January 2022 Staff Picks
When it's your job to stay current on all the latest books, how do you choose only three favorites for January's theme? Readers Advisory Librarian Nancy was more than up for the challenge and has selected her top three most anticipated reads. Take a look and see if any of these might make it into your TBR pile.
I, Mona Lisa by Natasha Solomons
Expected publication: February
Do you know the story of Lisa del Giocondo? You might not know her story, but you’ve definitely seen her portrait: Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. This book is her story; the story of Mona Lisa herself after being brought to life after being painted. She takes us on a five-hundred-year journey through her eyes as a portrait being admired, coveted, and stolen. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book from the perspective of an inanimate object before, but I think we’ve all heard the adage “if the walls could talk,” which fits beautifully with this novel—I can’t imagine the amount of things Mona Lisa has seen! I’ve also never read one of Solomons' books, but a reviewer mentioned that her writing style was similar to Madeline Miller, and being a big fan of Circe and The Song of Achilles I’m impatient to start reading this.
Gallant by V.E. Schwab
Expected publication: March
V.E. Schwab is one of my all-time favorite authors. She really blew up last year with The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, but I’m most obsessed with her Shades of Magic series. As with all of her books, Gallant has supernatural, magical elements as Olivia Prior is invited to her home, completely unknowing of her past, and sees half-formed ghouls haunting the hallways of the manor. Olivia is determined to uncover the manor’s secrets, and unravel her family’s mysterious history. While Schwab has written many YA and adult books, this one sounds like it’s somewhere in between, and can act as a bridge between the two. I’m always engrossed in a Schwab novel, and I can’t wait to get lost in this one!
Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel
Expected publication: April
Emily St. John Mandel is back again! I fell in love with her writing in Station Eleven and have been a fan ever since, so I’m very excited to see her continue exploring themes of survival, civilization, and art. We follow three seemingly separate narratives: recently exiled eighteen-year-old Edwin St. Andrew in the wilderness of Vancouver Island in 1912; famous writer Olice Llewellyn living in the second moon colony in 2212; and detective Gaspery-Jacques investigating an anomaly back on Earth in 2212 that could disrupt the timeline of the universe. Somehow, all three share the uniting thread of a violin playing in an airship terminal in the forest that transcends time and space. While it sounds a little bit out there with the metaphysical time travel and moon colony, I have no doubt that it will be beautifully written. And I’m always delightfully surprised by how her books relate to our current events.
Trust by Hernan Diaz
Expected publication: May
I’ve always been drawn to the almost-too-dramatic-to-be-real drama of American family legacies like the Kennedys, the Vanderbilts, and the Anheuser-Buschs (if you want details about the scandals of the Anheuser-Busch family, I highly recommend Bitter Brew—it’s a fascinating read!). Trust explores the fact and fiction of one such legendary family: Benjamin and Helen Rask, a Wall Street tycoon and a reclusive aristocrat, who have seemingly endless wealth. But secrets and rumors bring their affluence into question. How did they amass their fortune? And at what cost? The mystery of the Rasks looms so large that it was also the focus of a famous novel that all of New York has read. I’ve only seen fantastic reviews for this layered story within a story about wealth, power, and influence and it’s supposed to be so well-detailed and researched that it reads like real history versus fiction.
Thanks to Teen Services Librarian Maggie Mueller for the following selections.
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys
Expected publication: Feb. 1
Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys is back with a historical thriller about communist Romania. In 1989, seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but that’s not allowed. Instead, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer and he’s left with two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves, or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.
Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor
Expected publication: April 5
Fans of Caraval and The Night Circus will want this dark and enchanting YA fantasy. Set against the backdrop of a Belle Époque-inspired hotel, Hotel Magnifique follows seventeen-year-old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary hotel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.
Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
Expected publication: Aug. 30
Another mystery/thriller from Karen M. McManus is headed our way in 2022! Nothing More to Tell follows Brynn, a teen intern at a true-crime show who is determined to solve the murder of her favorite teacher, a case that’s been unsolved for four years. But as Brynn starts to investigate what happened, she begins to think the person with the truth is her former best friend.
The Weight of Blood by Tiffany D. Jackson
Expected publish date: Sept. 6
Carrie meets Get Out: a mashup I didn’t know I wanted but now I can’t wait! Tiffany D. Jackson’s books are great at tackling real, heavy issues faced by teens, particularly the struggles of black girls. The Weight of Blood is a retelling of Stephen King’s Carrie, set at a school’s first integrated prom. If you’re a horror fan, you’ll want to get your hands on this book!
Children and Families
Grab your tissues because these middle-grade novels are sure to hit you right in your feels. I’m excited about these books because of the topics they introduce to readers—including one from very recent history—that aren’t always featured in middle-grade novels. - Lindsay, Children’s Librarian
This Last Adventure by Ryan Dalton
Expected publication: Feb. 1
Archie is trying to stop Alzheimer’s disease from taking his beloved Grandpa away from him by taking him on adventures based on his grandfather’s old journal entries. This works for a time, but inevitably Grandpa begins to lose his memories and sense of self, while Archie uncovers uncomfortable truths from his journals.
New From Here by Kelly Yang
Expected publication: March 1
Knox moves from Hong Kong to California with his mother and siblings just as the COVID-19 pandemic hits. Because he and his family are Asian, Knox faces racism and suspicion at school from classmates who think Knox brought the coronavirus with him to California, while his family deals with separation and job loss during the uncertain times brought on by the pandemic.
The Science of Being Angry by Nicole Melleby
Expected publication: May 10
Joey has a seemingly great life with supportive moms and siblings, but she can’t understand why she gets so angry all the time—often accompanied by violent outbursts with sometimes disastrous consequences that alienate her from the people she cares about. After learning about genetics in science class, Joey begins to suspect that her anger could be inherited from the donor chosen by her mothers.
Thanks to Library Assistant Victoria for sharing what she'll be reading in 2022!
A History of Me by Adrea Theodore
Expected publication: Jan. 18
The unnerving reality of being the only black student in class is rather uncomfortable, especially when slavery or civil rights are the topics of discussion. This is a powerful testimony to the depth of courage and resourcefulness it takes to overcome this familiar imbalance. This book is based on the author’s life experiences.
My Parents Won't Stop Talking! by Emma Hunsinger
Expected publication Feb. 8
This is a hilarious rendition of a child’s account of an outing going awry when her moms stop to chat with neighbors. It seems as if the conversation takes forever! This humorous book about patience will resonate to all ages.
The Path by Bob Staake
Expected publication: April 5
The author/illustrator’s beautifully rendered art and lyrical text encourages the reader to self-discovery. Staake has a fresh presentation on the theme of which “road to take." This will certainly be a favorite gift for new graduates.
I Was Born a Baby by Meg Fleming
Expected publication: April 19
Expressive illustrations coupled with rhythmic text provokes audience participation in this fabulous read-aloud. There is much to discover about the naming of nature. This will be a favorite to re-read!