Monday, December 5, 2022

Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette G. Ford and Frank Morrison - HIGH

 Uncle John’s City Garden by Bernette G. Ford, illustrated by Frank Morrison. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2022. $19. 9780823447862

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Li’l Sissy and her siblings are staying with their Uncle John for the summer. He keeps them busy by helping him with his garden that occupies an abandoned city lot. Sissy isn’t sure about all of the work, but celebrates the harvest with the whole family.

Morrison’s illustrations are reason alone to purchase this. If you teach Seedfolks, have a school garden, or talk about farming and planting, you will love adding this to your collection. Sissy and her family are Black.

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS 

Of Walden Pond by Lesa Cline-Ransome and Ashley Benham-Yazdani - OPTIONAL

 Of Walden Pond: Henry David Thoreau, Frederic Tudor, and the pond between by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by Ashley Benham-Yazdani. PICTURE BOOK. Holiday House, 2022. $19. 9780823448586

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW

The winter that Thoreau started his vigil on Walden Pond, Tudor, trying to restore his fortune and to show that delivering ice around the world was feasible, started harvesting Walden Pond’s ice. While the sawing and cutting disturbed nature, Thoreau was still fascinated that someone on the other side of the world was enjoying the same waters he did. More interesting to me was a look at the ice business – from cutting to delivering so far away. Thoreau may still be taught in high schools, but I don’t think his work is covered at the elementary level. Librarians – keep an eye out for those chances to share. I would promote this as a book about ice storage before electricity – not about Thoreau.

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS 

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Anglerfish: the seadevil of the deep by Elaine M. Alexander and Fiona Fogg - ESSENTIAL

 Anglerfish: the seadevil of the deep by Elaine M. Alexander, illustrated by Fiona Fogg. NON – FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick, 2022. $18. 9781536213966

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

The female anglerfish starts her life at the top of the Atlantic Ocean, gradually growing and swimming down and down to lightless depths where she will collect food using her glowing lure. Eventually a little male anglerfish will join her and the cycle will start again.

A beautiful and absorbing look at the anglerfish. Not only does the foundation text reveal intriguing facts, the pages of back matter are equally informative. I can’t believe this is the author’s first book. I am looking forward to several more about equally intriguing characters.

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS 

A Bear, a Bee, and a Honey Tree by Daniel Bernstrom and Brandon James Scott - ESSENTIAL

A Bear, a Bee, and a Honey Tree by Daniel Bernstrom, illustrated by Brandon James Scott. PICTURE BOOK. Hippo Park (Astra), 2022. $19. 9781662640087

BUYING ADVISORY: Pre-K, EL (K-3), MS, HS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Bear is hungry and knows there is honey up in that tree. Bess, however, is on guard and is not alone in protecting the hive.

I have to say it – Scott’s illustrations are luminous! Gorgeous. Glowing. While Bernstrom’s story is simple, the words and pictures are a cohesive whole that will delight every reader. A master text for picture book writers – it’d be great to share with any creative writing class. And I really want to cuddle that bee!

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS 

Saturday, December 3, 2022

The Why-Why’s Gone Bye-Bye by Stephen Pastis - HIGH

 The Why-Why’s Gone Bye-Bye (Trubble Town #2) by Stephen Pastis, 288 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Aladdin (Simon & Schuster). 2022. $14.

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content G; Violence: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

My attempt at a summary: Milo lives in the Trubble Orphanage for Troubled Tots where he rarely speaks. The orphanage is crushed by a Hula-hoop and the children of Trubble are saved from aliens because they were tethered to the Wheel O’ Death ride, which when they are flung from it, they discover there are no adults in the town. And then it gets weird.

Wicked funny read. Pastis has a gift for bizarre but hilarious absurdity. Even though this is aimed at kids, the humor had me hooked and I think it would appeal to any audience. It’s like a comedic acid trip. Sign me up for the next one.

Michelle in the Middle 

The Tower of Life by Chana Stiefel and Susan Gal - ESSENTIAL

 The Tower of Life: how Yaffa Eliach rebuilt her town in stories and photographs by Chana Stiefel, illustrated by Susan Gal. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Scholastic, 2022. $19. 9781338225891

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Yaffa was a little girl when the German army swept into her small village and killed nearly every Jewish inhabitant. Over the next few years, Yaffa and her family fled and hid – always a few steps away from capture. When Yaffa came to America, she became a renowned Holocaust scholar. When President Jimmy Carter asked her to help create an exhibit for the Holocaust Museumin WDC, she remembered the few photographs she managed to save and spent the next 17 years traveling the world to look for other photographs that may have remained as witness to her village.

Wow, Wow! What an awesome story. Any class in any school that studies the Holocaust or refugees will devour this book. Students may not understand at the beginning of the story why it is so important, but by the end they will be drawn in just like I was. What a precious new piece to our knowledge of history! I don’t always wish for more back matter in my picture books, but this one needed so much more! I guess I’ll have to do my own research. 

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS 

Friday, December 2, 2022

The Girl Who Built and Ocean by Jess Keating and Michelle Mee Nutter - ADVISABLE

 The Girl Who Built and Ocean: an artist, an argonaut, and the true story of the world’s first aquarium by Jess Keating and Michelle Mee Nutter. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Knopf (Random House), 2022. $19.

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS, HS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Raised as a seamstress, when Jeanne and her husband move to Italy, her imagination is sent soaring by the rich wildlife around her – especially in the ocean. Though at her time women weren’t respected as scientists, she taught herself to observe carefully and use her imagination. It was her imagination to helped her build the first aquarium, so that she could observe certain species in a way that they couldn’t scuttle off into deeper waters.

Such an excellent look at this inventive woman and I’m so glad that we didn’t lose her story. Nutter’s illustrations as gorgeous and she created some lovely endpapers. I do have to wish that the title didn’t call her “girl”, though.

