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Skandar and the Chaos Trials By A.F. Steadman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781665912792
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - May 7th, 2024

Heather's May 2024 pick

We are on book three on the magical island for Unicorn riders. Skandar and his quartet are about to enter their third year in the Erie. The cut-throat Chaos Cup looms in all of their minds determining if they will remain in training or be forced out to become nomads. The unicorns are even more rebellious in the third year, while they go through adolescence, which makes training with them for the dangerous sky battles even more dangerous for Skandar and his friends. Never mind that the worst villain the Island has known, the Weaver, is trying to build her own army and has stolen all the hatchling unicorns for next year, but she’s bonded Skandar’s sister, Kenna, to a wild, unpredictable unicorn. Now Kenna’s even more of an outcast than Skandar is, and she is not taking her forced separation well. Unlike him, she can’t let slide the fear and hate she finds cast toward her and her unicorn and she is becoming more powerful, and unstable, than anyone thought possible.  

Book three sees the stakes get higher and the family dramas get more involved as the kids mature. This series just keeps getting better. Skandar is a great series for adventure loving magic positive readers looking for a bit more spirit in their middle grade stories.

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Wrath Becomes Her By Aden Polydoros Cover Image
ISBN: 9781335458032
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Inkyard Press - October 10th, 2023

Heather's April 2024 pick

When Chaya is killed by Nazis, Vera is born from the rage and vengeance fueling Chaya’s father. Using a dark and terrible magic, Ezra creates a golem in the exact image of his daughter but at a terrible price. Vera is fueled by a drive to avenge the girl she is made from in absolute terms, full annihilation of the Nazis. Unexpectedly Vera realizes she can recall Chaya’s memories and shares her fondness for a boy. Although Vera might wish to slip into Chaya’s life, she can’t help but realize they are not the same person. Vera is continually made aware of her monstrousness, and otherness but continues to protect her creator, and friends, and innocents during desolate times. Though made of clay, Vera represents the humanity of home, of doing what is right, against the mindless churning of war and old anger.

Polydoros is a skillful writer, pulling in themes of otherness, lack of family acceptance, and not feeling at home in your own skin.

Vera may be made from the bones of one girl, but she embodies the struggle of many who have violence thrust upon them, and their burning need for change under a fascist regime. If you check out that dedication, it’s spot on.

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The Lost Library By Rebecca Stead, Wendy Mass Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250838810
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - August 29th, 2023

Heather's September 2023 pick

Two powerhouse children’s authors come together to create a heartfelt cozy story. There is a love that some children find in Libraries and the safety, or adventure they offer in books. Such a place is bound to have a lasting effect on the community it serves. This story is of one town that tragically loses their beloved library, and it takes decades for the town to recover from the loss. All that’s needed to make things right in the town is a cat named Mortimer, several mice, a few ghosts, a little free library, and a curious boy. 

To quote the book, "Being a great reader has nothing to do with reading great sophisticated books, or reading great long books, or even reading a great many books.  Being a great reader means feeling something about books."  This book makes you feel.

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Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1) By Rebecca Yarros Cover Image
ISBN: 9781649374042
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Entangled: Red Tower Books - May 2nd, 2023

Heather's July 2023 pick

If you can get your hands on Fourth Wing, take the chance, and read it. It’s a fun, fast-paced, slow burn action/romance with surly dragons. It’s a dark academia setting where the prize, if you survive until graduation, is flying with your very own bonded dragon. That is, if the dragon also doesn’t kill you. Think Divergent meets Eragon and then let the story get a bit more, hot mature. Then when you’re done, go order the sequel, Iron Flame. You’ll thank me later.

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Warrior Girl Unearthed By Angeline Boulley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250766588
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - May 2nd, 2023

Heather's May 2023 pick

I loved, loved, loved this powerful follow-up to Firekeepers Daughter! Angeline Boulley is an Own Voices Indigenous powerhouse author to watch. Her second novel in the Firekeeper-Birch family continues to include Ojibwe language and traditions that inform the reader of the narrator, Perry's heritage in a fluid and fulfilling narrative.

Warrior Girl Unearthed follows Perry Firekeeper-Birch as she works for a summer at the culture center to pay back her auntie Daunis for the Jeep that she crashed. While working for Cooper Turtle, Perry enters the legal world governing the repatriation of their ancestors' bodies and belongings, striving to bring them home from the museums and galleries that continue to hold them.  The education the reader gets alongside Perry about the Repatriation Act and the lack of action to follow from the museums and collectors is heartbreaking. 

