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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog Out of the Easy
by Ruta Sepetys

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Against a vivid 1950s New Orleans backdrop, 17-year-old Josie Moraine is caught between the harsh reality of her negligent, prostitute mother's lifestyle and her desire to escape to a new life. Josie is smart, resourceful, and determined. Her support group includes Willie, the shrewd brothel madam who recognizes Josie's potential; Cokie, Willie's kind and devoted driver; Patrick, who runs the bookshop where Josie works; Charlotte, an upscale acquaintance who encourages Josie to join her at Smith College; and Jesse, the handsome motorcyclist neighbor who has eyes only for Josie. When a mysterious death leads police to Josie's mother and abusive boyfriend, the teen is drawn into the investigation and into an underworld of threats, violence, and retribution. After her mother skips town, Josie is targeted to repay her debt to a powerful criminal boss. As she tries to handle mounting adversity on her own, she struggles with fear, desperation, and her conscience. Stealing from Willie or hooking up with a wealthy john seem her only choices for survival. Overwhelmed, she reveals her predicament to Willie, who saves her in a final act of generosity. Josie's narrative features a Dickensian array of characters; the mystique, ambience, and language of the French Quarter; a suspenseful, action-packed story; and a coming-of-age realization that personal decisions ultimately shape one's future. With dramatic and contextual flair, Sepetys introduces teens to another memorable heroine.-Gerry Larson, formerly at Durham School of the Arts, NC (c) Copyright 2013. 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 Sepetys follows her debut, Between Shades of Gray, with another taut and charged historical novel, though the setting-the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950-is a world apart from that of her previous book. Living and working in a bookshop, 17-year-old Josie Moraine dreams of attending college-anything to get away from her mother, a prostitute with Hollywood dreams and a knack for getting involved with the worst men. When Josie becomes involved in a high-profile murder investigation, she becomes even more entrenched in her circumstances. The sensual yet rigidly class-based setting is a real standout, and Sepetys has also built a stellar cast, which includes Willie, a strident but generous madam; Charlie Marlowe, the bookshop's owner; and a pair of potential love interests for Josie. Readers will find Josie irresistible from the get-go ("The only reason I'd lift my skirt is to pull out my pistol and plug you," she tells a guy early on) and will devour the sultry mix of mystery, historical detail, and romance. Ages 14-up. Agent: Writers House. (Feb.)? (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In a radical departure from her first novel, Between Shades of Gray (2011), Sepetys' second is partially set in a 1950s New Orleans brothel where Josie's mother works as a prostitute. Humiliated, the 18-year-old fears she is destined for nothing more than a crummy life skirting the New Orleans underworld. That underworld looms larger when a murder occurs and it appears Josie's mother may be complicit. Josie's dream is to go to Smith College, but even if she is admitted, how will she pay for it? Meanwhile, she finds herself attracted to two very different young men: her best friend, clean-cut Patrick, with whom she works at his father's bookstore, and quietly mysterious biker Jesse. Complicated? You bet! Sepetys' latest strongly evokes 1950s radio soap operas, but despite over-the-top emotional pitch and stereotypical characters, this is nevertheless a page-turner that noir romance fans will gobble up like popcorn shrimp. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The legions of fans that Sepetys earned with her best-selling debut novel will all be lining up for this.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Now
by Antoinette Portis

