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Recent Book Reviews

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The World According to Bob

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Bowen, James(2014)Recently Added Review
The World According to Bob

We first meet James Bowen and his cat in A Street Cat Named Bob, and The World According to Bob picks up where they left off at the end of the first book. James and Bob are still hanging out together and selling magazines to make ends meet. When a local newspaper wants to run a story about James and Bob, he agrees not thinking much of it. But, soon James is offered a book deal. When the book comes out James runs into a bit of bad luck with his job, but at the first book signing he quickly realizes how much his life is about to change. A great follow up book with the further adventures of James and Bob.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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None of the Above

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Gregorio, I. W.(2015)Recently Added Review
None of the Above
Young Adult

It all started at Homecoming. On top of being an amazing hurdler with a full scholarship awaiting, Kristin is voted Homecoming Queen alongside her amazing boyfriend, Sam. After the dance, Kristin decides she’s finally ready to take things further with Sam. Everything was shaping up to be perfect, until things go wrong. A follow-up doctor’s visit reveals the truth: Kristin was born intersex. She looked and felt like a girl, but her chromosomes said otherwise. When her secret is leaked to the entire school, Kristin’s world is torn apart, and she must find the strength to find out who she really is. Gregorio’s timely novel explores gender identity in a way that perfectly blends issues dealing with sexism, bullying, and understanding.

Reviewed by Kaitlyn M., Morrison Regional

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Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World

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Hewitt, Ben(2014)Recently Added Review
Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World

Ben Hewitt and his family live on a 40 acre farm in Vermont where they live a self-sustaining lifestyle and “unschool” their two boys. Basically, Hewitt’s boys learn whatever they are interested in learning – they have no curriculum to follow, no tests to take, and no homework to turn in and be graded. While this is certainly unconventional, Hewitt has seen that with his children their capacity to learn new skills and focus on what they are interested in is much greater outside the constraints of traditional education. Hewitt reiterates that he is not advocating that his choices are right for everyone, but he makes an undeniable point that there is more to education than inside a classroom.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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A Light in the Wilderness

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Kirkpatrick, Jane(2014)Recently Added Review
A Light in the Wilderness

Letitia is a freed former slave, but she knows living in the South her freedom is still tenuous. When she marries an Irishman named David Carson, they head West hoping that away from the South her freedom and their marriage will be recognized. After the grueling journey West, they set up a homestead in Oregon. Things seem to be going well for the Carsons, then suddenly Letitia’s life is turned upside down. This time instead of allowing what’s rightfully hers to be taken away, she decides to fight back. Based on real events, Letitia’s life is an example of strength and bravery as she goes from slave to one of the first female land owners in Oregon during her lifetime.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

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Krakauer, Jon(2015)Recently Added Review
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town

In May of 2012 the Department of Justice opened an investigation into the alleged mishandling of eighty rape cases in Missoula, Montana between 2008 and 2012 by the Missoula County Attorney’s Office, the Missoula Police Department, and the University of Montana. Krakauer examines three of these rape cases – what happened, whether the case was prosecuted, the outcome, and the aftermath for the victims. Rape is the most underreported serious crime and this book is a microcosm of a much, much larger problem that is rarely discussed so openly. While this book is disturbing and sometimes hard to read, it is a vitally important book that exposes a dark side of our culture that desperately needs to be brought to light.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany

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Pressman, Steven(2014)Recently Added Review
50 Children: One Ordinary American Couple's Extraordinary Rescue Mission into the Heart of Nazi Germany

Gil and Eleanor Kraus were a Jewish American couple living in the Philadelphia area in early 1939. When they began hearing about the persecution of European Jews they felt compelled to do something to help. Working with the Jewish community organization Brith Sholom, Gil and Eleanor traveled into Nazi German to rescue 50 Jewish children. They raised money, fought ridiculous red tape, and put their own safety at risk to do this unbelievable feat. While researching this book the author was able to find information about 37 of the 50 rescued children. Amazingly, most of those 37 were reunited with their families within a few years. This is an incredible story of one couple’s selfless act of compassion and courage.

Reviewed by Jessica B., Mint Hill Branch

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Emma: A Modern Retelling

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McCall Smith, Alexander(2014)Recently Added Review
Emma: A Modern Retelling

Encouraging dyed in the Hertfordshire wool devotees to set aside Jane Austen and try this new novel may require some Persuasion. Yet with wit and insight McCall Smith literally offers something for everyone including several popular series: The Number 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, 44 Scotland Street, The Sunday Philosophy Club and Corduroy Mansions as well as stand-alone novels for young readers and adults. Jane Austen’s readers tend to know her work well. Even with McCall Smith’s engaging optimism and every character accounted for from Frank Churchill to Miss. Bates, there may be a temptation to compare and find fault. But it’s Austen herself who warned against Pride and Prejudice. And it wouldn’t be a McCall Smith novel without a subtle twist as all Emma`s plans go awry.

Reviewed by Rita L., Independence Regional

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The Sculptor

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McCloud, Scott(2015)Recently Added Review
The Sculptor

Would you give up your life to be able to create art out of anything? When David Smith makes a deal with Death, he’s suddenly able to mold anything - brick, iron, granite - with a touch of his hand. Unfortunately, he has 200 days to make something worthwhile before he dies. The question is, who decides what something is worth? In the midst of his frustrations with the politics of art dealers, agents, and fellow artists, David meets a girl who makes him feel everything he’s wanted to gather from his works. Now he has to decide what’s worth dying for: love or art. Sometimes the two are the same. This beautiful graphic novel is simply drawn yet psychologically thrilling.

Reviewed by Kaitlyn M., Morrison Regional

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The Winter Family

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Jackson, Clifford(2015)Recently Added Review
The Winter Family

Augustus Winter’s name may well soon assume a very high place upon most-memorable fictional evildoer lists. He is more dangerous than an enraged rattlesnake, as coldly insensitive as an iceberg. He is often seen literally soaked in his victims’ blood – much to the horror of even his own vicious family. This immensely readable book traces that family’s atrocity-strewn trail from their Union Army stint as Sherman’s advance unit laying waste from Atlanta to the sea, through rip-roaring election-war-torn Chicago, to a grisly face-off in the rapidly disappearing Wild West.

Reviewed by Jim B., Main Library

Patron Review This book review was submitted on-line by a Reader's Club patron.

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God Help the Child

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Morrison, Toni(2015)Recently Added Review
God Help the Child

Set in present day California, God Help the Child follows the story of Bride—a girl whose mother never loved her due to the dark tone of her skin. Facing constant rejection from her mother as a child, Bride made a choice which offered some temporary relief. Bride’s choice continues to shape her well into adulthood and leads her on a path that intersects with the lives of some truly interesting people. Not a single word is wasted in this brief novel which is told in varying points of view. Morrison approaches serious issues such as racial identity, child abuse, and acceptance with an unparalleled grace. Fans of Morrison’s previous work will enjoy this more modern but no less powerful new novel.

Reviewed by Sarah F., Matthews Branch

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