This is an important novel, bringing indigenous culture, missing indigenous women, and the harm continually being done to a culture to the forefront, while also delivering a stellar, action filled story. Reading and listening to this novel in turns was particularly moving. The Indigenous audiobook narrator, Isabella Star LeBlanc gives voice and a great performance to this novel as she did in Firekeeper’s Daughter.

 My only regret is that I didn't read this sooner.  I will happily keep looking for more from Angeline Boulley.

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Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting By Kindra Neely Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316462099
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Little, Brown Ink - October 11th, 2022

Heather's October 2022 pick

Numb to This is wonderfully honest and aware. This graphic novel brings light to the survivors' experience. Neely handles serious topics with care and understanding, giving voice to what depression, suicide, and anxiety actually look like. As a memoir the intention to share and heal is evident and Neely's compassion can be felt.


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The Door of No Return (The Door of No Return series #1) By Kwame Alexander Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316441964
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 7th, 2024

Heather's September 2022 pick

The Door of No Return is beautiful, and haunting; both wonderful, and terrible. Kwame Alexander’s novel in verse makes this terrible piece of history sing. The story is captivating and important.

I am grateful to learn that this is the beginning
of a trilogy with Kofi Offin and his family and not the

Alexander’s writing is impeccable, as usual. 

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The Weight of Blood By Tiffany D. Jackson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063029156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 12th, 2023

Heather's July 2022 pick

Intense, uncomfortable, and so, so, so good. I loved this racially charged retelling of Carrie.

It’s 2014 in Springville, Georgia, though the town might as well be stuck sometime in the fifties as far as racial inequality goes. Sure, the school is integrated as dictated by the law, but racial prejudice runs deep. Springville still hosts separate proms for white and black students. The school claims there are no problems between the students, but after several racist altercations proving otherwise, the school is compelled to hold its first integrated prom. It is hard to fathom that there are still states that hold to this archaic and uneducated mentality, but as of 2022 there are still towns in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas that need to join us in the current century.

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Over My Dead Body: A Witchy Graphic Novel By Sweeney Boo, Sweeney Boo (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Sweeney Boo, Sweeney Boo (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780063056305
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: HarperAlley - August 30th, 2022

Heather's August 2022 pick

The Younwity Hidden Institute of Witchcraft is definitely hiding things. With rumors of what happened years ago in the forbidden woods, ghosts speaking strange riddles, and mysterious happenings on school grounds, the unexplained disappearance of a younger student is too much to overlook.  Abigail needs to find Noreen, but she will have  to break all the rules and risk being expelled from the one home she's known to do it.  This is a fun, well represented graphic novel with a great Dark Academia theme.

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When Women Were Dragons: A Novel By Kelly Barnhill Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593466575
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - May 16th, 2023

Heather's June 2022 pick

This book imagines a 1950s version of our world where ¼ of the world’s female population and a handful of others spontaneously turn into dragons all at once. Homes are broken, cruel husbands are squashed, and inappropriate bosses are eaten, but no one is allowed to talk about it. Everyone is told to pretend it didn’t happen and warned not to look for the science behind it. Society is trying to force the idea that no one should talk about ladies’ issues or gender issues in polite company, or at all. Women are supposed to stay in their small places, with their small lives and small dreams that a man might provide. But there are bastions of hope and islands of learning scattered through the country. There is reason found in the libraries where rebellious librarians continue to help the people and search for knowledge and truth. It just might be enough to help when the dragons come back, because eventually they will.

This book is full of righteous, suppressed rage at the patriarchy in a cleaver, well-mannered wrapper. It gives us a great warning to remember to resist and to remain ungovernable in the face of a foolish, and unequal government.

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Family of Liars: The Prequel to We Were Liars By E. Lockhart Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593485880
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - May 2nd, 2023

Heather's May 2022 pick

What a pack of lies! I loved it. This beautiful, close-knit, proper family is not at all what they seem. They are none of those things and yet, they are those things and more. This is even better than We Were Liars.

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Witchlings By Claribel A. Ortega Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338745535
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Scholastic Inc. - March 7th, 2023

Heather's March 2022 pick

I really enjoyed this book! I love that Scholastic is putting it out. I feel it’s a great antidote to our ongoing social climate. Inclusive and diverse with a great social message, Witchlings does a great job showing how kids feel the anger and helplessness of seeing social injustice and abuse. Kids are aware that those in power can use fear to control the masses and Witchlings gives hope to those kids showing that even the young, and out of place can make a difference and bring about social change. This is so much more than Potter!

