Staff New Release Picks: August 2022

teen staff new release picks

Looking for a new book and a guaranteed good read? Check out one of these 10 titles coming out in August that have been chosen by our Teen Services staff – the titles and book covers are hyperlinked to easily place holds! All summaries are from Goodreads:

August 2nd Releases

You, Me, & Our Heartstrings by Melissa See
Contemporary

Daisy and Noah have the same plan: use the holiday concert to land a Julliard audition. But when they’re chosen to play a duet for the concert, they worry that their differences will sink their chances.

Noah, a cello prodigy from a long line of musicians, wants to stick to tradition. Daisy, a fiercely independent disabled violinist, is used to fighting for what she wants and likes to take risks. But the two surprise each other when they play. They fall perfectly in tune.

After their performance goes viral, the rest of the country falls for them just as surely as they’re falling for each other. But viral fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No one seems to care about their talent or their music at all. People have rewritten their love story into one where Daisy is an inspiration for overcoming her cerebral palsy and Noah is a saint for seeing past it.

Daisy is tired of her disability being the only thing people see about her, and all of the attention sends Noah’s anxiety disorder into high speed. They can see their dream coming closer than it’s ever been before. But is the cost suddenly too high?

August 9th Releases

The Undead Truth of Us by Britney S. Lewis
Horror

Death was everywhere. They all stared at me, bumping into one another and slowly coming forward.

Sixteen-year-old Zharie Young is absolutely certain her mother morphed into a zombie before her untimely death, but she can’t seem to figure out why. Why her mother died, why her aunt doesn’t want her around, why all her dreams seem suddenly, hopelessly out of reach. And why, ever since that day, she’s been seeing zombies everywhere.

Then Bo moves into her apartment building―tall, skateboard in hand, freckles like stars, and an undeniable charm. Z wants nothing to do with him, but when he transforms into a half zombie right before her eyes, something feels different. He contradicts everything she thought she knew about monsters, and she can’t help but wonder if getting to know him might unlock the answers to her mother’s death.

As Zharie sifts through what’s real and what’s magic, she discovers a new truth about the world: Love can literally change you―for good or for dead.

How You Grow Wings by Rimma Onoseta
Contemporary

Sisters Cheta and Zam couldn’t be more different. Cheta, sharp-tongued and stubborn, never shies away from conflict—either at school or at home, where her mother fires abuse at her. Timid Zam escapes most of her mother’s anger, skating under the radar and avoiding her sister whenever possible. In a turn of good fortune, Zam is invited to live with her aunt’s family in the lap of luxury. Jealous, Cheta also leaves home, but finds a harder existence that will drive her to terrible decisions. When the sisters are reunited, Zam alone will recognize just how far Cheta has fallen—and Cheta’s fate will rest in Zam’s hands.

August 16th Releases

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala
Horror

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline’s radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who’d grown tragically distant.

Mars’s genderfluidity means he’s often excluded from the traditions — and expectations — of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister’s old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying — and Mars is certain they’re connected to Caroline’s death.

But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can’t find it soon, it will eat him alive.

Echoes of Grace by Guadalupe García McCall
Magical Realism

A tragic accident in the young lives of sisters, Graciela (Grace) and Mercedes (Mercy) Torres, sets off a chain of events in which Grace flounders to restore her relationship with her sister while swimming against a current of strange, bewildering echoes.

Flashbacks, premonitions, and visitations from the other side all weave a mysterious tapestry that weighs heavily on Grace’s shoulders as she tries to navigate memories of a time three years earlier when she ran away from home and lost a week of her life.

In the present—amidst the mundanities of college homework and dating—Grace tries to figure out if the things happening in her world are memories or premonitions, warnings of things yet to unfold. As she recovers time lost, Grace comes closer to reconciling with Mercy, even as she remembers, bit by bit, the horrible thing that happened to her when she spent a week with her maternal grandmother in Mexico—a grandmother she had been told was long gone.

The things her regained memory reveals shed light on old family secrets.

August 23rd Releases

This Is Why They Hate Us by Aaron H. Aceves
Contemporary

Enrique “Quique” Luna has one goal this summer—get over his crush on Saleem Kanazi by pursuing his other romantic prospects. Never mind that he’s only out to his best friend, Fabiola. Never mind that he has absolutely zero game. And definitely forget the fact that good and kind and, not to mention, beautiful Saleem is leaving L.A. for the summer to meet a girl his parents are trying to set him up with.

Luckily, Quique’s prospects are each intriguing in their own ways. There’s stoner-jock Tyler Montana, who might be just as interested in Fabiola as he is in Quique; straight-laced senior class president, Ziggy Jackson; and Manny Zuniga, who keeps looking at Quique like he’s carne asada fresh off the grill. With all these choices, Quique is sure to forget about Saleem in no time.

But as the summer heats up and his deep-seated fears and anxieties boil over, Quique soon realizes that getting over one guy by getting under a bunch of others may not have been the best laid plan and living his truth can come at a high cost. 

August 30th Releases

The Final Gambit by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Mystery/Thriller

Sequel to: The Inheritance Games & The Hawthorne Legacy

To inherit billions, all Avery Kylie Grambs has to do is survive a few more weeks living in Hawthorne House. The paparazzi are dogging her every step. Financial pressures are building. Danger is a fact of life. And the only thing getting Avery through it all is the Hawthorne brothers. Her life is intertwined with theirs. She knows their secrets, and they know her.

But as the clock ticks down to the moment when Avery will become the richest teenager on the planet, trouble arrives in the form of a visitor who needs her help—and whose presence in Hawthorne House could change everything. It soon becomes clear that there is one last puzzle to solve, and Avery and the Hawthorne brothers are drawn into a dangerous game against an unknown and powerful player.

Secrets upon secrets. Riddles upon riddles. In this game, there are hearts and lives at stake—and there is nothing more Hawthorne than winning.

Over My Dead Body by Sweeney Boo
Graphic Novel

In the days leading up to Samhain, the veil between the world of the dead and the living is at its thinnest.

