Likeable Character

“It’s a book that explains what it’s like having a peanut allergy, and learning how to be in high school. It understands me and my peanut allergy.” ~ Chiara B., 12

“I love all the word nerdiness in this book, the character I would really like to be friends with, and the Scrabble.  This was a fun, light read, and I cannot wait to read more from Susin Nielsen!” ~ Radha-Prema, Teen Librarian


Multiple award-winner!

I don’t always buy award winners because they very often don’t circulate.  I bought this one (despite its blah cover) because someone requested it.

Recently, while weeding books that don’t circulate anymore, I came across this one and it had only gone out the once.  Feeling bad for it, I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

It is deserving of the awards it received simply because of the characters and the funny, yet sensitive way it approached teen mental illness.

I was really charmed by the characters:

  • Calvin the schizophrenic protagonist
  • Hobbes, his not-real, but ever-present tiger sidekick
  • Susie, the kickass, long-term and recently estranged best-friend-turned-love-interest we are not sure is real or a figment of Calvin’s imagination
  • A number of secondary characters who are all eccentric enough that we wonder how real they are given the story is told by an unreliable narrator

This was a short, charming and easy book to get into and simply needs to get read more to preserve it on our library shelves.

Quick, Enjoyable Read

I have vague memories of reading the reviews of this book and it being very good, so it was a mental, back burner, to-read list.

First impressions:

I like the cover. It is simple, bright, and captivating; and let’s be honest here, I like ice cream and so why not a book with an ice cream truck on the cover?

Before reading the book, I hadn’t read any description so when I read the following first sentence, needless to say, I was intrigued.

“When Katelyn Ogden blew up in third period pre-calc, the janitor probably figured he’d only have to scrub guts off one whiteboard this year.”

Yes, that is the first sentence.

This book left me with more questions than answers, but that was not a bad thing. It was, just as indicated on the cover, “a novel about growing up…and blowing up.” 

The characters were likeable despite their many flaws, the romance in the book was overshadowed by friendship, and the periphery characters were 2D, but it worked.

Although I could have done with less F-bombs, this was a crazy ride; a quick, humorous, and enjoyable read.


True Story

This book came as a pleasant surprise to me.

I read it because it was Canadian history and local history has been an interest of mine since working at 4th Line Theatre in Ontario.

The cover is pretty blah, and I wouldn’t have chosen this to read except that it fulfilled the challenge of reading a historical fiction novel for the Literary Bingo activity offered here at the library. If you are not already participating, there is a deadline to win prizes/discover some new and interesting books outside of your normal reading comfort zone.  Get into it; it is fun!

The story itself follows the story of fifteen year old George who discovers the murdered body of a local man. It just gets more and more interesting from there.

What makes this story so gripping is that it is based on a true story. What hooked me is an author’s note at the beginning that states:

“According to the Tuskegee Institute of Alabama, between 1882 and 1968 there were 4,742 lynchings in the United States. In Canada during the same period there was one – the lynching of Louie Sam.”

This is a relatively short novel, the language level pretty basic, making it a quick read. If you have any interest in history, this is a good one to check out.

Fun Summer Read


As you well know, I rarely give five stars for anything.  This book, however, both Jacynthe, the children’s librarian, and I read super fast and just as quickly fell in love with it.  We both agreed it is a five.

Perhaps it is because we are older and this story is set in the early 80s.  It could also be because we mutually share a love of music and it references a ton of music we know and love.  Another possibility is an epistolary novel.  Add all those things plus the fact that it was a simple story, was real, heartfelt and sweet, and about friendship against all odds makes it a fun summer read.

Boys & Knitting

I absolutely loved T.S. Easton’s Boys Don’t Knit (in public).  It was campy and fun and awkward in the loveable way that only the British can pull off.

The sequel, An English Boy in New York, was fun, but was really just riding on the coattails of the first book.  I felt it was trying harder than it needed to.

Regardless, I still like the premise of a boy in the knitting world.

A bouncy castle with the air hissing out…

MOTHFor a prize winner, this one was surprisingly lame.

The book started off interesting and there was a ton of tension that keep all the stakes really high, up until it didn’t anymore.  I felt like I was jumping in a bouncy castle with the air hissing out and finally I was trying to jump on the ground while the structure collapsed around me.

The book was alright, but the ending sort of undid what came before it.

Either way, I found reading about Mennonite culture, and someone trying to adapt to Canadian culture really interesting.  Perhaps the prize judges felt the same.