Staff Picks

The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine

In her second novel, Valentine blends fairy tale with historical fiction by retelling Grimm’s “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” setting it in the Roaring Twenties. During the day, the Hamilton sisters are shut up in the top story of their father’s house. Ashamed of having twelve daughters and no sons, their father hides them while he waits to marry them off to advantageous matches. Some nights the girls sneak out to dance at various speakeasies around Manhattan.

The Secrets of Tree Taylor by Dandi Daley Mackall

It’s the summer of 1963 and the summer before high school for Tree Taylor. She has set two goals for herself: to experience her first kiss and to write an article important enough to earn her a reporter’s spot on the school newspaper. When a shooting takes place at the Kinney place right next door, Tree sees it as an opportunity to hone her writing skills. But to begin, Tree has to unearth the facts of the so-called “accidental shooting.” Everyone she interviews, including her dad, the local doctor, stonewalls her efforts to get to the truth.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Tarver Merendsen is a young decorated war hero from a normal - but not rich - family.  Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of the richest and most powerful man in the universe.  They meet by chance on board the mega-spaceship Icarus, but Lilac quickly puts a stop to any intentions, as her father is known for making interested men disappear.  One afternoon, the Icarus is suddenly yanked out of hyperspace, forcing Lilac and Tarver to eject in an escape pod.  They land on a terraformed but seemingly uninhabited planet.

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story by Dan Harris

Who would have thought that a popular TV journalist, who also happens to be agnostic and pretty skeptical of meditation, would write such an accessible and enjoyable book on mediation? Part memoir, part self-help guide, Harris covers everything from his background as a network TV news anchor to his journey in the world of meditation & self-help. His skeptical voice really helps make this book palatable to people who have been interested in trying meditation, but have been too intimidated by the seemingly unattainable path to enlightenment touted by the Dalai Lama.

West of the Moon by Margi Preus

After Astri’s mother dies, her father decides to leave Norway to seek his fortune in America.  He sends Astri and her sister Greta to live with their aunt and uncle. Her aunt sells Astri to a mean goat herder who abuses hardworking Astri until she runs away. Astri returns to her aunt and uncle’s house to get Greta so they can follow their father. They travel to the coast and find a boat bound for America. Astri pays for her passage and Greta stows away. The voyage in steerage is treacherous with rough seas and disease.

The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz

It’s the first day of summer vacation and it’s off to a slow start for 13-year-old Nina. Her dear grandma died last year, her parents are always working and her college-bound brother is never home. As she sits on the hammock just wasting time, she sees her neighbor wearing a leg cast and a whole lot of plants that need planting. Mrs. Chung’s marigold aren’t  going to get planted unless…  Right then Nina hatches a plan to do something nice for her neighbors, anonymously, every day for the entire 65 days of summer.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

In the thrilling conclusion to the Grisha trilogy, Leigh Bardugo has outdone herself again. We left Alina, the Sun Summoner, in a dark underworld ruled by the Apparats where there is no way she can summon the sun to give herself and those around her the sun’s power.  Yet her people still worship her in her weakened state as a Saint, renowned for her ability to capture the sun’s energy as a holy force. Her best friend Mal concocts a plan to free Alina from her dark prison and strategizes how to free Ravka from the grip of the Darkling.

The Rise & Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman

Raised by a band of con-artists and outsiders, Tooly Zylberberg has always led an unconventional life.  Taking solace in her isolated existence, she is currently running a failing bookstore in a small village in Wales when an old boyfriend from New York sends her an urgent message about a man from her past he mistakenly believes is her father.  Against her better judgment, Tooly flies to New York City and finds that the message was about Humphrey - a self-proclaimed grumpy intellectual from Russia who helped raise her.

Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd

“Home isn’t just a house or a city or a place.”  After being constantly on the move for the last five years, Felicity has finally made a friend and wishes more than anything that her wandering mother will let them stay in Midnight Gulch, a town that was once considered magical.  When she participates in the town Duel (a talent contest), everyone’s luck changes and perhaps the magic has returned after all.

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