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Great Young Adult titles from Williamsburg Regional Library
Updated: 16 min 8 sec ago

River Secrets, by Shannon Hale

Mon, 2014-07-28 01:01

Lily shares this review:

This is the 3rd book of the Books of Bayern series.

Razo has been underestimated his whole life because of his height and seemingly careless personality. Even he believed that all he was really good for was giving people a good laugh. That is, until burnt corpses start showing up, implying that the military company he is in has a fire witch in their midst. The Captain of the Guard notices that Razo has an uncanny ability of observance and employs him as a spy.

My personal favorite of Hale’s Books of Bayern, River Secrets is an epic tale full of mystery, adventure, humor, and romance.

Check the WRL catalog for River Secrets


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Sharknife, Stage First, by Corey Lewis

Fri, 2014-07-25 01:01

Laura shares this review:

If there are graphic novel fans out there who really like Scott Pilgrim but would prefer a little less plot and a lot more fighting and jokes, this book was made for you. Sharknife, Stage First is a frenetic, fun, and sassy volume filled with game references, youth culture, eggroll-seeking monsters, and a fortune-cookie powered superhero. Any pretense of seriousness is immediately put to rest on the first page when a character breaks the fourth wall to introduce herself and the town she lives in.

Chieko Momuza is a self-described “spazz-banana living in a cyclone of hyper.” Her father Raymond owns a Chinese restaurant that had the misfortune of becoming THE place to be in town. Why is this unfortunate? Because formerly the hottest spot in town was a smoke shop owned by a man named Ombra. Occupation: gangster. Like any respectable bad guy, Ombra can’t pass up the opportunity for a revenge plot. In the spirit of the best James Bond villains, his plan is ridiculous, obsessive, and bizarre: he plants mechanical monsters into the walls of the restaurant that come alive when they smell food.

Fortunately, the Momuzas have a bus boy, Ceasar (sic), who turns into a powerful being named Sharknife when he consumes one of Chieko’s fortune cookies. He fights off the bad guys and Ombra sends more, better ones. That’s it, the whole of the plot. This is a fun story, folks, not a deep one. These fights, which take up most of the space in the volume, are what you are paying the price of admission for. Interspersed in the action are sly gaming homages such as health bars, power ups, and key combinations for special attacks.

The lettering for the sound effects reverberates throughout the art with each crash and hit performing the sound for you through movement and line energy. Characters even step (or are thrown) in front of the sounds, and the text occasionally layers on top of several panels, fully integrating into the noisy landscape.

This is certainly a fast read with the only disappointment coming at the end of the book when you run out of pages. Fortunately there is also another volume to consume.

Recommended for fans of Scott Pilgrim and other hyper-but-clever teen literature. Not recommended for anyone who would grit their teeth at hearing someone say “oh noes!”

Search the WRL catalog for Sharknife.


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Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1, by Hiromu Arakawa

Wed, 2014-07-23 01:01

Lizzie shares this review:

“Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders…even to kill. Except his powers aren’t unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher’s Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are…”

Fullmetal Alchemist is an amazing story so far.

The two main characters, Edward and Alphonse Elric, are really interesting. They both are very brave and caring. Neither of them would put someone’s life on the line on purpose. The major difference between the two brothers is that Edward becomes angry easily, while Al is more calm.

The main plot point is centered around Edward’s attempts to bring Alphonse back to his body. They are aiming to find the Philosopher’s Stone.

Altogether, I hope to read more of this series. I have really taken a liking to it.

Check the WRL catalog for Fullmetal Alchemist.


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Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale

Mon, 2014-07-21 01:01

Lily shares this review:

The sequel to The Goose Girl, Enna Burning is about a feisty, strong girl named Enna. She was one of the workers that Isi (Ani) lived with in her months of hiding, and since then their friendship has remained – even though Isi was returned to her rightful place as princess. Enna learns the lost language of fire, against Isi’s warnings, and begins to use her gift to scare away the enemy troops camped at Bayern’s borders…

Enna Burning is a story that proves that the best friendships endure and that you can never judge a book by its cover.

Check the WRL catalog for Enna Burning.


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Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell

Fri, 2014-07-18 01:01

Jessica shares this review:

Given the multiple starred reviews of this realistic fiction read, I had fairly high expectations. And it didn’t disappoint.

Eleanor is an outsider who dresses strangely and is a target for bullying with her curly red hair, curvy build and freckles. Her home life is nothing short of a nightmare, and with no friends to turn to, Eleanor is completely alone. Park is well adjusted, and though a bit different with his Korean heritage, accepted. His parents are as in love as the day they met, and outside of getting his driver’s license, Park wants for little.