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS 

Night of the Vam-Wolf-Zom by Steven Banks and Mark Fearing - HIGH

 Night of the Vam-Wolf-Zom (Middle School Bites #4) by Steven Banks, illustrated by Mark Fearing, 263 pages. Holiday House. 2022. $14. Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content G; Violence: G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

11yo Tom, bitten by a vampire, werewolf, and zombie, is off having more adventures as the only creature of his kind. This installment finds him trying to liberate the zombie who bit him from a carnival and trying to get back a crucial vampire book from the werewolf who bit him for the vampire who bit him. Yep, sounds intense. If that weren’t enough, there is drama about the drama production as the school play gets underway.

Seriously funny, Tom is a great character, and it’s an interesting study to see how his classmates accept or don’t accept him. All the angst of middle school with the supernatural thrown in makes for some great interplay. I’m always happily surprised at how readable and fun the series is.

Michelle in the Middle 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

A River's Gifts by Patricia Newman and Natasha Donovan - ADVISABLE

 A River's Gifts by Patricia Newman, illustrated by Natasha Donovan. NON FICTION PICTUE BOOK. Millbrook Press (Lerner), 2022. $24. 9781541598706

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS, HS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

The history of the Elwha River in Washington state and its importance for salmon and the native tribal people (Strong People) is depicted through simple detailed text and beautiful illustrations. As more people moved to the area and built dams to provide electricity, life on the river changed for the river's wildlife and its people. Did you know that licenses for dams need "renewing like an overdue library book?" What would happen if the license is not renewed? Extra notes from the author, illustrator, and a tribal member all give added insight to the book as well as maps on the endpapers comparing 1950 to 2020.

I was drawn into the book by the gorgeous illustrations. The text is very informative and felt like a mini lesson which could be enjoyed by upper elementary children (although not suitable as a read-aloud) through adults. I learned a lot about salmon, life along the river, and about the building of dams. There are many ways this book could be used to enhance any science curriculum.

CS - Middle School Librarian 

Have You Seen the Darkness? by Richard Fairgray - HIGH

 Have You Seen the Darkness? (Black Sand Beach #3) by Richard Fairgray, 192 pages. GRAPHIC NOVEL. Pixel Ink. 2022. $23. 

Content G

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Dash is trying to piece together his memory, since he can’t remember writing in his journal the previous summer. His memory may not be the biggest problem he and his friends face, since there is a face-eating monster that may or may not be trapped in the woods. This book also jumps back in time to 1994 when the ghost girls Dash befriended in his journal are alive and well and on a monster hunt with their dad. 

If you have read the other books in the series, this one will make more sense. The art is fun and creepy at the same time and the plot intriguing. If you are a fan of Gravity Falls, then this will be the series for you. Black Sand Beach is a mysterious and dangerous place that’s full of surprises.

Michelle in the Middle 

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Liar's Crown by Abigail Owen - HIGH

The Liar's Crown by Abigail Owen
, 434 pages. Entangled Teen Publishing, 2022. $16

Language: R (100 swears, 5 ‘f’); Mature Content: R (sex extensively alluded and implied); Violence: PG-13( dead bodies, battles, fighting)

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Meren and Tabra are princesses, born twins at birth but their grandmother and years of tradition require the second born, Meren to be a body double for Tabra. A stand-in whenever danger is present, Meren replaces Tabra for her own protection. All of Meren's life her true identity and existence has been hidden from everyone, only the royal family knows that there is two princesses instead of one. But when a handsome stranger kidnaps Maren, thinking he kidnapped Tabra, the "real" princess, chaos ensues. Meren must overcome her fears and save her sister, before the real kidnapper comes to take her away. 
The Liar's Crown is your typical young adult novel. It has your feisty princess with a sharp tongue, the handsome black haired bad boy with a heart of gold- all set in a fantasy built world full of magic and intrigue. If that is your type of thing, then by all means read away, but if you need a solid plot structure- something other than the romance and running in the woods, then find your reading enjoyment elsewhere. I enjoyed it, and I will be reading the second one when it comes out, but I do think it fell short on the dialogue and writing style and overall structure. 
Meren is described with ""long black hair, golden skin and amber eyes"" and you can imagine Tabra has the same description. Cain, a friend of Meren's is described with ""onyx colored eyes and copper colored skin."" Reven is just described with dark hair."

Kenzie Hoehne 

Paper Heart by Cat Patrick - ADVISABLE

Paper Heart (A Companion to Tornado Brain)
by Cat Patrick
304 pages. G. P. Putnam's Sons, Penguin Random House, 2021. $18.  

Language: PG (15 swears - mostly Diety 0 'f's) Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (emotional bullying).

BUYING ADVISORY: MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Tess is still struggling over the death of her best friend Colette. She takes the opportunity to spend the summer at her Aunt's and Uncle's cabin where she can attend an art camp in town. The break from everything at home, including her twin sister Frankie, who is handling her emotions much better than Tess is, might be just what she needs. But, while art camp is fun, and she meets a nice boy, Tess feels like Colette may be haunting her. 

I loved the idea of Paper Hearts, how if you crumple them, you can't get the creases out - that mean words can do that to actual hearts. Paper Hearts was engaging in a different way than Tornado Brain. Not as frantic, and Paper Hearts has a romance! 

Lisa Librarian

City of Hooks and Scars (City of Villains #2) by Estelle Laure - ADVISABLE

City of Hooks and Scars (City of Villains #2)
by Estelle Laure,
226 pages. Disney/Hyperion. 2022. $18.

