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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Foolish Hearts.
by Mills, Emma

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Claudia is at the last party of the summer before senior year when she overhears the breakup of two girls and finds herself on the wrong side of prickly student Iris, who is difficult and knows just how to use her words as knives. Claudia herself has recently gone through a breakup with a young man who explains that he just "feels regular" with her (no sparks) and she has no desire to expose herself to any sort of further romantic drama. And yet drama is where she lands when she and Iris both have to work on the school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream along with increasingly attentive, cute as a button, goofy Gideon. While Claudia's developing romance with Gideon is textbook high school hyperbole, the backdrop of her school interactions, family events, (including her sister's dangerous premature delivery), gaming, part-time job, developing interest in a hot new band, and personal growth in her circle of friends is exceptional and drives the story forward on a level beyond the average derivative teen novel. VERDICT Purchase where Shakespeare-centered and theater-inspired books, and Mills's earlier titles circulate well.-Susan Riley, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY © 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.

Publishers Weekly "Redemption arc?" asks Claudia's best friend, Zoe, curious about Claudia's unexpected new friendship with Iris, her private school's class president and infamous mean girl. It all starts when Claudia is forced to spend time with Iris for a class project, just as Iris is reeling from a breakup with her longtime girlfriend, Paige. Claudia discovers that Iris is more complicated and vulnerable than everyone assumes, and the evolution of their relationship-from enemies to intimate friends who respect and rely on each other-is compelling and real. Mills (This Adventure Ends) thoughtfully explores the nuances of all kinds of relationships, both friendly and romantic, via Claudia and her circle of friends. Also in the mix: Zoe is falling in love with Claudia's brother, Iris longs to get back together with Paige, and Claudia faces her own insecurities and hopes for a romance with popular Gideon. Through these friendship struggles and romances old and new, Mills evokes the high stakes and vast rewards of trust, intimacy, and honesty. Ages 14-up. Agent: Bridget Smith, Dunham Literary. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Claudia, who generally flies under the radar at her all-girls school, isn't planning on being there for the difficult breakup of it-couple Paige and Iris. But alas, she hears every brutal word and is confronted by angry, difficult Iris Huang herself, who threatens to ruin her if Claudia breathes a word to anyone. It doesn't seem likely to be a problem Claudia's not much of a gossip, and her best friend goes to another school but as their senior year starts, Claudia keeps finding herself paired with Iris. When they're both forced to be a part of the school production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, they develop a tentative friendship against all odds. Even as her friendship with Iris blossoms, Claudia resists growing closer to Gideon, a boy involved in the show. Mills (This Adventure Ends, 2016) offers up another realistic depiction of teen relationships. Claudia's friendship with Iris takes center stage more than her budding romance with Gideon, and her pragmatic voice shines. A fun, thoughtful portrayal of different kinds of vulnerability.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Flubby Is Not a Good Pet
by J. E. Morris.

Kirkus Meet Flubby, a quintessential cat. Flubby, a rotund gray-and white cat with stubby legs, seems unimpressed by his owner's expectations of pet behavior. He won't sing like Kim's bird, catch like Sam's dog, or jump like Jill's frog. Flubby doesn't even run when it rains. But when thunder pounds"KA-BOOM"cat and kid need each other. Morris limits her palette to muted shades of brown, blue, gray, and green with an occasional spot of orange. Short, declarative sentences follow a predictable pattern and complement the spare illustrations. Cartoon panels opposite full-page pictures move the simple story along. In one memorable double-page spread, the actionof the child throwing a ball while Flubby watches and then rolls over to sleepmoves readers' eyes left to right across the spread in three stacked, horizontal panels. A full range of emotions, including happiness, frustration, boredom, concern, disappointment, fear, is conveyed with subtle changes in posture and eyes. The human characters are a multiracial mix. Kim presents Asian; Sam appears black; Jill seems white. Flubby's owner is not gendered and has longish brown hair and brown skin. Series companion Flubby Will NOT Play with That! publishes simultaneously.Nonjudgmental encouragement for new readerseven if they flub up. (Early reader. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list A young child’s cat, Flubby, isn’t like other pets. Kim’s bird sings, Sam’s dog catches, but, despite best efforts to teach Flubby tricks, he not only seems disinterested, but he also doesn’t comply or try. Sometimes he even does the opposite! For example, Jill’s frog can jump, but Flubby? Even after the kid, whose gender is unspecified, models jumping, Flubby, who’s been napping on his back, paws in the air, leisurely gets up, stretches, and yawns. But when a noisy thunderstorm comes (“KA-BOOM”), the pair get an opportunity to learn the mutual rewards of pet ownership, mostly in the form of sharing comfort and hugs. Short, simple text, accessibly written for new readers, is enlivened with interspersed speech-bubbles and humorous asides. Appealing, animated, colorful comics-style illustrations both depict and expand the story, such as in a montage in which Flubby's owner attempts to get the cute, stripy-tailed, bulky cat to catch, to no avail—Flubby merely watches the ball go by, then has a snooze. A droll and sweet read that cat fans especially will enjoy.

