Patron Reviews

Reviews of books, movies, CDs and audiobooks written by ELPL Patrons.


Review written by: Sky Blue

Hey, all those adventure lovers out there! Come get this book at your local library and read it on your next adventure. Some people may not think of Divergent as an adventure, but those people must have been forced to read this book, because this is a great adventure story! Absorbing you into the surprises that are waiting just around the corner, Roth expertly weaves dystopian society and futuristic fiction together in one cliff hanging book. Each chapter leaves you to ask, "What will happen next?" Patricia, later known as Tris in the story, lives in a world that is divided into five factions. Amity - the peaceful, Dauntless - the brave, Erudite - the intelligent, Abnegation - the selfless, and Candor - the honest. When Tris transfers from her old faction, Abnegation, to Dauntless, people are surprised. An Abnegation rarely moves to Dauntless, they all say. Tris now must go through initiation, "classes" to determine who gets to stay with the Dauntless and who becomes factionless. Soon, Tris finds conflict in her seemingly perfect world, and to save those she loves, she must embark on a journey to uncover the truth about themselves, their family, and the order of society itself. After choice can transform you.

Note from ELPL:  The library has this great title in print, ebook and eAudiobook.  Glad you liked it Sky Blue!

By Author/Artist: Veronica Roth
Format: Paperback

The Haunted House Kid

Review written by: Matthew Gary Milam
For great, Halloween-anticipating, summer reading, check out this great young adult (teen) title (Amazon, B&N, Xlibris) --For a complete synopsis and more:

Note from ELPL - This review was submitted by the author of The Haunted House Kid, Matthew Gary Milam.  ELPL doesn't yet own this title but you can find it on  Congratulations on your book Matthew!
By Author/Artist: Matthew Gary Milam
Format: Paperback/Hardback & ebook (Amazon,B&N,Xlibris)
ISBN: 978-1-4691-8821-8

Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age

Review written by: Tracey

This is a comprehensive study of an event that occured in 1925 in Detriot, Michigan. During this incident, a black couple purchased a home in and attempted to reside in white neighborhood. Upon learning of this, the members of the neighborhood attempted to keep the couple from moving in and once the family had moved in tried to get them out. During the two days that the couple attempted to reside in the home, the home was beseiged by the neighbors and violence broke out. During this violence, a man in the neighborhood was killed. Following the incident, all eleven people that had been in the house were arrested and tried for murder. A trial began with Clarence Darrow leading the defense. Ultimately, all the members of the home were exonerated and let go. Most interesting to me in this book, were the ways in which this trial affected the community and the individuals involved from tremendous success to ultimately suicide. Though long winded, this was an interesting read.

By Author/Artist: Kevin Boyle
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0-8050-7145-8

Catching Fire

Review written by: John Le

The book Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, is one of my favorite books and I really enjoyed reading it. The reason I liked reading the book is because when I started reading the first book called The Hunger Games, I couldn't keep my eyes off of it and I couldn't wait to read the next book in the series. This is what I really liked about "Catching Fire," it started off as Katniss and Peeta going back into their daily life style back in District 12 after both of them won the 74th Hunger Games. Katniss would be hunting and Peeta would be baking bread, but they can't go back to their life style until they travel to each District showing their faces to the parents whose children they killed in the games. They also had to keep up with their fake relationship with each other because Katniss and Peeta used this strategy so they can both win the Hunger Games. If President Snow finds out that they weren't really in love, he would kill them. Katniss and Peeta would meet up with their stylist Cinna and Portia to help them look good. Haymitch and Effie their instructor helped them with their presentation for each District. But something shocking turns out, Katniss and Peeta ?????? well you need to read this to find out. Read this book if you are interested in the Hunger Games series because when you start reading it, you will never stop, I mean NEVER STOP.

By Author/Artist: Suzanne Collins
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-545-31059-8


Review written by: Mohammed Zebdi

This remarkable novel tells the true story of a Syrian-American immigrant and his family, caught in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Please note that my review will include a few spoilers, so stop reading now if you don't want major plot points to be revealed.

