ya fiction with adult appeal

Cover: 'I'll Give You the Sun'

"I'll Give You the Sun" by Jandy Nelson

★★★★★ Fraternal twins Noah and Jude have always sworn loyalty to each other above anyone else, but events during the summer before they start eighth grade and the months that follow fracture their relationship. Jumping ahead three years, we see that the artistic, socially-isolated Noah, who had constantly expressed himself through drawing (whether just in his...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, ya fiction with adult appeal, award-winning, printz award winner

Cover: 'Mr. Kiss and Tell'

"Mr. Kiss and Tell" by Rob Thomas, Jennifer Graham

★★★★ Veronica Mars has settled into her new life back in Neptune as a P.I. at Mars Investigations. The Neptune Grand hires Veronica to investigate the allegations of a young woman who claims that she was assaulted at the swanky hotel by an employee before being smuggled out of the hotel, abandoned on the side of the road, and left for dead. The case is...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights'

"The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights" by Steve Sheinkin

★★★★★ The Port Chicago 50 tells the true story of 50 black sailors who were tried for mutiny late in World War II. Port Chicago was a Navy base near San Francisco, CA, and, like other military bases in the U.S. at the time, was segregated. At Port Chicago, black sailors—who could not serve on naval vessels outside of the mess hall or laundry—loaded munitions into...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: nonfiction, history

Cover: 'Hero Complex'

"Hero Complex" by Margaux Froley

★★★★★ Devon is back at school following the holiday break, but she hasn’t been able to extricate herself from the repercussions of her first case. That task might be easier if she hadn’t been knocked out cold in the sole security blind spot on a yacht on New Year’s Eve. Devon is convinced it was no accident, but the lack of evidence to support her claim brings an...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, ya fiction with adult appeal

Cover: 'Escape Theory'

"Escape Theory" by Margaux Froley

★★★★★ Devon Mackintosh, a scholarship student at an elite boarding school on the California coast, never really felt like she fit in. Now a junior with her sights on Stanford’s psychology program, she starts her duties as a peer counselor. These duties are far more challenging than she anticipated when one of the most popular guys at school, Jason Hutchinson (“...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, ya fiction with adult appeal

Cover: 'All the Light We Cannot See'

"All the Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

★★★★★ "All the Light We Cannot See" is a non-linear narrative centered on the stories of two children coming of age in WWII Europe. Marie-Laure, blind from the age of six, lives in Paris with her father, who is the principal locksmith for the National Museum of Natural History. At the age of 12, Marie-Laure and her father flee Paris as the Nazis advance. They...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'Rose Under Fire'

"Rose Under Fire" by Elizabeth Wein

★★★★ Rose Justice, an American Air Transit Auxiliary (ATA) pilot, is captured by the Germans in late 1944 and sent to the concentration camp for female prisoners at Ravensbrück. She struggles learn the rules of the camp, whether those imposed by the guards or those of her fellow prisoners. The novel paints a vivid portrait of life in the prison camp and Rose’s...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, ya fiction with adult appeal, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Impossible Knife of Memory'

"The Impossible Knife of Memory" by Laurie Halse Anderson

★★★★★ Hayley Kincain, a high school senior, is trying to fly under the radar at school, particularly because she cannot afford drawing attention to her life at home. Her father, Andy, a veteran of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, is struggling with PTSD and a severe depression, and the return to his boyhood home has not proved to be a stabilizing force....

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Girls Like Us'

"Girls Like Us" by Gail Giles

★★★★★ "Girls Like Us" introduces us to Quincy and Biddy, two special education students (or as they refer to themselves, “Speddies”) as they graduate from high school and start life in the real world. Their high school advisor pairs them as roommates in a small apartment above the garage of their new employer and landlady. Quincy and Biddy could not engage with...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, differing abilities, schneider family award winner

Cover: 'After I'm Gone'

"After I'm Gone" by Laura Lippman

★★★★★ On July 4, 1976, Felix Brewster flees the U.S. and an impending prison sentence, leaving his wife (Bambi), three daughters, and a mistress (Julie) behind. Julie, who had made a life for herself with the coffee shop left in her name, disappears on the 10th anniversary of Felix’s flight, leading to speculation that she left to join her lover. The speculation...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'While We Were Watching Downton Abbey'

"While We Were Watching Downton Abbey" by Wendy Wax

★★★★★ Edward, the British concierge of a historic Atlanta apartment building, launches weekly viewing parties for the first two seasons of Downton Abbey in hopes of fostering community among the residents of the building. Among these residents are three women from different backgrounds and at different life stages—Samantha Davis, married for more than 25 years to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Raging Heat'

"Raging Heat" by Richard Castle

★★★★ Nikki Heat’s latest case starts with the remains of a man that fell from the sky and crashed into the glass façade of Hayden Planetarium. Intrigued by the case, which leads a powerful political figure, her reporter boyfriend, Jameson Rook, joins the investigation only to find threads that do not fit into Nikki’s theory. Unsettled by the friction in her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

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