Loft Blog
The Teacher's Funeral / by Richard Peck PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 19 May 2014 18:31

title"If your teacher has to die, August isn't a bad time of year for it."

When nasty old local teacher Myrt Arbuckle "hauls off and dies" at the tail-end of a hot Indiana summer in 1904, fifteen year old Russell Culver can't believe his luck. Russell dreams of lighting out for South Dakota to join a wheat-threshing team and going to school in switch-happy Mrs. Arbuckle's one-room schoolhouse of horrors has been nothing but a cruel detour in the wrong direction. Now that she's gone, Hominy Ridge School might be shuttered for good. He can get started on his plan to hop a freight train and get to work on those new, wondrous steel threshing machines thrumming away out West. Life's looking up.

Ha. School not only opens anew come September, but the new teacher is quite likely Russell's worst nightmare, someone who makes Myrt Arbuckle look like Mary Poppins. With a classroom full of ragtag students with names like Little Britches, Flopears and Glenn Tarbox - and not a few snakes - Russell doubles down on his dream to escape. It's the only thing that keeps him going. But with the help of his attuned and quietly loving dad, a growing fondness for his classmates, and the not-half-bad new teacher's lessons, Russell starts to feel like he might belong. And he might even learn something, too.     

The Teacher's Funeral is one of Richard Peck's best books. Featuring an exploding stove, a horse-and-carriage/race car collision, ghost story pranks, and a burning privy (outhouse) it is first and foremost a raucous, hilarious comedy. But a comedy with real feeling. Anyone who has read and enjoyed Peck's beloved "Grandma Dowdel" books (A Long Way From Chicago, A Year Down Yonder, and A Season of Gifts) will find that this one's a highly-worthy readalike and successor. It beats with a warm, rustic heart, transports the reader to its historic setting, and sports writing throughout that downright crackles. Any book that ties up together this beautifully in the final paragraph - causing me to cry like I did - is a keeper. (Jarrett, The Loft)       

Don't miss Richard Peck when he visits Evanston Public Library on Monday, June 2 at 7 p.m.! Mr. Peck will read from his work, answer questions, sign books and say hello. Books will be available for purchase from The Book Stall. More information, including information on reserving seats. 

From Teens For Teens: Peak / Roland Smith and Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment / James Patterson PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 16 May 2014 00:00

PeakPeak by Roland Smith

3/5 stars


Peak is about a boy, Peak Marcello, who has had a lot of changes in his life. Like most juveniles, he seeks attention and adventure, so he starts climbing skyscrapers. He is having fun until the truth hits him in the form of law. Now he must climb higher than ever before and face the ultimate challenge--climbing Everest. Will he succeed? Find out in this fantastic book meant for YA readers.


(Edward K., Evanston teen)



The Angel Experiment Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

5/5 stars


If you like action you will LOVE this book! It is action-packed, sweet, mysterious, and absolutely hilarious! I also fell in love with the characters. It is about six kids who are 98% human and 2% bird. They have wings and yes, they can fly. But they can also do so much more. They each have a special ability that they use to help each other survive. They were made on purpose, as an experiment in a lab called the School. They are constantly on the run from terrible people who want to bring them back to the School. Can they survive in our world without being found out or will they be brought back to the horrible prison where they were created?


(Piper B., Evanston teen)

Summer 2014 Kick-Starters PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 15 May 2014 15:46

A list of exciting reads perfect to kick-start your summer and keep you reading all through the break and into the start of the next school year! - See more at:

A list of exciting reads perfect to kick-start your summer and keep you reading all through the break and into the start of the next school year! - See more at: list of exciting reads perfect to kick-start your summer and keep you reading all through the break and into the start of the next school year! Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; line-height:115%; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri","sans-serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

A list of exciting reads perfect to kick-start your summer and keep you reading all through the break and into the start of the next school year! Most on the list are the first in a trilogy and the list spans a wide variety of topics from assassins to murder-mystery to the deep, dark and weird. For more recommendations, come to the Loft and ask!


titleThe Madman's Daughter 

by Megan Shepard 


Dr. Moreau's daughter, Juliet, travels to her estranged father's island, only to encounter murder, medical horrors, and a love triangle. - See more at:

}Dr. Moreau's daughter, Juliet, travels to her estranged father's island, only to encounter murder, medical horrors, and a love triangle.








titleThe Geography of You and Me 

by Jennifer E. Smith 


Sparks fly when sixteen-year-old Lucy Patterson and seventeen-year-old Owen Buckley meet on an elevator rendered useless by a New York City blackout. Soon after, the two teenagers leave the city, but as they travel farther away from each other geographically, they stay connected emotionally, in this story set over the course of one year.

titleThe 5th Wave

Rick Yancey 


Cassie Sullivan, the survivor of an alien invasion, must rescue her young brother from the enemy with help from a boy who may be one of them.