One day, everything was exactly as it was supposed to be. And the next, the closest thing Abby ever had to a sister, Noreen, was just… gone.

Distracted by the annual preparations for the Samhain festival, Abby’s classmates are quick to put Noreen’s disappearance aside. The Coven will find her, Abby’s friends say. They have it under control.

But Abby can’t let it go. Soon a search for answers leads her down a rabbit hole that uncovers more secrets than Abby can handle. As mounting evidence steers her toward the off-limits woods that surround the academy, she begins to see that Noreen’s disappearance mysteriously has a lot in common with another girl who went missing all those years ago…

Three Kisses, One Midnight by Roshani Chokshi, Evelyn Skye, & Sandhya Menon
Fantasy

The town of Moon Ridge was founded 400 years ago and everyone born and raised there knows the legend of the young woman who perished at the stroke of twelve that very same night, losing the life she was set to embark on with her dearest love. Every century since, one day a year, the Lady of Moon Ridge descends from the stars to walk among the townsfolk, conjuring an aura upon those willing to follow their hearts’ desires

“To summon joy and love in another’s soul
For a connection that makes two people whole
For laughter and a smile that one can never miss
Sealed before midnight with a truehearted kiss.”

This year at Moon Ridge High, a group of friends known as The Coven will weave art, science, and magic during a masquerade ball unlike any other. Onny, True, and Ash believe everything is in alignment to bring them the affection, acceptance, and healing that can only come from romance—with a little help from Onny’s grandmother’s love potion.

But nothing is as simple as it first seems. And as midnight approaches, The Coven learn that it will take more than a spell to recognize those who offer their love and to embrace all the magic that follows.

Dead Flip by Sara Farizan
Horror

Growing up, Cori, Maz, and Sam were inseparable best friends, sharing their love for Halloween, arcade games, and one another. Now it’s 1992, Sam has been missing for five years, and Cori and Maz aren’t speaking anymore. How could they be, when Cori is sure Sam is dead and Maz thinks he may have been kidnapped by a supernatural pinball machine?

These days, all Maz wants to do is party, buy CDs at Sam Goody, and run away from his past. Meanwhile, Cori is a homecoming queen, hiding her abiding love of horror movies and her queer self under the bubblegum veneer of a high school queen bee. But when Sam returns—still twelve years old while his best friends are now seventeen—Maz and Cori are thrown back together to solve the mystery of what really happened to Sam the night he went missing. Beneath the surface of that mystery lurk secrets the friends never told one another, then and now. And Sam’s is the darkest of all . . .

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Staff New Release Picks: July 2022

teen staff new release picks

Looking for a new book and a guaranteed good read? Check out one of these 10 titles coming out in July that have been hand-selected by our Teen Services staff – the titles and book covers are hyperlinked to easily place holds! All summaries are from Goodreads:

July 5th Releases

The Charmed List by Julie Abe
Contemporary

After spending most of high school as the quiet girl, Ellie Kobata is ready to take some risks and have a life-changing summer, starting with her Anti-Wallflower List—thirteen items she’s going to check off one by one. She’s looking forward to riding rollercoasters, making her art Instagram public (maybe), and going on an epic road-trip with her best friend Lia.

But when number four on Ellie’s list goes horribly wrong—revenge on Jack Yasuda—she’s certain her summer has gone from charmed to cursed. Instead of a road trip with Lia, Ellie finds herself stuck in a car with Jack driving to a magical convention. But as Ellie and Jack travel down the coast of California, number thirteen on her list—fall in love—may be happening without her realizing it.

July 12th Releases

We Made It All Up by Margot Harrison
Mystery/Thriller

Celeste is the talk of the town when she moves to Montana from Montreal, but the only friend she makes is Vivvy, the heir to the town’s name and a social pariah. Inspired by a passion-fueled school incident, they begin writing a love-story fan fic between the popular guy and the school stoner, one that gradually reveals Celeste’s past. While their bond makes Celeste feel safe and alive again, Vivvy keeps prodding Celeste to turn fantasy into reality. When they finally try, one drunken night on a dark mountainside, Celeste is the one who ends up kissing golden boy Joss. And Joss ends up dead.

Celeste doesn’t remember the end of that night and can’t be sure she didn’t deliver the killing blow. Could she still be that scared of getting close to a boy? Secrets are hard to keep in a small town, and even Vivvy seems to suspect her. Exploring the winding passages of the cave where Joss died, Celeste learns he had his own dark secrets, as does Vivvy. The town isn’t as innocent as it appears.

Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne
Horror

The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early grew up on has awakened. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile just stood up and walked away.

After dropping out of college, all she wanted was to resume her life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist and try not to think about the boy she can’t help but love. Instead, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now, Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her future and the fate of everyone she loves is doomed.

July 19th Releases

Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure by Lewis Hancox
Graphic Novel Memoir

Lewis has a few things to say to his younger teen self. He knows she hates her body. He knows she’s confused about who to snog. He knows she’s really a he and will ultimately realize this… but she’s going to go through a whole lot of mess (some of it funny, some of it not funny at all) to get to that point. Lewis is trying to tell her this… but she’s refusing to listen.

In Welcome to St. Hell, author-illustrator Lewis Hancox takes readers on the hilarious, heartbreaking, and healing path he took to make it past trauma, confusion, hurt, and dubious fashion choices in order to become the man he was meant to be. It’s a remarkable, groundbreaking graphic memoir from an unmistakably bold new voice in comics.

Youngblood by Sasha Laurens
Fantasy

Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive, as nearly all of humanity has been infected by a virus that’s fatal to vampires. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change.

Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. She only has to suffer through a two more years of Harcote before she’s free. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well.

When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.

Crumbs by Danie Stirling
Graphic Novel

In a very special town, there’s an even more unusual bakery with a selection of baked treats hand-crafted to help your dreams come true. For Ray, a quiet young woman with special powers of her own, the order is always the same: a hot tea with a delicious side of romance.