School Library Journal PreS-Gr 1-A young girl names all her favorite things as she joyfully lives out her days. "This is my favorite mud, my favorite rain." Other treasured objects include a worm and a paper boat. Mostly, the girl loves these things because they are what she is experiencing in the moment. For example, of the several holes she's dug, her favorite is "the one [she] is digging" now. Her favorite cloud is the one she's watching. But the child's favorite "now" of all is the one she is enjoying as she reads a book with her mom. Depicted in flat paintings outlined in thick ink and digitally colored, the illustrations sometimes depict just parts of the narrator. For instance, only her legs and feet are shown as they squelch in her favorite mud. Just her hands reach up from the bottom of the page, revealing her favorite worm. A striking, larger-than-life image in a spread (and on the cover) shows the girl holding a red leaf in front of her face. Portis uses color brilliantly, matching the youngster's clothing to the scenes and objects around her: the pale blue of the wind echoed in her skirt and top, brown striped pants above mud-covered feet, two-toned green shirt and pants matching the two shades of her favorite tree. VERDICT This childlike ode to the delights of living each moment to the fullest is an absolute charmer and, like Portis's Wait, may even encourage adults to notice and relish the world around them. An essential purchase for group and individual sharing.-Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA © 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* In this lovely picture book about everyday moments worth cherishing, a young girl shares some of her favorite things: This is my favorite breeze. / This is my favorite leaf. / This is my favorite hole because it's the one I am digging. Relishing the present, she shares experiences that may appear inconsequential to some, but to her, each circumstance is deeply special. Her favorite things include singing, watching the clouds, playing in the rain, and smelling a flower, all culminating in spending storytime in her mother's lap. With a comforting refrain and plenty of familiar scenes, this pleasant, warm story of mindfulness and small joys will resonate with lots of little ones. Portis' graceful, straightforward lines are the perfect complement to her bold, richly hued illustrations. Thick, ink-brushed outlines make her genial figures stand out sharply against the simple backgrounds, and the variety of facial expressions effortlessly communicates the young girl's carefree happiness. While the story itself is simple, just like the moments the little girl values, Portis' picture book contains Zen-like depth, and she taps into a uniquely childlike kind of wonder about the world. Cozy and subtly profound, this is perfect for one-on-one sharing.--Lock, Anita Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Portis (Best Frints in the Whole Universe) writes in the voice of a girl who knows what it means to live in the moment. "This is my favorite breeze," she says, her eyes closed with delight. "This is my favorite leaf," she continues as Portis shows her in closeup, peeping over the edge of a brilliant red leaf. She looks as if she's in the countryside, but she might be in a city park. "This is my favorite hole (this one) because it's the one I am digging," she explains, from deep in the sand. The girl's freedom from supervision, schedules, and electronic devices are unspoken pleasures. Portis's bold black outlines and swashes of muted color show a girl who's strong and independent. "And this is my favorite now, because it's the one I am having with you," the girl finishes, as she reads a book on her mother's lap. Portis invites children to ask themselves what gives them joy, making it clear that favorite things needn't be logical, and can be simple, silly, and fleeting. Ages 3-6. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog Darth Vader and Son
by Jeffrey Brown

Publishers Weekly When the first Star Wars film conquered the world in 1977, no one could have possibly foreseen it going on to become such an ubiquitous part of our cultural heritage. Now even parenthood can be viewed through the filter of the Sith lord Darth Vader. Jeffrey Brown (Incredible Change-Bots) crashes headlong into George Lucas's galaxy far, far away with endearing, funny-and fully licensed-results. A series of full-page gag cartoons focusing on the "what if?" of Darth Vader raising a four-year-old Luke Skywalker, the book twists father/son moments into scenarios within the Star Wars playground. For instance, the addition of a wailing little Luke turns the Bounty Hunter scene into, as one bounty hunter's thought balloon puts it, Awkward!" Trick-or-treating, toy shopping, a day at the zoo, and more are rejiggered with a lighthearted, charming tone. However, the book also provides ample proof that adding a babysitting Darth Vader to any Star Wars situation makes it gently humorous. Brown's signature scratchy style is embellished with full color and stripped-down likenesses. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Kingdom Of The Blind
by Louise Penny

