October 2017

Top Pick:

 

release

Release by Patrick Ness:

“It’s a regular summer’s day for Adam Thorn. It begins with picking up gardening supplies for his mother (even though his brother, Marty, ran over her chrysanthemums). Later, he’s off to run with his cross-country team, and then he clocks in a what he calls the Evil International Mega-Conglomerate warehouse. After that it’s a brief stop to see his best friend, Angela, followed by his boyfriend, Linus. That evening, Adam helps at his preacher father’s evangelical church and ends the night at a going-away party for Enzo, an ex for whom Adam still yearns. 

Adam’s day alternates between the mundane and the extraordinary; Angela and Marty both have revelations to share; Linus needs more from Adam than his heart is ready to give; and Adam’s tenuous truce with his father may be coming to an end. But as Adam’s day progresses, so does someone else’s: that of a mysterious presence who might be the ghost of a murdered girl–or perhaps the embodiment of an ancient water queen. Adam’s story and that of the drowned spirit run parallel for a time, but when they overlap, both could find some kind of release. 

Drawing inspiration from Judy Blume’s Forever… and Virginia Woolf’s classic cricadian novel Mrs. Dalloway, this new novel from Carnegie Medal winning -author Patrick Ness features diverse characters, unique religious perspectives (Adam’s father’s strict rules don’t hold a monopoly on spirituality) and just enough honest talk about sex to make it a good choice for older teen readers.

 

Review by Jill Ratzan

More honorable mentions from BookPage include:

 

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed: The small town of prescott, Oregon, has a dark history of assault that it likes to keep hidden. But in The Nowhere Girls, three young women have had enough of the predators roaming the halls of their high school.

Grace Salter, Rosina Suares and Erin DeLillo sit a what everybody in the Prescott High lunchroom knows as the weirdo table. Grace is the new girl who just moved to town because her preacher mom is too liberal and radical. Rosina is the queer, punk girl in a conservative, Mexican- American family, and Erin, though a genius, deals with the social struggles of her extreme Asperger’s every single day. Together, they anonymously nowhere girlsorganize the Nowhere Girls in order to push back against the over sexism, victim blaming, slut shaming, and outright rape culture running rampant at Prescott. Their first move: withholding sex of any kind from the boys at their school. And as the Nowhere Girls continue to meet and grow in numbers, they begin to find strength in their own voices , take control of their own bodies and discover that they are far stronger and more capable than they’d ever been allowed to imagine. 

Borrowing from the ancient Greek play Lysistrata, author Amy Reed crafts a powerful, moving and nuanced set of characters who experienced the same abuse that far too many girls suffer. Reed’s The Nowhere Girls shows readers the power each woman possesses–and she lets her characters serve as example of how young people can take care of each other while simultaneously demanding and effecting real change in their communities. 

Review by Justin Barisich

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater: Maggie Stiefvater returns with her matchless style in a standalone novel set in the Colorado Desert in 1962. Bicho Raro is a mystical ranch where the Soria family has resided for generations, performing miracles for pilgrims who seek help in banishing their darkness. At the center are three cousins–Beatriz, Joaquin and Daniel. When Daniel, the eldest cousin and saint, breaks the all the crooked saints.jpgcardinal rule (you can help the pilgrams once, but not twice), he runs off into the desert to await his dismal fate. But generations of curses and darkness will not keep the Soria cousins from saving one of their own. 

While reminiscent of Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits, a  classic of magical realism, there are elements of storytelling here that feel unique Stiefvater: unusual metaphors, sharp prose, unexpected humor and a deft ability to mesh the eerie and fanciful into one seamless description. Thoughtfully paced with intriguing characters, ill-fated romance and complicated family relationships, All the Crooked Saints will satiate fans who are always eager for new Stiefvater work, while bringing new ones into the fold. 

Review by Kimberly Giarartano

 

Some others found in BookPage include:

 

Not available this month!

 

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