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Staff Reviews

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library, featuring book and DVD reviews for adults, children and teens! Staff book reviews are also published on Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates. The book reviews on this website represent the personal opinions of the individuals who created them and do not represent any official views of the Marathon County Public Library.


Cover: 'The Art of Racing in the Rain'

"The Art of Racing in the Rain" by Garth Stein

★★★★★ Enzo loves his family, and loves car racing nearly as much. It just so happens that Enzo is also a dog. This is the story of Enzo reflecting back on his family, and how he sees the world, during his last moments on Earth. Does he want thumbs just like humans? Yes. Can he bark two times to tell Denny, his owner, to drive faster? Yes...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Grave's End'

"Grave's End" by Elaine Mercado

★★★★★ This book is an account of the actual terrors the author and her family experienced while living in a home they bought in Brooklyn New York.  While I can’t say that the story is incredibly well-written, the fear that was felt is credible, even to someone that doesn’t believe in the paranormal. I found myself not reading it at night, as I usually do....

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Horror

Cover: 'Red, White & Royal Blue'

"Red, White & Royal Blue" by Casey McQuiston

★★★★★ Alex Claremont-Diaz is like American royalty. His mom, Ellen, is the first female President of the United States and he aspires to follow in her political footsteps one day and also become prez. During his time in the White House, Alex has had a not-so-secret rivalry with Henry, the Prince of England. Alex has always thought of Henry as being spoiled,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance

Cover: 'The Sun Is Also a Star'

"The Sun Is Also a Star" by Nicola Yoon

★★★★★ Natasha is going to be deported at 10pm tonight. Daniel has an interview that he isn't interested in attending as his parents are. Is it fate or coincidence that Natasha and Daniel meet this morning? To Natasha it is pure coincidence but for Daniel, it's meant to be. As the day unfolds and they learn more and more about one another, and...

Audience: Teens | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Cook and the King'

"The Cook and the King" by Julia Donaldson, David Roberts

★★★★ In this new fairy tale, a hungry king needs to find a cook. After trying many cooks and rejecting them all, he ends up with Wobbly Bob. The king then asks for his favorite dish—fish and chips—but Wobbly Bob is “terribly scared” about every aspect of food preparation. The king looks sympathetically on the shaking cook and helps him to prepare the meal....

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Daisy Jones & The Six'

"Daisy Jones & The Six" by Taylor Jenkins Reid

★★★★ Classic rock bands from the 1970s and 80s are known for great music that defined a generation. But part of what also made them famous – and perhaps even inspired some of their greatest hits – were the bands’ interpersonal relationships. Groups like Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, and Jefferson Starship were subject to infighting, firing and hiring band members,...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Lock Every Door'

"Lock Every Door" by Riley Sager

★★★★ One thing New York City is known for is the exorbitant cost of rent and real estate. So when twentysomething Jules loses her job and breaks up with her cheating boyfriend all in the same day, she is instantly in need of money and a place to stay. Jules answers an ad looking for someone to live rent-free at the Bartholomew – an elite, historic and...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Suspense, Fiction

Cover: 'The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon'

"The Very Fluffy Kitty, Papillon" by A.N. Kang

★★★★★ Papillon is so fluffy, he floats! Miss Tilly, his owner, worries that Papillon will float away. So, she tries to weigh him down with different foods, costumes, and hats. Papillon does not like to wear clothes (what cat does?) so this doesn't work. Miss Tilly leaves one day and Papillon follows his new friend, a red bird, out the window and into the world....

Audience: Children | Genre: Board Book

Cover: 'Furious Hours'

"Furious Hours" by Casey Cep

★★★★★ Author Casey Cep takes a page out of Harper Lee's book to recreate her own fact-checking non-fiction title. The book starts out by detailing the tale of Reverend Willie Maxwell, a man accused of murdering multiple family members in order to claim insurance policies he held in their names. This causes quite the stir as the public starts to believe Maxwell to...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, True Crime

Cover: 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest'

"One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey

★★★★ Order and routine are the two main tenets that keep the Salem State Hospital running smoothly. Under the strict control of Nurse Ratched, members of the ward (comprised of “acutes” and “chronics”) have a set schedule, know their limitations, and stick to the rules. That is, until R.P. McMurphy arrives. McMurphy is an unruly, insubordinate inmate...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Classics

Cover: 'Ladies Who Punch'

"Ladies Who Punch" by Ramin Setoodeh

★★★★★ The View has been a staple of daytime television for more than 20 years. Since debuting in the summer of 1997, the show has seen 23 co-hosts come and go, and has had its fair share of high-profile arguments and controversies. For creator and executive producer Barbara Walters, the show started as a labor of love. For years leading up to the...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Celebrities

Cover: 'Maybe You Should Talk to Someone'

"Maybe You Should Talk to Someone" by Lori Gottlieb

★★★★★ For most people, a breakup can be a difficult life event to process. Sometimes, it can even cause folks to seek out help in the form of talk therapy. But what if you’re a therapist and you’re the one who’s being broken up with? As a therapist, Lori Gottlieb has helped clients with a myriad of problems, from cheating spouses to adults who were abused or...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help

Cover: 'Ben is Back'

