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: '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

Cover: 'Four Friends'

"Four Friends" by Robyn Carr

★★★★ In Robyn Carr's newest stand alone novel we meet four friends, each deeply struggling with a shocking new revelation in their lives. Gerri, a mother of three who works for Child Protective Services, finds her perfect marriage shattered by a secret. Meanwhile, Andy is throwing her second husband's clothes all over the front lawn after the final straw in...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, chick lit

Cover: 'Guy In Real Life'

"Guy In Real Life" by Steve Brezenoff

★★★★ So you read "Eleanor and Park" and you're looking for something similar. Look no farther, as I have your next read right here! Steven Brezenoff's "Guy in Real Life," is an excellent companion to "Eleanor and Park." Lesh is into heavy metal and black dusters. After a Labor Day metal show, he drunkenly smashed into Svetlana...no worries, he's walking and...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, realistic

Cover: 'Frog Music'

"Frog Music" by Emma Donoghue

★★★★★ San Francisco, summer of 1876: record-breaking heat and a smallpox epidemic have the inhabitants of the city on edge. Blanche Beunon, a French dove, is happy with her life as a burlesque dancer until she bumps into a mysterious stranger, Jenny Bonnet, who turns her world upside down in just a few short weeks. When Jenny, Blanche's only friend, is shot dead...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'Nightingale's Nest'

"Nightingale's Nest" by Nikki Loftin

★★★★★ The music he heard was like nothing he had ever heard before; it was like magic. Twelve-year-old John Fischer is spending his summer helping his father with his tree removal business when he meets a foster child, Gayle, the bird-like girl with the beautiful voice of a nightingale. When they become friends he discovers that her singing helps heal his body...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Missing You'

"Missing You" by Harlan Coben

★★★★★ What would you do if you saw an online dating profile for the fiancé who broke your heart 18 years ago? For Kat Donovan, an NYPD detective, seeing his face sends her reeling. When she reaches out to him, it only leads to even more questions. What Kat stumbles upon is a twisted conspiracy. While she's racing against the clock to save lives, clues to her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'This One Summer'

"This One Summer" by Mariko Tamaki

★★★★★ Every summer Rose and her parents visit Awago Beach.  There are the timeless jokes (Rose's father jokes about Rose being born at the turkey farm) and the old summer only friends, in Rose's case, Windy.  This summer is different.  Rose's mom and dad aren't getting along and Rose thinks she knows why:  Rose's mom wants to have another baby...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, graphic novel, realistic, award-winning, printz award winner

Cover: 'The Real Boy'

"The Real Boy" by Anne Ursu

★★★★★ The massive walls around the protected island city of Asteri writhe with enchantment.  The wizards’ powerful magic protects the city from illness and harm.  A devastating worldwide plague many years ago killed numerous people from the island. “The boy”, Oscar, works as a lowly “Hand” for Caleb, the most powerful magician in the city. His job is to...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, fantasy

Cover: 'Police'

"Police" by Jo Nesbø

★★★★★ It takes a strong will to put this book down before the end. Nesbo does it again, keeping us in suspense until the very end. "Police" is a real thriller with the suspense rising to almost unbearable levels. Oslo's police officers are being brutally murdered at scenes of unsolved murders they investigated. An unidentified severely wounded man in a coma,...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery, romance

Cover: 'The Collector'

"The Collector" by Nora Roberts

★★★★ In Nora Roberts' latest tale of romantic suspense, Lila Emerson, a professional house sitter, witnesses a murder from the window of the luxury apartment she is staying at. She is drawn into a deadly game of intrigue, world travel, and priceless art. Ashton Archer is determined to find out why his brother died, and recruits Lila to help him solve the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Other Typist'

"The Other Typist" by Suzanne Rindell

★★★ An intriguing tale of Rose Baker, a good girl working in a N.Y. police station in the 1920s. An orphan who was raised by nuns, Rose is very traditionally-minded despite working in a nontraditional occupation. With the increase in prohibition enforcement, the precinct is forced to hire another typist to keep up with the paperwork. Rose's obsession with the...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'The Testing'