For more great reads, check out the Summer Kick-starters and get reading! 


(Ashley, the Loft)

The Darkest Minds / Alexandra Bracken PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 12 May 2014 00:00

altRuby lives in a world where most of the teenagers have been killed off by a disease and the survivors have begun to develop unusual powers ranging from mind control (considered especially dangerous), to moving objects with their mind to conducting electricity with their hands. Each power has been associated with a color – orange for mind control, blue for moving objects etc. Instead of supporting the teens with powers the government fears them and begins hauling the teens off to “camps” to “cure” them.  Ruby is hauled off to camp at age 10 and she doesn’t escape until 16.  She doesn’t want anyone to know her secret, what her powers really can do.  So far she’s been able to hide them and lets people believe she’s a green, who excels at figuring out patterns and solving codes.  When she finally breaks out of the camp she ends up hitching a ride with some kids who are also on the run.  She doesn’t want them to get too close or they might figure out her secret and abandon her.  The group’s final goal is the reach East River where there’s a safe hideout for kids with powers and the leader, the mysterious, Slip Kid, can help you reconnect with your family.  Once the group arrives at the camp things are definitely not what they seem and Ruby isn’t sure it’s the safe haven they were all hoping for.  The Darkest Minds is an action packed dystopian tale, filled with twists and turns, dark secrets, a bit of romance and true friendship.  The first in a series, you’ll be dashing off to get the sequel after you’ve taken in the Darkest Minds. 


(Renee, the Loft)

From Teens For Teens: Graphic Novelizations: City of Ember / Jeanne DuPrau and Twilight / Stephenie Meyer PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 May 2014 00:00

The City of Ember

Middaugh, Dallas

City of Ember: The Graphic Novel by Jeanne DuPrau, adapted by Dallas Middaugh

4/5 stars


I have read City of Ember (the book) and it was one of the best books I have read. The graphic novel version was pretty good but there were some details that I would add. For example, how the box got lost. I only knew that the grandma was looking for that because I had read the real book. I recommend this book to anyone but if I were you, I would read the real book first.


(Megan B., Evanston teen)






Twilight: The Graphic Novel V. 1 by Stephenie Meyer, adapted by Kim Young

3/5 stars


Bella is a normal girl in high school. But when Edward, a vampire, comes along, everything changes and they fall in love.


(Maya H., Evanston teen)


The Silver Six / AJ Lieberman & Darren Rawlings PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 May 2014 00:00

titleThe future has arrived and it seems to be ruled by Craven Industries, a ruthless Hydro-2 mining company. Craven has been destroying communities, parks and every each of green space in order to mine for Hydro-2 which is 87% more efficient than oil, but 372% harder to refine and produce.  In this same future Phoebe has been trying to make a go of it on her own, after her parents were mysteriously killed in a ship explosion.  Phoebe and her robot friend Max have been avoiding getting picked up by child welfare services just fine until one day a man tracks her down at school and he doesn’t seem like someone who just wants to talk. After Phoebe and Max narrowly escape capture by the man, they’re picked up by child welfare.  Phoebe thinks her life is over, but she ends up meeting unique friends at child welfare, who she has a lot more in common with than she ever imagined.  The group discovers that not only are they all orphans, but their parents were all killed in the same explosion.  On top of that they all received moon registries as gifts.  As Phoebe and the gang put the pieces together they begin an adventure of a life time traveling through space battling robots, gun wielding Craven goons and trying to uncover their parent’s secrets.  The Silver Six is a great sci-fi adventure graphic novel that includes quite a bit of hilarity too.  I’m definitely hoping the authors/illustrators come up with more adventures for The Silver Six!


(Renee, the Loft)

From Teens For Teens: Cardboard / Doug TenNapel and The Mysterious Howling / Maryrose Wood PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 May 2014 00:00

TenNapel, Doug

TenNapel, Doug

Cardboard Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

5/5 stars


A boy and his father are poor. The father, Mike, is a carpenter and can't find any work for money. He needs the money for his son's b-day. He finds some magic cardboard that makes things alive. His neighbor steals it and it goes out of control!


(Izzy C., Evanston teen)





The Mysterious HowlingThe Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

5/5 stars


This Incorrigible Children Of Ashton Place book is a story about a young woman (Penelope Lumley) who lands a job as a governess at Ashton place. The children she is supposed to be caring for turn out to be raised as wolves (or at least act like it). I liked the story because it made me feel like I was actually in the story! Maryrose Wood described the events that happened in a lot of detail.


(Jessica W., Evanston teen)


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