The Hero and the Crown, by Robert McKinley

Find in catalogAerin had always seemed a little out of place at her father’s palace until, that is, she found old scrolls referring to a fire proof substance that works against a dragon’s fire. In her pursuit of a worthwhile belonging she finds a far bigger adventure and her place in her kingdom. The uniqueness of Aerin’s character is what makes her so amazing. It’s great to have a heroine that is so unapolgically strong, determined, and stubborn! This is a wonderful story and I wish books like this could be made as popular as other young adult books such as the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series. Five stars and a must read!

King Dork by Frank Portman

king dorkTom Henderson is a dorky high school kid who is just trying to keep his head down and survive his teen years. He and his friend Sam dream of being in a rock band (even though they don’t own instruments yet) and are constantly changing the band name and the album cover art. Things start to change when Tom finds his dead father’s teen library, including a copy of “The Catcher in the Rye.” This is an achingly funny coming of age story. The whole band thing is just priceless.

Reviewed by Diane

The Language of Flowers: a novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

A stunning debut, this novel follows the coming-of-age story of Victoria who moves through the foster care system until she can break free and find a life for herself, not an easy task for this wounded girl.  This character is complicated, compelling and provides plenty of opportunities for a great book discussion.  The other characters are also well developed and fascinating.  However, the framework of the Victorian language of flowers (the book is complete with a dictionary) is creative and is a most provocative element for the plot.  There are several themes throughout the story, forgiveness, second chances, family love, linking one character with another enhancing this rich novel.

Reviewed by Annie

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

This Pulitzer Prize winning author’s new novel relates a love triangle in the 1980s between an English major and two young men in love with her. All the characters are complicated, each one being egocentric and other-centric in turn while they negotiate life entering adulthood. Manic depression hounds one of them. The parents are a mix of set-in-their-ways, maddening, and supportive in turn, also. An especially interesting part to me was the spiritual search of at least one character and emphasis on religious acts and/or spiritual realities. I thought the book too long by at least 50 pages but still enjoyed the read and recommend it for what it is.

Reviewed by Laura R.