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ALA Best Books for Young Adults
Click to search this book in our catalog The Female of the Species.
by McGinnis, Mindy

Book list *Starred Review* What would you do if your sister were raped and murdered, but the killer went free? Alex delivers her own brand of swift, ferocious justice for her sister Anna, and then hides in plain sight from the close-knit, rural Ohio town where everyone thinks they know everything. The community is surrounded by woods that serve as a great place to party or, in her case, run from her mother, her memories, and the fellow classmates she can't trust herself to be around. While volunteering at the local animal shelter, she meets Claire, known as Peekay (preacher's kid), who becomes her first friend, and as a result, Alex begins to participate in senior-year activities. Chapters shift between these characters and the local Casanova, Jack, creating three distinct perspectives as the story unfolds. Alex may not be polite or even law-abiding, but she is truthful and loyal; she won't settle for an unwelcome advance toward her or her friends, and she protects those she loves with an unwavering vigilante fervor, matching violence with violence. Whether a catcall, an unwelcome touch, or more, sexual aggression towards females happens daily; McGinnis explores how one teen uses violence for justice in this gripping story that should be read and discussed by teens, as well as those who work with them.--Ginman, Karen Copyright 2016 Booklist

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

School Library Journal Gr 10 Up-After her sister was brutally murdered, Alex Craft sought revenge when her killer walked free. Alex cuts herself off from everyone in her small backwoods town, until Peekay, the shy preacher's kid, and Jack Fisher, the most popular guy in school, force their way into her life as friends, with unintended consequences for all of them. An unsettling and stark exploration of small-town life and the secrets that we all keep. © 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 Gr 9 Up-McGinnis presents readers with a darkly captivating look at the lives of small-town teens seeking escape through drinking, drugs, and sex. Alex Craft prefers to be untouchable, thinking of herself as a caged and dangerous wolf who should not be allowed around others for the sake of their own safety. Following the grisly rape and murder of her beloved older sister, however, her cage is unlocked and she is set loose on the students, befriending a few but scaring many others in her quest for justice. Is Alex a danger to their ideals and benefits, or a savior from the pervasive evil leering through unlocked doors at night? This is an astoundingly dark but beautifully written tragedy, brimming with sexual assault, violent murders, and accounts of animal abuse that will be difficult for most individuals, but also tempered with glimpses of genuine human emotion and extremely touching displays of kindness that cross social barriers and species. Sexual abuse and assault are treated with sensitivity here but also portrayed with the necessary weight and power, and the dangerous repercussions of poor self-esteem, limiting social expectations, and secret-keeping are discussed openly and frankly. VERDICT Highly recommended for collections serving teenagers, this book will likely be especially well received by those who enjoyed any of Gillian Flynn's novels.-Emily Grace Le May, Providence Community Library, RI © 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 Three high school seniors come together in McGinnis's harrowing rumination on and the power of friendship in a small town. Three years ago, Alex Craft's older sister, Anna, was raped and murdered, but there wasn't enough evidence to convict the killer. Someone took matters into his or her own hands and killed the perpetrator, and McGinnis (A Madness So Discreet) doesn't make it hard to guess who. Once a girl on the periphery, Alex attracts the attention of jock Jack Fisher, who's more than just a guy who can put a ball through a net. Despite differing personalities, Alex and Peekay-shorthand for preacher's kid, though her real name is Claire-bond while volunteering at the local animal shelter, with Peekay in awe of Alex's stoicism. McGinnis gracefully avoids the pitfalls of creating a teenage vigilante, instead maintaining a sense of piercing realism. Alex is a pained girl in dangerous free fall, whose fierce independence is challenged by newfound friendships, even love, though neither may be enough to stave off the inevitable. Ages 14-up. Agent: Adriann Ranta, Foundry Literary + Media. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

ALA Notable Books for Children
Click to search this book in our catalog Firefighters Handbook.
by Meghan McCarthy

