Staff New Release Picks: January 2019

Teen Staff New Release Picks.png

This year, the Teen Staff will be starting something new: New Release Picks! Looking for a new book and a guaranteed good read? Look no farther than our monthly New Release Picks! Here are our picks for January new releases (all summaries provided by Goodreads):

January 8th Releases


Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi 
Short Story/Anthology
Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity. Whether it’s New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writing about #blackboyjoy or Newbery Honor-winning author Renee Watson talking about black girls at camp in Portland, or emerging author Jay Coles’s story about two cowboys kissing in the south—Black Enough is an essential collection full of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.


The Girl King by Mimi Yu
Sisters Lu and Min have always understood their places as princesses of the Empire. Lu knows she is destined to become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while Min is resigned to a life in her shadow. Then their father declares their male cousin Set the heir instead—a betrayal that sends the sisters down two very different paths. Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes on the run. She needs an ally—and an army—if she is to succeed. Her quest leads her to Nokhai, the last surviving wolf shapeshifter. Nok wants to keep his identity secret, but finds himself forced into an uneasy alliance with the girl whose family killed everyone he ever loved. Alone in the volatile court, Min’s hidden power awakens—a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign…or allow Min to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one Emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could turn out to be each other.


Inventing Victoria by Tonya Bolden
Historical Fiction
As a young black woman in 1880s Savannah, Essie’s dreams are very much at odds with her reality. Ashamed of her beginnings, but unwilling to accept the path currently available to her, Essie is trapped between the life she has and the life she wants. Until she meets a lady named Dorcas Vashon, the richest and most cultured black woman she’s ever encountered. When Dorcas makes Essie an offer she can’t refuse, she becomes Victoria. Transformed by a fine wardrobe, a classic education, and the rules of etiquette, Victoria is soon welcomed in the upper echelons of black society in Washington, D. C. But when the life she desires is finally within her grasp, Victoria must decide how much of herself she is truly willing to surrender.


Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. Before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago; then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them.


January 15th


The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi
Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much. Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.


Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Aspiring choreographer Sophie Orenstein would do anything for Peter Rosenthal-Porter, who’s been on the kidney transplant list as long as she’s known him. Peter, a gifted pianist, is everything to Sophie: best friend, musical collaborator, secret crush. When she learns she’s a match, donating a kidney is an easy, obvious choice. She can’t help wondering if after the transplant, he’ll love her back the way she’s always wanted. But Peter’s life post-transplant isn’t what either of them expected. Though he once had feelings for Sophie too, he’s now drawn to Chase, the guitarist in a band that happens to be looking for a keyboardist. And while neglected parts of Sophie’s world are calling to her—dance opportunities, new friends, a sister and niece she barely knows—she longs for a now-distant Peter more than ever, growing increasingly bitter he doesn’t seem to feel the same connection. Peter fears he’ll forever be indebted to her. Sophie isn’t sure who she is without him. Then one blurry, heartbreaking night twists their relationship into something neither of them recognizes, leading them to question their past, their future, and whether their friendship is even worth fighting for.


January 22nd


The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson
Sequel to Truly, Devious (2018)
All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy. For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put. The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.


January 29th


Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau
Graphic Novel
Now that high school is over, Ari is dying to move to the big city with his ultra-hip band―if he can just persuade his dad to let him quit his job at their struggling family bakery. Though he loved working there as a kid, Ari cannot fathom a life wasting away over rising dough and hot ovens. But while interviewing candidates for his replacement, Ari meets Hector, an easygoing guy who loves baking as much as Ari wants to escape it. As they become closer over batches of bread, love is ready to bloom . . . that is, if Ari doesn’t ruin everything. Writer Kevin Panetta and artist Savanna Ganucheau concoct a delicious recipe of intricately illustrated baking scenes and blushing young love, in which the choices we make can have terrible consequences, but the people who love us can help us grow.


King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.


The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan
Seventeen-year-old Rukhsana Ali tries her hardest to live up to her conservative Muslim parents’ expectations, but lately she’s finding that harder and harder to do. She rolls her eyes instead of screaming when they blatantly favor her brother and she dresses conservatively at home, saving her crop tops and makeup for parties her parents don’t know about. Luckily, only a few more months stand between her carefully monitored life in Seattle and her new life at Caltech, where she can pursue her dream of becoming an engineer. But when her parents catch her kissing her girlfriend Ariana, all of Rukhsana’s plans fall apart. Her parents are devastated; being gay may as well be a death sentence in the Bengali community. They immediately whisk Rukhsana off to Bangladesh, where she is thrown headfirst into a world of arranged marriages and tradition. Only through reading her grandmother’s old diary is Rukhsana able to gain some much needed perspective. Rukhsana realizes she must find the courage to fight for her love, but can she do so without losing everyone and everything in her life?

