YA – What I Like About You

Kanter, Marisa. What I Like About You. Simon & Schuster, 2020. 978-1-534-44577-2. $18.99. 409 p. Grades 7-12.

Halle Levitt and her brother Ollie have just moved in with their grandpa. She will spend her senior year in a new small town and new school while her parents jet off to another country to film their newest documentary. Halle struggles, along with her Gramps, to be in the house without her Grams who passed away just a few years ago. It was her Grams that inspired her love of reading and baking, and when Halle isn’t studying for her SATs or applying for college at NYU, she connects with her online best friend, Nash, and updates her online blog called One True Pastry. Online, Halle is known as Kels, and she’s famous for her YA book reviews and her cupcake book cover creations. When Halle meets Nash in real life and discovers he lives in the same town as her Gramps, she decides not to tell him that she’s also his online best friend, Kels. Halle and Nash grow closer, but Halle needs to find the courage to tell him who she really is and hopes that he’ll like real-life, awkward Halle as much as he likes online, confident Kels.

THOUGHTS: What I Like About You reminds me of a YA version of the movie You’ve Got Mail. Halle’s decision to keep her Kels identity from Nash is frustrating, especially when he feels guilty about liking Halle while also keeping his crush on Kels. This book not only focuses on romantic relationships, but on family relationships as well. I love how close Halle is to her brother Ollie, and together they help their Gramps overcome the loss of their beloved Grams, and although Halle and Ollie are Jewish, their busy parents never had much time for their family to be a part of a Jewish community, like they can be with Gramps. Anyone that loves books will connect with Halle, Nash, and their online friends, and after finishing this sweet, romantic story, you might be inspired to whip a batch of cupcakes for yourself. 

Fantasy          Emily Hoffman, Conestoga Valley SD

Series NF for Upper Elementary and MS – Super Simple Cookies; Top Ten Science


Kuskowski, Alex. Super Simple Cookies (series). Minneapolis: ABDO Publishing, 2016. 32 p. $18.95 ea. Gr. 3-6.

Super Simple Bar Cookies. 978-1-62403-946-1.

Super Simple Classic Cookies. 978-1-62403-947-8.

Super Simple Healthy Cookies. 978-1-62403-948-5.

Super Simple Holiday Cookies. 978-1-62403-949-2.

Super Simple No-Bake Cookies. 978-1-62403-950-8.

Super Simple Specialty Cookies. 978-1-62403-951-5.

This attractive series from ABDO gives recipes on various kinds of cookies. Each recipe includes ingredients, tools, and 3-8 steps with different levels of difficulty; both bake and no-bake choices are included. The directions are clear and concise. Some illustrations show how to accomplish different steps although not every step is illustrated. Each recipe includes a full-page close-up of finished cookies. Each book includes extensive extra material including a table of contents, information about cooking basics, how to measure and measurement conversions, illustrated cooking terms, and picture glossaries of kitchen utensils and ingredients. THOUGHTS: Kids will love these colorful books splashed with delicious-looking cookies and will be able to follow the steps to create their own.

641.86; Baking     Lindsey Long, Nye & Conewago Elementary Schools



Chandler, Matt. Top Ten Science. North Mankato, MN: Capstone Press, 2016. 32 p. $20.49 Grades 4-8.

The Science of Baseball: The Top Ten Ways Science Affects the Game.  978-14914-82186.

The Science of Hockey: The Top Ten Ways Science Affects the Game. 978-14914-82216.

These two titles are from Top Ten Science, a set of four books produced in partnership with Sports Illustrated Kids. (The other two titles, not reviewed here, focus on football and basketball.) Both books begin with a one-page introduction, alerting readers to the intriguing scientific questions that the sport raises. Baseball asks and answers: what makes a curveball curve; and how does air affect a batter’s ability to hit a homerun? Hockey asks and answers: what makes a perfect slap shot; and how does ice quality affect the way the game is played? Both books stand out in the writing; each topic is given one-four pages rather than a quick one-page box plus obligatory sidebar photo. The writing seems to flow as one piece, not separate chapters, and the books wisely begin and end with some summary words. These are full-color, with excellent additions (Zamboni in Hockey, for instance) which prove interesting.  Each text also includes a glossary, index, “Read More” section, and useful internet sites for further exploration.  THOUGHTS: This is excellent for STEM connections, sports fans, and reluctant readers. It is easy to pick these up and read one or two chapters, but for any fan who has actually asked himself or herself these questions, the books will be hard not to read cover-to-cover.

796 Sports     Melissa Scott, Shenango High School