Staff Review: Blood and Salt

blood and saltBlood and Salt

Kim Liggett

G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Available: Now


On reading the very first page of Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett, I was instantly hooked. I really appreciate Liggett’s rich detail and how she describes every part down to the smallest detail which created strong imagery. As I read, I could picture everything happening including Ash’s gruesome vision of the dead girl hanging upside down on the kitchen table, ropes digging into her ankles, a trace of blood running from her cut across her hand. Ash’s visions are as evocative as watching a horror movie.

This suspenseful page turner centers around 17 year old Ash, daughter of Nina Larkin, a woman who escaped the harsh, spiritual commune of Quivira Kansas 17 years ago to raise her children in New York, away from the Mayhem that existed back home in Kansas.

Ash is a girl who could possibly be a conduit, someone who sees into the past and a has visions of their ancestors including the gruesome rituals that they conducted. When her mother’s final protection spell fades, she finds herself even more plagued with visions of her ancestor named Katia. If that isn’t enough to handle, Ash is haunted by visions of a dead girl. A girl she is tied to because of her gift. A girl that has been with Ash ever since she could remember. A girl that may be Katia, but looks just like Ash. With just six precious days left and the clock ticking, Ash and her brother Rhys set out to go to Quivira, Kansas to save their mother from doing the unthinkable on the night of the summer solstice.

Ash and Rhys want to save their mother Nina, but as their journey becomes more and more harrowing, Ash realizes it isn’t just her mother that needs saving but also herself. This book is perfect for the young adult looking for the ultimate fantasy suspenseful thriller.

~ Eryn, 16

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Customer Review: George


Alex Gino



Available now

Author Alex Gino hits it out of the park with George! As Middle School readers enter into the “tween years”, they are likely to relate to the array of emerging self identity emotions. However, as the reader, we are granted privileged access to George and how her desire to be known for her true self is not easy to share. We cheer for George as she executes a master plan to play Charlotte in the class play as a way, she believes, will allow everyone to see her as herself. In George, Gino brings George’s experience what it is like for her to be a transgender child into a conversational and relatable place for young people. I highly recommend it to anyone who works with young people. George will be an asset to the middle school learning experience on many levels.

Carol DiFalco, LMHC

Licensed Mental Health Counselor

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Customer review: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

accident seasonThe Accident Season

Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Kathy Dawson Books,


Available now

Accidents Happen.  Our bones shatter, our skin splits, our hearts break.  We burn, we drown we stay alive.

In The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle, every October Cara and her family are accident-prone.  With the disappearance of a former friend and a sudden attraction to her ex-stepbrother, this accident season will be one of the bad ones. This book is a great, quick read and I recommend this book to a reader who loves a good mystery.

~ Emily, 17

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Customer review: The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

dead houseThe Dead House

Dawn Kurtagich

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers,


Available: September 15th, 2015

I really enjoyed this book. It was an interesting and unusual mix of psychological thriller and dark fantasy, and it was more than suspenseful enough to keep me reading. The format, which consisted of captioned video footage, newspaper clippings, and excerpts from the main character’s diary, was cleverly done in that it told the whole story without the need for much added explanation. Though pretty open-ended, the conclusion answered the story’s important questions in a way that made sense; something a lot of thrillers struggle to do. I would recommend this book for kids age 14 and up, as there is violence and some sexual themes.

Jason ~18

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Customer Review: A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

a thousand nights A Thousand Nights

Emily Kate Johnston



Available: October 6th, 2015

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston transports readers to Arabian deserts, where readers can feel the burning sand under their feet and the hot sun beating on their backs.  A nameless girl saves her sister from being taken by Lo-Melkhiin, who has married three hundred women and has killed them. The girl instead sacrifices herself to be taken. Fans of Arabian Nights will fly through this book.

~ Emily, 17

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Customer review: Damage Done by Amanda Panitch

damage doneDamage Done

Amanda Panitch

Random House Books for Young Readers


Available now

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch is one of the best mystery thrillers I have read of the YA variety.  Julia Vann had the perfect life, then the shooting happened. The next moment she is a new person, lives in a new town, and doesn’t have a brother. You have to read the book to find out what really happened in the band room, where it all started.  Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, and anyone who loves a good plot twist.