Language: PG (15 swears 0 'f');  Mature Content: PG (one passionate kiss); Violence: PG (descriptions of violence) 

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

17yo Mary Elizabeth's whole world had changed. Her best friend has grown tentacles, her boyfriend has a hook for a hand, and Mally has sprouted horns. She hasn't seen them since the Battle of Miracle Lake, and everyone in town is calling them monsters. But Mary Elizabeth thinks she can find them - even though she lost her internship with the police department, she still knows her way around and who to talk to. But now there's a new villain they are calling The Red Queen, and Mary Elizabeth thinks she may hold the answers. 

Well, it's the middle book in what is most likely a trilogy - so the plot is primarily setting up for, what I hope, is an epic book three. I really like this look at the origin stories of the villains, and placing them in High School is perfect - it's fun hearing everyone's catchphrases. I missed the romance and angst - boyfriend is gone, best friend is gone - not much drama left when that happens. 

Lisa Librarian

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Mandela and the General by John Carlin and Oriol Malet - ESSENTIAL

Mandela and the General by John Carlin, illustrated by Oriol Malet
, 106 pages, NON-FICTION GRAPHIC NOVEL. Plough Publishing House. 2018. $20. 9780874868203

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content PG; Violence: PG-13 (depictions of racist violence)

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

A true story covered by John Carlin when he was a foreign correspondent, this book covers the end of apartheid as South Africa is poised on the knife’s edge of all-out war. Mandela knows he can’t avert a bloodbath without meeting up with his arch enemy, Constand Viljoen, who is leading the white, well-armed militias. The two meet in secret to determine the future of a nation and countless lives. 

This is a timely read when it seems political rhetoric and fear mongering take the place of civil discourse. Mandela’s comment, “We need to find a way that will reconcile your people’s understandable fears with my people’s legitimate aspirations,” is insightful. Carlin captures the emotions of this time period in a carefully written, concise format that demonstrates the value of empathy. 

Michelle in the Middle 

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, Robert Venditti, and Olivia Stephens - ADVISABLE

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia, adapted by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Olivia Stephens
, 128 pages, GRAPHIC NOVEL. Disney Hyperion. 2022. $22. 9781368075008

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content PG; Violence: PG (friend’s death, fighting)

BUYING ADVISORY: MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

7th grader Tristan Strong is staying with his grandparents following the traumatic loss of his friend. While there, he accidentally rips open a rift into the world, Mid Pass. He finds the inhabitants there struggling against an evil that is threatening not only MidPass but could spill over into our world. Tristan encounters Black American folk heroes, John Henry and Brer Rabbit in his quest to return home and help MidPass. To accomplish this, he must find the trickster Anansi, who may hold the key to helping both worlds. 

Loaded with adventure, the graphic novel keeps up a frenetic pace as Tristan battles foe after foe. This is a nice companion to the novel version. It’s helpful to get a visual on the iron monsters and the different facets of MidPass. The artwork is vibrant and laid out well. Those interested in Black American folk lore will enjoy this telling.

Michelle in the Middle 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter - HIGH

The Do-Over by Lynn Painter
, 291 pages. Simon, 2022. $20

Language: R (100+ swears, 15 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: G

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

11th grader Emilie has the perfect Valentine’s Day planned out – she is going to tell her boyfriend that she loves him and has the perfect present chosen. Instead, she catches him kissing his beautiful ex. Worst of all, that isn’t the last of the bad day. The next morning – that bad day starts all over. And then again. Finally, Emilie has had enough and sabotages everyone around her all day, dragging in Nick, her science lab partner and boy whose car she crashes into every day, along with her into her plan to do as much damage as possible. The next morning – it’s the 15th. Now what is Emilie going to do?

Fast paced and compelling – I finished in one afternoon. Of course, this is a take on Groundhog’s Day, and I didn’t mind at all. Watching Emilie pick up her life after she trainwrecks everything and finally figures out the real lessons she needed to learn was a lot of fun. 

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS 

The Final Cut by Denis Markell - ADVISABLE

The Final Cut
by Denis Markell
289 pages. Delacorte (Random House). 2022. $17 

Content: G. 

BUYING ADVISORY: MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Alex Davis is finally in 7th grade, where he gets to choose an elective! Although he hoped for the cool video game design class, he ended up in Filmaking. Determined to make the best of it - and excited about the school's Golden Reel competition, Alex, Priti Sharma - the prettiest girl at school, his best friend Lexi and a loner named Theo begin work on what they think might be a winner. But someone is determined to sabotage their movie. 

I like that Markell set The Final Cut in a private school. Primarily because the choices of electives were amazing, difficult offerings to justify to 7th graders in a public school setting, but also, I like that the kids were all a bit eccentric (Theo especially). I really loved the conversation with Alex and his mother about appropriate boundaries with girls, and not making judgements about them based on what they wear. Alex's sister Violet - her parents really treat her like a toddler, I was shocked that she was 7. All in all, though, a solid stand alone with a fun storyline, full of political intrigue, teacher drama and mystery. One of the characters comes out to their friend, Priti is of Indian descent, all other main characters are white - based on the cover illustration.

Lisa Librarian

Friday, November 25, 2022

Yuck, You Suck by Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y. Stemple and Eugenia Nobati - OPTIONAL

 Yuck, You Suck by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple, illustrated by Eugenia Nobati. NON FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Millbrook Press (Lerner), 2022. $21. 9781728415666

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Yuck, You Suck is a book of poems about animals that are suckers, such as mosquitos. Each poem is about a different animal and the poems are in a variety of styles and include facts about the animals. The end of the book has back matter about each animal and a glossary of scientific terms.

Nobati's illustrations are a colorful, engaging style that will definitely draw in readers. For the most part, the poems rhyme and rhythm worked, with a few exceptions. I found some of the poems to be less engaging and difficult to understand without already knowing the scientific terms; it might have been helpful to have the back matter on the necessary page, instead. I did enjoy Yolen and Stemple’s voice and playful style.

