Staff Book Reviews

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The Survivalists: A Novel By Kashana Cauley Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: October 1, 2022

This is a prepper's survival guide meets Get Out. Aretha, a Black lawyer chasing the partnership dream, falls off track when she meets a coffee entrepreneur and his climate change prepper roommates and business partners. Due to her own lack of family, she quickly falls in love with the idea of a house and partner in life. And, she strives to try to understand the unfriendly roommates even when a multitude of guns get introduced in to the equation. And, it's easy to see how Aretha, so driven, begins to seek "highs" from other places, when work doesn't go as well. Watching Aretha make her choices about housing and love, balanced against her own moral code was like watching the actor, go into the woods alone, even with an ax murderer lurking amongst the trees.

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Untethered Sky By Fonda Lee Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: October 1, 2022

Fonda Lee is a marvel. A marvel at writing, as well as world and character building. Here, the rich and dangerous world, filled with manticores and rocs, as well as their minders. Ester, an apprentice rukher, patiently bonds with her new roc, Zahra. Once bonded, the experience is both exhilarating and fearful as the two hunt the deadly monsters that inhabit the world. And, like the Ester and Zahra who are satisfied after a successful kill, I am satiated from this oh so satisfying read, for now.

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I Keep My Exoskeletons to Myself: A Novel By Marisa Crane Cover Image
Reviewed by: Molly
Posted: October 1, 2022

Crane created such a fascinating, terrifying, and complete world with this debut novel. Love, loss, queerness, child rearing, single parenthood, prejudice, and shame are all tackled with such tact and vulnerability here. This book delivered everything I wanted from a queer Sci-Fi read. I absolutely cannot wait to see what else Crane comes out with in the future!

Eloise: The Absolutely Essential 60th Anniversary Edition By Kay Thompson, Hilary Knight (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Molly
Posted: October 1, 2022

One of my favorite books growing up and still one that makes me laugh to this day. This beautiful 60th anniversary edition is a perfect gift for any weird kid (or adult) who likes to cause a little mischief.

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Freestyle: A Graphic Novel By Gale Galligan Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: September 29, 2022

So much fun. Galligan's story and art are just so exuberant  and filled with life. And, the dancing friend group are trying to make the most of their last middle school year together. Loved how Cory realized that his friends like him, contain multitudes, and learning new things can transfer to his own interests. And, don't be surprised if, like Cory (and Galligan) that you start falling down the you tube rabbit hole for competitive yo yo ing. The joy springs out of every page and I can't wait to read more from this author.

How to Read Now: Essays By Elaine Castillo Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: September 28, 2022

Reading is a political act. What and who we read matters. Even when reading for fun or revisiting old favorites, it's important to acknowledge the content within and address problematic content. Here, the author, critically analyzes numerous pieces of work, as well as weaving her own personal experiences with each piece. The essays are thought provoking and provocative and will definitely nourish your brain. And, in doing so, it will enrich your own personal reading.

Garlic and the Vampire By Bree Paulsen, Bree Paulsen (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Tildy
Posted: September 27, 2022

The cutest little graphic novel about an anxious little garlic!! When Garlic and her friends notice smoke coming from the old abandoned castle in the distance Witch Agnes mentions casually that there *could* be a vampire up there and Celery (who reminds me strongly of Minkus from Boy Meets World) nominates Garlic out of spite to go face the Vampire down. Bree Paulsen has a way of giving her characters such personality and movement, and I loved the storytelling. Can’t wait for Garlic’s next adventure!

How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water: A Novel By Angie Cruz Cover Image
Reviewed by: Crissy
Posted: September 26, 2022

Kara Romero, a chatty Dominican immigrant, needs to find a new job and the Senior Workforce Program is here to help. Somehow, though, her training sessions go a little (okay, a lot) off-track as Kara tells her life story. Her training supervisor doesn’t seem to mind and you won’t either. Kara is far from perfect, but she’s not too proud to change her ways. Her story will leave your heart smiling

A Pho Love Story By Loan Le Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: September 26, 2022

Like a great bowl of pho, I savored every page of this love story. Here we have engaging and well drawn out characters, mostly teens who are trying to navigate their passions, wrapped with their family's as enemies and lots of food. Children of immigrants who flee war torn countries and children of restaurant owners, navigate the world differently and often find a common bond. Parents' pasts are hidden and not really talked about, yet the trauma lingers and effects the family and future generations. All this is effortlessly woven into the plot. And, be prepared to crave Vietnamese food. I foresee pho in my future and plan to slurp it up, just like I slurped up this book.  

A Library By Nikki Giovanni, Erin K. Robinson (Illustrator) Cover Image
Reviewed by: Ilana
Posted: September 26, 2022

​From cover to cover, a beautiful marriage of poetry and fine art collage. Together Nikki Giovanni and Erin K. Robinson have created a world full of imagination, a love of libraries and​ "the ​joy of so many books​...​”

The Noh Family By Grace K. Shim Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: September 25, 2022

Think Crazy Rich Asians/Devil Wears Prada meets Tokyo Ever After/Princess Diaries with a dash of K Drama and you get the Noh Family. Chloe finds her dead father's relatives through a DNA test and desperate to know about hi and his family, she goes off to Korea. But, what starts off as a world of discovery and possibilities with her family, leads to a desperate need for acceptance and validation. Chloe's journey was a K Drama in book form and I wouldn't mind more to her story.

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The Bandit Queens: A Novel By Parini Shroff Cover Image
Reviewed by: Audrey H.
Posted: September 25, 2022

I loved this.  Set in a rural village in India, Geeta, is a "widow" bc her husband disappeared over five years ago. Because of this, she has a reputation and soon, the other women, in their micro loan group, seeks her help in getting rid of their abusive husbands. The women's voices are loud, sometimes coarse and hilarious as they juggle their hard lives, while also dealing with the patriarchy, domestic abuse, child abuse and caste issues. And, there are some definite hilarious moments balanced with the heavy themes throughout this read. But, most of all, the women support each other while being brutally honest (and not always loving) and learn its better to be together then to survive apart. Readers of My Sister, the Serial Killer, will adore this read.

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