Upcoming Teen Events

Hello! School’s over! Enjoy your summer with some teen events!

Fairfax County libraries have returned to normal hours, please consider the different hours between regional and community libraries.

*Teen Yoga

Move, stretch, breathe, and connect your body and mind in a special yoga class, just for teens.

No experience required, just an open mind. Please have a yoga mat or beach towel for your practice. Ages 13-17.

Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Registration link: https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/7570395

*Teen Pride Book Club

Join us for a virtual discussion of a book with LGBTQA+ themes. This month’s book is Queer There and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World by Sarah Prager. Grades 9-12. A link to the event will be emailed to those registered prior to the event.

Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Time: 4:00pm – 5:00pm

Registration link: https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/7751924

*Virtual Dungeons & Dragons for Teens

Join us for an online role-playing adventure! Familiarity with Dungeons & Dragons is a plus, but players do not need to be D&D experts. All levels of experience welcome. A Zoom link will be sent to registered participants prior to the event. Grades 9-12.

Date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Registration link: https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/7646814

*Get Inspired with YA Author Christina June

Looking for inspiration for this year’s Teen Film Festival? Virtually meet YA author Christina June! Christina writes fairytale retellings and will have lots of tips and tricks for (re)telling a great story! (R).

This event will take place via Zoom. Register below. A link to join the event will be sent 2 hours before the event start time. Patrons requesting reasonable accomodation should contact 703-324-838.

Click here to check out Christina’s books.

Have a question you’d like to ask Christina? Click here to submit your question. We may read your submission aloud during the event.

Date: Thursday, June 24, 2021

Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm

Registration link: https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/7715923

*Teen Otaku Club

Welcome to the Teen Otaku Club! ”Otaku” is Japanese for someone who likes anime and manga. In this club, teens participate in discussions about their favorite anime and manga! Every meeting will include an activity. Register below to receive the Zoom invite code. Spots are limited! Invite codes will be sent out 30 minutes before the program start time.

Date: Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Registration link: https://librarycalendar.fairfaxcounty.gov/event/7847413

*Notes that the program is virtual

(each description is taken from the Fairfax County Library calendar)

Feel Good Books To Read

Kings, Queens, and In-Between By Tanya Boteju

Amazon.com: Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens (9781534430655): Boteju, Tanya:  Books

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother’s unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.

Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she’ll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.

The Rosie Project By Graeme Simsion

Amazon.com: The Rosie Project: A Novel (9781476729091): Simsion, Graeme:  Books

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don’s Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine By Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine: A Novel: Honeyman, Gail:  9780735220683: Amazon.com: Books

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

A Man Called Ove By Fredrik Backman

Amazon.com: A Man Called Ove: A Novel (9781476738024): Backman, Fredrik:  Books

A grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon, the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill By Abbi Waxman

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill: Waxman, Abbi: 9780451491879: Amazon.com:  Books

The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book.

When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They’re all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She’ll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It’s a disaster! And as if that wasn’t enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn’t he realize what a terrible idea that is?

Nina considers her options.

1. Completely change her name and appearance. (Too drastic, plus she likes her hair.)
2. Flee to a deserted island. (Hard pass, see: coffee).
3. Hide in a corner of her apartment and rock back and forth. (Already doing it.)

It’s time for Nina to come out of her comfortable shell, but she isn’t convinced real life could ever live up to fiction. It’s going to take a brand-new family, a persistent suitor, and the combined effects of ice cream and trivia to make her turn her own fresh page.

Note: All book summaries are summaries found on the back of each respective book.

*Denotes that the book is part of a series.

^Denotes that the book has a tv show movie or adaptation.

Books To Cry About

They Went Left By Monica Hesse

Amazon.com: They Went Left (9780316490573): Hesse, Monica: Books

Germany, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the Gross-Rosen concentration camp said the war was over, but nothing feels over to eighteen-year-old Zofia Lederman. Her body has barely begun to heal; her mind feels broken. And her life is completely shattered: Three years ago, she and her younger brother, Abek, were the only members of their family to be sent to the right, away from the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Everyone else–her parents, her grandmother, radiant Aunt Maja–they went left.