Kirkus A pictorial guide for fostering future firefighters.With a friendly "welcome!" the book ushers young readers into their training as fledgling firefighters. They are shown what is expected of them physically, from general exercises like running or pullups to more specific tasks such as climbing stairs with a weighted vest or dragging a hose long distances. McCarthy includes diagrams and simple explanations of personal protective equipment like axes, helmets, and self-contained breathing apparatus facepieces and cylinders as well as cutaways of rescue vehicles showing where these materials are stored. Also shown are types of firefighters and descriptions of related professionals like paramedics. McCarthy's trademark bright and lovely painted illustrations are clear and expressive. The text clearly addresses its readers as "you," asking questions along the way, bringing them into the book in a way that works well read aloud or independently. Aftermatter consists of an author interview with a (white, older, male) firefighter and questions for him from children and a smattering of websites to find additional information. Young firefighting aficionados looking to self-identify will find lots to work with here, as persons of multiple races and gender identities are shown.An informative offering that is both appropriately accessible and comprehensive. (Informational picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list There's no denying that being a firefighter is a tough job. In her latest informational picture book, nonfiction whiz McCarthy shows just what it takes to become and work as this community hero. First, there's a physical ability test with such tasks such as climbing stairs while wearing a 75-pound vest and an interview that looks for team-building traits. Because firefighters also need good memory skills, the author includes a double-page illustration of varied individuals for young readers to test their memory about using questions at the end of the book. While McCarthy's acrylic paintings depict diverse male and female firefighters with her signature cartoon faces, the firefighters' personal gear, equipment, and vehicles are illustrated realistically with precise details. In addition to descriptions of typical training and fire station tasks, children will learn about other requirements, like paramedic skills, and firefighting in nontraditional settings, like at the airport or in the ocean. A concluding section features an interview with a retired fire department battalion chief. An essential title for any elementary unit on community helpers.--Angela Leeper Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Horn Book Friendly, direct-address text covers detailed information about firefighters' equipment, training, daily tasks, and helpful skills to have or cultivate. The writing is clear and specific; the expansive, colorful acrylic illustrations, including labeled diagrams, are themselves quite informative. Firefighters' camaraderie comes through clearly; while the disaster-scenario scenes aren't frantic, neither are they unrealistically downplayed. Back matter includes an interview with a retired fire chief, including questions both from McCarthy and from children. Websites. (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.

Kirkus A pictorial guide for fostering future firefighters.With a friendly "welcome!" the book ushers young readers into their training as fledgling firefighters. They are shown what is expected of them physically, from general exercises like running or pullups to more specific tasks such as climbing stairs with a weighted vest or dragging a hose long distances. McCarthy includes diagrams and simple explanations of personal protective equipment like axes, helmets, and self-contained breathing apparatus facepieces and cylinders as well as cutaways of rescue vehicles showing where these materials are stored. Also shown are types of firefighters and descriptions of related professionals like paramedics. McCarthy's trademark bright and lovely painted illustrations are clear and expressive. The text clearly addresses its readers as "you," asking questions along the way, bringing them into the book in a way that works well read aloud or independently. Aftermatter consists of an author interview with a (white, older, male) firefighter and questions for him from children and a smattering of websites to find additional information. Young firefighting aficionados looking to self-identify will find lots to work with here, as persons of multiple races and gender identities are shown.An informative offering that is both appropriately accessible and comprehensive. (Informational picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list There's no denying that being a firefighter is a tough job. In her latest informational picture book, nonfiction whiz McCarthy shows just what it takes to become and work as this community hero. First, there's a physical ability test with such tasks such as climbing stairs while wearing a 75-pound vest and an interview that looks for team-building traits. Because firefighters also need good memory skills, the author includes a double-page illustration of varied individuals for young readers to test their memory about using questions at the end of the book. While McCarthy's acrylic paintings depict diverse male and female firefighters with her signature cartoon faces, the firefighters' personal gear, equipment, and vehicles are illustrated realistically with precise details. In addition to descriptions of typical training and fire station tasks, children will learn about other requirements, like paramedic skills, and firefighting in nontraditional settings, like at the airport or in the ocean. A concluding section features an interview with a retired fire department battalion chief. An essential title for any elementary unit on community helpers.--Angela Leeper Copyright 2019 Booklist

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

Independent Booksellers List
Click to search this book in our catalog An unnecessary woman
by Rabih Alameddine

