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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Six of Crows
by Leigh Bardugo

School Library Journal Gr 7 Up-Bardugo has created a wildly imaginative story of six young people who have been commissioned to pull off the greatest heist of all time. They are to nab the creator of jurda parem, a highly addictive product that enhances the innate paranormal powers of the Grisha peoples, in the hopes of creating weapons of war that will upset the balance of power and destroy the economies of rival governments. Kaz, the hero of the story and mastermind of the plot, recruits five others to aid in his quest for revenge for the loss of his brother and the promise of vast wealth. Taking what could have been stock characters of young adult fiction-the loner, the rebel, the outcast, and the con artist, the author has fashioned fully fleshed out, dynamic protagonists who will engage and enchant readers. What a thrill it is to return to the world she created with her popular "Grisha Trilogy" (Holt). While the unresolved ending may frustrate some teens, the promise of a sequel will give them hope that this unsettling, captivating, magical journey will continue.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK © 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.

Publishers Weekly When the score of a lifetime presents itself, criminal mastermind Kaz Brekker assembles a crack team of talented outcasts. Their mission: to rescue a prisoner from the most secure prison in the world, so that the secrets he holds can be exploited by the right people. As Kaz and his compatriots put together a daring plan, they contend with old grudges, mistrust, lingering secrets, and deadly rivalries. Naturally, things go wrong once they start their mission, and now they must escape the very prison they sneaked into. Bardugo expands on the world of her Grisha trilogy with this series opener, which marries heist and action conventions with magic and mystery. Her characters are damaged, complex, and relatable, and her worldbuilding is ambitiously detailed. As various characters' backstories unfold, Bardugo reveals intriguing new depths and surprises. This has all the right elements to keep readers enthralled: a cunning leader with a plan for every occasion, nigh-impossible odds, an entertainingly combative team of skilled misfits, a twisty plot, and a nerve-wracking cliffhanger. Ages 12-up. Agent: Joanna Volpe, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list Bardugo returns to the gritty Grishaverse, the setting for her popular Shadow and Bone series, with a thrilling tale of double-crosses, buried secrets, and one fantastic heist. Kaz Brekker runs a tight ship as lieutenant of his street gang, and when a high-class merchant offers him a dangerous job breaking a scientist out of a notoriously secure prison he initially balks, but 30 million kruge is tough to turn down. It's an incredibly risky gambit, but with a highly skilled, if ragtag, team behind him and his own boundless daring driving them headlong toward their goal, Kaz is sure they can pull it off. Bardugo drops readers right into the midst of her richly layered fantasy world and the lives of Kaz's dynamic team, artfully weaving details and backstories throughout the speedy plot. Though the story gets off to a relatively slow start, once Kaz's team embarks on their quest, the twists and turns are dizzying. The whirlwind pace, along with some witty banter, burgeoning romance, and high-stakes action, makes this series opener a surefire crowd-pleaser. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Banking on the success of Bardugo's Shadow and Bone trilogy, this new Grishaverse series will have fans lined up around the block.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Moth
by Isabel Thomas