"Ben is Back" (DVD)

★★★★ It’s Christmas Eve in upstate New York, and the last thing Holly (Julia Roberts) expects to see is her son, Ben (Lucas Hedges). Why? Because for the past several months, Ben has been to rehab and then gone to live in a sober living house as he battles an opioid addiction. Though she’s ecstatic to see Ben, Holly is also skeptical, wondering if he is well...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Movies

Cover: 'The Dress and the Girl'

"The Dress and the Girl" by Camille Andros

★★★★★ There is a little girl who wears a dress. The dress and the girl experience a lot together, like playing and exploring, until one day they travel to a new country together to find a better life. The dress and the girl get unexpectedly separated when getting off of the boat in their new county; the dress in a trunk and the girl moving on in her...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'The Night Visitors'

"The Night Visitors" by Carol Goodman

★★★★★ Alice, desperately fleeing an abusive relationship, finds herself and 10 year-old Oren getting off a bus in the midst of a snowstorm, relying on the help of strangers to protect them. Mattie, the social worker who collects them, ends up breaking protocol and bringing them to her house in the middle of the woods instead of the local shelter. She tells them...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'What the Health'

"What the Health" by Kip Andersen, Keegan Kuhn, Eunice Wong

★★★★★ Based on the Netflix documentary of the same name, this is an absolute must read for anyone looking for the truth behind the Standard American Diet and information on what the healthiest way of eating actually is. Backed by scientific studies and packed with recipes, this is an eye-opening resource for anyone looking to take control of their health. As...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction

Cover: 'Free Solo'

"Free Solo" (DVD)

★★★★ Alex Honnold is one of the rare, lucky people in this world who have managed to translate a beloved passion and hobby into a full-time career. As a professional rock climber, he has traveled all around the world, climbing mountain sides, boulders and cliffs in places like Borneo, Patagonia and Chad. But Honnold's way of climbing is a bit more...

Audience: Adults | Genre: DVD

Cover: 'I Owe You One'

"I Owe You One" by Sophie Kinsella

★★★★ Fixie Farr is the youngest of the Farr family, helps to keep their family shop a success, and lives by the family motto of "family first" to a fault. Fixie and her siblings are charged with the task of keeping the family shop in good working order when her mother takes a holiday in Spain. It should be easy, but in reality her...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Click'

"Click" by Kayla Miller

★★★★★ Olive seems to be friends with everyone in her 5th grade class. She has friends on the bus, in science class, and on the playground. When Mr. Florez announces the annual 5th Grade Variety Show, Olive is ecstatic! Before she knows it, everyone seems to have a group for the variety show, except Olive. Olive realizes she doesn't belong to a clique....

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Graphic Novel

Cover: 'Front Desk'

"Front Desk" by Kelly Yang

★★★★★ Mia Tang's family has just arrived in America from China for hopes of a better life. Mia is a 10-year-old who dreams of being a writer. After arriving in America, the family is thrilled when they find work at the Calivista Motel for Mr. Yao. While Mia is at school, her parents clean rooms at the Calivista. When she's not in school, Mia is working...

Audience: Children, Tweens | Genre: Tweens

Cover: 'C is for Consent'

"C is for Consent" by Eleanor Morrison

★★★★★ Finn and his family are having a party with friends and family. At the party, whenever a family or friend wants to show Finn affection (a hug, a kiss, etc.), they first ask Finn if that action is okay. Finn then responds according to how he is feeling. Finn's parents reassure Finn that it is okay if he does not want to sit on someone's lap. They also...

Audience: Children | Genre: Board Book

Cover: 'The Remember Balloons'

"The Remember Balloons" by Jessie Oliveros

★★★★★ James is a little boy whose memories are represented by balloons, as are Grandpa's memories.  James loves talking to Grandpa and sharing balloons.  But one day, Grandpa doesn't have as many balloons, and his favorite balloon, the silver balloon is floating above his head.  James questions why the balloons are floating away.  This is such...

Audience: Children | Genre: Fiction

Cover: 'Freak Kingdom'

"Freak Kingdom" by Timothy Denevi

★★★★ Hunter S. Thompson was an American journalist who wrote for Rolling Stone and other magazines, and is best known for this books Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72. He was one of the pioneers of an immersive style of journalism in which he inserted himself into the events around him and included his own...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Nonfiction, Biography

Cover: 'This Is How It Always Is'

"This Is How It Always Is" by Laurie Frankel

★★★★ Rosie and Penn are a happily married couple living just outside Madison with a house full of delightfully eccentric sons (four, to be exact). In hopes of having a daughter, the two decide to have one more child, which turns out to be…another boy, whom they name Claude. But around the time he starts kindergarten, Claude begins to question his gender...

Audience: Adults | Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

Cover: 'The Faithful Spy'

"The Faithful Spy" by John Hendrix

★★★★★ This creative, colorful, biography tells the life story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Lutheran pastor, a member of the German Resistance, and double agent working for the Abwehr during World War II. Bonhoeffer opposed Hitler’s ideology of Aryan supremacy early on in his rise to power, long before the outbreak of the second world war. He watched with...

Audience: Children, Teens, Tweens | Genre: Nonfiction

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