Tag Archives: summer

Customer Review: Bayou Magic

BayouMagicBayou Magic 

Jewell Parker Rhodes

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Available now

Madison (Maddy) Isabelle Lavalier Johnson is the youngest in a family of a mother and four sisters. They are all used to city life in New Orleans. All four of her sisters have gone to the bayou for the summer with their Grandmère, who they all think is a little bit kooky. They also don’t like bayou life at all, and they really just sit around all summer long.

Maddy is scared to go at first, but she ends up loving her bayou summer!  She also finds out that she inherited the Lavalier family’s special magic trait, and she can do many things that her sisters, and other family members, can’t. She always has something to do, whether it’s swimming with mermaids, summoning fireflies, hanging out with her new friend Bear, or even just exploring the bayou for herself!  This book was a great–and quick– read!  For those that like adventure and magic, and family and friends, Bayou Magic is a great choice for you!

~ Olivia, age 12

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Morse Pond Review: Listen, Slowly

9780062229182Listen, Slowly

Thanhha Lai



Available January 2015

Listen, Slowly by award winning author Thanhha Lai is the story of a 12 year old Mia who is growing up in Laguna, California and looking forward to her summer at the beach with her friends. However, her parents inform her that she will be traveling with her grandmother to Vietnam to learn more about her family’s culture and find out what happened to her grandfather who went missing during the Vietnam War. Mia is very upset about this arrangement. Yet, during the course of the novel, Mia (Mai in Vietnam) learns a great deal about the Vietnamese culture as well as about her family, herself and life in general. I could not put this book down! The author’s voice made the characters both believable and intriguing. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a wonderful story, especially if you liked Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai. Her books are enthralling. This is one of my new favorite books!

Mrs. Abbott, Library Media Teacher

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Staff Review: What I Thought Was True

9780803739093What I Thought Was True

Huntley Fitzpatrick



Available now

Gwen’s close Portuguese immigrant family has served the summer resort trade for two generations, and she’s afraid she and her classmates may be yet another. All of her classmates except handsome Cass, exiled from a fancy private school, that is. Gwen tries to avoid Cass as she works in her father’s small restaurant, helps her mother clean houses, spends time as paid companion to a wealthy but frail widow. But Cass seems unavoidable, her parents are living out the tensions of marrying too young, her little brother’s disabilities weigh on her attention, her cousin and best friend are all but engaged at 18, and catering to clueless plutocrats is demeaning – as are the racy rumors of her prior summer relationships.

Yes, it’s a summer romance — but it’s so much more. Fitzpatrick weaves everything together so gracefully: economic goals and opportunities, a little brother with disabilities, plenty of humor, the purposes of marriage, ethnic and cultural divisions, aging, more humor, athletics, and above all, life in a beach community. Readers who love Sarah Dessen will be delighted to discover Huntley Fitzpatrick.

~ Carol

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Staff Review: We Were Liars

9780804168397_246a9We Were Liars

E. Lockhart

Delacorte Press


Available 13 May 2014

I’m supposed to lie. That’s what they’re telling me at least. According to the publisher’s comments, “Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.” Well I’m not going to tell you how it ends, but I’m not going to lie either. We Were Liars is a gut-punching book. You could probably tell that from the cover, the title, and the publisher blurb.

I’m not going to lie, but I will talk about the beginning, the writing, and a few of my favorite references. We Were Liars is about the Sinclair family: “the beautiful Sinclair family”. The family owns houses and a small island off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard. Cadence, the narrator, introduces us:

Welcome to the beautiful Sinclair family.

No one is a criminal.

No one is an addict.

No one is a failure.

The Sinclairs are athletic, tall, and handsome. We are old-money Democrats. Our smiles are wide, our chins square, and our tennis serves aggressive.

The story is engaging. The narrator empathetic. But it is Lockhart’s writing style that really draws the reader in to this book. Prose frequently gives way to short, poetic lines that convey scattered memories, and an unsettling urgency. Urgency to make the reader comprehend something that Cadence herself doesn’t fully grasp. The urgency for Cadence that she explain — truly explain — her family; a family that she herself is struggling to understand. From the first page Cadence’s voice is fractured, split, ripped apart. Although she strives for coherence, when it comes to her family, Cadence relies on poetry as poetry can convey emotion, even when meaning is elusive.

Local residents and Cape Cod visitors will appreciate Lockhart’s descriptions of Martha’s Vineyard and I was delighted with the brief mentions of Woods Hole  — not the ferry, of course, the Sinclairs use private transportation. We Were Liars is also infused with references to Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, Wuthering Heights, and Andrew Lang’s Fairy Books. These direct references are underscored by a plot that is complicated and demands close reading, much like Jones’s excellent books; character allusions to the outsider within — or the insider from without — that informs the plot of Wuthering Heights; and the narrative style of fairy tales that serve to simultaneously distance the story, as if it takes place once upon a time, while still conveying universal truths about family and love.

We Were Liars is smart, thought provoking, and unforgettable. I would never lie about that.

~ Sara

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Morse Pond Review: Fish Finelli

9781452108209Fish Finelli Book 1: Seagulls Don’t Eat Pickles

Written by Erica Faber

Illustrated by Jason Beene

Chronicle Books


Available April 2014

Seagulls Don’t Eat Pickles is about three buddies named Fish, TJ and Roger. They want to beat their arch enemy Bryce in a boat race. But when Fish helps someone out, the race starts before Fish can start his engine! When he finally gets his engine started, he is way behind. He goes full throttle and catches up. He passes one boat then another! Just one more boat to pass, and he is head to head with Bryce. What will happen? You will have to read it find out! But you have to wait until April 2014!!!

~ Nick, age 10

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8 by Eight: The Other Side

9780399231162The Other Side, by Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by E. B. Lewis, is one of those perfect picture books. The story begins, “That summer the fence that stretched through our town seemed bigger. We lived in a yellow house on one side of it. White people lived on the other. And Mama said, ‘Don’t climb over that fence when you play’. She said it wasn’t safe”. Clover wonders about the fence. Who put it there. What it means. And why it keeps her away from Annie, on the other side. Although the fence divides them, Clover and Annie start to develop a friendship. They meet in the middle and eventually cross the divide. The ripple effect their small actions have on the community is both heartwarming and inspiring. This story has something important to say about fences, and children, and courage, but it says all of these things quietly, letting the reader slowly absorb the message, rather than forcing it. Like the narrative, the illustrations are subtle and inviting. Each image convey the sun, possibilities, and eternal fun of childhood summers. Recently celebrating its 10th anniversary, if you haven’t seen this book in a while, definitely look for it on our 8 by Eight display. It is not to be missed.

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