Library Journal Acclaimed author Alameddine (The Hakawati) here relates the internal struggles of a solitary, elderly woman with a passion for books. From her Beirut apartment, -Aaliya Sohbi devotes her time to translating works of literature from various languages into Arabic. She then stores her translations in boxes and crates in the so-called maid's room and shares them with no one. Aaliya also eavesdrops on the neighbors and remembers childhood days, her unhappy marriage, and the war years, when she defended her apartment with an AK-47. She has few of the usual consolations of old age and does not fit the traditional roles assigned to women. Aaliya's life may seem like a burden or even "unnecessary" to others since she is divorced and childless, but her humor and passion for literature bring tremendous richness to her day-to-day life-and to the reader's. VERDICT Though set in the Middle East, this book is refreshingly free of today's geopolitical hot-button issues. A delightful story for true bibliophiles, full of humanity and compassion. [See Prepub Alert, 8/12/13.]-Gwen -Vredevoogd, Marymount Univ. Libs., Arlington, VA (c) Copyright 2013. 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 Midway through Alameddine's new novel, the narrator thinks: "There should be a literary resolution: No more epiphanies. Enough. Have pity on readers who reach the end of a real-life conflict in confusion and don't experience a false sense of temporary enlightenment." Like his previous novel The Hakawati, An Unnecessary Woman is set in Beirut, and this time the beauties and horrors of the city are seen through the eyes of Aalyia Sohbi, a 72-year-old translator who was born there and remained through the war. The elements that make up Aalyia's chosen life are minimal: reading, translating, an apartment, and a single friend, dead long ago. Her habit of many years is to begin each new translation, according to a strict system, on the first day of the year. The solitude that allows for this work is precious, unusual, and precarious, and when it is threatened by the ongoing war and her patriarchal family, she answers with a machine gun. Alameddine's most glorious passages are those that simply relate Aalyia's thoughts, which read like tiny, wonderful essays. A central concern of the book is the nature of the desire of artistic creators for their work to matter, which the author treats with philosophical suspicion. In the end, Aalyia's epiphany is joyful and freeing. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Agency. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list *Starred Review* Seventy-two-year-old Beirut native Aaliya Sobhi, living a solitary life, has always felt herself unnecessary. The father who adored her died young, and her remarried mother focused attention on Aaliya's half brothers, leaving her to describe herself as my family's appendix, its unnecessary appendage, an attitude reinforced by her Lebanese culture. Divorced at 20 after a negligible marriage, she lived alone and began her life's work of translating the novels she most loved into Arabic from other translations, then simply storing them, unread, in her apartment. Sustained by her blind lust for the written word and surrounded by piles of books, she anticipates beginning a new translation project each year until disaster appears to upend her life. But these are just the bare bones of a plot. The richness here is in Aaliya's first-person narration, which veers from moments in her life to literature to the wars that have wracked her beloved native city during her lifetime. Studded with quotations and succinct observations, this remarkable novel by Alameddine (The Hakawati, 2008) is a paean to fiction, poetry, and female friendship. Dip into it, make a reading list from it, or simply bask in its sharp, smart prose.--Leber, Michele Copyright 2010 Booklist

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

New York Times Bestsellers
Click to search this book in our catalog The Midnight Library
by Matt Haig

Book list Nora Seed believes her life is made up of wrong choices. She didn’t become an Olympic swimmer; she quit her brother’s band; she left her fiancé two days before the wedding. Living with crippling disappointment and situational depression, Nora decides that the only right choice for her is to end her existence. But “between life and death there is a midnight library,” a library that contains multiple volumes of the lives she could have had if she had made different choices. With the help of the friendly librarian Mrs. Elm, Nora tries on these lives in hopes of finding one where she will truly be happy. In the process, Nora finds that life is made of choices of both little and big consequence, and sometimes the choice to believe in oneself is both the biggest and smallest decision a person can make. Haig’s latest (after the nonfiction collection Notes on a Nervous Planet, 2019) is a stunning contemporary story that explores the choices that make up a life, and the regrets that can stifle it. A compelling novel that will resonate with readers.

