Kids Article

Superhero Summer Reading List for Kids

With classic favorites, award-winners, anthologies, brand new titles, and hidden gems that might have slipped under your radar, our summer reading list has something for everyone! (Some books are out now; others will release throughout the summer, so our display will stay fresh and new!)

FOR READERS AGE 6 AND UP

1. LOUISE TRAPEZE WILL NOT LOSE A TOOTH by Micol Ostow

Write About the Changes You Want to See: Joy Talks Picture Books

Today I am fortunate to get to talk about picture books and how they are created with authors Hannah Barnaby and Bethany Hegedus and editors Alessandra Balzer and Kristin Daly Rens. Hannah is the author of many books, including the picture book BAD GUY, which is currently on our shelves and one of my absolute favorites of the season. You may know Bethany—who also runs The Writing Barn in Austin— from her award-winning GRANDFATHER GANDHI series, co-written with Arun Gandhi.

Read the World: Brazos' Book Picks

Our weeklong Read the World celebration is underway! Our shelves are brightened immeasurably by works written by immigrants and international authors. Through our Spring Break programming, we hope to convey the importance of Houston's many voices. Joy, our kids specialist, has a few particular books on her list that fit the bill. Read below to peek in on what she'll be sharing this week!

Teacup Cover Image
By Rebecca Young, Matt Ottley (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735227774
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Dial Books - October 4th, 2016

Jingle Dancer Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780688162412
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - April 5th, 2000

Tomo Explores the World (Tomo's Adventure Journal) Cover Image
By Trevor Lai, Trevor Lai (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250085450
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Imprint - October 25th, 2016

The Water Princess Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399172588
Availability: Backordered
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - September 13th, 2016

Mango, Abuela, and Me Cover Image
By Meg Medina, Angela Dominguez (Illustrator)
$15.99
ISBN: 9780763669003
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - August 25th, 2015

Not Quite Black and White Cover Image
By Jonathan Ying, Victoria Ying (Illustrator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9780062380661
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - September 6th, 2016

Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781524715472
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - January 31st, 2017

Brazos Bookstore's Annual Bookmark Contest: 2017

We give out a LOT of bookmarks here at Brazos, and we are always looking for new ideas for their design. This spring we’re asking kids to lend their artistic expertise to our annual Bookmark Contest! Download the official entry form here and return it to the store by Sunday, April 23, 2017. We’ll announce the winners at our summer reading kickoff party on Saturday, May 13th at 2pm!

Wartime, History, and Scottish Insults: An Interview with Caroline Leech

I am so incredibly excited for the arrival of Caroline Leech’s YA historical romance debut, WAIT FOR ME. (Okay in full disclosure, I have not only read it already—bookseller perk!—but was honored to have been asked by her publisher Harper Collins to blurb it as well. You’ll see my praise somewhere on the finished copy). It’s a lovely, moving novel, set in WWII Scotland, and we are thrilled to be hosting the WAIT FOR ME release party on 2/7 at 7 PM right here in store. We hope you’ll join us!

Wait for Me Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062459886
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Teen - January 31st, 2017

Facing Fears and Writing Through Them

I first became a fan of Micol Ostow back in 2009 with her YA novel SO PUNK ROCK (And Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother). It was a funny, quirky, irreverent little book that also dealt authentically with spiritual identity, and it was illustrated by Micol’s brother David Ostow. I loved it. And then in that way that often happens in the world of publishing, our paths began to cross here and there: mutual author friends; a mutual Soho Press editor; bumping into each other at various panels at a writing conference.

Amity Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781606841563
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Egmontusa - August 26th, 2014

One of my favorite Micol Ostow series to put in readers’ hands is actually not her YA work, but her series for emerging chapter book readers, LOUISE TRAPEZE. The titular Louise is one spunky girl, but not without her doubts and layers. It’s definitely a departure from Micol’s other work and so I asked her if I could interview her about what it’s like to write the darker as well as the more frothy. Here’s what she had to say:

Joy: Here at Brazos we (and our customers) are huge fans of your LOUISE series and recommend it to our younger readers. It's such fun but also very girl positive. So how did this wonderful series come into existence? Do you have a plan about how you will continue to develop Louise in each subsequent book?

