Reviews from Summer Reading Participants

Sign up for our Summerfest reading program and contribute your own book reviews (plus we got some really cool prizes, including a Nook e-reader). Go to to sign up and write a review.

As of June 29, the community has read more than 20,000 hours as part of our Summerfest reading program! Join the community and check out one of the books featured in readers’ reviews below. Remember you don’t have to read something you checked out from the library – though we love it when you do. A book you have at home, a magazine, even the back of a cereal box can count.

Quick link to reviews for Kids | Teens | Adults

Kid Review Round-up

The Ugly Duckling by Irene Bordoy

Kemorie Gay: 4 stars. That swan was pretty.

Hotel for Dogs by Lois Duncan

Killian Hayes: 5 stars. A pawsitively awesome book.

The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams by Rhonda Hayter

Mimi Leiker: 4 stars. Abbie has always wanted a kitten. When she gets one, it turns out to be the famous Thomas Edison as a young boy! Then her mom and dad try so hard to get him back to his oringinal form, but they must find out who did it. Then when they do find out who did it, it turns out to be Dr. March Hall! He was “trying” to help them! Or was he? They must get Tom back to his year!

Lily and the Mixed Up Letters by Deborah Hodge

Emma Curley: 5 stars. This is my favorite book. This is about a girl who is just like me. My mom bought me the book, after I had checked it out from the library. It made me feel better after I read it.

Fast Food by Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

Ivy Komiya: 5 stars. This book was amazing! My daughter loved looking at the pictures, and naming all the different fruits and veggies!! A must read for children of all ages.

Hank the Cowdog: The Watermelon Patch Mystery by John R. Erickson

Ben Steinkuehler: 5 stars. Hank is funny. Drover has six chicken marks. Edie the Raccoon used to live with Hank.  Gourds are bitter. Watermelons are sweet. Moonbeams change gourds to watermelons and they change watermelons to gourds in Hank’s mind. It was a good book. I would recommend it.

Teen Review Round-up

Operation Yes by Sara Lewis Holmes

Victoria Medrano: 5 stars. This book is about a group of kids that go to school on a military base. Their teacher’s brother is in Afghanistan fighting. Their teacher is also very big on theater. At the end of the day, after all their learning, they work on acting and improv. Toward the middle of the school year, their teacher gets a note saying her brother is missing. After she leaves the students make a plan to try and get her old self back. But how can they do that? They start Operation Yes.

Go for the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life by Mia Hamm

Kendall Beemer: 5 stars. This book talks about everything from the fundamentals of soccer to what it felt like to win the 1999 Women’s World Cup. Go for the Goal is a must-read for soccer fans of all ages.

Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Chloe Mooradian: 5 stars. Having to read this for a school reading program had me disapointed, beings that this looked like a boring book. Yet, when I opened it and read into the lives of Dr. Manette, Lucy, Darnay, and, most of all Carton, I was enthralled by their stories. Although it takes time to sit down and digest it (I highly recommend sparknotes!) the book is worth its weight in gold and highly recommended – what a good break from all the contemporary novels and a dive into classics!!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Eboni Johnson: 5 stars. This book was about how an Indian on the reservation changes his life around starting by transferring to a new school. But life becomes much harder when white people ignore him, and Indians despise him for being a traitor. But when he earns the respect of the other basketball players and leads them to the play-offs beating his old teammates, he finds that he may have a chance after all. A major theme in this book was to never give up. Even though Arnold had to go through so many hardships he never loses sight of his dreams to make it to the outside world. I really liked the pictures that provide a funnier side in all the seriousness. Also, the jokes were timed well, so they gave off an awkward joke that you feel weird laughing at. One thing I didn’t like was there were a few too many pictures, and some of them seemed unnecessary. Although this book is somewhat inappropriate for kids that are younger, I would still recommend it to anyone who is at least 13 years old. It is a great book to read regardless of boy or girl. I would also recommend this to anyone who likes funny books, but also a more serious reader would enjoy it too. Overall I would say that this is perfect for the average reader.

Betsy and the Emperor by Staton Rabin

Carolyn Kimball: 5 stars. This book was absolutely top shelf! Napoleon Bonaparte has been captured and sent to be a prisoner on the desolate island of St Helena, where he meets young Betsy Balcombe and the two become fast friends. Historical fiction at its greatest.

Adult Review Round-up

The Sentry by Robert Crais

Carie Starbuck: 4 stars. This latest novel from Crais was much more than I expected. I had started reading Crais many years ago when his novels focused on detective Elvis Cole, but strayed away when he took a turn with Joe Pike because I felt Pike’s character lacked the emotion to carry an entire novel. I shouldn’t have worried- Crais not only proves Pike has an emotional side (even as he’s snapping necks!) but also bring in favorite Cole to add contract to Pike’s quiet existence. Loved the novel, though the end resolution occurred in a less whiz-bang way than normal for a Crais novel.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Kara Bush: 5 stars. This book is amazing and my first read by this particular author. I was quite impressed by the character development of multiple characters. I felt, joy, shock, depression and sadness right along with the leads in the book. Will definitely bring a tear to your eye and make you laugh out loud. I strongly recommend this book to any woman.  If you liked A Same Kind of Different as Me, then you will also appreciate this book.

Cemetery of Dreams by S. Mostofi

Heather Johanning: 4 stars. Cemetery of Dreams by S. Mostofi follows characters from high society as well as middle and poorer class Iranians in the years following the revolution of 1979 and the events surrounding the U.S. embassy hostage taking by Iranian students and the failed U.S. military attempt to rescue them, “Operation Eagle Claw.” The story is about Arman who is taking care of his sick father. He is dragged into supporting the CIA coup against the regime. He enlists a group of 400 soldiers to help him and is faced with betrayals and intrigue on all sides. The author doesn’t shy away from painting the reality of the situation. The story of the kid being executed for the `crime’ of his parents is heartbreaking (it’s based on actual events) and in my mind, exemplifies how people can lose their humanity and common sense in a time of crisis.

High Country by Willard Wyman

Spencer N Neill: 5 stars. A great read for those who like the thrill of Westerns but long for the sophistication of literature. The characters will challenge and the descriptions of the high country they live and work in will take your breath away. I highly recommend it.

Twice a Spy by Keith Thomson

Kyle Stueven: 4 stars. Twice a spy was an incredible edge-of-the-seat ride. The characters developed well and the plot moves very well. This is the first book that I have read by Keith Thomson. This is a sequel to Once A Spy. However, you do not necessarily need to read the first one to pick up the story-line. This was a  great read.