• Reviewed by Moe Godat
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In the novel “Instrusion,” by Mary McCluskey, the main character, Kat, was born and raised in England in a poor household. She was conditioned to treat family as a lifeline: a means of redemption and a place of asylum. Kat’s family ties followed her through her move to America and were re-es…

  • Reviewed by Kyle Meyer, seventh grade, Washington Middle School
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"”Irena’s Children,” by Tilar J. Mazzeo, adapted in this young reader’s edition by Mary Cronk Farrell, is a true story. It’s about a woman named Irena Sendler during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, Poland.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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In Neil Gaiman’s new book, “Norse Mythology,” the ever-popular author updates and retells the myths of the Norse Gods. Gaiman is no stranger to Norse Mythology. He has already drawn upon the subject to inspire several of his previous works, “The Sandman” and “American Gods.” So, speaking as …

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A wayward duckling finds its way into a girl’s hands and heart in “Love Is,” a picture book by Diane Adams that’s a perfect pick for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or graduation. Illustrated by Claire Keane, this book will pluck duck and human heartstrings.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek offers his answer to the current European refugee crisis in his latest, insightful book. He brilliantly identifies three uncomfortable aspects of the influx of migrants: the stark contrast between Western values and those of the countless arrivals from Afri…

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Richard Fortey, the former senior paleontologist of London’s Natural History Museum, is owner of Grim’s Dyke Wood, four acres of beech trees and bluebells in Oxfordshire in south-central England. For a year he logged all the plants and animals on this small plot and in his latest book descri…

  • Reviewed by Madysen Jones, Washington High School
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“Trouble Makes a Comeback,” by Stephanie Tromly, is a crime novel that features a love triangle. This engaging book will make readers feel lots of different emotions. It hits home for teenagers, because of how comparable it is to real life experiences they face. Zoe thinks her life has final…

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“Damaged” is the latest book in Lisa Scottoline’s Rosato and DuNunzio series. Mary DuNunzio is a partner in the all-female law firm. She is preparing for her wedding when a case comes her way that changes her life and puts her engagement in jeopardy.

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  • Reviewed by Issy Volmet, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School
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“Sleeping Beauty” has been a beloved fairytale for generations. Now the timeless classic has been masterfully recreated in “Spindle” by E.K. Johnston.

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  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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“The Bear and the Nightingale” is such a finely written, magical novel that it’s hard to believe it is Katherine Arden’s first novel. This captivating and thrilling tale vaults Arden immediately into the rank of authors I will watch for.

  • By Chris Stuckenschneider, Missourian Book Editor
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Hear Bee! Hear Bee! A tip of Newsbee’s antennae goes to “The Girl Who Drank the Moon,” by Kelly Barnhill. This noteworthy read, a Book Buzz Pick for February, received the 2016 Newbery Award last week, a prestigious honor presented by the American Library Association.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Brett Baier, the chief political anchor for Fox News and talented writer Catherine Whitney, have written a book that comes at a timely moment in American history. “Three Days in January” records the final days of the Eisenhower presidency and the transition of leadership to John F. Kennedy.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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This is a great read. “Fractured” is suspenseful, and full of twists and turns. It is addictive. I couldn’t put it down, needing to know if my suspicions and deductions were accurate.

  • Reviewed by Katie Wheeler, Washington High School
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When reading an Ellen Hopkins book you never know what to expect from her writing. Ellen Hopkins’ new novel “The You I’ve Never Known” focuses on the lives of two separate families, or so we think. Both stories intertwine within each other, as most Hopkins’ novels do.

  • Reviewed by Antoinette West
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On page five of “She Made Me Laugh: My Friend Nora Ephron,” the author, Richard Cohen, makes a surprising confession: “I don’t know what I am doing writing this book.” This is not encouraging news for the reader who had hoped to learn more about this incredibly talented woman.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Dave Grossman studies and writes about one of the perplexing/increasingly prevalent issues of our time: “killing.” His latest book is a thought-provoking query into youth violence; his thesis is both frightening and fascinating.

  • Reviewed by Stephanie Monzyk, Missourian Staff
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Jade Chang explores what the real American dream is, and the lengths to which the formerly wealthy Wang family must go, in order to truly realize it, in her debut novel, “The Wangs vs. the World.”

  • Reviewed by Madysen Jones, Washington High School
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“We Know It Was You,” by Maggie Thrash, is full of excitement. This book will keep you wanting more and more. I never wanted to put it down. Throughout the book, you gradually feel connected to the story and characters because of how detailed the book is.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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If you like authors Jodi Picoult, Maeve Binchy, Nicholas Sparks or Kristen Hannah, you will enjoy “The Book That Matters Most,” by Ann Hood. Her characters are real and believable. The story line also is very intriguing and keeps you engaged.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, staff, Washington Public Library
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Reading Samanta Schweblin’s “Fever Dream” (wonderfully translated from the original Spanish by Megan McDowell) inspires a lot of adjectives. It is mysterious and creepy, intense and uncanny, disorienting and metaphorical.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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I was immediately drawn to this title because I was in Jackson in May, 1964. Actually, I was a little north of Jackson in Canton, Mississippi spending a week going door-to-door encouraging African-Americans to register to vote. So I was disappointed to discover that “Jackson, 1964” is only o…

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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Defense attorney Samantha Brinkman is back in another Marcia Clark thriller. As in Clark’s previous novel, “Blood Defense,” Sam must find a way to keep her client out of prison. Although this book is a follow-up to “Blood Defense,” it is a standalone. There are many references to the story l…