Micol: As you know, traditionally I've been a young adult writer, and I never had any designs about writing for a younger market. But one day a friend of mine suggested I try it. I laughed her off, but my daughter was two years old then, and I was just beginning to feel like I had some perspective on younger readers' and their point of view. So, shortly after that conversation, a character -- Louise Trapeze -- popped into my head. Immediately, I tried to imagine what Louise's story -- or her "problem" -- would be. And of course, the worst thing I could imagine for a trapeze artist would be a fear of heights. (It happens to be that I'm terrified of heights, too, so I could relate). So from there, the basic concept of book one was born. And again, going back to my own experiences with my daughter, I was very taken by the fact that overall, my daughter was (and still is) extremely determined and brave, much more than I ever was as a child. It's a great quality but it also works against her because she has a hard time accepting her own occasional fears. So that informed a lot of Louise's character, and her journey in book one -- realizing that being brave is not about not having fears, but rather, it's about how you go about facing them.

As of now, we have four books planned, and in each, Louise aspires to do something that she perceives as "grown up," while balancing her own concurrent fears about falling short or failing. For instance in book two, she really wants an important job of her own. But when she gets one, she makes an error in judgement and finds herself scrambling to course-correct. In book three, she misunderstands a conversation she overhears among the grown-ups, and sets out to "save the circus," despite the fact that the adults around her keep telling her not to worry. And in book four, Louise yearns to lose her first tooth -- until it seems like that just may be happening. So, we try to develop her character by putting her into typical seven year old experiences where she learns to bridge the gap between her own wishes and expectations, and her capabilities. If we were to continue the series, my own wish list includes a Halloween special. I imagine Louise could cause a lot of trouble around that theme!

Joy: You are a prolific writer with a fine skill for telling darker suspense and horror. Can you talk a bit about how you balance writing the more frothy LOUISE books with, say, something like AMITY, your YA retelling of The Amityville Horror?

Micol: Thank you so much! In a time where so many artists are encouraged to "brand" themselves, I feel very lucky that the publishing community has really embraced my split personality. Like I say, I'm not sure that I would have been inspired to write something as young as Louise if it weren't for raising young girls of my own. But in terms of the balance, I find it comes very naturally. The darker YA and the frothy chapter books are both a challenge in their own way, and it's often a relief to go back and forth. It keeps me from burning out on one or the other. I think it would be too difficult to be forced to write cheerful, upbeat stories all the time -- but equally impossible to be constantly mired in dark, intense long-form novels. This way I get to work through all of my many moods. How amazing is that?! I think they just organically balance each other out. Hopefully that means my split personality has a certain equalibrium, too. :)

Joy: You came to writing full time from a number of years in editing. How does that experience inform your writing?

Micol: I would like to think that I am basically devoid of ego. Not only do I come from an editorial background, but my earliest writing was ghostwriting into ongoing series, where it was imperative that I conform to a series style and hit deadlines unfailingly. It is a very different process than that romantic notion of plinking away at ones' art ever so thoughtfully, coffee mug in hand, gazed fixed serenely out a window. So I tend to write more quickly than some, and after all those years of being expected to emulate a specific style, I think I'm very open to editorial feedback. (That said, my editors might disagree!) I don't get very defensive when I read editorial letters, and I am always willing to consider a note or comment. I don't think I get very precious about my "darlings." When I was in graduate school for writing my advisors were always very pleasantly surprised by my openness to their editorial feedback. (Or so they said!)

The flip side, though, is that after so many years in the business I can get into my own head and get very caught up in the packaging and marketing aspect of publishing. It's useful when it comes to discussion publishing schedules, and deadlines, but it can be distracting and counterproductive to the process of simply writing. Obviously if there were a magic bullet for publishing a bestseller we'd all be bestselling authors. Better to spend one's time writing for the joy of it and telling the story you are meant to tell.

Joy: Besides your own books, what are some children's titles that you'd recommend, both for younger readers as well as for teens? What are you reading to/with your own kids these days?

Micol: My five year old is a precocious reader, and we're constantly fighting over books (I buy things for "research," and then find them in her bed). Lately we are obsessed with PRINCESS IN BLACK and THE OODLETHUNKS  -- anything with strong female characters, humor, and a distinct voice. We also like THE OWL DIARIES, and she's getting into nonfiction as well. We will read anything by Peter Brown, basically. Also: unicorns and superheroes.

I've been on a bit of an adult mystery kick lately, but on the YA front am eager to read Adele Griffin's forthcoming BE TRUE TO ME, and Marianna Baer's THE INCONCEIVABLE LIFE OF QUINN. Too many books, too little time!

Joy: So why writing? That is, why are you a writer? Why is this your art?

Micol: I don't have a great answer for that! Only that I never really felt I had a choice. I began making up stories as early as I can remember, and writing them down as soon as I was able to. I loved working as an editor and didn't plan to become a full-time writer, but eventually, the deadlines became too difficult to juggle. I think it's true for most writers, and it's certainly true for me, that we write because we can't NOT write. I'm incredibly grateful to have been able to make a career of it.

