Staff Picks by Tag

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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
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062866561
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 1-5 days
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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DeadEndia: The Watcher's Test: Book 1 Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781910620472
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Nobrow - August 7th, 2018

Joyful and weird, this graphic novel is a delight. DeadEndia's eclectic and unique characters include a loyal and lovable pug, supportive and idiosyncratic friends, and plenty of mischievous creatures from reimagined angelic and demonic planes. Fans of Steven Universe and general supernatural mayhem will enjoy rooting for Barney, Norma, and Pugsley and yearn for future volumes of this refreshingly forward thinking tome.


Review by Niki

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Fence Vol. 1 Cover Image
By C.S. Pacat, Johanna the Mad (Illustrator), Rebecca Nalty (With)
$9.99
ISBN: 9781684151929
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: BOOM! Box - July 31st, 2018

Take:

  • Cutthroat competion
  • Heartthrob athletes in various states of (un)dress
  • Painfully well-executed cliffhangers
  • Rivalry rife with sexual tension

and you get this cheeky, enthralling, character-driven volume for those who wish the Rocky movies were a little gayer.


Review by Niki

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Bitterblue Cover Image
By Kristin Cashore, Ian Schoenherr (Illustrator)
$11.99
ISBN: 9780142426012
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Firebird - September 17th, 2013

Imagine a country after the gaslighting tyrant has been removed. Are citizens healed overnight? How does the new head of state work toward building a healthy country? How does a young girl find her balance when her father was the tyrant, and killed her mother. These are the questions Lady Queen Bitterblue must face as the new Queen of Monsea, with help from her extraordinary group of friends. (And here I was thinking I was taking a break from serious content by picking up a young adult novel...) Enjoy!


Review by Dana

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For Every One Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781481486248
Availability: Out of stock, usually available in 1-5 days
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books - April 10th, 2018

My new go-to graduation gift recommendation! With sincerity and honesty, Reynolds tells readers that the journey to personal achievement and success is not easy, fixed, or clear and that even passion and perseverance can't cure insecurity. But his refrain, his offering his encouragement is: JUMP ANYWAY. 

Just the right amount of corny and wise, Reynolds' message resonates with those moving on to a new chapter in their lives. 


Review by Niki

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What Does Consent Really Mean? Cover Image
$21.95
ISBN: 9781848193307
Availability: On our shelves now at one or more of our stores
Published: Singing Dragon - November 21st, 2017

A comprehensive starter about consent - which should always be an enthusiastic YES. This graphic novel features a group of teens discussing what they think consent means after learning a classmate was a victim of sexual assault. They ultimately affirm that all relationships should make both participants feel confident, healthy, and fulfilled. A must-read. For everyone. Full stop. 


Review by Niki

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