“America Was Hard to FInd” by Kathleen Alcott — “…Alcott brings awe-inspiring exactitude and lyricism to her dive into three of America’s most iconic moments: the race to space, the rage against the Vietnam War, and the ravages of the AIDS epidemic. Three indelible characters embody truths about this country in transition: Vincent Kahn, a test pilot training at Edwards Air Force Base for the first Astronaut Corps; Fay Fern, daughter of wealth and fortune thumbing her nose at her parents’ and country’s excessive ways while working at a dive bar her sister owns; and Wright Fern, Fay’s son, the permanent result of her transitory affair with Vincent. Vincent’s towering fame as the first man on the moon ultimately leads him to a life of seclusion, while Fay’s fury at the injustices of war draws her to Shelter, a domestic terrorist group in which her role in a deadly bombing makes her one of America’s most wanted. Rejecting his mother’s politics and precarious lifestyle, teenage Wright explores his true sexual nature in San Francisco in the early 1980s, to both life-affirming and deadly effect. In her exquisite and poignant reimagining of historic events, Alcott dissects their impacts in a sweeping yet intimate saga that challenges assumptions and assesses the depths of human frustration. ” — Carol Haggas. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs” by Katherine Howe — n historian Howe’s follow-up to The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (2009), Connie Goodwin, an expert in colonial-era magic, is now a tenure-track professor in Boston still deeply in love with Sam Hartley, the strapping steeplejack she met in Physick Book. Sam wants to marry Connie, but she fears it will be the end of him, quite literally, as the paramours of the women in her Massachusetts family, which include Deliverance Dane, have always died young under tragic circumstances. When Connie discovers that she’s pregnant, she delves back into the long lineage of mystical women in her family, many of whom were suspected of witchcraft, reaching back to seventeenth-century Salem. Connie scours the history books, looking for an ancestress who managed to save her husband and discovers Temperance Hobbs, whose portrait hangs in Connie’s mother’s house and whose husband lived to be more than 100 in the nineteenth century. Howe, who shares her protagonist’s legacy, weaves together stories of Connie’s ancestors’ attempts to harness their power and Connie’s own race to save Sam’s life in this spellbinding, satisfying tale.” — Kristine Huntley. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“Have You Seen Luis Velez?” by Catherine Ryan Hyde — “Hyde … has created another heartwarming story about how people treat one another badly but also how surprising human connections might fix the world. At 17, Raymond Jaffe is uncomfortable in his skin and doesn’t fit in at school or in his two homes with either of his divorced parents. Mildred Gutermann, a 92-year-old blind neighbor, calls for help in his New York City walk-up, and, unlike everyone else, Raymond comes to her aid. He starts by rescuing a stray cat and is soon traveling all over the city meeting people while he’s trying to find the old lady’s former caretaker, Luis Velez. When he discovers Luis’s tragic fate, his life opens up in new directions with new people who become his chosen family. Hyde’s latest asks tough questions about how we care for one another and judge before we know people based on race, stereotypes, and prejudice. … Jan Marry, Lanexa, VA. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2019.
