Fiction

Oct 28, 2020

Piecing Me Together by Renèe Watson is a realistic fiction novel about the main character Jade and her story of friendship and longings. Jade is interested in art as she makes pieces out of anything she can find, like fabrics, and creates it into a masterpiece. She doesn’t live in the best part of town but is invited to come to a private school through tuition. She looks forward to their Study Abroad program which she hopes to get into. Upon her acceptance to the private school, she has to leave her best friend Lee Lee, who stays a good friend throughout the whole book. She meets a girl named

Oct 23, 2020

The House on Mango Street is a realistic fiction novel that sets the plot through a bunch of small memories characters have. The main character, Esperanza, feels alone and like she doesn't belong to the new house she moves to on Mango Street. She becomes friends with her neighbors, Rachel and her little sister, and kids at her school. The book explains growing up, shown through someone's own life, and all the things that come with maturity and responsibility. Though Esperanza talks about growing up all the time with her friends, the time she gets the opportunity to show responsibility, she

Illustrated hyena with multicolored background.

Down Days

By Ilze Hugo
4
Rated by Maryana K.
Oct 19, 2020

Ilze Hugo’s debut novel Down Days was written before the Covid-19 pandemic swept the globe, so the eerie similarities between her fictional version of Cape Town, South Africa and the real world today seem prophetic. Readers are introduced to Sick City ( formerly known as Cape Town )  7 years after a pandemic has affected the entire world. The slang term for the virus is called “the joke”, named for it’s symptom of uncontrollable laughter, but the other symptoms are no joke — a fever followed by organ failure leads to death. Although there is no cure for the infected, a vaccine is administered

Oct 19, 2020

Rafe Khatchadorian is a 6th grader at Hills Village Prison-I mean Middle School. Rafe loathes school and has enough problems to deal with at home including a stepdad that acts like a bear. Luckily, he has the perfect plan to have the best school year possible. Rafe and Leo, his imaginary friend, devise a plan to break every rule in the book. Can Rafe overcome a school bully, a teacher called the dragon lady, a strict principal, a school bully, a bust soda business, pass his classes, and can Rafe get Jeanne Galleta to like him while trying to have the best school year ever? I guess you’ll have

Why Do We Cry?

By Fran Pintadera
5
Rated by Heather McCartin
Oct 15, 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has left many searching for a way to cope with daily struggles.  Fran Pintadera’s picture book on the concept of crying serves as a unique tool to explain to all audiences how tears are an essential outlet for facing the various stages and phases of life.  With exquisite full color illustrations by Ana Sender, there is an aura of compassion in the poetic text as a mother explains to her young son why people cry. 


Young Mario spends an afternoon with his mother at the park.  When he asks the all-important question of why people cry, his mother closes her eyes

Cover of The Cafe By the Sea: shows scene of outdoor cafe seating in European village

The Café By the Sea

By Jenny Colgan
4
Rated by Emily D.
Oct 13, 2020

London based paralegal, Flora, has desperately pined over her American boss for years. He doesn’t know she exists. Flora has all but resigned herself to unrequited love, until one day he calls her into his office. But the love affair of her dreams doesn’t start there, instead she is sent on assignment to the island of her origins, Mure. The Scottish island is not somewhere she planned on returning, but maybe she’ll get a love affair after all.  


Continue Flora’s story along with her brothers and friends in Colgan’s sequel: The Endless Beach. The story just gets sweeter in this follow-up to 

Oct 7, 2020

After 15-year-old Leigh Chen Sanders finds that her mother has committed suicide, her world is turned upside down. However, after seeing a huge red bird with her mother’s voice, Leigh is positive that her mother’s spirit is still in this world. Grief-stricken, she decides to travel to Taiwan with her father in hopes of solving the puzzle of her mother’s past and finding the elusive bird. While there, Leigh meets her maternal grandparents for the first time and walks down a twisted, complex path of untold stories and unshared memories. She realizes how little she actually knew about her mother

Photo of sunrise coming over hundreds of shanties built on top of a huge public dump in Cambodia

The Rent Collector

By Wright, Camron Steve
5
Rated by Lisa H
Oct 7, 2020

When I saw the book cover of The Rent Collector, with a photo of tin and cardboard shanties built on a HUGE mound of garbage, I was curious and intrigued. The book cover was well worn, as it seemed to be a book that had been checked out and read by many. After reading The Rent Collector, it is now one of my favorite reads of the year.