Joy: What else should we know about Micol Ostow?

Micol: Micol Ostow has a caffeine addiction that is borderline problematic. Micol Ostow is unduly obsessed with dogs, and specifically French Bulldogs. Micol Ostow can nap anytime, anywhere, and is always happy to do so. Micol Ostow is afraid of heights, as mentioned, as well as loud noises, and phone calls from unrecognizable numbers. Micol Ostow is distinctly uncomfortable writing about herself in the third person, but is pleased to learn of your interest in her rather un-interesting life.


Louise Trapeze Is Totally 100% Fearless (Stepping Stone Books) Cover Image
By Micol Ostow, Brigette Barrager (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780553497427
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - May 31st, 2016

Revisiting a Classic

One of the topics we talk about a great deal in the kidlit world is representation. As with adult readers, but even more so, children and young adults want to enter new worlds through fiction, experience the lives of people who are different from themselves. This is one of the glories and values of reading and it builds understanding and empathy and a vicarious set of crucial experiences. But young readers also yearn to see themselves reflected on the page--to experience, at least just a little--characters who look like them or act like them or believe or live like them.

All-Of-A-Kind Family Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780440400592
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Yearling Books - December 1st, 1984

More All-Of-A-Kind Family Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781939601155
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Lizzie Skurnick Books - June 10th, 2014

All-Of-A-Kind Family Downtown Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781939601254
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Lizzie Skurnick Books - September 30th, 2014

Books for Young Scientists and Historians

Looking for a book for those who love to figure out how things work and why things happen? Then check out these titles!

Ada Twist, Scientist Cover Image
By Andrea Beaty, David Roberts (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781419721373
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - September 6th, 2016

The newest edition to a fabulous picture book series that began with IGGY PECK ARCHITECT and followed up with ROSIE REVERE ENGINEER, ADA TWIST is about a girl who adores science and the delight of discovery. This marvelous illustrated and written book features a girl who is endlessly curious about the ‘whys’ of the world. ADA TWIST reminds us to follow our passions and dreams!
Ages 5-8


A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 Cover Image
By Matthew Olshan, Sophie Blackall (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374329549
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr) - October 11th, 2016

What happens when John Jeffries, an Englishman, and Jean-PIerre Blanchard, a Frenchman, set out to be the first to man a hot-air balloon flight from one country to another by crossing the English channel? Well, at first, just grand success. But then things go a bit wrong. And as the balloon begins to sink, the two gentlemen come up with hilarious and then clever solutions to save the day. This one will make you laugh… a lot. And it’s based on a true story!
Ages 4-8


Shakespeare Retold Cover Image
By E. Nesbit, Antonio Javier Caparo (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062404534
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - October 18th, 2016

Gorgeously illustrated, this collection of retellings of seven Shakespearean plays is a wonderful way to introduce younger readers to Shakespeare’s language and stories. Lots of good historical material is included: biography, timeline, and bibliography plus more. This is a simply beautiful addition to any home library.
Ages 8-12


The Nutcracker Comes to America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition Cover Image
By Chris Barton, Cathy Gendron (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781467721516
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Millbrook Press - September 1st, 2015

This gorgeous picture book by award-winning Austin author Chris Barton (who is also featured in this newsletter with his choices for Texas author holiday book gift giving), is a delightful and informative history of how the most famous ballet became a Christmas season classic. A must-read for Nutcracker fans.
Ages 7-10


What Books are Texas Kidlit Authors Chris Barton, Jennifer Ziegler, and Crystal Allen Giving This Holiday Season?

We’re ridiculously excited for our newest installment of our feature on the books Texas kidlit authors are giving for holiday gifts this year! Because who better to recommend books than authors? And we have a huge, diverse and amazing community of writers for young people in Texas, many of them right here in Houston-- so many wonderful voices and stories and points of view. I hope you continue enjoy reading their choices as much as I did!

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781620141489
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee & Low Books - October 15th, 2016

This remarkable real-life tale -- as entertaining as it is touching -- will fascinate kids. Doc Key’s own story of post-slavery accomplishment is amazing enough. But when he teaches a once-hapless horse to spell -- and then some -- this picture book becomes truly enchanting.


Their Great Gift: Courage, Sacrifice, and Hope in a New Land Cover Image
By John Coy, Wing Young Huie (Photographer)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781467780544
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Carolrhoda Books - March 1st, 2016

Inspiring and lovely and recognizable to so many children, parents, and grandparents, this celebration of the experiences and contributions of immigrants brings together Coy’s brief, poetic text and Huie’s striking photographs.