Book list Over Egnéus' truly engrossing collage illustrations, Thomas takes the complicated concept of evolution and distills it for young readers, using the ongoing story of the peppered moth. There are two variations of this moth one charcoal dark, the other paler and lightly speckled. Once, the speckled moths were more common; it was more difficult for the charcoal moths to camouflage themselves against the light-colored trees, and they were eaten by birds more frequently and did not survive to pass along their genes. But as the world became more industrial, pollution began to darken trees; now the charcoal moths blended in, and the speckled moths stood out. Charcoal moths grew in number, and the speckled moths almost disappeared. But the story continues, ending on a hopeful note: slowly, cities began to burn less coal, and the air grew cleaner. Trees grew less sooty. And the speckled moth population rebounded. Today, both kinds of moth can be found, and their species continues to adapt. From its striking silver-plated cover on, this is a stunner. The text, both poetic and informational, tells an evolution story while transmitting a gentle environmental message, and the artwork is detailed, at times alarming, and always captivating. Back matter provides further information on the moths and natural selection. A gorgeous blend of text and illustrations and a wonderfully successful introduction to nonfiction for younger readers.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Silvery, incandescent cover art will entice readers to this story of adaptation and the peppered moths of England. Thomas (the Little Guides to Great Lives series) introduces natural selection through a lyrical telling of the moth's history from the early 19th century on. The narrative recounts how the population of light peppered moths thrived, able to rest "on lichen-covered branches" until the Industrial Revolution, when dark peppered moths increased, owing to their ability to camouflage against polluted landscapes. ("A bird went hunting for a snack./ Now the world was darker./ Which moths were disguised?/ Which moths would survive?") Today, thanks to cleaner forms of energy, both variations "find places to hide and survive." Mixed media and digital illustrations by Egnéus (These Are Animals) show the mottled, wispy figures-the wing patterns resemble intricate tree silhouettes-against bold splashes of color and patterns. The elegant moth images can seem slightly at odds with the cartoonlike depictions of people and environs, but an evolving color palette (from light to dark and back to light) and dynamic juxtaposing of hues create a sophisticated effect. Back matter further defines the concepts presented in this eye-catching introduction to Darwinian evolution. Ages 6-10. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book In a shadowy (pre-industrial) wood, a peppered moth--its "speckled, freckled" patterns wonderfully detailed in Egnius's gorgeous mixed-media illustrations--attempts to survive; all-black moths stand out and are quickly eaten. But things change: with soot from nineteenth-century industrialization, the black moths are now hidden. Thomas deftly builds an easily understandable explanation of natural selection into the well-paced narrative. Back matter shows both variations of the peppered moth. (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.

Kirkus Thomas presents the peppered moth as an emblem of natural selection, tracking its adaptations during the Industrial Revolution and beyond.The moth's striking salt-and-pepper scales, which enhanced its camouflage during daytime rests on lichen, became an impediment as late-19th-century industrial pollution prevailed. As lichens died and industrial soot blackened tree bark, the species' occasional dark moth's advantages resulted in an adaptation. With the light, speckled moths more easily spotted and eaten by prey, surviving dark moths procreated, dominating the species within a 50-year time span. In turn, the answering trend toward pollution mitigation swung the pendulum back. Lichens reappeared, soot-stained bark fell away, and the light moths' camouflage value reasserted itself, with both dark and light moths seen today. Thomas narrates this biological success story in past tense and simple, declarative prose. Egnus' lovely illustrationsin traditional mixed media and Photoshopprovide a stylized overview of the moth's adaptive journey. The bilateral symmetry of the peppered moth's wing coloration is ignored in favor of exquisite, dark umber-and-gray montages evoking dry-brushed ink blots and sun-dappled botanical silhouettes. Forest tableaux yield to industrialization's coal-powered factories and locomotives, Egnus' palette morphs from natural hues to rust-red and soot-blackand back, to today's tentative, hopeful blues. (Depicted humans are light-skinned and red-nosed.) An inspired choice for text type (Tom's New Roman) and a gorgeous, silver-embellished cover enhance the package. A fascinating story with striking visuals. (author's note) (Informational picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1—Thomas and Egnéus show how adaptation and natural selection work in the evolutionary process in order to change a species. In Great Britain, when industry heavily relied on coal, environmental factors affected the survival rates of the peppered moth, because predators could now see what was once camouflaged. The text and illustrations are clear and move at a steady pace with a summary in the back matter, which solidifies the content. Despite the lack of source material, the value of this text is high. Children will understand how the environment can change an animal's survival rate and the passing of its genetic information. Moths as a subject do not usually garner high circulation rates, but if this book is placed in a display, the cover will attract attention. The illustrations throughout are mixed media, but the cover literally shines: silvery moths against a night sky is an attention grabber. Originally published in Great Britain in 2018, this text will enhance any juvenile nonfiction collection. VERDICT Buy this title for its clear presentation.—Nancy Call, formerly at Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Afghanistan Papers
by Craig Whitlock

