Mary-Catherine Kids Books Recommendations

Vanishing Girls Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062224101
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - March 10th, 2015

If you're looking for a fast-paced read this summer, but don't want to sacrifice great characterizations and emotional depth, check out Lauren Oliver's newest novel VANISHING GIRLS. Told in the dual perspectives of sisters Nick and Dara, the book takes place in the months leading up to and immediately following a car accident that left one of them heavily scarred and the other wracked with guilt for being the driver. Exploring family, lifelong friendships, physical rehabilitation, summer jobs, love, sisterhood, and crime, this novel hits a ton of high points and kept me up way past bedtime.


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Conversion Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399167775
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Putnam Publishing Group - July 1st, 2014

NEW OBSESSION ALERT: Katherine Howe has crafted a YA masterpiece! Set mostly in 2012 Massachusettes with interludes in 1706 Salem Village, this book is breathtaking, heartstopping, and juicy, in the best possible way. Girls at St. Joan's Academy are falling ill with a "Mystery Illness" which includes a series of odd symptoms and behaviors. No one can explain it, there's a media frenzy, and you never know who it will strike next. This is a perfect example of YA with major adult crossover appeal. Read it. Have your kids read it. Have your grandparents read it.


Glory O'Brien's History of the Future Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316222723
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - October 14th, 2014

An entirely different take on an altered future comes in young adult legend A.S. King’s newest novel. In GLORY O’BRIEN’S HISTORY OF THE FUTURE eighteen-year-old Glory graduates from high school with no friends--except for her next door neighbor/lifelong forced friend--and her homebound dad. Her mom, an accomplished photographer, committed suicide when Glory was four, and her relationship to that death--and the mental illness that led to it--defines her relationships to others and herself. When a weird--and weirdly plausible--night of drinking imbues her with the ability to see people’s pasts and futures, she discovers a purpose for not just her art, but her sheer existence. King beautifully weaves snippets of a future civil war defined by widespread oppression of women, with Glory’s struggle to understand why some friendships last, her mother’s legacy, and how to move forward. The latter is particularly poignant, as Glory seems to know exactly what she’s moving toward. 


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Half a World Away Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442412750
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - September 2nd, 2014

This book follows a recent trend of literary fiction for the older middle grade audience (10-14 year olds). This is the story of Jaden, a twelve year old boy who was adopted from Romania when he was eight. When the story begins, his adoptive parents have decided to adopt a baby from Kazhakstan, and the majority of the novel's action takes place on this two-month trip to bond with and take home their new brother and son. Kadohata vividly portrays Jaden's struggles adjusting to his new life in America and a stable home. The narrative delves into his insecurities, difficulty bonding, and their contributing factors from his childhood in a Romanian orphanage. While the story has serious elements, they are presented in ways that will teach children about some of the nuances of culture, international adoption, and belonging in a family. If you ever feel like there are no books out there for your ten/eleven/twelve year old strong readers, look no further! I loved this story and it really got me thinking--a double whammy!


This One Summer Cover Image
By Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), Mariko Tamaki
$18.99
ISBN: 9781596437746
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: First Second - May 6th, 2014

I love this new graphic novel about two summer friends who are dealing with heavier things this one summer than ever before. They confront the ways they've changed in another year apart, and one girl's family is still reeling from what happened the summer before. Add to that crushes, scary movies, and twizzlers, and this book captures the magic of summer. The illustrations are what really set this book apart; monochromatic depictions of the girls' summer are full of detail and subtlety that really make the story sing. A great choice for teens who like the idea of graphic novels, but aren't sure where to start.


The Forbidden Stone Cover Image
By Tony Abbott, Bill Perkins (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062194473
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 7th, 2014

This is the gripping first installment of a brand-new series by prolific children’s author Tony Abbott. The story follows preteens Wade, Lily, Darrell, and Becca from their home in Austin, TX on a global adventure to decipher the mysteries of their Uncle Heinrich’s map and to save a priceless artifact’s secrets from falling into the wrong hands.  This page-turner falls in a sweet spot between THE DA VINCI CODE and The Goonies; it’s at once an engrossing thriller and the story of a scrappy band of smart kids on a mission.


Midwinterblood Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781250040077
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Square Fish - April 22nd, 2014

This 2014 Printz Award winner (the YA equivalent of the Newbery Award) was not what I expected--in the best possible way! Seven stories, spanning hundreds of years, tell an interconnected tale of love that refuses to die. I adored how it borrowed from mythology, art, history, and imagined future landscapes. The island of Blessed is steeped in mystery, history, superstitions, and a life-giving, but dangerous flower. Across stories, Eric and Merle find and love each other in a variety of contexts. This book is hard to describe, but the experience of reading it lingers for days. Sedgwick is often primarily described as a storyteller, and this book is an excellent example of why. I couldn't put it down and even when I tried, had to grab it again and keep reading. This book is the definition of compelling.


The Numberlys Cover Image
By William Joyce, William Joyce (Illustrator), Christina Ellis (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781442473430
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - May 27th, 2014

The author of this book used to work at Pixar, and you can tell the second you open it. The attention to detail is perfect, and the illustrations take on a life of their own. THE NUMBERLYS tells the story of a world with only numbers, where no one has names or emotions or jellybeans. The world is gray and gloopy and pretty much the worst. BUT THEN five brave souls set out to invent something new and exciting: LETTERS! Vertical alignment is very effective here and fully engulfs the reader in the looming and impersonal metropolis of a gray, pre-lettered world.


