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.

Books BookTok Just Can’t Get Enough Of

Here’s some recommendations that have been trending on book side of Tik Tok!

The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

Queen Sarban the Ninth must conceive a daughter in order to protect her world from destruction. Assassins, though, creep ever closer to her doorstep.

Ead Duryn is loyal to the hidden society of mages. While acting as a lady-in-waiting, she protects Queen Sarban using forbidden magic.

Tané has been a dragon rider her whole life, but must make a decision that will alter her life.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

There is a library between life and death, and within it lies the chance to see the endless possibilities of your life. Along with the book of your life, there are other stories discovering what your life could’ve been like if only you made a single different decision.  

Lore – Alexandra Bracken

Every seven years, the Agon begins, a form of punishment for a past rebellion of nine Greek gods who must walk the earth while being hunted by ancient bloodlines. Long ago, Lore Perseous fled after a rival bloodline killed her family. 

As the next Agon emerges, Lore is seeked out by two participants: a childhood friend long-thought dead and an injured Athena. Athena offers an alliance against the murderer of Lore’s family and a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind for good. But Lore’s decision to rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost. 

If We Were Villains – M.L Rio

What if a role was taken too far? 

Oliver Marks and his friends play the same roles both on and off stage. But when the  casting is changed, one of the plays comes to life and a student is found dead. Everyone now must face their greatest performance yet:  convincing the police, and themselves, that they are completely innocent.

Wilder Girls – Rory Power

The Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine after the Tox hit. First the teachers died one by one. Then the students, their bodies becoming disfigured and strange. Now, after eighteen months of confinement, the girls don’t dare to travel out of school grounds, into the woods, where the Tox is most dangerous. But then Hetty’s best friend, Byett, goes missing, forcing her to face the horrors of the Tox and the hidden truths of the past.

A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari– magicians with the rare power to travel between the realms of London: Red, Grey, White, and, long ago, Black. 

While Kell works officially as an ambassador for the Maresh Empire, she also works as an unofficial smuggler– giving those willing to pay a glimpse of the other worlds. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London where she runs into Delilah Bard, a pickpocketer with lofty goals. Together must stay alive and protect their worlds as dangerous magic and treachery set afoot. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab

What if you were granted immortality but cursed to be forgotten by everyone you meet? Welcome to the life of Addie LaRue. Her life has spanned through centuries and continents, history and art. After nearly 300 years, though, everything changes. Addie stumbles into a young man and he remembers her name. 

Halloween Teen Reads

Hello all! I wanted to make a post on some Halloween reads that you can get from Reston Regional Library.

The Raven’s Tale, Cat Winters

The raven's tale
Seventeen-year-old Edgar Poe’s plans to escape his foster family, begin classes at the prestigious new university, and marry his beloved Elmira Royster go awry when a macabre Muse appears with a request.

Cemetery Boys, Aidan Thomas

Cemetery boys
Yadriel, a trans boy, summons the angry spirit of his high school’s bad boy, and agrees to help him learn how he died, thereby proving himself a brujo, not a bruja, to his conservative family.

A Drop of Night, Stephen Bachman

A drop of night
Seventeen-year-old Anouk has been chosen to participate in an exclusive program, which includes an all-expense-paid trip to France and a chance to explore the hidden underground Palais du Papillon, or the Palace of the Butterfly. Along with four other bright and talented teenagers, Anouk will be one of the first people to set foot in the palace in more than 200 years. But the expedition is not all it seems–their supposed benefactors are attempting to kill them. The story alternates between Anouk’s flight through the palace and the struggles of Aurelie, who escaped the French Revolution by fleeing into the Palais du Papillon in 1789.

Dream Fall, Amy Plum

Dream fall
Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse… but she was terribly wrong. Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

The Tenth Girl, Sara Faring

The tenth girl
In 1978 at the very southern tip of South America looms an isolated finishing school. Legend has it that the land will curse those who settle there. But for Mavi — a bold Buenos Aires native fleeing the military regime that took her mother — it offers an escape to a new life as a young teacher to Argentina’s elite girls. Mavi tries to embrace the strangeness of the imposing house — despite warnings not to roam at night, threats from an enigmatic young man, and rumors of mysterious Others. But one of Mavi’s ten students is missing, and when students and teachers alike begin to behave as if possessed, the forces haunting this unholy cliff will no longer be ignored. One of these spirits holds a secret that could unravel Mavi’s existence. In order to survive she must solve a cosmic mystery — and then fight for her life.