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Jurassic Park Movie Review


Jurassic Park (1993)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Based on: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Series: Jurassic Park, Movie 1
Review by Lesly S.

A very intelligent, billionaire, John Hammond creates a park filled with genetically engineered dinosaurs that roam the island, Isla Nublar. He invites paleontologists, Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler, along with mathematician Ian Malcolm and Hammond’s lawyer Donald Gennaro to explore the island and ensure it is safe. Once arriving, the team is joined by Hammond’s grandchildren Lex and Tim, and they all take a tour of the park. After seeing the wonderful creatures are truly there, things take a turn for the worst as technical difficulties cause the gates to malfunction and dinosaurs roam freely.

I really liked the movie because it has a lot of action involved, which is my favorite genre, and it had some scares that kept me entertained throughout the whole movie. I was not able to relate to any of the characters exactly, because I don’t have a similar situation of running for my life, but I do know what it’s like to feel afraid. I decided to watch this movie because just by looking at the cover, I could tell that it was going to be very exciting to watch and interesting to see dinosaurs interacting with humans, which you don’t get to see in the real world. I would recommend this to my friends because they love watching thrillers as well, and I know they would enjoy watching extinct animals roam around.

This movie is very unique because no one has really come up with the idea of having dinosaurs in actual film besides cartoons. The director was able to show these creatures and make them come to life once more with the production of these films. I am very pleased with this movie and I am glad they have made more films like Jurassic World, as well as the sequels. I can’t wait to which these and enjoy them just as I enjoyed watching Jurassic Park.

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The Boy in the Striped Pajamas Movie Review


The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2009)
Rating: 5/5 stars
Based on: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Review by Melissa H.

I never believed there was a movie that could make me cry, but this one really did it. This is a movie that takes place during the Holocaust in World War II. The main character is a young boy whose father becomes a commandant nearby a concentration camp. He is lonely, so gets adventurous and passes the camp when he sees another boy his age; this is a problem, because the other little boy is in the concentration camp and he is not. If he wanted to be friends with this other little boy, it would have to be in secret because it was forbidden. This movie gives a great representation of how people were treated and how they lived in concentration camps.

I really liked the movie, because it allows me to feel compassion about friendships and understand that it doesn’t matter about who you’re “supposed” to be friends with, but rather to be true to yourself and be confident in your friendship decisions. I also appreciated that both the characters had completely different lives, but overcame the barriers to become friends. I found it hard to relate to the characters, because I would never understand what it was like to truly live in a concentration camp; however, I could still relate by having the courage to not listen to what is considered the norm and do what I desired most. I saw this movie in 8th grade because we had just finished learning about World War II and the Holocaust, and I would definitely recommend this movie to students who just finished learning about this war. It really causes one to put themselves in other peoples’ shoes.

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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes


Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
Call #: MOYES
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Movie: Me Before You (2017)
Series: Me Before You, Book 1
Review by Mya S.

Louisa is a colorful and perky young girl, who is looking for a job to help her parents (who she lives with) with the bills. Finally luck is on her side, she gets a job that pays good money for the next six months for her to be the caregiver of a man named William Traynor, a wealthy banker who is left paralyzed after a motorcycle accident two years prior. Will is stoic and stubborn in his ways, but somehow Louisa is able to melt that icy exterior little by little, until they both discover they are more than fond of one another. Though this brings new happiness into her life, Louisa soon discovers a terrible secret that might tear her and Will’s world apart, leaving her to conjure up a plan to try and change their course before it is too late.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and the themes it conveyed, however some details left me wondering how they were going to be solved before the end of the book, but I was not disappointed. Though this journey was appreciated, it also left me quite sad due to the ending. I have not watched the movie or read the book in its entirety due to these emotions, but nonetheless I liked the overall point of living your life fully, going on adventures that you never thought you would go on, and that people in your life can be like adventures as well: fleeting and brisk, but nevertheless important to the journey of your life. Read this book with a box of tissues handy, but you will not be disappointed by the voyage you go on with Louisa and Will.

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Fated by Alyson Noel


Fated by Alyson Nöel
Rating: 5/5 stars
Series: The Soul Seekers, Book 1
Review by Katherine D.

