The True Meaning of Smekday

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee What does Smekday mean for you? That’s the essay question that Gratuity Tucci answers in the first part of The True Meaning of Smekday. There’s a contest to choose one essay to go into a time capsule to be opened one hundred years in the future. That first essay got […]


Review written by Jennifer Lewis Graceling tells the story of Katsa. Her Grace, which is an innate and highly advanced skill, provides her with an uncanny fighting ability, an ability the king has claimed as his weapon to wield. However, she’s disgusted with the king’s using her to solve his problems by inflicting pain on […]

House of Dolls

Review written by Jocelyn Koehler. Francesca Lia Block, usually known as a writer for young adults, has been branching out over the last few years. House of Dolls, an offering for younger readers, is a wispy (about 60 pages of scant text) middle-reader-level story centered on the social and romantic life of several dolls in […]

Howl’s Moving Castle

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee Howl’s Moving Castle takes place in a Kingdom, somewhere. The eldest of three has read all the tales and she knows that she’s destined for failure—the eldest ones always are, especially when there are two younger siblings and your father has remarried. Even if your stepmom does her best to […]

The Aviary

Review written by MG Wells. The Aviary is a mystery set in Maine during the late 1800’s and similar to the classical style of The Secret Garden. The protagonist, twelve-year-old Clara, lives a lonely life in a creepy, dilapidated mansion, with Ruby (the cook), her mother, Harriet (the housekeeper) and the elderly owner, Mrs. Glendoveer. […]

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Review written by Jocelyn Koehler. In The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, Christopher Healy seems to have distilled all the elements of the most entertaining Disney movies, and then carefully reassembled them into this book, which leaves the famous princesses alone (for the most part) to focus on Prince Charming—or rather Princes Charming, since […]

The Brixen Witch

Review written by Jocelyn Koehler. The premise of The Brixen Witch is easy. It takes “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” and puts some spin on it. “The Pied Piper” packs such a lot into its story that retelling it should be no problem. It’s an utterly compelling tale, with its unhappy ending, the lonely lame […]

The Ordinary Princess

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. The Ordinary Princess is a great tale about a young woman who appreciates the value in being a strong willed individual while everyone around you is obsessed with the way you look and who you’re going to marry. It’s set in a kingdom called Phantasmorania, a place full of strange […]

The Thirteenth Princess

 Jocelyn Koehler wrote this review, adapted from her original review which you can read here. The Thirteenth Princess, by Diane Zahler, is a retelling of the fairy tale “Twelve Dancing Princesses.” It’s narrated through the voice of the thirteenth daughter, 12-year-old Zita. Despised by her father since the queen died in childbirth, Zita is raised […]

The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror

Review written by Jonathan Lavallee. The Snarkout Boys and the Baconburg Horror is a fun, silly book that deals with two boys that sneak out of their house at night to watch the late night double feature at The Snark. They occasionally meet up with their friend Rat—a teenaged girl with a penchant for cars […]