“If You Cross the River” by Genevieve Damas — “Damas welcomes readers into the mind of Francois, an illiterate teenager who tends the pigs on his family’s remote farm in a murky time and place. He’s always heeded his father’s warning to stay on their side of the river. But he watched his beloved sister, Maryse, cross, never to return again, and his curiosity begins to outweigh his obedience. He seeks reading lessons from the local priest, a kind man with troubles of his own, in the hopes of learning not only about Maryse but also about his brother who died and the mother he never met. On the page, if not in front of his harsh father and older brothers, Francois is warm and vulnerable, afraid that he’s stupid, as his father says he is, or “bonkers” for having a pig for a best friend. As translated by American poet Gladding, his authentically rendered thoughts, startling discoveries, and creeping awareness of danger make for an intriguing, fable-like tale of words’ capacity to liberate.” — Annie Bostrom. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“Lost Roses” by Martha Hall Kelly — “Kelly is back with another epic tale of three women’s lives overlapping against the backdrop of history, this time a generation earlier than–and starring the mother of a heroine from–her debut, The Lilac Girls (2017). The setting is WWI and the Russian Revolution; the stories are inspired by true events. New Yorker Eliza Ferriday returns home when her tour of Russia with her school friend Sofya Streshnayva, a cousin of the Romanovs, is cut short by the outbreak of war in Europe. Sofya’s family retires to their country estate to wait out the troubles, while Eliza works to find refuge and employment for displaced Russians in America. Sofya hires a local peasant girl, Varinka, to help with her small son, unaware of the danger that Varinka’s revolutionary connections pose to her family. Kelly’s gift is bringing to life and to light the untold stories of women and families far away from the war front yet deeply affected by the decisions of leaders and the efforts of fighters.” — Alene Moroni. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“Naamah: A Novel” by Sarah Blake — “Blake transports readers to biblical times in her first novel, examining the plight of Noah and his ark through the eyes of Noah’s wife, Naamah. In addition to the animals they load onto the ark, Noah and Naamah also bring their three grown sons and their sons’ wives. But life on the ark after the torrential rains leaves Naamah with plenty of time for reflection, which sends her diving into the waters day after day. In their depths, Naamah discovers an angel tending to a city of the dead, largely populated by children. As Naamah wrestles with the horror of their deaths, her own grief over the passing of her lover, who refused to stow away on the ark, and her anger at God for bringing the floods, she finds she can no longer see the animals aboard the ark. Vivid dreams of a talking bird and a sage female descendant further limn the depths of Naamah’s crisis of faith. Blake’s tale is a powerful exploration of the trauma of change and the reckoning required to move on from unimaginable loss. Kristine Huntley.” — AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“Sabrina & Corina” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine — “Latina and Indigenous American women who long to be seen–and see themselves–are the beating heart of the stories in Fajardo-Anstine’s rich and radiant debut. Many of their parents aren’t around, and the pleas of their elders to go to church once in a while are mostly ignored, but they lean on one another. Dead or dying loved ones people many of these tales; the dazzling title story launches with woozy velocity as a makeup artist heeds her grandmother’s wish that she beautify her dead cousin for funeral viewing. …Sharing her characters’ southern Colorado homelands, Fajardo-Anstine imbues her stories with a strong sense of place and the infinite unseen generations that coexist in even single moments.” Annie Bostrom. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“A Woman is No Man” by Etaf Rum — ” “Through well-developed characters and a wonderfully paced narrative, [Rum] exposes the impact that the embedded patriarchy of some cultures can have on women while showing more broadly how years of shame, secrets, and betrayal can burden families across generations no matter what the cultural or religious affiliation. Highly recommended.” — Library Journal, starred review
“Chaucer: A European Life” by Marion Turner — “English poet Geoffrey Chaucer (d. 1400) was a citizen of London but also of Europe and the larger world embraced by trade and commerce. Turner (English, Jesus Coll., Univ. of Oxford; Chaucerian Conflict: Languages of Antagonism in Late Fourteenth-Century London ) aspires to capture the poet’s “individual perception of reality,” a viewpoint conditioned by his physical world and “particularity of perspective,” by focusing on how the author of The Canterbury Tales organized his writings by place and space as much as by strict chronology, presenting a deep dive into his material as well as aesthetic culture. Turner is especially adept at integrating the specifics of Chaucer’s verse into that of his physical world, from food and sumptuary display to economics and politics….VERDICT Sure to become the new standard life of Chaucer.”-Thomas L. Cooksey, formerly with Armstrong Atlantic State Univ., Savannah. LJ Xpress Online Review. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2019.
“Heavy” An American Memoir” by Kiese Laymon — “Race, politics, poverty, addiction, body issues, family, manhood, feminism, education–this book has it all. Laymon … breaks down what it means to be a large black boy growing up in Mississippi, exploring the politics and policing of black male bodies, the heartache of black excellence and white privilege, the conflict that comes with loving an abusive parent and stepping away to save yourself. As beautiful as it is heartbreaking, this examination of language and place takes readers into Laymon’s childhood as the son of a strong black woman who is unable to reconcile her child’s pain with her own. Sexual abuse and anorexia are examined with care and attention, as are the emotions and consequences attached to these experiences. …Excellent for readers interested in family dynamics, race relations, higher education, and body awareness.”– Gricel Dominguez, LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2018.