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

Kirkus An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives.How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? Thats the question at the heart of Haigs latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existenceas a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you wont need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isnt difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the books playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable.A whimsical fantasy about learning whats important in life. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Kirkus An unhappy woman who tries to commit suicide finds herself in a mysterious library that allows her to explore new lives. How far would you go to address every regret you ever had? That’s the question at the heart of Haig’s latest novel, which imagines the plane between life and death as a vast library filled with books detailing every existence a person could have. Thrust into this mysterious way station is Nora Seed, a depressed and desperate woman estranged from her family and friends. Nora has just lost her job, and her cat is dead. Believing she has no reason to go on, she writes a farewell note and takes an overdose of antidepressants. But instead of waking up in heaven, hell, or eternal nothingness, she finds herself in a library filled with books that offer her a chance to experience an infinite number of new lives. Guided by Mrs. Elm, her former school librarian, she can pull a book from the shelf and enter a new existence—as a country pub owner with her ex-boyfriend, as a researcher on an Arctic island, as a rock star singing in stadiums full of screaming fans. But how will she know which life will make her happy? This book isn't heavy on hows; you won’t need an advanced degree in quantum physics or string theory to follow its simple yet fantastical logic. Predicting the path Nora will ultimately choose isn’t difficult, either. Haig treats the subject of suicide with a light touch, and the book’s playful tone will be welcome to readers who like their fantasies sweet if a little too forgettable. A whimsical fantasy about learning what’s important in life. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list Nora Seed believes her life is made up of wrong choices. She didn’t become an Olympic swimmer; she quit her brother’s band; she left her fiancé two days before the wedding. Living with crippling disappointment and situational depression, Nora decides that the only right choice for her is to end her existence. But “between life and death there is a midnight library,” a library that contains multiple volumes of the lives she could have had if she had made different choices. With the help of the friendly librarian Mrs. Elm, Nora tries on these lives in hopes of finding one where she will truly be happy. In the process, Nora finds that life is made of choices of both little and big consequence, and sometimes the choice to believe in oneself is both the biggest and smallest decision a person can make. Haig’s latest (after the nonfiction collection Notes on a Nervous Planet, 2019) is a stunning contemporary story that explores the choices that make up a life, and the regrets that can stifle it. A compelling novel that will resonate with readers.

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

Publishers Weekly Haig (How to Stop Time) draws on quantum wave theory in this charming if sometimes laborious account of the many possible lives of a depressed woman. Nora, in her mid-30s and living in the small English town of Bedford, suffers from “situational depression”—though, as she wryly observes, “It’s just that I keep on having new... situations.” After she gets fired from her job and her cat dies, she attempts suicide, only to wake up in a book-lined liminal zone, where she is guided by a librarian: “Between life and death there is a library... Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived.” There, Nora discovers what would have happened had she not abandoned her promising swimming career, called off her engagement, or left the rock band she started with her brother. Each time an alternate life disappoints or doesn’t feel quite right, Nora exits, reappearing in the library to continue browsing for the perfect story. While the formula grows repetitive, the set changes provide novelty, as Haig whisks Nora from Australian beaches to a South American rock concert tour to an Arctic encounter with a polar bear. Haig’s agreeable narrative voice and imagination will reward readers who take this book off the shelf. (Sept.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Newbery Medal Winners
Click to search this book in our catalog The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. A lavish middle-grade novel, Gaiman's first since Coraline, this gothic fantasy almost lives up to its extravagant advance billing. The opening is enthralling: There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. Evading the murderer who kills the rest of his family, a child roughly 18 months old climbs out of his crib, bumps his bottom down a steep stairway, walks out the open door and crosses the street into the cemetery opposite, where ghosts take him in. What mystery/horror/suspense reader could stop here, especially with Gaiman's talent for storytelling? The author riffs on the Jungle Book, folklore, nursery rhymes and history; he tosses in werewolves and hints at vampires—and he makes these figures seem like metaphors for transitions in childhood and youth. As the boy, called Nobody or Bod, grows up, the killer still stalking him, there are slack moments and some repetition—not enough to spoil a reader's pleasure, but noticeable all the same. When the chilling moments do come, they are as genuinely frightening as only Gaiman can make them, and redeem any shortcomings. Ages 10–up. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Gr 5–8—Somewhere in contemporary Britain, "the man Jack" uses his razor-sharp knife to murder a family, but the youngest, a toddler, slips away. The boy ends up in a graveyard, where the ghostly inhabitants adopt him to keep him safe. Nobody Owens, so named because he "looks like nobody but himself," grows up among a multigenerational cast of characters from different historical periods that includes matronly Mistress Owens; ancient Roman Caius Pompeius; an opinionated young witch; a melodramatic hack poet; and Bod's beloved mentor and guardian, Silas, who is neither living nor dead and has secrets of his own. As he grows up, Bod has a series of adventures, both in and out of the graveyard, and the threat of the man Jack who continues to hunt for him is ever present. Bod's love for his graveyard family and vice versa provide the emotional center, amid suspense, spot-on humor, and delightful scene-setting. The child Bod's behavior is occasionally too precocious to be believed, and a series of puns on the name Jack render the villain a bit less frightening than he should be, though only momentarily. Aside from these small flaws, however, Gaiman has created a rich, surprising, and sometimes disturbing tale of dreams, ghouls, murderers, trickery, and family.—Megan Honig, New York Public Library

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

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