The Rent Collector, by Camron Steve Wright, is a fictionalized account of a real family who live on the Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in Cambodia. Sang Ly and her husband Ki Lin are pickers at the dump, scavenging recyclables to sell to earn

Sep 30, 2020

“Nothing you can take from me was ever worth keeping.” - Lucy Gray Baird


Suzanne Collins bring us another installment of the Hunger Games.  This time she takes us back in time to the Tenth Annual Hunger Games (64 years prior to The Hunger Games trilogy, before Coriolanus Snow was President). 


Snow, eighteen-years-old, is doing what he can to hold what’s left of his family together and keep up with the status quo in the Capital.  Money is tight in the Snow house, and he is afraid he won’t be able to afford University.  An opportunity presents itself when he is assigned as mentor to the

Sun rays behind blue moon

The Book of Two Ways

By Jodi Picoult
5
Rated by Heather C
Sep 28, 2020

"After my son Kyle Ferriera van Leer declared his major in Egyptology at Yale in 2010, he mentioned the Book of Two Ways in passing. Without knowing a thing about it, I said, "That's a great title for a novel." It was only after he began to explain what it actually was that I realized what I needed to write about - the construct of time, and love, and life, and death"--Jodi Picoult 


This book had me at Egypt and did not disappoint. 


Dawn Edelstein is a Death Doula, she specializes in helping her clients find peace and comfort in the last days of their life.  Dawn was drawn to this work

Sep 25, 2020

Mark Dunn’s realistic fiction novel narrates the life of Ella Minnow Pea through letters as she tries to survive on her dystopian-like island run by a tyrannical council. Ella lives on the fictional island of Nollop, named after Nevin Nollop, the author of the sentence “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” A statue of Nollop with his famous sentence engraved on tiles resides in the town. When tiles, each bearing one letter begin to fall, the heads of the island; the Council, takes it as a sign from Nollop’s ghost to eliminate all use of the fallen letters. Members of the island must

Sep 23, 2020

You Should See Me in a Crown follows our main character, Liz Lighty, through her senior year of high school in a small Midwestern town. In order to afford her dream university, Liz enters into the running for prom queen. At her school, the winners of prom king and queen get $10,000. Which is exactly how much money Liz needs for college.We follow Liz as she faces hardship, a new relationship, making new friends, and as she steps out of her shell. To me, the most compelling part of this book is all it represents.Liz, the main character, is black and only her close friends and family know she is

Aug 27, 2020

Fangirl is a 2013 young adult novel written by Rainbow Rowell. Rowell is also known for Eleanor & Park (2012) and Carry On (2015). Fangirl is her second published work. The book focuses on Cath, a college freshman, as she transitions to living on her own for the first time. Cath, who is very introverted, expects to live in a dorm with her twin sister, Wren. But her plan for college changes when Wren decides not to share a dorm with Cath. Instead, Wren wishes to live an independent life away from her sister. Cath has to navigate college on her own. Fangirl is a great example of how many changes

Jun 22, 2020

(I discuss the novel, but I have avoided spoilers as best as I can.)


George Eliot’s Middlemarch regularly ranks as one of the greatest Victorian, greatest British, greatest English-language, or just plain greatest novels of all time. It seems to fare better on critic lists than reader lists, but if it’s a list of 100, Middlemarch is usually on there. The first time I took special notice of it was about fifteen years ago when I saw this quote: “He distrusted her affection; and what loneliness is more lonely than distrust?” I remember making a mental note that maybe one day I should read the

May 18, 2020

For Lydia Bird, love can overcome anything, even death.  


When Lydia's fiance, Freddie Hunter, is tragically killed in a car accident she cannot imagine life moving on without him. Unable to sleep, her mum finds a doctor who is conducting trials on a new sleeping pill. This magical pink pill allows Lydia to fall asleep and jump back into her old life with Freddie. Her dream life with Freddie is continuing on without her.  


