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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Goodbye Days
by Zentner, Jeff

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-It was just a text: Carver wanted to know when his three best friends were going to pick him up. But those three best friends got into a car accident and never made it to him. Carver can't stop blaming himself and his text for their deaths, and things get worse after a judge is also interested in pointing the finger at him. Carver juggles his own feelings of guilt and the blame others direct at him as he decides to honor the memory of his friends through cathartic "goodbye days." Saving Carver (and the readers) from complete despair is Jesmyn, the former girlfriend of one of his deceased friends, and Dr. Mendez, a new therapist who help him wade through life after the funerals. Zentner is yanking heartstrings here in this painful but compelling narrative. Although sprinkled with lighter stories of the friends in happier times, this is a weighty, well-crafted novel-the kind of intelligent, intense, and life-affirming tale that will resonate with teens seeking depth and honesty. VERDICT Recommended as a first purchase for school and public libraries. Hand this to readers looking to explore the somber and complex realities of life, especially responsibility, fractured relationships, and the butterfly effect of consequences.-Emily Moore, Camden County Library System, NJ Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* I may have killed my three best friends, 17-year-old Carver agonizes. How so? He sent a text to his friend Mars, knowing the boy was driving at the time; distracted by replying to the text, Mars crashed into a stopped truck, killing himself and Carver's two other best friends, Blake and Eli. Now Mars' father, a judge, has called on the district attorney to open an investigation and weigh charges of criminally negligent homicide against Carver. Bereft and virtually friendless, riddled by guilt, and overwhelmed by stress, Carver begins having panic attacks, which send him into therapy. Interestingly, he makes an unlikely new friend in Eli's girlfriend, Jesmyn, but when he tells her that he desires more than friendship with her, she rejects him. Meanwhile, Carver's attempts at atonement with Blake's grandmother, Eli's parents, and Mars' father meet with mixed success, feeding his subconscious desire for punishment. Zentner does an excellent job in creating empathetic characters, especially his protagonist Carver, a budding writer whose first-person account of his plight is artful evidence of his talent. The story builds suspense while developing not only empathetic but also multidimensional characters in both Carver and Jesmyn. The result is an absorbing effort with emotional and psychological integrity.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Carver Briggs already feels responsible when his three best friends are killed in a car accident after he sent a "Where are you guys?" text message to the driver. Now it seems as though the whole town wants him to be prosecuted, and he's having debilitating panic attacks. When one friend's grandmother suggests they pay tribute to the deceased by spending a "goodbye day" swapping stories and doing what he loved, Carver finds a cathartic way to atone for his perceived sins. From the opening line, Zentner (The Serpent King) expertly channels Carver's distinctive voice as a 17-year-old writer turned "funeral expert" who argues with himself about girls and retains glimmers of easy wit despite the weight of his grief and guilt. Flashbacks and daydreams capture the jovial spirit of the four members of the so-called Sauce Crew, glimpses of sophomore shenanigans interspersed with poignant admissions only best friends would share. Racial tensions, spoiled reputations, and broken homes all play roles in an often raw meditation on grief and the futility of entertaining what-ifs when faced with awful, irreversible events. Ages 14-up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Jerome By Heart
by Thomas Scotto

Kirkus Two little boys share an intense friendship.Narrator Raphael "loves Jerome"saying it is "easy." Raphael doesn't understand why his mother dismisses Jerome as "charming" or why his father says "it's a pity' that Jerome doesn't play soccer." Jerome "always sees" Raphael, shares snacks, defends Raphael against bullies, and tells great stories. Spending a day with Jerome is pure nourishment for Raphael: "By lunch, we've laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. And by dinner, I've stocked up enough of Jerome to last me the whole night." Tallec's loose line-and-watercolor paintings use gentle humor to introduce them, placing the two boys on bikes, side by side and hand in hand, in front of a line of clearly slowly moving cars: So happy are they that they do not notice. He situates the two boys in scenes suffused in warm colors, their body language mirroring each other's, as do their pale skin and round, red heads. But when Raphael's parents get uptight about this bond, the palette darkens to cold, lonely blues. The text is open enough that readers will take what they need from the story. Some children will see simply two very good friends, while others will see validation of feelings they may not know how to express, particularly if their parents are as hostile as Raphael's. Raphael gives them the language they need: "I sayyes. Raphael loves Jerome. I say it. It's easy."Subtle, joyous, affirming. