Check It Out!

Staff recommendations and reviews from the Plainfield Public Library

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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Sometimes you are enjoying the characters and story in a book so much you don’t want it to end. This was the case with Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng for me. I also listened to the audiobook version which was excellent.

The story is set in 1996/97 Cleveland and tells the story of two families. Mia, a single mom and her 15-year-old daughter Pearl,  and the wealthy Sanderson family, Lenore and Peter and their four children. Their lives intertwine in an interesting way, with some surprises along the way.

Mia is an artist who just moved to the area and rented a house from Lenore Sanderson. Mia’s daughter, Pearl, meets the Sanderson children at school. Trip, the popular athlete, Lexi, part of the “in” crowd, Moody, the shy, studious one that she becomes good friends with, and Izzy, the black sheep of the family.

The book begins with a fire and then flashes back to what happened before and how certain actions led up to the fire. The friendships and relationships throughout the book and the actions chosen by some of the characters make for a gripping story. I can see why it has gathered a lot of buzz this year. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Liane Moriarty or Kristin Hannah.


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My Sister’s Grave

A sister missing for 20 years,  a small town in Washington state, a questionable trial and a wicked snowstorm make for a good story in this first installment of the Tracy Crosswhite series.

Tracy Crosswhite is a homicide detective in Seattle. Twenty years ago she left her sister to drive home alone and she disappeared.  Her grave is found after 20 years in the forest outside their small town of Cedar Grove.  Tracy has always thought the man put in prison for her murder was not guilty. She found too many inconsistencies during the trial.

After her sister’s body is found, Tracy helps put in motion an appeal for Edmund House, the man convicted of killing her. Sadly, everything is not what she thinks and she ends up in peril.

I enjoyed this thriller, it kept me reading. I will continue reading the series.

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The Hate U Give

This was a terrific, eye-opening, Young Adult novel about Starr, a 16 year old African American girl who has to deal with the shooting death of her friend Khalil by a white police officer. Starr has a supportive mom and dad, along with two brothers, one who is her half brother. She lives in the ‘hood, but goes to a predominately white school where she has a white boyfriend, but feels she can’t be herself.

At first after the shooting, her parents try to shield her from the situation but Starr realizes she needs to stand up for Khalil and tell everyone what really happened that night.

The story follows Starr through testifying to the Grand Jury, riots in the neighborhood, her dad finding out about her white boyfriend, and protesting against the outcome of the investigation. Through it all you get a sense of her family and the love and support they give each other,  her neighborhood, as well as the racial injustice everyone deals with daily.

I loved this book. The story and characters felt so real to me, not forced or fake. The dialogue was sometimes sad, sometimes funny and always realistic. I highly recommend this book to everyone as it is a timely topic in today’s world.

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The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth seems to be a high school in Mill Valley, CA, a town outside of  San Francisco. After reading this book I wouldn’t argue! Teenagers are so mean. You couldn’t pay me to go back to being a teen in today’s world.

The book starts with the characters in 8th grade and moves to their junior and senior years. Each chapter is told from a different point of view. Some of the chapters didn’t follow the story in the previous chapter. I found myself wanting more information about a character or story, but didn’t get it because the next chapter jumped to a new character and different story.

The characters were not very likable, but the story was interesting. A tragedy occurs in 8th grade that effects the teens in different ways throughout the book. Abby and Cally stop being friends and go down different paths in high school. Ryan and Nick move through their high school years without thought to the consequences of their actions, as well as what the future holds. Molly, the new, young teacher, wants to “reach” her students, but she makes some bad choices along the way.

I enjoyed this story and would recommend reading it.  The book would make a great pick for a book club!

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The Breaker – Little Big Town

I love Little Big Town, a country band with beautiful harmonies. After seeing them in concert last year, I was excited to listen to their new CD, The Breaker. I was not disappointed! The first track, Happy People, is a great start to the CD. Driving Around and Rollin are two of the more upbeat, fun songs on the album. The other songs are a little more quiet, with beautiful harmonies by the band. When Someone Stops Loving You is a heartbreaking ballad about loss.

Overall, this album seems to have slower paced, serious songs on it. After listening to it several times I  found myself skipping a couple of tracks to get to the fun songs! Overall, I enjoyed this CD and will add it to my playlist.