Staff Pick of the Month: October 2013

This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein

By Kenneth Oppel

Within the walls of Chateau Frankenstein, teenager Victor and his identical twin brother Konrad fill their days with lessons, fencing, and imaginary adventures. Alongside their beautiful cousin Elizabeth and best friend Henry, the brothers discover a hidden passageway leading to The Dark Library. Although his father forbids him from re-entering the room, Victor’s curiosity about the forbidden knowledge grows. When Konrad falls ill, Victor returns to The Dark Library in search of a recipe for The Elixir of Life. Henry, Elizabeth, and Victor begin a journey for ingredients that will force them to scale the highest trees, dive into the deepest cave lakes, and sacrifice emotions, sanity, and even someone’s body part.

Why I like it: I grabbed this book based on its tagline: The purest intentions can stir up the darkest obsessions. I enjoyed reading a prologue to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein that really explained how a teen boy may grow up to one day ‘play God’ and create the monster.

Three words or phrases that describe this book: tense, adventurous, and gritty

You might want to pick up this book if: You like dark adventure stories with impossible odds. These characters will push all boundaries of nature, science, and love in order to succeed.

If you like this book you may also like: The second installment in the This Dark Endeavor series, Such Wicked Intent, Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley, and The Monstrumologist by Richard Yancey.

Reviewed by Julie Crabb, Library Assistant.



Staff Pick of the Month: August 2013


By Scott Westerfeld

In Tally's society, turning 16 means never having to be ugly again.  At that point, everyone undergoes an operation that turns them into stunning beauties. Tally is looking forward to her operation; her best friend has already become a Pretty and she can't wait to join him. But then she befriends Shay, who isn't exactly looking forward to her 16th birthday. Shay tries to convince Tally to run away to a secret place called the Smoke with her, but Tally declines. When Shay goes missing, Tally is forced to make a terrible choice: find Shay and turn her friend in to the authorities, or be an Ugly forever.

Why I like it: It took me a really long time to pick up this book. I love dystopias, but I judged this book by its title for far too long, assuming it would be too superficial for me. But it surprised me! The premise is very interesting and the story moves along quickly. It's not the deepest read ever, but I found the experience very enjoyable nonetheless.

Three words or phrases that describe this book:  fast-paced, dystopian, light but engaging

You might want to pick up this book if: You like books that move quickly, you like dystopias of all sorts, or you celebrate the diffferences that make us who we are.

If you like this book you may also like: Matched by Ally Condie, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, or Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi.

Reviewed by Courtney Sammis, Library Associate.



Staff Pick of the Month: June 2013

Lost Horizon

By James Hilton

Four people board a plane in India to avoid a revolution that is taking place. Instead of flying westward, the plane heads to an unknown group of mountains in the East. The pilot dies landing the plane, but the four hijacked passengers are lead from the wreckage to a hidden valley where they encounter modern comforts and even more mysteriously, people who do not ever leave the valley. Not all four of the outsiders enjoy the creature comforts and delights of their new home, Shangri-la, and therein lies the problem. Will they stay? How will they leave? Who started this hidden paradise, and why? Why were they brought there? And are they being lulled into accepting their loss of freedom by being offered some marvelous gifts?

Why I like it: The question of whether having a way of life imposed on one is worth losing personal freedom is what draws me most to this book.

Three words or phrases that describe this book: Open to different interpretations, haunting, provocative. Also, I love the trivia fact that this is the first book ever published as a “mass-market” paperback, inexpensive and sized to fit the pocket!

You might want to pick up this book if: You want to try a dystopian book, but find some of the offerings in that genre a bit too techie or scientific.

If you like this book you may also like: Legend by Marie Lu, The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, or Omega Place by Graham Marks.

Reviewed by Sharon M., Library Associate.



Staff Pick of the Month: May 2013

The Madman’s Daughter

By Megan Shepherd

Sixteen-year-old Juliet is an orphan, cleaning the labs of the local medical college and just barely staying off of the streets.  When she comes across some familiar papers, she runs across the streets of London to see if she can find a clue that will lead her to her missing father.  As she searches for the truth about the allegations of strange experiments and scandalous rumors, she finds romance, adventure, and more than a few terrible nightmares come to life.

Why I liked it:  It is a paranormal romance where the romance is subtle, the suspense is palpable and the story is well-told.

Three words or phrases that describe this book: gothic, thriller, romance

You might want to pick up this book if:  You are looking for a smarter, classier paranormal romance with a historical element.

If you like this book, you may also like: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Dracula by Bram Stoker, The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells

-- Reviewed by Sarah P, Library Associate.



Staff Pick of the Month: April 2013

The Selection

By Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. It’s an opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth, to be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels and to live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her and leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Why I liked it: I picked up this book because The Selection is coming to the CW but I continued reading it because the grandeur of the palace and the romantic triangle between America, Aspen and Maxon swept me away.

Three words or phrases that describe this book:  swoon-worthy, royal, modern fairytale

You might want to pick up this book if: You liked the competition and romance triangle aspects of The Hunger Games but not necessarily the bloodshed.

If you like this book, you may also like:  Matched by Allie Condie, Princess Academy by Shannon Hale, or All-American Girl by Meg Cabot

-- Reviewed by Madison, Library Assistant.



Staff Pick of the Month: March 2013

    Darkest Minds

    By Alexandra Bracken

     “The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”

       Click here to view a book trailer  

How dangerous are you? Children  across the country are dying by their 10th birthday or developing strange abilities they cannot control. Sent to brutal prison-like rehabilitation camps to protect society, more children are disappearing rather than being rehabilitated. Ruby barely escapes the camp alive and is now desperate to find a safe haven while avoiding government forces trying to kill her and anti-government forces trying to use her powers against her will.

Three words or phrases that describe this book:  dystopia, riveting, twists.

You might want to pick up this book if: You enjoy books about dystopian society with realistic characters, fast action and where things are not always what they seem.

If you like this book, you may also like: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Legend by Marie Lu or Dark Parties  by Sara Grant.

-- Reviewed by Janolyn Schleicher, Library Assistant.


Staff Pick of the Month: February 2013

Every Day

By David Levithan

Each morning, a teen named A wakes up in a different body. A usually tries to cause as little disturbance as possible, living out the day exactly as the owner of the body would. No getting noticed, no making big changes. Usually. That all changes when A wakes up in the body of Rhiannon's boyfriend and falls in love with her.

Why I liked it: A's existance is very thought-provoking. Just how much of our identities are wrapped up in our bodies? You can't read this book without thinking about things we take for granted--like making plans for the future, and the history you've built out of the days of your past. And even though the problems A faces are completely foreign to people who live their whole lives in the same body (like... all of us), A is still a believeable, likeable character. 

Three words/phrases that describe this book: fantastical, realistic, and gripping.

Pick up this book: If you like books with interesting characters, or if you like your romances with a philosophical twist.

If you like this book you might also try: Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, or The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan.

Reviewed by Courtney Sammis, Library Associate.


Want even more suggestions? Check out our picks for past years!

Staff Picks for 2012

Staff Picks for 2011