Category Archives: Patron Reviews

Young adult book review – Lady Midnight

LadyMidnightLady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight is the first book in the Dark Artifices series by the Author Cassandra Clare. It takes place several years after the last book in The Mortal Instruments.  It follows Emma Carstairs and the Blackthorn Family on their adventures. The book makes for a very satisfying read. Cassandra Clare’s writing is full of wonderfully sarcastic moments and artfully written fights. It’s dangerous how emotionally attached to Clare’s characters one can become, but it is very hard not to. I would recommend her books to anyone age twelve and up.

Review by Juniper Blomberg, Lopez Island Library Summer Intern

YARLI Reads “Literary Salon-style” for December 2015

As a change of pace, the Young Adult Readers of Lopez Island (YARLI) held a “literary salon-type” meeting in December to share a wider range of books for children, teens and even adults. Ten members met at the Lopez Bookshop for two hours of food, conversation and good books. The selections were as diverse as the membership.

Diva and Flea, by Mo Willems, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

DivaAndFleaSet in present day Paris, Diva is a dog living in a penthouse & Flea is an alley cat. Written for elementary level, but transcends this box. Wonderful illustrations and interesting author’s note.





The Wednesday Wars, by Gary Schmidt

wed warsSet in 1967 Long Island, a walk down memory lane with references to the Vietnam War, the Beatles, and the Monkeys. A boy finds his way through reading Shakespeare with a teacher.






Amulet: The Stonekeeper’s Curse, by Kazu Kibuishi

amuletGraphic novel: power and how to use it. Kids love it for the action, sounds, good characters & that they can read both words & pictures.







Brilliant AND A Greyhound of a Girl, by Roddy Doyle

brilliant A-Greyhound-of-a-Girl-e1367633606865-250x250 Irish voice, working class; incredible dialogue; kids take on parents’ conversations spot-on & humorous. “Greyhound” covers four generations of women.



The Finisher, by David Baldacci

THE-FINISHER-cover-277x415An isolated community surrounded by a barrier filled with monsters. Strong female heroine questions the Council & discovers her own magical abilities.







The Long Mars, by Steven Baxter & Terry Pratchett

long marsEarth is multi-dimensional; how people function with limited or extravagant resources; family dynamics. Book 3 in “The Long Earth” series.







The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams

chosen oneA girl who tries to leave a polygamous culture.








The Flying Burgowski, by Gretchen Wing

flying burgowskiWhen girl starts to fly, I’m hooked, I really believed she could fly. Family relationships very realistic. Somewhat Lopezian, but island in story has its own character. “The Toad” is also a wonderful character!






Boo, by Neil Smith

booOpens and opens again; never saw what was coming. An afterlife just for 13-year-olds from the U.S.; tongue-in-cheek.







A Tale for the Time Being, by Ruth Ozeki

tale for time beingAdult, but so good she couldn’t pass up sharing it! Amazed how cruel other kids were to protagonist, an American who moved to Japan. Character finds solace & fun with her 104-year-old Bhuddist grandmother. Takes a long time to process after reading.





The Snow Goose, by Paul Gallico, illustrated by Beth Peck

snow gooseSet over 10 years during WW2 England. Story of a girl & a hunchback man who rescue an injured snow goose and each other. Timeless, heartbreaking, beautiful.






YARLI meets every 4th Tuesday, 7pm at the Lopez Island Library. Our next book is the science fiction novel Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline, on January 26th.

ready player onePlease join us! (Contact Beth at for more information.)

Movie Review: “The Big Year”

The_Big_YearThe Big Year

Directed by: David Frankel

Starring: Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson

Rated PG for language and some sensuality

Reviewed by Attie P.

A “Big Year” is an informal competition among birders to see who can see or hear the largest number of species of birds within a single calendar year and within a specific geographical area (usually the U.S.).

Based on the book by Mark Obmascik, The Big Year tells the story of three men who couldn’t be more different: Brad Harris (Jack Black), a 36-year-old computer programmer from Baltimore, Stu Preissler (Steve Martin), founder and CEO of a New York big business, and a roofing contractor named Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson), who holds the current Big Year record of 732 birds. Brad has had a love of birds since he was a kid, and is a skilled birder who can identify nearly any species solely by sound. He finally quits his job to do a Big Year both for himself and to hopefully impress his aging father. Stu, on the other hand, has finally retired from life as CEO of an enormous Manhattan-based chemical conglomerate that he started, and with full support from his wife, starts a Big Year to fill up empty time, and to complete a lifelong goal. Big Year record holder, Kenny, afraid that his record may be beaten this year wants to do a Big Year, but his wife, who is expecting a child, thinks that it will tear their marriage apart. But he goes ahead and does one anyway. Throughout the movie their lives intertwine and laughs ensue.