New things are happening to the couple and the people around them. Trying to juggle these two worlds is overwhelming and difficult at first. However, Lydia cannot

Opioid, Indiana

By Brian Allen Carr
5
Rated by Meghan F
Apr 29, 2020

After finishing Opioid, Indiana, I immediately wanted to read it again. Even though it's a fairly short book, Brian Allen Carr handles the difficult subject matter with so much insight and empathy that I was disappointed I didn't get to spend more time with all the characters.


Seventeen-year-old Riggle lives with his uncle in rural Indiana after his parents passed away years earlier. When Riggle gets suspended from school and his uncle disappears on a drug binge, Riggle must spend the week looking for him before the rent comes due on Friday. He interacts with several unique locals along the

Pachinko

By Min Jin Lee
5
Rated by Caitlin T.
Apr 24, 2020

International historical fiction is not my typical genre, but Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko swept me off my feet. This epic Korean family story starts in the late 1800’s and spans all the way to the late 1980’s. The unifying thread of the tale is Sunja, a resourceful and headstrong woman who has to repeatedly prove her convictions and loyalties through life’s many tests.


Born to a disabled father in Korea, society held low expectations for Sunja. As a teenager, she finds herself falling for the genuine affection of an older, well-off Japanese businessman who she thinks intends to marry her. When

We Speak in Storms

5
Rated by Julia B.
Apr 24, 2020

Fifty years ago in a town barely more than a pinpoint on a map, a deadly tornado swept through the local drive-in and took a whole generation of teenagers with it. In the present, there are too many coincidences: another tornado, the now ruined drive-in, and the same teens roaming as Spirits. 


There were so many beautiful parts of this novel that I hardly know where to begin! Firstly, the plot was absolutely gripping and eerily haunting at the same time. The supernatural aspect was just enough to make your spine tingle. The suspense left me breathless chapter after chapter, as did the

Long Bright River

By Moore, Liz
5
Rated by admin
Apr 9, 2020

The Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia is ravaged by the opioid epidemic. One sister, Mickey Fitzpatrick, patrols the streets as a police officer. The other sister, Kacey Fitzpatrick, works the streets and succumbs to addiction at an early age. The sisters keep their distance from one another now. Their relationship is strained but each hopes a reunion is right around the corner, just as soon as Kacey can get clean.  


Mickey narrates her harrowing and heartbreaking life in "Now" and "Then" chapters that unveil the slow, never ending battle against addiction as she watches her sister

The Body Double

By Emily Beyda
3
Rated by admin
Apr 9, 2020

This was a very odd read. It started weird, strange even, and then went full on psychological thriller and yet I find myself wondering what I just read. 


An unnamed woman is offered the chance to step into the life of a celebrity because she looks similar to Rosanna Feld, an actress who has gone into seclusion after a mental health crisis.  Rosanna can no longer go out in public to be photographed by the paparazzi or give interviews to help further her career.  Max offers her a chance to live the Hollywood life and is being paid handsomely to leave her old life behind.


She is left alone

Apr 1, 2020

It wasn't until about five years ago that I became a fan of audiobooks. The tedious commute to my temp job required more than just a string of good songs, I wanted a story to elevate my journey there and back. I can't recall the first audiobook I chose, but I quickly became hooked. And then I discovered the glory of downloadable audiobooks, which enabled me to bring stories into more than just the driving parts of my life--suddenly, things like gardening or cleaning or cooking could also be times for story.


Here are other reasons to love audiobooks:


·         If, like me, you love books

The Wild Inside

By Jamey Bradbury
2
Rated by Debbie F.
Mar 26, 2020

Seventeen year old Tracy Petrikoff loves the outdoors. She is an avid hunter with an unusual... proclivity for the animals she kills. Her family is heavily involved with dog sledding but following her mother's death,  they struggle financially after her father gives up mushing and sells the majority of their sled dogs. Tracy keeps hoping to change his mind about her competing in upcoming mushing events, but after she is suspended from school for fighting, her dad grounds her from taking care of the remainder of their dogs and roaming the woods surrounding their home. Headstrong and stubborn

Love Her or Lose Her

By Tessa Bailey
3
Rated by Debbie F.
Mar 26, 2020

Rosie and Dominic Vega have always seemed the perfect couple. They both had dreams stemming from their childhood. Rosie's dreams were to own a restaurant and fulfill her Cuban legacy. Dom hoped to be half the man his own father was to his mother. However, after a tour to Afghanistan, Dominic returns and Rosie feels as if the man she knew never came back. While she is busy at her lackluster job as a perfume specialist, Dominic works hard in construction, secretly saving money for a dream he believes both he and Rosie share. However, their lack of communication makes Rosie feel as if their

Mar 11, 2020

Hello and welcome to our look at some new releases in the fiction section at the Johnson County Library! Every month we look at five titles making their debut that we think you absolutely need to know about. Give one - or more - of these titles a chance to make it in your hold list. We hope you find something new!


