Staff Picks


August 2019

My Pet Human

by Yasmine Surovec

A perfect transitional book for those hopping between easy readers into beginning chapter book, My Pet Human is told from the other side of the tail as a grumpy needy cat leaves the life of a stray to join a human household. Unfortunately, humans are tough to train: they have short attention spans, require lots of care, can be stuck in their emotions, and just don’t understand what “MEOW!” means. Yasmine Surovec’s charming pencil drawing illustrations accompany the amusing story of our unnamed stray cat adjusting to living with a human family. As our cat and humans get closer together, we also watch as the freshly moved in family adjust to their new community and grow to make new friends: animal and human alike which gives the book a sweet, fulfilling vibe.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Be Prepared

by Vera Brosgol

A memoir about the author herself, Be Prepared is a great selection for graphic novel fans, specifically fans of Raina Telgemeier. Vera seems split into two different worlds: those of her traditional Russian family and her American school. Sadly, Vera’s inability to fit into either have her feeling lonely and unwelcome so Vera’s mother tries something new for Vera and her brother: Russian summer camp! Vera isn’t exactly cut out for summer camp as she is also in the awkward age where she has slightly aged out of the program for younger kids and as a middle schooler is a bit too young for the high school crowd. Vera’s struggles to find her place amongst strangers is a relatable experience for every middle schooler who has the same doubts. Her humorous take on the camp around her and character growth throughout our story are inspiring even amidst the not so great outdoors.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Gods and Heroes: Mythology around the World

by Korwin Briggs

Disney’s Hercules and Rick Riordan’s works have shown us that gods are not as different as humans and that is one of the best parts of reading Korwin Briggs’s book on mythology. Briggs take us all over the world as we get a quick briefing on some well-known gods such as Zeus and Isis but also get some information on lesser-known gods such as Celtic god Cú Chulainn and Mesoamerican twin gods Hunahpu and Xbalanque. Every profile on the gods is around 5 pages with a quick snippet of relatable stories either displaying some of their characteristic, origins, or major achievements. Additional illustrations supplement stories and provide a consistent tone to the characters even though going from one profile might mean shifting from the wide-open fields of North America to learn about the White Buffalo Calf Woman of the Lakota people and then traveling to the sparkling waters of the Polynesian islands as we learn of Māui’s amusing exploits. Pages are supplemented with additional passages to describe the surrounding culture of the gods to give additional context. These fast-paced high interest profiles are perfect for quick reading and reluctant readers on some fascinating subjects.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Dream Big

by Joyce Wan

A wondrous introduction to some of the finest ladies to grace the planet in an introductory board book format perfect for little learners. Using repeated short sentences, Wan invites readers to “Dream Big” or “Dream Fast.” The text is accompanied by Wan’s drawings of known revolutionary women such as Rosa Parks and artist Frida Kahlo among other less known brilliant women such as mountaineer Junko Tabei and architect Zaha Hadid. Wan’s illustrations are beyond cute enough to appeal to the picture book crowd but the message added to it will empower youngsters to dream big themselves. Profiles on each of the women portrayed in the book will inspire further reading.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Cucumber Quest

by Gigi D.G.

Got a video game fan in your family? Introduce them to the wonderful world of Cucumber Quest! Drawing inspiration from traditional video game quests: Gigi D.G. takes a lot of traditional video game logic and turns it on its head in what is one of the funniest graphic novel series for any reader. Cucumber just wants to go to school but Cucumber’s greedy Dad forces him to become the hero of legend and save his kingdom from the Nightmare Knight (because money and fame). Cucumber’s sister Almond is jealous because she wants to join him and put her sword skills to work so she tags along. Along their attempts to fulfill their mission, they encounter villains who are either: humorously incompetent, not really that bad, or both. The Nightmare Knight towers above the entire scene watching Cucumber and his ever-expanding crew traverse the world to finish his quest and while the Nightmare Knight seems to be a typical big bad, his heart just doesn’t seem into it? Gigi D.G.’s artwork is energetic and packed with color and life and perfectly supplements the equally colorful cast of characters during hilarious and heartfelt moments. Cucumber Quest is an adventure worth taking over and over again.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian 

Posted in: Youth Fiction


Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee/Pikachu!

Gamers have been swept up in the “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” craze for over 20 years now. The “Let’s Go” games strike a wonderful balance of what started the Pokémon revolution back in the mid-1990s and the evolutions it has taken specifically with the global phenomenon of Pokémon Go for mobile devices. Let’s Go takes us back to the roots of waking up in Pallet Town to get your first Pokémon and traveling the world getting all original 151 Pokémon. With a simplified battle and level up system alongside Pokémon Go-inspired catching mechanics, Pokémon Let’s Go is a fun way to get newcomers into the world of Pokémon or bring back fans who miss the rush of becoming the Pokémon League Champion. There is connectivity between both of the Eevee and Pikachu versions as well as Pokémon Go for mobile devices.

Recommended by: Alex Pappas, Reference Librarian

Posted in: Video Games


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


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