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Book Reviews

14 Apr 2014 4:30 PM | Jessica Roy (Administrator)

A Series of Book Reviews from Maine Librarians.


From Nancy Noble, Archivist/Cataloger, Maine Historical Society:


I just read Simon Armitage’s Walking home : a poet’s journey. Published in 2013, this book details his walk along the Pennine Way in England, which is much like America’s Appalachian Trail. Armitage exchanges room and board at various venues for reading his poems, to a variety of audiences, including appreciative, at times. Not only did I learn about this trail, but I enjoyed Armitage’s wit and honesty about himself.

This book brought to mind another wonderful book, by Baron Wormser, The Road washes out in spring: a poet’s memoir of living off the grid. Baron Wormser was the Poet Laureate of Maine in 2000, and at the time of his book, lived in Madison, Maine, where he was a librarian for the local school district. Anyone who lives rural in Maine (and experiences mud season) will appreciate and enjoy this book.


From Katie Connor, Brewer Public Library:


Longbourn, by Jo Baker, is a fascinating twist on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. For all those who loved Austen's social criticism, this provides an eye-opening peek into the belowstairs world. Focusing on the housemaid, Sarah, the footman, James, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Hill, this book leads the reader through all Longbourn's secrets, from rooms you never saw before, to secrets no one wanted you to know. Though initially it may seem like a slow read, Jo Baker knows how to hit the reader where it counts, leaving you spinning and eager to read more.


From Jennifer Stone, Old Town High School Library Media Specialist:

The Truth About Alice

by Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Roaring Book Press

Genre: YA
Expected Publication Date: June 3, 2014
Author Website: http://www.jennifermathieu.com/

Book Summary from Goodreads: Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

My Thoughts: I received an advance copy of Jennifer Mathieu’s debut novel from NetGalley and it kept me turning the pages. It’s a powerful story about the impact of rumors, what friendship means and discovering friendships in the most unlikely people. The story is told in alternating chapters between Elaine, Kelsie, Kurt and Josh with the last chapter by Alice.

Kelsie: “The hard truth is I think I knew we weren’t going to be friends anymore the day after Elaine’s party when I read the text about her and Brandon and Tommy Cray. It sounds terrible and shallow and not at all like something the Kelsie Sanders I knew in Flint would have said, but I’ve spent too many years sitting alone in the cafeteria, and I just can’t handle doing it again. And I won’t.”

Young adults will definitely identify and connect with the characters and as someone who is around teenagers all the time I  found the writing style to be very similar to how teenagers think and speak. There are some important lessons in this book and this would be a great book for discussion, whether in a class or book club. I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this for my library, I’ve already had one student upset that they couldn’t get the book NOW!

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