Great Reads of 2019
Local History Librarian Michael M.’s picks are sure to take you on a literary thrill ride.
Turn of the Key
by Ruth Ware
Rowan Caine is imprisoned for murder. As she desperately writes for legal aid, she tries to piece together the strange occurrences that led to the death of a child she was caring for in a remote Victorian mansion in the Scottish Highlands. Ware re-imagines Henry James' classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw, adding a modern technological twist. Loads of dark secrets, haunting atmosphere, and surprising twists. Ruth Ware has quickly become my favorite mystery-thriller writer.
Red at the Bone
by Jacqueline Woodson
Sixteen-year-old Melody is about to walk down the stairs into her coming of age party hosted in her grandparent's historic Brownstone in Brooklyn. She's wearing the dress that her mother Iris would have worn for her party had she not become pregnant with Melody at fifteen. The book is mostly told in flashbacks as Melody, her unwed parents Iris and Aubrey, and her maternal grandparents Sabe and Po'Boy, reflect on lives filled with drama, joy, and sadness. Woodson doesn't waste a word, filling this short novel with mountains of character and emotion that span three generations of this African American family.
by Blake Crouch
In this techno-thriller, a suicide leads NYPD Detective Barry Sutton on an investigation into the origins of a fast spreading disease causing people to have false memories with apocalyptic consequences. Crouch has been one of my favorite techno/science fiction thriller writers recently. His books are action packed, thought provoking, and filled with well-written, empathetic characters. His newest doesn't disappoint!
Maggie M.’s thought-provoking picks are sure to stay with you long after you finish the final pages.
by Laurie Halse Anderson
Fans of Speak should check out this poetic memoir from the author. It’s intense and powerful, and sheds light on how Anderson was able to write such a poignant and resounding novel that still moves readers today. Listen to the audiobook version read by the author if you can; it’s almost as if Anderson is there with you telling you her story.
by Jennifer Donnelly
Did you know the Grimm brothers’ version of Cinderella ends with the evil stepsisters mutilating their feet in an attempt to fit Cinderella’s slipper? And that’s exactly where Stepsister begins: with Isabelle cutting off her toes and being rejected by the prince. Feeling ashamed and wanting to redeem herself, Isabelle decides she’s going to fight for the destiny she wants. This reimagined fairy tale isn’t sunshine and rainbows, but it gives real depth to the “evil” stepsisters. You’ll love this new version of Cinderella.
Two Can Keep a Secret
by Karen McManus
Ellery’s never been to small-town Echo Ridge, but she knows all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen, her mom couldn’t wait to leave, and just five years ago, the homecoming queen was killed. And now Ellery has to move there to live with her grandmother. She quickly discovers that Echo Ridge is full of secrets, and when another girl goes missing, Ellery knows she can uncover the truth. Two Can Keep a Secret is perfectly paced, and the last line is a jaw-dropper!
by Rainbow Rowell
Rowell surprised readers last summer when she announced this unexpected but highly anticipated sequel to Carry On, and it does not disappoint! After defeating the bad guy and winning the war, Simon is depressed. What is the Chosen One supposed to do when it seems like you’ve accomplished everything you were supposed to do? Go on a road trip and find more trouble, obviously!
On the Come Up
by Angie Thomas
Thomas follows her first novel, The Hate U Give, with another powerful and real book. Sixteen-year-old Bri dreams of becoming one of the next great rappers, and she’s got serious talent. But how can she focus on her dreams when she’s facing hunger, homelessness, drugs, gangs and overzealous school security guards? Another great book to add to the Read Woke movement.
(Chapter books for ages 8 – 12)
Children’s librarians Marie B. and Adeline M. offer some beautiful stories that may become your favorites too.
The Chicken Squad Series: The First Misadventure
by Doreen Cronin
Looking for an early chapter book series with high appeal? These chicks are not your typical bird-brained fowl. Kids who appreciate humor and wit will enjoy this series.
The Book of Boy
by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
Set in 1300s England and Rome, everything from the woodcut prints to the details of Medieval life to the hunt for the relics is clever and suspenseful. Surprise twist in the middle of the story!
Louisiana’s Way Home
by Kate DiCamillo
A heartwarming story of self-discovery for tween readers. Louisiana’s honest and sweet perspective is a pleasure to read as she narrates events in her twelve-year-old life.
Picture Books for younger children
Star In the Jar
by Sam Hay
A sister and brother work together as they attempt the big job of helping a lost star find its way home. This beautifully illustrated book shows love, creativity and empathy as the children learn to say goodbye to their special treasure.
The Little Red Fort
by Brenda Maier
An updated version of The Little Red Hen that showcases a young girl’s ingenuity and determination as she attempts to get her brothers to help her build a fort. The tale ends happily when the brothers display a repentant attitude and are offered forgiveness by their sister.
Thank You, Omu
by Oge Mora
Gratitude and kindness take center stage in this award-winning picture book. Author/Illustrator, Oge Mora, believes that the beauty inside people is something waiting to be discovered by others, and her collage illustrations reflect this. Mora discovers beautiful colors, patterns and textures in old scraps of paper and presents that beauty in her artwork. See if you can spot some of these gems in the pictures!