Two Naomis Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062414250
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - September 13th, 2016

Told in the alternating points of view of the 10-year-old title characters -- whose divorced parents have begun dating and start bringing their families together -- this contemporary middle-grade novel sparkles with smart humor and endearingly awkward drama.


And here are the titles Crystal Allen will be gifting this year.

She’s a new grandmother and new great aunt and so she’s focused on books for and about our littlest readers! Again, all these titles are on our shelves or coming soon.


School's First Day of School Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781596439641
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - June 28th, 2016

With the school as the main character, this book was such a delight to read.  Whoever thought of how a school would feel on the first day of school?


Tiny Stitches: The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas Cover Image
By Gwendolyn Hooks, Colin Bootman (Illustrator)
$17.95
ISBN: 9781620141564
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Lee & Low Books - May 15th, 2016

I love this book about Vivien Thomas, a medical pioneer who, without a medical degree, developed a way to save babies with heart defects.


This Is Our Baby, Born Today Cover Image
By Varsha Bajaj, Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399166846
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books - August 2nd, 2016

This story follows the birth of a baby elephant with vibrant colors, beautiful illustrations and fun, repetitive text. **(Brazos Children’s Specialist Joy Preble wants to remind everyone that Varsha is also a local, acclaimed Houston author and friend of the store)**


Joy Picks Ten You May Have Missed

The thing about publishing is that not every book gets the publicity it needs or deserves. This is simply the way the business works, and it has little if anything to do with the quality of the writing and pretty much everything to do with months, if not years, of advance marketing decisions about what will sell the most copies and why. Even books that get a bigger push may still fly under readers’ radars.

Lion Island: Cuba's Warrior of Words Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481461122
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - August 30th, 2016

Set in Cuba in the nineteenth century, a time when the country was fighting for freedom from Spain, LION ISLAND is a middle-grade historical fiction novel-in-verse by award-winning author Margarita Engle. It’s the story of Antonio Chuffat and his journey to become an advocate of civil rights.

But it’s not just Antonio’s story. Told in multiple points of view, LION ISLAND starts in 1871, the year of the anti-Chinese riots in Los Angeles, and it’s also the story of Wing and Fan, a brother and sister who escaped those riots. It’s the tale of indentured servant and slaves and the overthrow of the Spanish sugar cane empire.

The verse format and multiple narrators makes this a page turner and a story set in a Cuba that few of us know makes it a must read for middle-graders who love history and based-on-truth stories. A great way to introduce social justice.


Lily and Dunkin Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780553536744
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 3rd, 2016

From award-winning author Donna Gephart, LILY AND DUNKIN is a compelling dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder. When they meet, their lives change forever. In lesser hands, this middle grade novel would digress into an “issues” book Instead, it’s powerfully crafted and a must-read for every middle-grader and adults, too.

And if you want to know more about Donna Gephart—and of course you do!—and how she’s also an amazing teacher of the craft of writing, check out this podcast from her time at Austin author Bethany Hegedus’s Writing Barn.


Just My Luck Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062330659
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - February 23rd, 2016

Oh how I love Cammie McGovern’s writing. She gets the complexities of teens and children, especially those struggling with illness, just right. I’m a huge fan of her young adult novel SAY WHAT YOU WILL. And now comes her middle grade debut—and it’s a gorgeous, moving book. There’s fourth grader Benny, whose life is sucking hugely. He doesn’t have a best friend and he wants one desperately. He can’t do tricks on his bike even though his autistic brother George can. And he’s worried that his dad’s recent accident might be his fault. And then things get worse. But Benny has a big heart and it’s going to help him get through tragedy and figure out that he was more to offer the world than he thinks he does.

McGovern’s writing is strong and sure and gentle. I am such a huge fan and I hope you will be, too! I’d recommend for age eight or nine on up, for readers who enjoy a quieter, thoughtful story.


Read Between the Lines Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780763691028
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - October 11th, 2016

If you aren’t reading Jo Knowles’ amazingly crafted novels for young people, then you need to be. READ BETWEEN THE LINES came out in hardback last year, but is on our shelves now in paperback and so it’s a perfect time to become a fan of the author of such books as SEE YOU AT HARRY’S (one of my absolute favorites!) and more. RBTL is a novel—moving, gritty, unflinching, and humorous—of interlocking stories that follow nine teens and one teacher through a seemingly ordinary day. Everything begins with Nate, who, thanks to a bully in gym class, suffers a broken finger. Of course it’s the middle one and it’s splinted to give ‘the finger’ to the world. But that’s not the only middle finger that will be raised that day in that small town. The cover says it all. For age thirteen and up, particularly teens who like contemporary fiction.