“The Line Becomes a River” by Francisco Cantu — “An agent for the United States Border Patrol from 2008 to 2012, third-generation Mexican American Cantu wearied of tracking humans through heat and cold and delivering them to detention and sometimes the morgue. An immigrant friend’s disappearance after returning to Mexico to visit family prompted him to consider what happens during immigration on both sides of the border.” — Barbara Hoffert. LJ Prepub Alert Online Review. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2017.
“Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive” by Stephanie Land — “Land’s memoir of single motherhood and poverty gives a personal account of the factors influencing those issues. An unplanned pregnancy ends Land’s dream of attending college in Missoula, Montana. An abusive boyfriend (soon to be ex-boyfriend), parents that aren’t financially or emotionally able to be supportive, and a lack of a social network further conspire against her until she and her young daughter find themselves living in a homeless shelter. What follows is a series of woefully low-paying, back-breaking jobs; attempts to navigate complicated and inadequate government assistance; and scenes of public shaming for “handouts.” Land’s honest writing, especially about her feelings of inadequacy, and her insights into the people whose homes she cleans are beyond engaging. Readers will understand working hard while simultaneously fearing that if one thing goes wrong, if one unplanned expense rears its ugly head, if one benefit doesn’t come through, a delicate balance could be completely upended…” –Kathy Sexton. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2018.
“A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II” by Sonia Purnell — “The Gestapo called her the most dangerous of Allied spies, but her gender and prosthetic leg kept Virginia Hall out of the U.S. foreign service, and she instead wrested her way into Winston Churchill’s famously break-the-rules Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare. The first woman to deploy to occupied France, she managed a network of spies that blew up bridges, reported on German troop movements, rendezvoused with Resistance fighters, and saw her face on wanted posters everywhere. ” — Barbara Hoffert. LJ Prepub Alert Online Review. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2018.
“The 18th Abduction” by James Patterson — “Detective Lindsay Boxer’s investigation into the disappearance of three teachers quickly escalates from missing persons to murder in the newest Women’s Murder Club thriller.” — Amazon.com
“A Stranger Here Below” by Charles Fergus – “Imbued with Michael Connelly’s gumshoe skills and the vivid historical descriptions of Charles Frazier, A Stranger Here Below is a stark procedural set in the backwoods of Pennsylvania circa 1830. Charles Fergus displays a deft touch in detailing the rough and tumble life of everyday 19th-century America.” – Brad Smith,author of The Return of Kid Cooper and the Virgil Cain mysteries
“Lethal White” by Robert Galbraith –” Under her Galbraith pseudonym, J.K. Rowling impressively sustains suspense…London PI Cormoran Strike and his partner, Robin Ellacott … have reunited professionally … The “curious case of a government minister, slashed horses and a body buried in a pink blanket, down in a dell” begins when a man named Billy, “one of those ill and desperate people you saw in the capital who were always somebody else’s problem,” bursts into Strike’s office and claims that he saw a child strangled when he was very young. Billy flees before offering more information, but Strike’s curiosity about the possible cold case leads him to try to trace Billy. Soon after, in what seems to be suspicious timing, Strike is retained by Culture Minister Jasper Chiswell to protect him against an extortionist, who turns out to be Billy’s brother, Jimmy Knight. Rowling’s emotionally intelligent portrayal of her protagonists never overwhelms the whodunit story line.” — Agent: Neil Blair, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2018.
