Skip to content

Book Reviews by Genre

Book Reviews by Genre, Age Group or Medium

Nonfiction (Adult)

Nonfiction (Kids)

Memoirs

Books for Children

  • Doerr, Bonnie Island Sting — An eco-mystery set in the Florida Keys. (also listed under Books for Young Adults)
  • Erskine, Kathryn Mockingbird — A pre-teen with Asperger’s strives to help herself and her father heal after her brother dies in a school shooting. (also listed under Books for Young Adults)
  • Latham, Irene Leaving Gee’s Bend — Historical novel; a 10-year-old girl lives in a family of sharecroppers, in Alabama, in 1932. She has to make a long walk, alone, to find a doctor who might save her mother’s life.
  • Scott, Carlton Glamour Girl from the Stars; Picture book; an alien girl travels to Earth to enter a beauty pageant.
  • Techel, Barbara Frankie the Walk ‘n Roll Dog — Picture book based on the moving real-life story of a disabled dachshund.
  • Williams, Melissa Iggy the Iguana — Illustrated chapter book, with animal characters, about the ups and downs of 4th grade.

Books for Young Adults

  • Anderson, Laurie Halse Speak — A high school freshman is ostracized by her schoolmates after calling the police to the scene of a teen party. This novel deals with the effects of sexual assault.
  • Ayarbe, Heidi Freeze Frame — A 15-year-old film buff is devastated when he accidentally shoots and kills his best friend.
  • Blundell, Judy What I Saw and How I Lied — Historical mystery; a 16-year-old girl welcomes her stepfather home after World War II, but she later learns he is harboring dark secrets.
  • Boyne, John The Boy in the Striped Pajamas — Historical novel set in Germany during the Holocaust. This post includes a movie review.
  • Bradley, Alan The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie — “Cozy” murder mystery set in post-World War II England. Precocious 11-year-old Flavia DeLuce has a passion for chemistry and a fascination with poisons; this helps her solve a murder. (Also listed as Historical Fiction and Mystery)
  • Brown, Jennifer The Hate List — A bright, sensitive teen girl faces guilt and blame after her boyfriend shoots many of their classmates; this is a unique perspective on school shootings.
  • Brown, Linda Beatrice Black Angels –Historical novel set in North Carolina during the War Between the States; a 12-year-old boy escapes from slavery.
  • Burd, Nick The Vast Fields of Ordinary — Coming of age novel about a gay teen.
  • Caletti, Deb Honey, Baby, Sweetheart — A 16-year-old girl is attracted to a “bad boy”; it explores coping with parental divorce and what genuine love really is.
  • Caletti, Deb The Nature of Jade — A teen girl copes with an anxiety disorder and the disintegration of her parents’ marriage while experiencing her first love.
  • Caletti, Deb The Secret Life of Prince Charming — A 17-year-old girl seeks the truth about her estranged father and his relationship with the women in his life. It explores what healthy love is — and what it isn’t.
  • Caletti, Deb Wild Roses —  A smart, edgy 17-year-old girl copes with her stepfather’s meanness, arrogance and deepening mental illness while experiencing first love.
  • Cohen, Tish The Truth About Delilah Blue — A 20-year-old aspiring artist copes with her father’s illness and faces painful truths about her childhood.
  • Collins, Suzanne The Hunger Games — Dystopian fantasy; Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” meets Survivor.
  • Davis, Heather The Clearing — Imaginative YA romance; a lonely teen meets a boy from another time.
  • Dessen, Sarah Keeping the Moon — A 15-year-old girl spends a summer with her eccentric aunt while her mother travels in Europe.
  • Dessen, Sarah Someone Like You —  A 15-year-old girl faces conflict with her mother and her first romance while helping her best friend through an unexpected pregnancy.
  • Dessen, Sarah The Truth About Forever — A teen girl comes to terms with the fact that she tries to be “perfect” as a way of coping with her father’s death, which she never truly had a chance to grieve.
  • Dessen, Sarah This Lullaby –A teen girl uses promiscuity to camouflage her fear of true intimacy.
  • Doerr, Bonnie Island Sting — An eco-mystery set in the Florida Keys. (also listed under Books for Children)
  • Donnelly, Jennifer A Northern Light — Historical novel; a young woman struggles to choose between her duty to her family, her desire for love, and her dream of becoming a writer.
  • Elkeles, Simone Perfect Chemistry — A novel about a high school romance between a popular girl from an affluent family and a Latino “bad boy” who runs with gangs.
  • Ellsworth, Loretta In a Heartbeat — A teen girl gets a second chance at life through a heart donation as her donor enters the afterlife.
  • Erskine, Kathryn Mockingbird — A pre-teen with Asperger’s strives to help herself and her father heal after her brother dies in a school shooting. (also listed under Books for Children)
  • Fantaskey, Beth Jekel Loves Hyde — YA paranormal fantasy; a teen girl and a mysterious boy collaborate on an unusual science project inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • Fitzpatrick, Becca Hush, Hush — YA paranormal fantasy; a teen girl falls in love with a fallen angel.
  • Forman, Gayle If I Stay — A 17-year-old girl loses her family in a car crash and lies in a coma. Standing outside her body, she realizes she can choose whether to die or stay alive.
  • Frank, Lucy The Homeschool Liberation League —  A 13-year-old girl walks away from school and lobbies her parents to allow her to unschool, following her own interests and passions.
  • Glass, Linzi The Year the Gypsies Came — YA historical novel set in South Africa during Apartheid; it touches on a variety of topics, including marital problems, racism, and child abuse.