When Ray meets Laurie, the kind barista who aspires to be a professional musician, she gets a real taste of love for the first time. But even with a spark of magic, romance isn’t so simple. Both Ray and Laurie are chasing their own dreams and even when Ray starts to see the future, she can’t predict her fate with Laurie.

Based on the beloved webcomic from Webtoon, this sweet coming-of-age story of friendship and first love comes to life in graphic novel format with gorgeous illustrations and exclusive content.

July 26th Releases

Love Times Infinity by Lane Clarke
Contemporary

High school junior Michie is struggling to define who she is for her scholarship essays, her big shot at making it into Brown as a first-generation college student. The prompts would be hard for anyone, but Michie’s been estranged from her mother since she was seven and her concept of family has long felt murky.

Enter new kid and basketball superstar Derek de la Rosa. He is very cute, very talented, and very much has his eye on Michie, no matter how invisible she believes herself to be. When Michie’s mother unexpectedly reaches out to make amends, and with her scholarship deadlines looming, Michie must choose whether to reopen old wounds or close the door on her past. And as she spends more time with Derek, she’ll have to decide how much of her heart she is willing to share. Because while Michie may not know who she is, she’s starting to realize who she wants to become, if only she can take a chance on Derek, on herself, and on her future.

The Witchery by S. Isabelle
Fantasy

Haelsford, Florida is a Hellmouth. Or at least, that’s what Logan, a baby witch struggling to control her powers, thinks as she arrives to the witchtown to begin the new school year at Mesmortes Coven Academy. She is immediately taken under the wing of the infamous Red Three. Iris is a deathwitch who wants nothing more than to break the town’s curse; Jailah is one of the most powerful witches at the academy but her thirst for power may lead her down a dark path; and Thalia, the talented greenwitch, is on the run from her religious family and a past that still haunts her.

Fear and prejudice still fuel the uneasy truce between humans and witches who are forced to work together when the Haunting Season begins and Wolves rise from the swamp to feed. With this approaching, two Hammersmitt boys prepare to make their first sacrifices to the witches in exchange for protection. But as they become involved with the Mesmortes witches’ plan to end the Wolves’ reign of terror once and for all, old dangers lie in wait.

The cost to break the curse may be greater than any witch or human could ever know.

The Liminal Zone by Junji Ito
Manga

What destiny awaits them after the screaming?

After abruptly departing from a train in a small town, a couple encounters a “weeping woman”—a professional mourner—sobbing inconsolably at a funeral. Mako changes afterward—she can’t stop crying! In another tale, having decided to die together, a couple enters Aokigahara, the infamous suicide forest. What is the shocking otherworldly torrent that they discover there?

Beating Heart Baby by Lio Min
Contemporary

When artistic and sensitive Santi arrives at his new high school, everyone in the wildly talented marching band welcomes him with open arms. Everyone except for the prickly, proud musical prodigy Suwa, who doesn’t think Santi has what it takes to be in the band.

But Santi and Suwa share painful pasts, and when they open up to each other, a tentative friendship begins. And soon, that friendship turns into something more. . . .

Will their fresh start rip at the seams as Suwa seeks out a solo spotlight, and both boys come to terms with what it’ll take, and what they’ll have to let go, to realize their dreams?

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Staff New Release Picks: June 2022

teen staff new release picks

Looking for a new book and a guaranteed good read? Check out one of these 10 titles coming out in June that have been hand-selected by our Teen Services staff – the titles and bool covers are hyperlinked to easily place holds! All summaries are from Goodreads:

June 7th Releases

Batter Royale by Leisl Adams
Graphic Novel

In Leisl Adams’s debut graphic novel, Batter Royale, an aspiring amateur baker enters the toughest, ugliest, most fearsome fight she’ll ever experience: a baking reality show.

When seventeen-year-old small-town waitress Rose impresses a famous food critic, she and her best friend, Fred, find themselves thrust into the tough world of competitive baking. The contest is an intense ten days of bizarre challenges, and the competition is cutthroat. Some competitors are willing to lie, cheat, and sabotage their way to the top. Rose may be in over her head, but she is determined to show that she can become a top chef. Batter Royale is a fish-out-of-water style romantic comedy about climbing out of the circumstances you’re in and making your dreams come true.

Exactly Where You Need to Be by Amelia Diane Coombs
Contemporary

Florie’s OCD and her mother’s worrying have kept her from a lot of things, like having an after-school job and getting her driver’s license. And now that she’s graduated high school, while her best friend Kacey is headed off to Portland in the fall, Florie’s taking a parent-sanctioned gap year off before starting college. When the decision was made, Florie was on board, but now she can’t ignore the growing itch to become the person she wants to be and venture outside the quaint, boring Washington town she grew up in.

Winning tickets to see her favorite true crime podcast’s live show in California gives her the opportunity to do just that, if only for a few days. So—unbeknownst to their parents—Kacey and Florie set off on a road trip to San Francisco. The only downside in Florie’s opinion? Sam, Kacey’s older brother and Florie’s forever crush, is their ride. The Samson Hodge, who Florie hasn’t seen since winter break, and who she’d prefer to never see again, if possible. But Florie is willing to put up with Sam if it means one last adventure with her best friend.

Making it to San Francisco and back to Washington without their parents catching on isn’t a given, but one thing is for sure: this trip will change everything.

Hell Followed with Us by Andrew Joseph White
Horror

Sixteen-year-old trans boy Benji is on the run from the cult that raised him—the fundamentalist sect that unleashed Armageddon and decimated the world’s population. Desperately, he searches for a place where the cult can’t get their hands on him, or more importantly, on the bioweapon they infected him with.

But when cornered by monsters born from the destruction, Benji is rescued by a group of teens from the local Acheson LGBTQ+ Center, affectionately known as the ALC. The ALC’s leader, Nick, is gorgeous, autistic, and a deadly shot, and he knows Benji’s darkest secret: the cult’s bioweapon is mutating him into a monster deadly enough to wipe humanity from the earth once and for all.

