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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Young elites.
by by Marie Lu

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-A rollicking series opener from the author of the "Legend" series (Putnam). Imagine surviving a plague of fever, only to be marked as an abomination by your countrymen. Most survivors of the sickness that vanquished thousands in this alternative medieval world possess a strange and unique marking, whether it be a facial coloring, oddly tinged hair, or, in Adelina's case, a missing eye. Called malfettos, some are endowed with magical gifts that enable them to control wind, fire, earth, and even humans. All Adelina has ever wanted is to feel accepted and loved, but she's ignored by her father, and her sister doesn't have the power to save her. When the teen escapes an unwanted proposal, she unwittingly becomes a member of the Dagger Society, an Elite group of malfettos bent on using their supernatural abilities to escape the Inquisition's genocide and place their leader, Enzo, on the throne of Kenettra. Adelina struggles with an increasing distrust of Enzo, her fellow Elites, and herself, all while learning how to control her powers of illusion and disillusion. Lu seamlessly melds an unforgettable and intoxicating historical fantasy narrative with a strong female protagonist that grapples with an issue experienced by all young adults-acceptance of one's self. Well written, fast paced without being confusing, and enjoyable enough for teens, reluctant readers, and even adults. Brimming with engaging battles-physical and emotional-and meticulous backdrops, Lu's new series will be a surefire hit with old and new fans alike.- Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX (c) Copyright 2014. 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* Adelina Amouteru is a walking wound. A deadly fever has ravaged her country, killing many and leaving others marked in strange and dangerous ways. Adelina is a survivor who carries two marks: once-black hair has turned silver, and her left eye is gone. Known as malfettos, those scarred by the disease are considered bad luck, even dangerous. There are rumors that some survivors have magical abilities, and after a dark confrontation with her power-hungry father, Adelina discovers that the fever may have left her with more than scars after all. Thrust into a group of rebel malfettos, the Young Elites, Adelina realizes the extent of her latent powers. Those familiar with Lu's wildly popular Legend series will recognize the author's propensity to include multiple perspectives, and here those viewpoints include other members of the Young Elites and their rebel leader, as well as the queen's Inquisitor, who is hunting them all. Still, this is Adelina's tale. Part bildungsroman, part origin story, this explores the idea that what damages you gives you strength, but often with a price. Lu's careful world building does slow the plot, but the result is that Adelina's Italianesque culture is believable, and the story leads to a whopper of a finale and an even more intriguing epilogue. Fans of Legend or not, readers should prepare to be captivated and to look forward to a continuation of the Young Elites series. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A national author tour and promotions at BEA and Comic-Con will help start the buzz for this author, who has already proven she can draw a crowd.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2014 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In this series opener, Lu (the Legend trilogy) pivots from the "coming of age via romance" formula to pry apart the many emotions that pass under the rubric of love. Adelina Amouteru, once-privileged daughter of a merchant, is irrevocably changed by the blood fever, an epidemic that wiped out infected adults and left most child survivors permanently scarred malfettos. A handful also underwent mutations that conferred strange, often lethal powers. All malfettos are persecuted, but these mutant Young Elites are special targets. Harrowingly, Adelina discovers that she is one. Rescued by a masked firebrand from certain death under the government's Inquisition, she awakens in the custody of Raffaele, a male prostitute, and Enzo, malfetto aspirant to the throne. A beautiful woman surrounded by beautiful men, Adelina nevertheless is not defined by romance. Warped family bonds shape her consciousness and yearning for acceptance, and the men are out to get what they want from her. There's nothing easy here, for Adelina or readers-there are no safe places where the pressures of betrayal, death threats, and rejection aren't felt. Ages 12-up. Agent: Kristin Nelson, Nelson Literary Agency. (Oct.) (c) 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 Schools First Day of School.
by Adam Rex

