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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Serpent King
by Zentner, Jeff

Publishers Weekly Forrestville, Tenn., named after Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest, isn't exactly a welcome place for slightly ouside-the-mainstream folks like friends Dillard, Lydia, and Travis. Dill is a high school senior whose snake-handling preacher father is currently incarcerated; Lydia, a successful fashion blogger, plans on attending NYU after graduation; and Travis, large of body and gentle of soul, loses himself (and the pain of his father's physical and emotional abuse) in a fantasy series called Bloodfall. While Dill finds comfort and beauty in music, Travis's innate kindness belies his circumstances, and Lydia's incandescent, gleefully offbeat personality draws them together. As the novel, Zentner's debut, builds to a shocking act of violence that shatters the friends' world, this sepia-toned portrait of small-town life serves as a moving testament to love, loyalty, faith, and reaching through the darkness to find light and hope. Zentner explores difficult themes head on-including the desire to escape the sins of the father and the fragility of happiness-while tempering them with the saving grace of enduring friendship. Ages 14-up. Agent: Charlie Olsen, Inkwell Management. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Book list In small-town Forrestville, Tennessee, broody musician Dill Early begins his senior year with a general feeling of dread because it means his best friend, Lydia, will be leaving for college once they graduate. As the son of a snake-handling Pentecostal preacher currently in prison, Dill is unable to escape his father's shadow. Lydia, on the other hand, is an outspoken blogger and fashionista, who can't wait to get out of Dodge. Completing their trio is Travis, a gentle giant who carries a staff and is obsessed with fantasy novels. In chapters that shift among the teens' perspectives, Zentner effectively shows the aspirations, fears, and dark secrets they harbor during their final year together. A musician himself, Zentner transitions to prose easily in his debut, pulling in complex issues that range from struggles with faith to abuse to grief. Refreshingly, this novel isn't driven by romance though it rears its head but by the importance of pursuing individual passions and forging one's own path. A promising new voice in YA.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2015 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 9 Up-The son of a snake-handling preacher imprisoned for possessing child pornography, Dill escapes his controlling mother and social ostracism with the help of his two friends, Lydia and Travis. As the trio round out their senior year, it becomes overwhelmingly apparent the different paths their lives are going to take-Travis is content working in a lumberyard and diving into a fantasy world from a book series in his spare time, while Lydia runs a popular fashion blog and is intent on attending New York University. As for Dill, he yearns for more than Forrestville, TN, can offer, but he feels compelled to honor his father's legacy and his mother's domineering wishes. As Dill grapples with a crush on Lydia and a mother who wants him to drop out of high school, a YouTube clip of Dill singing and playing guitar begins to garner attention. Dill must decide among what his heart wants, what his family needs, and his own desire for a life outside of their small town; "If you're going to live," he says, "you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things." Zentner offers a contemporary young adult novel that explores many issues common with teenagers today-bullying, life after high school, and the coming together and breaking apart of high school friendships. Thorough characterization and artful prose allow readers to intimately experience the highs and lows of these three friends. VERDICT Recommended for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Atascocita Middle School, Humble, TX © 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.

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Charlie and Mouse
by Laurel Snyder

Publishers Weekly In four ebullient linked stories, Snyder (Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova) and Hughes (A Brave Bear) introduce the two eponymous brothers and their down-to-earth family. "I am a mom," says Mom when she refuses to come out from under the covers early one morning. "I can do what I want." From there, readers follow along as Charlie and Mouse organize an impromptu party at a playground, try to make money selling rocks (a nifty twist makes this the best story in the book), and try to postpone bedtime as long as possible. "We cannot go to sleep without a bedtime banana," says Mouse, backing up Charlie. It's a friendly, hang-loose world: the boys share a bed, Mouse dons a tutu for the playground party, and the customers for the boys' rock-selling business include a gay couple, Mr. Erik and Mr. Michael. The emphasis on dialogue gives the stories the immediacy of a play script, and Hughes's easygoing vignettes add just the right amount of visual punctuation. Ages 6-9. Author's agent: Tina Wexler, ICM. Illustrator's agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal K-Gr 2-This early reader series opener offers likable characters but an underdeveloped story. Charlie and Mouse are brothers with loving parents and a diverse group of friends and neighbors. They take part in simple childhood pastimes: a neighborhood party, a money-making plan, a bedtime snack. They do everything together, from the moment they wake up in the morning until they go to sleep in the same bed at night. Snyder infuses each tale with humor, and young readers will enjoy illustrator Hughes's depictions of each character, especially the facial expressions. Repetitive language supports emergent readers looking to try chapter books. However, the first two chapters fly by without giving readers the opportunity to get to know the characters better. Early events don't always make sense; for example, there's no clear reason why the characters have a neighborhood party, and it seems anticlimactic. Charlie and Mouse appear to get along exceptionally well for two young siblings, which doesn't feel particularly realistic. The last two chapters are much more fleshed out, and readers who have taken to Charlie and Mouse will most certainly look forward to the next book in the series. VERDICT Early reader collections will benefit from this new series, especially if future volumes incorporate stronger storytelling.-Casey O'Leary, Mooresville Public Library, IN © 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.

