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Friday, July 31, 2015

MLC Reads: July 31, 2015

Our staff read some fabulous books this past week. Here are our reviews:

Between the World and Me 
Ta-Nehisi Coates
five stars

Read. This. Book. Now. Right now. Run to your nearest public library or independent bookstore and pick up a copy. Do it! Coates speaks to the heart of the issues regarding people of color in our nation today and he does it powerfully well. We can't think of the words to write in this review that will truly do this book justice, so take our advice and pick up a copy yourself.

The Lion Who Stole My Arm
written by Nicola Davies
illustrated by Annabel Wright
five stars

Pedru's life is similar to those of the other boys in his village: he fishes, he hunts, he rides to school with his friends on their bike, he plays soccer, he worries about being home on time so his mom won't get mad at him. This could be set in Mississippi! Pedru, however, lives in eastern Africa, where lions still roam free. One day his existence is turned upside down, and that's when this remarkable little chapter book by Nicola Davies really takes flight. Learning to cope with the loss of his arm and harboring a deep anger against the lion who took it--this is the story of Pedru growing up. We highly recommend this 2016 Magnolia Award nominee.

Go Set a Watchman 
written by Harper Lee
four stars

We leaped into reading this novel with open minds. Yes, we had heard all the negative reviews and the mysterious circumstances of the "discovery" of this work but we were determined not to let anything cast a shadow on our experience... We might hate or love it, but it was going to be our experience.
The novel opens with Scout as a young woman, going now by her proper name of Jean Louise. She is traveling from New York to her hometown of Maycomb, Georgia. No spoilers here: we follow Jean Louise as she interacts with her aunt, uncle, and father, Atticus, as well as suitor Henry "Hank" Clinton. As we got deeper into the book with each ensuing chapter, we found ourselves liking the book more and more. We kept waiting for the book to insult our senses or to create as feeling of deep remorse for the characters. No such event occurred. What did occur is that we felt we got to know some characters better and we laughed a lot. That's right; there are many funny moments in this novel. It's not too different from the humor in To Kill a Mockingbird. It makes us sad that this novel will always be surrounded by controversy and in all likelihood never receive the praise it deserves.

written by Marie Lu

In the Republic, a country formed from the United States' westernmost states after an almighty flood drowned the southeastern and northeastern coastlines, fifteen-year-old June is made the youngest full Agent in the Republic Army's history after earning a perfect score on her Trial. Contrastingly, fifteen-year-old Day is the most famous criminal in the Republic, and he flat out failed his trial. June is meticulous and logical. Day is impetuous and passionate. After June's older brother Metias is murdered, the government pins the blame on the notorious Day. June is assigned to catch Day as her first mission, but begins to question the allegations against him. Things don't add up in June's overly analytical mind. And if Day didn't kill June's brother, who did? June and Day become unlikely allies in solving the crime: Day striving to prove his innocence and protect his family, June looking to avenge her brother by solving the case. They unravel the truth behind the matter, but in doing so, uncover something much, much bigger than a Metias' killer.
written and illustrated by Gene Luen Yang
five stars

This historical graphic novel is set in 1898 China during the Boxer Rebellion. Little Bao is just a boy during this time, but he calls upon the ancient Chinese gods for help and recruits others to form an army of Boxers. Their mission is to free China from the missionaries who are taking away their rights. We loved this one, but be warned! This is definitely a book about war, and war, as we all know, is a terrible thing. Yang's illustrations are amazing and really bring the plot together. We can't wait to read Saints, the second book in the series. 

We'll be back next Friday with reviews of our most recent reads:
  • Copperhead, Volume I
    written by Jay Faerber
    illustrated by Scott Godlewski and Ron Riley
  • Half Bad
    written by Sally Green
  • The Pearl that Broke its Shell
    written by Nadia Hashimi
  • Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America
    written by Gilbert King
  • Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean
    written by Jane Lynch
    illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Until next week, happy reading!

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