“Morality for Beautiful Girls” by Alexander McCall Smith — ” In Morality for Beautiful Girls, Precious Ramotswe, founder and owner of the only detective agency for the concerns of both ladies and others, investigates the alleged poisoning of the brother of an important “Government Man,” and the moral character of the four finalists of the Miss Beauty and Integrity Contest, the winner of which will almost certainly be a contestant for the title of Miss Botswana. Yet her business is having money problems, and when other difficulties arise at her fianc?’s Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors, she discovers the reliable Mr J.L.B. Matekoni is more complicated then he seems.” — Inside Flap
“Neon Prey” by John Sandford — “Deese is a New Orleans hit man who works mostly for a lawyer and loan shark named Roger Smith. It’s worked well through the years, though Smith has never known about Deese’s propensity for cannibalizing his murder victims. When a burial ground linked to Deese is found with several munched-on corpses, U.S. Marshall Lucas Davenport is called to assist the FBI in tracking Deese. With the help of federal agents Bob and Rae (a longstanding series joke referencing the comedy duo Bob and Ray), Davenport follows the trail to Los Angeles, where Deese has hooked up with a home-invasion crew, who have been hugely successful preying on anonymous Southern California multimillionaires. They terrorize but never injure, and then walk away with cash, jewelry, and valuable art. It’s a good gig. But as soon as Deese shows up, it all goes to hell. His violence changes the dynamic and brings law enforcement too close, prompting the crew to head for Las Vegas, which is where Lucas, Bob, and Rae close in. The Prey novels are wildly entertaining with their clever plotting, mordant humor, and smart-ass dialogue. This one doesn’t break the pattern.” — Wes Lukowsky. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“Redemption” by David Baldacci — “While visiting his hometown, Amos Tucker is accosted by the first person he ever arrested, trembling with illness after years in prison and still maintaining his innocence. Believing him, Amos soon realizes that he could prevent another crime.” — Barbara Hoffert. LJ Prepub Alert Online Review. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2018.
“Wolf Pack” by C. J. Box — “Back on the job after some trouble he encountered in The Disappeared, Joe Pickett is distraught to learn that the drone killing wildlife in the vicinity belongs to a rich mystery man whose grandson is dating Joe’s daughter. He’s even more distraught when a bunch of dead bodies signal that killers known as the Wolf Pack, working for the notorious Sinaloa cartel, have dropped by. So Joe teams up with a female game warden, based on an actual person that the multi-award-winning, No. 1 New York Times best-selling author knows.” — Barbara Hoffert. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2018.
“Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America” by Jared Cohen — Four American presidents have been assassinated (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy), three died in office unexpectedly (Harrison, Taylor, Harding), and one of a prolonged illness (FDR). In each case, despite the lack of a clear constitutional provision for it (the 25th Amendment came later), they were succeeded by their vice presidents. Cohen skirts the matter of Gerald Ford’s succession to the resigned Richard Nixon, citing his reasons for doing so, but it’s unfortunate that he almost ignores the nation’s most definitively “accidental presidency.” But the story he does tell is illuminating, particularly in its treatment of John Tyler’s assumption of the presidency after the death of Harrison and how that event set the precedent of succession, which was far from a foregone conclusion. He also covers in depth the selection of the respective vice presidents and the detail surrounding the transitions…. this is genuinely interesting history on a topic that has never been addressed in this depth.” — Mark Levine. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World“ — “[Pollan] has a wide-ranging intellect, an eager grasp of evolutionary biology and a subversive streak that helps him to root out some wonderfully counterintuitive points. His prose both shimmers and snaps, and he has a knack for finding perfect quotes in the oddest places…. Best of all, Pollan really loves plants.”
—The New York Times Book Review
“Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11” by Mitchell Zuckoff — “On September 11, 2001, 2,996 people died in a series of four carefully planned, skillfully executed attacks against the United States, notably at the sites of the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia. Then a Boston Globe reporter, Zuckoff …wrote the lead story on the day of the attacks. Here, he reconstructs the event using a series of vignettes about the four planes and the tragedy that resulted, relating survivors’ stories interspersed with what is known of the last minutes of those who perished that day. The author also mentions some of the lasting mental and physical injuries experienced by survivors and first responders. The facts overall are well known, but Zuckoff succeeds in humanizing the terror. He mostly avoids the domestic and international response, instead choosing to focus on the victims and their stories. …” — Edwin Burgess, LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2019.
“If We Can Keep It: How the Republic Collapsed and How It Might be Saved” by Michael Tomasky — “Tomasky … turns his considerable analytical talents to an investigation of our current political situation set within an historical framework dating back to the origins of the United States. He concludes that although our nation may seem broken, it is not beyond repair, and provides a number of possible solutions to cure what he refers to as our “Age of Fracture.” These include expanding the size of the House of Representatives, reconsidering the Electoral College, fighting the Senate filibuster, and limiting partisan gerrymandering. On the social front, Tomasky argues for college students to spend their first three years studying, with their fourth and final year being one of service. Moreover, the author believes that civics education should be greatly improved in order to maintain an informed society.” — Ed Goedeken, LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2019.
