• Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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This book is the story of a tragedy and how the trauma and the secrets surrounding it will test a family’s bonds and bring a small town to its demise.

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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Kids have a fascination with creatures — a clever new series for 6- to 9-year olds features a honey, a huge, furry guy with a big heart. Meet Hugo the Sasquatch, the star of “Big Foot and Little Foot,” by Ellen Potter.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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“Plant blindness” is the botanists’ term for the tendency of people to take plants for granted. Plant blindness is an epidemic, which leads to clear cutting forests and plowing over meadows everywhere. Many people are unaware that these ill-fated practices directly lead to our own destructio…

  • Reviewed by Katrina Weiss, Washington High School
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“We’ll Fly Away,” by Bryan Bliss, is the story of two boys growing up in abusive families, with no love, no respect, and, at times, no happiness. This novel really tugs your heartstrings, and though I realized what happened in the end, it still shocked me to the core to actually read it. Thi…

  • Reviewed by Jennifer Wirthwein, Washington Middle School.
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Today we welcome reviewer Jennifer Wirthwein to MO Books Blog. She is a middle school language arts teacher and a freelance writer. Her hobbies include cooking, playing piano, and reading. Her favorite genres include true crime, horror, mystery, and realistic fiction. She enjoys spending tim…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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It took six strong White House employees to lift William Howard Taft out of the bathtub. That humiliating, apocryphal story is the only recollection many people have about the 27th President and 10th Chief Justice of the United States. But Jeffrey Rosen suggests the often derided Taft deserv…

  • Reviewed by Issy Volmert
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An island mansion. Priceless stolen artwork. Biological weapons. Umbrella making. A humanistic dog. Interdimensional travel. A gala swimming with art thieves and double agents. No story is quite so intricate or unique as Kristin Cashore’s “Jane, Unlimited.”

  • Reviewed by Katrina Weiss, Washington High School
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“Dread Nation” by Justina Ireland, is a historical fiction/zombie novel about a young black woman stuck in a world where the dead walk.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell
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Wow. Tom Sweterlisch’s second novel, “The Gone World,” is an engrossing literary mashup of crime fiction and mind-blowing science fiction. This is a complicated brew that demands and rewards your attention as it twists and turns through multiple timelines, multiple destinies, and the violent…

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“The Hush,” by John Hart, is a suspenseful mystery overlaid with mysticism. It’s full of twists, suspense, murders and supernatural forces, a sequel to Hart’s novel “The Last Child.” But even though it is a sequel it reads well as a stand-alone.

  • Reviewed by Samantha Hymer, Washington High School
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“Four Weeks, Five People,” by Jennifer Yu, is a realistic young adult book about five teenagers at a therapy camp. Stella has severe depression. Andrew has anorexia. Clarissa has OCD and anxiety. Mason has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Ben has a Depersonalization Disorder.

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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A throwback to yesteryear, Silvia Long’s “Big Book for Small Children” presents well-known children’s poetry, stories, and items and animals kids can identify while lap-sitting with gran and gramps. There also are several recipes for cooking together.

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  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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No one did more to shape the judicial system of the United States than John Marshall (1755-1835). Marshall was the eldest of 15 children born to an impoverished farm family on the Virginia frontier. Although he attended only a single year of formal education, he rose from these limited begin…

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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It’s safe to say the star of “Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail” has grit. Never one to resist a challenge, she hiked the entire Appalachian Trail in 1955 when she was 67-years-old. What a feat for Emma Gatewood, who raised 11 children in her Ohio home.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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Sylvain Neuvel wraps up his “Themis Files” trilogy with a triumphant conclusion in another compulsively-readable book, “Only Human.” With each book in the trilogy, Neuvel expands upon his original concept and increases the scope of his creation. It’s not easy to write a strong, surprising co…

  • Reviewed by Kelly Brinkmann
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No other time in history has offered such diverse and approachable methods to propel personal dreams into a booming business. Now, more than ever, the way we live is influenced by our use of technology and social media platforms.

  • Reviewed by Samantha Hymer, Washington High School
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Fifteen-year-old Sarah is blonde, blue-eyed and Jewish. “Orphan Monster Spy,” by Matt Killeen, begins after her mother is shot by the Nazis at a checkpoint. Sarah finds herself on the run from a government that wants all Jewish people dead.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Tadzio Koelb’s debut novel is a brutal, vivid exploration of the life of a woman who strives to achieve the American Dream by living as a man. “Trenton Makes” is set in the New Jersey manufacturing city whose slogan is “Trenton Makes, the World Takes.” The story examines the nature of identi…

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  • Reviewed by William Winkler
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In 2007 the Census Bureau reported that the average American moved 11.7 times in his or her lifetime. Although this statistic has slowed a bit in recent years, the United States continues to be one of the most mobile societies on earth. Many Americans will engage the services of a profession…

  • Reviewed by John Crane
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I was left with strongly mixed feelings about “Barbed Wire Heart” when I finished it – and I almost didn't finish this novel by Tess Sharpe.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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This quick read is a complex love story that deals with issues of injustice, betrayal, love and loyalty. It’s told in a first person narrative that alternates between three characters.

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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In “The Tangled Lands,” authors Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias Buckell combine forces to create a fascinating world where the decisions of each individual person puts constant pressure on the planet.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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“Behemoth” is a comprehensive study of the history and importance of the large factory. Joshua Freeman reports on its growth from the early 1700s in Europe to the early 2000’s in Asia--with stops in Frances Lowell’s New England mill town, Henry Ford’s Detroit and Stalin’s Russia.

  • Reviewed by Katrina Weiss
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Follow a girl breaking free from her parents’ restrictive grasp on a journey to self-love and acceptance in “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo.

