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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The gospel of winter : a novel
by by Brendan Kiely

Book list *Starred Review* Kiely's gutsy debut addresses abuse in the Catholic Church. The year is 2001, the events of 9/11 are only two months old, and 16-year-old Aidan's family is falling apart. His father, Old Donovan, is holed up in Europe with his mistress, while his mother is mainly concerned with throwing the perfect party in their affluent Connecticut town. Aidan finds comfort in snorting lines of Adderall, swiping drinks from his father's wet bar, and forming a friendship with Father Greg of Most Precious Blood, the town's Catholic church. Father Greg uses words like love and faith and virtue like they mean something, and for a long time, Aidan trusts him completely. But when he realizes that Father Greg's affections are sickening, and damaging other boys, he is left reeling. A crew of three friends Josie, whom Aidan is attracted to; fun-loving Sophie; and Mark, whose secrets dovetail with Aidan's are the only people he can count on. The scandal among the Boston archdiocese in early 2002 gets Aidan's town's attention, and when it does, Aidan's feelings of rage and denial and fear come to a head. This is challenging, thought-provoking material, presented in beautiful prose that explores the ways in which acts rendered in the name of love can both destroy and heal.--Kelley, Ann Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Kiely's impressive debut takes a controversial topic-sexual abuse in the Catholic Church-and addresses it head-on with sensitivity and finesse. Sixteen-year-old social outcast Aidan Donovan is from a privileged but broken family. While his philandering father has decamped to Europe and his mother is planning her latest high-society bash in their suburban Connecticut neighborhood, Aidan is busy snorting Adderall and getting wasted with a trio of new friends. Aidan's discontent builds to a masterfully disquieting roar as he buckles under the weight of the secret he no longer wants to keep, but is too afraid to tell: that he was repeatedly abused by a priest he had grown to love and trust. Setting his story against the shaky aftermath of 9/11 and the scandals that surfaced in the Boston archdiocese in early 2002, Kiely hits his mark with a sickening portrayal of Father Greg and those who let his behavior continue. But it's the combination of Aidan's vulnerability, denial, and silent rage that makes the novel so distressingly vivid and real. Ages 14-up. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-Aidan's priest is sexually abusing him, and the 16-year-old has been convinced that what Father Greg does is because of the love they share. The abuse makes Aidan feel unbalanced at best, and when his father leaves the family and his mother tries to maintain appearances in their tony Connecticut town, Aidan reaches for solace from a new set of friends. The teens spend time drinking, getting high, and trying to connect. Aidan is pushed over the edge when he catches Father Greg abusing another boy. He confronts the priest but gets nowhere; soon the Catholic Church's sex scandal blows up in the papers, and Aidan must try to find the strength to speak out. The story is heart wrenching, slow moving, and somewhat oppressive, which is entirely fitting considering the subject matter. Aidan has been terribly wounded, and it takes time for him to be able to trust someone with what happened. Kiely's writing is rather formal, with elaborate turns of phrase and dense descriptions that call to mind the words for the rites of the church. This style keeps readers at a distance from the horrific acts described. The author tries to cover many issues in this ambitious first novel: sexual abuse, abandonment, neglect, the disparity between the wealthy and the poor, and drug abuse. Readers may find themselves as overwhelmed as Aidan. The book feels like an adult novel that is of interest to older teens.-Geri Diorio, Ridgefield Library, CT (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.

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog How To Change Your Mind
by Michael Pollan

Publishers Weekly Food writer Pollan (Cooked) shifts his focus to other uses of plants in this brilliant history of psychedelics across cultures and generations, the neuroscience of its effects, the revival of research on its potential to heal mental illness-and his own mind-changing trips. For an entire generation, psychedelics were synonymous with Harvard professor-turned-hippie Timothy Leary and his siren call to "turn on, tune in, drop out." But, Pollan argues, that freewheeling attitude quickly turned into a "full-on moral panic about LSD" that "doomed the first wave of [psychedelic] research." By the 1990s, the body of knowledge about the successful use of LSD to treat alcoholics in the '50s and '60s was buried, and medical interest only revived in 2010 with studies on treating cancer anxiety with psilocybin. Pollan writes movingly of one man whose "psychedelic journey had shifted his perspective from a narrow lens trained on the prospect of dying to a renewed focus on how best to live the time left to him." Today, renewed interest has sent scientists racing ahead with trials of psychedelics to treat addiction and depression, and curious seekers like Pollan into experiments with these substances. This nuanced and sophisticated exploration, which asks big questions about meaning-making and spiritual experience, is thought-provoking and eminently readable. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM. (May) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Journalist and author Pollan (Univ. of California Berkeley Graduate Sch. of Journalism; The Omnivore's Dilemma) dives into the history, science, and mystery of psychedelics: the infamous category of "mind -manifesting" substances at once fairly and unfairly associated with 1960s counterculture. Today psychedelics are experiencing a renaissance in scientific research and culture, which shows promising signs of both unraveling past stereotypes and developing new approaches to the brain, consciousness, and treatments for mental illness. To illustrate this shift, Pollan presents a variety of perspectives, including his own "travelog" of forays with LSD and more. The result is a mixture of captivating journalism and unfortunately slightly awkward storytelling; the latter a consequence of the author's occasional discomfort with his own relationship to the topic. This book can set one a little off-kilter but is true to its ultimate goal: to get readers to open their minds and consider what psychedelics might yet teach us about ourselves and what we don't know. VERDICT A work of participatory journalism that shines new light on psychedelics and the people who study them. Recommended for fans of Pollan, science journalism, and studies of the mind.-Robin Chin Roemer, Univ. of Washington Lib., Seattle Copyright 2018. 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* Pollan (Cooked, 2013) has long enlightened and entertained readers with his superbly inquisitive and influential books about food. He now investigates a very different sort of comestible, psychedelics (from the Greek: mind manifesting), and what they reveal about consciousness and the brain. Cued to the quiet renaissance underway in psychedelic therapy including microdosing, the subject of Ayelet Waldman's A Really Good Day (2017) to treat addiction and depression and tohelp patients cope with terminal illness, Pollan set out to understand the neurological effects of key psychoactive chemicals. Zealous mycologist Paul Stamets shares his deep knowledge of psilocybin fungi, held sacred for centuries in Mexico and Central America. Revealing how much more there is to the story of LSD than the infamous counterculture experimentation of Timothy Leary, Pollan recounts how the molecule was synthesized in 1938 in a Swiss pharmaceutical company lab by Albert Hofmann, catalyzing two decades of research, including the successful treatment of alcoholism, and inspiring crew-cut-sporting, revolver-toting Al Hubbard, aka Captain Trips, a bootlegger, gunrunner, government agent, and millionaire, to introduce nearly 6,000 people to LSD between 1951 and 1966. Then there's the impact LSD had on Silicon Valley.Never having tripped in his youth, and increasingly aware that our habits of mind harden as we age, Pollan decides to undergo some psychedelic therapy of his own, finding underground guides to oversee his experiences. Drawing on both spirituality and science, he shares the mysterious details of his inner journeys, and explains the neurological impact of psychoactive drugs and how they change lives. Pollan's complexly elucidating and enthralling inquiry combines fascinating and significant history with daring and resonant reportage and memoir, and looks forward to a new open-mindedness toward psychedelics and the benefits of diverse forms of consciousness.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

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