Abdelrahman Zeitoun is the manager of a highly-successful renovation company in the New Orleans area, as well as a loving father of three children. His wife, Kathy, helps him run the business, answering phones and acting as the impromptu office staff. As Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy makes the decision to evacuate with the Zeitoun children, insisting that Zeitoun leave as well. However, his bull-headedness gets the better of him, and he decides to stay. When the floodwaters rise, he decides to use an old metal canoe to travel across the flooded city and rescue whoever he can find. After rescuing several individuals with the aid of a neighbour who supplies a motorboat, he is falsely arrested for "looting" in the ruins of his own home. A series of unfortunate twists results in him and his "partners-in-crime" being kept in an area designated for escaped convicts. They are denied any contact with the outside world, medical treatment for injuries, or even legal advice, and were essentially treated as though they were convicted terrorists. Throughout this whole ordeal, Kathy, several hundred miles away, is attempting to determine what happened to Zeitoun. Eventually, Zeitoun is released, but with no reparations or so much as an apology on the government's part.

This novel provides an insightful perspective on the treatment of Arab-Americans in a post-9/11 United States, as well as the government's mismanagement of the response to Hurricane Katrina. It's a provocative, powerful story that will leave the reader asking themselves how something like this could happen here, in the United States, a country that prides itself on freedom and rights for its citizens.

By Author/Artist: Dave Eggers
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780307387943

The Memory Songbook

Review written by: Douglas
Note from ELPL:  Thanks for the review Douglas, and congratulations on the publication of your book.  Patrons, currently the title is only available for puchase from as a Kindle download (this is the future of publishing folks, you can read about this here and here) so ELPL is unable to add this to the collection.  We hope it will become available from additional vendors and sources in the future.

The author is a former East Lansing resident whose new novel has been called "compelling" and "very touching" and "a beautiful read." The story involves a singer-songwriter who discovers early in life that popular songs can restore precious memories. Yet years later he feels helpless when his aging mother, with failing memory, repeatedly asks, "Oh, do you play?" Only when the singer-songwriter stumbles on a magical manuscript called "The Memory Songbook" does he begin to find a way to reach out to his mother in a way that he never has before. The fun and moving story moves back and forth between the singer-songwriter's youth and midlife responsibilities. Clark uses magical realism and time travel to create a poignant drama about love, loss and legacy. “In a way, listening to music is time travel. It takes us back to the days of Pete Townshend and The Who or World War II swing music or the folk and blues tunes of Lead Belly,” Clark says. This pop-culture fiction will appeal to baby boomers who still listen to Classic Rock -- even while caring for an elderly parent -- and young adult readers who love music and can’t yet imagine what it feels like to be fifty years old. OFFERED FREE July 1, 2012 Visit author's blog for announcements of other free days.

By Author/Artist: Douglas Glenn Clark
Format: E-book


Review written by: Owen Petroff

YOU is a young adult novel by Charles Benoit. The book is told in second person visual and you’re supposed to feel like you are the main character, like a choose your own adventure book, without the choose your own. Your name is Kyle Chase and you are in a group that’s like a normal goth group at a high school, but your group is called The "Hoodies". You are a trouble maker, but you get away with it, most of the time. High school is hard for you when you don’t have a job and are flunking all of your classes. But when the new kid comes to school, he stirs up even more trouble. The plot keeps growing and theres romance, mystery, and action on every page. I would definantly recommend this book to all teens. It’s an amazing book.

Note from ELPL:  Owen, great review, I'm totally wanting to read this book now.  ELPL has this title in ebook format - if anyone wants to read it in print fill out this form and we'll get a print copy.

By Author/Artist: Charles Benoit
Format: ebook

bloom - finding beauty in the unexpected - a memoir

Review written by: Renee

"bloom" was a truly enjoyable read. As a photographer, I loved having the mix of print and awesome full-color photography blended seemlessly throughout the book. I actually couldn't help looking ahead to take in all the beautiful photos. As a mother, this book touched me deeply as the author struggles with her child's unexpected at-birth diagnosis. While my child's at-birth diagnosis was very different, and not nearly as challenging, it evoked that same raw emotion. Kelle Hampton takes you on an amazing journey from "Love me, Love me. I'm not what you expected, but oh, please love me." to "'I love you' and 'You are everything I ever wanted."

Note from ELPL:  Renee, great review, glad you liked this book.  For another memoir from a mother of a Down's Syndrome child, check out Expecting Adam by Martha Beck.