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Raphael, the young narrator of this groundbreaking picture book, loves his friend Jerome. "It doesn't bother me at all," the boy explains. "Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It's easy." Jerome is caring, generous, funny, and always ready for adventure. Most important, he reciprocates Raphael's affection ("He always holds my hand. It's true. Really tight"), even though there are intimations that Jerome is more socially adept: "Jerome always sees me, even when he's with friends.... He defends me when kids make fun of me. Incredible, right?" Although Raphael's parents never put a label on it, their son's intense affection for his friend and his unfiltered expression of it clearly bother them; Dad seethes, his voice "like sharp fish bones in my hot chocolate." But the bond between the boys is unbreakable, and as the book closes, they blithely walk across the street together, holding hands. The story invites conversation among readers of all ages, and the sensitivity of the minimalist text (despite a few overwrought moments) and poignancy of Tallec's radiant, gentle art are undeniable. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Little Raphael loves his best friend Jerome, who holds his hand, always chooses him as his buddy on field trips, shares his snacks, defends him when kids make fun of him, and makes up the best stories. Raphael loves Jerome, the boy muses, adding, I can say it. It's easy. Unfortunately it's not so easy for Raphael's father, who thinks it's a pity that Jerome doesn't play soccer, grouching Now that's enough when his son talks too enthusiastically about his best friend. It's not like Jerome is a bad word, Raphael thinks defiantly, determining he will find a present for Jerome, something strong as a fortress that will last forever. After all, Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It's easy. Originally published in France, this gentle, sweet-spirited story is a testament to the power of childhood friendship and the timeless power of love. The softly colored cartoonlike illustrations by Tallec perfectly capture the mood and spirit of the text, deftly translated by Bedrick and Snelson. The result is a book to treasure.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book In a bittersweet story of a tender bond between narrator Raphael and his friend Jerome, the opening illustration shows the boys riding bicycles hand-in-hand. Their obliviousness to the traffic jam behind them creates humor but also anticipates their need to ignore others' judgment. Raphael's righteous anger at his parents' disapproval fuels his resolve in the poignant (and satisfying) conclusion to remain loyal to Jerome and to his own heart. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Giver Of Stars
by Jojo Moyes

Kirkus Women become horseback librarians in 1930s Kentucky and face challenges from the landscape, the weather, and the men around them.Alice thought marrying attractive American Bennett Van Cleve would be her ticket out of her stifling life in England. But when she and Bennett settle in Baileyville, Kentucky, she realizes that her life consists of nothing more than staying in their giant house all day and getting yelled at by his unpleasant father, who owns a coal mine. She's just about to resign herself to a life of boredom when an opportunity presents itself in the form of a traveling horseback libraryan initiative from Eleanor Roosevelt meant to counteract the devastating effects of the Depression by focusing on literacy and learning. Much to the dismay of her husband and father-in-law, Alice signs up and soon learns the ropes from the library's leader, Margery. Margery doesn't care what anyone thinks of her, rejects marriage, and would rather be on horseback than in a kitchen. And even though all this makes Margery a town pariah, Alice quickly grows to like her. Along with several other women (including one black woman, Sophia, whose employment causes controversy in a town that doesn't believe black and white people should be allowed to use the same library), Margery and Alice supply magazines, Bible stories, and copies of books like Little Women to the largely poor residents who live in remote areas. Alice spends long days in terrible weather on horseback, but she finally feels happy in her new life in Kentucky, even as her marriage to Bennett is failing. But her powerful father-in-law doesn't care for Alice's job or Margery's lifestyle, and he'll stop at nothing to shut their library down. Basing her novel on the true story of the Pack Horse Library Project established by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s, Moyes (Still Me, 2018, etc.) brings an often forgotten slice of history to life. She writes about Kentucky with lush descriptions of the landscape and tender respect for the townspeople, most of whom are poor, uneducated, and grateful for the chance to learn. Although Alice and Margery both have their own romances, the true power of the story is in the bonds between the women of the library. They may have different backgrounds, but their commitment to helping the people of Baileyville brings them together.A love letter to the power of books and friendship. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly An adventure story grounded in female competence and mutual support, and an obvious affection for the popular literature of the early 20th century, give this Depression-era novel plenty of appeal. Alice Wright escapes her stifling English family by marrying an American, but this choice leads to further misery in the rural Kentucky household of her unaffectionate husband and his domineering father, the owner of the local coal mine. She finds respite in riding with the women of the new WPA-sponsored horseback library. She’s sustained by her friendships with the other women, especially the brash, self-sufficient Margery O’Hare, and the appreciation of the isolated families she serves. But powerful men in Baileyville oppose the library, as it employs a black woman, influences women and children’s minds with fiction, encourages previously illiterate families to defend their rights against encroaching mining companies, and teaches women about intimacy through a secret copy of Married Love. Moyes (Still Me) stereotypes her antagonists a bit, but provides tremendous warmth among the librarians and centers their perspectives thoroughly. There’s plenty of drama, but the reader’s lasting impression is one of love. Agent: Sheila Crowley, Curtis Brown (U.K.). (Oct.