Read + Review, Uncategorized

Read + Review: Lovely War by Julie Berry


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This novel follows the stories of four main characters, each of whom are from a different place in the world: Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Collette. Under normal circumstances, there is no way that any of these four people would’ve found their way into each other’s lives. In the 1940s, however, there were two things that brought people together: love and war. These characters all played important roles in the war, whether it be as a soldier in the British army, a musician in the 369th infantry, or a volunteer assisting at European camps. Regardless, the war had profound impacts on everyone involved, and this story recounts their experiences in this worldwide conflict and how they desired to see the people they loved the most again.

I thought that the entire story line was planned out very well. World War II was definitely a time when love was a motivating factor for people to pursue certain actions, especially soldiers, since their ultimate goal was to be able to come home to the families that they left behind. In times of conflict, everyone must make some kind of sacrifice, and each character clearly did that throughout the course of the novel. It was also clear that a lot of research was conducted before writing the book. In a short afterword, the author provided factual information that was integrated into various characters and story lines, adding a sense of realism into this fictitious work.

In my opinion, the most memorable thing about this book was the vivid description of war-like situations during that time period. I have learned that the conditions in the trenches were not pleasant and that the living conditions there were not great in my history classes. After reading this book, along with the historical notes written after the story was over, I now have a better understanding about what a soldier’s experience was during the war.


Reviewed by Griffin, Gayton library


Read + Review: Torpedoed by Deborah Heiligman

There was time, during World War Two, that Britain was under constant threat of bombings. The attacks would often happen at night, and the only warning they’d get was an air raid siren just before. Once the siren went off, they had to grab their families, and rush to the nearest subway tunnel or underground shelter. Sometimes they didn’t make it in time, and were blown up; sometimes they did, only to emerge in the morning to find their home and all of their belongings nothing but rubble and ash. It was a horrible time to be British, and people feared for the safety of their children, so a solution was created: ship your children off to another country for the time being! One of these ships was called The City of Benares and would take ninety children to Canada as a part of the Children’s Overseas Reception Board (CORB) program. It was a great idea that would take them far away from the action. But sadly, nobody could’ve predicted the torpedo, and nobody could’ve predicted the hundreds of lives that would be lost. This is the story of the sinking of “The Children’s Ship”, the young lives that were lost, the ones that weren’t, and the people who became heroes overnight.

I cannot express how glad I am that I found this. If I hadn’t, I probably would’ve never found out about it. I absolutely love reading history that I never learned in school, and I think it’s extremely important that tragedies like these are never forgotten. The suspense was very well done as well. I recommend this book to any history fanatics like me.

My favorite part of the book was definitely the last ten or so chapters. I won’t spoil what happens in them, but they do contain a lot of tension.

Reviewed by Dahlia, Twin Hickory


Read + Review: Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks


Every fall, Deja and Josiah have worked together at the world’s greatest pumpkin patch/autumnal jamboree. They’re reunited every September 1st, make succotash at the Succotash Hut, and say goodbye at the end of the working season each Halloween. They’ve been doing this routine all throughout high school and were just fine doing it. But when the Halloween of their senior year rolls around, Deja decides it’s about time Josiah finally talked to the girl at the fudge shop he’s been crushing on since orientation. What follows is an adventure of irresponsible behavior at the workplace, as they ditch their jobs to journey around the patch, reminisce about good times, stop for snacks, narrowly avoid encounters with a raging goat, and try to track down the elusive fudge shop girl. Hey, it’s their last time working at the patch before college; why not have some fun?

I greatly enjoyed following them around on their quest to find the fudge shop girl. It was fun, heartfelt, had plenty of gags, and showed off all the various food stands and attractions. The writers did a great job creating a fictional jamboree, because man I wish I’d gone there as a little girl. Overall, it had a whole lot of personality and truly captured the joys and nostalgia of fall. All the characters, even the one-offs, felt like a part of a larger, untold story. I recommend this for sure.

My favorite part of this book was the bloodthirsty goat that kept showing up. He had nothing to do with the story, and not once was he referred to by the main characters apart from his initial mention, he was just a funny background gag.


Reviewed by Dahlia, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews

Read + Review: Shadow of the Batgirl by Sarah Kuhn

Cassandra Cain is not your average teenager. Raised as a perfect and mute assassin by her father, she runs away from home when she realizes that being an assassin isn’t what she’s meant to be. After finding herself in the comforting noodle shop of Jackie, the kind owner, she discovers the legacy of Batgirl, a prominent vigilante of Gotham City who disappeared years ago. While trying to seek out Batgirl for advice, Cassandra finds herself working with a certain wheelchair-bound librarian named Barbara Gordon, who asks questions that Cassandra can’t answer. Between finding Batgirl and trying to start anew, Cassandra must also deal with the ever-present threat of her father and her old life coming back to claim her.

As one of DC Comics’ lesser-known Batman-related characters, Cassandra Cain rarely gets the spotlight, and I truly appreciate Kuhn trying to give Cassandra the attention she deserves. I will say that the book does stray from the comics canon with elements I can’t spoil, but overall, the book really tries to live up to the comics by forging its own path while still hitting the right notes. In the comics, Cassandra Cain has always been in her own internal struggle between what’s right or wrong due to her upbringing, and Kuhn translated this aspect fantastically well in this book. One of the strongest moments of this book is also the addition of Barbara Gordon, the first Batgirl. This may seem like a spoiler, but truthfully it is just background knowledge that is optional to read before this story. I believe that having Barbara in the story as one of Cassandra’s mentors truly helped Cassandra’s characterization, as that incarnation of Barbara had retired the mantle of Batgirl and had a very similar experience to help Cassandra. The only part of this book that could have been better was developing the personalities of the original characters created for this story, especially Jackie. Although I understand the focus on Cassandra and Barbara’s relationship (due to their similar backgrounds and motives), Jackie could have been more of moral support besides having a safe place for Cassandra to run to. Personally, I believe that Kuhn just didn’t explore Jackie’s character a lot, and that could have definitely made the story better. Other than that, this story was a fantastic read and I can’t wait for more YA books like this from DC Comics.

The most memorable part of this book was when Cassandra mistakenly knocked over the stacks of books that Erik, another character in the book, had set up for his book club meeting. The uniqueness of this moment was that Cassandra had thought the stacks of books were for training, while Erik had simply put them in that way for holding a discussion. The moment also started Cassandra and Erik’s relationship through Erik’s sympathy for Cassandra’s situation. The chemistry between the two made a breakthrough in this moment.

Review by Allyson, Twin Hickory Library

Books, Read + Review, Teen Reviews, Uncategorized

Read + Review: Maybe He Just Likes You by Barbara Dee

The book was about a girl in seventh grade named Mila. She lives with her single mom who is struggling to financially support her family. At school, things are tough for Mila because she was getting sexually harassed. Her friends don’t really think much of it and think the boys are just flirting but Mila knows that’s not what’s happening. She didn’t tell her mom about this because her mom was already stressed enough. Mila’s mom went to exercising class and they also had karate. So Mila joined a karate class and it taught her ways to overcome her situation.

I thought the book was interesting. All the things that happened made the book whole. I liked how everything fit together in the end. It seemed like everything was just the way it should be at the end.

The most memorable thing in the book was when Liana told her story. It made it seem like Mila wasn’t the only one in that situation.

Review by Monica, Twin Hickory Library