Book Genre: Contemporary

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Padma Venkatraman
Hope H
4

Veda is a classical Bharatanatyam dancer at her technical best when a car accident forces doctors to amputate her right leg below the knee. She never once gives in to despair that she will never dance again, but her journey to relearn her art is far from easy. Frustrated by the new limitations...

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Meg Medina
Angelita
4

This is a good read for teenagers. The story seems realistic and I think that's what made me connect to the story. It was also because of the main character. Piddy is being bullied by a girl, Yaqui, she doesn't even know. Based off of various reason told by third parties: she shakes her ass too...

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Carol Weston
Hope H
3

10 year old Ava Wren is an outgoing word nerd whose biggest annoyance is being constantly overshadowed at home by her shy older sister, Pip. She understands why most of the time, because Pip is not just shy, but painfully shy. Like, barely says two words on any given day at school...

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Lauren Oliver
Rachel F
5

A very unique book! Told from the perspective of 2 ghosts in an old house while a family comes to terms with the estranged father/husband's death. The story weaves between characters and explores various connections to the past. I guessed several plot reveals, but there were a few the caught me...

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Merritt Tierce
Rachel F
4

This is a coming of age tale for young women of the "Girls" generation. Unflinching in her portrayals of sex as escape and catharsis, Teirce tells a story of a young mother growing into a woman and taking a painful and circuitous route to get there. 

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Jennifer Castle
Hope H
4

Justine used to be the sassy breakout star of the "Five At..." documentaries, but at 16 and with the next installment due to be filmed, she feels she's failed to live up to everyone's expectations of her, including her own. She has no boyfriend, no ambition, and she doesn't really even have any...

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Walter Mosley
Laurie.
4

This was a first for me. The opening paragraph describes a money shot for a porn film. Debbie Dare is the stage name of a popular porn star whose aged ex-porn star husband is found dead with an under-aged partner. But these deaths are not the crime to be solved. Mosley uses his cast of...

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Nina LaCour
Becker
4

A story of connection, family, the power of movies, and the power of the stories we tell ourselves, Emi Price's summer is captivating. She's just graduated from high school, has been working as set design intern for a movie studio for years, and has just gotten a big break and been asked to be...

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Ava Dellaira
Angelita
5

A must read if you liked Perks of Being a Wallflower. The emotions are pretty raw. In the beginning, you think that Laurel is just grieving the death of her sister, May, but as Laurel processes her loss she learns she can't hide all the things she was hiding from herself.  The...

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Cristina Henraiquez
Shanna
4

Arturo and Alma had a peaceful life in Mexico until their teenaged daughter, Maribel, suffered a traumatic brain injury.  Stricken with grief and afraid for her future, the family decides to immigrate to the United states, with the hopes of enrolling Maribel in a special school. However,...

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Matthew Quick
Monica
4

Reminiscent of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time", "The Good Luck of Right Now" follows the story of Bartholomew Neil after the death of his mother, who he has relied on his entire life.  Now that Bartholomew has to find his own way, he comes to realize at age 38  just...

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Margaret Atwood
Alison
3

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is a near-future dystopia that begs questions about gender roles in today's Western society.  Through the narrator's limited and nebulous knowledge of what has happened -- the dystopic changes occurred suddenly and from the top -- readers...

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Wendy Wan Long Shang
Hope H
4

Lucy Wu thinks she's going to have the perfect year. She's going into sixth grade - the oldest and most respected year at her school, she's a shoe-in for her school's basketball team despite her short stature, and, best of all, her older sister is moving to college, leaving her their bedroom all...

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V. S. (Vidiadhar Surajprasad) Naipaul
Alison
5

There is something unsettling about laughing at someone else's misfortunes but sometimes we can't help ourselves. The novel A House for Mr Biswas by V.S. Naipaul puts the reader into this situation on a regular basis: the work is funny because of the pathetic situation of the...

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Porscha
4

This documentary confronts the important issue of keeping and breeding wild and predatory animals in captivity. It’s specifically about Orca Whales and the human fatalities resulting in their captivity in businesses like SeaWorld. Although it wasn’t as informative or well-argued as I hoped,...

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Elizabeth Strout
Alison
5

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout is a group of connected short stories that takes place in Crosby, Maine.  While Olive, the titular protagonist, gets several sections of the book to herself, more than half of the stories are in the perspective of other members of the town....

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Porscha
5

This book is inspiring. Erich Wonder is a visionary stage designer and this book includes stunning images of his work and informative interviews.  His work blends boundaries of the technicality of stage design and conceptual fine art, resulting in phenomenal environments and compelling...

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Piet Oudolf
Porscha
4

Piet Oudolf’s eye for design and plant combinations is exciting and has landed him as one of the leaders of the New Perennial Movement. He has a talent for combining the feel of nature and highly controlled design. His books are enjoyable to look at both for his finished gardens as works of art...

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Simon Rich
Laurie.
4

I like my romance books funny and irreverent or not at all. So imagine my delight when I found Simon Rich's collection of short stories featuring the weird, sardonic and hilarious tales of romancing the girl.

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Mary Miller
Kristi
4

15 year old Jess is on the road trip to end all road trips with her family. They are driving to California to experience the end of the world in rapture with the Reverend Marshall. They don’t have to worry, they’ve been saved. Her evangelical dad is the big believer. Jess, her secretly pregnant...

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Jesmyn Ward
Kristi
4

A poignant and maddening memoir.  The author lost five men from her family and friends over the span of a couple of years due to drugs, murder, accidents and suicide. Including, heartbreakingly, her brother, due to a drunk driver. How could this be happening? The author gives a birds eye...

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Shanna
4

Do you know about the Storycorps project?  It's an oral history recording project with NPR-basically, people with interesting life stories sit down and tell them.  The stories are recorded and broadcasted during NPR's Morning Edition, and some of them have been compiled...

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Robin Sloan
Tara
5

Through random (and mostly unhappy) circumstances, Clay Jannon seeks employment at Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore in San Francisco, California. Inside this unusual bookstore, bookcases stretch deep into the dark - vertically - stories over your head.  After a short time working...

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Dinaw Mengestu
Alison
4

Dinaw Mengestu’s novel How to Read the Air shows what happens when people who need to have honest conversations avoid each other.  The narrative see-saws from abject tragedy to light-hearted irony, covering the familiar topics of love, relationships, jobs, money, and the search for...

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Haruki Murakami
Porscha
3

This book has grown on me the longer it has been since I read it. Being a Murakami reader, to me it seems like he delved into his more fantastic side. Whereas his other stories seem to border on the unreal, this book seems like he let himself indulge in the magical side of magical-realism....