Book Reviews

Book Review: Storybound by Marissa Burt

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Storybound by Marissa Burt Recommended Ages: 11+ Lately a lot of writers have been sending us dispatches from the Land of Stories. According to sometime Glee star Chris Colfer, it’s a cluster of magical kingdoms where a pair of children from our world, transported through a family heirloom storybook, discover the true history behind many of your favorite fairy tales. In another account by Ian Beck, the Land of Stories is a country where designated ... Read More »

Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

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The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka, J.K. Rowling)   J.K. Rowling does it again. Only this time, the bestselling author pens her latest novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, as Robert Galbraith, recently revealed as her pseudonym. The following review is SPOILER FREE. Read More »

Review: The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson

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The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson Recommended Ages: 13+ A few pages into this book by the author of The Tears of the Salamander, I decided that Peter Dickinson is probably the best writer living today. Given that I have only read these two of his fifty-odd books, that may come across as a hasty judgment. But I haven’t forgotten that Tears was the best book I read in 2005, and I don’t plan to forget ... Read More »

Review: The Seven Keys of Balabad by Paul Haven

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The Seven Keys of Balabad—buy it by Paul Haven Recommended Ages: 11+ Oliver Finch is an all-American boy who likes wearing blue jeans, a T-shirt, and a New York Yankees baseball cap. But thanks to his father’s career as a journalist and his mother’s interest in archaeology, he finds himself living so far from Yankee Stadium that, in his time zone, the night games start at 5:00 the next morning. The country is Balabad, somewhere ... Read More »

Review: Dirty Magic by Carol Hughes

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Dirty Magic—buy it by Carol Hughes—about the author Recommended Ages: 12+ Joe Brooks, a boy who likes models and Monster Machine magazine, gets up in the middle of the night and finds that his bathroom door opens into a muddy plain stretching to the horizon all around. Suddenly Joe is in a strange, island world where the sun never shines, the war never ends, and the lost children who regularly appear out of nowhere never ... Read More »

Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

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The Long Earth—buy it by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter Recommended Ages: 13+ Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series is part of the bedrock of the Book Trolley’s growing list of books to read after Harry Potter. Stephen Baxter is a science-fiction novelist, active since the early 1990s, whose forty-odd books I had never read or heard of until I found this book on CD, narrated by the talented Michael Fenton Stevens. Pratchett specializes in examining the ... Read More »

Review: A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

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A Tale Dark and Grimm—buy it by Adam Gidwitz—his website Recommended Ages: 11+ This book is what happens when a New York City schoolteacher stitches together nine fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm to form one coherent story—while, at the same time, restoring much of the original versions’ weird, scary, and bloody bits. And although the narrator often pulls the reader aside and begs him to make sure there are no small children in the ... Read More »

Review: The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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The False Prince—buy it by Jennifer A. Nielsen—her website Recommended Ages: 12+ The kingdom of Carthya is in trouble. Its king and queen, together with their eldest son, have been poisoned. The younger of the two princes was lost at sea four years ago, presumed dead. Its borders are lined with the armies of neighboring countries, hungry for the land’s rich resources. Once the noblemen begin squabbling over succession to the throne, the resulting civil ... Read More »

Review: Little People by Tom Holt

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Little People—buy it by Tom Holt—his website Recommended Ages: 14+ At age eight, Mike Higgins was playing Captain Kirk in his backyard when he spotted a tiny, green-skinned man with pointy ears, leaning against a head of lettuce and smoking a hand-rolled cigarette. “‘Mummy, mummy,’ I yelled out as I ran back into the house. Guess what! There are Vulcans at the bottom of our garden!’” Being the boy who saw an elf shapes the ... Read More »

Review: If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch

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If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late—buy it by Pseudonymous Bosch—his website Recommended Ages: 10+ This sequel to The Name of This Book Is Secret features a recipe for roast villain, instructions for a magic trick, an explanation for why you can hear voices across a lake at dawn or dusk, and an interview with the author, by the author—and that’s just the appendix! The remainder of the book, in chapters numbered backward like a ... Read More »