” The Mueller report : presented with related materials by The Washington Post” by Robert S. Mueller — “The Mueller report is that rare Washington tell-all that surpasses its pre-publication hype…the best book by far on the workings of the Trump presidency. It was delivered to the attorney general but is also written for history. The book reveals the president in all his impulsiveness, insecurity and growing disregard for rules and norms; White House aides alternating between deference to the man and defiance of his ‘crazy s—‘ requests; and a campaign team too inept to realize, or too reckless to care, when they might have been bending the law. And special counsel Robert Mueller has it all under oath, on the record, along with interviews and contemporaneous notes backing it up.” —Carlos Lozada, The Washington Post
ADULT AUDIO BOOK
“Never Game” by Jeffrey Deaver — “Colter Shaw is a reward seeker. Parents, husbands, wives offer rewards for the safe return of their missing loved ones; Colter finds the missing people and claims the rewards. Not, perhaps, the most altruistic of vocations, but Colter, the son of survivalist parents, is very good at what he does. … Shaw navigates the duplicitous world of Silicon Valley to find a missing woman; when another person goes missing, Shaw realizes this is much more than one case of kidnapping. Shaw is a carefully constructed character with a rich backstory that could spark several novels (his own family history features a particularly tantalizing mystery). …Deaver is a hit maker who always delivers the goods.” — David Pitt. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019
“The Yankee Widow” by Linda Lael Miller — “Romance author Miller (The Marriage Charm, 2015) brings readers a compelling Civil War-era novel that depicts the agonizing fear that people dealt with while the nation was at war. Caroline Hammond is running her family’s farm after losing her husband. She is barely able to mourn his passing when the Union Army arrives, led by a Captain Rogan McBride, on his way to Gettysburg. After the battle, he sets up the wounded at Hammond Farm. Caroline is a strong woman with good people surrounding her and they are all ready for whatever troubles may come. This includes a wounded friend of McBride’s, Captain Bridger Winslow, who is a Confederate, and whom Caroline must be convinced to house until he is well. Both McBride and Winslow fall in love with Caroline and so begins the romance she must sort out as the war comes to a close. ….Readers will keep turning the pages to learn what future awaits Caroline and the others who suffered alongside her.” — Emily Borsa. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“Kidz Bop 39”
“Live From the Forbidden City – Orff: Carmina Burana”
“Fighting With My Family”
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
“The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Never Look Away”
“On the Basis of Sex”
“The Secret Exhibit: LEGO Jurassic World”
“Bizzy Bear Race Car Driver” by Benji Davies
“I Want My Hat Back” by Jon Klassen
“Allie All Along” by Sarah Lynne Reul
“Babymoon” by Hayley Barrett
“Being Edie” by Hard Today
“Big Problemas (Juana & Lucas)” by Juana Medina
“Bilal Cooks Daal” by Aisha Saeed
“Camp Tiger” by Susan Choi
“Cowhide-And-Seek” by Sheri Dillard
“Codzilla” by David Zietser
“Cyril and Pat” by Emily Gravett
“The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School” by Candace Fleming
“The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School” by Candace Fleming
“The Girls” by Lauren Ace
“Going Down Home with Daddy” by Kelly Starling Lyons
“Hair Love” by Matthew Cherry
“Harold & Hog Pretend for Real” by Mo Willems
“Hello” by Fiona Woodcock
“Henry and Mudge Under the Yellow Moon” by Cynthia Rylant
“How to Read a Book” by Kwame Alexander
“A Hundred Billion Million Stars” by Seth Fishman
“Life on Mars” by Jon Agee
“The Little Green Girl” by Lisa Anchin
“Llama Destroys the World” by Jonathan Stutzman
“Me and My Fear” by Francesca Sanna
“My Cat Looks Like My Dad” by Thao Lam
“My Papi has a Motorcycle” by Isabel Quintero
“Three Stories You Can Read to Your Dog” by Sara Swan Miller
“You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks” by Evan Turk
“Sammy Keyes and the Killer Cruise” by Wendelin Van Draanen — “Van Draanen offers such an explosive combination of high-stakes sleuthing, hilarity, and breathlessly paced action that it’s impossible to turn the pages fast enough.” —Kirkus Reviews
“How Emily Saved the Bridge” by Frieda Wishinsky & Natalie Nelson — Wishinsky begins her story of Emily Warren Roebling with a modern mother and child crossing the Brooklyn Bridge: “Emily Roebling inspired me to become an engineer.” In 19th-century New York, the text explains, girls were told that they shouldn’t study math or science-a suggestion that Roebling pointedly rejected. Roebling marries an engineer who begins designing a bridge to span the East River; when he becomes ill, she educates herself in engineering and design in order to assume her husband’s role. Wishinsky details the missteps and triumphs of the bridge’s construction, while Nelson illustrates in an eclectic collage art style with paper dolllike characters and playfully skewed perspective. Roebling’s story doesn’t end with the bridge’s completion: “In 1899, she graduated in law from New York University. She was fifty-six years old. Her final essay focused on equal rights for women.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2019.