Marinda, school librarian 

Where We Come From by Diane Wilson, et al and Dion MBD - ESSENTIAL

Where We Come From
 by Diane Wilson, Sun Yung Shin, Shannon Gibney, John Coy, illustrated by Dion MBD
. PICTURE BOOK. Carolrhoda Books, 2022. $19. 9781541596122

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL, MS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Four authors, of different ethnicities and backgrounds, describe where they and their ancestors come from. They start with a general description of their ancestors and move to a more specific description of themselves. They use figurative and descriptive language to describe themselves and their familys' history with a focus on storytelling. 

If you don't read the book summary, you may not realize that the book focuses on four specific people and not the world in general. This is made more clear at the end, but it's a good perspective to have at the beginning. The art is beautiful and detailed. I especially liked the images of the four authors (portrayed as children) with their bodies a reflection of their different family stories. This would be a great book to use for older grades as a way to introduce personal narrative. There is additional information in the back about the 4 authors and their histories. Most students would find they have something in common with one of the four. 

S. Graf, Librarian 

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Saint-Marie and Julie Flett - ADVISABLE

 Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Saint-Marie, illustrated by Julie Flett. PICTURE BOOK. Greystone Kids, 2022. $19. 9781771648073

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL, MS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

A young Indigenous girl in Alberta Canada expresses her feelings in a love song for the seasons, animals, places, and traditions that are in her community.

Still This Love Goes On is a gentle, enjoyable story/song that pulled at my heart. The love and hope Buffy Saint-Marie has for her indigenous people and land is portrayed beautifully. Stunning illustrations create emotional vistas that share her heart. 

PGPowers 

Belladonna by Adalyn Grace - ESSENTIAL

Belladonna by Adalyn Grace
, 408 pages. Little, Brown for Young Readers, 2022. $15 

Language: G (2 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (implied sex); Violence: PG (Death kills by touch, poisonings)

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Signa is born into a rich family; when she’s two months old, her mother Rima throws a party. No one realizes the wine is poisoned and baby Signa sees Death approach her mother before he moves onto the others who drank the wine. Signa is left alone in the home after Death tries to take her too but he sees her brilliant future instead of her short past, what he usually sees as he takes someone’s life. Now, at 19yo, Signa lives with Aunt Magda; Signa has lived with several relatives throughout her lifetime, but Aunt Magda is especially mean to Signa. Every guardian she’s had has died and she thinks it’s her fault and that Death’s taking people on purpose and because of her, but when Magda dies, Death appears once again and assures Signa that’s not the case. Signa is retrieved by her new guardian’s workers and taken to Thorn Grove where the lady of the manor, Aunt Lillian, is deceased and Signa’s cousin Blythe is ill; cousin Percy and Uncle Elijah seem healthy though. Sylas, the worker who brought her to Thorn Grove, helps investigate Lillian’s death; the two of them believe someone poisoned Lillian and is now poisoning Blythe and they want to solve the mystery before the poison takes Blythe’s life also.

I love the rich prose and beautiful descriptions of the scenery. I appreciate the fact that the book has very little swearing and vague details of sex that keep it out of the sensitive materials area. I enjoyed reading about the main character’s views on and dealings with proper etiquette and the setting is beautifully descriptive. The ethnicity is white and brown. 

LynnDell Watson, Delta High School Librarian, Delta, Utah 

Made 4 You by Eric Walters - ADVISABLE

Made 4 You by Eric Walters
, 281 pages. DCB Young Readers, 2022. $16 Language: G (0 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG ( kissing) ; Violence: PG (non-graphic murders, fighting)

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

When 17yo Becky is assigned to show the new guy around her Indiana high school, she has no idea what she’s getting into. Gene is unlike anyone Becky has ever known - he wears a blue suit and carries a briefcase on his first day of school. Gene has been home schooled his entire life, and becoming a senior in high school is not easy. Luckily he has Becky to help him learn to fit in. But the more time Becky spends with him, the more she realizes Gene is not a normal teenage boy. He is beyond brilliant, knows every fact, learns to play the saxophone like a pro overnight, and suddenly becomes a star basketball player. Most importantly, the more time they spend together, the deeper in love with each other they become. When the truth comes out about Gene’s origins, the two must work together to stay alive and to keep his secrets safe. 

Every teen dreams of a life filled with non-stop action and sweeping romance, and Walters definitely delivers both. The sweetness of the love story encompasses the beginning, and then almost without warning the adrenaline rush begins as Gene and Becky steal cars, crash-land an airplane, and run across country to keep each other safe. Although there is a fair amount of fighting and gun-wielding, and even kissing, none of it is at all graphic, and the pair do all they can to refrain from using violence to solve their problems.

Tammie H, Librarian 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong - HIGH

Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong
, 528 pages. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022. $18

Language: PG (3 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: ; Violence: PG-13 (Killing by poison, shooting, bloody shooting and stabbings)

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

The prologue tells of a painful scientific experiment on a person that has been strapped down. Then the story starts as Rosalind is trapping a criminal who is a member of the group responsible for the death of her cousin Juliette during a past act gone awry. She’s exacting revenge on those who were part of it. Political intrigue, spies, agents, Communists and Nationalists describe the characters in this book. Her handler pairs her with another agent, Orion, who has family issues as well. The two of them have to pretend to be married so they can infiltrate the newspaper company and try to discover information on the serial killer murdering people with a toxic liquid in syringes. What they discover turns their lives around and, unbeknownst to Orion and Rosalind, the reader is given the true identity of a mysterious agent, Priest. 

