Fiction

  1. Girl With a Pearl Earring

    Girl With a Pearl Earring

    Inspired by 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer's famous painting, Tracy Chevalier creates a beautiful tale about Girl With a Pearl Earring.  As a fan of both historical fiction and art, I fell in love with this book.  In Chevalier's imagination, 16 year old Griet comes to live with the Vermeer family in Delft, Holland to serve as a maid in their home.

  2. Here Comes Santa Cat

    Here Comes Santa Cat

    In “Here Comes Santa Cat”, we meet a cat dressed up in a Santa suit that is having a conversation with an unseen narrator.  After viewing Cat’s “current year to date” pie chart showing a ratio of his naughty to nice behavior, we learn why he wants to be Santa—he wants a present.  Maybe if Cat does some nice things, Santa will give him a present after all.  Cat’s attempts at niceness go terribly awry over and over, until finally he does it right.  And Cat meets Santa after all.  The ink and colored pencil illustrations show Cat with a multitude of emotions, and the u

  3. Shooting At the Stars

    Shooting At the Stars

    Shooting at the Stars is a fictionalized account of the Christmas truce that occurred in the trenches between British and German troops during World War I in 1914.  The story is told conveyed through a letter by a British soldier to his mother.  He tells of December 24th, when the British soldiers heard singing coming from the opposing trench 30 paces away.  Stille Nacht--Silent Night.  The next morning, they woke up to calls from the German soldiers.  Warily, soldiers from both sides began to step out into “No Man’s Land”.  They first buried their d

  4. The Book of Unknown Americans

    "The Book of Unknown Americans" by Cristina Henriquez tells the touching stories impacting the lives of a group of immigrant families sharing space in a Newark, Delaware apartment building.  The immigrants have come together from various countries around the globe such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Paraguay, Panama, Nicaragua, and Guatemala.  Each of them face common and individual challenges related to assimilation into their adopted American homeland.  Central to Henriquez's story are teenagers Maribel Rivera and Mayor Toro w

  5. Take Away The A

    Take Away The A

     

    This innovative and unique alphabet book takes a basic word like "beast", take away the "a" and "the BEAST is the BEST". "Without the B, the BRIDE goes for a RIDE."  Reading the book straight through would be fun for preschool and kindergarten, but for older students and their teachers, its a great excuse for wordplay!  Highly recommended.

  6. The Vanishing Coin

    The Vanishing Coin

    This is the first book in a promising series about a fourth grade boy named Mike whose school year is not off to a good start.  Mike struggles to sit still and pay attention, and ends up in the principal's office at least once every week.  And this year, he has to spend every afternoon after school with new neighbor gifted Nora.  Mike's not looking forward to it, until he and Nora discover an antiques store called "The White Rabbit".  This store also is a little magical.

  7. Baby Bear Counts One

    Baby Bear Counts One

    Another of my favorite seasonal picture books is this companion book to Baby Bear Sees Blue.  In an autumn landscape, a curious bear cub asks Mama Bear questions about the sounds of animals around them, and then counts the animals as they make their preparations for the winter.

  8. Sophie's Squash

    Sophie's Squash

    Among my very favorite picture books are those with the theme of changing seasons.  This story by Wisconsin author Miller is at the top of the list.  At a fall farm market with her mother and father, Sophie picks out a yellow squash.  The squash is just the right size for Sophie to hold, and--it turns out—to love. “I’m glad we met,” says Sophie.

  9. The Snow Child

    The Snow Child

    Initially, I was pulled into this story by the trailer seen here.

  10. Bathing the Lion

    Bathing the Lion

    Jonathan Carroll’s work is often described as magic realism, but I think Neil Gaiman said it best by stating that reading Carroll is “as if John Updike were to write a Philip K Dick novel.”  

    Carroll’s book packs in a lot of different stories and details, often mixed together. The very pages of the book are a thin paper; the smoky images at the head of each chapter are visible through the pages.

  11. This One Summer

    I read This One Summer in one sitting. With no bathroom breaks! For a 320 page graphic novel, that’s really saying something.