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Truly Devious: A Mystery By Maureen Johnson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062338068
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - December 4th, 2018

Heather's January 2022 pick

Truly Devious is the start to a truly fun series, blending a current day teen mystery with a great Agatha Christie style unsolved mystery from 1930. The series is fast paced and has fantastic cliffhangers to keep you reading. While giving resolution to one of the two mysteries in each book, the second mystery doesn’t resolve until later in the series. It is the perfect set to pick up all the titles in paperback and binge-read over the weekend.

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Vespertine By Margaret Rogerson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534477124
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - November 1st, 2022

Heather's October 2021 pick

Margaret Rogerson had me from An Enchantment of Ravens and has kept my affection through Sorcery of Thorns. Now she has reaffirmed that she's "my" author with Vespertine. I loved the Gothic,  spectral setting. loved the banter with snarky demons. I loved that there didn't need to be a love issue. There were no love triangles or obsessive love interests, just a young girl kicking butt and knocking people out with incense, an awesome horse, and a revenant's power that might just destroy her and everyone else, or it might feel like playing nice. If you like a heroine with a sword, many complex, deep seated issues with other people, and a habit of taking care of those people whether they like it or not, Vespertine has that lovable, surly heroine for you.

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Pax, Journey Home By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Sara Pennypacker, Jon Klassen (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062930361
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 31st, 2023

Heather's September 2021 pick

What a great follow up book! I didn’t think I could love Pax more, but I do.

Pax has changed and so has Peter; they have had to. But while Pax has grown and started a family, Peter has tried to close himself off after losing his. In Journey Home they will both have to overcome several obstacles before they can finally find their way to safety and a feeling of home.

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Strangeworlds Travel Agency By L. D. Lapinski Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534483521
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Aladdin - May 24th, 2022

Heather's May 2021 pick, 1 of 2

Strangeworlds Travel Agency is like Dr. Who for kids.

Flick moves to a new town but all her responsibilities in her family come with her. Helping her mom and dad with seemingly endless chores and taking care of her baby brother has kept Flick's feet firmly planted on the ground. Until she finds the Strangeworlds Travel Agency in town and Jonathan, the caretaker. When she finds that there are magical worlds contained inside the suitcases of the agency her secret wish to travel could come true. All she has to do is become a member and pledge to protect all the worlds contained inside and maybe save a few from total destruction.

I loved it.  I can see this being a sweet and adventurous new series.

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Ophie’s Ghosts By Justina Ireland Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062915849
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - May 3rd, 2022

Heather's staff pick, May 2021, 2 of 2

Justina Ireland has created an atmospheric and engaging novel with Ophie's Ghosts. Ophie has a kind heart and gentle soul that are both apparent from the moment she tries to help the spirits she sees instead of hiding from them. When she encounters several ghosts at the manor house where she has to work, she finds there are many mysteries to unravel surrounding this wealthy family as well as untangling how she has to behave around her new employers in a complicated and cruel social structure. This book shows the injustices of racism and puts it into terms a middle-schooler can understand while creating a complex story they won’t forget.

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Firekeeper's Daughter By Angeline Boulley Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250866035
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Square Fish - April 25th, 2023

Heather's April 2021 pick

Pulled into an undercover investigation due to several meth related deaths, Daunis has to balance protecting her family while learning the truth about those she loves. Daunis is a brilliant narrator,  guiding us through the history of her Anishinaabe community - the honor, customs, and beliefs of the tribe as well as showing the atrocities and racism that left their marks on the tribe and continue to be visited upon them. Boutley conveys the deep rooted Ojibwe theme of family and community looking forward to help future generations in this fictionalized town, while showing that same community being devastated by meth use. Look at that gorgeous cover! And Listen to that fantastic audiobook! Hearing the rhythm and beauty of the Ojibwe language is well worth the listen. Well written and enlightening, deeply moving and upsetting. I can’t wait to read more from this Own Voices first time author from the Sault Ste Marie Chippewa tribe.

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Here in the Real World By Sara Pennypacker Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062698964
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - January 5th, 2021

Heather's March 2021 pick, 1 of 3

This is quoted as, 'An ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits,' and oh, it is, reader, it is. I fell right in with Ware and his different view of the world. My heart contracted with the painful barbs casually dropped by parents and teachers that didn’t get his ways and the disappointed breaths they would let out trying to get his attention when he was imagining his world into something bigger and more grand than they could see. Ware is a kid who has more courage and vision than he knows, until the day he finds his “quest”. Like a loyal and brave Knight of old, Ware plans a daring revision of an abandoned church that may just save a flock of birds, some plants, a friend, and himself.

If you are always on the underdog’s side or you think there might be more to being a kid than fitting into someone else's mold, give this a read.

