MCPL logo

Marathon County Public Library

Skip Navigation

Staff Reviews: fiction

Check out these reviews written by the staff of the Marathon County Public Library! (For reviews in all genres, visit our main Staff Reviews webpage.) Staff book reviews are also published at Goodreads.com; follow us for the latest updates.


Cover: 'The Rosie Project'

"The Rosie Project" by Graeme Simsion

★★★★★ This quick and entertaining read follows geneticist Don Tillman, as he devises a plan to find the perfect wife while bypassing the social awkwardness of actual dating. Just when Don has it all figured out, he meets Rosie. Although Rosie meets none of Don's wife criteria, she quickly becomes his friend as they work together to find her biological father. A...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'This Song Will Save Your Life'

"This Song Will Save Your Life" by Leila Sales

★★★★ Elise has always struggled to make friends, so much so that she had even once turned to suicide as an answer to her loneliness. After her failed attempt at suicide, she continued to be a loser at school.  Just as Elise is resigned that her life will never get better and be what she knows it could, she haphazardly discovers an underground dance club....

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, music

Cover: 'The Painter'

"The Painter" by Peter Heller

★★★★★ Peter Heller brings us a beautifully written novel about a famous New Mexico artist names Jim Stegner whose life seems to spiral around in destructive chaos. Jim has a history of violence and loss, but is trying to move forward as he finds a new home that offers him peace and quiet, a place to paint, and great fishing. However, Jim's peaceful existence is...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Say What You Will'

"Say What You Will" by Cammie McGovern

★★★★ Meet Amy and Mathew, two teens with different types of disabilities who somehow find one another and become best friends. When Amy leaves for college, they both need to realize their limitations or abilities, and learn to adapt to life without one another. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of recently popular teen fiction. This book...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Monkey Wrench Gang'

"The Monkey Wrench Gang" by Edward Abbey

★★★★★ While not a new release, this 1975 classic is well worth a revisit. Ex-Green Beret George Hayduke returns from war to find that his beloved southwestern desert is being threatened by rampant industrial development. Joined by an unlikely group of allies, Hayduke sets out to save the natural landscape that he loves as he rages against men and their machine-...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, nature

Cover: 'The One'

"The One" by Kiera Cass

★★ "The One" is the third and final book of The Selection Trilogy.  The central character, America, and three other young ladies are still vying for Prince Maxon's heart. The country of Illea is experiencing more and more unrest among rebels groups looking for equality and the dissolution of the chaste system. These rebels are threatening the selection...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Divergent'

"Divergent" by Veronica Roth

★★★★★ The first book in Veronica Roth's wildly popular series does not disappoint! We meet 16-year-old Beatrice Prior on the eve of the most important decision of her life. She must chose one of five factions to belong to for the rest of her years. Will she choose to stay with her family or find a new one? Her decision is complicated by her test results and her...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, ya fiction with adult appeal, dystopian

Cover: 'The Perfume Collector'

"The Perfume Collector" by Kathleen Tessaro

★★★★ This is a lovely, yet predictable novel about a woman who inherits an apartment in Paris from someone she has never met. Grace is living unhappily in England when she discovers the mysterious Eva d'Orsey left her a beautiful apartment and a generous stock portfolio. A richly-detailed work of historical fiction, Tessaro weaves together the duo plotlines of...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Untold'

"The Untold" by Courtney Collins

★★★★★ This brilliantly told story of Jessie Hickman, a female horse thief, set in 1920s Australia is a darkly captivating must read. Based on the real life Jessie Hickman, the story unfolds as the tough and free-spirited Jessie tries desperately to procure her freedom from her abusive husband and captor Fitz. This novel will rope you in and hold your attention to...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Stranger You Know'

"The Stranger You Know" by Jane Casey

★★★★★ The most recent book in the Maeve Kerrigan detective series finds Maeve tracking a serial killer hunting young women throughout London. He leaves no clues behind, but the facts of the case have an eerie similarity to an incident her partner DCI Derwent was involved in during his teens. Maeve can't believe Derwent would be involved, but the more she begins...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Shotgun Lovesongs'

"Shotgun Lovesongs" by Nickolas Butler

★★★★★ This debut novel from Wisconsin-based author Nickolas Butler is worthy of the abundant praise received from critics and readers. Set in the fictional rural town of Little Wing, Wisconsin, five friends undergo major life changes, from marriage to recording a bestselling album. Chapters are written from the perspective of each of the five as their friendship...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, wisconsin

Cover: 'We Were Liars'

"We Were Liars" by E. Lockhart

★★★★★ WE WERE LIARS is the perfect summer read for teens and adults! Cadence Sinclair lives a life unfamiliar to most of us, full of money, privilege, and summers spent on a private island with her family. Something terrible happens the summer that she is fifteen between Cadence, her two cousins, and family friend Gat, whom are collectively know as "The Liars,"...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Dangerous Creatures'

"Dangerous Creatures" by Kami Garcia

★★ This book is a disappointing attempt at a spin-off series from the writers of BEAUTIFUL CREATURES, the popular teen series about the supernatural world of Casters (witches) in South Carolina. Link and Ridley, now an on-again, off-again couple with magical abilities, escape their fictitious southern town of Gatlin, South Carolina, and head to New York City....

