Staff Picks by Tag

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We Set the Dark on Fire Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780062691323
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 14th, 2020

Latinx culture. Near-future fantasy island. Espionage and arranged marriage. Queer romance.

In short, a gripping feminist story with excellent stakes, world-building, and character development that ends in a cliff-hanger. Let's just say I need book two of this duology immediately.


Review by Danielle

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A Short History of the Girl Next Door Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781524716103
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Ember - December 24th, 2018

I have now read this book twice and, with both readings, finished it in one sitting. This hilarious and heartbreaking novel will make you laugh out loud and then cry so much you'll go through an entire box of Kleenex (or, maybe that's just me). Anddddd that's all I'm going to tell you because I promise it's just one of those books that is best approached--like most worthwhile things in life--by taking a chance and letting the story lead you where it will.  


Review by Claire

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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781328567659
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 2nd, 2018

Trained by a convent of assassins under Death's employ, Ismae learns the many ways of anger management. Alternative history with fantastic costumes, intrigue, betrayal, and a satisfying conclusion (in that I proceeded to read the rest of the series right after). Excellent!


Review by Alex

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The Knife of Never Letting Go (Reissue with bonus short story): Chaos Walking: Book One Cover Image
$12.00
ISBN: 9780763676186
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Candlewick - July 22nd, 2014

It's been years since alien bio-warfare killed off all the women on the new world, leaving the men alone with nothing but their thoughts. Literally. They call it the Noise. It is constant, it sounds like the inner voices of everyone nearby, and it is all Todd has ever known. When he senses an impossible gap in the Noise, he looks for the source, and discovers a second impossible thing: the source of the gap in the Noise is a girl. If you like post apocalyptic societies, science fiction, or nail-bitingly compulsive reads, this is for you.


Review by Kitri

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Strange the Dreamer Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780316341677
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - May 22nd, 2018

You won't want to miss a single sentence, word, not even one comma of this magical adventure. Goddesses, librarians, lost cities, adventures, fantastical dreams--have I convinced you yet? No? Well, then let me just add that this was hands down one of the most beautifully-written and imaginative books I've read in years (and, hold on to your hats folks, because the sequel is even better!). Now, what are you still doing here reading this review? Grab the book and start dreaming--I mean, reading!


Review by Claire

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Grave Mercy: His Fair Assassin, Book I Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781328567659
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: HMH Books for Young Readers - October 2nd, 2018

At first glance, this is a well researched series about an order of medieval assassin nuns sired by Death Himself, so I was pretty much already sold. But THEN I started reading it, and could not stop. For weeks. I burned through all 3 books (and the related upcoming February 2019 release Courting Darkness) in like a week and a half. 

The series takes place in 15th century Brittany, a time when everyone is at war, the duchy has been inherited by a 12 year old girl, and the Catholic Church chose to actively subsume pagan beliefs in order to gain acceptance among a reluctant populace. It is one of these old pagan gods, Mortain, now considered the patron saint of death, that our heroines worship and struggle and fight for. But they are also fighting for themselves. 

The history is fascinating, the trauma is brutal but very well handled, the romance is the healthy and supportive (but fuuun) kind that you want your teens reading about, and the weapons are historically accurate. Don't you want to read about young women finding self actualization and liberation through violence and subterfuge and epic battles? DON'T YOU?

 

 


Review by Anje

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Five Feet Apart Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534437333
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - November 20th, 2018

Two teenagers with cystic fibrosis: they have a long list of DON'Ts but very few DOs. Stella sticks to her schedules and pins hope on a lung transplant. Will is ready to be 18, free of hospitals and his mother's race for a cure. An endearing and honest story of two teenagers learning there's more to living than simply surviving. 


Review by Danielle

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What If It's Us Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9780062795236
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: HarperTeen - May 5th, 2020

The whole concept of “meant to be” is filled with lots of exhausting caveats. Are the stars aligned? Does everything feel effortless? Does it feel right? But really, fate and coincidence are all just little chances that we either take, or we don’t. At least, that’s what Ben and Arthur believe. When their meet-cute at a post office in New York City doesn't immediately lead into a romantic montage of bliss, they aren’t worried. By both believing that do-overs are an essential part of life and that important relationships don’t always come about effortlessly, Ben and Arthur’s romance is meant to be because they want it to be so. Through all the meet-cutes, witty dialogue, and, of course, the do-overs, this story is one of the sweetest I’ve read about all the awkwardness and wonder of falling in love for the first time. And who knows, it could be just the book you need? Maybe your reading of this review was…meant to be?


Review by Claire

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Dry Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781481481977
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - September 3rd, 2019

I've come to expect a certain element of speechlessness every time I finish a Shusterman novel. A few audible gasps, some moments of gripping the pages so tightly in effort not to fall over in terror, etc. – the usual. However, I was not prepared for the thriller/urgent call to environmental action that is Dry. It's terrifyingly relevant to consider the ramifications of living in a world that's out of drinkable water. And the father-son Shusterman duo push this near-future dystopian narrative along around multi-dimensional and complex characters to wrestle with the question of how far desperation can take humans away from their humanity. It's been days since I read it, but I'm still haunted by this book.


Review by Claire

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A Very Large Expanse of Sea Cover Image
Unavailable at this time.
ISBN: 9780062866561
Availability: Unavailable at this time.
Published: HarperCollins - October 16th, 2018

A raw, honest look at what it was like to be a Muslim-American teen in the year after 9/11. But this book is more than t hat. It's a love story that crosses racial lines and exposes the beauty and hardship in that. Plus, there's breakdancing. This book will teach you and also make you cry. Everyone should read it.


Review by Jaimie

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