Book Reviews

Check out these reviews for some of our newest YA Books:

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Once Upon a Broken Heart
(Once Upon a Broken Heart Series, Vol. 1)
by Stephanie Garber

-You can find this book here.

After praying to a Fate for help, Evangeline discovers the dangerous world of magic.

When her father passes away, Evangeline is left with her cold stepmother and kind but distant stepsister, Marisol. Despite inheriting a steady trust in magic, belief in her late mother’s homeland of the mystical North (where fantastical creatures live), and philosophy of hope for the future, her dreams are dashed when Luc, her love, pledges to marry Marisol instead. Evangeline desperately prays to the Prince of Hearts, a dangerous and fickle Fate famed for his heart that is waiting to be revived by his one true love—and his potentially lethal kisses. The bargain they strike sends her on a dark and magical journey throughout the land. The writing style fluctuates from clever and original to overly verbose and often confusing in its jumble of senses. While the pervasive magic and concept of the Fates as a religious system add interest, other fantasy elements are haphazardly incorporated without enough time devoted to building a cohesive world. However, the themes of love, the power of story, family influence, and holding onto belief are well rounded and add depth. The plot contains welcome surprises, and the large cast piques curiosity; readers will wish more time was spent getting to know them. Evangeline has rose-gold hair and, like other main characters, reads as White; there is diversity among the fantasy races in this world.

A lushly written story with an intriguing heart. (map) (Fantasy. 12-16)

Review found here.

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All These Bodies
by Kendare Blake

-You can find this book here.

A“nobody from nowhere” gets the scoop of a lifetime.

A paperboy and aspiring journalist in 1959 Black Deer Falls, Minnesota, 17-year-old Michael Jensen’s heard about the previous summer’s killings known as the Bloodless Murders or Dracula Murders. The body count so far is 12 blood-drained corpses found across the Midwest. Then blood-drenched 15-year-old Marie Catherine Hale is discovered at the scene of the Carlson triple homicide in Michael’s hometown. Ultimately unknowable Marie—cast as something of a femme fatale in contrast to Michael’s bland, Everyman foil—doesn’t deny her involvement but won’t identify her much-mythologized accomplice. Infuriating an ambitious district attorney, the police, and national news reporters, Marie chooses to tell her slippery, shifting, and allegedly supernatural story solely to Michael. More of a sympathetic confessor than a callous interrogator, Michael works to tease out Marie’s motives even as his community and the world question his entanglement with the case. Although she inserts a supernatural element, Blake otherwise grounds the true-crime–style tale—which acknowledges the influence of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood—in real-life issues like domestic abuse, poverty, privilege, and sexism. Paradoxically, even as the book scrutinizes the darker human appetite for serial killers, criminal escapades, and vengeance, it caters to these same urges. The enigmatic ending might leave readers without resolution, but like Marie’s “truths,” the full story may never be known. Main characters read as White by default.

An insightful look at our morbid curiosity about murderers. (map, author’s note) (Thriller. 14-adult)

Review found here.

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The Hawthorne Legacy
(Inheritance Games Series, Vol. 2)
by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

-You can find this book here.

In this sequel to The Inheritance Games (2020), Avery has a new Hawthorne family puzzle to solve.

Picking up where the last volume left off, Avery and the four Hawthorne grandsons are on a mission to find Toby, the billionaire patriarch’s only son, who was presumed dead after a fire but, it turns out, may still be alive. With enigmatic clues and more cryptic mysteries left by the deceased family patriarch and Toby himself, Avery and the young Hawthornes piece together the details of the latter’s disappearance. Assisting the mostly White cast this time is Avery’s best friend, Maxine Liu, whose name cues her as Chinese American. Once again, action-packed chapters with more threats against Avery’s life and an ongoing love triangle among Avery and two rival Hawthorne grandsons drive the momentum. This novel relies less on the brainteasers that made the first book so much fun and more on sleuthing to fill in the backstory surrounding the Hawthorne lineage and Avery’s own heritage. Are the two connected? The answers occasionally lead to more questions as the pace quickens and red herring upon red herring prevail, leading up to the conclusion of this installment. An open ending—and a bolder Avery—are ready for the next set of Hawthorne challenges.

A solid sophomore novel that keeps readers involved in the entertaining series. (Mystery. 14-18)

Review found here.

Take & Make

December: Tiny Art Show

Introducing the First Annual Juniata County Library Tiny Art Show!

Display your artistic talents in our Tiny Art Show! Pick up a mini paint kit starting January 3 and create your masterpiece at home. Return it to the library by January 31 at 7pm to be part of the show.

This show is open to patrons in grades 6-12.
Kit pickup begins January 3. Kits include 4″x 4″ canvas, paint, and a paint brush.
Art must be returned by January 31 at 7 pm.
Art will be displayed in the library during the month of February.
Art will be returned to the artists at the conclusion of the exhibit.

*Kits are limited. One kit per teen while supplies last.

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