“The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School” by Candace Fleming — “The fourth graders at Aesop Elementary are, well, unusual. There’s Calvin Tallywong, who wants to go back to kindergarten. But when he actually gets the chance, he’s forced to do the squirrel dance and wear a school bus name tag. The moral of his story? Be careful what you wish for. Then there’s Amisha Spelwadi, who can spell wildebeest, no problem. But when Mr. Jupiter asks the class to spell cat, all Amisha can come up with is kat. The moral: Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” — Amazon
“The Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary School” by Candace Fleming — “In the sequel to The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School by award-winning author Candace Fleming, Mr. Jupiter’s rambunctious students are fifth graders now . . . and they rule the school! Bernadette Braggadoccio stirs things up when her investigative reporting for the school’s TV station reveals some scandalous stuff. But . . . don’t believe everything you hear. For their last year at Aesop, the fifth graders are hoping for the coolest class pet—a unicorn or at least a giant squid. Imagine their disappointment when they get guinea pigs. But . . . appearances can be deceiving.” — Amazon
“The First Rule of Punk” by Celia Perez — “The first rule of punk is to be yourself, but it’s hard for Malu, the bicultural daughter of divorced parents, to know exactly what that means. Her white dad doesn’t understand her internal struggles with her Mexican American identity, and her mom would rather Malu were more “senorita” than punk. Starting a band becomes a chance to explore her heritage as well as her musical interests. Eight-page “zines” featuring Malu’s collages punctuate the text.” — THE HORN BOOK, c2017.
“Just South of Home” by Karen Strong — Twelve-year-old Sarah and her kid brother, Ellis, know trouble has arrived in their hometown of Warrenville, Georgia, when their meddlesome 11-year-old cousin with sticky fingers, Janie, comes to stay for the summer. … Strong packs a lot of heart into this vivid debut about love, family, forgiveness, and the kinds of horrors few can scarcely conceive. Her forthright prose and arresting plot make this an effortless page-turner with just the right amount of chilling descriptions to make you reel at the sight of shadows. …. Free-flowing dialogue, a rich story line, and warm characters nicely ground the more supernatural elements. This is a must for readers who appreciate a heartfelt mystery.” — Mahjabeen Syed. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
“See You in the Cosmos” by Jack Cheng — “Eleven-year-old Alex Petroski is from Rockview, Colorado, U.S.A., Planet Earth. He is recording sounds on his iPod to send into space, just like astronomer Carl Sagan did on his Voyager Golden Records (Alex admires Mr. Sagan so much that he named his dog after him). As he gets ready to attend a rocket festival in Albuquerque, Alex also records an audio journal of his life. Since his mom is not functional and his dad is dead, Alex travels by train solo with his dog. When Ancestry.com alerts him to a man with a name and birth date that match his father’s, Alex determines to go to Las Vegas to search for him–and ends up losing canine Carl Sagan. This book’s strength is its exuberant and utterly believable first-person narrator: Alex is portrayed as intelligent and naive, irritating and endearing. But it’s his earnestness that attracts a motley collection of adults who help when his mom goes missing.” — Michelle Young, AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2016.
