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Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me
I’m not sure how much more aware I am of the Arab-Israeli conflict after reading this graphic book. I suppose I could read it again, and take notes th ...more
Dec 28, 2013
Dec 28, 2013
Hautman makes a serious point, but I like this book most for its religious restraint, its humor and moments of excitement. 15-year-old Jason Bock neve ...more
May 05, 2011
May 06, 2011
Franny and Zooey
“Franny” and “Zooey” were originally published as two separate works. Given that they’re brother and sister, it makes sense to bind them. Given their ...more
Feb 27, 2012
Feb 29, 2012
What Happened to Lani Garver
There’s a powerful buildup of suspense here. The plot skids and shakes and rams into walls, and the bloodier gashes made me recoil.

Plum-Ucci aims to
Oct 2010
Oct 01, 2010
Does My Head Look Big In This?
17-year-old Amal is by far the strongest, most inspirational pop-savvy Muslim teen character I’ve ever encountered. She’s sincere, smart, and funny. S ...more
Apr 11, 2013
Jul 04, 2013
The Obsidian Blade (The Klaatu Diskos, #1)
There’s a powerful buildup of excitement in this series opener. A few surprising alliances. Imaginative reconstruction of religious history and theory ...more
Jan 29, 2013
Apr 03, 2013
The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)
A satisfying end for fans of the series. The final actions are expertly woven together. The angels and Lord Asriel are my favorite characters.

I didn’
May 21, 2012
May 21, 2012
Converting Kate
Religion is at the center of this book, and at the edges, and everywhere in between.

Kate is 15 years old, her father has died, and she has just moved
Mar 2008
Oct 31, 2010
The Poisonwood Bible
A wonderful story, the best book I’ve read in a long time. The grand sweep of Central Africa is inspiring and intimidating. The history of Zaire’s ind ...more
Apr 04, 2011
Apr 04, 2011
The Woman Warrior
This is a memoir written as magic realism. Kingston was born in San Francisco, but her life story is defined by her Chinese heritage. Her family ident ...more
Nov 15, 2010
Nov 23, 2010
Leap of Faith
An honest portrayal of one girl’s introduction to the Catholic faith. Then again, it takes a healthy dose of faith to accept that she’s a 6th grader. ...more
Nov 18, 2012
Mar 14, 2013
The Scarlet Letter
I first read this maybe 30 years ago, and remembered it as a very well-written and interesting story. Even funny sometimes. Deserving of classic stat ...more
Jul 2012
Jul 01, 2012
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)
Pullman has created a universe worthy of a philosophy seminar; with characters and dialogue that are more at home in middle school. The combination wo ...more
May 09, 2012
May 08, 2012
This book is emotionally gripping, thought-provoking, frightening and beautiful. It’s a great mystery, and a statement of how overpowering and destruc ...more
Aug 05, 2014
Aug 15, 2014
With a Name like Love
This story seems almost too nice at first. “To Kill a Mockingbird,” pared down to a mid-20th-century middle school homily. There’s a questionable murd ...more
Mar 07, 2012
Mar 07, 2012
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Persepolis, #1-2)
Satrapi tells of her childhood in Iran, as the Islamic Fundamentalism Revolution took hold in the late 1970s and 80s. Satrapi’s family was part of the ...more
Oct 22, 2010
Oct 22, 2010
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2)
This is Book Two in the Northern Lights series. And it’s a significant step up from "The Golden Compass," which was great in its own right. The writin ...more
May 13, 2012
May 13, 2012
A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1)
L’Engle draws an absolute bold line between good and evil in this book. Either you like God and freedom and bright happy sunshine, or you’re on the si ...more
Sep 25, 2012
Sep 25, 2012
Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return (Persepolis, #3-4)
This sequel to Persepolis is more personal. And it’s not as interesting to watch and listen as Marji grows up.

She’s no longer a teenager. The best ev
Oct 24, 2010
Oct 24, 2010
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Joyce writes wondrous phrases, but it’s not enough.

I like to think myself literary and somewhat smart, but there’s too much here I don’t understand.
Aug 20, 2011
Aug 20, 2011
Charming Billy
A vivid and remarkable story, immediately one of my all-time favorites. The first chapter reveals a fascinating secret to set the plot in motion. More ...more
May 07, 2011
May 07, 2011
The Chosen One
The thuggish violence is almost cartoonishly extreme. Even so, this is an exciting and thought-provoking novel. The unshakable hold of polygamist cult ...more
Mar 28, 2013
Apr 07, 2013
God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian
At 25 minutes, this may be the quickest book I’ve ever read from our library. And short as it is, there’s a fair amount of repetition in the main idea ...more
Mar 25, 2013
Apr 07, 2013
In the Name of God
Nadia is a fervent Muslim, and her dedication fuels anger and suspense. The author saves her most powerful moment of decision for the final pages, but ...more
Apr 2008
Oct 13, 2010
The Dead and the Gone (Last Survivors, #2)
There’s nothing especially bad about this story. Nothing great either. A companion novel to “Life as We Knew It,” this followup is significantly weake ...more
May 04, 2012
May 04, 2012
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