Book list *Starred Review* First-day jitters are a frequent picture-book topic, but this one has a surprising twist: the nervous one is the school building. Frederick Douglass Elementary is a brand-new school, and so far, he only knows the janitor. The first day is coming, however, and School is worried that the kids won't like him. First, he overhears some older kids say they hate school; then a freckled girl doesn't even want to come inside. I must be awful, School thinks to himself. But soon, the day picks up. He hears a funny joke at lunchtime, he learns about shapes, and the freckled girl paints a lovely picture of him that the teacher pins to the wall (it hurts a little, but School doesn't mind). Robinson's blocky, naive-style paintings set just the right tone, and the subtle faces on all the buildings hint that School's not the only building with feelings. Meanwhile, Rex doesn't play the gag only for laughs; rather, he seamlessly weaves School's dialogue into the tale, as if he's just another student in the classroom. With bold illustrations featuring a diverse array of children and text that's ideal for reading aloud, this charming reversal of first-day-of-school nerves will delight little ones and help put their own anxieties at bay.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-Step aside, other first day of school books: there's a new school in town. After construction and a summer of tender loving care from the janitor, Frederick Douglass Elementary's first day finally arrives. And what a day it is: hordes of children with all their feelings, mess, noise, new concepts, and even a fire alarm (which the school finds deeply embarrassing). Worried but curious, impetuous, and vulnerable, the school works as a perfect proxy for nervous child readers. Rex's warm and goofy text is brought to life by Robinson's vivid collage illustrations. His signature round-headed, tulip-handed figures are diverse and appealing, from the supportive janitor to the "little girl with freckles" who slowly warms up to school at the same time that the school is warming up to the children. VERDICT A+: an essential purchase that is simultaneously funny, frank, and soothing. A perfect first day read-aloud.-Sarah Stone, San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2016. 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.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-Newly constructed Frederick Douglass Elementary is preparing to open his doors. He's a bit anxious and wonders if he'll pass the biggest test of all and win the approval of the swarms of kids who arrive as the school year begins. Rex's warm, funny, and emotionally resonant text is superbly complemented by Robinson's engaging and vivacious collage artwork. A clever and playful look at first-day jitters. Copyright 2016. 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.

Publishers Weekly Every so often, a book comes along with a premise so perfect, it's hard to believe it hasn't been done before; this is one of those books. As a new school year begins, it isn't just the students who have trepidations: the building doesn't quite know what to expect either, and overheard comments such as "I don't like school" aren't helping. "Maybe it doesn't like you either," thinks the school in response. But even amid lunchtime spills and an embarrassing fire drill "accident," the school comes to understand that facilitating the noisy, messy activities of the school day are quite literally what he was made to do. Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street) gives the school just a hint of visual personification in his flattened, paint-and-collage artwork, as Rex (Moonday) deftly juggles well-placed jokes and keen insights into feeling comfortable in one's own skin-or bricks, as the case may be. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (June) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

British Crime Writers' Assoc.
Click to search this book in our catalog Icarus
by Deon Meyer

Publishers Weekly In South African author Meyer's excellent fifth novel featuring Benny Griessel of Cape Town's Directorate of Priority Crime Investigations (after 2014's Cobra), Benny has been sober for more than 20 months, but he soon falls off the wagon after hearing tragic news about a colleague. Vollie Fish, who had caught two serial killers in four years, fatally shot his wife and two daughters and then himself, an apparent victim of his own demons. Meanwhile, someone has strangled Ernst Richter, called the Alibi Man for his website, which provides alibis, complete with phony documentation, for a price. Richter's death alone would be enough to unsettle those who use his services, but in addition someone has created a Twitter account that threatens to list all his clients in 18 hours. Meyer heightens the suspense with scenes of a defense attorney's conversations with an enigmatic client. The richness of the characters, especially the multifaceted Benny, elevates this above most contemporary police procedurals. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Oct.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list South African crime novelist Meyer delivers another expertly crafted thriller that feels exceptionally timely, given its focus on the high-tech and wine industries. Ernst Richter, the head of the Internet service MyAlibi, which provides forged documentation to cover up the whereabouts of cheating spouses, has been killed. Meanwhile, Captain Benny Griessel is badly shaken when he's called to the scene of a multiple homicide; a former colleague has killed his entire family. Suddenly, Benny, who has been sober for four years, succumbs to his need for a drink. His colleague, Vaughn Cupido, who has been put in charge of the high-profile Richter case, needs Benny on his game, but Benny is of the mind that he can control his demons, born of the chaos of his profession, much better when he's had a few. As he drifts ever further from sobriety, his beautiful partner, a former alcoholic herself, feels that Benny's presence is a danger to her own sobriety. As Benny's elite investigative unit struggles to close the case, Benny must decide whether he's willing to lose his job and his partner for the love of drink.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

Caldecott Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Freedom in Congo Square
by Carole Boston