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How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air) By Holly Black, Rovina Cai (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Holly Black, Rovina Cai (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780316540889
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - November 24th, 2020

Heather's March 2021 pick, 2 of 3

Yes, this is an illustrated fairy tale for grownups, and I love it. I’m all for it. This little volume is a great gift for the Holly Black fan in your life. It’s short tales of the best, bad King in Elfhame. That, in and of itself would be reason enough to love the book, his sharp tongue and cruel wit are easily some of the best bits of the fae realm, but there are also the beautiful illustrations inside to lure you astray. You need to add this to your collection of evil fairy books. Because everyone should have a collection of evil fairy books.

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Everything Sad Is Untrue: (a true story) By Daniel Nayeri Cover Image
ISBN: 9781646140008
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Levine Querido - August 25th, 2020

Heather's March 2021 pick, 3 of 3

Khosrou had to flee Iran with his mother and sister, leaving behind his legendary father and a life so different it seems like a myth or fantasy to his new classmates in Oklahoma. Khosrou likens his story to that of princess Shahrazad spinning her tale for 1001 nights where, “the sound of every story being told is the sound of the storyteller trying to stay alive.” And so, he weaves the tale of his family, grown to mythic proportions in his own mind, and told in a grand fashion as tales of Persian heroes should be told.             

 He tells of his charming father handing out gifts to everyone in the room and throwing parties for the whole village, who did not come with the family to America and Khosrou never learns why. He talks of his grandmother owning Saffron fields, and their home with a glass aviary for birds, while he shingles a leaking roof on his new home with his cruel stepfather during an Oklahoma tornado. While he hides in the bathroom when he does not have enough money to buy hot lunch, he tells of changing his name to David, to fit in with the terrible children on the bus home that never learn the difference between Iraq and his home, Iran. He tells these tales with humor and love, then lets them break your heart.

His current stories woven together with stories from his family’s past create a rich knowledge of the boy trying to understand and grieve the loss of one world while struggling to comprehend or be embraced by his new land. It is a tale beautifully told that will be great for readers in 7th 8th grade or even adult book clubs. Teachers will love it. I love it.

Burn Our Bodies Down By Rory Power Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525645658
Availability: Not in stock; place a special order
Published: Ember - May 4th, 2021

Heather's September 2020 pick

A fast paced, young adult, modern gothic novel.  Powers has a way of blending high stakes and the supernatural into compulsively readable novels. It’s nice to see her second novel keeps to that under explored genre for YA. I love it when a good creepy, atmospheric novel crosses my path every once in a while and Burn Our Bodies Down filled that need well with Margot and the corn fields of the Nielsen farm. We would be wise to keep an eye out for author Rory Power.

The Girl and the Witch's Garden By Erin Bowman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534461598
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - May 25th, 2021

Heather's June 2020 pick

Bowman’s entrance into the middle grade genre is spot on. This has all the right elements for a great read; Magic, Mystery, and Love plus a nice dose of friendship struggles, self-discovery, and growth. Middle grade readers looking for magic and depth will eat this up.

When Piper’s dad becomes frighteningly ill, she has to move to Mallory Estate and spend time with her disapproving and distant mother. While there she discovers a mystery and several unusual foster children. Piper has to unlock the secret of the witch’s garden, and in so doing, find a way to help her dad and discover some magical things about herself.

Bowman takes her talent for plot driven Young Adult novels and adds even more heart and soul to the storyline for the younger readers.  Kids just trying to understand and explore our world through books will find big topics to wrestle with and the wonder they are hoping to find. I am very happy to recommend this to young readers.

We Dream of Space: A Newbery Honor Award Winner By Erin Entrada Kelly Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062747310
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - March 22nd, 2022

Heather's May 2020 pick

Here in New Hampshire we have a strong connection to the Challenger expedition through the local connection to Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher to be sent into space. Some of us are also old enough to be one of the students watching that fateful mission. That event changed many of our lives and stayed with us. This is a beautiful book representation of that experience. As a reader, it will also stay with you, hopefully change you, and challenge you to keep your sights set on something bigger and higher.

Show Me a Sign (Show Me a Sign, Book 1): (Book #1 in the Show Me a Sign Trilogy) By Ann Clare LeZotte Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338255829
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - September 21st, 2021

Heather's March 2020 pick

Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte delves into an amazing piece of history involving Martha’s Vineyard. Did you know, at one point there was such a large population of Deaf folk that they created their own language? It’s true! This is a great addition for middle grade historical fiction fans. If you loved The War That Saved My Life, or Beyond the Bright Sea this will be a great choice.

