Author: JesstheLibrarian

Read + Review: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus



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Twin siblings Ellery and Ezra Corcoran find themselves moving from sunny California to the small town of Echo Ridge, Vermont to stay with their grandmother after their mother goes to rehab. Although they’ve never stepped foot into their mother’s birthplace, they know all about it. Echo Ridge has been the site of their aunt’s disappearance years before, and it made national headlines when the homecoming queen was found dead in a Halloween theme park fittingly called ‘Murderland’ five years ago. Ellery, being a true crime buff, is determined to find out the truth.

Before school even begins for the Corcorans, someone threatens to make a sequel to the Murderland incident. Everyone dismisses it as an empty threat until a girl goes missing…

If any book can keep me up all night just thinking about it, this is definitely the one. Before reading this book, I never read McManus’ debut novel, One Of Us is Lying, so I went into this book with a blind first impression. Two Can Keep a Secret clearly gave me a modern Nancy Drew vibe, given that Ellery has the same kind of personality and level of determination to crack the curious cases. I give the book four stars mostly due to the slow progression of the plot at the beginning, which is usually clearly evident to me when I want to get through dull moments quickly. The ending completely came out of left field, especially some moments I unfortunately can’t elaborate on in fear of spoiling the book too much. I kid you not, I finished the book with my mouth actually open in shock. When I started the book, I had a lingering fear that Two Can Keep a Secret, like almost all YA books I’ve read before, would leave loose threads hanging loose at the end for the reader’s interpretation. Luckily, I can confidently say that this book is unlike any YA book I’ve read before. On the other hand, the romance was kept at a minimum, which I appreciated greatly. Regarding some flaws the book had, I felt that some things, like old memories recalled by characters, were never thoroughly explored, but rather pushed into the ending just to clear up any loose threads that readers might have. Overall, it was an excellent book that made me wish there was a sequel, or perhaps more of these kinds of YA mysteries.

In my opinion, the most memorable moments for me had to be all the chapters where Ellery works with Malcolm to solve the mystery, but it’s evident that they’re slowly falling in love. While I’m not much of a romance genre fan, I couldn’t help but (heh) fall in love with the way McManus wrote the romance. It’s very minimal and doesn’t get in the way of the plot, but it’s craftily written between the words.


Reviewed by Allyson T. , Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Come Find Me by Megan Miranda


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Two years ago, Nolan Chandler dreamed of something terrible happening to his brother Liam. The very next day, their family was picnicking in the park when Liam and their dog straight up disappeared. Now their parents are busy sticking their noses in other missing child cases, as if that would make up for them not being able to find one of their own, and Nolan regularly wonders the park with his high-tech equipment, still searching for answers. One and a half years later, an unthinkable tragedy happens in Kennedy Jones’s family, leaving her alone and traumatized. Now she she sneaks into her old house every few nights, using her brother Elliot’s equipment to search for anything coming from space that would indicate intelligent life, just as he had. Back in the present, Nolan and Kennedy were both doing their regular searches, when they suddenly pick up strange readings where there should be none. After a bit of comparing, they deduce that odd signals that they were picking up were connected, and team up to find the truth. Is there really a reasonable explanation for the events that happened? Or is the truth more than a little out there? Either way, sometimes you know nothing about the people closest to you at all…

Let me just start off with saying that after all of the tension and the buildup in the story, the final chapters were a little lackluster. The climax was pretty ‘meh’, and while I am not necessarily disappointed with the direction that the plot took, I feel kind of cheated. Aside from all of that though, this wasn’t a bad book by far. The premise was interesting, the story had an intriguing and eerie vibe, the psychological aftereffects of the characters seemed realistic, and the romantic subplot wasn’t painfully cheesy, unlike a lot of other novels for teens. I’d say that if you have the time, you should go read this book, just don’t expect to be completely blown away.

My favorite part about this book was the overall premise and vibe, as I really like otherworldly sci-fi/horror/mystery stories with eerie atmospheres. The very concept alone of suddenly picking up signals from the empty reaches of space that may or may not have some connection to someone going missing without a trace fits this genre like a glove.


Reviewed by, Dahlia S., Twin Hickory Library

Read + Review: Arch Enemies by Marissa Meyer


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In this exciting sequel to Renegades, Nova, an orphaned villain, is now a full member of the Renegades, an elite group of superheroes. Unknown to the Renegades, she is also Nightmare, an Anarchist, working to take them down from the inside. And Nova thinks she has found the way to do it when she finds the Helmet of Ace Anarchy. As a Renegade, her feelings for Adrian, a fellow superhero, grow, but Adrian is also hiding secrets from everyone. As both of them struggle to maintain their double lives, they face their most challenging adversaries yet, each other.

