Book Reviews

Visit our Recommended Reading page in the Kids section for reviews of children's books >

Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

Have you ever enjoyed sushi overlooking the pristine beaches of St. Augustine, Florida? If the answer is no, you should definitely check out the upbeat young adult novel Motorcycles, Sushi & One Strange Book by Nancy Rue.

Jessie Hatcher's personal life is chaotic, and "normalcy" is never in her vocabulary. The 15-year-old redhead takes care of her depressed mother, who has bipolar disorder. Jessie runs household chores, chats on the cellphone with boy-crazy Chelsea, her best friend, and watches "I Love Lucy" reruns on TV Land — all at the same time. Despite her ADHD, she tries to act like her "normal" friends, who have "normal" family life.

Jessie has a tendency to babble her thoughts and blurt out the first things that come to her mind. It's hard for her to concentrate and stay still. It's harder to organize her own bedroom, follow instructions, or study. According to her mother, she has the emotional skills of an eight-year-old.

In the tradition of Hemingway, Adam Gopnik found himself an American in Paris in 1995, raising a baby and writing dispatches for The New Yorker. In her review of Winter Reading selection Paris to the Moon, Plaza Branch librarian Melissa Carle talks about Gopnik's "coming of age in the City of Light."

The Good Earth

Pearl S. Buck drew from her life as the child of missionaries in pre-Revolutionary China in framing her 1931 Pulitzer Prize winner The Good Earth. In this video, Westport Branch librarian Sukalaya Kenworthy reviews Buck's masterpiece, an official selection in the Adult Winter Reading Program.

Smilla's Sense of Snow

Fans of Stieg Larsson would do well to check out Peter Høeg’s atmospheric thriller Smilla’s Sense of Snow. In his Winter Reading Book Review Video, L.H. Bluford Branch librarian Bernie Norcott-Mahany takes us to frozen Denmark, where a trained glaciologist investigates the death of a young boy.

The Underground Railroad book cover

William Still had a very busy life. He was a prominent figure in the Underground Railroad as head of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee. When the work of the UGRR was done, he put together an account of the slaves escaping to the North.