Friday, December 4, 2020

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Book Review

Book Reviews

2/5/2020

by Alix E. Harrow Redhook Pub Date: 09/10/2019 $27 384 pp

‘A Girl, A Raccoon, and the Midnight Moon’

Ten-year-old Pearl Moran, born in the Lancaster Avenue branch of the NYC public library, where her mom is the circulation librarian, and raised there by her mother and the other staff, begins the story with a piercing shriek as she notices the library’s garden statue of her beloved Edna St. Vincent Millay has been rendered headless by a mysterious vandal.

As the aging, unnoticed branch — a bit in disrepair — begins to gain attention due to the incident and the efforts of a benevolent news reporter, the library suddenly faces the risk of extinction under the gaze of greedy developers who want to turn it into housing. Pearl
fiercely steps forward with the help of friends old and new and devises a plan to help save the building that is her home and her family’s livelihood.

With special assistance from a new young patron (Francine), a long-time homeless patron (Nichols), and a quite literate, highly endearing family of raccoon patrons living in the library, Pearl rallies the community to help solve the mystery of the missing stone visage and restore allegiance and love for her home, keeper of stories. This is a charming, engrossing story with wonderful characters that will be cherished
by young readers and lovers of stories (and libraries!) of any age. ♦

— Review by Fay Jones

HIV

 

by Karen Romano Young Chronicle Books Pub Date: 01/07/2020 $16.99 392 pp

‘The Ten Thousand Doors of January’

Lush, lyrical and just a little magical, Alix Harrow’s debut novel is a perfect winter read. At the turn of the century, little girls are not allowed much imagination — less so when they are penniless, alone and, most significantly, not white. January Scaller doesn’t let these pressures keep her down, not for long at any rate. Enraptured by a mysterious story that mirrors her own in a haunting way, January discovers so much more than adventure when she finds the courage to simply open a door.

This is a book-lovers’ book, the kind of story that those of us who read compulsively will see much of ourselves in. The smell of strange worlds wafting from a book. The unreasonable urge to turn the pages as quickly as possible. The ability of a good story to transport us to
another world. Consequences be damned. These themes resonate heavily throughout this book. Familiar, surprising and bittersweet, this is a perfect book for anyone with a love of stories, language and the transformative joy they can bring. ♦

— Review by Julie Goodrich

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