The Big Year is filled with humor, a little drama, and a lot of cool birds. A perfect family movie for whenever you need a good laugh. After all, any movie with three of Hollywood’s funniest actors can’t be bad.

Movie Review: “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

O_Brother_Where_Art_ThouO Brother, Where Art Thou?

Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

Starring: George Clooney, John Turturro, and Tim Blake Nelson, with John Goodman, Holly Hunter, and Charles Durning in supporting roles

Rated PG-13 for some violence and language

Reviewed by Attie P.

Three convicts, Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney), known as Everett, Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro) and Delmar O’Donnel (Tim Blake Nelson), escape from jail in order to retrieve $1.2 million that Everett buried. On the way they meet a one-eyed Bible salesman (John Goodman), a bipolar bank robber, and three deceptive sirens, and produce a hit song (without knowing it).

Packed with comedy, a little action and an amazing soundtrack (also available at the library), O Brother, Where Art Thou? will become an instant favorite. Easy to quote and fun to watch for anybody age 10-100 that likes a good laugh.

The film also received two Academy Award nominations at the 2000 Academy Awards: Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Cinematography. For his portrayal of Ulysses Everett McGill, George Clooney received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. The film was also nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

World War Z

World_War_ZWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks – Reviewed by Attie P.

“It goes by many names: “The Crisis,” “The Dark Years,” “The Walking Plague,” as well as newer and more “hip” Titles such as “World War Z” or “Z War One.” I personally dislike this last moniker as it implies an inevitable “Z War Two.” For me, it will always be “The Zombie War,” and while many may protest the scientific accuracy of the word zombie, they will be hard-pressed to discover a more globally accepted term for the creatures that almost caused our extinction.” -World War Z


Years after the time when people almost lost the battle with zombies, an agent of the U.N. Postwar Commission decides to start interviewing people about how they survived the war. He interviews everybody from a teenage girl to a guy on the International Space Station. We hear stories about fights breaking out over an emergency radio to living on a submarine. Stories about how even with the most high-tech weapons and most destructive devises, even an army can fall. Written in a style similar to Orson Wells’ War of the Worlds, World War Z tells the story of human survival in the most terrible of times.

World War Z was one of those books that keep you on your toes the whole time. Anybody that likes stories with suspense, action and cool weapons will love World War Z. Even though the name implies a scary, horror book, World War Z isn’t quite as creepy as it seems. Instead of scaring you, the book will shock you with tales of what humans could do, just to stay alive.



flyteFlyte, by Angie Sage – Reviewed by Zack H.

Angie Sage’s Flyte is the second book in the Septimus Heap series. It starts off with the protagonist’s eldest brother kidnapping the princess and Septimus needing help from new and old friends to bring her back. Flyte is a fast, delightful read and I would highly recommend it for anyone with a vivid imagination or anyone who likes the bizarre.

The Maze Runner

maze runnerThe Maze Runner, by James Dashner

Reviewed by Attie P. (age 12)

My name is Thomas, he thought. That … that was the only thing he could remember about his life.” (Dashner)

Thomas wakes up in an old windowless elevator that smells of burnt oil. He only remembers snippets of his life, flashbacks. Eventually the box stops and the doors open. The light blinds him, but as his eyes get used to it, he sees boys about his age, teenagers, but not one girl. They use words he doesn’t know, like shank, shuck, keeper, slopper. He learns that he is in the Glade, but he doesn’t know what that is. He is full of questions, but nobody will answer them. That night a boy, Newt, wakes him up and takes him to a window on the giant wall that separates the Glade from the Maze. He shows Thomas a Griever (imagine a giant slug with robotic spider legs), and the Maze. For some reason Thomas feels like he’s been there before.

Two days later a girl comes in the same box that Thomas came in. She wakes up and tells the boys that she will be the last person to come through the box. Ever. Then she goes into a coma for two weeks. People start to get suspicious because usually people come every three months, not every two days. Later, weird things start to happen, plunging Thomas into an adventure that pushes him to the max.

Fast paced, action packed, thrilling and clever are perfect words to describe The Maze Runner. Fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent will love this book, but anybody from 12 to 20 that has a taste for adventure will enjoy it too, because who doesn’t like a bit of a thrill every once in awhile?