Still, Nick offers Benji shelter among his ragtag group of queer teens, as long as Benji can control the monster and use its power to defend the ALC. Eager to belong, Benji accepts Nick’s terms…until he discovers the ALC’s mysterious leader has a hidden agenda, and more than a few secrets of his own.

June 14th Releases

Valiant Ladies by Melissa Grey
Historical Fiction

By day Eustaquia “Kiki” de Sonza and Ana Lezama de Urinza are proper young seventeeth century ladies. But when night falls, they trade in their silks and lace for swords and muskets, venturing out into the vibrant, bustling, crime-ridden streets of Potosí, in the Spanish Empire’s Viceroyalty of Peru. They pass their time fighting, gambling, and falling desperately in love with one another.

Then, on the night Kiki’s engagement to the Viceroy’s son is announced, her older brother―heir to her family’s fortune―is murdered. The girls immediately embark on a whirlwind investigation that takes them from the lowliest brothels of Potosí to the highest echelons of the Spanish aristocracy.

The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho
Contemporary

Maybelline Chen isn’t the Chinese Taiwanese American daughter her mother expects her to be. May prefers hoodies over dresses and wants to become a writer. When asked, her mom can’t come up with one specific reason for why she’s proud of her only daughter. May’s beloved brother, Danny, on the other hand, has just been admitted to Princeton. But Danny secretly struggles with depression, and when he dies by suicide, May’s world is shattered.

In the aftermath, racist accusations are hurled against May’s parents for putting too much “pressure” on him. May’s father tells her to keep her head down. Instead, May challenges these ugly stereotypes through her writing. Yet the consequences of speaking out run much deeper than anyone could foresee. Who gets to tell our stories, and who gets silenced? It’s up to May to take back the narrative.

June 21st Releases

We Weren’t Looking to Be Found by Stephanie Kuehn
Contemporary

Dani comes from the richest, most famous Black family in Texas and seems to have everything a girl could want. So why does she keep using and engaging in other self-destructive behavior?

Camila’s Colombian-American family doesn’t have much, but she knows exactly what she wants out of life and works her ass off to get it. So why does she keep failing, and why does she self-harm every time she does?

When Dani and Camila find themselves rooming together at Peach Tree Hills, a treatment facility in beautiful rural Georgia, they initially think they’ll never get along―and they’ll never get better. But then they find a mysterious music box filled with letters from a former resident of PTH, and together they set out to solve the mystery of who this girl was . . . and who she’s become. The investigation will bring them together, and what they find at the end might just bring them hope.

The Loophole by Naz Kutub
Fantasy

Sy is a timid seventeen-year-old queer Indian-Muslim boy who placed all his bets at happiness on his boyfriend Farouk…who then left him to try and “fix the world.” Sy was too chicken to take the plunge and travel with him and is now stuck in a dead-end coffee shop job. All Sy can do is wish for another chance…. Although he never expects his wish to be granted.

When a mysterious girl slams into (and slides down, streaks of make-up in her wake) the front entrance of the coffee shop, Sy helps her up and on her way. But then the girl offers him three wishes in exchange for his help, and after proving she can grant at least one wish with a funds transfer of a million dollars into Sy’s pitifully struggling bank account, a whole new world of possibility opens up. Is she magic? Or just rich? And when his father kicks him out after he is outed, does Sy have the courage to make his way from L. A., across the Atlantic Ocean, to lands he’d never even dreamed he could ever visit? Led by his potentially otherworldly new friend, can he track down his missing Farouk for one last, desperate chance at rebuilding his life and re-finding love?

June 28th Releases

Bad Things Happen Here by Rebecca Barrow
Mystery/Thriller

Luca Laine Thomas lives on a cursed island. To the outside world, Parris is an exclusive, idyllic escape accessible only to the one percent. There’s nothing idyllic about its history, though, scattered with the unsolved deaths of young women—deaths Parris society happily ignores to maintain its polished veneer. But Luca can’t ignore them. Not when the curse that took them killed her best friend, Polly, three years ago. Not when she feels the curse lingering nearby, ready to take her next.

When Luca comes home to police cars outside her house, she knows the curse has visited once again. Except this time, it came for Whitney, her sister. Luca decides to take the investigation of Whitney’s death into her own hands. But as a shocking betrayal rocks Luca’s world, the identity Whitney’s killer isn’t the only truth Luca seeks. And by the time she finds what she’s looking for, Luca will come face to face with the curse she’s been running from her whole life.

Baby Teeth by Meg Grehan
Novel in Verse

The blood
Feeds the hunger
That threatens everything

It starts when Claudia offers her a yellow rose. Immy has been in love before – many times, across many lifetimes. But never as deeply, as intensely as this. Claudia has never been in love this before either. But then, this is her first time with a vampire. The forbidden thirst for blood runs deep in Immy. And within her mind clamour the voices, of all the others she has been, their desires, and their wrongs.

The Black Girls Left Standing by Juliana Goodman
Contemporary

Sixteen-year-old Beau Willet has dreams of being an artist and one day leaving the Chicago projects she’s grown up in. But after her older sister, Katia, is killed by an off-duty police officer, Beau knows she has to clear her sister’s name by finding the only witness to the murder; Katia’s no-good boyfriend, Jordan, who has gone missing. If she doesn’t find him and tell the world what really happened, Katia’s death will be ignored, like the deaths of so many other Black women who are wrongfully killed.

With the help of her friend, Sonnet, Beau sets up a Twitter account to gather anonymous tips. But the more that Beau finds out about her sister’s death, the more danger she finds herself in. And with a new relationship developing with her childhood friend, Champion, and the struggle to keep her family together, Beau is soon in way over her head. How much is she willing to risk to clear her sister’s name and make sure she’s not forgotten?

