May 4th, 2010


This week we're featuring a review of a terrific new middle grade paperback original, Middleworld.

A strong current will carry heavy debris downstream that would sink in more placid waters. Middleworld, by J & P Voelker has an exuberance to it, a swift current, which not only makes it a pleasure to read, but buoys its clunkier elements. The Voelkers (pictured below) plainly love Mayan culture, and their knowledge and passion for it makes this timely tale of the end of days in the Mayan Calendar, and the world's great peril, something to be cared about not out of the perfunctory need to save the world, but because the Voelker's Mayan world is fun and engaging. Middleworld is narrated by 14 year old Max Murphy, the son of Mayan archeologists. Max leaves his Bostonian digs to seek his parents who, he finds upon landing in (mythical South American country) San Xavier, are lost in the Jungle. He teams up with a very funny, acerbic Mayan girl, Lola, and together with some allies square off against the long hand of the descendants of evil missionaries. Max and Lola are a great duo, and Max's lighthearted but self honest narration lends a good, comfortable feel to the story. We like the good guys, we loathe the bad guys, and we can't wait to find out about the Yellow Jaguar Stone in book two. And if Zia does turn out to be Lola's mother, and even if, after his Uncle gives up his lucrative smuggling side line to just concentrate on the family banana business, Uncle Ted's now disused multi-million dollar secret smuggling lair suddenly comes in handy in the future, well why shouldn't it? This truly is a book that can be recommended with impunity.

Here they are! Our weekly picks for the two best: two hardcover, two paperback, and two children's books. The very best new arrivals to leap out of the box and onto our shelves this week. Call or email us if you want more information on any of these titles, or to have us hold you a copy. Or stop in and check them out in person. We'd love to see you. Thanks as always for sharing your reading with us!

 

The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn

The Last Stand: Custer, Sitting Bull, and the Battle of the Little Bighorn
By Philbrick, Nathaniel
2010-05 - Viking Books
9780670021727 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $30.00 - Your Price: $24.00


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Of Philbrick's last three books, Mayflower was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize, In The Heart of the Sea won the National Book Award, and Sea of Glory won The Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Naval History Prize. Not too shabby. Given Philbrick's track record, and the inherent interest in The Battle of Little Big Horn, It's hard to see The Last Stand letting the side down. ...More

Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation
By Kwok, Jean
2010-04 - Riverhead Hardcover
9781594487569 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $25.95 - Your Price: $20.76


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According to Amy, who, incidentally, is extremely trustworthy, "Girl in Translation follows a girl and her mother as they move from a comfortable life in Hong Kong to America in search of a better life. But upon arrival in New York, their lives take an unexpected turn and they find themselves in an unheated, infested apartment in an abandoned building. Despite the girl's stunted English, she soon excels in the public school and realizes the burden lies upon her to lead their way out of abject poverty. The narrator's clear and hopeful voice is a beacon through the wrenching desperation of their circumstances. This beautifully written debut is an eye-opener, both to the injustices suffered by immigrants and the ignorance of everyday Americans to their plight." ...More

The Little Stranger

The Little Stranger
By Waters, Sarah
2010-05 - Riverhead Books
9781594484469 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $16.00 - Your Price: $12.80


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Now out in paperback, this suspenseful historical novel, combining elements of mystery and the macabre, was a customer favorite in hardcover. ...More

South of Broad

South of Broad
By Conroy, Pat
2010-05 - Dial Press
9780385344074 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $16.00 - Your Price: $12.80


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Karen really enjoyed Conroy's latest novel, now out in paperback. The West report is, "It's the Big Chill in a novel. I heard It Through The Grapevine was playing it in my head as I was reading it." ...More

Strength in What Remains



Strength in What Remains
By Kidder, Tracy
2010-05 - Random House Trade
9780812977615 - Paperback   See Other Formats
List Price $16.00 - Your Price: $12.80


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Strength in What Remains Kidder's powerful best seller, easily earns The Weekly Top 2 DBBTONIP (Deserving Big Book That's Out Now In Paperback) rating. ...More

Dark Life

Dark Life
By Falls, Kat
2010-05 - Scholastic Press
9780545178143 - Hardcover   See Other Formats
List Price $16.99 - Your Price: $13.59


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This highly entertaining Hybrid of two genres, Dystopias and Westerns, is light on plot background and details, but strong on action and character development. The science is fun rather than scientific. For example the idea that being born and living under the sea gives children sea style powers, like sonar and electric eel charges, is much like saying that if dolphins were raised in outer space they would develop space powers such as generating black holes or shooting neutrinos around. Still cool powers are cool powers, and kids will love this quick and engaging read. ...More

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