Kate Elizabeth Russell’s MY DARK VANESSA is one of the most hotly-anticipated debuts this year, and for good reason. A fresh and powerful look at the aftermath of a relationship between a young student at an elite boarding school and her much older English teacher, this is bound

Feb 21, 2020

The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires begins with a normal description of the affluent life of a bored southern housewife.  Just before you think it is another dysfunctional family story, Patricia Campbell, one of our five book club members and main character, is attacked by an elderly neighbor while putting out the garbage at night. The elderly neighbor is put in the hospital, as is Patricia.  Then a handsome relative of the neighbor comes to stay at the house and help out. Patricia being the lovely southern lady she is feels she should take over a casserole and help out if

American Dirt

By Cummins, Jeanine
5
Rated by Lisa H
Jan 23, 2020

Listed as one of the top 10 most anticipated books of 2020 by Goodreads members, American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins tells the fictional story of Lydia and Luca, a mother and her young son, as they flee from Acapulco Mexico and attempt to cross the US border. Lydia’s journalist husband, Sebastian, publishes an expose about Javier, the head of the drug cartel, which causes all 16 members of their family to be brutally killed. Lydia is acquainted with Javier through her bookstore and knows she and her son were also supposed to die with the rest of her family. As Lydia and Luca journey north to

My Dark Vanessa

By Kate Elizabeth Russell
4
Rated by Heather C
Jan 2, 2020

Warning: This book will make you remember things not forgotten.


As a woman and in the wake of the #MeToo movement it was really hard to read My Dark Vanessa. It is very well written and oftentimes, too well written. It was haunting in its realness. Real predators exist. Real victims don't come forward. Real justice oftentimes isn't served.


Vanessa is disturbed by the posts she’s seeing on social media about, Jacob Strane, a teacher she had while attending boarding school roughly 15 years ago. He is accused of inappropriate behavior with young girls. But Vanessa isn’t disturbed in the way

Dec 10, 2019

Hello and welcome to our look at some new releases in the fiction section at the Johnson County Library! Every month we look at five titles making their debut that we think you absolutely need to know about. Give one - or more - of these titles a chance to make it in your hold list. We hope you find something new!


December gives us the opportunity to look back at this year, to reflect on what we did in the previous months, and more importantly, examine who we were. Science fiction writer Charles Soule, the author of last year’s breakout hit THE ORACLE YEAR is back with the new novel ANYONE

The Woman Upstairs

By Claire Messud
4
Rated by Lisa A.
Dec 4, 2019

“Nobody would know me from my own description of myself; which is why, when called upon (rarely, I grant) to provide an account, I tailor it, I adapt, I try to provide an outline that can, in some way, correlate to the outline that people understand me to have -- that, I suppose, I actually have, at this point. But who I am in my head, very few people really get to see that. Almost none. It's the most precious gift I can give, to bring her out of hiding.”
― Claire Messud, The Woman Upstairs


The Woman Upstairs is a smart book. The writing is smart; the vocabulary is smart; the main

Wild Rose

By Nicole Taylor
5
Rated by Zachary C
Nov 6, 2019

"3 chords and the truth"


That's what Rose-Lynn has tattooed across her forearm.  That's the answer to the question the other people born and raised in Glasgow ask her, "Why country music?"


Rose-Lynn has just gotten out of prison.  Headphones on, country playlist rolling, she immediately sets to getting her life plans back on track.  Her plan is pretty simple. You see, she has a goal, a dream, a purpose...to get to Nashville to fulfill her destiny as a country music superstar.  


Not everyone is completely onboard with her plan, like her mother, played by Julie Walters. She is expecting