Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

“Beautiful” is a word frequently used to describe Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and that’s the first word that came to my mind as well. It has its painful and brutal moments, but its exploration of coming of age, cultural and sexual identity, and relationships of all kinds is a beautiful […]

Fairest

Fairest, a prequel to Cinder, will have to tide us over until Winter, the last of the Lunar Chronicles, comes out in fall 2015. Fairest tells the story of Levana, the awful Lunar queen we first meet in Cinder, and her rise to power. Like all really good villains, hers is a complicated story and it’s impossible not to […]

Unbored Games

I rarely review nonfiction, but when I was offered a review copy of UNBORED Games: Serious Fun for Everyone, I couldn’t resist. It’s a hard book to quantify—it’s part history, part game review, part rule book, and part hacker’s guide. It’s aimed at a child reader; there are sections called “Training Your Grownup” that offer […]

Waistcoats & Weaponry

Waistcoats & Weaponry is the third in what will be the Finishing School quartet (the final book is scheduled to be published November 2015). The novels should be read in order, so start with Etiquette & Espionage and Curtsies & Conspiracies before reading this one. The finishing school itself plays a minor role in this […]

The Sea of Trolls

The Sea of Trolls is a great historical fantasy epic for the middle grade set. It follows the adventures of 12 year old Jack after he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Northmen. After gravely insulting Frith, a half-troll queen, Jack needs to go on a quest to see the queen of the […]

The King of Attolia

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. The King of Attolia is a huge departure from The Thief and The Queen of Attolia. Not in tone, with its lovingly put together plot and brilliantly defined characters. Not in style, written with major intrigue rather than roaring battles as the focus. It’s a huge departure because the main character […]

Shelter

Shelter is the first book in Harlan Coben’s YA series. Our hero is Mickey Bolitar, the nephew of Myron Bolitar who is the protagonist in Coben’s adult series. It’s a fun and exciting book, but it’s pretty clearly also primarily an adult thriller scaled down for a somewhat younger audience. Mickey is a high school […]

The Giver

My daughter is reading The Giver in her 8th grade English class, so I used that as my excuse to finally reread this pioneer of middle grade dystopian literature. It holds up pretty well. There are some things that may seem a bit clichéd or predictable, but it reminded me of when I finally watched […]

Wonder

I’ve been meaning to read Wonder for ages, but even though it came out over two years ago, it’s still nearly impossible to find in softcover (to keep down the expenses of this site, I try not to buy hardcovers very often). I eventually borrowed it through my daughter’s middle school library summer lending program. […]

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline

In her fifth book, The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline, Enola meets Florence Nightingale and rescues her landlady who is sweet, deaf, and more observant than Enola bargained for. We learn a bit more about the horrors of war, the plight of the poor, and the devastation that can occur when those overlap. Sherlock is […]