Gough, Richard. History of Myddle.

NY: Dorset Press, 1981.

The history you learn in school is “big” history — wars, world leaders, crusades, international treaties, vast social movements like industrialization — but I’ve always been far more interested in small, day-to-day, “next door” history. What people wore and ate, how they earned a living, their personal experiences at war, why they left the family farm and went elsewhere to raise their families, and what sort of things were important to them.

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Published in: on 10 February 2019 at 4:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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Caletti, Deb. The Story of Us.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 2012.

Caletti writes both adult-level and YA novels, and though I’ve only read a couple of them, I’m impressed so far. This one is marketed for teens but it’s considerably more thoughtful and nuanced than most, and while it’s a love story — more than one, in fact — it’s not just a standard-issue adolescent romance. And by the time you reach the end, you will realize that the title doesn’t mean quite what you had assumed it meant back there at the beginning.

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Aird, Catherine. Henrietta Who?

London: Macdonald, 1968.

I don’t know how I never heard of this author, since she’s been writing English murder mysteries of the semi-cozy variety since the late 1960s. In fact, she has produced some two dozen novels in the past half-century, the most recent only two years ago, which is quite a long career.

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Published in: on 11 January 2019 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wells, Martha. Exit Strategy.

NY: Tor, 2018.

When I first began the series of four “Murderbot” novellas, I sort of thought they would be separate little adventures. Turns out it’s all a single story arc, so you can really think of them as a single 600-page novel published in four parts. And it’s definitely worth reading.

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Published in: on 2 January 2019 at 8:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Castle, Jennifer. You Look Different in Real Life.

NY: Harper-Collins, 2013.

This is an unusual sort of YA novel and a very enjoyable one. Justine is a sixteen-year-old student in a small town in New York’s Hudson Valley, and back when she was six, she and four of her schoolmates — all of them rather different from each other, of course — were chosen to star in a sort-of documentary film about what typical kids go through in the process of growing up. That film won awards and made them semi-famous, and the couple who filmed and produced it decided to do a series of sequels, five years apart, until the kids reached adulthood.

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Published in: on 21 December 2018 at 7:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Johnson, Maureen. The Bermudez Triangle.

NY: Penguin, 2004.

Most YA novels aimed at teenage girls seem to be about friendship and romance, which are obviously themes of continual interest to the more thoughtful among that segment of the population. This one falls into that subcategory but it’s considerably better than most. It’s not cutesy and it doesn’t talk down to the reader, and there’s also some very funny writing.

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Published in: on 12 December 2018 at 5:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wells, Martha. Rogue Protocol.

NY: Tor, 2018.

This is the third of Wells’s four-novel hard-SF cycle featuring the artificially constructed sort-of-android security unit that thinks of himself — itself — as “Murderbot.” They only run around 150 pages each, but there’s a lot of action so each of them feels more like a full-size novel.

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Published in: on 9 November 2018 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Green, John. Paper Towns.

NY: Dutton, 2008.

Green is one of the more “serious” authors of Young Adult novels. He doesn’t do frothy romances, but rather in-depth explorations of the teenage psyche and the often harrowing process of trying to become an adult, and this is an excellent example of that. It’s not a long story, only 120 pages, but the complexity of the thinking behind it and the density of the narrative make it feel like three or four times that length.

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Macgregor, Joanne. The Law of Tall Girls.

np: Amazon Digital Services, 2017.

I have a 15-year-old granddaughter who has been a book junky — and a quite sophisticated one — since before she could read for herself. Now, I read a fair number of straight-to-Kindle books — and the average quality is higher than you might think — but I don’t ordinarily review them. The same is true of YA novels: I review only a small number of those I actually read. This highly engaging teenage love story, however, is an exception in both ways.

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Published in: on 3 November 2018 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Edmondson, Elizabeth. Finding Philippe.

London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2001.

This late author produced a series of very enjoyable romance-mystery-thriller novels, all set in the immediate post-World War II period in Britain — though it somewhat pains me to think of a story set in my own lifetime as “historical fiction” — and this was one of the few I hadn’t previously read.

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