Category Archives: 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

J. K. Rowling Goes to Harvard

OK, so you can’t expect a children’s book author to talk about the Marshall Plan.  Nonetheless, J. K. Rowling gave a wonderful speech at Harvard’s Commencement this past Thursday, titled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.”  Harvard Magazine has the full text and video of the speech.

Or, if you just want more Harry Potter, you have many choices at the library.  We have the books in the children’s, young adult, adult, paperback, and large print collections, and translations in Russian, Chinese, Hebrew, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and Latin.  They’re also available on CD and cassette, and don’t forget the movies!  We also have related items, such as books on the meaning of Harry Potter, a leadership book based on Harry Potter, and even a knitting book (Charmed Knits).  Just search the catalog under author for Rowling, J. K., or under keyword for “Harry Potter” (in quotes).  

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Filed under Children's, Events, General Fiction, Young Adult

I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter, by Lynn Cullen

An absorbing romantic novel about Rembrandt’s daughter at the age of fourteen. After her mother dies and her brother moves away, Cornelia is left alone with her father, Rembrandt van Rijn. He has been denounced by his wealthy patrons and can’t offer the affection and care that Cornelia craves. A work of emotional depth, readers will also learn about Rembrandt’s life and art.

Reviewed by:  Susan K

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Filed under General Fiction, Historical Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult

Songbook, by Nick Hornby

Do you like pop music?  Do you like to read liner notes?  Take 31 favorite pop songs, add a writer as skilled as Nick Hornby, flesh out the liner note material into essays, and you have a great book! The songs are just a jumping-off point for broader and more personal reflections–touching and humorous–on life, love, and what makes music meaningful to us.  The book discusses some of Hornby’s favorites c. 2001.  You don’t need to like the songs or even know them; neither I nor my teenage son share Hornby’s taste in music, but we both enjoyed the book.

I wish the CD included with the book had more than 11 of the songs, but the book is fun to read whether you’ve heard the songs or not.

Rating:  *** A good read
Reviewed by:  stc

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Filed under Non Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation; Volume I, The Pox Party, by M. T. Anderson

This Young Adult award winner deserves a wider audience. Octavian, a slave raised and educated  at the College of Lucidity in Boston, is an experiment to determine the inequality of the races. Set at the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the author raises profound questions about learning and moral behavior. Certainly, the dark side of the enlightenment.

RATING: * * * A good read
Reviewed by: alan a

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Filed under Award Winners, Historical Fiction, Staff Picks, Young Adult