“Super Jake & the King of Chaos” by Naomi Milliner — “Aspiring magician Ethan, 11, learns the true meaning of magic in this charming and heartwarming debut. Ethan is desperate to enter a magic competition in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the winner of which will meet and perform with Magnus the Magnificent, Ethan’s hero. Though Ethan makes money doing magic shows for children’s parties, with his younger brother Freddy as his assistant, his earnings won’t cover his expenses to Atlantic City from Maryland. Just when he thinks he’s figured out a way to make the trip, his baby brother Jake gets seriously ill. Jake has a neurological disorder and can’t talk or move on his own, but he’s always smiling and is adored by his family and therapists. Ethan is fiercely loyal to his family, getting in trouble for shoving the new kid at school when he calls Jake the hurtful r-word. Ethan needs a miracle to save his brother and achieve his heart’s desire. This honest and uplifting portrayal of children with disabilities feels real, and the ways in which the members of Ethan’s family interact with one another feels right: they disagree but also love and appreciate one another, and their love for Jake brings out the best in all of them.” — Sharon Rawlins. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2019.
JUVENILE NON FICTION
“Girls with Guts! The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records” by Debbie Gonzales — “In this uplifting tribute to gutsy athletes, Gonzales introduces little-known figures who competed even when told not to. Melpomene, a marathon runner, ran “alongside the men,” then “around the entire stadium,” at the 1896 Olympic Games, and Gertrude Ederle swam the English Channel in 1926. Also included is Congresswoman Edith Green, whose campaign against “athletic injustice” led to the 1972 passing of Title IX, which mandates “equal treatment for competitive girls.” Gibbon’s paintings feature lanky athletes wearing self-assured expressions and dressed in the often-restrictive attire of their eras. Gonzales suggests that it is important to honor the brave athletes who made it possible for girls and women today to “stomp, jab, tackle, grind, and SWEAT.” Back matter includes a detailed timeline of milestones for female athletes.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2019.
“Planet Earth is Blue” by Nicole Panteleakos — “Autistic astronomy lover Nova Vezina is 12 years old in January 1986, and although she rarely speaks, she understands much more than people give her credit for. Her older sister, Bridget, is the only person who really sees her, but when Bridget runs away, Nova is placed in yet another foster home, this time alone. To cope, she counts down the 10 days to the Challenger shuttle launch, which Bridget promised to watch with her. In the meantime, her new foster family works hard not only to understand and support Nova, but also to encourage her teachers and social worker to see her in a new light. Readers familiar with the Challenger’s fate will recognize the approaching tragedy, but the love of Nova’s new family envelops her when its harsh reality hits. Debut author Panteleakos develops a believable, authentic point of view through Nova’s letters to her sister (called “scribbles” by her teacher), which distill her own memories, sensitivities (“pencils scratch papers, which bothers my ears”), and interests alongside 1980s attitudes about autism. A sensitively told story that may help young readers stretch their compassion and empathy.” — PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2019.
“Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam” by Elizabeth Partridge — “Partridge’s indispensable volume about the Vietnam War employs a powerfully moving structure that sends readers back and forth between America and Vietnam over a twenty-year period. Each chapter centers on an individual affected: Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon; Martin Luther King Jr.; Maya Lin; etc., alternating with eight people (seven veterans, one Vietnamese refugee) Partridge interviewed. Ample direct quotes and carefully researched details, along with spectacular photographs, bring the war close.” — Bib., THE HORN BOOK, c2018.
“Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe” by Preston Norton — “At six feet, six inches tall and two hundred and fifty pounds, Cliff Hubbard’s cruel school nickname is “Neanderthal.” At home, his hateful dad continues the bullying, and Cliff blames himself for his brother’s recent suicide. Then quarterback Aaron has a near-death experience and God commands him to enlist Cliff’s help to improve their school. Sixteen-year-old Cliff’s expletive-filled, sharply funny, and bittersweet coming-of-age narrative is completely captivating.” — jf. THE HORN BOOK, c2019.