Tab Recommends

Here are some books our TAB members have read and loved recently. We’ve included the call number so you can come and get them at Reston Regional Library! All summaries are taken from Novelist unless otherwise noted.

The Color of Water, James McBride – B MCBRIDE

Interspersed throughout his mother’s compelling narrative, McBride shares candid recollections of his own experiences as a mixed-race child of poverty, his flirtations with drugs and violence, and his eventual self-realization and professional success. The Color of Water touches readers of all colors as a vivid portrait of growing up, a haunting meditation on race and identity, and a lyrical valentine to a mother from her son. – goodreads.com

Beartown, Fredrik Backman – FIC BAC

In the tiny forest community of Beartown, the possibility that the amateur hockey team might win a junior championship, bringing the hope of revitalization to the fading town, is shattered by the aftermath of a violent act that leaves a young girl traumatized.

Comedy Girl, Ellen Schreiber – YFIC SCH

Shy, seventeen-year-old Trixie Shapiro, who dreams of being a professional comic, gets a big break after her friend signs her up to a stand-up routine at their school’s Talent Night.

Oscar and the Lady in Pink, Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt- FIC SCH

Oscar is dying. One of the ‘ladies in pink’ who come to visit the patients, makes friends with him. She suggests that he should pretend that each of the following 12 days is a decade of his imaginary life. Oscar writes ten letters to God that are sensitive, funny, heartbreaking and, ultimately, life-affirming. – goodreads.com

Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky – FIC DOS

Believing he can commit the perfect crime, Roderick Raskolnikov robs and murders an elderly pawnbroker. He eventually finds himself engaged in a battle of wits with inspector Porfiry, a policeman who is determined to wring a confession from the once confident Raskolnikov, a killer whose conscience is slowly beginning to destroy him.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Mildred Taylor – JFIC TAY

A Black family living in the South during the 1930s is faced with prejudice and discrimination which their children don’t understand.

Animal Farm, George Orwell – FIC ORW

A satire on totalitarianism in which farm animals overthrow their human owner and set up their own government.

Night, Elie Wiesel – 940.531 W

A terrifying account of the Nazi death camp horror that turns a young Jewish boy into an agonized witness to the death of his family.

Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad – FIC CON

Marlowe sails down the Congo in search of Kurtz, a company agent who has, according to rumors, become insane in the jungle isolation.

The Monuments Men, Robert Edsel – 940.531 E

Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis. – goodreads.com

If Only, Jennifer Gilmore – YFIC GIL

Tells the story of a pregnant sixteen-year-old Bridget and her decision to give her baby up for adoption and the story of sixteen-year-old Ivy as she searches for her birth mother to find out where she comes from.

The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness – YSF NES

Pursued by power-hungry Prentiss and mad minister Aaron, young Todd and Viola set out across New World searching for answers about his colony’s true past and seeking a way to warn the ship bringing hopeful settlers from Old World.

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury – SF BRA

A totalitarian regime has ordered all books to be destroyed, but one of the book burners, Guy Montag, suddenly realizes their merit.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood – FIC ATW

Offred, a Handmaid, describes life in what was once the United States, now the Republic of Gilead, a shockingly repressive and intolerant monotheocracy, in a satirical tour de force set in the near future.

The Giver, Lois Lowry – YFIC LOW

Given his lifetime assignment at the Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas becomes the receiver of memories shared by only one other in his community and discovers the terrible truth about the society in which he lives.

The War That Saved My Life, Kimberly Brubaker Bradley – JFIC BRA

A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.

Book Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Reviewed by Gabi L.

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What if all your crushes you’ve ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean has never openly admitted any of her crushes to anybody. Instead, she writes a love letter to each boy, seals it, and keeps them all hidden in a box under her bed. One day, Lara Jean finds out that all five of her secret letters have mysteriously been mailed out to every one of her crushes. With her love letters out in the open, she is confronted by all of her past crushes about the letters, including her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, and her sister’s ex-boyfriend. Lara Jean learns to face her emotions and this awkward, complicated situation head on as her love life suddenly goes from imaginary to out of control.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a book for the hopeful romantics out there. Lara Jean’s crazy life is filled with energy, laughs, and even a few tears. Author Jenny Han creates likable, relatable characters as Lara Jean tries to find a reasonable way to handle all of her past crushes at once. This is a fun, enjoyable the read for those who love romance, comedy, and drama.

Book Review: The Lean

The Lean by Kathy Freston

Reviewed by Gabi L.