Don't Call Me Baby Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780062208521
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Teen - April 22nd, 2014

This novel, about a girl whose mom has been blogging about her since she was in utero, is a perfect summer beach read for young teens. Imogene, or "Babylicious" as she's known to her mom's twenty-thousand readers, is tired of every detail of her life being shared with the World Wide Web. She and her best friend Sage, also the offspring of a mega-blogger, hatch a plan to get some privacy at the beginning of their 9th grade year: launch their own exposé blogs and give their moms a taste of their own TMI medicine. This is one of my top recommendations for those tweens that are eager to get into YA books, but aren't ready for a lot of the content. It's also refreshing because instead of focusing on crushes, it's a book about friendship and learning to get along with your parents as you grow up. It portrays a girl who is (understandably) frustrated with her mom's invasion of privacy, but learns that her mom has a perspective too and perhaps it's best for both of them if they learn to understand each other. I always love a good family/friendship focused book for young readers, and this is a fun twist on that.


Buddy and the Bunnies in Don't Play with Your Food! Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781423168072
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Disney Editions - January 7th, 2014

Buddy the monster might just be my favorite literary monster around. He bluntly informs a group of bunnies that he intends to eat them, but, of course, he wants to bake cupcakes, go swimming, and ride carnival rides with them first. This truly delightful book had me laughing for a solid five minutes. Each expression on Buddy’s face is perfectly illustrated. The bright colors will appeal to the younger crowd, and the witty humor is perfect for all ages.


Sloppy Firsts: A Jessica Darling Novel Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780609807903
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Broadway Books - August 28th, 2001

SLOPPY FIRSTS, a book about friendship, family, and how damn confusing high school can be, will both break and warm your heart in equal measure. Jessica Darling tries to be smart around dumb friends, tries to get out of New Jersey, tries to figure out Marcus Flutie (the perfect book boyfriend), tries to get by after her best friend moves away, tries to convince her dad that she just isn’t into running... This is a book about trying to do all the things: high school in its simplest form. In case you aren’t convinced yet, I’ve pinpointed why you, yes, you, must pick up this book immediately:

 

If you are a teenager: Megan McCafferty gets you. She just does! Jessica Darling is a smart, funny nonconformist, who stands out in a world full of books about smart, funny nonconformists. This book is effortlessly cool and doesn’t resort to “hip teen talk” to be relatable.

 

If you are in your twenties: Jessica grew up with you. This book was published in 2001, and there are just enough pop culture references to make you nostalgic without feeling dated. The series also follows Jessica into her twenties, so you’ll see her make lots of college mistakes and give her particular brand of sarcastic wisdom to the mayhem that inevitably accompanies all quarterlife crises.

 

If you are a parent or actual adult: Do you want to get inside the mind of your teenager or young adult? Did you love high school and want to relive the politics, the snark, and the lame summer jobs? Or, did you hate high school and want a friend with whom to commiserate about the politics, the snark, and the lame summer jobs? Check, check, and check.


The Impossible Knife of Memory Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780670012091
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Children's Books - January 7th, 2014

Anderson’s debut novel SPEAK is one of my all-time favorites, so I had high expectations for her latest novel. Let me just say: it did not disappoint! The story follows Hayley, a high school senior settling back into her hometown after years spent trucking with her dad, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who now suffers from PTSD and, consequently, a whole host of coping addictions. Hayley’s adult responsibilities at home, presented in the context of classic teenage concerns--the over-eager guidance counselor, the all-important SATs, and the unwritten rules of the cafeteria--require a maturity from her that is often only hinted at in YA novels. Her story isn’t always an easy one, but the searing authenticity of Anderson’s voice makes it a must-read for adults and teens alike.


Roomies Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316217491
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - December 24th, 2013

EB and Lauren are about as different as two people can be. EB--written by Altebrando--is an only child who lives with her less-than-dependable single mom in New Jersey, while Lauren--written by Zarr--is the oldest of six and lives in San Francisco with two frazzled, loving parents. The novel opens when each girl is notified of their roommate match at UC Berkeley for the upcoming fall, and follows the girls’ email relationship with one another through the summer leading up to move-in day. Each girl experiences a range of challenges and joys during this crucial summer: changing relationships with parents, the search for (temporary? lasting?) love with new boyfriends, and the impending separation from longtime friends. I related to this book so much that I immediately sent a copy to my college roommate so we could laugh and reminisce about that time in our lives, which was so full of overwhelming emotions, change, and discovery for both of us. Perfect for readers approaching college, desperately looking forward to it in the distant future, or eager to relive its magic.


Fallout Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780763655341
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 10th, 2013

We need more books like this one for kids and teens! Its plot is admittedly pitch black--what if Russia had dropped the bomb in 1962 and your family was the only one in the neighborhood with a shelter?--and Strasser’s approach to his characters’ dire situation is unflinching. What makes this book so special, however, is the historical context provided by chapters between those set in the claustrophobic underground quarters immediately post-bomb and during the weeks of escalating tensions that lead to it. Scott, our young protagonist, observes family dynamics and cultural shifts through a lens of innocence; he learns about the nuances of his historical moment alongside the book’s modern-day readers, who may know very little about the Cuban Missile Crisis. Despite its dark subject matter, I strongly encourage parents to trust their older children and young teens with this book. Ultimately, it will prove to be a great conversation-starter that emphasizes the importance of hope and humanity in the midst of chaos.


A Thousand Pieces of You Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062278968
Availability: Not On Our Shelves. Usually arrives in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Teen - November 4th, 2014

When I opened this book, my simple hope was that it lived up to its beautiful cover. I’m happy to report that this book is not just a pretty face! The first in an exciting new trilogy, A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU explores family, love, and what makes us us in ways that you’ve never seen before. Plus, with a plot that revolves around inter-dimensional travel, the potential for creative world building and unexpected twists is literally infinite. In many ways, it shares common themes with A WRINKLE IN TIME, one of my all-time favorites, so you know I’m not messing around with this recommendation. Make this the dimension in which you pick up A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU. Otherwise, it is surely your darkest timeline.