Staff Picks for June 6, 2020
- Drew - Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
- Sarah - The Kingdom of Back
- Mary - White Bird
- Jennifer - How We Fight for Our Lives
- Pam - Writers & Lovers
- Marielle - The Elephant's Girl
- Anna - The Silence of Bones
- Christopher - Shakespeare for Squirrels
Drew: A really fun romp through the gated communities of the south during the early 90’s, with a vampire thrown in too! I have really enjoyed all of Grady Hendrix’s novels thus far and am happy to say that this one continues the tradition. The vampire was good and spooky and it was super refreshing to not just have him feed on peoples blood but also create suffering in the communities as well. Best moment in the book was when the two women were comparing the best ways to clean up after themselves, I literally cackled.
Sarah: Marie Lu’s new book arrived at the store last summer in the form of an ARC, I do believe I squealed loudly. And repeatedly. And then I started it reading it, and proceeded to talk about it for the next seven months. Seven months I’ve had to keep this one to myself. It was TORTURE. Torture I tell you. Every time someone would come into the store and ask for Legend, The Young Elites or Warcross, and asked if we liked them, I would say, “Yes, but her upcoming one is simply THE BEST.”
And it is. The best. Marie is one of my YA Fab Five and has been for some time, but with The Kingdom of Back, she elevated her writing to a new level. The book is written like a love letter to classical music and the instruments that are so well suited to it. It’s like a sonata in words, the lines of the score woven through Marie’s word choice.
Mary: Anyone who knows me well knows how much I love the book Wonder. I even got to meet author R J Palacio at BookExpo 2019! Surprisingly, I have never read a graphic novel. So I decided White Bird would be a good one to start with. I loved it! It is fiction, based on the Holocaust, told from the perspective of the hidden child herself, Sara. Well written and gorgeously illustrated, this book helps children to understand a very important part of history in a way that is moving and timely. Just like in Wonder, we find that with kindness, anything is possible.
Jennifer: Jones’ unflinching coming-of-age memoir of growing up black and gay to a Buddhist single mother was one of my favorite reads of 2019. It had me re-reading specific passages over and over because of the beautiful or hilarious prose. This line in particular gets me every time: “There should be a hundred words in our language for all the ways a black boy can lie awake at night.
Pam: This book, in my opinion, is a coming of age story. This novel takes place in Massachusetts during the late ’90s, and is about a young woman named Camilla or Casey for short, who is in her early thirties, and struggling after the unexpected death of her mother. Throughout the book she is searching for love, acceptance and guidance while she writes her first novel. Suggested reading for those who enjoy Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah.
Marielle: An enchanting middle grade novel of contemporary fiction with a touch of magical realism combine in this story of a young girl’s telepathic bond with the elephant that saved her life and her search for her lost family. Wonderfully written and full of magic, mystery, and animals, The Elephant’s Girl is a lovely tale of belonging and is perfect for anyone who has always wanted to know what their favorite animal is thinking.
Anna: This books was truly so unique in its setting and concept and I am so grateful that I got to read it! While I found the beginning to be slow, the more I read it, the more I truly fell in love with Seol and Inspector Han and wanted the best for them to happen. The setting of 1800 Joseon dynasty in Korea is something that I knew little about before reading this, besides having been to Seoul and having watched a few historical Korean dramas, and I loved getting to learn more about it. The setting and the story were pretty bleak and occasionally very dark but I found myself really enjoying it because of how well-written it was. It was hard to believe that this was a debut book. The mystery was really interesting and I had no idea who the bad guy was going to be, and I was shocked to find out who it was. The ending of the book had me in tears and I rarely cry during books. I wanted a happy ending for most of the characters and while I’m glad it happened for some, I’m devastated it didn’t happen for others. I truly enjoyed this book and I will be looking forward to the author’s future books!
Christopher: Before reading this book, I was unacquainted with Christopher’s Moore’s work and came in totally underestimating what I was in for. Masterfully written in Shakespearean style, this book tells the absolutely hilarious tale of Pocket, a royal fool, and the shenanigans he gets caught in while shipwrecked in Greece. While it does contain adult humor, this is an absolute gut-buster and a must for fans of the classic Bard.