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The Lean offers valuable advice on leaning into a new healthful lifestyle. Whether your goal is to lose weight or to adopt healthier habits, Freston provides simple tweaks to add to your daily routine that gently nudges readers into a healthy direction. The Lean is a simple step-by-step guide that encourages the audience to move away from animal products and towards plant-based food. There are thirty chapters in this book and every chapter is based on a daily tweak that you that over time can yield incredible results. These daily tweaks help readers reach sustainable, healthy, long-term weight loss one day at a time.

I have struggled with my weight for years. As a kid, I grew up being close to 20 pounds heavier than friends and the other students in my class. A few years ago I stumbled upon this book and it changed my life. From day one, as soon as I started incorporating Freston’s tips I noticed that I was eating less junk food and that my portions had become much more normal. My skin cleared up, I dropped multiple dress sizes, and my confidence levels were through the roof! This book is arguably the best, most helpful book I have ever read and I 100% recommend The Lean to anybody wanting to shed excess weight or just adopt some healthy habits.

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Reviewed by Gabi L.

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Never Let Me Go begins by looking at the life of Kathy, a thirty-one-year-old carer, who is about to become a donor herself. As a “carer”, Kathy’s job is to look after the health of “donors” until they mysteriously die or “complete”. While caring for one of her last patients, Kathy tells the story of her childhood and relives her memories with her dearest friends Ruth and Tommy. Ruth is a leader and center of attention, while Tommy is the school’s outcast, and Kathy is the glue keeping the three together.

In this alternate universe, scientists in England are cloning human beings and harvesting the clones for their organs. Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are all clones who attend Hailsham, a boarding school for clones where they are students from ages zero to sixteen. Hailsham is known to be one of the more humane schools for the clones as other, less prestigious schools are rumored to abuse the students. In Never Let Me Go society must decide if the cruelty of cloning is worth the consequences.

Ishiguro’s dystopian world is set in the late 1990s and keeps you on the edge of your seat, eagerly flipping pages. Never Let Me Go is a story that will make you question society and your own morals. Should clones be treated equally to humans? Do clones have emotions? Can they feel pain? Never Let Me Go reveals horrific truths about human nature and the consequences of turning a blind eye to serious issues.

 

Book Review: The Sixth Man by John Feinstein

The Sixth Man by John Feinstein

Review by Aarya Kumar

The Sixth Man is a realistic fiction novel about freshman Alex Myers and his quest through high school and the Lion’s basketball season. The setting is based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Alex faces many troubles throughout the season as his dad and mom get divorced and Alex has a new coach, Coach Archer, who is very strict. In addition, a new kid from Detroit moves into town. The kid, Max Bellotti, turns out to be a basketball phenom and he soon plays a pivotal role in the rest of the book. Meanwhile, Max is receiving a lot of unwanted publicity and he is being covered by news stations around the country. One day at lunch, Max reveals a surprising secret that is gay. Max soon opens up publicly about his secret and many people are taken aback. Soon, the semifinals of the basketball championship roll around. The game goes down to the wire and eventually Max hits a game-winning shot, however, Max is hit in the head with a baseball thrown by an anti-gay supporter. Max recovers, however, the principal decides it is unsafe for Max to play in the finals. The ruling is overturned and Max gets to play and the Lions end up winning the championship.

TAB Recommends, 1/24

Here are some books our TAB members have read and loved recently. We’ve included the call number so you can come and get them at Reston Regional Library! All summaries are taken from Novelist unless otherwise noted.

 

Small Steps, Louis Sachar – YFIC SAC

Three years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is trying hard to keep his life on track, but when his old pal X-Ray shows up with a tempting plan to make some easy money scalping concert tickets, Armpit reluctantly goes along.

 

And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie – MYS CHR

Ten houseguests, trapped on an isolated island, are the prey of a diabolical killer. A famous nursery rhyme is framed and hung in every room of the mansion: Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; One choked his little self and then there were nine–When they realize that murders are occurring as described in the rhyme, terror mounts. Who has choreographed this dastardly scheme? And who will be left to tell the tale?

 

The War Outside, Monica Hesse – YFIC HES

Teens Haruko, a Japanese American, and Margot, a German American, form a life-changing friendship as everything around them starts falling apart in the Crystal City family internment camp during World War II.

 

Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte – FIC BRO

Heathcliff, an orphan, is raised by Mr Earnshaw as one of his own children. Hindley despises him but wild Cathy becomes his constant companion, and he falls deeply in love with her. When she will not marry him, Heathcliff’s terrible vengeance ruins them all – but still his and Cathy’s love will not die…

 

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah – FIC HAN

Leni and her troubled family embark on a new way of life in Alaska’s wilderness in 1974 – hoping this is finally the solution for her troubled, POW father. In Alaska, Leni and her family are tested and when change comes to their small community her father’s anger threatens to explode and divide the town. This is a beautifully written novel, descriptive and engaging with well-developed characters and a strong sense of place.