Lalani of the Distant Sea By Erin Entrada Kelly Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062747280
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Greenwillow Books - September 15th, 2020

Heather's January 2020 pick, 1 of 2

Lalani believes in stories. She believes in her best friend’s intelligence and loyalty and she believes in the safe, surety of her mother. When drought threatens to wipe out her village, Lalani is desperate to save her home and those she loves most. Lalani knows it is her calling when her own story sets her on an adventure that has claimed the strongest men for generations.

 Lalani of the Distant Sea shows us that we craft our own story each day, with each choice we make, and proves that kindness triumphs over fear time and again. As her friend Hetsbi learns, bravery is built one choice at a time and each time it becomes easier to choose the brave path. This musical and mystical style will be great for fans of Orphan Island, and The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

The Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) By Holly Black Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316310376
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - November 24th, 2020

January 2020 pick, 2 of 2

I enjoyed this end to the trilogy. It was just as fast paced as the others and had all the twists we hope for from Holly Black. Her lush language makes it alluring and immersive. I will say it felt a little lighter than some of her others but that’s not much of a criticism unless you only like brooding heroes. I like the balance this brings and the book has kept me a fan. I look forward to the next journey to Elfheim.

Ember and the Ice Dragons By Heather Fawcett Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062854520
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Balzer + Bray - August 11th, 2020

Heather's September 2019 pick

Ember and the Ice Dragons is a fun story, full of magic and adventure and great for any fan looking for a little more dragon mythology. Ember takes us from a magical England where Fire Dragons have been hunted to extinction, to the remote and Icy wilderness of Antarctica, where there are rumors of Ice Dragons still roaming free. Fearing her inability to hide what she is, Ember chooses to leave all she holds dear to find freedom in the wilds of the north. Along the way she meets several adversaries intent on hunting dragons for their prized heartscale, and unexpectedly she meets several friends that share her ideals. Ember shows us there is magic in learning to trust your friends and in learning to trust yourself to be who you are.

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Finding Orion By John David Anderson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062643902
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Walden Pond Press - April 7th, 2020

Heather's May 2019 pick

John David Anderson writes another pitch perfect middle grade novel. When a clown reluctantly bears the news of their grandfather’s death, Rion’s family is forced to go on a town wide scavenger hunt for Papa Kwirk’s final resting place.  What sounds like a macabre mockery of the family’s sadness, actually turns into a discovery of the man their grandfather had been. Finding Orion takes a family tragedy and turns it into a celebration of life. It’s about finding home, finding how you fit, and embracing your quirks, or for Rion Kwirk, embracing his Kwirk.

The Assassin's Curse (The Blackthorn Key #3) By Kevin Sands Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534405240
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aladdin - September 25th, 2018

Heather's October 2017 pick

The Assassin’s Curse, by Kevin Sands

Christopher, Tom and Sally are thrust into the unfamiliar French court working together to break the ancient curse on the Throne. If they fail, or are discovered, it means not only the life of the king, but their own lives as well. 
These books are a solid choice for fans of adventure and intrigue. I appreciate the level of historical detail and the ways Christopher’s logic is explained with just enough detail to keep young readers interested and informed yet the pace stays brisk and compelling. You can’t help but cheer for these characters and race along discovering plots and breaking codes with them. 

The third book in the Blackthorn Key series is in every way just as great as the first and second. Usually there is a drop off of interest or creativity in a series with most authors, but not with Kevin Sands’. I’m desperately hoping for more novels and happily, the book sets up another potential novel with yet another imaginative and intriguing premise. You’ll have to read the book to discover this next plot because all I’ll reveal is that there seems to be a little flair of Sherlock and Dr. Moriarity to the next one. I'm game.

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The Many Worlds of Albie Bright By Christopher Edge Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524713607
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Yearling - May 28th, 2019

Heather's June 2017 pick

Albie is reeling from the loss of his genius scientist mother and he feels he has lost his father into his work. Left mostly on his own Albie sets out to discover a parallel universe where his mother is still alive.  With the help of a box, a banana, and a very uncooperative cat, Albie uses his mother’s super computer to recreate Schrodinger’s experiment and it works. He discovers many worlds with various versions of himself, learns a lot about himself and about life’s biggest questions in the process.

I love that there is a book that explains quantum physics on a level that children can understand and deals with the stages of grief, consequences of choices in life, and mindfulness for what we have all in a very accessible, gentle, and entertaining little book

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Posted By John David Anderson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062338211
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Walden Pond Press - May 1st, 2018

Heather's May 2017 pick, 1 of 2

Posted, by John David Anderson  

This middle grade novel tackles the issue of bullying in a very accessible way. First the kids at Branton Middle School have their cell phones banned for inappropriate use, but when the kids turn to anonymous post-it notes to communicate, things get really ugly. Middle school can be rough if you’re the new kid or if you don’t have your own group and even when you do you still have to learn to be true to yourself and be a true friend.  Words can hurt, they can haunt you, they stick. If you’re lucky you have friends that stick too.

