Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

July 8, 2015

Book Cover

Code Name Verity is a historical fiction novel about two allied pilots in World War II, Verity and Maddie. While flying over enemy territory, their planes are shot down. Throughout half the book, you listen to Verity confess to the enemy about her past. In the second part of the book, you read about Maddie and what she goes through as she fights to free Verity.

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Eva Perry Reads: A Visit to Highbury

July 1, 2011

*This blog post got Greta tickets in the prize drawing for our Teen Summer Contest. Click here to find out how to enter!*

A Visit to Highbury coverA Visit to Highbury: Another View of Emma by Joan Austen-Leigh

If you liked Jane Austen’s Emma, you’ll love A Visit to Highbury by Joan Austen-Leigh. She continues in the family tradition (being Jane Austen’s great-great-grandniece!) by writing this excellent companion novel to the story of Emma without actually changing anything. If you’re like me and want the author to stay true to the original story, this one is for you. Austen-Leigh simply adds another layer to the story (rather than a sequel; afterthought sequels can mess things up in a story), and makes it seem more real to the reader. It’s a good idea to read this right after reading Emma, so the story all comes together. 🙂 Enjoy!

West Regional Reads: Running Out of Time

June 30, 2011

*This blog post got Julia tickets in the prize drawing for our Teen Summer Contest. Click here to find out how to enter!*

Running out of time coverRunning Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix

I have read a million books in my years. Running Out of Time is a book I read years ago, but still enjoy. In this action-packed historical fiction, a normal 1840’s girl named Jessie gets the thrill of a lifetime. An outbreak of Diphtheria threatens the life of many people in Clifton. Read the rest of this entry »

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

June 23, 2009

It starts with the three witches. They prophesy to a war hero named Macbeth, saying he will be the Lord of Cawdor and King over everything. The reigning king, Duncan, appoints him Thane of Cawdor. So that part of the phrophecy comes true. How far will Macbeth go in his endeavor to become King?

Emily, 14, Knightdale

*This blog post got Emily a ticket in the prize drawing for our Teen Summer Contest. Click here to find out how to enter!*

Review: The Devil’s Paintbox by Victoria McKernan

February 9, 2009


Jefferson J. Jackson is looking for strong men to bring out west on the Oregon Trail to cut logs, but that isn’t what he finds. Instead, he finds Maddy and Aiden–brother and sister, starving, alone, and near death. Jackson’s pity kicks in and he allows them both to join him, on one condition: Aiden must work for the logging company to pay both his and Maddy’s way. This doesn’t sound so terrible to either Maddy or Aiden, as both have run out of ways to survive, so they accept.

While on the wagon train, Maddy and Aiden learn more about life, love, loss, and loyalty. But first they just have to survive–after all, on the Oregon Trail, there is “a grave a mile”. And then Aiden must decide where his loyalties lie: with the Indians, who he has a chance to save, or with survival and his own life?
The Devil’s Paintbox is heartwrenching. Each and every character has a story, depth, and personality. McKernan winds in reality and vivid imagery to create a story in which readers can  experience the truths of the Oregon Trail and life in 1865.
Most of all, I was deeply touched by Aiden. I can’t give too much away, but his fierce protectiveness of his sister, resistance to immorality, and the trouble wrought on his character made him into a real person I wanted to just hug and say “It’s all right.”  And that is what makes a character, and a book, memorable.
Five Stars.
Available now at Amazon.
Although Wake County does not own this book, we do own Shackleton’s Stowaway by the same author.  To view that item and request, click here.

Teens’ Top Ten Nominee for 2008: Tamar by Mal Peet

August 18, 2008

Tamar is a river in England, Tamar is the code name of a spy dropped into Nazi-occupied Holland during the end of World War II and Tamar is the name of a girl growing up in present-day London trying to solve the mystery of her past.

This story shifts between Holland during the mid-1940s and modern day London. A spy and his radio-operator (code name Dart) are parachuted into occupied Holland to organize the Dutch resistance efforts against the Nazis. He is quartered with a Dutch woman, Marijke, who also happens to be his lover. While they work to feed intelligence back to England and survive the “Hunger Winter” of 1944, Dart – unaware of the relationship between Marijke and Tamar, begins to fall in love with her as well. As with most love triangles – someone always gets hurt and betrayed.

Meanwhile, in present day, Tamar is a 15-year old girl whose father has deserted her and the grandfather she depended on has recently committed suicide. Determined to discover why he felt the need to end his life and armed with the box of clues he has left behind, she begins a quest to discover the truth of her past. Along the way she grows increasingly attached to a distant Dutch cousin that agrees to accompany her on her quest.

The characters are extremely well-developed and the time-shifting keeps the book moving along at a fast, but enjoyable pace. The other absorbing part of this book – the thing that sets it apart from most historical fiction – is seeing how the past can affect your life today.

Tamar is a nominee for the 2008 Teens’ Top Ten. To read more about the Teens’ Top Ten program, click here. To request this book from the library, click here. And don’t forget to place your vote during Teen Read Week, October 12-18, 2008.

Review by Kathryn Gundlach at West Regional Library

Teens’ Top Ten 2008 Book Review: The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

June 30, 2008

Scandal. Lust. Secrets. Betrayal. Gossip.

If these sound like the ingredients to the newest Gossip Girl or A-List novel, think again. Anna Godbersen brings us all of these elements in her book The Luxe, a gripping novel about New York City’s elite at the turn of the century – the twentieth century.

It’s the end of summer, 1899, and Elizabeth Holland has just returned home to New York City from a season in Paris. She returns to find that her life is about to change in a big way. Her family, despite their old money and position of prestige among the upper crust NYC society, is on the verge of bankruptcy. Her best frenemy, Penelope, is plotting to take over Elizabeth’s spot as the darling of the gossip columns. Her younger sister, Diana, seems bent on disgracing the family name through reckless behavior where boys are concerned. Her secret lover, Will, has big dreams that threaten to take him away from New York forever.

How can Elizabeth be true to her family obligations, her public persona and her secret desires? With time running out before personal disaster turns into public humiliation, Elizabeth must decide whom to trust.

Godbersen’s debut novel is a page-turner, filled with all the glamour and deceit of today’s most popular teen series, but set in the luxurious past. Historical details are deliciously and deftly described, pulling readers into the drama of the fast-paced plot. While it appears, on the surface, to be just another modern-day Gossip Girl-alike plopped into a different time period, this novel truly shines. Characters are well-developed, the setting is made sumptuously real, and the plot carries readers along to an ending that begs for a sequel.

Oh, and the book has a totally hot website! Meet the characters, take a quiz, scope out the different hotspots mentioned in The Luxe and get a sneak peek at its sequel, Rumors.

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen is a nominee for the 2008 Teens’ Top Ten. To read more about the Teens’ Top Ten program, click here. To request this book from the library, click here. And don’t forget to place your vote during Teen Read Week, October 12-18, 2008.

Review by Katy @ Cameron Village Regional Library

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