Books

Reviews of both new release and older books from many different genres including science fiction, fantasy, horror, young adult, and nonfiction.

We Are the Perfect Girl Is a Perfect Modern Retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac

When it comes to modern adaptations, I can get a little stingy and critical with how the original material is handled and how well it translates and is received by a modern audience. For example, I’m a huge fan of the YouTube miniseries The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, because the producers and writers were able to keep Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice characters true to the original novel while putting an interactive spin on the story line, allowing viewers to...

Sincerely, Harriet Is the Best Kind of Graphic Novel for Kids

It’s 1996 in Chicago, and Harriet Flores is bored. Not just bored, but bored. It’s summer vacation, but since she and her parents just moved to Chicago, she has no friends from school. Her parents are busy with trying to get situated in their new jobs, so she can’t even explore the city. The only person around is Pearl, their landlady who lives downstairs, and she’s old enough to have grandchildren. It’s not a situation most 13-year-olds would envy....

Top Ten Games You Can Play in Your Head by Yourself Is a Welcome Surprise for All Gamers

I’ve been playing games and sharing my opinions on them for many years. I’m almost always moving on to the next game system, the next adventure setting, the next optional rule book. I love to get my fingers on a new product, in part because I have the attention span of a young dalmatian in a shopping mall, but mostly because I just really love it when a game surprises me. That feeling of first-time wonder is outdone only...

This Is Not a Love Scene Misses an Opportunity for Important Character Growth

I have a confession to make: I accidentally glanced at the Goodreads reviews before reading this book. The most upvoted ones were low, and I didn’t read them too closely, but they gave me a strange sense of foreboding going in anyway. Still, I kept up a positive attitude, at least at first; other books I’ve loved have low ratings on Goodreads, and the start of S. C. Megale’s debut novel was very promising. The more I read, however,...

Serious Moonlight Will Give You Serious Feels

I have a confession to make: I had never read any of Jenn Bennett’s books before picking up Serious Moonlight. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen two of her other contemporary YA novels, Alex, Approximately and Starry Eyes, in the book section of Target or shelved face out at Barnes and Noble, and a quick search on Goodreads confirms that an overwhelming number of people love her writing. It all comes down to the fact that...

The Haunting of Henderson Close Fills the Bill for a Spooky Ghost Story

Because I am a sucker for a plot line with a spooky ghost story, I was drawn to The Haunting of Henderson Close. I was not disappointed at all. Many years ago, a street in Edinburgh named Henderson Close was closed and then built over. Due to the unique nature of the area, it has become a tourist attraction where our protagonist, Hannah, serves as a tour guide, showing people the nooks and crannies of the old street. One...

Since We Last Spoke Is a Story of Loss, Grief, and Guilt

Everyone will experience grief at some point; it’s an inevitable part of being alive. The tricky thing about it is that grief can take many forms, and not everyone grieves the loss of a loved one the same way. Brenda Rufener’s Since We Last Spoke is all about the way two families are mourning the deaths of their eldest children and the many ways they handle the pain—both constructive and destructive. Aggi Frank and Max Granger have lived next...

In Both Book and Movie, Five Feet Apart Keeps Its Side Characters at Arm’s Length

A problem many filmmakers face when adapting a book is fan backlash. Not everything in a novel can make it onto the big screen, whether because of time constraints or production limitations or story changes. Time and time again, fans have voiced their complaints about films they say mangle their beloved books, leaving out important elements or adding in unnecessary filler. So what happens when a book and a film are written by the same people and are nearly...

If You’re Out There Gives Readers a Unique Mystery to Solve

Three years ago, I decided to take a chance on a couple of Internet friends and flew to Texas to live with them. It’s a very long, complicated story, but the gist is that things didn’t work out, and I was back in Minnesota five days later. I had hoped that maybe I could fix things with them, but my attempts to reach out were met with a clear message: they were done with me and never wanted to...

The Manic Pixie Dream Boy Improvement Project Is a Fun and Witty Look Into YA Tropes

Film critic Nathan Rabin coined the term Manic Pixie Dream Girl in 2007 in a review of the film Elizabethtown. But while the term is relatively young, the type of character it describes is not. In a nutshell, the Manic Pixie Dream Girl is (usually) a young woman who is vivacious, quirky, and totally “not like other girls.” She has no depth of character or goals of her own; she exists solely to bring excitement into the life of...
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