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The Sun Is Also a Star By Nicola Yoon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553496710
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - March 5th, 2019

Heather's May 2017 pick, 2 of 2

The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon

This is a great realistic teen fiction touching on hot issues of racism, discrimination, immigration and the validity of love. This novel is full of the charm of falling in love and great banter between characters that is very compelling and wonderfully romantic. The high stakes of teen romance is made more believable due to the confines of the story having to take place in one day. Good for fans of John Green or anyone looking for feasible teen romance.

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The Last True Love Story By Brendan Kiely Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481429894
Availability: Not in stock; place a special order
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - September 5th, 2017

Heather's September 2016 pick, 1 of 2

Last True Love Story, by Brendan Kiely

Mild mannered Hendrix is done with following the rules. He's tired of being alone, writing poetry no one understands, and he's tired of not getting any straight answers about his dead dad from anyone. But mostly he's angry that the man who raised him, his Gpa, is losing his memory due to Alzheimer's and therefore losing his memories of his life with Gma. So when the troubled girl of Hendrix’s dreams, Corrina, needs a quick escape from her rock-star lifestyle he takes the biggest chance of his life. With a little help from Corrina, Hendrix breaks Gpa out of “old folks prison” in California and steals his mom’s car to go on an epic road trip across the country to get Gpa back to his home town and back to his memories of Gma, while he still has them. “Everyone respects the "road trip" except the police, his mother, and Corrina’s parents, apparently.

Last True Love Story is a sweet and engaging look at love in all its forms and at its many stages in life. I enjoyed that the budding romance between Hendrix and Corrina didn’t take the focus off the story entirely but added to the overall tone. Love is the deep and driving force for much of the action but also the cause for many of the secrets. Hendrix is trying to write the family history to hold on to the beauty and importance of the tender moments between loved ones that can only live in memory while realizing you have to fully live your life to have memories worth keeping.

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The Blackthorn Key By Kevin Sands Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481446525
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aladdin - May 3rd, 2016

Heather's September 2016 pick, 2 of 2

The Blackthorn Key, by Kevin Sands

Christopher is a quick and clever boy, raised from the torture of the orphanage into the apothecaries guild to become a young, trusted apprentice. He enjoys the tutelage of his kind Master, Benjamin Blackthorn and the trust instilled in him until it seems a cult starts targeting London’s Apothecaries loyal to the King. Tragedy strikes and Christopher is blamed. He must solve the riddle of his Master’s murder and find the killers before they find him and the dangerous secret that was entrusted to him.

This is a very well written middle grade novel. The action is fast paced and supported by swift, smart lessons in alchemy. The story evolves through a series of clues and puzzles that must be solved and each time the solutions never feel contrived or overly simplified for the young audience.  Each plot twist helps drive the action forward to unlock the mystery, setting off a chain reaction that is clear and easy to follow. One of the most engaging aspects of the story is the rich details of the time period creating a  great sense of atmosphere. It is so complete and full of historical facts that it will be a great introduction for young readers to historical fiction.  I’m sure that Sherlock would be a great next step for the readers that want even more clever puzzle solving. Personally, my next step is grabbing book two and continuing the adventure.

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All the Bright Places By Jennifer Niven Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385755917
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Ember - September 13th, 2016

Heather's August 2015 pick

All the Bright Places, by Jennifer Niven

So much beauty depends on how you look at something. Your outlook and your perspective defines your world. Your view can create boundaries, tear them down, provide safety or grant you freedom.
What if you climbed a tower to gain perspective, to regain control or to get away. What if you stepped out on the very edge of that tower to see how easy it would be to step off, or  to test if you could not step off... and then you...met someone?

This is such a beautiful and heart breaking book. It deserves all the praise. Finch and Violet are characters that will stay with you for a long time. It's an honest and uplifting look at suicide, depression and bipolar disorder. Yes that is possible. But be prepared to cry a bit too.