Zofia’s last words to her brother were a promise: Abek to Zofia, A to Z. When I find you again, we will fill our alphabet. Now her journey to fulfill that vow takes her through Poland and Germany, and into a displaced persons camp where everyone she meets is trying to piece together a future from a painful past: Miriam, desperately searching for the twin she was separated from after they survived medical experimentation. Breine, a former heiress, who now longs only for a simple wedding with her new fiancé. And Josef, who guards his past behind a wall of secrets, and is beautiful and strange and magnetic all at once.

But the deeper Zofia digs, the more impossible her search seems. How can she find one boy in a sea of the missing? In the rubble of a broken continent, Zofia must delve into a mystery whose answers could break her–or help her rebuild her world.

Goodbye Days By Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days (9780553524062): Zentner, Jeff: Books - Amazon.com

One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Making Faces By Amy Harmon

Making Faces

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have . . . until he wasn’t beautiful anymore. Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

Girl in Pieces By Kathleen Glasgow

Amazon.com: Girl in Pieces (9781101934715): Glasgow, Kathleen: Books

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The broken glass washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.

The Song of Achilles By Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles: A Novel - Kindle edition by Miller, Madeline.  Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.

Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.

Note: All book summaries are summaries found on the back of each respective book.

*Denotes that the book is part of a series.

^Denotes that the book has a tv show movie or adaptation.

Non-Fiction Books You Won’t Be Able To Put Down

Sapiens: A Brief History Of Humankind By Yuval Noah Harari

Amazon.com: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind: Harari, Yuval Noah: Books

100,000 years ago, at least six human species inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo sapiens.

How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations and human rights; to trust money, books and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come?

In Sapiens, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical – and sometimes devastating – breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural and Scientific Revolutions. Drawing on insights from biology, anthropology, paleontology and economics, he explores how the currents of history have shaped our human societies, the animals and plants around us, and even our personalities. Have we become happier as history has unfolded? Can we ever free our behavior from the heritage of our ancestors? And what, if anything, can we do to influence the course of the centuries to come?

Bold, wide-ranging and provocative, Sapiens challenges everything we thought we knew about being human: our thoughts, our actions, our power … and our future.

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story Of America’s Shining Women By Kate Moore

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women: Moore, Kate:  4708364235026: Amazon.com: Books

The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.

^Just Mercy: A Story Of Justice and Redemption By Bryan Stevenson

Amazon.com: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption (9780812984965):  Stevenson, Bryan: Books

An unforgettable true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to end mass incarceration in America — from one of the most inspiring lawyers of our time.

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit law office in Montgomery, Alabama, dedicated to defending the poor, the incarcerated, and the wrongly condemned.

Just Mercy tells the story of EJI, from the early days with a small staff facing the nation’s highest death sentencing and execution rates, through a successful campaign to challenge the cruel practice of sentencing children to die in prison, to revolutionary projects designed to confront Americans with our history of racial injustice.

One of EJI’s first clients was Walter McMillian, a young Black man who was sentenced to die for the murder of a young white woman that he didn’t commit. The case exemplifies how the death penalty in America is a direct descendant of lynching — a system that treats the rich and guilty better than the poor and innocent.

The Only Plane In The Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 By Garrett M. Graff

The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11: Graff, Garrett M.:  9781501182204: Amazon.com: Books

The first comprehensive oral history of September 11, 2001—a panoramic narrative woven from the voices of Americans on the front lines of an unprecedented national trauma.

More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time.

Note: All book summaries are summaries found on the back of each respective book.

*Denotes that the book is part of a series.

^Denotes that the book has a tv show movie or adaptation.

Here is a list of books our TAB members have read and loved recently! The call numbers have been included so you can come and check them out at Reston Regional Library. (All summaries are taken from Novelist unless stated otherwise.)

Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones (JFIC JON)

Eldest of three sisters in a land where it is considered to be a misfortune, Sophie is resigned to her fate as a hat shop apprentice until a witch turns her into an old woman and she finds herself in the castle of the greatly feared wizard Howl.

Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan (FIC KWA)

Envisioning a summer vacation in the humble Singapore home of a boy she hopes to marry, Chinese American Rachel Chu is unexpectedly introduced to a rich and scheming clan that strongly opposes their son’s relationship with an American girl.

Symptoms of Being Human, Jeff Garvin (YFIC GAR)

A gender-fluid teenager who struggles with identity creates a blog on the topic that goes viral, and faces ridicule at the hands of fellow students.

