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It strikes me as critical in these fraught times that we move out of our comfort zone and try to better understand those from different backgrounds, countries, or of different races. To that end, I encourage you to spend a few hours of your life with the characters in this masterful debut. Through the uncompromising force of the writing that delivers one emotional punch after another, these inter-connected stories will thoroughly immerse you in the lives of 4 young black friends living in postindustrial Pawtucket, RI, as they struggle with the transition to adulthood. For them the standard issues of sex, class, and career choice, are complicated by racism, and the ghosts of their family legacies that haunt them and raise barriers to achieving their hopes and dreams. Holmes demonstrates the power of fiction to transport one to a different world, a world that could exist just around the corner or even next door—a world we need to understand. I'd be surprised if this isn't one of the best books I read this year. —Jeanne
Thirteen-year-old Lydia has had more experience with death that most people her age. After caring for her mother with a heart condition for the six years when her dad walked out until her mom’s death, she is now moving in with her mom’s sister Brat and her jovial wife to their farmhouse in rural Connecticut. This is a wonderful story about love, grief, and the world’s best bad dog. Lovely, caring characters, and a class of welcoming students help Lydia begin to process her loss and begin to make her way back to a new life. —Deb
This is the tenth book in the Dr. Tony Hill & Carol Jordan book, but it was easy to follow even though I hadn’t read the earlier books. I consider McDermid the queen of psychological thrillers, and she does not disappoint here. Young women are being found in burning cars in locations all around Scotland, but there doesn’t seem to be any connection between them. Carol Jordan, head of the newly formed Regional Major Incident Team and Dr. Tony Hill, psychological profiler are challenged to find any clues to this devious murderer in order to prevent the next incident. One of the most surprising endings in recent years. This book will probably drive you to read the earlier books. —Deb
Claudia is counting down the minutes until school starts so that she and her best bud Monday can hang out again. She spent the summer in Georgia with her grandmother, and as usual she sent funny drawings and letters to Monday. But this year Monday didn’t send any back. School starts and Monday isn’t there. Her phone has been disconnected, and no one has seen her all summer.
How can someone disappear without anyone saying a word?
Inspired by actual events, this Young Adult mystery tackles some real world problems: missing young women, gentrification and mental illness. —Deb
"Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry." -Mark Twain
The history of human evolution presented here is uplifting and very unlike what I learned in school. The stories of humanity and running are somehow hopeful, pure, and wistful. You'll find plenty of sports jargon but also wisdom and hopefully an itch in your legs to go outside to run with joy and abandon. —Kaitlyn
As a young child author Moore escaped from her home in Liberia, across the border to Sierra Leone and then on to the US, during a terrifying civil war that was often fought by armed teenage rebels. One of those rebels commits an unimaginable act of altruism, and Moore goes back years later to Liberia to see if she can find her. The author easily pivots from her remarkable first novel about Liberia's origins, to this new short memoir. It's an instant classic, that's likely to be added to many class booklists. I can't stop thinking about it! —Carla