The Great Shelby Holmes: Girl Detective Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781681190518
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books - September 6th, 2016

Just named to the Texas Library Association’s Bluebonnet List, this adorable middle-grade debut from internationally bestselling YA author Elizabeth Eulberg gives Sherlock Holmes a fun, sweet twist with delightful young heroes and black and white illustrations throughout. You’ll love this tale of Shelby Holmes, who is definitely not your average sixth grader, not only because she’s tiny and only nine years old but also because she is the best detective in Harlem! And when eleven-year-old John Watson (you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) moves in downstairs, they end up teaming together for a dognapping case. Friendship and mystery-solving ensue. For age ten and up, mystery lovers or not!


Afterward Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781626722385
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 20th, 2016

Friend of the store and one of our very favorite Houston authors of contemporary young adult fiction such as THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE, Jennifer Mathieu tells AFTERWARD, a wrenching story of the aftermath of a tragic kidnapping in her trademark steady, solid, and authentic teen voice. Like Donna Gephart’s work, Mathieu is able to elevate an “issue” book to something much deeper and more profound—a story of kidnapped and rescued Ethan and Dylan and Dylan’s older sister Caroline and the scary awful truths of what happened and how they will all get beyond it. As I mentioned when she made us all laugh with her reading of the BFG during Roald Dahl Day, I am such a huge fan of Mathieu’s work and you should be, too! A definite recommend for all teens, particularly those who enjoy stories inspired by real events.


A Fierce and Subtle Poison Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781616205218
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - April 12th, 2016

What more can you ask for in a debut novel than to be a stunning retelling of Hawthorne’s “Rapaccinni’s Daughter,” but set in Puerto Rico?  Dallas author Samantha Mabry’s A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON is a story where legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison. It’s stunning prose, magic realism, and star-crossed romance.

Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl—Isabel, the one with green skin and grass for hair, who feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family's Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill. Seventeen-year-old Lucas is about to find out whether the stories are just stories, or maybe some strange kind of truth. But will he survive this weird new world? Mabry’s written a story on many levels—from fairy tale, to warning of cultural appropriation, to crazy love. For teens and up, especially readers who like something different and strange and wonderful.


More Happy Than Not Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781616956776
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Soho Teen - April 26th, 2016

MORE HAPPY THAN NOT debuted in 2015 and quickly hit the New York Times bestseller list while garnering numerous awards and starred reviews. It’s on our shelves this year in paperback with a gorgeous new cover and if you haven’t read this gritty, twisty, wrenching, set in a dangerous near-future New York, haven’t discovered Bronx native Adam Silvera, then now is a good time to do so! His voice is one of the most authentic of any author for young adults, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s the story of sixteen year old Aaron Soto, struggling to recover from his father’s suicide. He’s got support from his girlfriend and from his loving but overworked mom, but he’s also got sadness and a smile-shaped scar on his wrist. But when Aaron’s feelings for a new boy named Thomas turn into something he isn’t expecting, complications stir. And the existence of a shadowy hospital called the Leteo Institute offers the possibility of surgically altering painful memories. But the question becomes, Does Aaron want to forget, or has he already forgotten? An important read that confronts race and sexuality with unflinching honesty.


The Serpent King Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553524024
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - March 8th, 2016

Oh this story! Oh Jeff Zenter’s writing!! Oh THE SERPENT KING! This debut young adult novel is a story about friendship and family and forgiveness and casts an unflinching eye on growing up and finding your true self in the Bible Belt. It’s the story of the son of a Pentecostal minister, of extreme faith, of friendship and love and forgiveness. Like Zentner himself, it’s witty and funny and moving and different. Your teens will love it. So will you. And then you can all wait with me for March, 2017, when Zentner’s next YA novel, GOODBYE DAYS, arrives!!


The Memory of Things Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250095527
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - September 6th, 2016

With the proliferation this year of 9/11 fiction, you might have missed this one. I’m here to tell you that you need to read it! THE MEMORY OF THINGS is a beautiful young adult novel of friendship and first love, and the impossible yet possible ability to carry on with day-to-day living in the midst of horrific, unspeakable tragedy. It’s a hopeful, wonderful, wholly original story about sixteen-year old Kyle Donohue, fleeing the danger of the falling towers by running to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge. But when he meets a girl covered in ash, inexplicably wearing a pair of costume wings, a mystery unravels along with tragedy and survival. For teens who want an unconventional love and survival story. Once they’ve read it, they’ll want to read Gae Polisner’s other titles, like THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO.


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