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Staff New Release Picks: May 2022

teen staff new release picks

Looking for a new book and a guaranteed good read? Check out one of these 16 titles coming out in May that have been hand-selected by our Teen Services staff – the titles and bool covers are hyperlinked to easily place holds! All summaries are from Goodreads:

May 3rd Releases

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston
Contemporary

Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.

But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.

On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.

Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.

Ballad & Dagger by Daniel José Older
Fantasy

Almost sixteen years ago, Mateo Matisse’s island homeland disappeared into the sea. Weary and hopeless, the survivors of San Madrigal’s sinking escaped to New York.

While the rest of his tight-knit Brooklyn diaspora community dreams of someday finding a way back home, Mateo–now a high school junior and piano prodigy living with his two aunts (one who’s alive, the other not so much)–is focused on one thing: getting the attention of locally-grown musical legend Gerval. Mateo finally gets his chance on the night of the Grand Fete, an annual party celebrating the blended culture of pirates, Cuban Santeros, and Sephardic Jews that created San Madrigal all those centuries ago.

But the evil that sank their island has finally caught up with them, and on the night of the celebration, Mateo’s life is forever changed when he witnesses a brutal murder by a person he thought he knew.

Suddenly Mateo is thrust into an ancient battle that spans years and oceans. Deadly secrets are unraveled and Mateo awakens a power within himself–a power that not only links him to the killer but could also hold the key to unlocking the dark mystery behind his lost homeland.

Burn Down, Rise Up by Vincent Tirado
Mystery/Thriller

For over a year, the Bronx has been plagued by sudden disappearances that no one can explain. Sixteen-year-old Raquel does her best to ignore it. After all, the police only look for the white kids. But when her crush Charlize’s cousin goes missing, Raquel starts to pay attention—especially when her own mom comes down with a mysterious illness that seems linked to the disappearances.

Raquel and Charlize team up to investigate, but they soon discover that everything is tied to a terrifying urban legend called the Echo Game. The game is rumored to trap people in a sinister world underneath the city, and the rules are based on a particularly dark chapter in New York’s past. And if the friends want to save their home and everyone they love, they will have to play the game and destroy the evil at its heart—or die trying.

May 10th Releases

The Summer of Bitter & Sweet by Jen Ferguson
Contemporary

Lou has enough confusion in front of her this summer. She’ll be working in her family’s ice cream shack with her newly ex-boyfriend—whose kisses never made her feel desire, only discomfort—and her former best friend, King, who is back in their Canadian prairie town after disappearing three years ago without a word.

But when she gets a letter from her biological father—a man she hoped would stay behind bars for the rest of his life—Lou immediately knows that she cannot meet him, no matter how much he insists.

While King’s friendship makes Lou feel safer and warmer than she would have thought possible, when her family’s business comes under threat, she soon realizes that she can’t ignore her father forever.

Breathe & Count Back from Ten by Natalia Sylvester
Contemporary

Verónica has had many surgeries to manage her hip dysplasia. The best form of rehabilitation is swimming, so she spends hours in the pool, but not just to strengthen her body.

Her Florida town is home to Mermaid Cove, a kitschy underwater attraction where professional mermaids perform in giant tanks . . . and Verónica wants to audition. But her conservative Peruvian parents would never go for it. And they definitely would never let her be with Alex, her cute new neighbor.

She decides it’s time to seize control of her life, but her plans come crashing down when she learns her parents have been hiding the truth from her—the truth about her own body.

May 17th Releases

Galaxy: The Prettiest Star by Jadzia Axelrod & Jess Taylor
Graphic Novel

Taylor Barzelay has the perfect life. Good looks, good grades, a starting position on the basketball team, a loving family, even an adorable corgi. Every day in Taylor’s life is perfect. And every day is torture.

Taylor is actually the Galaxy Crowned, an alien princess from the planet Cyandii, and one of the few survivors of an intergalactic war. For six long, painful years, Taylor has accepted her duty to remain in hiding as a boy on Earth.

That all changes when Taylor meets Metropolis girl Katherine “call me Kat” Silverberg, whose confidence is electrifying. Suddenly, Taylor no longer wants to hide, even if exposing her true identity could attract her greatest enemies.

The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
Contemporary

Seventeen-year-old Yamilet Flores prefers drawing attention for her killer eyeliner, not for being the new kid at a mostly white, very rich, Catholic school. But at least here no one knows she’s gay, and Yami intends to keep it that way. After being outed by her crush and ex-best friend, she could use the fresh start.

At Slayton Catholic, Yami has new priorities: make her mom proud, keep her brother out of trouble, and most importantly, don’t fall in love. Granted, she’s never been great at any of those things, but that’s a problem for Future Yami.

The thing is, it’s hard to fake being straight when Bo, the only openly queer girl at school, is so annoyingly perfect. And smart. And talented. And cute. Either way, Yami isn’t going to make the same mistake again. If word got back to her mom, she could face a lot worse than rejection. So she’ll have to start asking, WWSGD: What would a straight girl do?

May 24th Releases

Only on the Weekends by Dean Atta
Novel in Verse

Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic–likely a hazard of growing up on film sets thanks to his father’s job. Mack has had a crush on Karim for as long as he can remember and he can’t believe it when gorgeous, popular Karim seems into him too.

But when Mack’s father takes on a new directing project in Scotland, Mack has to move away, and soon discovers how painful long-distance relationships can be. It’s awful to be so far away from Karim, and it’s made worse by the fact that Karim can be so hard to read.

Then Mack meets actor Finlay on set, and the world turns upside down again. Fin seems fearless–and his confidence could just be infectious.

Award-winning author Dean Atta crafts a beautifully nuanced and revelatory story in verse about the exquisite highs and lows of first love and self-discovery.

Break This House by Candice Iloh
Contemporary

Yaminah Okar left Obsidian and the wreckage of her family years ago. She and her father have made lives for themselves in Brooklyn. She thinks she’s moved on to bigger and better things. She thinks she’s finally left behind that city she would rather forget. But when a Facebook message about her estranged mother pierces Yaminah’s new bubble, memories of everything that happened before her parents’ divorce come roaring back. Now, Yaminah must finally reckon with the truth about her mother and the growing collapse of a place she once called home.