I enjoyed learning about the history of 1930’s China. The author’s notes give readers a glimpse into her research and what's based on facts and what’s completely fiction in this story. The author’s notes on Asian history during the 1930’s are fascinating. Rosalind and Orion are characters with depth and I had fun getting to know them. All of the characters or of Chinese descent. Mentions that one of the characters is transgender. 

LynnDell Watson, Delta High School Librarian, Delta, UT 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - HIGH

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
, 444 pages. HarperCollins, 2017. $10 (Scholastic Book Fair version)

Language: R (100+ swears, 54 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (teen drinking, marijuana, foreplay, arousal mentioned ; Violence: PG-13 (gun deaths, riots, beatings, police violence, fires set)

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Starr lives in a rough part of town and after one of her best friends gets shot in a drive by shooting when they’re ten, Starr’s parents have her attend a private school that’s safer. Now Starr is 16yo and she witnesses her other childhood friend getting fatally shot by a police officer. Her friend did nothing to provoke the shooting, except for being black.

Thomas has a powerful novel that is about much more than racism. It’s also about choices, bravery, integrity and helping others. This book has a lot of swearing which is authentic to the lifestyle of the character’s surroundings, but the message of empowerment makes it a must read. This is a novel that will stick with me. I liked how the author shows reality and brings her characters to life to make the readers care about them. I like that two different worlds are brought together by two teens living in both and experiencing the stark differences in each. Character development is abundant and bravery and integrity are a huge factor in the main character’s life and family. I love how the main character’s family is open to discussing everything instead of keeping secrets from each other.

LynnDell Watson, Delta High School Librarian 

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Violet Made Of Thorns by Gina Chen - HIGH

Violet Made Of Thorns by Gina Chen
, 368 pages. Delacorte Press (Random), 2022. $16

Language: R (39 swears, 2 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (Drinking and described sex); Violence: PG-13 (Blood, injuries, sword fighting and murder)

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Prince Cyprus has lived his whole life being a hopeless romantic, full of poetry and beauty. But when the prophesy resurfaces, pressuring him to find a bride in order to save his kingdom, he can't do it. His childhood companion, Violet, is the new seer who must help him find a bride before the prophesy becomes true. Cyprus's father, enlists Violet's help to get Cyprus to meet and fall in love with a beautiful lady of the court during a masked ball. Violet must get Cyprus to love the match his father made, for the fate of the kingdom depends on it. 
 
Violet Made of Thorns is set in a very whimsical kingdom, full of seers, ballroom scenes and princes. The characters are morally grey, which I find refreshing as the "heroes" of the story don't always make the right decisions and the "villains" aren't always burning down villages- they have humanity in them. Violet is described with “blushed yellow,” skin and Dante has “clay-brown” skin, and Raya has “brown” skin. Prince Cyprus or the royal family's skin is not mentioned. 

Kenzie Hoehne 

Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Philip C. Stead and Matthew Cordell - ESSENTIAL

 Every Dog in the Neighborhood by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Matthew Cordell. PICTURE BOOK. Neal Porter Books (Holiday House), 2022. $19. 9780823444274

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL, MS - ESSENTIAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Louis and his Grandma go on walks every day in an urban neighborhood. Grandma sees something on her walk that she is upset by. She writes a letter to city hall. She encourages Louis to do the same. Louis asks, "How many dogs are in our neighborhood?" City Hall responds and says they don't know. Louis takes matters into his own hands and knocks on every door in the neighborhood. He enjoys getting to know his neighborhoods and especially the dogs writing down their names as he goes.

Stead writes a perfect story for an animal lover. I am a dog lover and had a very close relationship with my grandma and so naturally I loved this book. The names of the dogs are very unique and creative. I like the grandma's example of being involved in civic affairs and how to create change. I can see this book being checked out in a library constantly. It's incredibly charming. The diversity of the cast is many different races. It looks as though Louis and his Grandma are of Hispanic ethnicity.

Emilee-School Librarian 

Monday, November 21, 2022

Five Kisses One Problem by Angela Carling - ADVISABLE

Five Kisses, One Problem by Angela Carling
, 227 pages. Amazon, 2022 $3 (Kindle only)

Content: G

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Liberty, Maya and Nikola are back! This time the story is mostly about Liberty. She just graduated from high school and has been accepted to an internship at Campaign Headquarters. She want to go into politics so this is perfect and she is so excited. On her first day her skirt rips as she is getting out of her car, and things quickly goes from bad to worse. She is going to have to work with the senator's very handsome son, Grant. They grew up together but Liberty could not stand him. They never got along and he was just a problem all around. Maya and Nikola think that Grant would make Liberty happy and come up with a plan to help Liberty and Grant realize that they could be friends, even more than friends. Of course, nothing goes as planned. No matter what Grant does, Liberty takes offense. What will it take for her to see that Grant is great? Maya and Nikola come up with a plan. It will take at least five kisses to complete. 

I love the story of these girls and already look forward to soon read about Maya. The characters are fun, the story refreshingly clean in today’s society. I read this in one sitting, enjoying every minute the twists and turns on the road to a fun conclusion. A great read for anyone, especially young girls asking for romance books. I definitely recommend this book.

Ellen-Anita, Librarian 

Five Survive by Holly Jackson - HIGH

Five Survive by Holly Jackson, 400 pages. Delacorte Press (Random House), 2022. $20.

Language: R (41 swears, 110 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Using an RV to drive to Gulf Shores where the rest of their friends and classmates flew to for spring break sounded like fun. But then Red (17yo) and her friends got lost. And then the RV not-so-accidently broke down. Now the six of them need to find out who is hiding a secret the other five are not willing to die for.

Tensions are high from the start, and Jackson doesn’t let up. These desperate characters are up all night, and readers get caught up in the fear and frustration. New chapters bring more complications, not the relief everyone is hoping for – and it was thrilling to read, except for those times when I wanted to reach in and punch that one guy in the face. While the ending is somewhat open-ended, I was satiated by the denouement.