  • Going, K.L. Saint Iggy —  A teen boy deals with his parents’ addiction along with poverty and persistent academic failure. What will it take to change everyone’s mind about him? What if he does something heroic?
  • Hardy, Paul Nothing Pink — Coming of Age novel about a gay teen.
  • Hijuelos, Oscar  Dark Dude — Coming of age novel; in the 1960s, a Cuban American boy escapes his life in Harlem and tries to come to terms with his family and his ethnic identity.
  • Jones, Patrick The Tear Collector –Paranormal fantasy about a teen girl who’s a vampire; instead of blood she thirsts for human tears.
  • Kelly, Tara Harmonic Feedback — A musically gifted teen with ADHD and mild Asperger’s experiences friendship and first love.
  • Klass, David You Don’t Know Me –A 14-year-old boy copes with high school and life with an abusive stepfather.
  • Korman, Gordan Schooled — A homeschooled boy from a hippie commune has his first experience in a public high school.
  • Larbalestier, Justine Liar — A bi-racial teen in New York City describes herself as a compulsive liar.
  • Laurens, Jennifer Heavenly — YA paranormal fantasy; an 18-year-old girl falls in love with the guardian angel sent to watch over her autistic sister; it explores some of the challenges faced by families with children on the autism spectrum.
  • Levine, Anna Freefall —  YA novel; an 18-year-old Israeli girl enters compulsory military service; although she has other options; she shocks her family by signing on for direct combat.
  • Malloy, Brian The Year of Ice — YA/coming of age novel; a 17-year-old boy, living in the Midwest in 1978, copes with the loss of his mother and secrets about his sexual orientation.
  • McDonald, Abby Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots — YA/coming of age novel about a 17-year-old girl delving into the environmental movement, trying to find her social niche, and coping with her parents’ crumbling marriage.
  • McMann, Lisa Wake —  YA paranormal fantasy; a 17-year-old girl is cursed with the ability to enter other people’s dreams.
  • Meminger, Neesha Shine Coconut Moon — An Indian-American teen longs to connect with her mother’s estranged traditional Sikh family; this novel touches on prejudice against Sikhs, who were mistaken for Muslims, in the wake of 9/11.
  • Murdock, Catherine Gilbert Dairy Queen — A teen girl runs her parents’ dairy farm while her father recuperates from a back injury.
  • Murdock, Catherine Gilbert The Off Season — A teen girl struggles with first love and a heart-wrenching family crisis; sequel to Dairy Queen.
  • Nadol, Jen The Mark — A teen girl has the ability to see a mark on a person who is about to die. Does she have a responsibility to tell a person what she knows? Would it make a difference?
  • Peters, Julie Anne Keeping You a Secret — YA/coming of age novel; an exceptionally bright, accomplished 17-year-old girl copes with the weight of her mother’s expectations and her budding realization that she is a lesbian and is falling in love for the first time.
  • Peters, Julie Anne Luna— A teen girl supports her transsexual brother.
  • Quick, Barbara, A Golden Web — In 14th century Italy, a brilliant young woman strives to overcome narrow gender roles and superstition to fulfill her dream of going to medical school; this character was based on an actual historical figure. (also listed as Historical Fiction)
  • Sanchez, Alex Bait — A 16-year-old boy struggles to control his anger and stay out of trouble while coping with a devastating history of abuse.
  • Scott, Elizabeth The Unwritten Rule — A smart, sensitive teen is in love with her best friend’s boyfriend.
  • Shaw, Tucker Evangeline — A re-imagining of Longfellow’s “Evangeline” with a contemporary twist.
  • Stiefvater, Maggie Shiver — Paranormal fantasy, a 17-year-old girl falls in love with a werewolf; it offers lyrical writing and enjoyable romance.
  • Stork, Francesco X. Marcello in the Real World — An Aspergian teen faces pressure from his father to get out into the “real world;” when he interns with his dad’s law firm, he learns more about the world — and about his father — than either of them had bargained for.
  • Stork, Francesco X  The Last Summer of the Death Warriors — An orphaned Latino teen helps a boy with cancer while coping with grief and forming plans for revenge.
  • Tashjian, Janet Multiple Choice — A teen girl struggles with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Trueman, Terry Inside Out — A mentally ill teen is held hostage in a robbery; he struggles to separate his hallucinations from reality.
  • Vigilante, Danette The Trouble With Half a Moon — A 13-year-old girl struggles with grief and guilt after her little brother’s death.
  • Wallace, Jason Out of Shadows — Disturbing YA historical novel set in Zimbabwe, in the 1980s, after Robert Mugabwe’s rise to power.
  • Ward, Rachel Num8ers — A troubled London teen is cursed with a prophetic ability.
  • Watson, Sasha Vidalia in Paris — A teen girl studies art in Paris, glad to take a break from her needy mother and spend time with a “real” family; however things don’t turn out as she’s expected.
  • Werlin, Nancy Impossible — Paranormal fantasy; a teen girl learns that all the women in her family have been put under an ancient curse; each of them, in turn, gives birth and goes insane.
  • al-Windawi Thura Thura’s Diary: My Life in Wartime Iraq — YA nonfiction; journal of a young woman’s experiences during the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. (also listed as Memoir)
  • Wiseman, Rosalind Boys, Girls and Other Hazardous Materials — A high school freshman girl tries to make a fresh start after enduring the conflict and drama of middle school “mean girls.”
  • Zarr, Sara Story of a Girl A teen girl is estranged from her father after being caught in a premature sexual experience.