Primal Animals by Julia Lynn Rubin
Mystery/Thriller

Arlee Gold is anxious about spending the summer at the college prep Camp Rockaway—the same camp her mother attended years ago, which her mother insists will help give Arlee a “fresh start” and will “change her life.” Little does Arlee know that, once she steps foot on the manicured grounds, this will prove to be true in horrifying ways.

Even though the girls in her cabin are awesome—and she’s developing a major crush on the girl who sleeps in the bunk above her—the other campers seem to be wary of Arlee, unwilling to talk to her or be near her, which only ramps up her paranoia. When she’s tapped to join a strange secret society, Arlee thinks this will be her shot at fitting in…until her new “sisters” ask her to do the unthinkable, putting her life, and the life of her new crush, in perilous danger.

May 31st Releases

All Signs Point to Yes, edited by G. Haron Davis, Cam Montgomery, & Adrianne White
Short Stories

A literal star-studded anthology that delivers a love story for every star sign straight from the hearts of thirteen multicultural YA authors.

A haunted Aquarius finds love behind the veil. An ambitious Aries will do anything to stay in the spotlight. A foodie Taurus discovers the best eats in town (with a side of romance). A witchy Cancer stumbles into a curious meet-cute.

Whether it’s romantic, platonic, familial, or something else you can’t quite define, love is the thing that connects us. All Signs Point to Yes will take you on a journey from your own backyard to the world beyond the living as it settles us among the stars for thirteen stories of love and life.

These stories will touch your heart, speak to your soul, and have you reaching for your horoscope forevermore.

Out of the Blue by Jason June
Contemporary Fantasy

Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the monthlong sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder–or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with: after all, humans are disgusting. They’ve polluted the planet so much that there’s a floating island of trash that’s literally the size of a country.

In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together and Crest’s perspective on humans begins to change, they’ll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings…

Love Radio by Ebony LaDelle
Contemporary

Prince Jones is the guy with all the answers—or so it seems. After all, at seventeen, he has his own segment on Detroit’s popular hip-hop show, Love Radio, where he dishes out advice to the brokenhearted.

Prince has always dreamed of becoming a DJ and falling in love. But being the main caretaker for his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, and his little brother means his dreams will stay just that and the only romances in his life are the ones he hears about from his listeners.

Until he meets Dani Ford.

Dani isn’t checking for anybody. She’s focused on her plan: ace senior year, score a scholarship, and move to New York City to become a famous author. But her college essay keeps tripping her up and acknowledging what’s blocking her means dealing with what happened at that party a few months ago.

And that’s one thing Dani can’t do.

When the romantic DJ meets the ambitious writer, sparks fly. Prince is smitten, but Dani’s not looking to get derailed. She gives Prince just three dates to convince her that he’s worth falling for.

Three dates for the love expert to take his own advice, and just maybe change two lives forever.

Man O’ War by Cory McCarthy
Contemporary

An achingly honest and frequently hilarious coming-of-age novel about an Arab American trans swimmer fighting to keep their head above water in a landlocked Midwestern town.

River McIntyre has grown up down the street from Sea Planet, an infamous marine life theme park slowly going out of business in small-town Ohio. When a chance encounter with a happy, healthy queer person on the annual field trip lands River literally in the shark tank, they must admit the truth: they don’t know who they are—only what they’ve been told to be. This sets off a wrenching journey of self-discovery, from internalized homophobia and gender dysphoria, through layers of coming out, affirmation surgery, and true freakin’ love.

Deep in Providence by Riss M. Neilson
Paranormal/Horror

For best friends Miliani, Inez, Natalie and Jasmine, Providence, Rhode Island has a magic of its own. From the bodegas and late-night food trucks on Broad Street to The Hill that watches over the city, every corner of Providence glows with memories of them practicing spells, mixing up potions and doing séances with the help of the magic Miliani’s Filipino grandfather taught her.

But when Jasmine is killed by a drunk driver, the world they have always known is left haunted by grief…and Jasmine’s lingering spirit. Determined to bring her back, the surviving friends band together, testing the limits of their magic and everything they know about life, death, and each other.

And as their plan to resurrect Jasmine grows darker and more demanding than they imagined, their separate lives begin to splinter the bonds they depend on, revealing buried secrets that threaten the people they care about most. Miliani, Inez and Natalie will have to rely on more than just their mystical abilities to find the light.

Improbable Magic for Cynical Witches by Kate Scelsa
Contemporary Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor is the least likely person in Salem to believe in witchcraft—or think that her life could be transformed by mysterious forces. Ostracized by her classmates after losing her best friend and first love, Chloe, Eleanor has spent the past year in a haze, vowing to stay away from anything resembling romance.

But when a handwritten guide to tarot arrives in the mail at the witchy souvenir store where Eleanor works, it seems to bring with it the message that magic is about to enter her life. Cynical Eleanor is quick to dismiss this promise, until real-life witch Pix shows up with an unusual invitation. Inspired by the magic and mystery of the tarot, Eleanor decides to open herself up to making friends with Pix and her coven of witches, and even to the possibility of a new romance.

But Eleanor’s complicated history in Salem continues to haunt her, and she is desperate to keep Pix from finding out the truth. Eleanor will have to reckon with the old ghosts that threaten to destroy everything, even her chance at new love.

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Staff New Release Picks: April 2022

teen staff new release picks

It’s a new year and a new month, which means we have a list of new releases to add to your TBR! Looking for a new book and a guaranteed good read? Check out one of these 10 titles coming out in April that have been hand-selected by our Teen Services staff – the titles and bool covers are hyperlinked to easily place holds! All summaries are from Goodreads:

April 5th Releases

Scout’s Honor by Lily Anderson
Paranormal/Horror

Sixteen-year-old Prudence Perry is a legacy Ladybird Scout, born to a family of hunters sworn to protect humans from mulligrubs―interdimensional parasites who feast on human emotions like sadness and anger. Masquerading as a prim and proper ladies’ social organization, the Ladybirds brew poisons masked as teas and use knitting needles as daggers, at least until they graduate to axes and swords.

