• rtice

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!

Hello Readers!

Welcome to another edition of the Easton Public Library Review Blog.

Before we get into the great reviews we have for you today, I want to provide some updates for you.

First: The Library will reopen to the public on Monday, July 6th, 2020 at 10 AM. We will be open to the public Monday through Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM. More information can be found on our website.

Second: Our summer reading programs are now in full swing! We have programs for children, teens, and adults. Check out our website for more details on our summer reading programs. Help us meet our goal of reading around the globe!

Now, for the reviews!

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Graphic Novel available in print and electronically on our digital platforms.

Intended Audience: Young Adults/Teens

Reviewed by: Kristine

Nimona wants to be a sidekick. She is like an eager puppy and begs super villain, Ballister Blackheart to take her on. She is a perfect combination of girlish enthusiasm and tough-as-nails grit. Noelle Stevenson’s fantasy graphic novel packs a ton of story into a small package with generous helpings of humor, compassion, action, revenge, and forgiveness.

Ballister and his longtime nemesis, Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin, have a complicated past. When Nimona pops into Blackheart's life he has lost his passion for evil. Her youthful energy gives him new reason to work against Goldenloin and “the Institution.” Nimona is like a buddy story where the characters are hopelessly mismatched but end up building a strong friendship and mutual respect.

Nothing in Nimona is what it appears to be. Good is not good, evil is not evil, and Nimona is not helpless. All the characters have a vulnerability that endears them to the reader. The quest embarked upon by Nimona and Blackheart seems unattainable. But like all good warriors, they persevere.

Nimona seamlessly mixes genres so they feel natural. Blackheart and Goldenloin are jousters and swordsmen, and this is mixed with computer technology beyond our own along with boring refrigerators and newscasts. The humor is laugh out loud clever and there are moments that absolutely break your heart. Stevenson’s writing is incredibly smart in its simplicity. Nimona began as a popular webcomic while Stevenson was still in art school and has gone on to receive high accolades. It was a National Book Award finalist, was nominated for an Eisner Award, and won a Cyblis Award, as well as online awards.

Stevenson's illustrations are sharp and yet soft. Nimona looks like a London punk with pink hair and piercings. Blackheart is solemn and dark, and Goldeloin is androgynous perfection.

There is some marvelous bonus material at the end of the book, including some Christmas themed mini-comics and early sketches of the characters.

I would highly recommend Nimona to readers in grades 7 and up, and maybe even a bit younger. There are some dark parts but nothing gratuitous. Nimona will steal hearts and make readers wish for more.

Revenge and the Wild by Michelle Modesto

Book available to Easton residents in print.

Intended Audience: Young Adults/Teens

Reviewed by: Kristine

Hold onto your Stetsons, you’re in for a wild ride with Michelle Modesto’s Revenge and the Wild.

Westie’s family was murdered on the wagon trail when she was a young girl. She barely escaped with her own life, losing an arm in the process. She was rescued by a native Wintu tribe and raised by a brilliant inventor. Now she lives in Rogue City, a typical old west town with dusty streets and a rowdy saloon.

Finding, and bringing to justice, her family’s killers has been her obsession for years and now they seem to have arrived in her own Rogue City. But getting anyone in town to believe that the wealthy Fairfield family are the cannibals that killed her family will be difficult. That’s right, I said cannibals!

Revenge and the Wild is not your typical western. It's a genre mashup with fantasy and steampunk elements. Westie has an intricate copper mechanical prosthetic arm made by her adopted father that gives her a delightful cyborg quality. Rogue City is protected by a magical dome and is full of fantastic creatures. There is the quintessential sexy vampire, a pet chupacabra, and an array of elves, werewolves, and trolls that inhabit the California town.

Modesto’s writing brings the whole crazy thing to life in such a natural way that it all seems perfectly plausible. Westie is a flawed character with questionable judgement. She is fiercely loyal, charmingly insecure, and vastly likable. Young Adult readers will relate to Westie, cheer her on, cringe at her poor decisions, and empathize with her faults. The book is a serious page-turner with a twist that was so unexpected, I was rendered speechless with surprise. I would recommend this book to Teens, aged 13 and up who enjoy fantasy, action, mystery, and don’t mind some gory bits. Sometimes the wildest rides can be the most satisfying.

The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier

Book available to Easton residents in print

Intended Audience: Young Adults/Teens

Reviewed by: Kristine

Every young adult has felt like they were alone in the world. Like no one has ever gone through what they are going through. In The Last Girl on Earth by Alexandra Blogier this feeling is a reality.

Li is human. The earth has been colonized by Abdoloreans who determined that humans were an inferior species who had squandered their planet and so they were destroyed. Li’s stepfather had been a friend to humans and smuggled Li out as a baby. Abdoloreans and humans are essentially, physically identical except for gills on their necks. Li’s father implanted a fake set of gills on Li’s neck to help her blend in. Since the last known human was captured and experimented on, Li’s life depends on blending in. Abdoloreans are also physically stronger and smarter than humans so Li’s father has trained her every day of her life to be more than human.

Abdolorean teens are conscripted into military service right after high school. They study and train for years for the best planetary posting. Li had worked extraordinarily hard to earn a desirable officer posting. As the day of graduation and the post assignments grows near, Li’s dedication is disrupted when she meets Ryn and a romance blossoms. Will her secret be revealed?

The science fiction aspects of this book are secondary to Li’s timeless story of otherness. She simultaneously hates the Abdoloreans for murdering her entire species but she has grown up as one and her loving Abdolorean family have sacrificed their own safety to protect her. There are similarities to other stories of a character hiding in plain sight to save their life. The Last Girl on Earth will appeal to younger teens from age 12 to 14. Li is a believable teen protagonist who female readers will especially relate to. The story would make for an excellent beach read.

Framed! by James Ponti

Available in print and downloadable audiobook (Hoopla)

Intended Audience: Middle Grade (Grades 4-7)

Reviewed by: Mary Beth

Seventh-grader Florian Bates is recruited by the FBI to work as a covert asset. Sound far-fetched? It is, until you get to know Florian. He’s able to piece together the little things that escape the notice of others and these little things help solve mysteries. He and his new friend, Margaret, use this skill to help the FBI investigate a major art heist at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. There are plenty of twists and turns and even an encounter with a notorious crime syndicate boss. Fans of fast-paced mysteries, a clever plot, and a very clever protagonist will want to add this book to their summer reading list.

This title is a 2021 Intermediate Nutmeg Nominee

My Brilliant Friend

Available on HBO

Intended Audience: Adults

Reviewed by: Mary Beth

Based on Elena Ferrante’s best-selling novels, this HBO series is set in the 1950s in a gritty, vibrant neighborhood just outside Naples. The series is a riveting exposé on friendship, classism, and the harsh realities of poverty. The story centers on the transformation of Elena Greco, her friend Lila, and post-war Italy. School and education are central to the girls’ friendship and when their paths diverge, the ensuing story takes stormy, sometimes redemptive, turns.

Currently seasons 1 and 2 are available on HBO. The series has been renewed for a third season. Start watching now, so you’ll be ready when season 3 premiers!

That's all we have for you this week, but I'm sure that's more than enough books and episodes to watch.

Until time...


Recent Posts

See All