Kirkus A veteran Washington Post investigative reporter delivers a dispiriting history of the 20-year Afghanistan debacle. The war in Vietnam was always controversial. The longer quagmire of Afghanistan, writes Whitlock, “was grounded in near-unanimous public support” when it began in 2003. There was no need, then, for the Pentagon brass to lie about the war, but lie they did, despite that fact that there was not a clearly articulated mission. The mission crept into a vaguely defined exercise in nation-building even as more than 775,000 U.S. troops cycled in and out of the country. Whitlock’s impressively documented book contains interviews with more than 1,000 participants in the war. The author also examines a report titled “Lessons Learned,” which, though inches thick, seems to have emerged only long after the damage was done (and $1 trillion disappeared into the ether). One curious diagnostic among many uncovered in this comprehensive overview: Early on, American troops had to fly their laundry to Uzbekistan, since there were no facilities in Afghanistan, whereas the base at Bagram soon sported “a shopping mall, a Harley-Davidson dealer and about 30,000 troops, civilians and contractors.” Bush administration officials could never wrap their heads around the fact that the Taliban and al-Qaida were distinct entities and were convinced that anyone willing to fight against them was a friend of the U.S. Those presumed allies milked a gullible U.S. dry. One interviewee notes that the U.S. misadventure could have ended in weeks if direct negotiations with the Taliban had been undertaken. Instead, enemies were misidentified and innocent people killed so frequently that one officer reported that some units were “focused in consequence management, paying Afghans for damages and condolence payments.” That Joe Biden was able to order America’s withdrawal redefined the terms of victory to say that the U.S. “had achieved its original objective long ago by destroying al-Qaeda’s stronghold in Afghanistan”—rather than acknowledge that the Afghans had defeated their second superpower. By this authoritative account, the Afghanistan War has been a colossal failure that should have been ended years ago. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kirkus A veteran Washington Post investigative reporter delivers a dispiriting history of the 20-year Afghanistan debacle.The war in Vietnam was always controversial. The longer quagmire of Afghanistan, writes Whitlock, was grounded in near-unanimous public support when it began in 2003. There was no need, then, for the Pentagon brass to lie about the war, but lie they did, despite that fact that there was not a clearly articulated mission. The mission crept into a vaguely defined exercise in nation-building even as more than 775,000 U.S. troops cycled in and out of the country. Whitlocks impressively documented book contains interviews with more than 1,000 participants in the war. The author also examines a report titled Lessons Learned, which, though inches thick, seems to have emerged only long after the damage was done (and $1 trillion disappeared into the ether). One curious diagnostic among many uncovered in this comprehensive overview: Early on, American troops had to fly their laundry to Uzbekistan, since there were no facilities in Afghanistan, whereas the base at Bagram soon sported a shopping mall, a Harley-Davidson dealer and about 30,000 troops, civilians and contractors. Bush administration officials could never wrap their heads around the fact that the Taliban and al-Qaida were distinct entities and were convinced that anyone willing to fight against them was a friend of the U.S. Those presumed allies milked a gullible U.S. dry. One interviewee notes that the U.S. misadventure could have ended in weeks if direct negotiations with the Taliban had been undertaken. Instead, enemies were misidentified and innocent people killed so frequently that one officer reported that some units were focused in consequence management, paying Afghans for damages and condolence payments. That Joe Biden was able to order Americas withdrawal redefined the terms of victory to say that the U.S. had achieved its original objective long ago by destroying al-Qaedas stronghold in Afghanistanrather than acknowledge that the Afghans had defeated their second superpower.By this authoritative account, the Afghanistan War has been a colossal failure that should have been ended years ago. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly U.S. government and military officials took part in an “unspoken conspiracy to mask the truth” about the war in Afghanistan, according to this searing chronicle. Expanding on a series of articles published in the Washington Post, Whitlock explains how he learned, in 2016, about a government program to interview hundreds of participants in the war for a report on policy failures in Afghanistan called “Lessons Learned.” Drawing on these transcripts and other oral history projects, Whitlock paints a devastating portrait of how public messaging about the conflict consistently belied the reality on the ground. He details internal rivalries in the White House, the Pentagon, and the State Department, and the fatigue and pessimism of soldiers on the front lines. (“We were just going around killing people,” says one special forces officer.) A costly program to eradicate opium poppy fields in Helmand province backfired spectacularly, turning the region into a “lethal stronghold for the insurgency” and earning harsh criticism from veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke and others. Whitlock also delves into the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration’s skewing of statistics to support its war strategy, evidence of Afghan government corruption, and the Trump administration’s complex peace plan with the Taliban. Rigorously detailed and relentlessly pessimistic, this is a heartbreaking look at how America’s leaders “chose to bury their mistakes and let the war drift.” (Sept.)

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