Atomic Habits, James Clear (158.1 C 2018)

One of the world’s leading experts on habit formation reveals practical strategies that will teach readers exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

Shadow and Bone, Leigh Bardugo (YSF BARDUGO LEIGH)

Orphaned by the Border Wars, Alina Starkov is taken from obscurity and her only friend, Mal, to become the protege of the mysterious Darkling, who trains her to join the magical elite in the belief that she is the Sun Summoner, who can destroy the monsters of the Fold.

The Radium Girls, Kate Moore (363.1799 M 2017)

Recounts the struggles of hundreds of women who were exposed to radium while working factory jobs during World War I, describing how they were mislead by their employers and became embroiled in a battle for workers’ rights.

Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela (B MANDELA 1994)

The leader of South Africa’s antiapartheid movement chronicles his life, including his tribal years, his time spent in prison, and his return to lead his people.

ShipwrecksAkira Yoshimura (FIC YOS)

Isaku is a nine-year-old boy living in a remote, desperately poor fishing village on the coast of Japan. His people catch barely enough fish to live on, and so must distill salt to sell to neighboring villages. But this industry serves another, more sinister purpose: the fires of the salt cauldrons lure passing ships toward the shore and onto rocky shoals. When a ship runs aground, the villagers slaughter the crew and loot the cargo for rice, wine, and rich delicacies. One day a ship founders on the rocks. But Isaku learns that its cargo is far deadlier than could ever be imagined. – Goodreads

Breakout, Kate Messner (JFIC MESSNER KATE)

Nora Tucker is looking forward to summer vacation in Wolf Creek–two months of swimming, popsicles, and brushing up on her journalism skills for the school paper. But when two inmates break out of the town’s maximum security prison, everything changes. Doors are locked, helicopters fly over the woods, and police patrol the school grounds. Worst of all, everyone is on edge, and fear brings out the worst in some people Nora has known her whole life. Even if the inmates are caught, she worries that home might never feel the same. – Goodreads

Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire (SF MCG)

 Shares the story of Jack and Jill before they tumbled into Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, relating their experiences in a childhood world of monsters, mad scientists and fateful choices.

Graphic Novels To Check Out

*Smile By Raina Telgemeier

Smile (Smile, #1) by Raina Telgemeier

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly. This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.

Awkward By Svetlana Shmakova

Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School, 1): Chmakova, Svetlana: 9780316381307:  Amazon.com: Books

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals–the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

*Sunny Side Up By Jennifer L. Holm

Sunny Side Up (Sunny, Book 1): Holm, Jennifer L., Holm, Matthew:  9780545741668: Amazon.com: Books

Sunny Lewin has been packed off to Florida to live with her grandfather for the summer. At first she thought Florida might be fun — it is the home of Disney World, after all. But the place where Gramps lives is no amusement park. It’s full of . . . old people. Really old people. Luckily, Sunny isn’t the only kid around. She meets Buzz, a boy who is completely obsessed with comic books, and soon they’re having adventures of their own: facing off against golfball-eating alligators, runaway cats, and mysteriously disappearing neighbors. But the question remains — why is Sunny down in Florida in the first place? The answer lies in a family secret that won’t be secret to Sunny much longer. . .

*^Over The Garden Wall By Jim Campbell and Amelia Levari

Amazon.com: Over The Garden Wall Vol. 1 (1) (9781608869404): Campbell, Jim,  Levari, Amalia, McHale, Pat, McGee, Cara: Books

Two lost brothers venture across a strange forest and discover incredible and bizarre things on their journey home in a style reminiscent of The Wind in the Willows and Sleepy Hollow.

Return to the Unknown with new Over The Garden Wall stories that expand the world of the Emmy Award-winning Cartoon Network series.

Writer and artist Jim Campbell spins a tale that follows Greg and Jason Funderburker as they traverse the Unknown and find new friends along the way. Meanwhile, the Woodsman’s daughter Anna, wanders alone in the Unknown after her father is tricked by the Beast.

Written by Amalia Levari with artist Cara McGee—find out how Anna learned to survive on her own as she starts her journey to save her father before his fate is sealed. Both of these stories are something no Over The Garden fan will want to miss!

Nimona By Noelle Stevenson

Amazon.com: Nimona (9780062278227): Stevenson, Noelle, Stevenson, Noelle:  Books

Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.