Get Ready for Fall Reading!

compiled and summarized by Emma Shacochis

The school year beginning means a bittersweet end to the free time summer gave us to pour through as many books as we wanted. However, with the seasons about to change, it seems like the perfect time to start thinking about which spooky, autumnal reads we can borrow from Fairfax County’s libraries this fall!

GRAPHIC NOVELS

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Pumpkinheads, by Rainbow Rowell

Seasonal best friends Josiah and Deja devote their last night working at their local pumpkin patch to talking to their longtime crush (Josiah), trying every snack available (Deja), and avoiding the need to say goodbye to one another.

Mooncakes, by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu

When the woods of their town begin to fill with ominous and supernatural creatures, werewolf Tam reunites with their childhood best friend Nova and her family of witches to whip up some magic to stop it.

Fake Blood, by Whitney Gardner

In order to get the attention of his vampire-obsessed crush Nia, AJ decides to go big and pretend that he’s the undead boy of her dreams. Foolproof, right? …Too bad that she’s secretly a vampire slayer.

Sheets, by Brenna Thummler

Lately, the bedsheets at Marjorie’s laundromat have been scattered across the floor each morning. It’s not the fault of faulty machines or the seedy businessman who’s trying to buy the store from her family – only ghosts!

NOVELS

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The Lantern’s Ember, by Colleen Houck

Cross the bridge alongside Ember, her town’s only witch, and “lantern” Jack, the guardsman between worlds, into a nightmarish realm of every Halloween monster you’ve ever heard of – and worse.

When We Were Magic, by Sarah Gailey

Six teenage witches struggle to maintain their friendship while covering up crushes, insecurities, and an unfortunately high number of magical murders.

The Babysitter’s Coven, by Kate Williams

A group of teenage girls team up to make dinner, put the kids to bed, and use their supernatural powers to protect the world from evil – all in an evening’s work.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, by Kiersten White

When she’s taken out of her abusive home to be a companion of the serious, mysterious Victor Frankenstein, Elizabeth is delighted by her new life. But the closer she gets to the family’s terrifying secrets, the more she realizes her own capabilities for darkness.

 

Grab your candy corn and dive into these fascinating reads!

Review: Sara J. Maas’s The Throne of Glass

     Celaena Sardothien has been trained as an assassin since she was eight. When she was captured at 17 and taken to the Endovier prison where most people don’t live more than a month, Celaena focuses on the only thing she can: staying alive. So when the Crown Prince and his Captain of the Guard come to visit her and offer her a way to earn her freedom, of course, Celaena says yes. All she has to do is defeat 23 of the kingdom’s best thieves and assassins, and she will become the King’s Champion with her freedom coming soon after. Sounds easy, right? Wrong.

     Besides the fact that both the Captain of the Guard and the Crown Prince have caught Celaena’s eye yet both seem to provoke her in their ways, there is dark magic roaming the hallways of the castle and more and more competitors are being murdered. With a foreign princess as one of her only allies, Celaena must discover as much as she can about the forbidden magic that has entered the castle without the king finding out. After all, magic has been banned for many years and the king doesn’t respond kindly to people who disobey the law….

     Sara J. Maas spins another breath-catching tale that has roots in the Cinderella fairytale but soon takes on a life of its own. The Throne of Glass will make you question authority and teach you that sometimes life isn’t fair, so you have to play by your own rules. The Throne of Glass is perfect for fans of the Hunger Games and Game of Thrones!

 

Review: Jenn Bennett’s Alex, Approximately

     Bailey Rydell lives in DC with her mother, where she spends most of her time online chatting with a guy who calls himself Alex. They both love movies, and when Alex asks Bailey to come to a movie festival with him in his home town in California, Bailey realizes that he lives in the same town as her father. So when Bailey goes to live with her father at the beginning of the summer, she starts looking for him but doesn’t tell him that she’s here. With her new summer job, new best friend, Grace, and new mortal enemy, Porter, it just slipped her mind.

     With Porter seemingly always around, Bailey and he just can’t seem to get along! However, as Bailey gets to know this cute little surfing town better and Porter along with it, her feelings start to change into something different, something … sweet? Bailey can’t help feeling bad about “cheating” on Alex, even though they’ve never met or dated, but it turns out that she doesn’t need to worry. You see, Porter is Alex … approximately.

