Book Review

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Guitar Notes                                   by: Mary Amato                                Rating: 4/5 stars

Guitar Notes is a memorable story with an inspiring message about how music can bring the unlikeliest of people together. The story follows Tripp and Lyla as they become friends and music partners. After Tripp loses his father to a brain aneurysm he starts to keep more to himself, playing guitar in his room all day which prompts his mother to take away his guitar. When her mother dies in a plane crash Lyla chooses to follow in her mothers footsteps and soon becomes the best cellist of her age, but ends up losing her love for cello along the way. Both Tripp and Lyla sign up for band practice rooms in hopes that they can find a moment of peace in their lives. Soon the two start leaving notes for each other and eventually become friends, but not before some bickering along the way. It is only when Tripp helps Lyla feel the joy in playing an instrument (the thrum) that they start to form a friendship.However, they get into lots of trouble along the way, Ranging from the duo stealing a rug from Tripp’s family store all the way to starting a band behind their parents backs and playing at a wedding. When things turn to the worst will Tripp and Lyla be able feel the thrum again? Something else that I found was unique about this book was that the author, Mary Amato, put all of the songs on her website for her book for readers to listen to. This story is both fun and heartbreaking and I recommend it for anyone who loves music, realistic fiction, and are looking for a fairly quick and fun to read book. Both of the main characters are lovable and they write music that brings a smile to the readers face. This is definitely a recommended book from me!


TAB Recommends

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!

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The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas – YFIC THO
After witnessing her friend’s death at the hands of a police officer, Starr Carter’s life is complicated when the police and a local drug lord try to intimidate her in an effort to learn what happened the night Kahlil died.

Six Impossible Things, Fiona Wood – YFIC WOO
Fourteen-year-old Dan Cereill’s life is turned upside-down when his father announces he is gay and leaves Dan and his mother with nothing, forcing them to move to an aunt’s house, Dan to enroll in public school, and his mother to try to start a business, but the top thing on Dan’s list is kissing Estelle, the girl next door.

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Point Blank, Anthony Horowitz – YFIC HOR
Fourteen-year-old Alex continues to work as a spy for the British MI6, investigating an exclusive school for boys in the French Alps.

Or start with book 1:

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Stormbreaker, Anthony Horowitz – YFIC HOR
After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle’s dangerous work for Britain’s intelligence agency, MI6.

The Long Walk, Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman – FIC BAC
In a futuristic America ruled by ultraconservatives, one hundred of the nation’s hardiest boys must endure a five-hundred-mile marathon race in order to win fame and fortune.

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Guitar Notes, Mary Amato – YFIC AMA
Tripp, who plays guitar only for himself, and Lyla, a cellist whose talent has already made her famous but not happy, form an unlikely friendship when they are forced to share a practice room at their high school.

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott – JFIC ALC
Chronicles the joys and sorrows of the four March sisters as they grow into young women in nineteenth-century New England.

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The Only Thing Worse than Me is You, Lily Anderson – YFIC AND
After years of competing against each other, Trixie and Ben form a fandom-based tentative friendship when their best friends start dating each other, but after Trixie’s friend gets expelled for cheating they have to choose which side they are on.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde – 822 W
Oscar Wilde’s madcap farce about mistaken identities, secret engagements, and lovers entanglements still delights readers more than a century after its 1895 publication and premiere performance. – from Goodreads

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His Majesty’s Dragon, Naomi Novik – SF NOV
When the HMS Reliant captures a French ship and its priceless cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, Captain Will Laurence is swept into an unexpected kinship with an extraordinary creature and joins the elite Aerial Corps as a master of the dragon Temaraire, in which role he must match wits with the powerful dragon-borne forces of Napoleon Bonaparte.

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Beethoven’s Skull, Tim Rayborn – 780.92 BEETHOVEN 2016
Beethoven’s Skull is a humorous survey of the many strange happenings in the history of Western classical music. Working on the assumption that good music and shocking tabloid-style stories make excellent bedfellows, it details tales of revenge, murder, curious accidents, and strange fates that span over 2,000 years.

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Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead, Rick Riordan – JFIC RIO
Magnus and his friends set sail for the farthest borders of Jotunheim and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat, Loki’s demonic ship full of zombies.

Or start with book 1:
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer, Rick Riordan – JFIC RIO
Magnus Chase, a homeless boy living in Boston, finds out he is the son of a Norse god.

Book Review


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Ms.Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a fascinating read about the magical. However, just as the cover implies, it is not like most magical stories as it contains dark elements and suspense, easily fitting in among the stories that classify as macabre. It tells us the story about a boy who is thrown into a world of dark creatures and strange powers and accurately represents the reaction of a person when put in the same situation. However, it is also able to lighten the darkened mood after a tense situation with humor, often with sass from the narrator. The author was able to make sure that the mood of the story does not bring down the reader as he places jokes that are relevant to the situation at appropriate times to make sure that it is not just dark parts to the story. The way it shows the narrator’s parents, although it paints them in a way that could be hard to sympathize with by the intended audience, it also shows how they are trying to help him, although they do not know how to or that they are wrong about what he needs help with. It helps put into perspective that, although someone may think that he or she are doing what is best for a friend, family member, or significant other, they may be doing the exact opposite.

TAB Recommends

TAB Recommends – Science Fiction (Mostly)
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 taken from Novelist.

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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.

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Neuromancer, William Gibson – SF GIB 2000
Case, a burned-out computer whiz, is asked to steal a security code that is locked in the most heavily guarded databank in the solar system.

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Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut – FIC VON
Billy Pilgrim, a chaplain’s assistant during the Second World War, returns home only to be kidnapped by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore, who teach him that time is an eternal present.

Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card – SF CAR 1991
Six-year-old Ender Wiggin and his fellow students at Battle School are being tested and trained to determine whether they possess the abilities to remake the world — if the world survives an all-out war with an alien enemy.

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The 5th Wave, Rick Yancy – YSF YAN
Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.

Winter, Marissa Meyer – YSF MEY
Cinder and her allies are joined in the plot to overthrow Queen Levana by the queen’s stepdaughter, Winter, who has long been defying her evil stepmother’s wishes by harboring feelings for her personal guard whom she is forbidden from marrying.

Or start at book one:

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Cinder, Marissa Meyer – YSF MEY
As plague ravages the overcrowded Earth, observed by a ruthless lunar people, Cinder, a gifted mechanic and cyborg, becomes involved with handsome Prince Kai and must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect the world in this futuristic take on the Cinderella story.

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1984, George Orwell – FIC ORW
Portrays life in a future time when a totalitarian government watches over all citizens and directs all activities.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, Chip and Dan Heath – 302 H 2007
A groundbreaking resource for those who need to deliver a memorable message introduces six key principles that help make messages stick–simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotions, and stories–and explains how to incorporate each of these factors into the creative thought process.

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The Martian, Andy Weir – SF WEI
An edge-of-your seat debut thriller with laugh-out-loud dialogue mixed in. After a bad storm cuts his team’s Mars mission short, injured astronaut Mark Watley is stranded. Now he’s got to figure out how to survive without air, shelter, food, or water on the harsh Martian landscape until the next manned mission in four years.


Inspirational Book Quotes to Get You Through the New Year

Since we have just entered the new year I have made a list of 10 quotes from a number of young adult novels that should get you through the ups and downs of 2018. I have put the titles and authors of the books these quotes came from in case you wanted to check them out.

1. “We’ve all got both light and dark inside of us, what matters is the part we choose to act on, that’s who we really are.” – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling

2.“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” –The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, by Suzanne Collins

3. “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” – I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai

4.“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, but you do have some say in who hurts you.”- The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green

5.“I don’t want you to save me. I want you to stand by my side as I save myself.” – Saving Zoe, by Alyson Noel

6.“Geeky people often have that which is most valuable in this life. A mind with its own heartbeat.” –My Heartbeat, by Garret Freymann-Weyr 

7.“People shouldn’t use words like weird, everyone’s weird. That’s the way I look at it.” – The Body of Christopher Creed, by Carol Plum-Ucci

8.“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” – Harry Potter and the Sorcerers/ Philosophers Stone, by J.K. Rowling

9.“What an unchallenging life it would be if we always got everything right on the first go.” – Ms. Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs

10.“It amazes me what humans can do, even when streams are flowing down their faces and they stagger on, coughing and searching and finding.” –The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

Book Review

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Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

Rating: 4/4 stars

October Daye is not your average private investigator living in San Francisco–she’s a changeling, an individual who is half faerie, half human.  After spending fourteen years turned into a koi fish by an enemy, one of her closest allies in the faerie world is murdered by an unknown enemy.  Her ally’s dying wish is for her to solve the crime–and when October hears this, she is literally cursed so that if she doesn’t do it, then she, too, will die!  With the help of her friends, allies, and even enemies in the human and faerie worlds, October goes forth to solve the crime, making disturbing discoveries along the way.

Fans of young adult authors such as Holly Black (Modern Faerie Tales trilogy, Curse Workers trilogy) and Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments series, Infernal Devices trilogy) will enjoy this book’s urban fantasy and action elements, such as the fae living beside humans in modern-day San Francisco and frequent fight scenes.  This is technically a book written for adults, although it has high teen appeal and is appropriate for teenagers, with nothing more violent than most teen books.  October is also a very interesting female heroine, with various strengths and flaws and a detailed history.  The side characters are also interesting, although not as developed.  The constantly-moving nature of the story and bits of dry humor sprinkled throughout keep the story moving and the reader does not know what will happen next, although, unlike many pure “action” books, there is enough pausing here and there paired with backstory to steady the constant flow and give the reader a chance to know the characters.  The mystery elements of the book are blended into the fantasy aspect well, while still being logical and believable.    If you’re interested in a fast-paced but thoughtful read which details the intricacies of the faerie world, Rosemary and Rue is one of the best books in the genre that I have read.

Book Review




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Masterminds by Gordon Korman

Rating: 3/4 stars

Masterminds, one of Gordon Korman’s more recent books, follows a group of kids in the seemingly perfect town of Serenity, New Mexico; free of crime and violence and, incidentally, the nation’s top producer of orange traffic cones.  To say any more about the story would give most of it away, as the book is aimed at middle-grade readers and quite short.  If you’re looking for a quick, funny read, you will probably enjoy this book.

Like many of Korman’s books, the story is one of teamwork and how a group of kids with quirky talents can work together to pull off an outlandish plan.  Similar to his other books, such as the Swindle series, No More Dead Dogs, The Sixth-Grade Nickname Game, and The Chicken Doesn’t Skate, Korman takes a group of conflicting characters and forces them to work together through an outlandish situation.  The story also has a somewhat suspenseful theme that moves beyond comedic elementary-school scenes to an action plotline not entirely unlike another series Korman has contributed to, the bestselling 39 Clues series, although this book strikes a happy balance between realistic middle-grade situations and international conspiracy.

The best part of this book was the plotline, which was a fascinating concept for a teen interested in forensic psychology and fairly original in middle-grade literature.  Though the characters are not very well-developed, and the author makes things a bit too simple at different points, there are many hints to further aspects of the characters and plotline and there are sequels that will likely reveal more.