Fiction

The Help

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Kathryn Stockett

This book is like putting on slippers after you've danced the night away in heels that pinched just a little.  First time novelist, Kathryn Stockett, hit a home run when she wrote The Help.  The story revolves around the relationships among different women and their domestic help during the early years of the 1960's in Mississippi, arguably the poster child for poor race relations in the United States.  It is not always easy to read, and I sometimes found myself embarrassed that these events (or something like them) happened during my lifetime in this country.  Ms. Stockett called upon her own experiences growing up in the deep South and writes with amazing realism, humor and heart.

I loved, loved, loved this book!  Put it on hold and wait as long as you have to to get it (hopefully it won't be too long!)  It is so very worth reading.

Kathleen M., Administration

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Hush

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Kate White

This is a page turning thriller about a woman in a custody fight for her children, who discovers a murdered doctor after she has had a one-night stand with him.  Something is not right at the doctor's clinic and the ins and outs of fertility clinic operations, custody hearings and her efforts to protect herself make this a convoluted but fascinating novel.

Sue N., Youth Services

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The Deep End of the Ocean

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Jacquelyn Mitchard

The Deep End of the Ocean was most certainly not a light nor uplifting novel, but its brutal honesty and richness were sometimes better.  Because I am only a sophomore in high school and have never been a parent, it was often hard for me to fathom losing my child.  The closest thing I can relate it to is when my pet turtle disappears in the depths of our fenced backyard.  I begin to feel nauseous when our search is unsuccessful and waves of guilt crash over me when I imagine him hungry or hurt.  The kidnapping premise of this book was hauntingly realistic, even to me.

When Beth departs for her high school reunion, her priorities are slightly skewed.  Caught in a hotel lobby with her former peers, Beth's 3 year-old son disappears.  At first, the search includes only the hotel, but when the police arrive and her child's small red sneaker is found, the abduction can no longer be denied.

I must admit that I began this book three months ago and didn't finish it until recently.  I read half, but the realistic plot and simplistic storyline didn't have me completely hooked.  I realize now that The Deep End of the Ocean is simply an excellent story about a family resisting destruction after the loss of their child.  The dignified writing style was my favorite aspect of this book, and reminded me that it's okay to just "read a good book."

Gabrielle M., Circulation

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Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Frank Delaney

I have read some of Frank Delaney's previous novels and enjoyed them quite a bit, but I have to say it really took me awhile to get into this one.  The story centers around Irish vaudeville and politics in 1932.  When eighteen year-old Ben McCarthy's father uncharacteristically runs off with a traveling theater troupe, his mother sends Ben off to bring him home.  In the process, Ben falls in love with the same stunning young actress that his father has become involved with.  It soon becomes apparent that there is much more happening here than mere matters of the heart.  As political intrique shapes the course of events, Ben must grow up quickly if he hopes to rescue his family and avoid tragedy.  If you enjoy tales of Ireland, its people, and politics, you will probably enjoy this - but be prepared for a slow start.

Sue A., Reference

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The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Stieg Larsson

This is the third is the Lisbeth Salander trilogy.  The second book ended as a cliff hanger.  How was she going to get of this one?  In this book, she is no longer a victim, but orchestrates her revenge...from first a guarded hospital room, where she is recovering from taking a bullet in the head and then a cell, where she awaits trial.  This is a satisfying read, but only if you've read the first two, because so much of her past is explained.  It ends by setting the stage for the next volume...too bad Larsson, the author, passed.... 
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0.9171.1989142.00 html

Could his life have been as exciting as Lisbeth's?

Donna O., Reference and Adult Services

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Mockingbird (mok'ing-burd)

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Kathryn Erskine

This book shows us inside the mind of a 10 year old girl who as Asperger's syndrome.  Her brother has been killed in a school shooting and she and her single parent father try to deal with everyday life and teachers and schoolmates.  The father is portrayed as a strong person who is trying to deal with the cancer death of his wife and all of Caitlyn's problems.  Caitlyn is strong and brave and tries hard to work with her counselors.

I didn't know much about this syndrome and I have a friend whose son has Asperbergers so it was eye opener for me.

I highly recommend this book to adults as well as readers grade 4 and up.

Sue N., Youth Services

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Marker

Thursday, June 24, 2010
Robin Cook

A long 528 page medical thriller by the popular author Robin Cook. This book had a lot of different themes, the human genome markers for diseases, love interest, hospital and surgical details and the mystery aspect. It is very tense in places and though long, it held my interst the whole way through. I even got up at 5:30 to finish it before I came to work.

Sue N., Youth Services

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Old School

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Tobias Wolff

I should have liked this book better – because I love the idea of it.The story takes place in a New England prep school during 1960.The narrator wants desperately to fit in with the other boys that attend this prestigious school and he accomplishes this by telling as little about himself and his life as possible.He is ashamed of his life outside of school.The school prides itself on its “literary connections,” and holds a contest each year for a meeting with a famous visiting author.Many of the boys aspire to write, and our narrator is desperate to win the final contest before his graduation and meet his hero, Ernest Hemingway.

I finished the book because I was curious about where our narrator ultimately might end up.It was quite a zig zag, as life often is.This book was definitely worth reading, but I must confess, left me somewhat disappointed.

Kathleen M., Administration

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The Bell Jar

Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Sylvia Plath

A common theme among high school students is that classic books are dull or incomprehensible. This novel by Sylvia Plath defied all of these assumptions. Although it was written several decades ago, the language is easy to understand and the storyline is intriguing.

Sylvia Plath’s revolutionary character, Esther, isn’t insane at the beginning of the book. On the contrary, she is polite, brilliant, and has big aspirations. As the story continues, however, Esther’s plans are foiled and suddenly her appetite has disappeared along with her willingness to live. As her life continues, Esther slowly loses her sanity and experiences hopelessness and fear during her stay at an insane asylum.

The Bell Jar is a simple and poetic novel. Although it’s a classic, the themes are relevant today and I found it very comforting.

Gabrielle M., Circulation

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Winter Garden

Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Kristin Hannah

This is a fascinating book within a book, a story of the seige of Leningrad during World War II and the story of a mother and two daughters. Hannah excels at letting the reader into the life and minds of her characters and these two very different and estranged sisters try hard to get to know their seemingly cold and distant mother. I have to admit it is a tear jerker at the end but in a very good way.

Sue N., Youth Services

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