Book Review: Willodeen by Katherine Applegate

Katherine Applegate’s Willodeen, out today from Feiwel and Friends, aptly begins with an epigraph quoting Greta Thunberg: “I have learned you are never too small to make a difference.”  This middle-grade novel geared towards tweens, but also appropriate for younger readers, explores surprisingly mature topics in a way that is still accessible and engaging for …

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Book Review: We Love You, Charlie Freeman by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Kaitlyn Greenidge’s stunning and unique novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, begins as the story of a family that moves into the The Toneybee Institute for Ape Research to teach an abandoned young chimpanzee sign language—yet while the novel is very much about language, its focus veers from chimpanzees and delves into the institute’s dark …

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Book Review: The Elephant of Belfast

The Elephant of Belfast, S. Kirk Walsh’s debut novel, reimagines the extraordinary relationship between an Irish zookeeper and a young Asian elephant during the Second World War. Twenty-year-old Hettie Quin works part-time at Bellevue Zoo and Gardens and is angling hard for a promotion. She wants to become a full-time zookeeper—a position traditionally held by …

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Beyond The Human Realm

Beyond the Human Realm, A Novel by Gene Helfman (Luminare Press, July, 2021 Review by JoeAnn Hart             It’s not an easy feat to write in an animal POV without the voice seeming weird or childish, but Gene Helfman pulls it off. Do I want to read an entire novel in an orca POV? Probably not. …

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Book Review: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Set on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi in the span of the twelve days before, during, and after Hurricane Katrina makes landfall, Salvage the Bones is the story of 14-year-old Esch and her family, who live on the outskirts of the fictional town of Bois Sauvage on a patch of land they call the “Pit.” …

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Book Review: Once There Were Wolves by Charlotte McConaghy

Charlotte McConaghy’s Once There Were Wolves shares much in common with her previous novel, Migrations — the journey of a troubled young woman hoping to save the animals she loves, while also fighting the demons of her past. Yet despite these echoes, Once There Were Wolves is entirely unique in its story of biologist Inti Flynn, who …

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Book Review: Waiting for the Night Song

Waiting for the Night Song review

Crimes against man and nature collide in Waiting for the Night Song, a vivid and compelling environmental thriller by Julie Carrick Dalton. Dalton is a journalist, writer, and frequent speaker on the topic of writing fiction in the age of climate crisis, an area of expertise that shines through in her debut novel.  Cadie Kessler …

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Book Review: IN THE COMPANY OF MEN

Véronique Tadjo’s slender, haunting novel In the Company of Men offers myriad points of view—human and nonhuman—in its story of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014. Published in French in 2017 and in English in 2021, it’s a timely novel that makes important connections, revealing the devastating impact of how humans treat the …

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Book Review: The Shark Club

Ann Kidd Taylor’s novel, The Shark Club, is not only a delightful read as we head into spring and summer “beach reading” time, but it is a much-needed antidote to Peter Benchley’s Jaws. Rather than instill fear in readers, The Shark Club highlights the importance of these four-hundred-million-year-old creatures to our ecosystem and debunks the myths that other books …

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