Needless to say, it’s not love at first sight. But Park’s inner kindness comes through, and he gives Eleanor the empty seat on the bus next to him. While the two remain silent at first, Park begins to notice Eleanor reading his comics through sideways, downcast glances. To his own surprise, Park starts bringing Eleanor comics to take home and read on her own. From that point on, a fairly unpredicted relationship begins to emerge. The comics progress to mix tapes and even more heart-turning, conversation. And all of a sudden, Park wonders how he didn’t fall head over heels for Eleanor the day she stepped on the bus.

With more in common than most, Eleanor and Park develop a strong bond that keeps them together through all the high and lows in Eleanor’s life. Unknowingly, Park provides Eleanor with an escape from her terrifying stepfather and secret home life. For once, Eleanor begins to feel safe and loved and cared for. But with so many factors in the works throughout the novel, something is bound to test their commitment and pull them in opposite directions. For two sixteen year olds, they show a remarkable level of depth and emotion. Rowell has truly managed to craft an imperfect love story that will leave readers with both smiles and tears. Even romantic skeptics will enjoy the push and pull and leave cheering on the unlikely couple.

Check the WRL catalog for Eleanor and Park


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Blue Exorcist, Volume 1, by Kazue Kato

Wed, 2014-07-16 01:01

Lizzie shares this review:

This manga follows the life of twins Yukio and Rin, who happen to be sons of the demon lord, Satan. Of the two, only Rin was cursed with Satan’s powers.

The plot begins with Rin learning that he is half demon. After this occurs, he decides that he will become an exorcist and defeat Satan since Satan killed his foster father. He follows his brother Yukio to True Cross Academy, which is where he will learn to become an exorcist.

The characters in this graphic novel have interesting personalities. Yukio, for example, is smart and shy, but is confident when he’s teaching his class. Rin acts goofy, but is serious when needed. So, each character has a personality that changes and is well-rounded.

In conclusion, I enjoyed this graphic novel very much, and I am hoping to read more like it.

Check the WRL catalog for Blue Exorcist. 


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The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale

Mon, 2014-07-14 01:01

Lily shares this review:

A twist on the classic fairy tale, The Goose Girl is about an unusually gifted princess who takes a long journey to an unknown country to meet her betrothed. On the way, mutiny arises within her guard. Before she knows it, Ani is running for her life with no one to protect her. She makes her way to Bayern, the country of her betrothed, only to find the rebels within her guard making themselves at home. In order to lay low she finds work as a goose girl and discovers a family in her fellow workers. Suddenly, word spreads that Bayern is to be at war with her home kingdom. Ani must face her fear of discovery and death to stop the massacre of her people.

This romantic adventure is a beautifully crafted story of betrayal, trust, and finding your own strength.

Check the WRL catalog for The Goose Girl


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Croak, by Gina Damico

Fri, 2014-07-11 01:01

Melissa shares this review:

Teenager Lex Bartleby has gotten in trouble, serious trouble, more times than her parents can handle. As hard as it is for them, they send her to her Uncle Mort’s for the summer, hoping he can help her work out a better release for her destructive behavior.

Lex doesn’t understand why she’s so angry all the time, but nevertheless dreads the trip to her uncle’s. She’s prepared to hate every minute she’s away from her twin sister, Cordy.

It turns out, though, that Uncle Mort has experience with angry teens–in fact, he seeks troubled kids out for a pretty special job. Mort is a Grim Reaper, and he finds that kids with Lex’s issues make great apprentices.

Lex is surprised to find that she has a natural ability to quickly free the soul from the deceased–and for once in her life she has lots of friends who seem to understand her. As an added bonus, those wild urges to act out start to fade as soon as she starts working as a reaper.

When the Junior Grims notice a series of suspicious deaths, Lex and her partner Driggs, try to figure out what’s going on. It looks like someone has gone rogue and is killing off people whom he or she thinks deserve to die–murderers, liars, cheaters, etc.–which is something Lex has struggled with ever since her first day on the job. Why shouldn’t these bad people get punished for their deeds?

The book answers some questions, but definitely leaves enough open that you’ll have to read the sequel, Scorch.  Thankfully, that book, too, is in the library collection.

The world-building and explanation of how the Grims collect and deliver souls to the Afterlife is fascinating. And the wide assortment of characters in the town make for interesting reading. The author writes with a nice mix of humor and action. I couldn’t help but turn the page to see what would happen next.

Check the WRL catalog for Croak

Check the WRL catalog for Scorch


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