But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona’s powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Note: All book summaries are the summaries found on the back of each respective book.

*Denotes that the book is part of a series.

^Denotes that the book has a tv show or movie adaption.

Books To Read To Start Off Spring

^Howl’s Moving Castle By Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle - (World Of Howl) By Diana Wynne Jones (Paperback) :  Target

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

^The Secret Garden By Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden - 2nd Edition By Frances Hodgson Burnett (Hardcover) :  Target

The plot centers round Mary Lennox, a young English girl who returns to England from India, having suffered the immense trauma by losing both her parents in a cholera epidemic. However, her memories of her parents are not pleasant, as they were a selfish, neglectful and pleasure-seeking couple. Mary is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home, Misselthwaite Manor located in the gloomy Yorkshire, a vast change from the sunny and warm climate she was used to. When she arrives, she is a rude, stubborn and given to stormy temper tantrums. However, her nature undergoes a gradual transformation when she learns of the tragedies that have befallen her strict and disciplinarian uncle whom she earlier feared and despised. Once when he’s away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked. The mystery deepens when she hears sounds of sobbing from somewhere within her uncle’s vast mansion. The kindly servants ignore her queries or pretend they haven’t heard, spiking Mary’s curiosity.

^Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens agenda By Becky Albertalli

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Dial A for Aunties By Jesse Q. Sutanto

Dial A for Aunties: Sutanto, Jesse Q.: 9780593336731: Amazon.com: Books

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is accidentally shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working, at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for their family wedding business—“Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream cake flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?

Interior Chinatown By Charles Yu

Amazon.com: Interior Chinatown (Vintage Contemporaries) (9780307948472):  Yu, Charles: Books

Willis Wu doesn’t perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: he’s merely Generic Asian Man. Every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He’s a bit player here too. . . but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy—the highest aspiration he can imagine for a Chinatown denizen. Or is it?

After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he’s ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family, and what that means for him, in today’s America.

Note: All book summaries are summaries found on the back of each respective book.

*Denotes that the book is part of a series.

^Denotes that the book has a tv show movie or adaptation.

Books to Read During Black History Month

Here are some recommendations of books to read– especially during Black History Month!

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give (The Hate U Give, #1)

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. 

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, because of a biased system he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated. Then, one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?

Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson

When legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots Enchanted Jones at an audition, her dreams of being a famous singer take flight. Until Enchanted wakes up with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night. Who killed Korey Fields?

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted’s dreams had turned into a nightmare. Because behind Korey’s charm and star power was a controlling dark side. Now he’s dead, the police are at the door, and all signs point to Enchanted.

Calling My Name by Liara Tamani

This unforgettable novel tells a universal coming-of-age story about Taja Brown, a young African American girl growing up in Houston, Texas, and deftly and beautifully explores the universal struggles of growing up, battling family expectations, discovering a sense of self, and finding a unique voice and purpose.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling—hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack.

But then Kate dies. And their story should end there.

Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind.

Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves.

Note: All book summaries are the summaries found on the back cover of each respective book.

*Denotes that the book is part of a series.

^Denotes that the book has a tv show or movie adaptation.

YA Book Recommendations

Here’s a list of YA books to read if you liked “One of Us Is Lying” by Karen M. McManus!

If you liked…

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1)

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Then you’ll also enjoy…

People Like Us by Dana Mele

People Like Us

Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.

Losing Brave by Bailee Madison & Stefne Miller

Losing Brave

Amid the turmoil of her sister’s disappearance, Payton feels lost as the one left behind. Her mental state wrought and reckless, she tumbles from the graces of popularity to the outskirts of high school society, where she attracts a rag-tag group of friends—and a troubling romance with her sister’s boyfriend, Cole.

Though Payton remembers nothing of the day Dylan disappeared, she must pry into her own mind when another missing girl’s body is recovered from a nearby lake, the victim’s features eerily similar to Dylan’s. The further Payton presses into the recesses of her memory, the more danger surrounds her. The darkness around her sister’s disappearance grows and the truth becomes more and more unbearable. What she finds might just cost Payton her life.

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.

Note: All book summaries are the summaries found on the back cover of each respective book.

*Denotes that the book is part of a series.

^Denotes that the book has a tv show or movie adaptation.