Staff Picks

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

On the fantastical island of Thisby, people come from far and wide to watch the deadly Scorpio Races, run by anyone brave enough to try to tame and ride the man-eating water horses that come out of the surrounding ocean each autumn. Out of desperation, Kate “Puck” Connolly is riding her family horse this year; the first time a woman or a land horse has competed. Returning champion Sean Kendrick is riding, too, dreaming of independence from his employer for himself and his water horse.

The Dark Lady by Irene Adler

This first book in the Sherlock, Lupin & Me series introduces the reader to young Sherlock Holmes and his two best friends in the summer of 1870.  While at a seaside resort town, the three find a dead man on the beach with an apparent suicide note in his pocket.  Then a diamond necklace gets stolen and they wonder if there’s a connection.  The friends end up in jeopardy more than once as they investigate, and the cliffhanger chapter endings keep the suspense moving.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Set on a plantation in Charleston, South Carolina in 1803, this novel explores the relationship between two young girls that progresses over thirty-five years.  Sarah, the daughter of the plantation owner, is given for her eleventh birthday ownership of ten-year-old Handful who is to be her handmaid.  The two form a unique bond, learning much from each other and the differences there are between being free and slave.  Sarah is a brilliant and eager student, but she finds out that a young woman’s place is not in education, but in preparing

Dance of the Reptiles: Selected Columns by Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen is most well-known for his wacky novels that take place in Southern Florida. Most of his villains are greedy developers ruining the Florida coastline with their condo developments or tourists who do not respect the ecosystem. However, Hiaasen has been a columnist at the Miami Herald for over 25 years and has used his column to express his disdain for Florida’s crooked politicians and damaging environmental policies, among many other topics.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Eighteen year old Allyson is an organized and cautious high school senior on a European summer tour. In London, she meets the enigmatic Willem, a young Shakespearean actor who lives for spontaneous world-traveling. Allyson throws caution to the wind when Willem asks her if she wants to visit Paris with him, for ‘just one day’. This one day transforms Allyson’s young life as she confronts her fears, falls in love, and begins to view the world as a maturing adult instead of a self-restrained adolescent.

The Last Enchantments by Charles Finch

In 2005, having something of a quarter-life crisis after working as a staffer on a failed presidential campaign, former Ivy leaguer Will Baker leaves New York City and his long term girlfriend for a year-long English graduate program at Oxford University.  Will quickly falls into an eclectic group of friends, and in love with smart and elegant British student Sophie.  As his year at Oxford progresses, Will increasingly questions his identity and his future.  Charles Finch’s vivid, lyrical, coming of age novel perfectly captures the bittersweet magic of studying abroad.

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory is the heartbreaking story of a young teen who is struggling to cope with her father’s PTSD. 17-year-old Hayley and her father, an Army veteran who served in Iraq, have been on the move for the past five years trying to escape her father’s demons. When they finally settle down in his hometown, Hayley has a chance at a normal life. But how long will it last? ~Debra Wischmeyer

Unaccompanied Minor by Hollis Gillespie

April comes from a long line of airline employees and she has logged many hours on World Air with her flight-attendant mom. When her pilot dad dies in a plane crash, her mom marries a pilot who turns out to be an abusive jerk. As their marriage fails, April’s mom and stepdad fly her cross-country, shuttling April between divorcing parents for a year. During that time April learns plenty about the airline biz so when she runs away from home she literally lives on airplanes, using her mom’s flight benefits and relying on the generosity of flight crews she’s befriended.

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