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Book Reviews: June 2024


Hail Mary

By: Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction

An astronaut wakes up stranded light years away from Earth. Alone on a ship with no memory as to how he got there, he has to put pieces together in order to discover why he is on this ship. All he knows is that he is tasked with something very important. Slowly he begins to recall the story of his life, and the deadly nature of his mission. The astronaut soon discovers that he is not as alone as he believes himself to be.

Readers who enjoy space and books with constant action will love this book.


The Martian

By: Andy Weir

Genre: Sci-fi

A man named Mark Watney was left behind on Mars after a dust storm forced his crew to evacuate the planet. NASA assumes he is dead, and help is hundreds of days away (if he can get communications working). Mark is forced to put his botany and science skills to the test in order to survive in this new climate. Will Mark be able to endure the harsh conditions of Mars long enough to be saved?

Readers who enjoy space and reading about tense and dire circumstances would love this book.


The Best Way to Bury Your Husband

By: Alexia Casale

Genre: Dark Comedy

When four women reach their limits with their abusive husbands, it results to four bodies in need of burying. When the protagonist, Sally, discovers these murders, she starts a club in the hope of helping other women rid themselves of their dead husbands’ corpses. Thus ensues close calls with nosy neighbors and unlikely friendship. 

Readers who enjoy suspense and feminism will like this book.


Life of Pi

By: Yann Martel 

Genre: Adventure Fiction

After a cargo ship sinks, 16 year old Pi Patel finds himself on a lifeboat with a zebra, a hyena, an orangutan, and a 450 pound tiger. Pi has to use his wits to survive not just the aggressive tiger, but also to escape starvation. The harsh conditions force Pi to reflect on his belief in god and his life prior to the lifeboat. Throughout the book he learns to tame not just the tiger, but also himself as he grapples with changes in his beliefs.

Readers who enjoy suspenseful books with narration alternating between past, present, and future will like this book.   


The Silver Star

By: Jeannette Walls

Genre: Coming-of-age

The Silver Star is told from the perspective of a twelve year old named Bean and her fifteen year old sister Liz after their mother abandons them to “find herself”. The girls are forced  to go to their mother’s hometown to find their uncle, as they have no other caregivers or relatives. Their mother’s hometown, Byler, is a town where things scarcely occur; no one who lives there has any dreams or ambitions. Bean and Liz become determined to not end up like the zombie-like people in Byler. This is a story that highlights the fragile emotional stage of adolescents by providing a window into experiences that come with the teenage experience. 

People will like this book if they enjoyed The Glass Castle or if they enjoy stories about family and resilience.

The Once and Future King

By: T. H. White

Genre: Fantasy Fiction

The Once and Future King is a series of books about King Arthur’s adventures. The books detail King Arthur’s life from birth until death. Throughout the stories, Merlin, a magician, teaches Arthur how to be a wise and noble king. Arthur uses these lessons throughout the rest of his life to make important decisions.

People will like this book if they enjoy fantasy or books about chivalry, justice, and the human experience.


Looking for Alaska

By: John Green

Genre: Novel, Young adult literature

Looking for Alaska is narrated by Miles Halter, a sixteen year old boy who leaves Florida to attend a boarding school in Alabama. As Miles settles in at his new school, Culver Creek, he befriends his roommate Chip. He also develops a crush on a girl named Alaska who already has a boyfriend. Chip and Miles learn more about Alaska and her mysterious past when they spend time with her and eventually become close friends. One day, Alaska dies in a car crash. Miles and Chip are devastated and, as a method of gaining closure, attempt to find out the course of events that lead to the car crash.

People will like this book if they enjoy thrill or mystery.


The Invention of Hugo Cabret

By: Brian Selznick

Genre: Novel, Historical fiction

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is about a boy named Hugo who lives in a Paris train station. He is trying to repair a machine which he thinks will write him a message from his dead father. After finally fixing the machine and receiving the message, Hugo hopes to solve the mystery of how his father died and why the machine was damaged in the first place. By figuring these things out, Hugo hopes to gain closure and move on with his life. The book is narrated using both words and pictures to provide nuanced detail to the story.

People will enjoy this book if they like mysteries and interesting visual styles.

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