For my first post of the year, I’ve got a nice mix of genres! We’ve got thrillers, we’ve got sci-fi, we’ve got love stories and we’ve got fantasy—not to mention some great diverse representation. I’d say 2021 is off to a pretty good start.
“The Girls I’ve Been” by Tess Sharpe
Let’s start with a queer thriller. Nora lives with her older sister and is attempting to have a normal life. Though after years of assisting her con artist mother by assuming various identities, it can be hard to figure out what normal looks like. Things seem to be going alright, other than the inevitable awkwardness when her ex-boyfriend walks in on her kissing her new girlfriend. But when the three of them become hostages in a bank robbery, Nora can feel her past and present colliding. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: January 2021”
Happy end of 2020 everyone! For my final post of the year, I thought I’d go back and look at some of the books I didn’t have a chance to write about earlier. Not everything about 2020 was terrible, and these books can prove it!
“The State of Us” by Shaun David Hutchinson
Perhaps it feels too soon for a presidential campaign book, but I assure you this charming LGBTQ+ love story is much more enjoyable than the real election was. Dre and Dean each have a parent running for president, Dre’s dad for the Democratic party, and Dean’s mom for the GOP. As the two boys keep running into each other on the campaign trail, they become closer and closer. While the star-crossed lovers trope is hardly new, this book refreshingly focuses on how to love someone even if you don’t share all their beliefs—whether that’s your partner or your parent. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: December 2020”
You know how I sometimes end up with themes for these? Well, this time I’m evenly split between supernatural and dark, and romantic comedies. Enjoy!
“Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With Fresh Bite” edited by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker
I know it’s not October anymore, but we can still enjoy a good vampire story—and this compilation gives us eleven! This vampire anthology highlights diversity among the undead. No male, white, cisgender, straight and able-bodied vampires here! Instead these #ownvoices authors explore all kinds of vampires while playing with and upending common vampire tropes. The editors follow each story with a brief discussion of vampire lore and thought-provoking questions. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: November 2020”
As I write this, I’m sipping a chai latte and savoring the sunshine and cool weather. When I go home, I will absolutely be curling up under a blanket with my book and my dog. If you need a good book to snuggle up with this fall, look no further!
“Daughters of Jubilation” by Kara Lee Corthron
Evvie is a black teenager growing up in the Jim Crow South, which would be difficult enough without having to learn to control her magic. All the women in her family, since before slavery, have magical powers they call the Jubilation. The magic is for protection, and in a world governed by racism and white supremacy, she needs its help just as much as her ancestors did. A coming-of-age historical fantasy, this timely book is a perfect example of literal Black Girl Magic. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: October 2020”
Every five years, the Young Adult Library Services Association publishes its lists of “Outstanding Books for the College Bound.” These lists includes titles that span across five major subject areas: Arts and Humanities; History and Cultures; Literature and Languages; Science and Technology; and, Social Sciences. It is a combination of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and graphic novels. Titles were selected based on criteria including readability; racial and cultural diversity; and, balance of viewpoints.
These recommended books are primarily for high school students looking to strengthen their knowledge in preparation for college; however, they are also appropriate for any lifelong learner wishing to gain a deeper understanding of both classic and contemporary literature. Continue reading “Books for the College Bound”
It’s officially fall! It’s not really at all that relevant to the books I’m going to tell you about, I just had to share my excitement. You know what else makes me happy? Five of the six books in this blog post are about people of color. What makes me really happy is that I didn’t even try to do that—it’s just representative of what’s being published right now!
“Each of Us a Desert” by Mark Oshiro
I have loved this author ever since they started reading my favorite books and blogging about it; their reactions and insights are delightful. This is Mark’s second novel, a post-apocalyptic Latinx fantasy. Xochitl is a cuentista, a storyteller, tasked with collecting all the stories her people tell her. Taking in their stories, she then magically releases them into the desert to satisfy the god Solís. Yet this is a lonely life, and Xochitl longs for more. As she journeys into the desert in an attempt to escape her role as cuentista, she encounters horrific nightmares made real and a chance at love. Reminiscent of Lowry’s “The Giver,” but with a queer romance and immersive desert setting, this promises to be a fascinating read. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: September 2020”
Many thanks to the 235 area young adults who participated in our annual Teen Summer Reading Challenge! As part of this program, we invited youth ages 12-18 to share three book reviews, in addition to reading for 15 hours and completing seven fun, library-related activities.
Of the book reviews that were submitted, here are the most popular authors and series that were reviewed by our teen readers:
For more book recommendations, be sure to check out our list of the Top-Rated Teen Summer Reading Titles. These are the YA books that received a 5-star rating from those who submitted their book reviews online. There is a wide range of titles including new releases like “Stamped” by Jason Reynolds and old favorites like “City of Bones” by Cassandra Clare.
However we may feel about it, the end of summer approaches—but that doesn’t mean you have to give up reading for fun! If you need some ideas of books to squeeze in between assignments, I’ve got you covered.
“Six Angry Girls” by Adrienne Kisner
Let’s start with a senior year that isn’t going as planned. When Raina is dumped by her boyfriend of five years, she quits theater and questions all her college plans. Meanwhile, Millie is forced out of the mock trial club she helped create by the team that’s turned into an all-boys team. Seeking revenge, the two join forces and form an all-girls rival team. Full of knitting, friendship, and plenty of patriarchy smashing, prepare to feel empowered. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: August 2020”
Time for more books to add to your to-be-read list! We’ve got an exciting mix of new titles coming in. Don’t forget to check the New Book shelves in your library, and on OverDrive to see all the titles I didn’t have space to write about here!
“Salty, Bitter, Sweet” by Mayra Cuevas
Though my husband can’t stand them, I love watching cooking competition shows. I grew up watching Iron Chef and Top Chef with my dad, so when I saw this title I got pretty excited. Isabella is a teen chef who dreams of owning a restaurant someday. After her Abuela’s death and parents’ divorce, she ends up in France with her dad and his new pregnant wife. She struggles to fit in and balance her different cultures—Cuban, French and American. Instead of dealing with any of her emotions, Isabella throws herself into a prestigious and cutthroat cooking competition. Continue reading “The Selector’s Selections: July 2020”
2020-21 Truman Award Finalists (PDF)
The Truman Readers Award honors a book that is selected by Missouri junior high students. To be eligible to vote, students must read at least four of the finalists. Voting will occur at participating schools early next spring. While the winner won’t be announced until April 2021, this is a great list of summer reads for students in grades sixth through eighth.
“City of Ghosts” by Victoria Schwab
Ever since her near-fatal drowning, Cassidy has been able to pull back the “Veil” that separates the living from the dead and see ghosts. When the family travels to Scotland, Cass and her personal ghost companion, Jacob, are about to find out that a city of old ghosts can be a very dangerous place indeed. Continue reading “2020-21 Truman Award Finalists”