A Separation

A Separation

When her mother-in-law calls to demand to know where her son is, she is not satisfied with the vague answer, “I don’t know.” But her son’s wife doesn’t know. She and her philandering husband of five years separated six months earlier with a demand from him not to tell anyone until later. They’ve had no […]


This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang

Set in 1983, this funny yet poignant middle grade novel (good for Grades 5 and up) stars David Da-Wei Horowitz, a Jewish-Chinese boy about to celebrate his bar mitzvah. After he and his buddy Scott watch the terrifying TV movie The Day After (about the aftermath of a nuclear missile strike), they decide to build […]


The Girl With All The Gifts by Mike Carey

The Girl With All The Gifts by Mike Carey

This is the expanded version of a short story called “Iphigenia in Aulis” that Mike Carey wrote for a collection of horror stories set in schools (An Apple For The Creature). To describe the premise beyond that would spoil the story for you, so I will just say that it is beautifully written and has […]


I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda (2015)

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda (2015)

This book is a Rebecca Caudill nominee for 2018. The two teens in this true story make really compelling reading. Caitlin in Hatfield and Martin in Mutare begin a pen pal correspondence in 1997. The two of them connect in fits and starts but grow slowly into best friends and finally into brother & sister. Liz […]


Frozen in Time by Joseph Epstein

Frozen in Time by Joseph Epstein

In his latest collection of short stories, local author Joseph Epstein writes about ordinary people–mostly Jews, mostly Chicagoans or denizens of neaby suburbs, mostly men, mostly above the age of 50. Despite being ordinary, there are extraordinary stories to tell about his characters. Father-son relationships, high school hearththrobs, feuding old friends, wannabe literary lions, cheating […]


The Underground River by Martha Conway

The Underground River by Martha Conway

Since her mother died, May has lived with her actress cousin, serving as her seamstress and all-around servant. When the steamboat they are on explodes, May’s life changes and she has to find a job to support herself. May is quite literal which makes everything more difficult. When she finds a job on a theater […]


Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen

Detective Andrew Yancy, temporarily demoted to Roach Patrol, i.e., the restaurant inspection department of the Key West Police, for an egregious attack on a slimy plastic surgeon who insulted Yancy’s girlfriend (who just happened to be the wife of the surgeon) is, despite all this, a decent guy at heart. He’s desperate to get back […]


Tiny Pretty Things

Tiny Pretty Things

Drama, romance, back stabbing and ballet fill the intriguing pages of Tiny Pretty Things.  Told from three points of view, you see the rise of Gigi, the fall of Bette, the insight of June and all of their dirty secrets.  Everyone’s hiding something.  Gigi is sweet and authentic, scoring the lead role in the Nutcracker […]



The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

There is a secret organization that cultivates teenage spies. The agents are called Love Interests because getting close to people destined for great power means getting valuable secrets. Both Caden and Dylan are living in the outside world for the first time. They are well-trained and at the top of their games. They have to […]