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog Past Tense
by Lee Child

Book list *Starred Review* En route to San Diego from Maine, Jack Reacher finds himself looking at a road sign saying Laconia, New Hampshire. Reacher recognizes the name; it's the place where his father was born. He decides to take a quick detour and have a look at the place. Meanwhile, not far away, a Canadian couple's car is acting up. They manage to drive it to an out-of-the-way motel before it breaks down. As Reacher tries to track down some proof that his father once lived in Laconia (official records show no trace of anyone named Reacher), the Canadians begin to suspect that the motel's owner isn't being entirely truthful with them, and that, despite his repeated promises, helping them get their car fixed is the last thing he wants to do. Child expertly juggles a pair of seemingly unrelated story lines, keeping them moving simultaneously, until, inevitably, the lines merge and violence ensues. The twenty-third Reacher novel springs some interesting surprises about Jack's family and contains one of Reacher's most cold-blooded acts of violence. As always, the prose is lean and efficient, the action scenes are well designed, and Reacher is as formidable an opponent as one could imagine (just this side of a Transformer). Another first-class entry in a series that continues to set the gold standard for aspiring thriller authors. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A Reacher novel travels the world with much more than a toothbrush. Think media avalanche.--David Pitt Copyright 2018 Booklist

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

Publishers Weekly Early in bestseller Child's superb 23rd Jack Reacher novel (after 2017's The Midnight Line), the peripatetic Reacher reaches a fork in a road in rural New Hampshire; he chooses the path heading to Laconia, "his late father's place of birth." At the same time, just 30 miles away, a young Canadian couple on their way south have car trouble and stop at a small motel, finding they're apparently its only guests. Reacher uncovers few traces of his father's existence, other than a 75-year-old assault case in which Stan Reacher is named. But he does stir up a world of trouble when he steps in to help a woman under attack and gives her assailant-the son of a well-connected underworld figure-a humiliating beating. While Reacher is dealing with a revenge posse, the Canadian couple discover just how strange their motel is. Child neatly interweaves multiple narratives, ratchets up the suspense (the reveal of the motel plot is delicious), and delivers a powerful, satisfying denouement. Fans will enjoy learning more of this enduring character's roots, and Child's spare prose continues to set a very high bar. Agent: Darley Anderson, Darley Anderson Literary. (Nov.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Library Journal When Jack Reacher hits the road, fans know there will be blood, beatings, clever helpmates, military jargon, calculated risks, and a few good men (and women) met. This 23rd novel involves dual detours. Reacher is on his way from Maine to San Diego when he spots a road sign: Laconia, NH. That's where his father grew up, so he decides to make some genealogical inquiries in town. Not far from Reacher, Canadian travelers Shorty and Patty pull into a remote motel, their car on its last legs. They're the only guests and the proprietors seem a little odd. Of course things get worse for them and for Reacher, who pummels a local, well-connected bully when he's not poring over census records and playing matchmaker for two government workers. Child brings the two narratives together in a satisfying way, doling out inside jokes, imaginative fight scenes (one in a library), family secrets, and some observational humor. And all that happens before Reacher shows up at the motel. VERDICT With his usual flair for succinctness and eye for detail, Child creates another rollicking Reacher road trip that will please fans and newcomers alike. [See Prepub Alert, 5/7/18.]-Liz French, Library Journal © 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.

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