General Fiction (Adult)

  • Bantwal, Shobhan The Sari Shop Widow — A young Indian-American widow struggles to save her family business from bankruptcy and finds romance and passion.
  • Bonfigli, Barbara Cafe Tempest — A theater producer travels to a beautiful Greek island.
  • Cohen, Brian The Life O’Reilly — A smart, successful attorney takes on a pro bono case, on behalf of a young woman escaping from an abusive marriage, and is changes his life.
  • Dallas, Sandra Whiter Than Snow — Historical novel; tragedy strikes a small Colorado mining town in the 1920s.
  • Derfner, Joel Swish — Articulate, humorous memoir about a gay man’s search for a sense of identity and belonging.
  • Farooki, Roopa Half Life — A woman impulsively abandons her English husband and returns to her native Singapore, finally facing painful secrets from her past.
  • Fei, Deanna A Thread of Sky — A Chinese-American widow tries to reconnect with her mother, sister, and three daughters through a tour of their homeland.
  • Gudenkauf, Heather The Weight of Silence — Two little girls vanish from their homes on a summer morning, unraveling many years worth of family secrets.
  • Kring, Sandra Thank You for All Things —  A single mom takes her mother and her twins to her childhood home to say goodbye to her dying father; it offers beautiful, lyrical writing.
  • Lancaster, Craig 600 Hours of Edward — A 30-something man with Asperger’s and OCD explores new relationships and faces upheaval in his life.
  • Letts, Billie Where the Heart Is — A 17-year-old single mom, abandoned by her boyfriend, forms a family with her quirky friends and neighbors.
  • Palahnuik, Chuck Choke — Twisted, darkly humorous novel about a sex addict who raises money for his mother’s nursing home by pretending to choke in restaurants.
  • Picoult, Jodi House Rules — An Aspergian teen is accused of murder.
  • Rendell, Joanne Crossing Washington Square — Popular fiction; two college English professors debate the merits of teaching popular fiction as well as classics and cope with the vicissitudes of romance.
  • Richardson, Barbara K. Guest House — Absorbing character-driven novel about a middle-aged woman recreating her life and her relationship with a troubled, manipulative woman and her bright, perceptive son.
  • Scotch, Allison Winn Time of My Life — Popular fiction; a young wife and mother in a stagnant marriage goes back in time and has the chance to see what life could have been like if she’d stayed with her former boyfriend.

