The Front Porch prints book reviews by local librarians, rotating to a different library each month. April reviews are by librarians Kelly Wright and Kristi Harder from the Sam Gary Library, 2961 Roslyn. Librarians interested in writing book reviews can email Madeline@FrontPorchStapleton.com.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Adult Fiction: 5/5 stars
Rachel lives on the outskirts of London and takes the train into town every day for work. She loves looking at the suburban houses as she passes by and thinking about the lives of the tenants. One couple in particular she feels like she knows: they seem to have the perfect life, which is something Rachel feels she has lost. One day Rachel sees something suspicious from the train and gets immersed in a tangled web of murder, confusion and suspicion. If you loved Gone Girl, then this is a thriller you should definitely keep on your radar.
Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan
Adult Fiction: 5/5 stars
Denver author Khan’s first novel is not the usual mystery. Khattak, a Canadian Muslim who investigates hate crimes, is assigned the death of a man who went off a cliff. Accident or murder? It turns out the victim may have been a Serbian war criminal in hiding who directed the slaughter of thousands of Muslims at Srebrenica. Khattak’s people of interest are a group of Bosnian Muslim refugees who witnessed the atrocities. Excerpts from testimony from war crimes trials reveal the horrors that took place. If he was murdered, who could blame the murderer? Memorable.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Adult Fiction: 4/5 stars
Don, a socially inept, rigid genetics professor, thinks it’s time for the “wife project.” He’s designed an unrealistic questionnaire to identify the perfect woman. No smokers, drinkers or chronically tardy need apply. Enter Rosie, who Don mistakenly thinks is a candidate sent by a friend, but is shockingly unsuitable. Rosie is searching for her father and needs Don’s help on the genetics front. Can they both find what they seek? A funny, charming romantic comedy that is entertaining despite the expected outcome. I listened to this book and it made me laugh out loud.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertelli
Young Adult: 4/5 stars
Simon is 16 years old and not out of the closet. It’s not that he’s ashamed; he’s just waiting for the right time. Then a classmate reads his emails and starts blackmailing him, threatening to reveal his sexual orientation to the whole school. This book follows Simon through his junior year with all the drama that ensues. Simon has to play wingman for his dorky classmate, and he’s falling for a mysterious boy named Blue who he’s been emailing with. A heartwarming, funny and adorable coming-of-age story that encourages teens to embrace their individuality.
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Children’s: 5/5 stars
Three intertwined stories feature a special harmonica with a spell on it that imprisons three princesses. They can only be set free when the harmonica saves a life, but whose? The answer to that question keeps the reader glued to the page in these stories that take place during WWII. The main characters range from a boy in Nazi Germany, to a pair of orphaned brothers, and a girl living in California. The writer deftly connects each tale through a love of music and the suspense about who may have to die to end the curse.