Archive | Reviews & Recommendations

Background Information: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Background Information: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

cover of The Hate U GiveAs Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give remained on the New York Times young adult best seller list for the better part of 2017, the topics the book deals with clearly resonate with readers. The Hate U Give is about a sixteen year old black girl named Starr who splits her time between the world of her fancy prep school and the poor neighborhood where she lives. When she witnesses the police shoot her friend Khalil, and Khalil turns out to be unarmed, protestors swarm the streets and her neighborhood is catapulted into the national eye. As the only witness, what Starr does or does not reveal could change her community forever.


The plot of The Hate U Give reflects national events and discussions on police violence and race. If you’re interested in gaining a deeper understanding of these issues, the library has some books that may help.

cover of Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter by Sue Bradford Edwards and Duchess Harris

This slim book traces the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, from the shootings that sparked it to the protests and the activists working to chagne the United State’s justice system.
cover of The Fire This Time

The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race, edited by Jesmyn Ward

A response to the famed The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin, this book of essays and poetry explores race in America in the words of today’s leading thinkers and writers, such as Claudia Rankin and Edwidge Danticat.


Stop by the library for more recommendations from your librarians!


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Small Bites: Short Story Anthologies

Small Bites: Short Story Anthologies

I love short story anthologies. If you’re in a reading slump, they’re a great way to discover new authors. Almost all of my favorite authors I found through reading anthologies.

They’re also great if you’re busy. If you feel like you don’t have the time for pleasure reading, short stories provide a quick reading experience to get a whole narrative in twenty or so pages. They’re wonderful, and you should totally try some, because the Casti library has a great selection. Here’s a few recommendations to get you started:

Unnatural Creatures
Edited by beloved author Neil Gaiman, this anthology features stories about mythical and imaginary animals from science fiction and fantasy greats like Peter Beagle, Samuel Delaney, and Nnedi Okorafor.

Tyranny of Petticoats, edited by Jessica Spotswood
This unique collection is full of stories of girls and women from America who buck tradition and gender roles. From the Old West to Prohibition to the Summer of Love, read about pirates, gunslingers, monsters, and heiresses.

I See Reality, edited by Grace Kendall
If John Green, Rebecca Stead, or David Levithan are more your taste, try this anthology featuring twelve tales of real life by up and coming realistic fiction authors.

Women of Futures Past, edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Trace the foundations of science fiction with this incredible collection of female speculative fiction authors that spans generations.


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Sequels and New Books

Sequels and New Books

To keep you updated on your favorite authors and series, we’ll be doing a round up of new books and sequels a few times a year. Here’s some exciting stuff that’s come out since the summer edition!

New Sequels

The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye, the follow up to The Crown’s Game

Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner. A new book in her Queen’s Thief series!

Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson. The final book in the Goldseer trilogy.

Ghosts of Greenglass House by Kate Milford, sequel to Greenglass House

Ringer by Lauren Oliver, sequel to Replica

The Dire King by William Ritter. The final book in the Jackaby series.

Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer Holm, sequel to Sunny Side Up

Whichwood by Taherah Mafi, companion novel to Furthermore


New from Favorite Authors 

Warcross by Marie Liu, author of the Legends and Young Elites series

Jane Unlimited by Kristin Cashore. The first book she’s written since the Graceling series.

The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman. The start of a new series set in the His Dark Materials world, a prequel to The Golden Compass.

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater. Her first book since finishing The Raven Cycle!


Ongoing Comics

Giant Days, vol. 6

Goldie Vance, vol. 3

Princeless, vol. 5

Bandette, vol. 3

Faith, vol. 4

Jughead, vol. 3

Dawn and the Impossible Three: the Baby-Sitters Club, vol. 5

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Ebooks for Thanksgiving Break!

Ebooks for Thanksgiving Break!

Thanksgiving break is next week! Obviously you should come to the library and stock up on books this week, but we also have a huge selection of ebooks and audiobooks on Overdrive. So if you

  • need some entertainment for a roadtrip
  • want a distraction for the hours while the turkey cooks
  • want something to do while you’re staying up ’til 1 am just because you can
  • are trying to avoid your siblings and/or elderly relatives

Casti library’s got you covered. Click here to see what’s new on our Overdrive!