Literary Fiction (Adult)

  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, Half of a Yellow Sun — A powerful novel of the Nigerian civil war of the 1960s. (also listed as Historical Fiction)
  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, Purple Hibiscus — A Nigerian girl and her brother taste freedom when visiting their aunt and find it more difficult to submit to life with their controlling, fanatically religious father. (also listed as Historical Fiction)
  • Bahr, Howard The Black Flower — Historical novel set at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee near the end of the U.S. Civil War. (also listed as Historical Fiction)
  • Brinkman, Kiara Up High in the Trees — A quirky, sensitive 8-year-old boy, recovering from the loss of his mother, tells his story in poetic stream-of-consciousness style.
  • Cunningham, Michael At Home at the End of the World — Childhood friends Bobby and Jonathan reconnect and start an unconventional family with Claire, a slightly older woman who becomes Bobby’s friend and lover.
  • Foer, Jonathan Safran Everything is Illuminated — A young Jewish man from the United States visits Ukraine to find the woman who he believes may have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. This post includes a movie review.
  • Hermes, Myrlin The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet –This historical novel, inspired by Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets, features a bisexual love triangle.
  • Kasischke, Laura The Life Before Her Eyes — Two 17-year-old girls, Diana and Maureen, are threatened by a school shooting, then the novel jumps ahead in time to Diana’s future as a wife and mother; it’s a complex, lyrical novel. This post includes a movie review.
  • McCabe, Patrick The Butcher Boy — A beautifully written, grim novel about an Irish boy sliding into insanity. (also listed as Historical Fiction)
  • Murakami, Haruki Kafka on the Shore — A precocious fifteen-year-old, who has renamed himself Kafka, runs away from home in this strange; surreal Japanese novel.
  • Rosoff, Meg What I Was — Coming of age novel about a boy living in an English boarding school and his relationship with a mysterious boy living alone on the coast; the writing in this novel is gorgeous.
  • Roy, Arundhati The God of Small Things –Literary fiction; a young woman reconnects with her twin brother and remembers their devastating childhood; this novel explores the injustices of the caste system, the aftereffects of British colonialism, and the communist movement in India. (also listed as Historical Fiction)

Historical Fiction (Adult)

  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, Half of a Yellow Sun — A powerful novel of the Nigerian civil war of the 1960s. (also listed as Literary Fiction)
  • Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, Purple Hibiscus — A Nigerian girl and her brother taste freedom when visiting their aunt and find it more difficult to submit to life with their controlling, fanatically religious father. (also listed as Literary Fiction)
  • Bahr, Howard The Black Flower — Historical novel set at the Battle of Franklin, Tennessee near the end of the U.S. Civil War. (also listed as Literary Fiction)
  • Bradley, Alan The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie — “Cozy” murder mystery set in post-World War II England. Precocious 11-year-old Flavia DeLuce has a passion for chemistry and a fascination with poisons; this helps her solve a murder. (also listed as Mystery and Young Adult)
  • Brooks, Geraldine March — Historical fiction; the author imagined the life of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, while he was serving as a chaplain in the War Between the States.
  • Buchanan, Cathy Marie The Day the Falls Stood Still — Historical novel set on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls during World War I; it is a love story touching on many themes, including post-traumatic stress and the environmental consequences of industrialization.
  • Busfield, Andrea Born Under a Million Shadows — A story of 21st century Afghanistan, in the midst of continued civil war and reconstruction, narrated by 11-year-old Fawad, who is funny, perceptive, and unforgettable.
  • Franklin, Ariana Mistress of the Art of Death — A female doctor arrives in 12th century Cambridge, England to discover the truth about the abduction and murder of local children. (also listed as Mystery)
  • Gortner, C.W. The Last Queen — Novel about Juana of Castile, sometimes known as Juana la Loca, Juana the Mad.
  • Hrabal, Bohimil I Served the King of England — Novel set in Czechoslovakia; follows the fortunes of an ambitious waiter through World War II and the rise of Communism.
  • Ibbotson, Eva A Song for Summer — Novel set in England and Austria during World War II; it offers gentle humor and colorful, eccentric characters.
  • Jordan, Hillary Mudbound — Historical novel about a young wife adjusting to life on a rural Mississippi farm in the late 1940s; it explores many issues, including the experiences of soldiers returning from World War II, racism, and alcoholism.
  • McCabe, Patrick The Butcher Boy — A beautifully written, grim novel about an Irish boy sliding into insanity. (also listed as Literary Fiction)
  • McNees, Kelly O’Connor The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott — Historical fiction; the author blends fact and fiction, imagining the author had a love affair before becoming a committed spinster.
  • Mitchell, Shandi Under This Unbroken Sky — Historical fiction; Ukrainian immigrants struggle to survive on the Canadian prairie in the 1930s.
  • Quick, Barbara, A Golden Web — In 14th century Italy, a brilliant young woman strives to overcome narrow gender roles and superstition to fulfill her dream of going to medical school; this character was based on an actual historical figure. (also listed as YA)
  • Quick, Barbara Vivaldi’s Virgins — Historical fiction; a 14-year-old violinist, raised in a foundling home and music school, hones her musical gifts under the tutelage of Antonio Vivaldi.
  • Roy, Arundhati The God of Small Things –Literary fiction; a young woman reconnects with her twin brother and remembers their devastating childhood; this novel explores the injustices of the caste system, the aftereffects of British colonialism, and the communist movement in India. (also listed as Literary Fiction)
  • Seraji, Mahbod The Rooftops of Iran — Coming of age story and romance set in Iran during an oppressive Shah’s regime.
  • Stockett, Kathryn The Help — Historical novel; after graduating from Ole Miss and returning to her Jackson, Mississippi home, a young woman takes a closer look at a group of people she has always taken for granted: the black women who spend their lives doing domestic work and caring for white children.
  • Waters, Sarah Fingersmith — Historical fiction; A young girl grows up in a den of thieves in Victorian London; her life changes when a con artist enlists her help in robbing an heiress of her inheritance.
  • Willis, Connie Blackout — History students travel through time to observe the events that unfolded in England during World War II. (also listed as SF)