Book list *Starred Review* Coretta Scott King Honorees Weatherford and Christie have created a gorgeously artistic and poetic homage to the birthplace of jazz and a people whose legacy is too often ignored. For one day a week, the slaves of New Orleans were allowed by law to gather on one public space: Congo Square. Through sparse, deliberate language, Weatherford tangibly captures the anticipation of those Sundays, listing the physical and emotional work that slaves endured without respite. They tend to animals and crops, cater to their masters, endure losses and lashings, all the while counting the hours until they can revel in the freedom of Congo Square. Holding on to that joyful experience feels like a form of silent resistance as the slaves bear the harshness of the week. The blunt words are richly supplemented by illustrations reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence's work. Christie elegantly renders people's gestures in chalk, capturing their energy or lack of, depending on the context. Blocks of color stamped with texture bring to life the landscape and movement in a place where they rejoiced as if they had no cares; / half day, half free in Congo Square. Subtle and layered, this is an important story, beautifully told.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-This vibrant picture book examines Congo Square in New Orleans. A foreword and author's note explain how, historically, slaves in Louisiana were allowed Sunday afternoons off. This custom continued after the territory joined the United States, although in time, New Orleans established one location for all slaves to gather: an area that became known as Congo Square. This unique practice helped enslaved and free Africans maintain cultural traditions. The impact was felt far beyond New Orleans as musicians, dancers, and singers developed, explored, and shared rhythms that eventually grew into jazz music. The text is realistic but child appropriate. Couplets count down the days to Sunday in a conversational tone ("Slavery was no ways fair./Six more days to Congo Square."). The writing is accompanied by folk art-style illustrations, with paint applied in thick layers. Some images, such as faces, are more detailed, while others are presented as silhouettes. Collage with painted elements is incorporated on occasion. The architecture portrayed evokes the New Orleans setting. Bright colors suggest the exuberance displayed at Congo Square. Spreads where the slaves are finally able to sing, dance, and express emotion contrast effectively with the forced restraint of those depicting the work week. VERDICT Unique in its subject and artistic expression, this beautiful book belongs in most collections.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA Copyright 2015. 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.

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-Couplets count down the days of the week and detail the daily labor duties of those who were enslaved in New Orleans-all leading up to Sunday, the day of rest and an afternoon in Congo Square. Acknowledging and contrasting the brutal toll of slavery with the exuberance and collective power of their one half-afternoon of free expression, Weatherford has created a masterly and multifaceted work. Christie's illustrations, so loaded with color and movement, are the perfect accompaniment to this must-have book. Copyright 2016. 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.

Publishers Weekly Located in what is now the Treme neighborhood, Congo Square was the one place where the slaves and free blacks of New Orleans were allowed to gather on Sundays, a legally mandated day of rest. There they could reconnect with the dance and music of their West and Central African heritages and feel, at least for a few hours, that they were in "a world apart," where "freedom's heart" prevailed. Weatherford hits a few flat notes with her rhyming ("Slaves had off one afternoon,/ when the law allowed them to commune"), but she succeeds in evoking a world where prospect of Sunday becomes a way to withstand relentless toil and oppression: "Wednesday, there were beds to make/ silver to shine, and bread to bake./ The dreaded lash, too much to bear./ Four more days to Congo Square." Christie, who worked with Weatherford to illuminate another historic neighborhood in Sugar Hill (2014), takes readers on a visual journey, moving from searing naf scenes of plantation life to exuberantly expressionistic and abstract images filled with joyous, soaring curvilinear figures. An introduction and afterword provide further historic detail. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Picture Book Awards
Click to search this book in our catalog Dog and Bear: Two Friends, Three Stories
by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Publishers Weekly: Starred Review. As inventive and fresh as Seeger's Hidden Alphabet, the three gentle stories in this inspired collection are utterly charming. Emerging readers will take to the rambunctious dachshund and winsome stuffed bear, and will find the bold font of the economical text easy to follow. Each story's conflict is satisfyingly resolved with a surprise ending that reflects these unique individuals. When Dog rattles off his inappropriate suggestions for changing his boring name, Bear suggests that Dog change his name to "My Best Friend Dog." Dog is delighted, but then blithely suggests that Bear call him "Dog for short." The uncluttered illustrations, in thick black line and swirling bright watercolor wash, work seamlessly with stories that rely on humor both child-centered and unexpected. When Dog coaches the timid bear off of a high chair ("Take one step. One little, tiny step"), their faces deftly mirror their emotions. Seeger comically combines Bear's narration of a story he is trying to read with Dog's rambunctious pleas ("Play with me! Play with me!"). When Bear finally puts his book down and asks what they should play, dog answers, "Read to me! Read to me!" After turning the last page, young readers will beg the same for this enchanting trio of tales. Ages 4-8.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Starred Review. PreS-Gr 2—In this endearing picture book, a tail-wagging dachshund and a multicolored stuffed bear star in three tales about friendship. In the first, Dog wants to go outside, but Bear is perched atop a tall chair and can't get down. It takes encouragement and ingenuity, but the pooch eventually helps his pal descend; unfortunately, Bear's scarf has been left behind. Next, Dog wants to play and brings out numerous toys, but Bear is busy reading. At last, he closes his book and asks, "What shall we do?," and the pup appears with a stack of volumes ("Read to me!"). Finally, Dog decides to change his name. Bear points out that none of the traditional canine choices is suitable, imagining what his friend would be like if he were called Spot (speckled with colorful dots), Fluffy (pink, with a cotton-candy body), or Prince (dressed in royal regalia). They reach a consensus when Bear suggests "My Best Friend Dog" (Dog for short). The characters and a few highlighted objects are drawn with thick black lines, colored with bright variegated hues, and set against white backdrops. The eye-catching artwork shines with humor and warmth. Told with simplicity and charm, this story is appropriate for sharing aloud or for newly confident readers.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power
by Jon Meacham