  12. Of Poseidon VS. Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

    Of Poseidon
    Percy Jackson's Greek Gods

    VERSUS - The APL Teen book review where two books on a related theme go head to head and only one comes out a winner. The winner will be decided by the author’s subjective and highly biased criteria i.e. her opinion.

    November’s VERSUS stars two audio books that focus on the topic of Greek myths - Of Poseidon by Anna Banks and Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan. If you can already spot the winner then you’re ahead of the game!

  13. Leaving Time

    Jenna Metcalf's mother has been gone for 10 years.  Alice Metcalf disappeared after an incident at the New England Elephant Sanctuary, where she worked as a naturalist and expert in elephant behavior.  Her daughter, now a precocious thirteen year old, feels abandoned and is passionate to learn what happened to her mother.  In "Leaving Time", the most recent novel from Jodi Picoult, Jenna enlists the help of a once celebrated psychic and the heavy drinking detective assigned to her mother's unsolved case ten years ago.  

  14. Winter Street

    You could say the Quinn Family is dysfunctional… A week before Christmas father Kelley , an innkeeper, finds out his second wife Mitzi has been sleeping with the inn’s hired  Santa. Eldest son Patrick, a highly successful hedge fund investor, is being investigated for fraud. Son Kevin, who has been secretly sleeping with the inn’s housekeeper, just found out he is going to be a father. Daughter Ava, who has pinned all her hopes on getting a diamond this year for Christmas, finds out her boyfriend has left to spend the holiday with his mother in New York.

  15. The Orchestra Pit

    The Orchestra Pit

    A wide-eyed spotted snake from the zoo wanders into “the wrong pit,” and wends its way among the instruments of an orchestra: brass, winds, strings, percussion.  It is impressed by all the sights and sounds—and hiding places: charmed by the oboe, cozy in the tuba.  The snake’s fascination is not returned by the musicians, however, and the zookeeper is summoned.  Time to hide!  As the musicians warm up their instruments, the snake likens the sounds to those of other animals in the zoo.

  16. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

    The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair

    A 15-year-old girl in a red dress flees through the woods pursued by a dark shape.  The housewife who sees her and calls the police is later found dead and the girl vanishes.  For over 30 years no one knows what happened to Nola.

  17. Little Boo

    Little Boo

    A tiny pumpkin seed has one goal in its life: to be SCARY!  “Boo!” it cries, to leaf and snowflake, grub to grasshopper.  They are not in the least frightened, but the wind encourages the seed: “It’s not time for scaring…not yet.  Be patient.  You’ll soon be scary enough.”  As the seasons turn, the seed has some turning of its own to do: to spring sprout, to summer flower, to autumn pumpkin. Little Boo finds that, sometimes, we need to be patient and grow into our dreams in order for them to come true.  For Little Boo, that long-awaited time is Halloween!

  18. Cancel the Wedding

    The one year anniversary of Olivia’s mother’s death is drawing near. Her mother’s dying wish was very explicit, her ashes were to be scattered in two specific locations in Huntley, Georgia, a town neither Olivia nor her sister had ever heard of.  Looking for a way to escape her increasingly chaotic personal life, Olivia decides now is the perfect time to go Huntley and find out why this place was so special to their mother. What she finds makes her wonder if she ever really knew her mother at all. Huntley is gone…well actually it now sits at the bottom of a man-made lake.

  19. All the Light We Cannot See

    Marie-Laure LeBlanc lives a quiet life with her Father, Daniel LeBlanc, at Number 4 rue Vauborel in Paris, France.  Daniel is a locksmith for the Natural Museum of History in Paris before the German occupation of France during WWII.  Marie-Laure becomes totally blind by the age of six.  Her Father fashions a miniature replica of their neighborhood from wood so that she may memorize and better navigate her surroundings while he is busy working at the museum. 

  20. Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever

    Henry and Glenn Forever and Ever

    Henry & Glenn Forever & Ever

    Tom Neely & Friends

    This is an adult graphic novel about a fictional domestic relationship between Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins. Much license is taken here, as Danzig and Rollins are most definitely not in a domestic relationship, but their real life personalities come through in the fictional character’s day to day lives. This gives it a niche audience. But if you are at all familiar with the real life characters, you will be well rewarded with plenty of laughs.

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