By Author/Artist: Kelle Hampton
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 978-0-06-204503-4

Half of a Yellow Sun

Review written by: Biblioglobal

Some books are so good that I don’t want them to end. Half of a Yellow Sun was so good that I was relieved when it ended. During the week I was reading it, it took over my life. All sorts of chores got put off to allow more time to read. I went to sleep every night thinking about Ukwu and Odenigbo and Olanna. That was easy enough for the first hundred pages where Half of a Yellow Sun is a pleasant, well-written novel about the middle/upper class lives of two sisters, their family, lovers, and servants in 1960s Nigeria. Later, Nigeria descended into civil war and their lives were transformed, but it was too late. I cared deeply about these people and I was swept along with them. I'd recommend this book for anyone looking for an intense, powerful reading experience. I read Half of a Yellow Sun as part of my project to try to read a book from every country in the world. The East Lansing Public Library has been a wonderful resource for this. If you'd like to read the rest of my thoughts about Half of a Yellow Sun and about the other books I have read for this project, you can check out my blog at

By Author/Artist: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 1400044162

The Hobbit

Review written by: Alison A.

"The Hobbit" is the exciting prequel to the beloved fantasy trilogy, "Lord of the Rings," and centers around an unsuspecting Hobbit named Bilbo Baggins who is indeed not ready for such an adventure as the one that will unfold in the pages of said novel, word by darkened word. You must be dedicated, though, because it contains a good deal of description. Altogether, it is an astounding classic with action-packed scenes and a thrilling, twisting, thrashing plot-line.

By Author/Artist: J.R.R. Tolkien
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0-395-07122-4

Bath Massacre: America's First School Bombing

Review written by: Tracey

In this book, Arnie Bernstein takes us back to the first instance of school violence and how it touched the community in which we live. Organized chronologically, this book follows the life of Andrew Kehoe, the man responsible for this tragic event. Mr. Bernstein pieces together the life of Andrew Kehoe from a variety of sources which demonstrate that Kehoe was a highly intelligent and also very combative man. As the tragic day approaches, we glimpse the lives of the families touched by this tragedy. We see the children and their families prepare for what was to be a normal day and yet ended in fire and tragedy. Bernstein juxtaposes the story of this tragedy with more recent tragedies such as Virginia Tech and Columbine and the sadness left in the wake of each event. This story details not only the first instance of school violence, but also the worst with 38 children and 6 adults killed and 59 injured. While not a page turner, this book was very interesting especially in that it was happened right here in Mid-Michigan. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in local history.

By Author/Artist: Arnie Bernstein
Format: Paperback

The Popularity Papers-Book 4

Review written by: Lydia

This creative and colorful book is about these two girls who are best friends. They have a chance to go on a month long road trip together, and of course, they take it! They go all around USA,visiting relatives, close friends, national landmarks and, one of the hobby's these girls share, eating burritos!! (Yum!:D) This book all together is very funny and I think many people will enjoy reading this entertaining book!

By Author/Artist: Amy Ignatow
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781419701825

Fifty Shades Darker

Review written by: Courtney Vader

Great, easy summer read! Perfect for a poolside romance novel! Warning: HOT! A good mix of suspense and romance. I would recommend this to any of my girlfriends!

Note from ELPL:  This review is for the eBook, we also have this title in print and book on CD.

By Author/Artist: EL James
Format: ebook
ISBN: 9781612130590

Fake Mustache

Review written by: Emma Kate

Fake Mustache. What an interesting title for a book. When I first picked it up, thousands of questions ran through my head, because the title was so broad. You would never expect it to be a funny story about presidents and people trying to take over the world. Well, it's true. In this hilarious, attention-grasping story, a kid named Lenny Flem Jr. finds out that his best friend, Casper, is trying to take over the world. With a fake mustache, the Heidleberg Handlebar #7, to be exact. This kid is using his new fake mustache to hypnotize the whole USA to elect him for president. But first, Casper has other plans. He does so many other things, and then blames it all on Lenny. Eventually, a big mishap with a recently retired TV star comes along, and Lenny finds himself in the middle of a huge catastrophe involving politics, voting machines, and fake booger shooters. If anybody is looking for a funny, grin taking story, then this is the one. Tom expertly captures the humor and logic of politics in this mind-blowing race to save the USA from the wrong ruler. Of course, something serious has to happen, and Tom again humorously plugs it into the story, connecting all of the final pieces once and for all. One of my most favorite things was all of the new characters. Some (such as Lenny and Casper) were described to great detail, while others were enjoyably lightly described. If anything, people of all ages should read this funny book, and definitely read it again! I loved this book---what about you?

By Author/Artist: Tom Angleberger
Format: Hardcover

Batman Arkham City

Review written by: Jacob Ditschman

It was really well drawn but it did not make sense very much to me. I sometimes got the plot but then it changed sometimes the graphic were very good and it also got bloody sometimes. I liked the idea that thugs had to chose the side of Penguin, or the Joker. I would give it a 3.9 out of 5.

By Author/Artist: Paul Dini, Carlos D'anda
Format: comic book