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Recommended Reading

To Be Read: Summer 2018
Posted 06/04/2018 10:44PM



Ms. Bartels

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

"People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys."

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

"Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace: he has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You'd like to get to know Grace better. But it's difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. . . . Her friends call – so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim? And why are there bars on one of the bedroom windows? The perfect marriage? Or the perfect lie?"

A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert

"Follows the lives of Jews determined to survive after the SS show up in their small Ukranian town, only weeks after the German invasion."

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

"Forging a familial bond over their shared artistic talents and secrets, four young people navigate a cutthroat world and their complex relationships with each other, as ambition, passion, and love reinforce and divide them throughout the course of their lives."

Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford

"1909, Seattle. At the World's Fair a half-Chinese boy called Ernest Young is raffled off as a prize. He ends up working in a brothel in Seattle's famed Red Light District and falls in love with Maisie, the daughter of a flamboyant madam, and Fahn, a karayuki-san, a Japanese maid sold into servitude. On the eve of the new World's Fair in 1962, Ernest looks back on the past, the memories he made with his beloved wife while his daughter, a reporter, begins to unravel their tragic past."

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

"Pregnant fifteen-year-old Esch and her family live in Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, which puts them in the path of Hurricane Katrina, and as they try to stock the small amount of food they have in preparation for the disaster, the family's love for each other will be their only hope for survival."

Sorority by Genevieve Sly Crane

"What Genevieve Sly Crane has conjured in these pages is a blunt, in your face look behind the closed doors of a house full of contemporary women – and there are no holds barred. These women have issues: self-inflicted, family inflicted, sister-to-sister inflicted – and it is all on the page. At the center of this swirl is Margot: the sister who died in the house, and each chapter is told from the points of view of the women who orbit her death and have their own reactions to it. . . . Woven throughout are glimmers of the classical myths that undercut the lives of women in Greek life. After all, the Greek goddesses did cause their fair share of destruction."

The Strays by Emily Bitto

"On her first day at a new school, Lily befriends one of the daughters of infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. He and his wife are trying to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live and work at their family home. Lily becomes infatuated with this wild, makeshift family and longs to truly be part of it. As the years pass, Lily observes the way the lives of these artists come to reflect the same themes as their art: Faustian bargains and spectacular falls from grace."

What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman

"Ten years after Izzy Stone's mother shot her father and was committed to an insane asylum, Izzy's foster parents enlist Izzy's help in cataloging items at a long-abandoned state asylum. Izzy finds letters from an eighteen-year-old girl, Clara, who may have been sent there even though she might have been sane, causing Izzy to question whether her mother's act was one of insanity or caused by something else."

What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

"A highly unusual young woman must venture into the woods at the edge of her home to remove a curse that has plagued the women in her family for millennia."



Ms. Ricker

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

"In 1941, fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp while she fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author's family; includes a historical note."

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

"Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed."

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis

"When his poor sharecropper father is killed in an accident and leaves the family in debt, twelve-year-old Little Charlie agrees to accompany fearsome plantation overseer Cap'n Buck north in pursuit of people who have stolen from him; Cap'n Buck tells Little Charlie that his father's debt will be cleared when the fugitives are captured, which seems like a good deal until Little Charlie comes face-to-face with the people he is chasing."

Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano

"Ebo: alone. His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe. Ebo's epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister."

More Than This by Patrick Ness

"Seth drowns, desperate and alone. But then he wakes. Naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. And where is he? The street seems familiar, but everything is abandoned, overgrown, covered in dust. He remembers dying, his skull bashed against the rocks. Has he woken up in his own personal hell? Is there more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?"

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart

"Twelve-year-old Jonathan Grisby has been sent to the Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys, a former lunatic asylum which is currently run by a sadist who enjoys punishing the boys and setting them against each other; but when a lightning strike kills all the adults the boys find themselves suddenly free – and trapped on Scar Island which seems to be sinking into the ocean."

Spill Zone by Scott Westerfeld

"Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Uncanny manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. The Spill claimed Addison's parents and scarred her little sister, Lexa, who hasn't spoken since. Addison provides for her sister by photographing the Zone's twisted attractions on illicit midnight rides. Art collectors pay top dollar for these bizarre images, but getting close enough for the perfect shot can mean death – or worse. When an eccentric collector makes a million-dollar offer, Addison breaks her own hard-learned rules of survival and ventures farther than she has ever dared. Within the Spill Zone, Hell awaits – and it seems to be calling Addison's name."

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor

"Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason's learning disabilities are compounded by grief. Fifteen months ago, Mason's best friend, Benny Kilmartin, turned up dead in the Buttle family's orchard. An investigation drags on, and Mason, honest as the day is long, can't understand why Lieutenant Baird won't believe the story Mason has told about that day. Both Mason and his new friend, tiny Calvin Chumsky, are relentlessly bullied by the other boys in their neighborhood, so they create an underground club space for themselves. When Calvin goes missing, Mason finds himself in trouble again. He's desperate to figure out what happened to Calvin, and eventually, Benny. But will anyone believe him?"

When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn

"Ben Gibson is many things, but he's not sorry and he's not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he's going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of."

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

"Piddy Sanchez deals with bullying at her new school, and as the harassment escalates, she struggles to survive and to discover who she really is."