"The Testing" by Joelle Charbonneau

★★★★ Fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies who are looking for their next read should grab The Testing. This young adult novel describes a dystopian society ravaged by the Seven Stages War, in which graduation day brings celebration and a wish for the future. Graduate Malencia Vale desperately hopes that she is one of the select few chosen for a...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, dystopian

Cover: 'The Painted Girls'

"The Painted Girls" by Cathy Marie Buchanan

★★★★ Set in 1878 Paris, this book tells the story of the van Goethem sisters as they struggle to survive extreme poverty following the death of their father and the descent of their mother into severe alcoholism. Antoinette loses her place on the opera stage and must find a way to help her family survive. Marie, with encouragement from Antoinette, takes her...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Night Circus'

"The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern

★★★★★ A true exhibit of fine writing, craftsmanship, and imagination!  This enchanting book takes to you a circus world you could only imagine and wish that you can experience yourself.  Imagine a black and white circus that has an air of magic surrounding it's every detail and those people who make it all come to life.  Follow the tale of Celia...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction

Cover: 'Watching You'

"Watching You" by Michael Robotham

★★★★★ Norwegian author Michael Robotham keeps the pace set high and the reader guessing until the very end. You may think you have figured it out sooner, but there's a twist that makes this author one to put on your "favorites" list. Marnie Logan's life seems to be taking one turn for the worst after another, but someone wants to help her. That someone causes...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, mystery

Cover: 'The Here and Now'

"The Here and Now" by Ann Brashares

★★★★ In "The Here and Now" we meet Prenna, an immigrant not from another country, but another time. Leaving behind the future dying world that has been ravaged by a plague, those few lucky survivors emigrate to the present day. They bring with them twelve strict rules they believe will protect the world they saw destroyed. But when Prenna is frantically warned...

Audience: teens | Genre: fiction, romance

Cover: 'Nest'

"Nest" by Jorey Hurley

★★★★★ Robins arrive in the spring, prepare a nest, raise their young throughout the seasons in this beautifully illustrated picture book that is perfect for sharing. With only one word on each page it reads like a poem. The pictures lend themselves to adult-child conversation beyond the words.    

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book

Cover: 'The Wind is Not a River'

"The Wind is Not a River" by Brian Payton

★★★★★ This historical fiction captures events during World War II that were held in great secrecy from the American public: a Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska. A reporter, John Easley, is shot down while traveling with American troops flying over the bleak and inhospitable island chain. He is unable to communicate with the outside...

Audience: adults | Genre: fiction, historical fiction

Cover: 'The Winter of the Robots'

"The Winter of the Robots" by Kurtis Scaletta

★★★★★ It’s science fair time but Jim’s best friend Oliver always wants to build robots so he chooses a girl partner named Rocky.   He “borrows” cameras from his father’s security business and places them in a hidden junkyard in an attempt to study otters for their project.  They don’t find any otters, but discover strange noises and movement coming from...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction, action adventure

Cover: 'Journey'

"Journey" by Aaron Becker

★★★★★ In this wordless story a lonely girl with a red piece of chalk draws herself into another world. On her journey she finds adventure, peril and ultimately friendship. Although readers will think of "Harold and the Purple Crayon," this is a much more engaging story.  The illustrations are rich and full of color and detail. People of all ages will be...

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, picture book, caldecott award winner

Cover: 'Spark'

"Spark" by Kallie George, Geneviève Côté

★★★★ Spark is a small, young dragon with a mighty flame.  In other words, he has problems controlling his flames.  He turns marshmallows to a crisp and cracks dishes while trying to dry them.  His family and friends encourage him and try to help him.   This is a cute first chapter book with engaging illustrations for beginning readers....

Audience: children | Genre: fiction, easy reader

Cover: 'Rooftoppers'

"Rooftoppers" by Katherine Rundell

★★★★★ Charles, an eccentric, erudite bachelor with a heart full of love finds a baby floating in a cello case in the middle of the English Channel. He takes her home, names her Sophie, and notifies the proper authorities who reluctantly agree to let him keep her.  Charles and Sophie have a wonderful life together until she turns 12 when the National...

Audience: children, tweens | Genre: fiction

Pages