Reader Review

Deer Falls by Samantha Lady

The Author is from the Willamette Valley (Linn/Benton/Lincoln Counties) and uses a lot of local natural attractions in her settings. However, the most impactful part of this series-in-a-novel book was the topics that hit so close to home. She focuses on the challenges of being an older teen/young adult raised in poverty & abuse. Parents with alcohol & drug issues, physical abuse & rage, homelessness, rape, and so much more... Her writing style is a bit more realistic than those of similar context that Ive come across. Very uplifting read for those fighting to break the cycles or in the position to look back on their journey. Back to Book Reviews

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia

It was a joy to read this with my almost 12-year old daughter, the same age as the oldest sister telling the story. I think it's shares valuable 1960s history of the Black Panthers that includes how they helped communities and educated children. It provided rich discussions and understanding to what is happening today with Black Lives Matter. My daughter loved the characters and book - adults will like it, too. Back to Book Reviews

The affairs of the Falcons by Melissa Rivero

A blurb on the back of the book calls The Affairs of the Falcóns "a book we urgently need now", a take which I very much agree with as I sit here turning the final page. A woman and her family's immigration journey from a dangerous conflict-ridden Peru to a vibrant New York City in the early 1990's: all of their heartaches, their disappointments, their paranoia, their fears; their hopes and their dreams, too, colorfully told in prose that is both readable and full of boundless emotion on every level. When we see and hear about families torn apart at the US-Mexican border, or elsewhere in the world, our hearts sigh, but it soon passes as we continue on with our own lives, our own troubles. On a planet so desensitized to violence, the victims and their stories fade and blend together--a refugee woman being reunited with her trauma-sickened child--another sad statistic soon forgotten by most of the world. "Son ilegales, Ana." Her stomach clenched. "I know what we are, Valeria. But we’re not going anywhere. My children aren’t going anywhere. I’m not going anywhere. We came here as a family and we’re staying as a family. I’ll keep sewing curtains and wiping toilet seats if I have to, and so will Lucho." She held on as her stomach settled. "But we’re not leaving." But stories like this force us to remember. Whether in our own backyards or on the other side of the world, the very least we can do is listen to their stories, and and not let them be forgotten. By reading Ana's story, though fictional, I was knocked right off of my "white privilege box" and was reminded of [Read more]

Chester by Melanie Watt

It is witty, funny, easy to read and creates an interesting way of reading as if the cat was messing with the story- easy to make the character’s personalities come to life! Back to Book Reviews

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Much of this book was tongue in cheek and definitely built for laughs. It delivered on that, along with a hilarious and often intriguing plotline. I felt much more lighthearted after reading it. Back to Book Reviews

Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

The ideas in this book were easy to follow and to apply right away. My kids are 4 and 6 - they go back and forth between being best friends and at each other's throats. The ideas in this book helped me diffuse tough situations. I recommend it for parents of children of any age 0-teenagers. Back to Book Reviews

Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu

Here I am, a 36-year-old mother recommending an online graphic novel. This is far outside my normal genre, but I was so delighted by this unexpected find that I just had to share. It was described on a Read Harder Challenge page as a "queer hockey romance graphic novel," and I was intrigued enough to check it out. I was immediately sucked in and only stopped reading when my baby awoke from his nap, and found myself sneaking episodes (it has episodes, not pages, as it is online only) standing at the kitchen counter with my laptop while the baby played. Immensely fun and readable, Check, Please! has appeal across ages (but due to language and partying, not appropriate for most young readers). For those of us in the LGBTQ community especially, it is a fairytale-esq ray of hope in the many struggles the world often throws at us. Ugazu adeptly touches on a lot of big issues faced by queer youth, but in an optimistic light that allows the reader to sink into a world where everything really might just be okay. Take an hour or two to delve into the first year at Samwell University, and I imagine that you, too, will find yourself firmly on Team Bitty. Back to Book Reviews

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I was sucked into this series unexpectedly: I read the first book to fulfill a square on the library's summer bingo challenge. And: I could not stop reading! Every once in a while you are reminded you're reading YA book by the less-nuanced plot development or the self-conscious pre-teen lingo, but then you're sucked right back into this highly plot-driven story series and the pages keep turning rapidly! I ended up reading the whole 5-book series and I'm on the holds list for the next Camp Half Blood series now! Back to Book Reviews

Ladybug Girl and Bingo by David Soman and Jacky Davis

A continuation of the story began in Ladybug Girl, Ladybug Girl and Bingo follows Lulu and her family on a camping trip. My daughter loves to read this book (and all Ladybug Girl books) over and over again. The illustrations are so well done, you can really see the full range of emotion on the characters' faces. With the nice illustrations and interesting plot, it isn't too annoying for the parent to do so! The title implies that it is about Lulu and her dog - which it is - but since the setting is the family going camping, it would be a good addition to a camping or outdoors themed reading list. We see Lulu being responsible for her dog, problem solving, being creative and curious, and family interactions - lots of good talking points for parents and children. So far, I would recommend any of the Ladybug Girl books for toddlers and preschoolers (we haven't read them all yet), but Ladybug Girl and Bingo is our favorite of the bunch. Back to Book Reviews

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Anthony Doerr weaves together intersecting stories of compelling characters during World War II. His writing is evocative; he especially captures the transformations of childhood, the desperation of war, the vastness of the ocean, the beauty of music and the radio as a powerful medium. Back to Book Reviews