Three years ago, Prue’s best friend was killed during a hunt, so she kissed the Scouts goodbye, preferring the company of her punkish friends lovingly dubbed the Criminal Element much to her mother and Tía Lo’s disappointment. However, unable to move on from her guilt and trauma, Prue devises a risky plan to infiltrate the Ladybirds in order to swipe the Tea of Forgetting, a restricted tincture laced with a powerful amnesia spell.

But old monster-slaying habits die hard and Prue finds herself falling back into the fold, growing close with the junior scouts that she trains to fight the creatures she can’t face. When her town is hit with a mysterious wave of demons, Prue knows it’s time to confront the most powerful monster of all: her past.

This Rebel Heart by Katherine Locke
Historical Fiction/Fantasy

In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most–safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget.

Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground.

Alone Out Here by Riley Redgate
Science Fiction

The year is 2072. Soon a volcanic eruption will trigger catastrophic devastation, and the only way out is up.

While the world’s leaders, scientists, and engineers oversee the frantic production of a space fleet meant to save humankind, their children are brought in for a weekend of touring the Lazarus, a high-tech prototype spaceship. But when the apocalypse arrives months ahead of schedule, First Daughter Leigh Chen and a handful of teens from the tour are the only ones to escape the planet.

This is the new world: a starship loaded with a catalog of human artifacts, a frozen menagerie of animal DNA, and fifty-three terrified survivors. From the panic arises a coalition of leaders, spearheaded by the pilot’s enigmatic daughter, Eli, who takes the wheel in their hunt for a habitable planet. But as isolation presses in, their uneasy peace begins to fracture. The struggle for control will mean the difference between survival and oblivion, and Leigh must decide whether to stand on the side of the mission or of her own humanity.

Nothing Burns as Bright as You by Ashley Woodfolk
Contemporary

Two girls. One wild and reckless day. Years of tumultuous history unspooling like a thin, fraying string in the hours after they set a fire.

They were best friends. Until they became more. Their affections grew. Until the blurry lines became dangerous.

Over the course of a single day, the depth of their past, the confusion of their present, and the unpredictability of their future is revealed. And the girls will learn that hearts, like flames, aren’t so easily tamed.

It starts with a fire.

How will it end?

April 12th Releases

High Spirits by Camille Gomera-Tavarez
Short Stories

High Spirits is a collection of eleven interconnected short stories from the Dominican diaspora, from debut author Camille Gomera-Tavarez.

It is a book centered on one extended family – the Beléns – across multiple generations. It is set in the fictional small town of Hidalpa – and Santo Domingo and Paterson and San Juan and Washington Heights too. It is told in a style both utterly real and distinctly magical – and its stories explore machismo, mental health, family, and identity.

But most of all, High Spirits represents the first book from Camille Gomera-Tavarez, who takes her place as one of the most extraordinary new voices to emerge in years.

An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan
Fantasy

Hunter Yee has perfect aim with a bow and arrow, but all else in his life veers wrong. He’s sick of being haunted by his family’s past mistakes. The only things keeping him from running away are his little brother, a supernatural wind, and the bewitching girl at his new high school.

Luna Chang dreads the future. Graduation looms ahead, and her parents’ expectations are stifling. When she begins to break the rules, she finds her life upended by the strange new boy in her class, the arrival of unearthly fireflies, and an ominous crack spreading across the town of Fairbridge.

As Hunter and Luna navigate their families’ enmity and secrets, everything around them begins to fall apart. All they can depend on is their love…but time is running out, and fate will have its way.

April 19th Releases

Flirting with Fate by J.C. Cervantes
Contemporary

Ava Granados will never forgive herself for being late to her beloved nana’s deathbed. But due to a flash flood that left Ava in a fender bender with a mysterious boy, she missed her grandmother’s mystical blessing–one that has been passed between the women of her family upon death for generations.

Then Nana’s ghost appears with a challenge from beyond the grave. As it turns out, Nana did give Ava a blessing, but it missed its target, landing with the boy from the night of the storm instead. Was it fate? Ava refuses to believe so. With the help of her sisters and Nana’s rather bumbling spiritual guide, she’s determined to reclaim her share of the family magic and set Nana free.

For guarded Ava, befriending some random boy is the last thing she wants to do. She’s gotten along just fine protecting her heart–keeping people at a distance is a great way to ensure no one ever hurts you. But as Ava embarks on her mission to retrieve the lost blessing, she starts to wonder if getting close to thunderstorm boy is worth the risk.

Mamo by Sas Milledge
Graphic Novel

Cartoonist Sas Milledge makes her astonishing debut in her first original graphic novel that answers the question of how we all reconcile our responsibilities with our dreams for our own future.

Orla O’Reilly, the youngest in a long line of hedge witches, is compelled to return home after the death of her grandmother, Mamo. In the wake of her Mamo’s passing, seas are impossible to fish, crops have soured, even Jo Manalo’s attic is taken over by a poltergeist! And to make matter worse it appears that the cause is Mamo, or her mislaid bones that is. Can Orla shoulder the responsibility of quieting her Mamo’s spirit, saving her hometown, and will she have to step up as the new witch of Haresden like Mamo always wanted?

My Sister’s Big Fat Indian Wedding by Sajni Patel
Contemporary

Zurika Damani is a naturally gifted violinist with a particular love for hip hop beats. But when you’re part of a big Indian family, everyone has expectations, and those certainly don’t include hip hop violin. After being rejected by Juilliard, Zuri’s last hope is a contest judged by a panel of top tier college scouts. The only problem? This coveted competition happens to take place during Zuri’s sister’s extravagant wedding week. And Zuri has already been warned, repeatedly, that she is not to miss a single moment.