Emily ~ 17

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Staff review: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

TKAMTo Kill A Mockingbird

Harper Lee

HarperCollins Publishers


Available Now

The novel To Kill A Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee, is a classic because the values and morals displayed through out this novel will never grow old. Translated into more than forty languages, this novel transcends the American canon. To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in Maycomb County, in southern Alabama, and is told from the innocent eyes of six-year-old Scout Finch, a tomboy/rebel, who is the daughter of Atticus Finch, an open minded lawyer with good values and morals. Atticus agrees to represent Tom Robinson, a black man accused of rape. In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus isn’t one to judge man by his skin color and race but rather focuses on the content of their character and who they are as a person.

To Kill a Mockingbird teaches the reader this important lesson: that you shouldn’t judge others based on appearances or what you’ve heard “until you consider things from his point of view […] until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” For example, Scout has encounters with many people who defy stereotypes such as Boo Radley. The story also circles around the important moral that everyone is created equal and that, as Atticus states, “whenever a white man does that to a black man, no matter who he is, how rich he is, or how fine a family he comes from, that white man is trash.” Atticus’s comment implies that character outweighs skin color.

In my freshman year of High School, I read To Kill A Mockingbird for English class. I didn’t think much of it back then nor did I try to put it into context, analyze it, or to try and figure out what it really meant, because I wasn’t into it. Now rereading the novel almost two years later, I gained a lot more knowledge from the nuances of the story and insight into the morals that infuse the novel. I also gained insight into individual characters. I related more to Atticus in my second reading and I value the lessons he teaches Scout about not judging people. Re-reading increased my understanding of why To Kill a Mockingbird is regarded as an American classic.


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Customer Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger

WalkonEarthaStrangerWalk on Earth a Stranger

Rae Carson

Greenwillow Books


Available September 22, 2015

Besides the beautiful cover a wonderful story follows surrounding the gold rush in America.  Leah Westfall possesses a special power, she can sense the presence of gold. The day both her parents are murdered she bravely runs from her wicked uncle and sets off to find her best friend Jefferson and accompany him to California to find gold. In the beginning of her journey she decides to pretend to be a boy, so she won’t be found by her evil uncle. Will she ever find her friend Jefferson? Will she be found by her uncle and be used for her sense of gold? You will have to read to find out! ~ Emily, 17

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Staff Review: These Shallow Graves

these shallow gravesThese Shallow Graves

Jennifer Donnelly


Available October 27th, 2015

Delacorte Press

New York City in the 1800s was a completely different world. It was a time when woman didn’t have the same rights as men. A time when woman weren’t good for anything except getting married right after school and settling down, sitting pretty and doing as they were told — which meant not speaking out of term and staying home and behaving as a proper young woman of society should behave. A girl could never be forgiven for wishing to know things, which doesn’t stop Jo Montfort. Jo wants to know what really happened to her father, Charles Montfort, New York City’s wealthiest man and owner of a newspaper. He accidently shoots himself after cleaning a loaded gun, but Jo Montfort knows her father was way too smart to clean a loaded gun.

Jo is a true rebel at heart with much different dreams. Instead of getting married right after high school to a wealthy bachelor like a young woman is expected to do, she dreams of being a writer: specifically a newspaper reporter like the famous Nellie Bly. Nothing will stop Jo Montfort from finding out the real truth behind her father’s death. If it means breaking and entering into abandoned homes, digging up graves, or lying about where she has been, then so be it.

There’s nothing I like more than a determined, strong minded young rebel like Jo Montfort, breaking out of the very society that ties her down and contradicting and breaking all the rules to follow their dreams and get what they truly want. If you’re interested in mysteries that have you at the edge of your seat then These Shallow Graves written by Jennifer Donnelly is the book for you.

~Eryn, 16

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Customer Review: Kid Athletes: True Stories Of Childhood From Sports Legends

kid athletes  Kid Athletes

David Stabler and Doogie Horner


Quirk Books

Available November 2015

Have you ever wondered how kids become award wining athletes? The book Kid Athletes: True Stories of Childhood from Sport’s Legends by David Stabler and Doogie Horner has the answer. This book is filled with exciting tales about stars of hockey, basketball, baseball, tennis, golf, horse racing, gymnastics, and soccer. Your favorite athletes are in this book.

My favorites  were Gabby Douglas, Yao Ming and Lionel Messi. Lionel Messi impressed me the most. He started walking at nine months . From the first second he was persistent . I was amazed that even when he broke his arm he didn’t scream or cry in pain. Her learned how to deal with pain.

Every sports legend was fearless but did not start that way. It was funny to read about the tough NFL quarterback Peyton Manning doing the tango. You will learn how these kids worked hard to accomplish their dreams. I really liked the book and enjoyed the funny illustrations.

~Rosella, Age 9

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