 

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee – FIC LEE

Scout Finch, daughter of the town lawyer, likes to spend her summers building treehouses, swimming, and catching lightning bugs with her big brother Jem. But one summer, when a black man is accused of raping a white woman, Scout’s carefree days come to an end. In the county courtroom, she will join her father in a desperate battle against ignorance and prejudice.

 

Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys – YFIC SEP

Titanic. Lusitania. Wilhelm Gustloff. All major maritime disasters, yet the last is virtually unknown. Ruta Sepetys changes that in her gripping historical novel. Told in short snippets, Salt to the Sea rotates between four narrators attempting to escape various tragedies in 1945 Europe. Powerful and haunting, heartbreaking and hopeful–a must read.

 

Simon vs. the Homo-Sapiens Agenda, Becky Albertalli – YFIC ALB

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

 

Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine – JFIC ERS

Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

 

Chasing Lincoln’s Killer, James Swanson – 973.7 S

Based on rare archival material, obscure trial manuscripts, and interviews with relatives of the conspirators and the manhunters, CHASING LINCOLN’S KILLER is a fast-paced thriller about the pursuit and capture of John Wilkes Booth: a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia. – from goodreads

 

Warriors Don’t Cry, Melba Beals – 370.19 B

The landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, brought the promise of integration to Little Rock, Arkansas, but it was hard-won for the nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. They ran the gauntlet between a rampaging mob and the heavily armed Arkansas National Guard, dispatched by Governor Orval Faubus to subvert federal law and bar them from entering the school. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending in soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, the elite “Screaming Eagles” – and transformed Melba Pattillo and her eight friends into reluctant warriors on the battlefield of civil rights. – from goodreads

 

Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro – FIC ISH

A reunion with two childhood friends–Ruth and Tommy–draws Kath and her companions on a nostalgic odyssey into the supposedly idyllic years of their lives at Hailsham, an isolated private school in the serene English countryside, and a dramatic confrontation with the truth about their childhoods and about their lives in the present.

 

The Iron King, Maurice Druon – FIC DRU

Set in the year 1314, the story takes place during the reign of despotic French King Philip the Fair and focuses on disenfranchised Lord Robert of Artois, whose attempts to reclaim his birthright ignite a conflict that will engulf all of France and destroy a dynasty.

TAB Recommends, 12/13

Here are some books our TAB members have read and loved recently. We’ve included the call number so you can come and get them at Reston Regional Library! All summaries are taken from Novelist unless otherwise noted.

 

One of Us is Lying, Karen McManus (YMYS MCM)

When one of five students in detention is found dead, his high-profile classmates—including a brainy intellectual, a popular beauty, a drug dealer on probation and an all-star athlete—are investigated and revealed to be the subjects of the victim’s latest gossip postings.

 

A Mercy, Toni Morrison (FIC MOR)

In exchange for a bad debt, an Anglo-Dutch trader takes on Florens, a young slave girl, who feels abandoned by her slave mother and who searches for love–first from an older servant woman at her master’s new home, and then from a handsome free blacksmith, in a novel set in late seventeenth-century America.

 

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins (YSF COL)

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.

 

Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt (JFIC BAB)

A family accidentally stumbles upon a spring with water endowing them with the gift of eternal life. Seventy years later, without having grown a day older, a young girl discovers them and learns their secret.

 

Roller Girl, Victoria Jamieson (JFIC JAM)

A graphic novel adventure about a girl who discovers roller derby right as she and her best friend are growing apart.

 

Uprooted, Naomi Novik (SF NOV)

Once every ten years, a powerful wizard known as the Dragon chooses one young woman from Agnieszka’s valley and spirits her away to his enchanted tower. Agnieszka expects him to take her best friend, Kasia, who’s beautiful, clever, and brave. However, when Agnieszka is chosen instead of Kasia, she discovers untapped talents, challenges the Dragon’s rules (and patience), and battles the malevolent influence of the nearby enchanted Wood in order to save the people she loves. Based on Polish folklore, this stand-alone novel by Temeraire series author Naomi Novik, is a fantastical coming-of-age tale combining magic, warfare, politics, and romance. — Description by Gillian Speace.

 

All Out, editor Saundra Mitchell (YFIC 808.83 A)

A collection of historical fiction featuring a transgender soldier, two girls falling in love while mourning Kurt Cobain, and forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent.