Staff Picks

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.

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Kate grew up during magical and haunting  summers in Lost Lake, Georgia, with her great aunt Eby. But Kate is now grown, and has recently lost her husband in a tragic biking accident. She decides to move in with her domineering mother-in-law for the sake of her whimsical young daughter Devin.  As they’re clearing out their home to move, Devin discovers an old postcard from Lost Lake.  Shocked by this discovery,  Kate toys with the idea of returning there for one more nostalgic summer before they settle into their new lives.

My Life as a Weapon, Hawkeye Vol. 1 by Matt Fraction

This slim five issue collection provides a frenetic and witty introduction to the solo adventures of The Avengers’ Hawkeye from author Matt Fraction. As a loosely connected series of capers, mishaps, and reluctant acts of heroism, this volume provides instant immersion into the often hilarious, sometimes harrowing life of Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye. Accompanying him are the incomparable Kate Bishop (the “other” Hawkeye) and Barton’s unflappable canine companion, Pizza Dog.

The Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

Ash Mistry, a 13-year-old British school boy, and his sister Lucky are on vacation, visiting their aunt and uncle in India.  His uncle is offered 2 million dollars to take a job translating writing found in an archeological dig, by Alexander Savage, the wealthy European sponsoring the dig.  Ash goes with his uncle to Savage’s home – once the palace of the maharajah, and now called the Savage Fortress.  While there, Ash finds a golden arrowhead, and has an out-of-body experience during which he is Rama, the great king/god/warrior who defeated Ravana, the Demon King

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean

Known as the Killer Duke, Temple was accused of murdering Mara Lowe, his father's bride-to-be, on the night before the wedding. Isolating himself from the life he knew, he has spent the last 12 years as a boxer in an exclusive gaming club. When Mara appears and offers to clear his name, Temple feels relief because he has no memory of what happened that night. Also wanting to enact revenge on Mara, he strikes a deal that will reveal more about Mara's past and the decisions of that fateful night. Humor, passion, and great character development make this a Regency Romance not be missed.

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