Library Journal Pulitzer Prize-winner Meacham (executive editor & executive vice president, Random House; American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House) claims that previous Jefferson scholars have not grasped the authentic Jefferson. Meacham unmasks a power-hungry, masterful, pragmatic leader who was not above being manipulative to achieve his goal: an enduring, democratic republic defined by him. A brilliant philosopher whose lofty principles were sometimes sidelined for more realistic goals, Meacham's Jefferson, neither idol nor rogue, is a complex mortal with serious flaws and contradictions. Despite his dedication to human liberty, he would not impose practical measures to end slavery. Here, Jefferson's political instincts trumped his moral and philosophical beliefs, and he lived uncomfortably with that contradiction, believing that slavery would eventually end but unable to create a balance between human freedom and political unity. Meacham believes that what some recent writers have viewed as hypocrisy was actually genius. Failing to solve the conundrum of slavery, Jefferson creatively and successfully applied power, flexibility, and compromise in an imperfect world. VERDICT General and academic readers will find a balanced, engaging, and realistic treatment of the forces motivatingthe third President, the subject of unending fascination and debate. [See Prepub Alert, 5/10/12.]-Margaret Kappanadze, Elmira Coll. Lib., NY (c) Copyright 2012. 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.

Publishers Weekly Another Jefferson biography (right on the heels of Henry Wiencek's Master of the Mountain)! Fortunately, Meacham's is a fine work, deserving a place high on the list of long biographies of its subject even if rivaled by such shorter ones as Richard B. Bernstein's Thomas Jefferson. Like David McCullough's John Adams (to which it can be seen as a counterpart), Meacham's book is a love letter to its subject. While he's fully conversant with long-held skepticism about aspects of Jefferson's character (his dissimulation, for instance) and his stance toward slavery, Meacham gives him the benefit of the doubt throughout (on, for example, his Revolutionary War governorship of Virginia and the draconian 1807 embargo). To Meacham, who won a Pulitzer for his American Lion, Jefferson was a philosopher/politician, and "the most successful political figure of the first half century of the American republic." Those words only faintly suggest the inspirational tone of the entire work. Meacham understandably holds Jefferson up as the remarkable figure he was. But in the end, as fine a rendering of the nation's third president as this book may be, it comes too close to idolization. Jefferson's critics still have something valid to say, even if their voices here are stilled. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Of the Founding Fathers, Washington remains unassailable in terms of character and leadership. Jefferson, on the other hand, has taken and continues to take hits from historians concerning his seeming hypocrisy in advocating the fundamental right of personal liberty. Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of American Lion (2008), a fresh estimation of Andrew Jackson, brings to bear his focused and sensitive scholarship, rich prose style, and acute sense of the need to ground his subject in time and place and observe him in his natural habitat. He must be seen in context, Meacham insists. The Jefferson that emerges from these astute, dramatic pages is a figure worthy of continued study and appreciation. He thirsted for power and greatness, but and this defines a consummate politician he understood that his goals could be achieved only by compromise. The survival of the American experiment in democracy was his abiding concern throughout his political career. Meacham carefully squares that with Jefferson's thinking about slavery by, again, placing those opinions within the conditions of the day. The reader leaves this very impressive book having been plunged fully into the whole Revolutionary era specifically, having gained a valuable sense of the uncertainty of the independence movement. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: An extensive author tour and a national media campaign, as well as Meacham's reputation as the author of American Lion, will bring interested readers into the library.--Hooper, Brad Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

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