Staff Picks

August 2019

Octopath Traveler

A modern take on old-school role-playing games, Octopath Traveler is an updated spin on a traditional gaming staple. Players have the freedom to explore and gather the 8 heroes how they choose as they explore the world, do side quests, and play each character’s specific individual story as they wish. The combat system is also a blend of old and new: turn-based combat reminiscent of 1980s and 1990s Final Fantasy games is given a deeper spin as one can spend from a limited number of points to power up their moves for each character, giving each battle a deeper strategic element. The innovative game play and 8 unique stories are accompanied by the gorgeous 2-dimensional visuals as well as a wondrous soundtrack setting the stage for larger-than-life bosses as well as a beautiful wintry backdrop. Octopath Traveler would find a home with any role-playing game fan, be it 1989 or 2019.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Video Games

Insignificant events in the life of a cactus

by Dusti Bowling

Aven Green is an 8th grader who was born without arms – something that has never stopped her from anything in her life.  She moves to Kansas with her parents who have taken jobs as managers of Stagecoach Pass, a rundown Western theme park out in Arizona. Having to deal with the many stares and questions of new schoolmates, Aven sorely misses her old life back in Kansas. However, her unflinchingly optimistic spirit, accompanied by her infectious and indomitable sense of humor, keeps her looking for the silver linings in her new life in Arizona, such as making friends with the cute but prickly Connor (who has Tourette’s syndrome) or enjoying the ability to wear flats all year-round. But the most fascinating thing is the unusual mystery at the heart of Stagecoach Pass: the disappearing tarantulas, a missing photograph, and a secret necklace. Aven is determined to get to the bottom of the secret.

Recommended by: Emily Meszaros, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Where the Crawdads Sing

by Delia Owens

Kya Clark is a young woman who has lived essentially her entire life alone in the wild marshes of Barkley Cove, a small coastal community in North Carolina. The residents of the area call her “Marsh Girl” and treat her like an outcast, showing no kindness toward her. Kya watched her mother walk out the door of their cabin one day because she could no longer stand the beatings by her abusive husband. Kya’s father and siblings abandon her as well, and it is she who must fend for herself in the marshes and wilderness. Over the years, Kya befriends Tate who shares Kya’s love of the wildlife and teaches her how to read. When Tate leaves for college, Kya meets Chase, the town’s popular quarterback, who betrays her and breaks her heart. Now someone has killed Chase and Kya becomes the prime suspect who must convince the entire town she is innocent.

The author weaves the beautiful nature of the North Carolina marshes with love, mystery and compassion throughout her debut novel.

Recommended by: Mary Adamowski, Assistant Library Director

Posted in: Adult Fiction

An Anonymous Girl

by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Jessica Farris, looking for a quick way to make some easy money, sneaks into a psychological study on ethics and morality conducted by Dr. Lydia Shields.

Told in the alternating voices of Dr. Shields and Jessica, the story unfolds as Jessica unwittingly becomes Dr. Shields pawn as she tries to catch her husband in a tangle of lies and infidelity.

Dr. Shields’ stranglehold on Jessica intensifies as she realizes that the doctor is obsessed with truthfulness and good morals, and she will stop at nothing until she has them. This psychological thriller will leave you questioning who you can trust in your own life!

Check out The Wife Between Us, another thriller co-written by Hendricks and Pekkanen.

Recommended by: Mary Adamowski, Assistant Library Director

Posted in: Adult Fiction

How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveler

by Ryan North

The bad news: your time machine has broken down, stranding you in the early days of humanity.

The good news: this easy-to-read reference guide will show you how to invent all the comforts of civilization, from the wheel and farming to world-wide navigation and water-powered computers.

Ryan North clearly and briefly explains the discoveries and inventions that got humans to where they are now, so that you, the stranded time traveler, can recreate them instead of waiting around for someone else to invent the printing press or the electric dynamo.

Recommended by: Peter Tew, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Adult Fiction

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

by Taylor Jenkins Reid

An exciting and must read book about the glamorous and infamous Hollywood star, Evelyn Hugo, who chooses Monique, a struggling unknown journalist to write her final interview. Monique knows that publishing this book under her name is a career opportunity of a lifetime, and it is a mystery as to why she was chosen by Evelyn who has become reclusive. The end is shocking and unexpected.  According to the author, this fictional book parallels the life of Elizabeth Taylor, who also had seven husbands.

Recommended by: Deborah Oedzes, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Adult Fiction

The Silent Wife

by A. S. A. Harrison

Living affluently in a Chicago condo, Jodi believes that her life will remain intact without change, and has no concern about her age of 45, relationship of 20 years with her partner Todd whom she takes care of, or career as a therapist.  When her life unfolds in an unexpected way and she realizes that Todd is not the person she thought but a cheater, she believes that she has nothing to lose in committing an unthinkable act.  This is a gripping, well written book about denial and the unpredictable twists and turns in life.

Recommended by: Deborah Oedzes, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Adult Fiction

The Friendship War

by Andrew Clements

What happens when two best friends go to war over the new latest, greatest craze? Can two sixth-grade friends stop the madness before the police get involved? Another funny, heartfelt, and genuinely great tale from Andrew Clements (author of Frindle and The Loser’s Club).

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Youth Fiction

Backyard Bears: Conservation, Habitat Changes, and the Rise of Urban Wildlife

by Amy Cherrix

Bears in your backyard? You bet! Tag along with a team of wildlife biologists as they track the bears in and around Asheville, North Carolina. See how wildlife biologists help keep people safe from bears and bears safe from people. Full of great photos and interesting facts, this book is perfect for anyone who loves animals or science.

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Youth Fiction


by Gustavo Borges

This wordless graphic novel tells the story of a family of foxes who meet a strange traveler in a harsh winter storm. The beautiful illustrations will pull you into the cozy world of the fox family and fill you with delight at the antics of the traveler. If you love stories that pull at the heartstrings, this one is for you.

Recommended by: Kara DeCarlo, School Liaison 

Posted in: Youth Fiction

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