Category Archives: Young Adult

The New Policeman, by Kate Thompson


Set in present day Ireland, this teen novel contrasts the frantic pace of modern day life with traditional Irish ways, Irish music, folk dancing and beliefs with a twist of magic. One of main character’s J.J. Liddy’s neighbors tells him he must travel to the enchanted land of the ever young where the faeries live to solve a decades old mystery about time itself and his family. I listened to the book on CD and thoroughly enjoyed the musical interludes between each chapter.

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RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: kh

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Filed under Audiobooks, Fantasy, Staff Picks, Young Adult

Tailchaser’s Song, by Tad Williams

A very good and gripping book, it stays true to the nature of cats, pulling the reader into a very believable (for fantasy) mythology. The only part that might annoy people is the fact that the cats call animals by different names, but there is an index for all the unfamiliar terms in the back, and I feel that this reinforces the feeling that you really are hearing this from a cat. The book captures the essence of felinity and allows the reader to see the world as cats do. I recommend this book to anyone, but especially people who enjoy fantasy and have always wanted to see an adventure of epic proportions from a cat’s perspective.

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RATING: * * * * Very, very good
Reviewed by: Devlin G

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Filed under Fantasy, Young Adult

The Good Earth, by Pearl S. Buck

Did you read this in high school? Try it again, this novel is worthy of its designation as a Pulitzer Prize winning modern classic. Buck paints a realistic picture of life and society in early 20th century rural China. As the story begins Wang Lung, a poor farmer, is about to marry O-Lan, a slave from the wealthy family in his village. The author lived over half her life in China. I listened to the book on CD and the narrator was excellent.

RATING:  **** Very, very good
Reviewed by: kh

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Filed under Audiobooks, Award Winners, General Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult

The Santaroga Barrier, by Frank Herbert

This book is creepy, mysterious, and eloquently written.  It is about a young psychologist who takes an assignment in a too perfect town in a valley, Santaroga, that has no juvenile delinquency, barely any cigarette smoking, no mental illnesses, and barely any crime.  He is assigned to investigate these mysterious circumstances.  He also has other motives behind accepting the assignment.  His girlfriend, Jenny, lives in the valley.  He enters the valley and is almost killed twice.  Alarmed, he decides to investigate a mysterious substance that the Santarogans consume in almost all of their foods, Jaspers.  The more he pries, the more danger he puts himself in.  Can this lone psychologist figure out the mystery behind the “Santaroga Barrier?”

RATING: * * * * Very, very good

Reviewed by: YA/Teen reviewer, K.G.

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Filed under Science Fiction, Young Adult

Summer Reading ideas

Looking for Summer Reading ideas?  Rebecca Blood, in her blog rebecca’s pocket, has helpfully collected dozens of lists from a wide variety of newspapers and media outlets, including all genres, and for all ages.  There’s a list for everyone here!

And don’t forget our BookLetters service!  Browse any of the lists, or sign up to receive any (or all) 0f the newsletters through your email or RSS feed.

Photo by kke227 and republished here under a Creative Commons license.  Some rights reserved.

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Filed under Blogs & websites, Children's, Lists, Young Adult

When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead

Twelve year old Miranda lives in 1970’s Manhattan, with typical concerns about friends, boys, school–and helping her mom win the game show The $20,000 Pyramid. Then she starts receiving mysterious unsigned notes that give her instructions, appear to predict the future, and contain vague mentions of danger.   What do they mean?  Miranda’s favorite book is Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and fans of that book (or the Time Traveler’s Wife) will enjoy this one, too.

Rating:  **** Very, very good
Reviewed by:  stc

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Update, January 2010:  When You Reach Me was awarded the 2010 Newbery Medal.

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Filed under Award Winners, Children's, Science Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult

Remembering Anne Frank

June 12 is the 80th anniversary of the birth of Anne Frank, whose Jewish family was forced into hiding during World War II. Though she lived only until the age of 15, Anne recorded her girlish hopes and her private fears in a diary that has become one of the most widely read books in the world. First published in 1947, it became an immediate bestseller and has since been translated into 67 languages. You can find Library copies in the Children’s Room, Young Adult, and Adult areas, as well as in Large Print, CD and tape. 