A Court of Thorns and Roses By Sarah J. Maas Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635575569
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - June 2nd, 2020

Heather's May 2015 pick

A Court of Thorns and Roses, by Sarah J. Maas

Beautiful, dark, and seductive. These are truly otherworldly fairies, not the pretty, lovely, fluffy, tiny pixie things either but the bold and varied, cruel and dangerous sort. The type that whisk the unwary off to fairyland and make you dance until you die. The type of fairies that alternately love humans passionately with everything they have, or kill them on a whim for a moment of fun. Feyre meets both sorts on her quest to protect her family and is a tough and wise huntress as well. The land Maas creates is enticing. I read this and wanted to spend eternity there. Don’t let the Young Adult category fool you, this is a very sexy book.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel By Nancy Horan Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345516541
Availability: Not in stock; place a special order
Published: Ballantine Books - September 23rd, 2014

Heather's May 2014 pick

Under the Wide and Starry Sky, by Nancy Horan

This novel is a solid second novel from Horan. Fans of Loving Frank will be happy to find another strong female character in Fanny Van de Grift. As a former frontierswoman, Fanny has the courage to leave her womanizing husband behind and take her three children to live in Europe. Struggling as a female artist and writer traveling alone in 1857, this it no small undertaking. It requires heart, charm and quite a bit of resourcefulness. When in France Fanny meets the future famous author Robert Louis Stevenson and falls in love despite their differences in age and class. This novel is not a sweeping, grand story of romance, however. It is a story of overcoming loss and circumstance to be with the person you love and what it means to truly stand by that person in difficult times. 

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Not Your Typical Dragon By Dan Bar-el, Tim Bowers (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Dan Bar-el, Tim Bowers (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780670014026
Availability: Not in stock; place a special order
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - February 7th, 2013

Heather's April 2014 pick

Not Your Typical Dragon, by  Dan Bar-el

I love children's stories that are creative, funny and sweet, but I also prefer children's stories that can deliver a good moral lesson with out being heavy handed. This is such a charming tale of growth and acceptance. Not Your Typical Dragon is one of those lovely books you can feel good about reading over and over again.
Crispin is a little dragon happily getting ready for his seventh birthday with all his fire breathing family. On his Birthday, his dad assures him, he will gain his fire breathing abilities. But it turns out Crispin is Not Your Typical Dragon. He doesn't breath fire at all. Instead, he breathes everything from whipped cream and marshmallows to teddy bears and even Band-Aids. Embarrassed, Crispin runs away to hide in a cave. Until, Sir George is sent to Crispin's cave to fight a dragon. George and Crispin both have no idea how to do what is expected of them. Instead the two become friends and together they learn that being different is good, in fact, it is the things that make us different that also make us special.

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The Last Runaway: A Novel By Tracy Chevalier Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142180365
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Penguin Books - October 29th, 2013

Heather's January 2014 pick
The Last Runaway, by Tracy Chevalier

The year is 1850, and America is still a young nation. It is a growing country, full of restless settlers and as a people they are not always on the right path. A young woman named Honor Bright, comes to America to try to find her place in life. After a series of tragedies she finds herself alone in a world foreign in every way. As a strong minded woman, with equally strong Quaker moral beliefs that all people are equal, she cannot standby while the Fugitive Slave Law forces her peaceful Quaker community to help recapture runaway slaves or lose everything they have to the law. Instead, Honor finds her way to become part of the underground railroad, putting everyone at risk.
This is an interesting and well written story giving a voice to a seldom heard from community during a turbulent time in our nation's history. Chevalier brings to light the precarious situation the nonviolent Quakers were in during the revolutionary war and she creates an honest portrayal of the struggle their community faced when confronted with slavery between their beliefs and the American laws.

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S. By J. J. Abrams (Created by), Doug Dorst Cover Image
By J. J. Abrams (Created by), Doug Dorst
ISBN: 9780316201643
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Mulholland Books - October 29th, 2013

Heather's November 2013 pick

S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst


It is difficult to describe a book that is more than just a story. This novel itself is the experience. A visual, tactile interaction that you can't have with ebooks or audio. Honestly, you really need to see this book. Come in to the store just to open it up and marvel at the innovative way this novel has been designed to draw the reader into the story. It is formatted in an inventive multi-layered medium that demonstrates what draws "book people" to books. It is designed to bring people back to physical books.

 I purchased it right away and have fallen deeply and happily in love. I'm still reading it but I'm willing to recommend it as my November Staff Pick without knowing the outcome. It is that intriguing. 

The premiss of the novel:

Two strangers, a grad student and an undergrad, are writing notes in the margins of one of the novels by an author called V.M. Straka. Using the text and footnotes they are trying to unravel the many mysteries surrounding the elusive author.

Their story is nonlinear, flirtatious and argumentative at once, thus adding depth and layers of a modern romance to Straka's mythic tale. The tale, or really the book within a book, is of self discovery in an unreliable world hinting at the authors own troubles. The clues to the mystery of Straka's life lay hidden in the text. 

Abrams and Dorst have made those facts very tangible for readers. 