Strange things and dream visions are happening to Daire Santos and fearing for her sanity, her mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met, who coincidentally recognizes the visions for what they truly are: the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker, or one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead. Soon she meets Dace, a boy literally from her dreams, and must determine if he is the guy she’s meant to be with…or if he’s allied with the enemy she’s destined to destroy.

I really like this book because it talks about how Daire develops powers and must protect people. Her lover, who she dreamed about, has an evil twin, and I think that’s very interesting story to read. I really didn’t like when Daire Santos was having these very bad dreams and while she was having them she would attack people around her, as she would hurt people she loved because of the bad visions or dreams she had. This book was so interesting to me, because I never really read books that feature people who have powers. I love romantic books, and this was a perfect book because Daire and her lover’s relationship in the story. I would definitely recommend this book to people who love to read romantic books. I couldn’t put the book down, and the book never keep me bored or uninterested. I am definitely going to read the other books in the series, and I can’t wait to read more about the story!

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Wonder Movie Review


Wonder (2017)
Rating: 4/5 stars
Based on: Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Review by Jazlyn O.

The movie adaption of the book written by R.J. Palacio captures the hearts of many! Viewers are now able to see the ups and downs Auggie and several other characters face in the first months of school. No matter who you are, you will be able to relate and empathize with at least one, or maybe all, of the characters in this movie.

I enjoyed this movie because it contains many great messages and insights about the real world. It was able to shed light on bullying among younger kids, while almost every bullying movie that I can personally think of consists of a teenage and older cast. It’s important for us to see what the younger kids can go through as well in order to take action against bullying across all ages and schools. In addition, I enjoyed this movie due to its multiple perspectives. The direction of this film takes on a multi-P.O.V approach, realistically emulating life and situations in the real world. Because of the multi-P.O.V method, the audience learns to sympathize will all of the main characters of the movie. Moreover, there are several ups and downs that Auggie, the main character, experiences throughout the movie. For example, you can see that Auggie sits alone at lunch one day, but later makes friends with other students. Auggie’s sister, Olivia, also demonstrates this when she loses a friend (which a lot of teens can relate to), but eventually gains the confidence to join a new, fun club. I feel that this portrays how life can really be, in that life inevitably fluctuates. Actually, the movie is the epitome of the saying, “Life is a rollercoaster.”

I decided to watch this film because my younger sister read the book and watched the movie, and I saw the book almost every time I walked by the book section at Target. Honestly, I never read the book but I’m glad I watched the movie. I would recommend the movie to parents, teens, and younger children… basically everyone. I say that because there’s just simply something for everyone to learn from this movie. Parents can learn how to appropriately act when their child is being bullied or neglected, whereas teens and younger children can learn that just because someone is different, doesn’t mean they should be treated differently. I would also recommend this movie because of the great cast. Since the actors were able to perfectly place themselves into their roles, all of the characters became interesting and diverse. Overall, this movie was able to make me simultaneously smile and tear up!

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Whisper by Lynette Noni


Whisper by Lynette Noni
Rating: 5/5 stars
Review by Mya S.

Imagine a world where words can become reality, and practically anything you say can lead to a catastrophic or joyful experience. One girl, Jane Doe, obtains the highest form of this gift and because of a tragedy that took place, she has not spoken for over two and a half years. Slowly but surely, people are coming into her life and changing her world, for the good and evil and soon she begins to practice and hones in on her ability to use to save those she loves most. The truth will come out sooner or later; after all, it says on the cover, “one word can change the world”.

I loved this book simply because of the concept of words becoming reality; like when you watch a commercial and see something you want, you could finally speak it to life. I enjoyed the continuous foreshadowing of the main character’s past transgressions, and I enjoyed how the characters-besides the villains of course- were believable and understandable with their actions. I related to many of the characters, but mainly with one character named Camelot. She had the best personality and out of all the characters, she wore her heart on her sleeve and did not once pretend to be someone she was not. I decided to read this book for the very reason you are not supposed to: I was really intrigued by the cover. The one word title and the girl in the background left me captivated and what truly got me was the phrase on the top, “one word can change the world”. The concept of the story is new and exciting to me, and I was very happy someone took the time to create it so I could then read it. The book taught me- though I am sure this was not its intended message- that people must watch what they say, because it could just cause irreversible damage that you won’t be able to take back. Words are powerful and important and should be treated as such. One word can actually change your world if you are not careful enough.

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