Red, Maddy, and Oliver are white; Simon is at least half Korean; Reyna is Mexican; and Arthur is undefined. The mature content rating is for mentions of drugs, underage drinking, illegal activity, innuendo, and partial nudity. The violence rating is for blood and gore, gun use, and murder. 

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Given by Nandi Taylor - OPTIONAL

Given by Nandi Taylor, 464 pages. Wattpad Books, 2020. $18.

Language: R (41 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Yenni Ajani (18yo) has a duty to her tribe as one of the chieftain’s daughters, including marrying to strengthen alliances. But Yenni’s father is sick, and nothing they do helps. Yenni appeals to the Sha and is granted Orire N’jem, a year-long journey, to dedicate herself to learn the magic of Cresh, hoping to discover a cure for her father – but the gods have other plans.

Taylor introduces a new world with clashing cultures and forms of magic; I enjoyed the worldbuilding as much as I enjoyed the story. There were a couple points that felt like they were unrealistically overlooked by the characters, though it’s possible they could be purposeful loose ends to be addressed in a potential sequel. Overall, the book is entertaining, with adventure, magical spells and battles, family struggles, romance, and more.

Yenni is depicted as Black on the cover, and her people are also described that way. When Yenni travels to Cresh, she observes people with skins of many hues, including sandy, golden brown, pale, blue, green, and more. Weysh is described as having dark skin, though not as dark as Yenni’s. The mature content rating is for alcohol use, illegal activity, innuendo, mentions of rape, partial nudity, and implied sex. The violence rating is for fantasy fighting and blood.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Saturday, November 19, 2022

Noah McNichol and the Backstage Ghost by Martha Freeman - ADVISABLE

Noah McNichol and the Backstage Ghost
by Martha Freeman
260 pages. Simon and Schuster. 2021. $18. 

Content: G. 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

11yo Noah is a theater kid. His drama teacher, Miss Magnus, actually breaks her leg just before rehearsals begin for the 6th grade play Hamlet. Coach Fig is put in charge, but rather than directing, he only sort of supervises - he has a side job as a wedding planner. When a strange old man named Mike, who seems to have theater experience, the show might just be saved. But, who is Mike, and why does he disappear? Maybe Mike is a ghost!

I love 'Let's put on a show" books. Especially when the kids have to pull together and make it happen. I loved that it didn't turn into a free for all farce, and I also loved that it gave a realistic picture of all the moving parts of creating a production, including the stage manager and the tech people. Theater kids are really going to like Noah McNichol and the Backstage Ghost. 

Noah is white, but he has a diverse set of friends.

Lisa Librarian

Friday, November 18, 2022

The Real-Life Murder Clubs by Nicola Stow - OPTIONAL

The Real-Life Murder Clubs by Nicola Stow, 240 pages. NONFICTION, SHORT STORIES. Ad Lib Publishers, 2022. $17.

Language: R (25 swears, 12 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Stow interviews and shares the stories of citizens who have helped in several different cases – identifying suspects and victims in their free time. These citizens are often part of online communities that come together to try and crack cold cases. The work is never done, but Stow tells readers about a few of the victories.

The internet and all of its resources can be used for good, as is shown by the citizens highlighted in this book to catch criminals. However, Stow and her interviewees also include a warning chapter about what happens when social media and trolls go out of control. I am in absolute awe of the work that regular people are dedicating hours of their free time to behind the scenes. There is good in the world, and this book shows how good is triumphant over evil.

The mature content rating is for mention of drug and alcohol use, mention of pornography and brothels, illegal activity, and mentions of nudity and rape. The violence rating is for gun use, gang wars, mention of kidnapping and chemical warfare, mention of decomposing bodies, mentions of suicide, self harm, mention of abuse and cannibalism, animal cruelty, and murder.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales - OPTIONAL

Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales, 384 pages. Wednesday Books (St. Martin’s Press), 2022. $19.

Language: R (227 swears, 68 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: G

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

Jordy (20yo), the famous brother of the new Princess Samantha, is the focus of a new TV show called Second-Chance Romance, allowing him to re-date his exes from before he became famous. Maya (18yo) is adamantly against going on the show until it occurs to her that she could expose Jordy as a jerk and a cheater. But that also means Maya has to face Skye, the girl Jordy cheated on her with.

The first third of the book was nerve-wracking because I was constantly bracing myself for everything to go horribly wrong, resulting in embarrassment for Maya and sympathy-embarrassment for me. Once the lines between enemies and allies were rearranged, the story became more enjoyable because I could finally relax. Our emotions can be difficult to navigate, and I appreciated how Maya struggles with finally getting revenge, figuring out what she really wants, and the idea of letting something go to make space for something better.

Most of the characters are implied White. Jordy, Maya, Perrie, and Lauren are American; Skye is half Scottish; Kim is Indian-English; and Francesca is Irish. The mature content rating is for innuendo, alcohol use, intense make out scenes, and implied sex.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Edited by Barry Lyga - NO

Edited by Barry Lyga, 285 pages. Blackstone Publishing, 2022. $20.

Language: R (97 swears, 41 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - NO

AUDIENCE APPEAL: LOW

Mike is in love with Phil. And he thinks she loves/d him, too. They were together during senior year, and then they separated after graduation, but now Mike will do anything in his power to get her back – even if it doesn’t make much sense.

Initially, I thought the beginning was just disorienting. But things never got better. By chapter six, I wished I could have put the book down three chapters earlier. The story doesn’t make sense, and I was annoyed. And then Lyga comes in and breaks the fourth wall worse than I have ever seen before. Maybe we can offer kudos to him for doing something new and surprising readers, but I am not pleased with the surprise and his over-meta-ing. If I could un-read this book, I would.

