Bear Bottom by Stuart Gibbs

Book review by John

 A mysterious thief has been stealing endangered buffalo from Mr. Krautheimer’s ranch. He needs Teddy to find the bison thief and put a stop to this wickedness. Teddy is an incredible detective and has solved many cases at the Fun Jungle Zoo. It is a mix between an amusement park and a zoo. Mr. Krautheimer is confident that Teddy will solve this crime. Will he be able to crack the case before any more buffalo go missing or will the farmer be out of a job and a home? JJ, owner of Fun Jungle was the one who informed him about Teddy. He plans to buy the ranch to turn it into an attraction and expand to new locations. His wife, Kandace’s multi-million dollar sapphire necklace suddenly goes missing after a bear attack in Mr. Krauhtheimer’s house no less. Did the bear accidentally eat the necklace during the encounter or was it swiped during the chaos? There is also illegal baiting going on as well. Baiting is when you set up food for bears like honey and meat in the same area so they keep coming back to that place for food making them easier to locate and hunt. It is considered inhumane, unsportsmanlike, and is heavily regulated. This book is a must-read for any mystery lover. It is full of twists and turns. It’s jam-packed with suspense leaving you on the edge of your seat. You will not want to put the book down whatsoever while reading. Each chapter leaves you on a teeth-chattering cliff-hanger. I recommended this book to all thrill-seeking readers. 

New Books at the Library: January 2022

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Looking for new materials purchased in the children and teen department? Browse our newest volume of New Books at the Library to see what has been purchased with an January 2022 release date. Included in this issue are some new manga to keep an eye our for!

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Charming as a Verb by Ben Philippe

Book review by Sydney

“Charming As A Verb” by Ben Philippe, begins explaining the life of a young FATE Academy, dog walker, by the name of Henri Haltiwanger. Henri is an amazing debater, one of the most popular students at the academy, and the most reliable dog walker, for his New York City neighbors. Henri can charm anyone, just with a little show of his easy smile. 

All of Henri’s friends have been accepted to their dream university, while he is still on the wait list. Henri’s constant ambition to attend his dream university (Columbia University), causes his life to turn in the opposite direction.

He later found out that he had to dog-walk for his apartment neighbour’s dog, while running into the most fierce classmate in school, Corinne Troy. The more closer he got to her the more risk he had to take with his dream, and future life. When she uncovers Henri’s big plot of the fake dog-walking business, she blackmails him into helping her change her school life style. Henri likes the idea of this, because Troy’s mother is the one who could help him with his dream university.

Henri is a complex character to understand at first, the way that he tries finding a different path to take, to get through many challenges in his life. He is charming, and a very likeable character. Which helps you understand how hard it is for him in his life. He is a character who makes real mistakes that have lasting consequences of his life, but his character always develops and he is always able to take care of the consequences of what he has done, and makes sure the ones he loves and knows don’t get hurt from it.

I definitely fell in love with this book, and would definitely recommend it to any readers who enjoy complicated, and life problem teen novels with a touch of romance. This book made my heart skip at some points, and made me feel like I was Henri, facing those problems myself. 

Dark Waters by Katherine Arden

Book review by Meah

This book was nerve-wracking and thrilling to read – constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat as you read through the chapters.  It displays what people do and who they become when presented with these chilling, emotional, and terrifying situations. But even through these notions I really enjoyed how the author didn’t have a constant of who the directed “leader” was in the group. 

Whatever situation was presented to them at the time, the name “leader” fell upon whosever’s skills or past helped them in that moment. For example, because Brian has experience in the wilderness, he mainly took charge in these situations.  We see this as a recurring theme whenever the time is right: Brian having resourcefulness and thinking quick on his feet as a strength; Coco, being athletic, brave, and sympathetic; Ollie remaining authoritative, cool-headed, and focused; and our newest addition – Phil being cooperative and courageous. 