Publishers Weekly Bestseller Penny's insightful, well-plotted 14th novel featuring Chief Supt. Armand Gamache finds him on suspension from the Sûreté du Québec following events that unfolded in 2017's Glass Houses. No matter the suspension, Gamache becomes embroiled in a murder case when he and psychologist-turned-bookseller Myrna Lander are enlisted to be executors for a stranger's will, and one of the key beneficiaries winds up dead. Over the course of the investigation, Penny offers intriguing commentary on the willful blindness that can keep people from acknowledging the secrets and lies in their own lives. For series fans, plenty of time is spent in the mystical village of Three Pines, and it's refreshing to have a spotlight shine on Myrna, one of the most relatable of the village's denizens. A secondary plot involving a rogue shipment of opioids in Montreal comes to a satisfactory close. Penny wraps up some continuing story lines and sends recurring characters in surprising directions in this solid installment. 600,000-copy announced first printing. Author tour. Agent: Teresa Chris, Teresa Chris Literary Agency. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds

Publishers Weekly Will, 15, is following his neighborhood's well-established rules-don't cry, don't snitch, but do get revenge "if someone you love/ gets killed"-when he leaves his apartment, intent on killing whoever murdered his older brother, Shawn. He's emboldened by the gun tucked into his waistband: "I put my hand behind my back/ felt the imprint/ of the piece, like/ another piece/ of me/ an extra vertebra,/ some more/ backbone." As Will makes his way to the ground floor of his building, the elevator stops to accept passengers, each an important figure from his past, all victims of gun violence. Are these ghosts? Or is it Will's subconscious at work, forcing him to think about what he intends to do and what it will accomplish? The story unfolds in the time it takes for the elevator to descend, and it ends with a two-word question that hits like a punch to the gut. Written entirely in spare verse, this is a tour de force from a writer who continues to demonstrate his skill as an exceptionally perceptive chronicler of what it means to be a black teen in America. Ages 12-up. Agent: Elena Giovinazzo, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 8 Up-Fifteen-year-old Will's big brother has been shot and killed. According to the rules that Will has been taught, it is now his job to kill the person responsible. He easily finds his brother's gun and gets on the elevator to head down from his eighth-floor apartment. But it's a long way down to the ground floor. At each floor, a different person gets on to tell a story. Each of these people is already dead. As they relate their tales, readers learn about the cycle of violence in which Will is caught up. The protagonist faces a difficult choice, one that is a reality for many young people. Teens are left with an unresolved ending that goes beyond the simple question of whether Will will seek revenge. Told in verse, this title is fabulistic in its simplicity and begs to be discussed. Its hook makes for an excellent booktalk. It will pair well with Angie Thomas's The Hate U Give and Reynolds's previous works. The unique narrative structure also makes it an excellent read-alike for Walter Dean Myers's Monster. VERDICT This powerful work is an important addition to any collection.-Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH © 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* Spanning a mere one minute and seven seconds, Reynolds' new free-verse novel is an intense snapshot of the chain reaction caused by pulling a trigger. First, 15-year-old Will Holloman sets the scene by relating his brother Shawn's murder two days prior gunned down while buying soap for their mother. Next, he lays out The Rules: don't cry, don't snitch, always get revenge. Now that the reader is up to speed, Will tucks Shawn's gun into his waistband and steps into an elevator, steeled to execute rule number three and shoot his brother's killer. Yet, the simple seven-floor descent becomes a revelatory trip. At each floor, the doors open to admit someone killed by the same cycle of violence that Will's about to enter. He's properly freaked out, but as the seconds tick by and floors count down, each new occupant drops some knowledge and pushes Will to examine his plans for that gun. Reynolds' concise verses echo like shots against the white space of the page, their impact resounding. He peels back the individual stories that led to this moment in the elevator and exposes a culture inured to violence because poverty, gang life, or injustice has left them with no other option. In this all-too-real portrait of survival, Reynolds goes toe-to-toe with where, or even if, love and choice are allowed to exist. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A noisy buzz always surrounds this critically acclaimed author's work, and the planned tour and promo campaign will boost this book's to a siren call.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2017 Booklist

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

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