Staff Picks

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Jennifer Niven’s debut novel is poignant and magical. Seventeen-year-old Violet Markey was once an enthusiastic cheerleader, member of Student Council, and a passionate writer. Now, after the death of her older sister, she is depressed, withdrawn, and counting down the days until she can escape from Indiana. Theodore “Freak” Finch, on the ledge of the high school bell tower for reasons that become clear later, meets Violet as she is also peering over the ledge. After helping each other down, Violet and Finch become partners on a school project that encourages them to “explore their great state”.

Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

Rose is a fifth grader who lives with her father in rural New York.  She has Asperger’s Syndrome and an aide helps her in the classroom.  Rose is obsessed with homophones and prime numbers.  She keeps lists of both and shouts them out when she’s agitated.Rose’s father has a hard time dealing with her endless questions and teacher conferences. He tries, but Rose feels closer to her dog Rain (Reign) and her Uncle Weldon. When a superstorm hits the area, Rain gets lost.

So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan

NPR’s Book Critic, Maureen Corrigan, lets us readers in on her love affair with The Great Gatsby in a funny, passionate, and conversational tone. There is an intimate relationship between a book and its readers; none more so than The Great Gatsby and Corrigan brings it all to light. Even if you thought you knew everything about one of America’s favorite novels, you will learn to appreciate something new here. This is not The Great Gatsby you remember from your high school English class.

813.09 FIT

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Macy has a long, hot, dreary summer ahead of her. Her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp and her days are filled with SAT prep and watching the clock at her boring library job. Time at home with her mom is tense and grief-filled after the traumatic loss of Macy's father. A new job opportunity with the catering company Wish introduces a fun-loving crew—and an artistic, compelling new guy—into Macy’s life. As Macy ventures into this colorful and chaotic new world she faces fears about what it means to leave behind her current bland but safe existence.

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

Princess Magnolia lives in a castle. She wears a lot of pink and has perfect hair.  While enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with busybody Duchess Wigtower, Princess Magnolia’s ring starts to vibrate. It’s a monster alarm that goes off when monsters are threatening the kingdom! Without revealing her secret identity, Magnolia turns into … the Princess in Black and escapes from the castle using her secret entrance. Magnolia discovers a big blue monster has entered the kingdom and threatens to eat goats and wreak havoc on the countryside.

Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick

Since her dad returned from his last tour in Afghanistan, nothing in the lives of the Lovejoys has been the same. After losing a limb, her father’s career is over. He moves the family to his hometown of Pumpkin Falls to take over his parents’ bookstore. While helping clean up at the bookstore, Truly finds a mysterious, un-mailed letter inside a signed first edition of Charlotte’s Web.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Malorie and her two children live alone in a dark, desolate world, one in which they can’t open their eyes outdoors or else risk certain death. A glimpse of whatever terrifying being is lurking outside has caused people to become insane, violent killers. To survive, Malorie must attempt to travel a dangerous journey downriver with her family--all while blindfolded.

Fiction MALERMAN, J.

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis

In 1901, two boys become friends in eastern Canada.  Benji is a black youth who intends to become a newspaperman.  His pal is a red-haired Irish boy named Alvin.  Alvin wants to become a scientist.  The duo met at a forensics competition. Benji has landed an apprenticeship with a local newspaper and is always thinking of his next story. Alvin lives with his father and Grandma. While exploring the woods, they encounter the “Madman of Piney Woods,” who turns out to be a Civil War veteran who has become a hermit.

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Cece was four when she got meningitis and lost her hearing.    As she prepares for school, she gets a sonic ear which is a microphone and amplifier device.  It works so well, she can even hear when her teacher goes to the bathroom. The sonic ear is a bulky box that she wears on her chest, it’s hot in summer and cold in the winter and pretty obvious.  Throughout the book, Cece really just wants a true best friend, a sidekick.  So she creates a superhero character for herself, El Deafo! 

Audrey (Cow) by Dan Bar-el

Just before Audrey’s mother was taken away on a truck to Abbott’s War, she told Audrey a story about another cow that escaped from a truck and lived in a forest. (Animals on the farm don’t know what Abbott’s War is; they just know it’s bad.)  Audrey tells this story to her farm animal friends and when news comes down that Audrey is to leave the farm, Audrey and Eddie (a sheepdog) hatch a plan.  On the day Audrey has to leave she escapes to the forest where a whole other set of problems (and friends) arise.

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