Books Young Adult

Phoenixville Rising by Robb Cadigan

What’s more fun than reading a book?

Reading a book about a town you’re familiar with?

Reading a book when you know the author?

Reading a book and then getting to talk tot he author about the book?

yes, YES and YESSSS!!!

That is what is so ding dang fun about being a book reviewer. I get to read great books and meet great authors! That’s why I’m thrilled to present my newest bestie to you today: Robb Cadigan, author of Phoenixville Rising!



Robb is a local guy who made good of himself. But maybe I’ll let him tell you that tale another time, he’s promised to come back and give an interview. Live. in front of the camera. SQUEE!

Anyway, I’m thrilled to present Phoenixville Rising to you because as you might know, I host a book club for adults at the Towne Book Center & Cafe,  just outside Philadelphia. We chose Phoenixville Rising as our June book club pick and the book was my constant companion during my travels to NYC for BEA14.

I’d heard the book was good. Everyone in the neighborhood raved about it. But you know me: I hafta see it for myself. I said: “I’ll be the judge.”

And you know what? It’s Good! I mean like RandomPenguinHouse you should pick it up and republish it good.

Yep. It’s a coming of age story set in Phoenixville PA, a sleepy mill town in suburban Philadelphia. Like many mill towns, Phoenixville was glorious in its heyday. I was born in Pittsburgh so I can relate to this reminiscence.  But don’t let the former mill town saga get you down. Phoenixville Rising is a story of a bunch of streetwise kids and how they cope with life in this town.  Think of it as a modern day Outsiders, by SE Hinton. There are a slew of reasons these kids should do better.

And a slew of reasons why you love them anyway.  Remember your first love? Your first fight? Your yearning to leave a legacy?

Yeah that.

Happens to us all.

And it happened in Phoenixville.

This book would make a great character study for high school classes and is an insightful look into the demise of the mill towns of the past.  If you every get a chance to meet Robb, he’s a Very Important Author; you just haven’t met him yet. Stick with me though, I can introduce you to him. Don’t let his superstar sunglasses intimidate you; he’s a super cool guy who is easy to get along with and can spin a tale that might make you have a feeling.

Wanna connect with him? Catch him on The Twitter: Robb Cadigan and Facebook.  Do let him know I sent ya!


Long Shot by Mike Piazza

I know what you’re thinking: why is An Unconventional Librarian reviewing a book about sports? Because I love baseball?

longshotNot really. More because there is a lot of local Philadelphia references in the book that many people will enjoy.

Long Shot by Mike Piazza is his autobiography that hits the stores this week.  And if you know anything about Piazza, you’ll know he’s from the Philadelphia region, Norristown and Phoenixville areas, specifically.

That’s where I get involved. Piazza’s family has long standing ties to this area.  As you read the opening chapters you’ll see how Piazza’s grandfather and father grew up during the hard times of Norristown in the early 20th century.  Hard times is probably an understatement.  Poor and hungry.  Not exactly what you think of when you think about Mike Piazza, right?

But what you learn from their meager family beginnings is that the family instilled a work ethic and family unity that positively affected Piazza’s success. I can’t speak to Piazza’s baseball career because I know very little about the sport, but what I’ve learned from his autobiography is that he became smitten with the game as a little guy and Dad’s work ethic and pushiness turned Piazza into the famous ball play and potential Hall of Famer that he is today.

In addition to lots of stats and baseball information, the book includes delightful family photos that make the book feel more like sharing a family scrapbook than a famous autobiography.  Let me rephrase that, a family scrapbook that contains photos of Tommy LaSorda, and other famous ball players.

Wednesday, February 13 my bookstore, Towne Book Center & Cafe, will host Mike Piazza for a book signing.  I’ll be sure to get my copy signed and impress him with my knowledge of baseball, which up until now, has involved beer, popcorn, and hot dogs.

I can’t wait!