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Magazine Review: Riposte

Magazine Review: Riposte

Library TA Emmeline S. ’19 tells you all about one of the new magazines we picked up:

Self-described as the “smart magazine for women” and a decided (and welcome) respite from mainstream media coverage of rumored Kardashian pregnancies and other mundane celebrity “news,” London-based Riposte magazine offers short stories, articles and interviews on topics aimed at educated women.  

Issue 8 of Riposte

Started in 2013 by London-based art gallery curator Danielle Pender, Riposte is a bit of a publishing anomaly.  While many other magazines and media houses are increasingly moving more content online, Riposte’s website features single topic photos and brief teasers for in-depth articles that can be accessed only via the printed bi-annual magazine (Issue 8 is currently available in the Castilleja Espinosa Library).

Riposte is not light reading, nor is it appropriate for the modest reader.  Issue 8 contributors address heavy topics including racism, failures of science education on gender, motherhood, fashion and innovation. This particular issue also features semi-nude and powerfully untouched photos of breast cancer survivor Erika Hart, accompanying a candid article on real-life information gaps she encountered while being treated by her team of medical professionals.  The discussion of sexuality and sexual matters are more European in their openness; however, there are no advertisements or photos of young, photoshopped models in provocative poses.

The visual aesthetic of the magazine is somewhat chaotic with varying typefaces, full page borderless photos immediately followed by distinctly bordered images, and jarring discontinuities of layout. Surprisingly, the former art-gallery curator has not stamped the magazine with a readily identifiable look-and-feel nor has she established a consistent tone or language usage embodied by some of the most prominent magazines in circulation in North America (e.g. The New Yorker).  There are some well-written creative pieces–Adventure (essays) on pages 15-19–a few beautiful photos such as pages 50, 94, and 120-121, and some interesting articles–a the feature on architect/designer Farshid Moussavi on page 20 for example. However, there is a lack of flow across the issue, and the quality of the written and photographic content is inconsistent.  

Lastly, while many of the women covered in the magazine are role models, many of the topics–e.g., motherhood, balancing work/life–are aimed at women at different stages of life than the average Castilleja student.  

While Riposte has yet to fully mature into a consistent, high-quality publication, it is well worth scanning twice a year for insights as well as an introduction to interesting topics and women role models.  

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Four to Read More: Stories Retold From the Villain’s Perspective

Four to Read More: Stories Retold From the Villain’s Perspective

As we gear up for Halloween, why not try some stories retold from the antagonist’s point of view?



Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Before becoming a ruthless monarch, the Queen of Hearts was a no more than a young girl who dreamed of becoming the best baker in the Land of Hearts and marrying the handsome court joker. But her dreams were cut short by the expectations of her mother, the expectations that drove her to pursue romance in secret, and nothing good can ever come from that.



Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
Is the Witch of the West truly as wicked as we think? Maguire’s retelling of the Wizard of Oz sheds light on Elphaba’s rough childhood growing up with alcoholic and endlessly jealous parents. In this version of the story, Elphaba’s hometown is controlled by a totalitarian dictator known as the Wizard of Oz and is one of the only people in her town to advocate against the mistreatment of animals.




Dark Shimmer by Donna Jo Napoli
In this unconventional retelling of Snow White, Dolce, a young girl living on an island of dwarves, is seen as a freak and a giant by everyone in her hometown, hated by everyone besides her mother. One day, she escapes her island and travels to a foreign land where she is welcomed and her height is no longer uncommon.  In this new land, she falls in love with a widower and becomes a mirror-maker. However, her love of mirrors soon stirs trouble deep within her soul and she begins to see herself transform into the evil stepmother we know her as today.



Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys cover of The Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
Do you remember Bertha Mason, the madwoman locked in Rochester’s attic in Jane Eyre? Do you ever wonder what drove her to snarl, walk on all fours, and set Thornfield on fire? Wide Sargasso Sea tells the story of Antoinette Cosway, the young Jamaican girl forced to marry Rochester and confined to the attic of Thornfield for the rest of her life.

By Sophia N. ’19

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