To learn more about Anne and her family, the Library owns many biographies and other books about Anne Frank for both children and adults.  Consider such selections as Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped Hide the Frank Family, by Miep Gies, Roses from the Earth: The Biography of Anne Frank by Carol Ann Lee, or Ellen Feldman’s moving novel, The Boy Who Loved Anne Frank.  Or listen to the recording of Elegy for Anne Frank, by Lukas Foss.

You can also visit the website for the Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam, with information on worldwide events to mark the occasion of Anne Frank’s birth.

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Filed under Biographies and Memoirs, Children's, Historical Fiction, Non Fiction, Young Adult

11 Books in 15 Minutes

1)  Joy School – Elizabeth Berg – Yes, she writes chick lit, but she captures the innermost thoughts of people that they’d never want anyone else to know about and she does it in incredible detail. This book in particular, about a 13 year old girl trying to find her way, is particularly beautiful and heartbreaking.


2)  Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Very Gothic in style, which is not my thing – but this book kept me reading breathlessly all the way through. What a storyteller! I’ve recommended this to everyone who will listen, and they have all LOVED it.


3)  Neither Here nor There – Bill Bryson – this guy is absolutely hilarious as he takes you on his travels through Europe. He is probably better known for his book about the Appalachian Trail (A Walk in the Woods), but this one is my favorite.



4)  Stiff – Mary Roach – About all the different things that can happen to dead bodies. Sounds absolutely horrific, but she makes it fascinating – and hilarious! I would like to be friends with this person as she would at turns inform me and make me laugh.


5)  Julie and Julia – Julie Powell – Yes, this is coming to a multiplex near you this summer, but this book had me laughing out loud the whole time I was reading. This woman who is unsatisfied with her work-life decides to spend a year cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Particularly great read for foodies, but I found Julie to be a very worthwhile companion when discussing what happened around the recipes too.

6)  Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert – some found this to be self-satisfied rambling, but I loved it. Did not care so much for the India section, but Italy and Indonesia were wonderful. This is another woman that I’d like to have dinner with sometime -she writes about her personal struggles in a very endearing and at times hilarious way.


7)  Wallflower at the Orgy – Nora Ephron – Wonderful essays from the 1970s. You get a little history and a lot of hilarity.

8)  The Soloist – Mark Salzman – novel about a failed violin prodigy and a court case in which he serves on jury duty. Beautifully written.

9)  The Music Teacher – Barbara Hall – an incredibly finely wrought main character. This book drew me right in from the first page. A somewhat quiet, personal novel about the human condition.


10)  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – E. L. Konigsburg – One of my favorite novels from childhood. This adult woman writes about the lives of children SO evocatively. All her books contain characters you’re not likely to forget. The first book that made me realize I loved reading.


11)  The Hours – Michael Cunningham – Depressing as all get out, but SO beautifully written. I just love how he connected 3 seemingly disparate stories – all equally gorgeous, evocative and sad… yet with a sense of grace when all is said and done.

All books reviewed by:  MFB

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Filed under Biographies and Memoirs, Children's, General Fiction, Non Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult

Knots in My Yo-Yo String : The Autobiography of a Kid, by Jerry Spinelli

A poignant, funny montage of 1950’s childhood memories by this award winning author who grew up in Norristown, PA.

RATING: * * * A good read
Reviewed by: kh

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Filed under Biographies and Memoirs, Children's, Staff Picks, Young Adult

Hide, by Lisa Gardner

When I read Lisa Gardner’s book Hide I was amazed. Once I finished, I wanted to read more. I highly recommend this book. The best book I’ve ever read, no doubt.

RATING: * * * * * One of the best books I’ve read
Reviewed by: Cassi

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(See an earlier review on the blog here.)

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Filed under Mysteries and Thrillers, Young Adult