Category: Books

Read + Review: The Crossroads by Alexandra Diaz

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The Crossroads, sequel to The Only Road, continues the story of Jamie Rivera, a refugee from Guatemala. In the previous book, he entered the United States due to gang violence in his home country. After both he and his cousin, Ángela come to live with their brother, Tomás, Jamie is extremely reluctant to start school. This entrance into his new school is made even worse by the fact that he can barely speak English. Throughout all the bullying, embarrassing moments, and the fact that everything around him is strange, Jamie never truly feels like he fits in. He wants nothing but to go home to Guatemala, but violence back in his home country prevents him and his cousin from returning. It almost seems as if he’ll never belong in the United States, but has no choice but to stay. Through the unknown, will Jamie finally make friends and truly learn to belong?

I honestly liked this book. It was just amazing with a unique story, one that I had never heard before. I had never read a story about two Guatemalan refugees before, and was intrigued by the synopsis. I liked how real all of the characters seemed; they just seemed so believable. I could completely understand how strange and afraid Jamie felt when entering a new school, even more so since he couldn’t speak English that well. Also, the scattered details throughout the book, like Jamie’s artwork and even descriptions of Vida, their dog, made the whole read quite endearing. However, I didn’t really understand some of the details and references in the book, since I hadn’t read The Only Road.

One of the most memorable parts of the book was how Vida, the dog, was described. Vida was described using all of the most tantalizing details possible. Sometimes, I even felt like she was in the room with me while I was reading. In the previous book, Vida was rescued by Ángela and came with them to the United States; which is similar to Jamie and Ángela being “rescued” from the gangs in Guatemala and being taken to the U.S.A. Throughout the book, she was a true companion to everyone, and the way she could sense when people were upset was just so endearing. The attention and accuracy of all these canine details make me wonder if the author had a dog similar to Vida.

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Reviewed by Sanika Renatkwar, Grade 8, Twin Hickory Area Library

It’s Written in the Stars @ HCPL

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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 is Back!

Happy first week of school everyone!  Read + Review is now open – so you can start earning community service hours for submitting your reviews of our New YA books. You can earn up to two credit hours for each review, up to ten hours a semester. Check out our website for the latest reviews!

Visit our Read + Review page to learn more, and check out our handy guide to getting awarded the maximum two hours service credit for your reviews below.

Best wishes for an excellent school year, and happy reading from your HCPL Teen Librarians!

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Read+Review: Mapping the Bones by Jane Yolen

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Set in the Holocaust in Poland, 1942, Mapping the Bones is a stirring novel in which twins, Chaim and Gittel, are forced to leave their cozy home and live in the Lodz Ghetto. The story centers around Chaim and Gittel, who have immeasurable love for each other. Eventually, The twins and their parents have to share their small home and food with the Norenbergs, another Jewish family. Everything starts falling apart, except for the connection between Chaim and Gittel. Filled with sentimental decisions and tough struggles during the Holocaust, the book was definitely worth reading.

Mapping the bones is an accurate representation of the holocaust, but it is still intriguing and fun to read. The characters in the book, particularly the twins were easily my favorite component. The story emphasized how their bond would stay strong no matter what. I appreciate how Jane Yolen kept a light and calm writing style, even while the story was bold and emotional. With frequent plot twists and new situations, the book was both educational and thrilling.

One thing I will never forget about this book is the secret sign language that the twins use among themselves. Even though Chaim has trouble speaking, Gittel always knows what he is thinking. Even their parents do not know what they are conveying to each other.

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Saarthak Sangwan, 8th grade – Moody Middle School, Twin Hickory Library