sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 28, 2018

into the stacks: january 2018, part 3
posted by soe 1:10 am

As I mentioned last week, I wanted to share the last three books I read way back in January in the hopes of moving forward with sharing other things I read:

A Properly Unhaunted Place by William Alexander with illustrations by Kelly Murphy

In the wake of a family tragedy, Rosa Díaz and her mother have moved to a new town, Ingot, and settled into the basement apartment of the library where her mother is employed. This would be hard enough by itself, but it turns out that Ingot is a ghost-free town (perhaps the only one in America) and her mother is a ghost-appeasement specialist. Rosa heads out to explore the town and immediately runs into Jasper Chevalier and his father, the Black (as in African American, not as in evil) knight who helps run the town’s most famous attraction, its Renaissance Festival. She tags along and is surprised when an malevolent apparition invades the festival — and then no one but she and Jasper recognize it for what it was. It will take all the ghostly negotiating skills Rosa’s developed — and her new-found friendship — to prevent massive catastrophes from affecting her new town and her family.

I loved this short fantasy novel as a bookish adult and can only imagine how much more I would have loved it if I’d read it as a bookish kid. Highly recommended to those who love libraries, ghosts, or Renn faire culture. It does get dark for a while (these are decidedly not friendly ghosts), so my only caveat would be that it could cause sensitive kids nightmares.

Pages: 192

A Good Byline by Jill Orr

In this mystery set in a small Virginia town, Riley Ellison is a bit of a mess. Her longtime boyfriend has moved to Colorado to find himself while skiing and she’s stalled career-wise, resuming the job she had as a high school student at the library, and everyone in her town thinks of her as “poor Riley” because she had what they thought of as a very public meltdown when her grandfather, the former obituary writer for the local newspaper, died several years back. She’s thinking positive thoughts now, though, and has signed up for a dating service. But then her childhood best friend turns up dead, with a suicide note by her side, and her boss ends up in a bit of a pickle and her boyfriend breaks up with her and her date goes sideways and she meets a weird reporter from the paper. Did I mention the dead friend was also a reporter? Yeah.

This was a very earnest mystery that I wanted to like more than I did because it was set locally. I felt better about feeling like the author was throwing everything into the pot when I learned she wasn’t local. It’s not a bad book and I’d consider reading the second in the series because I’d like to see if she wraps up the loose end from this book in it, but probably only if I see it on the shelf. I won’t be actively pursuing this lead.

Pages: 280

Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham

In this middle-grade graphic memoir, Shannon tells the story of her childhood growing up in Salt Lake City, recollects her best (and mostly only) friend Adrienne, and recounts what happens when Adrienne starts wanting to hang out with another girl, the uber-popular Jen and her clique of popular girls.

The book deals with bullying and mental health issues and was the sort of story I really wished had existed when I was in third grade and struggling with mean-girl issues and friendship. I would give this sweet story to every elementary school kid you know, but particularly the ones who you know are still looking for their family of friends and their space in the world. It’s something to back up your assurances that “it gets better.”

Pages: 224

Part 1 and Part 2 of January.

Next up: February! (Because next week is June!)

Category: books. There is/are 1 Comment.

I’ll pass your reviews on to AL! She’d like the library one!

Comment by kathy b 05.28.18 @ 10:46 am