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Moyes's 16th book (after Still Me) takes place in Depression-era Kentucky, where bride Alice Wright is trying to fit in. This is not how she imagined her glamorous American life when she left her native England. Her new husband, Bennett Van Cleve, is ruled by his overbearing father, and even the family housekeeper views her with suspicion. When a local woman asks for volunteers for the WPA Packhorse Library, Alice steps forward, despite the objections of her father-in-law and husband. From Marge, the fiercely independent and unconventional woman who runs the library, to Sophia, who left the Louisville "colored" library to care for her brother, the story of these packhorse librarians unfolds as they bring books to the people living in poverty in the Appalachian hills and fight the prejudice against women and African Americans that may result in the library being closed. A murder and unrest among the coal miners add to a tale of a fascinating and difficult time. VERDICT Rich in history, with well-developed characters and a strong sense of place, this book will fit well in any library's fiction collection. For fans of Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants or Catherine Marshall's Christy. [See Prepub Alert, 4/15/19; "Fall Fireworks," LJ 8/19.]—Terry Lucas, Shelter Island P.L., NY

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list When Alice marries the charming, athletic Bennett Van Cleve, she imagines bustling city life in America, so unlike her staid English existence. But when she gets to Baileyville, Kentucky, she finds her peers are suspicious and gossipy, her house is a shrine to Bennett's late mother, and her father-in-law sleeps in the room next door. Desperate and lonely, she surprises herself by volunteering to help with the new Baileyville Packhorse Library, run by the indomitable Margery O'Hare, who has an unsavory reputation as a moonshiner's daughter, though no one dares say it to her face. Of course, spreading education and information, especially to the womenfolk, threatens the man who runs the coal mine Alice's father-in-law. Readers familiar with Moyes' very British narrative voice will be thrilled that she translates seamlessly into Appalachian, and she weaves a tough sort of protofeminism in with labor unrest and romance in this story that doesn't stereotype but lifts up the work of the women who run the library and the lives they impact. There are tears and laughter in this homage to the power of reading and the strength of community.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Moyes is a must-read for women's fiction fans, and her newest historical tale is already in development with Universal Pictures.--Susan Maguire Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Bomb
by Steve Sheinkin

Publishers Weekly In his highly readable storytelling style, Sheinkin (The Notorious Benedict Arnold) weaves together tales of scientific and technological discovery, back-alley espionage, and wartime sabotage in a riveting account of the race to build the first atomic weapon. The famous (Robert Oppenheimer) and infamous (spy Harry Gold) headline an enormous cast of characters, which also includes Norwegian resistance fighter Knut Haukelid, whose secret wartime missions prevented Hitler from acquiring an atom bomb. B&w portraits of key players appear in photo- montages that begin each of the book's four sections. Sheinkin pulls from numerous sources to supply every chapter with quotations that swiftly move the narrative forward. Suspenseful play-by-play moments will captivate, from the nuclear chain reaction test at the University of Chicago to the preparations for and dropping of the first bomb over Hiroshima. In a "genie out of the bottle" epilogue, details of the Cold War's escalating arms race and present-day weapons counts will give readers pause, especially Sheinkin's final thoughts: "It's a story with no end in sight. And, like it or not, you're in it." A must-read for students of history and science. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) ? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Using some of the same narrative techniques he used in the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction-winning The Notorious Benedict Arnold (2010), Sheinkin shapes the story of the Manhattan Project into a dense, complicated thriller that intercuts the action with the deftness of a Hollywood blockbuster. There are more characters than readers will be able to handle, but they'll follow the three main threads. The first is a tale of spy versus spy, as Soviet informants infiltrate America's Los Alamos laboratory. The second tracks the heroism of Knut Haukelid as he parachutes into Norway to destroy Germany's heavy water plant. Most amazing is Robert Oppenheimer's assemblage of the greatest scientific minds in the U.S. (aka the world's largest collection of crackpots ), who under great duress design the most lethal weapon in history. Sheinkin's prose understandably favors plot machinations over character, and positioning photos in the back matter feels anticlimactic. Nonetheless, the painstakingly sourced narrative crackles and drives home the strange mix of pride and horror felt by the scientists who had just won the war but lost something of equal worth.