In the midst of the chaos, Zuri’s mom is in matchmaking mode with the groom’s South African cousin Naveen—who just happens to be a cocky vocalist set on stealing Zuri’s spotlight at the scouting competition. Luckily Zuri has a crew of loud and loyal female cousins cheering her on. Now, all she has to do is to wow the judges for a top spot, evade getting caught by her parents, resist Naveen’s charms, and, oh yeah . . . not mess up her sister’s big fat Indian wedding. What could possibly go wrong?

I Am the Ghost in Your House by Mar Romasco-Moore
Paranormal/Horror

Pie is the ghost in your house.

She is not dead, she is invisible.

The way she looks changes depending on what is behind her. A girl of glass. A girl who is a window. If she stands in front of floral wallpaper she is full of roses.

For Pie’s entire life it’s been Pie and her mother. Just the two of them, traveling across America. They have slept in trains, in mattress stores, and on the bare ground. They have probably slept in your house.

But Pie is lonely. And now, at seventeen, her mother’s given her a gift. The choice of the next city they will go to. And Pie knows exactly where she wants to go. Pittsburgh—where she fell in love with a girl who she plans to find once again. And this time she will reveal herself.

Only how can anyone love an invisible girl?

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They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Call #: 
TEEN SILVERA
Rating: 4/5 stars
Review by Anahi A.

Mateo Torrez, an 18-year-old Puerto Rican teen, receives a call that notifies him of his death day. He doesn’t want to die unremembered, so he decides to go on the last friend app to find someone to go on his adventure with him. Rufus Emeterio, a 17-year-old Cuban American boy in the foster care system, also receives a call that notifies him of his death day. While running away from the cops, he realizes that he doesn’t want to spend the day alone. This brings him to download the last friend app to spend his last day with someone who is also going to die.  

This book was difficult to put down; I finished reading this book in 3 days because I couldn’t stop reading. I liked this book because it shows how Mateo gets out of his comfort zone to do all the things on his bucket list. I also liked how multiple side characters tie into the main character’s journey. This book has a lot of emotion and you can relate to the characters. 

I enjoyed this book because there was the right amount of romance and action. The author did a good job of capturing what it means to live and not just be alive. It was a sad, but exciting book to see the characters develop and be more open about themselves. The book isn’t about death but more about living life to the fullest. I would recommend this book to people who like to read about romance and action.

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The Goonies (1985)

The Goonies (1985)
Call #: J DVD FAMILY GOONIE
Rating: 5/5 stars
Review by Adrian P.

The Goonies follows the main character Mikey and his friends, who endure an adventure to find a legendary pirate’s lost treasure. While on their adventure, there is a group of criminals that try to intercept the treasure from the children.

The Goonies is the definition of an all-time classic. It is one of the most iconic movies of the 80’s, and rightfully so. The movie has an adventurous and fun mood. Although the movie is mostly about a big adventure, there is a great balance of comedy included with the characters Chunk and Mouth who are played by Jeff Cohen and Corey Feldman. 

The most exciting part of the movie is when they finally discover the lost ship with all of the treasure on it. It’s a cool scene, with a lot of detail in how the ship’s exterior and interior looks. When the criminals catch them, there’s a lot of fighting and funny scenes too.

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The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die by April Henry
Call #: 
TEEN HENRY
Rating: 3/5 stars
Review by Anahi A.

The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die is about a girl named Cadence who woke up in a mysterious cabin. She didn’t know where she was or her name, but she knew that the situation was not good. She tried to run away from her captors and began to get her memories back, but will she survive?

I would give this book a 3 out of 5. It was interesting to read because it had many turning points and keeps you wondering what would happen next. I would recommend this book to readers that like mystery and problem solving, as the author does a good job of describing the settings and the pain Cadence feels throughout the book. The cover made the novel come to life because you can’t see the eyes of the girl, which makes me think that she has no identity. In addition, there is a hand covering her mouth, which shows that she is in danger.

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Elf (2003)

Elf (2003)
Call #: BLU-RAY HOLIDAY ELF / DVD HOLIDAY ELF
Rating: 5/5 stars
Review by Adrian P.

Elf follows the character Buddy, who was an orphan as a baby but ended up in the North Pole where he was raised by elves. Consequently, he believed he was an elf his whole life until he was told he’s human and his father lives in New York. Buddy then goes to New York and tries to connect with his father.

This is a favorite in my family that we’ve watched every Christmas for years.​ It instantly gives me memories of when I was younger at my elementary school watching it right before winter break. This movie is perfect for families during the holidays. It contains tons of comedy and some heart-warming scenes. 

My favorite part of the movie is when Buddy tries to expose the fake Santa while at the mall. Buddy pulls down the Santa’s fake beard and then they get into a full out brawl that’s full of Santa chasing a man dressed up as an elf. Even imagining the scene makes me laugh.

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Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown

Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown
Call #: 
TEEN BROWN
Rating: 3/5 stars
Review by Alex A.

In Black Girl Unlimited, Echo Brown creates a captivating “autobiography”. Echo is a wizard from the East Side, which is impoverished and the habitants are addicted to the white rocks. The book is laced with magic and new portals begin to appear. This allows her to transfer to a rich school on the West Side. Echo is heavily influenced by a teacher there, and she is split between the huge divide of her current life on the East Side and the privileged life of the West.

I give this book 3 stars. While I do believe it touches on some very heavy and important themes, I did not like the incorporation of magic. I believe Echo being a Wizard took away from the books intended meaning. Additionally, the book is intended for teenagers but the aspect of magic seems too childlike for me. I also think oftentimes the author seemed to jump back and forth, which made the reading not as clear as it could have been.

I believe this book was phenomenal in the messages it tried to communicate. For instance, it talks about heavily stigmatized issues like poverty and sexual assault. It evoked a lot of emotions and often would reduce me to tears. The book was very impactful and made me reflect a lot. I’ve mentioned I liked the idea of the book I just believe the actual execution could have been better. However, I would still highly recommend this book.

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