Another recurring theme I noticed is how Arden really helps the readers understand what’s going on as she references the other two previous books: Small Spaces and Dead Voices.  This was extremely helpful to me because Dark Waters is book three in this trilogy and I did not read the two that came before this. It really gave me an understanding and helped me comprehend what had happened previously.  This book is truly amazing and the writing is impeccable, although this book is just fiction (or is it?). If I didn’t know better I’d say it was real, with her incredible writing it makes this story really believable.  Overall, if you are looking for a thrilling novel that’ll send chills down your spine, Dark Waters by Katherine Arden is the book for you.

Far From Normal by Becky Wallace

Book review by Sydney

The book opens up with an intro to the main character, Maddie McPherson. Maddie is a normal girl from her hometown of Normal, Illinois. All she wants is to have a normal life but ends up in a mix of someone else’s life confusion. Life is full of hard decisions and when Maddie has to work with the one and only famous 19 year-old soccer star who everyone knows but her, Gabriel Fortunato, she ends up facing a massive decision. After crashing into the famous young soccer player a few times, she ends up having to work with him for her sports marketing internship, making better social media content about him. Maddie falls for the multi-talented, handsome, and loyal young man. Maddie can’t decide if she should follow her inside feelings, or just get the job done.

I didn’t really have a favourite character but the way the author described Maddie and Gabriel made me dislike one at first and like the other, because the characters were very difficult to understand in the story. When the story changed and they where more connected with each other, it made me fall in love with these two characters, even though they made some wrong decisions throughout time in the book. I felt like I had a deep connection the more I got to know the characters and could feel many of their emotions. Far From Normal kept me guessing what was going to happen next, every single page of the way to the end of the book.

The further I got into this story, the less I could put it down. One part of the book made my heart beat 10x faster than usual, it was such an amazing book, and had very descriptive words in it.

I recommend this story to all teens who love mystery, romance, a bit of heartbreak, and drama. The whole book overall was a 100/10. This book is not like any other random books you will find  on your shelf at home. The author wrote this book with such clear depth, that it takes you deep into the next level of the story. I wish this book could’ve ended with a cliffhanger because I love cliffhangers and I would have read the next one no matter the excuse or ending.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Book review by Elizabeth

I’m simply thrilled. I can proudly say that this book is one of my favourites this year. This book is deceptively thick which is brilliant. A double space between every two lines forms the illusion of more pages read which is always appreciated. What’s even more brilliant is the actual story, though. 

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo is about the lives of two girls of the same age, living in different countries, but sharing the same father. Camino lives with her maternal aunt in the Dominican Republic while Yahaira lives in New York City with both her parents. Every summer the girls’ father leaves his family in New York to visit Camino, yet unfortunately on the summer of Camino’s seventeenth birthday, the plane she eagerly awaited her father to step off of crashed into the Atlantic ocean. This raises much trouble for Camino, as her father had paid for her expensive schooling and El Cero, a creep to stay away from her. Without him, her dream of going to university and becoming a doctor in the States really started to seem like only that – a dream. Meanwhile, in New York, Yahaira is struggling with losing a problematic father, someone she wanted to forgive, but didn’t know how to, and now didn’t have a chance. Things were especially tough with her mother, as they were equally heartbroken. Yet as fate would have it, losing their father was exactly what forced these long lost sisters together for the first time. 

This book almost reads like poetry, almost like a visual representation of thoughts and feelings without any actual pictures. I absolutely adore these two wildly different worlds the author articulates so vividly. I love the realism. It is awfully engaging, and did I already mention beautifully written? I could go on and on about this book as I often do, but I truly don’t think I could ever do it justice. I implore you, if you already happen to be reading this review, to go check the book out, it’ll be worth your while. This book is a diamond in a sea of coal, which only makes me wonder how many more are hiding on the library’s back shelf, outshined by the CliqueBaits and Prom Theories of this world. 

Rise Up from the Embers by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons

Book review by Meah

This book by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons focuses on the two main characters and strongest gladiators; Ash and Madoc, as we follow their journey from Set Fire to the Gods to Rise Up From the Embers.  With Madocs discovery and Ash’s newfound power, will they finally be able to defeat the relentless storm even at its high price to bring back blue skies? With Ash’s hard-headed personality and Madoc’s soft and understanding one, they make a perfect team in their quest to conquer evil for the greater good – even though it is not as easy as it seems. Not all gods want Anathrasa gone, and to fight a god, you have to become one. Read and find out if, against all odds and opponents, Ash and Madoc manage to checkmate the Mother Goddess.