Ms. Kazan

American Panda by Gloria Chao

"A freshman at MIT, seventeen-year-old Mei Lu tries to live up to her Taiwanese parents' expectations, but no amount of tradition, obligation, or guilt prevent her from hiding several truths – that she is a germaphobe who cannot become a doctor, she prefers dancing to biology, she decides to reconnect with her estranged older brother, and she is dating a Japanese boy."

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

"Seventeen-year-old Zelie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy."

Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

"Celia, Bree, Sally, and April, assigned to the same dorm their first year at Smith College, form a fast friendship, in spite of the differences between them, that carries them into an uncertain future."

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

"An unforgettable memoir about a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University."

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

"When the scary, magical world in her grandmother's book of dark feminist fairy tales becomes real, seventeen-year-old Alice, partnered with Ellery, an obsessed fan of the fairy tales, must enter the world to rescue Alice's kidnapped mother."

Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann

"Presents a true account of the early twentieth-century murders of dozens of wealthy Osage and law-enforcement officials, citing the contributions and missteps of a fledgling FBI that eventually uncovered one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history."

Leonardo da Vinci by Walter Isaacson

"Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo's astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo's genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy."

Nothing by Annie Barrows

"Nothing ever happens to Charlotte and Frankie. Their lives are nothing like the lives of the girls they read about in their YA novels. They don't have flowing red hair and hot romantic encounters never happen – let alone meeting a true soul mate. They just go to high school and live at home with their parents, who are pretty normal, all things considered. But when Charlotte decides to write down everything that happens during their sophomore year to prove that nothing happens and there is no plot or character development in real life, she's surprised to find that being fifteen isn't as boring as she thought. It's weird, heartbreaking, silly, and complicated. And maybe, just perfect."

Posted by John David Anderson

"A group of middle school students decide to begin leaving sticky notes for each other after cell phones are banned, but soon the kids in school are leaving cutting and cruel notes, and nothing will ever be the same."

You Think It, I'll Say It: Stories by Curtis Sittenfeld

"Throughout the ten stories in You Think It, I'll Say It, Sittenfeld upends assumptions about class, relationships, and gender roles in a nation that feels both adrift and viscerally divided."



Ms. Matlin

Bad Girls by Alex de Campi and Victor Santos

"In this heart-pounding, starkly colored, and visually stunning graphic novel, three women have twelve hours to get out of Cuba with six-million dollars on the night of New Year's Eve 1958."

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

"Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself."

The Council of Twelve by Oliver Potzsch

"The year is 1672. Hangman Jakob Kuisl and his family travel to Munich, the cosmopolitan heart of Bavaria, for a meeting of the prestigious Council of Twelve, the leaders of the empire's hangmen's guild – prestigious for dishonorable hangmen, at least. But something dark is happening behind the scenes: in the past weeks, young women have begun turning up dead. . . . Kuisl must solve the mystery of who is murdering the women. If he fails, the consequences could reverberate across the empire, affecting all the hangmen in Germany."

The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen

"The Gallagher family has called Deeprath Castle home for seven hundred years. Nestled in the Wicklow Mountains of Ireland, the estate is now slated to become a public trust, and book lover and scholar Carragh Ryan is hired to take inventory of its historic library. But after meeting Aidan, the current Viscount Gallagher, and his enigmatic family, Carragh knows that her task will be more challenging than she'd thought."

Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

"An irresistible debut set in London during World War II about an adventurous young woman who becomes a secret advice columnist – a warm, funny, and enormously moving story for fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and Lilac Girls."

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee

"How to Write an Autobiographical Novel is the author's manifesto on the entangling of life, literature, and politics, and how the lessons learned from a life spent reading and writing fiction have changed him. In these essays, he grows from student to teacher, reader to writer, and reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, an activist, a lover, and a friend."

A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma

"Bina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina's cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother – a bond Bina thought was unbreakable."

School for Psychics by K.C. Archer

"Teddy Cannon isn't your typical twentysomething woman. She can read people with uncanny precision. What she doesn't realize: she's actually psychic. After a series of bad decisions leads Teddy to a run-in with the law, she gets a chance for redemption when she's invited to the school for psychics, a facility hidden off the coast of San Francisco. Here, students master telepathy and telekinesis, investigative skills and SWAT tactics. If they survive their training, they go on to serve at the highest levels of government, using their skills to protect America, and the world. Can Teddy, a lifelong renegade, learn to play by the rules?"

The Spirit Photographer by Jon Michael Varese

"Boston, 1870. Photographer Edward Moody runs a booming business capturing the images of the spirits of the departed in his portraits. He lures grieving widows and mourning mothers into his studio with promises of catching the ghosts of their deceased loved ones with his camera. . . . One day, while developing the negative from a sitting to capture the spirit of the young son of an abolitionist senator, Moody is shocked to see a different spectral figure develop before his eyes. Instead of the staged image of the boy he was expecting, the camera has seemingly captured the spirit of a beautiful young woman."

Winter of Ice and Iron by Rachel Neumeier

"With the Mad King of Emmer in the north and the vicious King of Pohorir in the east, Kehara Raehema knows her country is in a vulnerable position. She never expected to give up everything she loves to save her people, but when the Mad King's fury leaves her land in danger, she'll do anything that might buy time for her people to prepare for war – no matter the personal cost."

Quotes provided by the publisher.

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