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5 Up-"Harry Gold was right: This is a big story." So begins this depiction of the "creation-and theft-of the deadliest weapon ever invented." As he did in The Notorious Benedict Arnold (Roaring Brook, 2010), Sheinkin has again brought his superior talent for storytelling to bear in what is truly a gripping account of discovery, espionage, and revolutionary changes in both physics and the modern world. This fascinating tale, packed with a wide cast of characters, focuses mainly on three individuals: spy for the Soviets Harry Gold, leader of the Manhattan Project J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Knut Haukelid, who sabotaged German bomb efforts while working for the Norwegian resistance. Sheinkin skillfully combines lucid, conversational snapshots of the science behind the atomic bomb with a fast-paced narrative of the remarkable people who made it possible and attempted to steal it. Handsomely designed and loaded with archival photos and primary-source documents, the accessible volume lays out how the bomb was envisioned and brought to fruition. While the historical information and hard facts presented here will likely be new to the intended audience, they in no way overwhelm readers or detract from the thoroughly researched, well-documented account. It reads like an international spy thriller, and that's the beauty of it.-Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly In his highly readable storytelling style, Sheinkin (The Notorious Benedict Arnold) weaves together tales of scientific and technological discovery, back-alley espionage, and wartime sabotage in a riveting account of the race to build the first atomic weapon. The famous (Robert Oppenheimer) and infamous (spy Harry Gold) headline an enormous cast of characters, which also includes Norwegian resistance fighter Knut Haukelid, whose secret wartime missions prevented Hitler from acquiring an atom bomb. B&w portraits of key players appear in photo- montages that begin each of the book's four sections. Sheinkin pulls from numerous sources to supply every chapter with quotations that swiftly move the narrative forward. Suspenseful play-by-play moments will captivate, from the nuclear chain reaction test at the University of Chicago to the preparations for and dropping of the first bomb over Hiroshima. In a "genie out of the bottle" epilogue, details of the Cold War's escalating arms race and present-day weapons counts will give readers pause, especially Sheinkin's final thoughts: "It's a story with no end in sight. And, like it or not, you're in it." A must-read for students of history and science. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) ? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Using some of the same narrative techniques he used in the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction-winning The Notorious Benedict Arnold (2010), Sheinkin shapes the story of the Manhattan Project into a dense, complicated thriller that intercuts the action with the deftness of a Hollywood blockbuster. There are more characters than readers will be able to handle, but they'll follow the three main threads. The first is a tale of spy versus spy, as Soviet informants infiltrate America's Los Alamos laboratory. The second tracks the heroism of Knut Haukelid as he parachutes into Norway to destroy Germany's heavy water plant. Most amazing is Robert Oppenheimer's assemblage of the greatest scientific minds in the U.S. (aka the world's largest collection of crackpots ), who under great duress design the most lethal weapon in history. Sheinkin's prose understandably favors plot machinations over character, and positioning photos in the back matter feels anticlimactic. Nonetheless, the painstakingly sourced narrative crackles and drives home the strange mix of pride and horror felt by the scientists who had just won the war but lost something of equal worth.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 5 Up-"Harry Gold was right: This is a big story." So begins this depiction of the "creation-and theft-of the deadliest weapon ever invented." As he did in The Notorious Benedict Arnold (Roaring Brook, 2010), Sheinkin has again brought his superior talent for storytelling to bear in what is truly a gripping account of discovery, espionage, and revolutionary changes in both physics and the modern world. This fascinating tale, packed with a wide cast of characters, focuses mainly on three individuals: spy for the Soviets Harry Gold, leader of the Manhattan Project J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Knut Haukelid, who sabotaged German bomb efforts while working for the Norwegian resistance. Sheinkin skillfully combines lucid, conversational snapshots of the science behind the atomic bomb with a fast-paced narrative of the remarkable people who made it possible and attempted to steal it. Handsomely designed and loaded with archival photos and primary-source documents, the accessible volume lays out how the bomb was envisioned and brought to fruition. While the historical information and hard facts presented here will likely be new to the intended audience, they in no way overwhelm readers or detract from the thoroughly researched, well-documented account. It reads like an international spy thriller, and that's the beauty of it.-Brian Odom, Pelham Public Library, AL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog Song of Solomon
by Toni Morrison

Library Journal This new version of Morrison's 1977 novel is a fitting reminder of her early creative mastery. Song of Solomon is a powerful, sensual, and poetic exploration of four generations of a family mistakenly named Dead. Told through the eyes of "Milkman," a rare male protagonist in Morrison's wonderful catalog of unforgettable characters, we discover a century's worth of secrets, ghosts, and troubles. Milkman is faced with resolving the differing memories of his parents and his mysterious aunt Pilate, while questioning the historically charged realities thrown at him by the death of real-life victims of racism like Emmett Till as viewed by his lifelong friend Guitar. Lynne Thigpen was born to tell the author's stories, catching every lyrical note and each painful cry. A perfect marriage of author and reader, this will win new audiences and reassure audio veterans that by listening to books one truly can appreciate the magic of storytelling.--Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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