Mike is White, and Phil and George are implied White. The mature content rating is for underage drinking, innuendo, and mentions of nudity, condoms, and sex. The violence rating is for mentions of domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon - HIGH

See You Yesterday by Rachel Lynn Solomon
, 419 pages. Simon and Schuster, 2022. $16

Language: PG-13 (20 swears, 3 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (Sexual jokes throughout the book and making out briefly described); Violence: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

 In order to escape dramatic events that unfolded at her high school, Barrett Bloom goes to college. At first glance, college seems like the perfect thing that Barrett needs, but when little details start making her first day of college worse and worse- Barrett struggles to be an optimist. One of those details being, her frenemy from high school is her roomate. When it seems Barrett can't take it anymore, she goes to sleep, and wakes up in the same day... the cursed first day of college. Can Barrett make it out of the loop she's mysteriously caught in? Or will she have to find join in living every single day the same? 

See You Yesterday is a cute novel, good for cuddling by the fire on a cold autumn day. Barrett can be relatable at times and she can also seem annoying. This book is good to read for the romance, the cute little scenes of Barrett and her love interest are awesome, but the overall plot is rather boring and overused. I mean, Groundhog day, Happy Death Day and The Map Of Tiny Perfect Things all have the same plot. Barrett Bloom is described as curvy, with wavy dark hair and pale skin. Miles (her love interest) is Asian.

Kenzie Hoehne 

Five Kisses Five Days by Angela Carling - ADVISABLE

Five Days Five Kisses 
by Angela Carling
, 187 pages. Amazon, 2018. $3 (Kindle only)

 Content: G 

BUYING ADVISORY: MS, HS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH

Nikola is excited about the summer and attending college in the fall. She has a great boyfriend, Sam, and two best friends, Liberty and Maya. Nikola has had a lot of changes in her life, her parents divorce and the move to Arizona. On graduation day she walks across the stage, receives her diploma and she sees Sam waiting for her. But, life is about to change again. Sam breaks up with her in a very public humiliating way and he walks off with his new girlfriend. Nikola is devastated and Liberty and Maya try to console her, with no luck. They need a plan to help their best friend. Liberty needs to kiss 5 different boys in 5 days. They think that way she will quickly forget Sam's kisses.

I loved the book! It was easy to read, fast paced and fun. The characters are believable and so is the story. Angela Carling write teenage girls so well. I read the whole book in one sitting just to see how this whole plan was going to work out. Nothing goes and planned and the girls get into some hilarious situations. After some twists and turns the story has a nice ending. The book is refreshingly clean and free of agendas. I have read several of Angela Carling's books love every one of them; I am now a fan of her books. A lot of students love reading romance books, and this is fun book to add to any collection Happy reading all around.

 Ellen-Anita. Librarian 

Monday, November 14, 2022

What’s Inside a Flower? By Rachel Ignotofsky - ESSENTIAL

 What’s Inside a Flower? By Rachel Ignotofsky. NON-FICTION PICTURE BOOK. Random House, 2021. $18. 9780593176474 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ESSENTIAL; HS - ADVISABLE

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Flowers live everywhere and come in many colors, shapes, and sizes. Flowers have many parts which perform many functions. Plants receive their energy from the sun by photosynthesis. Flowers need to be pollinated so they attract pollinators. Plants use seeds to reproduce, and seeds are spread many ways. Rachesl Igonotofsky ends her delightfully illustrated book by saying, “Happy flowers mean a happy earth for you and me.” 

This “happy” book of clear illustrations and prose create a simple, yet complete picture of what flowers are and do. Children will enjoy the bright, detailed story not knowing they are learning science principles. 

MOMMAC 

When the Sky Glows by Nell Cross Beckerman and David Litchfield - ADVISABLE

 When the Sky Glows by Nell Cross Beckerman, illustrated by David Litchfield. PICTURE BOOK NON-FICTION. Beach Lane (Simon), 2022. $19. 9781534450394 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

There are times and places where the sky above us glows. 

Litchfield’s luminescent illustrations are a definite treat here. Beckerman’s textual frame gives us a short line and then a more detailed explanation at the bottom of the page. I like that it is there, instead of stuffing it in as back matter. A great treatment for older students, or as a supplement, would be Cornelia Li’s Nature’s Light Spectacular 

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Rick The Rock of Room 214 by Julie Falatko and Ruth Chan - ADVISABLE

 Rick The Rock of Room 214 by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Ruth Chan. PICTURE BOOK. Simon & Schuster, 2022. $19. 9781534494640 

BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3), EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Rick is a Nature Finds rock hosted in an elementary classroom. He wishes for adventure that other rocks have in the student’s rock unit (volcanoes, cliffs, etc.) When the chance for adventure comes he takes it. This story is an excellent introduction to rocks and how they are formed while simultaneously a story about friendship and home.

This picture-book-almost-comic brings rocks, moss, and tree bark to life. The comics style of dialogue makes it fun to follow Rick’s adventure.  I liked watching the changes the children made to their Nature Finds and that the young girl recognized Rick even amongst other rocks. The illustrations play an integral role in the story, however, very young children were not interested in the classroom storyline or learning about rocks. I would like to see this as an introduction or wrap-up to a rocks unit in upper elementary school. 

 Mariah Gerlach, MLS

The Road to After by Rebekah Lowell - ADVISABLE

 The Road to After by Rebekah Lowell, 180 pages . Nancy Paulsen Books, 2022. $17. 