  • Reviewed by Pat Sainz
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Located in a small Colorado town that hasn’t the cache or popularity of Vail or Aspen because of its isolation in the mountains, the town of Cedar Valley provides the setting for detective Gemma Monroe to solve crimes both big and small in “A Season to Lie," by Emily Littlejohn.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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At one time, the American chestnut tree was found far and wide in North America’s Eastern forests. These towering 100-foot-tall giants provided food and shelter for both people and animals. But then a disastrous blight struck and the American chestnut nearly became extinct.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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“Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary” defines “border” as “the outer edge of anything.” In his book “The Line Becomes a River” Francisco Cantú expands that definition to include physical, political, legal and emotional boundaries.

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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Known throughout the world for her commitment to education and human rights, Malala’s miraculous tale of survival is told in the enthralling “Free as a Bird, The Story of Malala,” by Lina Maslo.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Christmas 2018, marks the 50th anniversary of the record breaking Apollo 8 mission. President Kennedy had promised, in 1961, that U.S. astronauts (star sailors) would land on the moon before the close of the decade.

  • Reviewed by Bruce Crane
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This is a small gem of a book, the best novel I’ve read in many moons. The setting is a familiar one, the mountains and lowlands of North Carolina. It is 1951, the Korean War is raging, and Rory Docherty returns to his home high on Wolf Mountain missing his lower leg. He lives with Granny Ma…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Could the Vietnam War have ended differently? Even before the last troops were withdrawn from the country, military strategists were asking this question.

  • Reviewed by Katrina Weiss, Washington High School
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Delve into the life of a girl living with a recovering alcoholic in "Twelve Steps to Normal" by Farrah Penn.

  • Reviewed by Bill Winkler
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How would you react if you were told the date of your death? And how would your reaction be shaped by the knowledge that similar predictions from the same source had proven to be chillingly accurate?

  • Reviewed by Samantha Hymer, Washington High School.
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Today we welcome a new blogger, Samantha Hymer, a junior at Washington High School who loves to read. Her favorite genres are mysteries, fantasy and sci-fi. Samantha said she’s excited to have the opportunity to read fantastic books offered to her through MO Books, and hopes to become an “im…

  • Reviewed by Pat Sainz
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In “The Night Child,” by Anna Quinn, the sedate but troubled Nora Brown dismisses her high school English class for a short Thanksgiving holiday. Suddenly she sees the haunting, distinct face of a child that appears to her from the classroom window. The beautiful face of a silent, golden-hai…

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Missourian Book Editor
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Dorothy and Toto knew how important home is — and so does the bitty kitty in “Vincent Comes Home” by Jessixa and Aaron Bagley. It’s the story of an orange, cargo cat that is discontent because his “paws have never touched land.”

  • Reviewed by Katrina Weiss, Washington High School
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“People Like Us,” by Dana Mele, is a psychological thriller that will leave you guessing as you turn the pages. After a pair of tragedies in her life, Kay Donovan is seemingly followed by death itself.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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This searing work is an elegiac memoir that shifts between a woman’s grief over the loss of her younger cousin, Cuz, and her angry critique, as an ethics professor, of America’s prison system. It also is her testament to the failure of the War on Drugs.

  • Reviewed by William Winkler
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Analysis of more than 75,000 calls to a British technical support hotline revealed that 64 % of men and 24 % of women had not read the manual that accompanied their new personal electronic device before calling for assistance. Most of the calls were regarding issues clearly addressed in the …

  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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In her smart and enjoyable novella, “Brother’s Ruin,” Emma Newman takes a familiar concept—the schooling of people with magical powers—and finds a fresh angle on it.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“The Vanishing Season” is a fast-paced suspenseful mystery thriller. It’s author Joanna Shaffhausen effectively scatters clues throughout the story and ends the book with a twist.

  • Reviewed by Kylie Sullentrup, St. Francis Borgia Regional High School
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The protagonist in “Thornhill, by Pam Smy, is an orphan living in the Thornhill Institute. Mary must deal with both inner and outer conflicts. She has no friends, nor hope of getting adopted, and is too afraid to sleep at night because she is bullied on a daily basis.

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  • Reviewed by Nelson Appell, Staff, Washington Public Library
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Matt Young’s “Eat the Apple” is a raw, visceral, uncomfortable read about his life as a Marine and his three deployments. Young tells his story of war from the perspective of the common soldier. There are no important generals worrying over war strategy or delivering soliloquies about herois…

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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There is a “warm war” heating up in the western Pacific Ocean where China and the U.S. are competing for maritime dominance. The chilling face-off is due to China’s claim of territorial sea rights far beyond those set by international agreements. For centuries naval powers have agreed the so…

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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“The Family Next Door,” by Sally Hepworth, is the story of four women who live in the suburb of Pleasant Court in Melbourne, Australia. Although they are neighbors they don’t really know each other. The narrative develops as each of the women reveals their struggles and secrets.

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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“Baby Monkey, Private Eye,” offers more than meets the eye. This creative read by David Serlin is short on words but long on entertainment. The story is told with just a few words on each page, in large fonts, but detailed drawings by Brian Selznick hold hidden meaning.

  • Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
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The psychological thriller “The Woman in the Window” is an unputdownable read with its many twists and shocking conclusion. I could not stop reading this book and was blindsided by its conclusion.

  • Reviewed by Chris Stuckenschneider, Book Editor
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Taylor is frustrated. The curly top was building an awesome block tower but a flock of birds knocked it down. Now the child’s bummed out.

  • Reviewed by Bill Schwab
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Author Jonathan Rabb has written a novel about the emotional fractures between Jews holding different ideologies and white/black prejudice in the post- World War II South. “Among the Living” is a tightly packed, fast-paced, dramatic narrative jammed with social commentary.

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