     Alex, Approximately is the cute beach romance that everyone dreams of, and if we can’t all have it, why not read about it! Jenn Bennett spins a sweet, irresistible story that will get you sucked in and gasping with all the plot twists, steamy scenes, and drama that happens in Coronado Cove, California. Population: all romance lovers.

 

 

Review: Mary E. Pearson’s The Kiss of Deception

Amazon.com: The Kiss of Deception: The Remnant Chronicles, Book ...

     Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia has it all – including an untraditional name tacked on to the end of her official title. But to her, that is the name that has always felt the most real to her, and so she decides to go by Lia. On the day of Lia’s wedding, she runs away with her attendant Pauline to escape an arranged marriage. As she sees it, the prince of Dalbreck doesn’t deserve her hand in marriage if he can’t even be bothered to meet her beforehand. With only the clothes on their backs, their horses, and a stolen secret, Lia and Pauline set off in search of a new life.

     They reach the town of Terravin and start over by working at a local tavern. There, Lia meets two men, Kaden and Rafe, but what she doesn’t know about them is that one of them is the prince she was supposed to marry and the other a hired assassin there to kill her. As Lia realizes that she is in more danger than before, she also finds herself falling for one of the new men in her life. Will love be enough to save them all?

     The Kiss of Deception is a riveting novel that will grasp you and not let you put it down until you’ve finished. With plot twists keeping you hooked until the very end, Mary E. Pearson has created a story that will never let you go. You’ll find yourself rooting for love and hoping that Lia doesn’t pick the wrong person and damn them all.

 

Review: Ami Polonsky’s Gracefully Grayson

Amazon.com: Gracefully Grayson (9781484723654): Polonsky, Ami: Books

Grayson Sender is a boy. Or at least that’s what everybody else sees. Inside, Grayson is a girl. Ever since she was a child, she’s known that she wasn’t who everyone thought she was. She pretends that her sweatpants are skirts, and draws princesses in her notebooks with glitter pens. Grayson is desperate to not let anyone know her secret, and it’s not very hard. You see, Grayson has no friends. She spends all her time either in thrift stores or in her own room.

When the school play auditions start, Grayson tries out for the lead. The female lead. And she gets it. Of course, because Grayson looks like a boy to everyone else, this poses some issues, issues that end up breaking Grayson’s arm. When the PTA considers firing the teacher that gave Grayson the part she has dreamed of, she knows this has gone too far. Once she gets on stage for that final performance, she shows them all that who you are on the outside doesn’t match who you are on the inside.

Gracefully Grayson is a beautiful story that will drag you along with it, making you pull for Grayson, and soon you will fall in love with the amazing character that Ami Polonsky has created. Gracefully Grayson will teach you that it’s OK to be yourself, that what you look like doesn’t define who you are, and that if you reach out to someone, you can change their world.

Review: Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed

Starcrossed: The Starcrossed Trilogy 1 - Pan Macmillan AU

     Helen has lived her whole life as an outcast in her town. She is tall, super strong, and fast, not to mention gorgeous! So when a new family moves in that seem to have the same “problems” like her, she is immediately intrigued. Except, of course, when she sees them. Whenever Helen encounters any member of the Delos family, she is thrown into a murderous rage and then immediately gets terrible cramps. What she doesn’t know is why.

     Suddenly, after Helen saves one of the boys’ lives, she doesn’t feel the urge to murder anyone anymore. Especially not Lucas, whom Helen can’t seem to stay away from. As she spends more time with them, she learns more about what they are – herself included. The Delos’ and Helen are one of the remaining few Scions – descendants of the gods. While Helen is developing her normal Scion talents, as well as a few extra rare ones with the help of the Delos’, she soon learns that no matter how badly she and Lucas want each other, they can never have each other or they will start an eternal war. And to make matters worse, Helen soon learns that the rest of the Delos’ relatives are coming to kill her. Will she be able to stop a war that will destroy civilization as we know it and herself?

     Josephine Angelini has written a gorgeous tale of starcrossed lovers trying to save themselves and the world at the same time. The perfect mix of Twilight and Percy Jackson & the OlympiansStarcrossed will pull you in and never let go. Learn to love yourself and others alongside Helen and find out what Fate truly means.