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

Horn Book Flubby the cat won't do any tricks, no matter how much his owner Kami tries. Increasingly frustrated, Kami declares: ‘Flubby is NOT a good pet!’ But when a thunderstorm begins, Flubby and Kami realize they need each other. The short, repetitive sentences are clearly designed for new readers. Minimalist illustrations humorously feature other animals doing tricks for their humans, while Flubby only says meow and falls asleep. (c) Copyright 2021. 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 Wish You Were Here
by Jodi Picoult

Publishers Weekly Picoult’s beguiling page-turner revisits the premise of two alternate worlds, as explored in 2020’s The Book of Two Ways, this time with the Covid-19 pandemic as a backdrop. It’s March 13, 2020, in New York City, the day after Broadway theaters shut down because of a new contagious virus. Diana O’Toole, an associate specialist with Sotheby’s, is on the verge of closing a career-changing deal and expecting her boyfriend, Finn, to propose. But Finn, a surgeon, has just been informed he cannot take their planned Galápagos Islands vacation because the hospital needs all hands on deck for the predicted inundation of virus-infected patients. One couldn’t ask for more opposite places: the isolated Pacific Ocean islands with native iguanas, prehistoric turtles, and exotic flora and fauna, and the grim world of packed ICU wards, staff burnout, and the debilitating reality of an onslaught of deaths that cannot be stopped or prevented. In the Galápagos, Diana befriends a teenage girl, begins an affair with the girl’s father, and second-guesses her conformist, status-oriented life plans. While a major plot twist feels both contrived and implausible, it serves to examine how catastrophes can strain the characters’ relationships while time apart can inspire complex soul-searching. As always, Picoult is eminently readable, though even the author’s fans will find some of this wanting. (Nov.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Picoult, a best-selling novelist always attuned to the zeitgeist, takes on the COVID-19 pandemic in this powerful novel. In March 2020, art specialist Diana O'Toole is on the cusp of selling a major painting for Sotheby's and getting engaged to her caring, handsome surgeon boyfriend, Finn. They have plane tickets to the Galápagos Islands, but when Finn's work at the hospital prevents him from leaving, he urges Diana to take the trip on her own. Diana arrives on Isabela Island just as it and the rest of the world closes down. Stranded, she is taken in by a kindly older woman and befriends a troubled 15-year-old, Beatriz, who is grappling with abandonment issues that Diana can relate to: both women's mothers walked away when they were children. Cut off from Finn save for emails he sends detailing the horrors he's enduring in the hospital as COVID-19 ravages New York, Diana grows ever closer to Beatriz and the teenager's handsome father, Gabriel. She also begins to question whether the goalposts she's set for herself still represent the direction she wants her life to take. Stealthily surprising and very moving, Picoult's latest, written while she was confined at home during the pandemic, taps into the trauma and uncertainty of 2020's global crisis. Absolutely a must-read.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Picoult's novels are always sure-bets for popular fiction readers, but she attains new heights in this keen and vivid pandemic drama.

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

Oprah's Book Club
Click to search this book in our catalog House of Sand and Fog
by Andre Dubus

Library Journal: In his second novel (after Bluesman, LJ 5/15/93), the son of noted writer Andre Dubus manages to get deep inside the heads of two very different characters who clash over a modest house in the San Francisco suburbs. Kathy is a recovering alcoholic and cokehead who loses her inherited bungalow for alleged nonpayment of taxes. Behmini, an Iranian who was an officer in the Shah's air force before fleeing the revolution, is now struggling to succeed in the United States. He buys the house at auction, planning to make a profit on the resale. Kathy skulks around the neighborhood and eventually confronts the family. When she becomes sexually involved with the policeman she met at her eviction, a married man with bad judgment and a drinking problem of his own, he takes up her cause with explosive results. Dubus's attention to detail and realistic prose style give the narrative a hard-edged, cinematic quality, but unlike many movies, its outcome is unexpected. Recommended for all fiction collections.

Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ., Harrisonburg, VA Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

Publishers Weekly: This powerfully written but bleak narrative is a mesmerizing tale of the American Dream gone terribly awry. Massoud Amir Behrani, a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force under the Shah, now lives in exile with his wife and teenage son near San Francisco. Working on a road crew as a "garbage soldier" by day and as a deli clerk by night, Behrani is obsessed with restoring his family to the position of glittering wealth and prestige it once enjoyed. At a county auction, he sinks his savings into a bungalow seized for non-payment of taxes, and quickly moves his family into it, planning to resell the house at a sizable profit. But when the house's previous occupant, recovering coke addict Kathy Lazaro, resurfaces with valid claims for repossession, Behrani's plan begins to unravel, and with it his tightly controlled facade of composure. Tensions between Lazaro and Behrani quickly escalate into violence, as Lazaro's lover, a married police officer with a weak spot for lost causes, decides to take matters into his own hands. The book's horrifying denouement offers readers a searing study in the wages of pride. Dubus (Bluesman) writes with an authority regarding the American lower middle class that is reminiscent of Russell Banks and Richard Ford, and his limber imagination is capable of drawing the inner lives of three very different main characters with such compassion that readers will find their sympathies hopelessly divided. If the tragedy that he so skillfully orchestrates cries out to be leavened with a little less desperation and some quiet glimpse of hope, the keenly perceptive and moving narrative is proof that the son and namesake of one of our most talented writers has embarked on a dazzling career in his own right.

Copyright 1998 Cahners Business Information, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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