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Book Reviews
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Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds

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A beautifully written story about a tragic event. After witnessing the fatal shooting of his older brother, Will feels he must follow the rules of his neighborhood and seek revenge. Will enters the elevator with a loaded gun to leave his building and kill the man that killed his brother. As the elevator stops at each floor, a deceased member of Will's family or neighborhood enters the elevator to tell their story. A must-read.

We Run the Tides
by Vendela Vida

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Set in San Francisco in the 1980s, Vida's tale of teen girls navigating the precarious perch of coming adulthood in a pre-cell phone, pre-social media world. Navigating these waters and other dangers that lurk in their neighborhood, the main character, Eulabee, learns how friendships and familial relationships can sometimes be tangled webs.

Great Circle
by Maggie Shipstead

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Wow. After I finished reading this book, I saw that it had been nominated for the Booker Prize Long List and that is well deserved. A sprawling historical fiction that follows the life of a fictional female aviatrix (the character is clearly a composite of several real-life aviatrices). The character development is top-notch and the flash forwards to the Hollywood actress chosen to play our heroine in a current day biopic is masterful. This was an all-absorbing, beautifully written, amazing piece of literature. Now... do go back and read this author's earlier titles!

Geekerella
by Ashley Poston

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This modern fandom Cinderella retelling is a fun love letter to fandoms and the people in them. Elle needs to get to ExcelsiCon, win the Starfield costume contest, and ultimately get away from her stepmother. Darien, new lead actor on the Starfield movie, feels like a poser playing his favorite character. When he texts Elle by mistake, they strike up an anonymous friendship over their shared love of Starfield, and things take off from there. The story, characters, and concept were all great, even thought the writing wasn't really my cup of tea. Looking forward to trying out another in Poston's universe.

Becoming
by Michelle Obama

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Regardless of politics, I've taken an interest in the story of every first lady to occupy the White House over the past few decades. Republican or Democrat, private or outspoken, they all have a unique story worth hearing. I'm glad Michelle Obama has released her autobiography. It didn't disappoint. Despite being an active first lady with an ambitious agenda, Obama was relatively reserved and private regarding her personal life. She really opens up in this new book. A lot of what she shared were anecdotes I found relatable, including the bumps along her road to motherhood. Much like Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, this book leads me to believe the Obamas may make an even greater impact now that they are out of the White House.

The Martian
by Andy Weir

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I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend it. The protagonist was such a strong character and my vision of life on Mars has certainly changed.

the wife between us
by Greer Hendricks Sarah Pekkanen

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love this one by these two - can't figure out how they both write the book but it's a good creepy book

La Ninfa De Porcelana Isabel Allende
by Isabel Allende En Español

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Great good short read! The story of the Porcelain Ninfa takes you away from the conventional fictional characters to a completely unrealistic personification of a companion for the main character of the book. I enjoyed th ending and how the story ends making me smile and daydreaming of all the possibilities.

The Family Next Door
by Sally Hepworth

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Sally Hepworth has a new book out that I'm eager to read, but I couldn't pass up the free (thanks, library!) copy of one of her older books, The Family Next Door. I'm pretty sure this is the first Sally Hepworth book I've read, but her writing style (especially the ensemble cast) reminds me a bit of Liane Moriarty, another Australian writer. Much like Wisteria Lane on Desperate Housewives, everyone on Pleasant Court in The Family Next Door has some sort of secret. When new neighbor Isabelle moves in, however, she's the one who's the source of much attention. She's single with no kids and quite mysterious, so she inspires responses from her neighbors from suspicion to borderline obsession. Hepworth has you thinking Isabelle might be up to something. In a way, she is, but it's not what you think. Meanwhile, her neighbors' lives begin to unravel, and secrets begin to be revealed. Even those you'd least expect have some pretty big and shocking secrets come out. This book was a page-turner, though I feel there were some details that weren't wrapped up at the end, which I found a bit annoying. Still, I'm glad I read this.

A Touch of Darkness
by Scarlett St. Clair

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Quite enjoyable! A fun, fresh, and modern take on a Greek mythology classic. I love stories that take someone who should be the villain and show the reader a new side of them that turns them into the hero, and this one did just that!