The pages of S. are literally stuffed with research. Each page turned can reveal letters, articles, or photos that may come fluttering out. The mysterious plot is engrossing and the story is well crafted. Overall S. is a novel any book lover would enjoy.

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Hokey Pokey By Jerry Spinelli Cover Image
ISBN: 9780440420514
Availability: Not in stock; place a special order
Published: Yearling - April 22nd, 2014

Heather's February 2013 review

Hokey Pokey Jerry Spinelli
The Hokey Pokey is everything. It's a child's world, a dream, an icy in any flavor you can imagine, a dance. It's Cartoons all day and night. It's Tantrums when you need to throw one. It's the Snuggler when you need a hug. It's an old western world of cap gun battles, where herds of wild bicycles roam. It's kids and all they encompass until simply, "it's...time". Suddenly, things are different and you realize you have to go. Spinelli creates a great coming of age story full of innocence and vitality. The Hokey Pokey invokes a surreal Neverland where no one can stay but no one can conceive of leaving.

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Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs: As Retold by Mo Willems By Mo Willems, Mo Willems (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Mo Willems, Mo Willems (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062104182
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: Balzer + Bray - September 4th, 2012

Heather's January 2013 pick

This month I am choosing a children's book. And why not? It deserves my attention and and reader's notice that has a sense of humor. Mo Willems's Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs is hilarious. It gives the grownups reading to their little one (for the seventh time that day) a much needed giggle. I can't wait until my son is old enough to appreciate the comic genius behind Willems's work. Any child familiar with the Three Bears story will find plenty of visual jokes and cheeky bits of narration to get them laughing.  Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur and some other dinosaur visiting from Norway just happen to go somewhere else and leave out giant bowels of chocolate pudding. They "are NOT setting a trap for some succulent, unsupervised little girl."

Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d'Art By Christopher Moore Cover Image
ISBN: 9780061779756
Availability: Not in stock, but we can get it for you!
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - October 9th, 2012

Heather's November 2012 pick

Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore
Now in paperback:

Where does the inspiration for art come from? Divinity? Madness? A gorgeous blue muse and a creepy little imp? Christopher Moore's Sacre Bleu has all these elements and more. This is another fabulous and fun book from Moore. It has his clasic irreverent style and off kilter (and yes, off-color) humor. In this new novel Moore takes art history and turns it on its head, blending fact and fiction in a dizzying and delightful way. It gave me the feeling of visiting the Louvre with a rubber chicken in hand. If you have a love of art and a hearty sense of humor, I suggest reading this romp. You won't look at art or the color blue without a smile.

Arcadia: A Novel By Lauren Groff Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316434706
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - July 13th, 2016

Heather's April 2012 pick

Arcadia is a moving novel that is at once both sentimental and amazingly honest. This is a beautifully written novel with lines that read almost like poetry. 
The story follows the birth of Bit Stone as the first full member of the Arcadia Commune through his coming of age and his fall from Eden into his adult years. During the idealistic beginnings of the Commune, Bit's innocence falls away as he learns to see the darker side of human nature through his struggles to comprehend his mother's depression and his father's power battle with the guru in charge. Eventually due to the corruption of the girl he loves along with the destruction of the only place he has ever called home, we see Bit continue to find the duality of beauty and innocence coexisting with depravity and decay in the larger world.
It is an utterly poignant novel and relevant to the current state of the world. 

The Night Circus: A Novel By Erin Morgenstern Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307744432
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - July 3rd, 2012

Heather's January 2012 pick 

Set in Le Cirqu Des Reves, a circus where anything is possible and held only at night , a competition blooms between magicians turned star-crossed lovers. The novel is an excellent example of true magic, transporting the reader into a candle lit world of paper and illusion with the scent of caramel popcorn in the air. Morgenstern seduces her readers with lush prose, constructing a beautiful and shimmering world delicately balanced between the light and dark of ambition and dreams. I would agree with Morgenstern when she writes, "put that way, it sounds rather like magic, doesn't it?" Reading the novel, you can't help but become one of the Reveurs, the dreamers and biggest fans of the Night Circus.

A Dance with Dragons: A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five By George R. R. Martin Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553385953
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - October 29th, 2013

November 2011

This book is totally worth all the hype built up around it. This is the fifth in the Song of Ice and Fire series and even this far along George R.R. Martin is still proving he can come up with some great surprises. HBO picked up the series and is doing a really stellar job with the project. I suggest starting to read them now so you can compare the books to the screen version, always a fun pastime. The reason these books are so worth while? The characters. True to life, no one is pure evil or wholly good. I love that I've found myself cheering for the "bad guy" on more than one occasion. They are vivid and complex stories about family, honor and survival. And sometimes about surviving the politics of a family with or without honor.