  • Reviewed by Logan Compton, seventh grade, Washington Middle School
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“Beast,” by Brie Spangler, is a book about a boy named Dylan who grows at a much faster rate than the rest of his peers. Long story short, he falls off a roof and is put in therapy. There he meets a girl named Jamie, and they become quick friends.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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In the rowdy, funny and brilliant novel “Huck Out West,” Robert Coover follows one of literature’s iconic characters, Huckleberry Finn, as he grows into adulthood and lights out for the territories with his buddy Tom Sawyer. Coover sets his tale from the Civil War to the Deadwood Gold Rush o…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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In a groundbreaking study, Andrés Reséndez reports on the extensive enslavement of the indigenous peoples of America. References to slavery in the study of United States history usually bring to mind the enslavement of African Americans, however, here Reséndez reveals little-known facts and …

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Missourian Book Editor
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It looked “like a fortress from the Middle Ages,” the Hancock County Prison, where over 200 inmates are incarcerated – an unlikely home for Cammie, the 12-year-old protagonist of Jerry Spinelli’s riveting new novel “The Warden’s Daughter.”

  • Reviewed by Maria Brady-Smith
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“The Fortunes,” by Peter Ho Davies is a novel in four parts. Each novella tells the story of a Chinese American at a different time in history.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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In his entertaining and cerebral novel, “Mr. Eternity,” Aaron Thier explores history through the life and stories of a seemingly eternal man.

  • Reviewed by Brynn Jankowski, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School
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“Crooked Kingdom” is the sequel to the fictional mystery thriller “Six of Crows,” by Leigh Bardugo. It definitely earns all the rave reviews that it has received.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“A Country Road, A Tree,” by Jo Baker, is a fictional depiction of the writer Samuel Beckett. It is a story of survival in Paris, France, during World War II. The story begins in 1939, when Beckett, a young unknown writer from Ireland, moves to Paris for inspiration. Beckett surrounds himsel…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Emmy award-winning sportscaster Joe Buck pulls back the curtain on both his public and private lives in the entertaining, but poignant autobiography “Lucky Bastard.”

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Missourian Book Editor
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Kick off 2017 with a perky pack of peas that star in “Hap-Pea All Year,” by Keith Baker. These little green things find the best of the best about each and every month.

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  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down,” by Anne Valente, is narrated by four teenagers who are working on their high school yearbook. Nick, Zola, Matt and Christina are all juniors at Lewis and Clark High School in a small suburb of St. Louis. This is a story of grief, loss and self- awareness as a …

  • Reviewed by Diane Lick
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REFUGEES DENIED ENTRANCE—that could be a headline in many newspapers around the world today. “The German Girl” brings to life such an event, the 1939 tragedy of the ocean liner, St. Louis, carrying 937 Jewish passengers escaping from Hitler’s Germany. The ship was denied safe harbor in Cuba,…

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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Nisi Shawl’s “Everfair” is an enthralling steampunk saga in which the African victims of Belgian King Leopold’s atrocities get their chance to fight back. Giving voice to characters who normally stay in the background, Shawl reimagines history and steampunk from the viewpoint of those who we…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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“A Truck Full of Money” chronicles the trajectory of Paul English, a phenomenally successful software engineer. Pulitzer prize-winning author Kidder casts a refreshing eye on the way often ugly and messy ideas become new, colossal money making innovations which change our culture.

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  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Missourian Book Editor
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Children will greet “Stowaway in a Sleigh,” with the same wide-eyed wonder as the kitty on the cover. This charming addition to holiday fare, by C. Roger Mader, will ho-ho-ho its way straight into their hearts.

  • Reviewed by Moe Godat
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In “Dear Fang, With Love,” Vera, a smart and outgoing 17-year-old, scares her small community in California when she experiences a mental breakdown at a party. Her mother, Katya, and her doctors are baffled, but no one seems as surprised as her estranged father, Lucas.

  • Reviewed by Olivia Boehmer, Washington Middle School
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Today we welcome a review by Olivia Boehmer, a seventh grader at Washington Middle School. Though Olivia says she’s a “pretty slow reader” she really enjoys reading. She likes adventure, mysteries and now fantasies.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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When the Pan-American Exposition opened in May 1901, Buffalo, New York, was the eighth largest city in the United States. After the magnificent White City Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, the business leaders of the Queen City of the Lakes had spared no expense in trying to create “the best fa…

  • Reviewed by Karen Cernich, Missourian Features Editor
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As a child of the 70s, I had heard the infamous story of Patty Hearst — heiress to newspaper icon William Randolph Hearst's fortune who was kidnapped in 1974 and then turned criminal by joining forces with her captors to commit crimes.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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St. Louisan Daniel Blake Smith provides a diary-based look into the ways settler families lived in post-revolutionary America. Blake traces the histories of Jesse Fletcher (1762–1831) and his large family first located in Ludlow, Vermont, and then scattered to many states. Jesse is a man of …

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  • Reviewed by Maria Brady-Smith
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Have you ever looked back on a pivotal moment in your life and wondered where you would be if that single circumstance had been different, if you or someone else had made a different choice? That is the premise for Ann Patchett’s new book, “Commonwealth.”

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  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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Forrest Leo’s first novel, “The Gentleman,” is warm and funny and quite simply a great book to read while escaping the worries of the world. Written with flashes of H.G. Wells – and a whole lot of PG Wodehouse—Forrest spins a yarn about an accidental Faustian bargain.

  • Reviewed by Antoinette West
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This small book, easily read in an afternoon is the story of a tragic love triangle that will haunt the reader long after the last page. First published in France in 1937, it is set in in the 1930s, near Liège in the French speaking part of Belgium where the author spent her childhood.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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Being a Fannie Flagg fan, I was excited to read this novel and wasn’t the least bit disappointed. Her characters are very real and the story was both humorous and entertaining – an all around great tale.

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