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, paranormal, supernatural

Cover: 'Winter Town'

"Winter Town" by Stephen Edmond

★★★★ Every winter break, Evan's best friend Lucy returns to visit her father.  This year is no exception...however, Lucy has changed.  Evan struggles to reunite and reconnect with his closest friend, while Lucy struggles to reconcile her behavior while living with her mom in Georgia with who she is around Evan and his family.  Nothing earth...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, realistic, character-driven

Cover: 'The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing'

"The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing" by Sheila Turnage

★★★★ The Desperado Detectives are back! This time, Mo and Dale set out to uncover a ghostly mystery: the murder of Nellie Blake and her haunting of the Tupelo Inn. When Miss Lana accidently purchases the inn at an auction, Mo wants her to turn it into a successful business. But who would want to visit the haunted inn with Nellie creating havoc? This is a great...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Lion and the Bird'

"The Lion and the Bird" by Marianne Dubuc

★★★★ Lion kindly helps a bird who is cold and wounded and provides a warm place for the winter. They have a lovely time together, but when spring comes and bird's flock returns, he has to join them. This heart-touching universal tale about friendship, love and the ties that bind us is wonderfully told, and simply, but beautifully, illustrated. Preschoolers,...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'City of Heavenly Fire'

"City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare

★★★★ A satisfying end to an interesting young adult series, Cassandra Clare does not disappoint fans of The Mortal Instruments with this final installment. The book is over 700 pages, but it’s full of Shadowhunters, lycanthropes, faeries, warlocks, and vampires battling Clary’s evil brother Sebastian and his legion of dark Shadowhunters in Hell. Much of the plot...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Three Times Lucky'

"Three Times Lucky" by Sheila Turnage

★★★★★ Mo LoBeau got lucky when she was a baby; she survived a hurricane her mother left her in and wound up in Tupelo Landing, North Carolina. Orphaned, Mo made her own family with the Colonel, a quirky man with amnesia who found her after the hurricane, and Miss Lana, an eccentric café hostess. Mo helps out at the café with her best friend Dale, attends the...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Fear Nothing'

"Fear Nothing" by Lisa Gardner

★★★★ Two sister's who lived in hell. One went to prison, and one felt no pain. Foster home after foster home, one adopted by a doctor. One was a killer and one a doctor, with very special talents. Now after 30 years, the killing starts all over again. D. D. Warren is trying to manage Melvin and work the case. The case she shouldn't be on. Who will kill the "Rose...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Hope Is A Ferris Wheel'

"Hope Is A Ferris Wheel" by Robin Herrera

★★★★ Star Mackie has every reason in the world to give up. She lives with her mother and sister Winter in a pinkish trailer with a plastic flamingo glued to the top. She has never met her father or even received a card from him. She starts an Emily Dickinson Poetry Club to meet friends in her new school. In her weeks of assigned vocabulary sentences (which she...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Keep Quiet'

"Keep Quiet" by Lisa Scottoline

★★★★★ This was Lisa Scottoline's first book that I have ever read and I will read more. It was very good. As a father you would do anything you could to protect your family, but how far is too far? A father works very hard to provide for his family and sometimes starts to lose touch with his children as they grow up. But not Jake. He wants to be the cool dad; he...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Someday, Someday Maybe'

"Someday, Someday Maybe" by Lauren Graham

★★★★ If you love Lauren Graham, the actress, in "Gilmore Girls" or "Parenthood" then you will throughly enjoy Lauren Graham the author in her debut novel.  Her story introduces us to Franny, a struggling actress in New York City of the mid 1990s, and her adventures trying to become a serious actress who can pay her bills with her craft.  Franny is so...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry'

"The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry" by Gabrielle Zevin

★★★★ This book is not only about what the title suggests, the life of A.J. Fikry who is a small town bookstore owner, but also the ways books can change the course of your life.  As a librarian, of course I would enjoy a book about how books are involved in people's lives, but it was very interesting to see how the author chooses books to be impactful...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Night Film'

"Night Film" by Marisha Pessl

★★★★★ Scott McGrath, an investigative journalist, lost his career and wife due to one man: Stanislas Cordova. Cordova is a cult-horror film director whose personal life is top secret. When McGrath pried in his life a few years ago and tried to reveal the true Cordova, McGrath was ruined. The story begins on an October night when Cordova's beautiful daughter,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Pages