This book keeps you on the edge of your seat with anticipation of the possibilities of what the next chapter could hold. It felt like with each flip of the page, there was a turn of events. The characters seemingly having a heart and a mind of their own and you get attached pretty quickly. This book is incredible, iced with surprise, and decorated with emotion. I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re into action, magic, or psychological fiction.  Personally, I really enjoyed the attention to detail in this book, from heartfelt moments to outstanding fight scenes. Everything was so intricately woven in there to create this masterpiece.

Also, if Avatar: The Last Airbender is your thing, this book would be right up your alley!

Zara Hossain is Here by Sabrina Khan

Book review by Elizabeth

I’ve realized that at this point I might be more drawn to books that are more based in realism, and this one is no exception. Whether I’m going to continue this trend or not is a mystery, though I’ve certainly preferred the likes of this book about the harsh reality for people of colour and immigrants, than the book that continued one boring scene for an entire twenty pages, and uses phrases such as “the male species”, which is all too good at making me gag (Prom Theory ,I’m looking at you). Even though this book may not be for the faint of heart, I doubt it’ll be a boring read for anyone. 

Zara Hossain is Here by Sabrina Khan is a novel about a seventeen-year-old Pakistani girl Zara Hossain living in Corpus Christi, Texas. She moved to the US when she was three with her parents via her father’s work visa, who sponsored them to get their green cards. There aren’t many Pakistani nor Muslim people where Zara and her family lived however they were fortunate enough to have a handful of very close friends. As I’ve suggested, not everyone was friendly at all to Zara, as she’s had to deal with racist remarks and subtle gestures far too many times for comfort from ignorant people and classmates who saw her as unequal. For now Zara had been able to push through it all though, even joining an activism club in her school to raise awareness for people less fortunate than her. After saving a girl from one of her private catholic school’s racist bullies, Zara finds herself the target of Isamiphobic graffiti on her school locker as well as her own house which ends up putting her family in grave danger of losing their right to stay in the country. 

Compared to some of my dramatically failed reads (still looking at you Prom Theory), I think this book is amazing. I love stories with real and believable characters and scenarios that are hard to pick apart, yet still wild enough to leave the reader in suspense. I’m glad I read this book. It wasn’t as great as Watch Over Me by Nina Lacour but definitely one of my top book picks this summer. I think I would recommend this book if fantasy leaves you unamused, like me, and even more so if you have found yourself reading something as mind numbing as Prom Theory by Ann Labar. You’ll really find yourself attached to the characters and as odd as it is, find comfort in this book. 

The Lover, the Lake by Virginia Bordeleau

Book review by Eliana

The story about The lover, the lake is a romance book with obstacles about the relationship between Gabriel, a Metis trapper and his lover Wabougouni of Algonquin and white background. This book talks about the arrival of Gabriel in the Algonquin area. Himself he is from Lake Abitibi he finds himself approaching the Quebec shore when he sees a woman who is Wabougouni and they find themselves in love at first sight.

Wabougouni’s and Gabriel’s tales are similar in terms of individual tragedies and moderately from both Indigenous and white cultures. These encounters do not define them, but they do make them more compatible. Their bond is ultimately unspoken, spoken through attitudes and gestures, and physically understood in a way that establishes a bond that extends beyond the physical.

The novel shows how when there’s love anything is possible no matter where we come from or our background. The pair most definitely reveal that in this book.

I most definitely would recommend this book based on the length its perfect for a quick read for a road trip or perhaps a quick book for the week, I loved and enjoyed the uniqueness of the book from the structure to the small usage of the Metis tongue. The book would definitely get a 4 out of 5 stars of course this is the type of book that is out of my comfort zone but it was most definitely enjoyable and enlightening.

I’m most definitely to make it my duty as a reader to read more books about different cultures and backgrounds since it was all so fascinating to me. It shows and brings light to the idea of mixed couples which can sometimes be something that is frown upon and seen as a bad or unappealing thing.

This is the book review I hoped you enjoyed.