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To Be Read Challenge Book Reviews

This page contains an archive of book reviews submitted by participants of the To Be Read Challenge.

Girl in Translation

By Jean Kwok

This is a coming of age novel about Kimberly Chang, who emigrates with her mother from Hong Kong to Brooklyn at age 11. The author, Jean Kwok, skillfully addresses clashing cultures and values, and the roots and impact of the poverty faced by many immigrants. Although Kimberly encounters grinding poverty, child labor, and the otherness […]

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Death Threads

By Elizabeth Lynn Casey

This is the second book in the series and just as enjoyable as the first. I like these types of mysteries. They’re quick, easy reads that don’t tax the mind too much. Typically I pick out the least likely character and that’s the villain who had some obscure reason to do it. This one actually […]

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Code Name Verity

By Elizabeth Wein

This book was recommended by a friend last year and I’ll have to recommend it to all my reading friends now that I’ve read it. What a fantastic read! It’s an adventure story set in World War II told through written confessions and official reports. The main characters are young women involved in the war […]

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane

By Neil Gaiman

I did not know anything about The Ocean at the End of the Lane, or Neil Gaiman, when I started reading this novel, other than some friends highly recommended it. So when the story took a turn toward the fantastical, I almost put it down. Is it possible Mr. Gaiman anticipated this? Because just as […]

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The Condition

By Jennifer Haigh

The book was very well researched from what I could tell. I was really impressed with the depth of the characters. The McKotch family is extremely complicated and I thought the author did a really nice job of uncovering each family member’s “dark past”. I was really glad to see resolution for the family and […]

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Like Me

By Chely Wright

I have always enjoyed Chely Wright’s music and when she came out a few years ago I didn’t think much about it. She was one of many and it wasn’t really all that interesting. What I didn’t know was how much discrimination there was and is in country music. This is a brave story, not […]

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Sew Deadly

By Elizabeth Lynn Casey

I’ve been reading some heavier books and needed something light. This was definitely it. As a northerner who first moved to a “small” southern town I can definitely relate to the trouble the main character had with fitting in (although thankfully I’ve never been accused of murder!). I’m not a seamstress but the book was […]

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The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

By Junot Diaz

This is one of the most spectacular works of fiction I have ever read. Diaz’s narrator’s prose is sharp, unique, funny, and keenly representative of contemporary urban America, in particular the Latino immigrant community. Chock full of cultural, literary, sci-fi/genre, and historical references, I could read this book ten times and pick up on new […]

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By Tina Fey

After reading a whole lot of dark and heavy books, I really needed a lighter read. I had been advised by a friend to try the audio book because it’s read by the author. I found myself laughing out loud quite a few times. She has great, short stories that flow together nicely. Unlike some […]

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Bleeding Edge

By Thomas Pynchon

Thomas Pynchon’s take on the 21st century, the Internet, and September 11. Something like an East Coast version of “Vineland.” The protagonist is Maxine Tarnow, a private fraud investigator in NYC. I had to keep a list of characters, because there were so many it was hard to keep them all straight. But that’s not […]

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