Mysteries

  • Bradley, Alan The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie — “Cozy” murder mystery set in post-World War II England. Precocious 11-year-old Flavia DeLuce has a passion for chemistry and a fascination with poisons; this helps her solve a murder. (also listed as Historical Fiction and Young Adult)
  • Campbell, Drusilla Blood Orange — A couple solves the mystery behind their 7-year-old daughter’s sudden disappearance.
  • Franklin, Ariana Mistress of the Art of Death — A female doctor arrives in 12th century Cambridge, England to discover the truth about the abduction and murder of local children. (also listed as Historical Fiction)
  • Harris, Paul The Secret Keeper — Mystery/thriller; a journalist returns to Sierra Leone after the civil war to discover the truth behind his former lover’s murder.
  • Kellerman, Jesse Trouble — A medical student finds himself ensnared in a relationship with a dangerous woman after saving her life.
  • Muller, Marcia Cape Perdido — Mystery; ecologists struggle to save a Northern Californian coastal town from “water grabbers,” who would siphon their water and sell it; this stirs up a long-buried murder mystery.
  • Smith, Alexander McCall Tea Time for the Traditionally Built — Cozy mystery; Precious Ramotswe tries to uncover the reason for a soccer team’s persistent losing streak — is someone being paid to throw the matches?

SF, Fantasy, Horror or Paranormal (Adult)

  • Essex, Karen Dracula in Love — This retelling of Dracula blends Bram Stoker’s classic with Celtic folkore; it also explores mistreatment of women in Victorian England.
  • Flynn, Michael Eifelheim — Historical fiction/science fiction; extraterrestrial visitors land near a medieval German village.
  • Harris, Charlaine Dead Until Dark —  Humorous paranormal romance and mystery; telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse falls in love with a vampire.
  • Harris, Charlaine Living Dead in Dallas –Sookie’s adventures continue as she helps solve a mystery for the vampire community.
  • Harris, Charlaine Club Dead, Dead to the World, and Dead as a Doornail — Vampires and werewolves and witches — oh my!
  • James, Syrie Dracula, My Love — This retelling of Dracula from Mina’s point of view adds a new dimension to the classic story.
  • Jones, Diana Wynne Dogsbody — Science fiction; Sirius, who inhabits the “dog star,” has been tried and convicted of a terrible crime. He banished to earth, to be born in the form of an ordinary dog.
  • Kostova, Elizabeth The Historian — A 17-year-old girl travels through Europe with her father, learning of her parents’ quest to find Count Dracula and the fate of her missing mother.
  • Lindqvist, John Ajvide Let the Right One In — Paranormal horror; in urban Sweden, a lonely, bullied boy befriends a vampire; this novel offers vampires in their raw form, not morally correct ones who avoid devouring human blood and shimmer in the sunlight.
  • Willis, Connie Blackout — History students travel through time to observe the events that unfolded in England during World War II. (also listed as Historical Fiction)

Graphic Novels

  • El Rassi, Toufic Arab in America — Autobiographical graphic novel explores prejudice against Arab-Americans.
  • Satrapi, Marjane Persepolis — Explores the author’s childhood in revolutionary Iran.
  • Satrapi, Marjane Persepolis II — Explores the author’s adolescence and young adulthood torn between her home country of Iran and the freedom of life in Western Europe.
  • Satrapi, Marjane Chicken With Plums — Story based on the life of the author’s great-uncle; an Iranian musician gives up on life after his tar is broken.
  • Tamaki, Mariko and Jillian Skim — An Asian-Canadian teen struggles with depression and confusion.
Advertisements
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: