Drink, Slay, Love

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee In Drink, Slay, Love, Pearl is a sixteen year old vampire, doing traditionally vampire things. Learning how to navigate a strict and totalitarian vampire society. How to fight, and how to hunt. She was born to be important, because her family is important, but … [Read More...]

The Princess in Black

The Princess in Black is a cute chapter book for new readers. It’s the first book in a series about Princess Magnolia whose secret identity is a monster fighting princess in black. But a princess doesn’t wear black, so this is the perfect disguise! It’s basically a superhero story with princesses … [Read More...]

The Handmaid’s Tale

I finally read The Handmaid’s Tale, which has been on my “to read” list pretty much since it was first published in the United States in 1986. With the TV series out, I thought that some parents might wonder if/when the novel would be appropriate for their kids. I'm also going to assume that if … [Read More...]

The Sleeper and the Spindle

The Sleeper and the Spindle, written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell, is a picture book inspired by Sleeping Beauty and some other fairy tales. But don’t let the picture book format make you think this isn’t a wonderful book for older readers. In fact, I think it’s probably best for … [Read More...]

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Review written by Jennifer Lewis. Everyone knows that Grandpa Portman’s stories about the peculiar children are just that, stories. There’s no such thing as children with special powers—a levitating girl, a boy with bees living in his body, a girl who can conjure fire, or a boy who can animate … [Read More...]

When You Reach Me

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. “The trip is a difficult one, I will not be myself when I reach you.” In When You Reach Me, Miranda is the daughter of a single mom who got an invitation to be on the $20,000 Dollar Pyramid. She’s dealing with the strain of helping her mom train, as well as … [Read More...]

Sidekicked

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. The Sensationalist is unhappy with his lot in life. Born Andrew Macon Bean, he was recruited into H.E.R.O., a superhero sidekick training program, because of his incredibly heightened senses. H.E.R.O aims to take young people with extraordinary talents and … [Read More...]

The Door in the Hedge

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee.  The Door in the Hedge came on my radar as I was trolling through the Toronto Public Library ebook website. It was part of the Big Library Read program where the company that handles ebooks for the library, Overdrive, decided to let everyone borrow this book … [Read More...]

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

The graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time hews so closely to the original novel that this review will in many ways serve for both. But first a quick story. I was one of those kids (mostly girls) who discovered A Wrinkle in Time on her own and fell madly in love with it. I read all of the books about … [Read More...]

Akata Witch

Akata Witch is the story of Sunny, an albino Igbo girl who recently moved to Nigeria from the United States. As if she doesn’t already feel enough like she doesn’t fit in, she learns that she’s a Leopard person, which means she is capable of juju and other magical type things. She becomes friends … [Read More...]

Goodbye Stranger

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee My daughter Rowan, who was 10 when I started doing guest reviews and is now 15, tends to like books filled with melancholia. Those usually aren’t my thing, but because she reads them I’m trying to expand my reading habits. Goodbye Stranger is one of those … [Read More...]

Hour of the Bees

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee How do you measure time? Hour of the Bees measures time in teardrops that fall as you read the book. Carol, nee Carolina, has discovered that she is going to spend her summer at her grandfather’s ranch. He has late stage dementia and they are getting … [Read More...]

As Old as Time

As Old as Time: A Twisted Tale is the Beauty and the Beast entry in the A Twisted Tale series from Disney Press. Like A Whole New World, this retelling pretty quickly veers off from the familiar plot of both movies, reimagining characters and adding lots of new characters and plot twists. If you’re … [Read More...]

Minion

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. Michael Marion Magadlene Morn Edson was found in a White Castle by St. Mary of the Woods School for Wayward boys when he was just a baby. There was no tearful goodbye on a doorstep, or anything like that for Michael. What he discovered there, as he got older, … [Read More...]

Pennyroyal Academy

Pennyroyal Academy is a story of a young girl who joins a military academy where girls study to become princesses who can fight witches while boys study to become knights who can fight dragons. You just have to accept the terms princess and knight—they’re titles conferred upon completion of the … [Read More...]

Lumberjanes

Lumberjanes is a comic book series about a summer camp for “hardcore lady-types.” Volume 1: Beware the Kitten Holy is a collection of the first 4 issues, which introduces the characters and gets them started on their adventures—it certainly doesn't bring a story arc to a close, so expect your young … [Read More...]

Don’t Look Back

Review written by Jennifer Lewis.  Don't Look Back begins with Samantha not knowing where she is, how she got there, or why she is in such a disheveled state. This confusion is due to a traumatic event that resulted in the loss of all of Samantha’s personal memories. To make matters worse, her … [Read More...]

A Whole New World

A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale reimagines the Disney movie Aladdinby working from the premise that Jafar maintained ownership of the lamp at the Cave of Wonders. This, as you can probably imagine, does NOT go well for the Sultan, Jasmine, the genie, or Agrabah. It doesn’t make things worse for … [Read More...]

Jinx

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. Jinx can see it happening, the hunger in the clearing, the fact that his step-parents just had a new child. He’s going to be the one abandoned in the woods. So, when Jinx is taken into the Urwald he isn't shocked. Just resigned to his fate. That’s when he … [Read More...]

Manners & Mutiny

It’s always nice when the highly anticipated ending to a series is satisfying. (I still haven’t forgiven you, Mockingjay!) Manners & Mutiny, the final book in the Finishing School series, delivers on that front. The book assumes you’ve read the other three novels, and likewise I will assume … [Read More...]