Language: G (0 swears); Mature Content: PG (psychological and emotional abuse); Violence: PG (dad hits child, child hits mom)

BUYING ADVISORY: EL, MS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE

10yo Lacey, and her 4yo sister, along with their mother, live in constant fear of their abusive father. His strict rules don’t allow them to leave the house. They can’t go to school. He won’t even let them buy fruits and vegetables or watch a movie without him. When he brings home some dental tools and announces that he will be doing some work on the girls’ teeth, they know they must flee. With Dad in jail, the girls all begin to learn what life should be like. Lacey finds an instant bond with nature and learns many life lessons while experiencing freedom for the first time. 

The psychological and emotional abuse the girls endure is handled delicately. There are two brief instances of physical abuse, but within the story Lowell manages to provide the reader with messages of beauty and hope. Perhaps most notable are the constant yet subtle reminders that nature teaches us many things about growth, change, letting go, and finding our way. The characters in this novel -in-verse are implied to be white. 

Tammie H, Librarian 

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Trigger by N. Griffin - OPTIONAL

Trigger by N. Griffin
, 256 pages. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Simon), 2022. $19 

Language: R (100+ swears 20 ‘f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (suicide, psychological, emotional, physical abuse throughout); Violence: PG-13 (child abuse, gun violence)

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE 

Didi can’t remember her mother. Growing up with her abusive and controlling father has never been easy, but she has learned to survive. She doesn’t speak at school, she doesn’t let herself think about hunger, and she pushes herself to be all the things her father expects. By the age of 15 Didi has learned to hunt with one shot, win every game of chess, get perfect grades, and run faster than anyone else at school. But now all her preparation has brought her to this one moment in time. A showdown with her despicable father that could cost her her life. 

A difficult, gritty read with prose that is, at times, unconventional. The constant abuse Didi suffers is one thing, but it is interesting to have a peek inside her mind to see how she processes and internalizes things over which she has no control. The pervasive swearing feels somewhat forced at times, as does the unimaginable conflict, however Griffin says the events are based on her own experiences. 

Tammie H, Librarian 

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard - ADVISABLE

The Luminaries by Susan Dennard, 304 pages. Tor Teen, 2022. $17 

Language: PG-13 (16 swears, ‘0 f’); Mature Content: PG-13 (Underage drinking, mentions marijuana); Violence: PG-13 (Dead, ripped apart bodies, beheading) 

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - ADVISABLE 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Luminaries are hunters of nightmares. Winnie, 16yo, is about to start the trials that lead to becoming a hunter. After her father was exposed as a spy, their family lost everything, including him. She is excited to become a hunter and draws every creature she sees with her wonderful artistic skills. When she accidentally witnesses a banshee killing then carries the head to the hunters, she's celebrated for her first hunt. Winnie asks Jay to train her because she feels extremely behind since she hasn’t had access to teaching or coaching for the last four years; Jay agrees, but Winnie has difficulty reading him because he's aloof, strong and oblivious to the attention and flirting of Winnie's peers. As Winnie builds her skills, she discovers a coded message from her father and the book ends with the shocking deciphered note he left for her.

My favorite quote comes from Grandpa Frank: “That’s why we’re called the Luminaries, Winnie, we are lanterns the forest can never snuff out”. I enjoyed the mystery of the Whisperer and the discovery of another mystery that leads into a sequel. I also enjoyed the writing and that Winnie is an artist. I like the character Jay and the mystery surrounding his life. The characters seem to be of a variety of races, but none particularly stood out or played a part in the action. One of the minor characters is LGBT. 

LynnDell Watson, Delta High School Librarian, Delta, UT 

Friday, November 11, 2022

Beach Read by Emily Henry - HIGH

Beach Read by Emily Henry,
361 pages. Berkley, 2020. $16 

Language: R (128 swears, 15 ‘f’); Mature Content: R (unfaithfulness, explicit sex, alcohol); Violence: PG (fire mentioned) 

BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

January's life has been a fairytale. A romance author, she believes that love can conquer all, including two times beating her mom's cancer and giving her the most gorgeous boyfriend. However, all of that is quickly turned on its head when her father dies suddenly from a stroke and January finds herself spending her summer in the mysterious lake-house once shared by her father and his other lover. To make things even better, her next door neighbor is the moody Gus, her college nemesis and whose stories are dark, philosophical contemplations in comparison to January's "Happily Ever After's." Unable to bring herself to write, January and Gus make a bet: Gus will write the romance, and January will write in Gus's normal style, and the winner of this will settle the case of the collage competition once and for all. 

I picked up this TikTok-recommended novel with a bit of apprehension, but was pleasantly surprised! The writing is thoroughly enjoyable to read as it is creative, funny, and poetic all at the same time. Not only is this story a romance, it is an exploration of grief and betrayal. The characters are all very lovable and realistic, so you're not experiencing unbearable second-hand embarrassment for them! The reader must be aware, however, of the couple sex scenes in the book that do not fade to black and are rather explicit. 

 Reviewer: Sierra 

Rise of the Black Quarterback by Jason Reid - ESSENTIAL

Rise of the Black Quarterback by Jason Reid
, 270 pages. Andscape, 2022. $27. 978136807662 

Language: PG (11 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: G; Violence: PG (minimal racist language, fighting mentioned) 

BUYING ADVISORY: MS – ADVISABLE; HS - ESSENTIAL 

AUDIENCE APPEAL: HIGH 

Before Kaepernick, before Mahomes, Black pioneer athletes were involved with football from the very beginning. For several reasons (collusion, racism, fear), though, Blacks were almost completely frozen out of the high profile leadership role of quarterback. 

Reid takes us on a journey from the roots of football’s beginnings to the present day, exploring pivotal Black players throughout that history. Each chapter highlights a key person. Football is so young, still, that many of the men mentioned are still alive (Tony Dungy). Before I read this, I leant it to one of my football-playing reluctant readers. He loved it! So make sure that students know that you have it and it will circulate. 

Cindy Mitchell, Library Teacher, MLS