Staff Picks by Tag

Staff Pick Badge
Chlorine Sky Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593176399
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - January 12th, 2021

I'm a sucker for a novel in verse! For fans of Elizabeth Acevedo and Jacqueline Woodson, Mahogany L. Browne writes the story of a teenage girl just trying to play basketball without getting too cold in her best friend's shadow. Her words bite but her voice is delicate, letting me relish in that dichotomy of girlhood. Chlorine Sky feels like the chemicals from the community pool and the sun setting orange, your fingers are pruny but it's just so beautiful. Five more minutes

Review by Emily

Staff Pick Badge
Brown Girl Dreaming Cover Image
ISBN: 9780147515827
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Puffin Books - October 11th, 2016

A perfect example of a book for children and adults alike; give this to everyone you know! Woodson writes in verse, beautifully combining prose and poetry, to tell the autobiographical story of a brown girl coming of age at the tailend of Jim Crow. She grapples with identity and the idea of home, growing up in South Carolina and New York, while still trying to be a kid with dreams of becoming a writer. It's powerful, it's beautiful, it's no wonder it was a Newbery Award nominee.

Review by Emily

Staff Pick Badge
Go with the Flow Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250143174
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: First Second - January 14th, 2020

This is a wonderfully shameless story that I wish was around when I was in school. Period. 

The characters are relatable and diverse, the social situations are true to life, and the use of social media formats to share facts from women's history is clever and well done. Schneemann opens up an important discussion here, in many shades of red, and I can't wait to see how her characters will continue to inspire change. 

Review by Katelynn

Staff Pick Badge
Everywhere You Don't Belong Cover Image
ISBN: 9781616208790
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Algonquin Books - February 4th, 2020

Bump writes from his own childhood experience on the South Side of Chicago. It’s a heartfelt story with familiar themes of family, love, and growing up, but from a completely unique voice – one that will endear you to main character Claude McKay and one that needs to be heard.

 Pair it with Margo Jefferson’s Negroland a memoir, also about growing up, decades earlier and in another part of Chicago, as an affluent African-American. Two illuminating and unforgettable portrayals of race in the U.S.

Review by Elisabeth

Staff Pick Badge
Ghost Wall: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250234957
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Picador - December 31st, 2019

How mystifying the customs of ancient peoples seem to us... but how far removed are we, really?

Sylvie and her parents join a small university class on "a summer experience" living as Iron Age Britons may have. As prehistoric tasks become more intuitive to the group, so do the rituals they once thought horrific.

This unassuming wisp of a book belies the disquieting story within.

"I shivered. Of course that was the whole point of the re-enactment, that we ourselves became the ghosts, learning to walk the land as they walk it two thousand years ago."

Review by Sarah R

Staff Pick Badge
The Magical Language of Others: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781951142278
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Tin House Books - January 19th, 2021

E. J. Koh is a poet and translator and in her debut memoir we see proof of a master of language at work. At 15 years old, E. J.'s parents "temporarily" move back to Korea, leaving her and her brother by themselves in California. This coming-of-age memoir skillfully tells the story of a family's complicated history and love for each other.

Review by Kalani

Staff Pick Badge
Juliet the Maniac: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781612197593
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Melville House - May 7th, 2019

Who is Juliet? She's any of us who ever felt like they were losing their minds. She's the friend you have that's beautiful and brilliant but can scare you sometimes. She's honest, she's real. She's you and she's me. For those who suffer from mental illness, this book will make you feel less alone. Read this book!

Review by Rosa

Staff Pick Badge
Lights All Night Long: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525558750
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Penguin Books - February 4th, 2020

Exchange student Ilya has just arrived in the balmy heat of Louisiana from the frozen tundra of Russia. Smart, hardworking, and thoughtful his journey was to be the opportunity of a lifetime. But he can’t seem leave his home behind, or the brother he would do anything to save. In Lights all Night Long, Lydia Fitzpatrick juggles a coming of age tale; a murder mystery; and social commentary on addiction, drug use, and corruption. And it works. Beautifully. She somehow manages to avoid all the predictable tropes of each to create this sparkling world full of hope, friendship, and the power of family in all its forms.

Review by Erin

Staff Pick Badge
Normal People: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984822178
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 3-10 days
Published: Hogarth - April 16th, 2019

I first discovered Sally Rooney after reading her first book, Conversations With Friends, which I loved! So, of course, I rushed to read her second book, Normal People. On the surface, this sounds like another popular boy befriends awkward girl but this novel unfolds beautifully as you read. With a strong political undertone and exploration of social and economic status, Sally Rooney brings to light many issues worth discussing. But at the heart of the novel, Normal People is an exploration of those friendships we form when we're young that shape us and often times sets the tone of who and what we gravitate towards later in life. Nostalgia will loom over you while you read Normal People.

Review by Rosa

Staff Pick Badge
I Capture the Castle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312201654
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - March 15th, 1999

I'm a sucker for coming-of-age novels, more so when the setting is a crumbling English castle. Cassandra is a witty, observant girl on the cusp of adulthood. Her family is in a perilous financial situation: her father probably isn't writing another groundbreaking novel, her stepmom has retreated to London, and her sister pins their salvation on their new, wealthy American neighbors. A lesser-known work by the author of 101 Dalmations, suitable for adult and teen readers alike!

Review by Danielle