I think this book is a great sequel. It has action, romance, and the characters and their relationships are explored more than ever. The alternating perspectives are a really good insight into how the action of one character has impacted the other. It also makes me want to smack one of them sometimes, which is a credit to the author. It’s not easy to make something obvious to one character, yet have the other completely oblivious while also keeping the situation realistic.

The most memorable thing about this book is the way the double lives are playing out. I kept wondering how are they going to explain this? Or, come on you must have noticed that! Sometimes it was a little unbelievable, but it was exciting none the less.


Reviewed by, Riley M., Twin Hickory Library

It’s Written in the Stars @ HCPL


An astronomical literary event is here! Get ready for Teen Read Week!

Originating from the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), this Teen Read Week is from October 7th-13th, and its theme is “Written in the stars”, all to encourage any reading in fantasy, science fiction, and anything else otherworldly-in order to expand your imagination and thinking with out-of-the-box ideas!

If you’re whirling out of orbit and can’t think of any titles, we can get you started with some suggestions:

35181314Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

This is a fast paced science fiction tale about Ana, a space pirate, and the lengths she will go to fix her sentient android, D09. Also available as an ebook.

27919232Autonomous by Andy Marino

William wins one of the new driver-less cars and takes some of his friends on a cross country trip that turns out to be more action packed than they anticipated.

35140574The Diminished by Kaitlyn Sage   Patterson

Bo is a singleborn and destined to rule. Vi was born a twin, but her twin died in infancy, marking her as one of the diminished. Bo and Vi’s lives intersect after a shocking revelation. Also available as an ebook.

Henrico County Public Library offers a slurry of fun programs to accentuate Teen Read Week-for learning and entertainment! Games, science, escapes, and more:

October 8th-10th “Teen Read Week” at Tuckahoe Library, 5pm-7pm

October 9th “Escape the Upside Down: A Stranger Things Escape Room” at Varina Area Library, 7pm

October 10th “Teen STEM Club” at North Park Library, 7:30pm

October 11th “Night Sky Astronomy” at Varina Area Library, 6:45pm

October 13th ” Hocus Pocus Film Screening” at Twin Hickory Library, 2pm

Register on our website, or give us a call!



Read + Review: Batman Nightwalker by Marie Lu



Batman, before being Batman, was Bruce Wayne, a young 18 year old gaining the billions of dollars in his family fortune. At his 18th birthday party, he saw the two types of people who were there: the people who cared for him and those whom only needed him for their own benefit. The latter category was where he put Richard, the mayor’s son and his former childhood friend. Richard was now someone different and was asking Bruce for a fake internship at Wayne Tech to make his dad happy. Driving home, the young billionaire captured a Nightwalker, a member of the group terrorizing the city. However, in doing so he interfered with the police chase and landed up in community service at Arkham Asylum, the ill-famed prison containing the city’s worst prisoners. During his community service, Bruce meets Madeleine, a girl only willing to speak to Bruce. Weeks pass and Bruce nears the end of his community service as he starts to learn about her secrets. He discovers hidden passageways she talks about and is allowed by the detective to talk with her. In the meantime, his enmity with Richard is growing and he’s having a hard time managing his relationships. The city’s rich are being terrorized and killed one after another when Bruce learns he is next. Despite having doubt on Madeleine’s intentions, Bruce follows her advice and discovers secrets about the next attacks of the Nightwalkers, opening up her mysteries. Is she just showing him secrets or gaining the information she wants to destroy Gotham City?

I loved the mysterious vibe this book gave off. In addition, I loved the mini side plots which gave the book more flavor. For instance, Bruce and Richard’s rivalry helps add character to both of them, and complicates the plot of the story. In addition, Bruce’s character was an excellent portrayal of a young man entering the world and facing all of it’s dangers. Finally, I liked how close Bruce was with his friends as they were his companions through his journey. He learned how there are only a few people in the world who you can trust. Bruce’s communications with his friends portrayed those of an older teen. Overall, I loved the book.

In my opinion, the most memorable part of the book was when Bruce realizes why he and Richard have become rivals. At that moment in the book, everything clicks into his head and he realizes the intentions behind Richard’s actions. For example, before, Bruce thought Richard hated him because he was really rich but after finding out Richard’s reasons, he almost felt bad for Richard.


Reviewed by Anmol, Grade 7, Twin Hickory Library