Staff Picks: October 2022 (All Ages!)

Adult Books | Teen Books | Kid Books

Find out what Denver Public Library staff are reading this month! All titles are available to check out today.

Adult Books

Check out these Staff Recommendations for adult readers!

Barrett, Colin

Enter the small, rural town of Glanbeigh, a place whose fate took a downturn with the Celtic Tiger, a desolate spot where buffoonery and tension simmer and erupt, and booze-sodden boredom fills the corners of every pub and nightclub. Here and in the towns beyond, the young live hard and wear the scars. Amongst them, there's jilted Jimmy, whose best friend, Tug, is the terror of the town and Jimmy's sole company in his search for the missing Clancy kid; Bat, a lovesick soul with a face like "a bowl of mashed-up spuds" even before Nubbin Tansey's boot kicked it in; and Arm, a young and desperate criminal whose fate is shaped when he and his partner, Dympna, fail to carry out a job. In each story, a local voice delineates the grittiness of post-boom Irish society. These are unforgettable characters rendered through silence, humor, and violence.

Batuman, Elif

From the acclaimed and bestselling author of The Idiot, the continuation of beloved protagonist Selin's quest for self-knowledge, as she travels abroad and tests the limits of her newfound adulthood Selin is the luckiest person in her family: the only one who was born in America and got to go to Harvard. Now it's sophomore year, 1996, and Selin knows she has to make it count. The first order of business: to figure out the meaning of everything that happened over the summer. Why did Selin's elusive crush, Ivan, find her that job in the Hungarian countryside? What was up with all those other people in the Hungarian countryside? Why is Ivan's weird ex-girlfriend now trying to get in touch with Selin? On the plus side, it feels like the plot of an exciting novel. On the other hand, why do so many novels have crazy abandoned women in them? How does one live a life as interesting as a novel-a life worthy of becoming a novel-without becoming a crazy abandoned woman oneself? Guided by her literature syllabus and by her more worldly and confident peers, Selin reaches certain conclusions about the universal importance of parties, alcohol, and sex, and resolves to execute them in practice-no matter what the cost. Next on the list: international travel.

Batuman, Elif

The year is 1995, and email is new. Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, arrives for her freshman year at Harvard. She signs up for classes in subjects she has never heard of, befriends her charismatic and worldly Serbian classmate, Svetlana, and, almost by accident, begins corresponding with Ivan, an older mathematics student from Hungary. Selin may have barely spoken to Ivan, but with each email they exchange, the act of writing seems to take on new and increasingly mysterious meanings.

Black, Riley

The Last Days of the Dinosaurs by Riley Black tells the story of the extinction of these prehistoric creatures and the beginning of our world as we know it today.

Boyd, William

From the award-winning, best-selling author comes a rollicking novel with a dark undertow, set around three unforgettable individuals and a doomed movie set. A producer. A novelist. An actress. It's summer 1968--a time of war and assassinations, protests and riots. While the world is reeling, our trio is involved in making a disaster-plagued, Swingin' Sixties British movie in sunny Brighton. All are leading secret lives. As the movie shoot zigs and zags, these layers of secrets become increasingly more untenable. Pressures build inexorably. The FBI and CIA get involved. Someone is going to crack--or maybe they all will. From one of Britain's best loved writers comes an exhilarating, tender novel--by turns hilarious and heartbreaking--that asks the vital questions: What makes life worth living? And what do you do if you find it isn't?

Butler, Octavia E.

Lilith Iyapo has just lost her husband and son when atomic fire consumes Earth—the last stage of the planet’s final war. Hundreds of years later Lilith awakes, deep in the hold of a massive alien spacecraft piloted by the Oankali—who arrived just in time to save humanity from extinction. They have kept Lilith and other survivors asleep for centuries, as they learned whatever they could about Earth. Now it is time for Lilith to lead them back to her home world, but life among the Oankali on the newly resettled planet will be nothing like it was before.

Dean, Sunyi

Sunyi Dean's The Book Eaters is a contemporary fantasy debut. It's a story of motherhood, sacrifice, and hope; of queer identity and learning to accept who you are; of gilded lies and the danger of believing the narratives others create for you. Out on the Yorkshire Moors lives a secret line of people for whom books are food, and who retain all of a book's content after eating it. To them, spy novels are a peppery snack; romance novels are sweet and delicious. Eating a map can help them remember destinations, and children, when they misbehave, are forced to eat dry, musty pages from dictionaries. Devon is part of The Family, an old and reclusive clan of book eaters. Her brothers grow up feasting on stories of valor and adventure, and Devon-like all other book eater women-is raised on a carefully curated diet of fairytales and cautionary stories. But real life doesn't always come with happy endings, as Devon learns when her son is born with a rare and darker kind of hunger-not for books, but for human minds.

Finlay, Alex

From the author of the breakout thriller Every Last Fear, comes the electrifying new novel about a pair of small-town murders fifteen years apart-and the ties that bind them. "The night was expected to bring tragedy." So begins one of the most highly-anticipated thrillers of 2022. It's New Year's Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in New Jersey, four teenagers working late at the store are attacked. Only one inexplicably survives. Police quickly identify a suspect, the boyfriend of one of the victims, who flees and is never seen again. 

Fitzgerald, Isaac

Isaac Fitzgerald has lived many lives. He's been an altar boy, a bartender, a fat kid, a smuggler, a biker, a prince of New England. But before all that, he was a bomb that exploded his parents' lives -- or so he was told. In Dirtbag, Massachusetts, Fitzgerald, with warmth and humor, recounts his ongoing search for forgiveness, a more far-reaching vision of masculinity, and a more expansive definition of family and self. Fitzgerald's memoir-in-essays begins with a childhood that moves at breakneck speed from safety to violence, recounting an extraordinary pilgrimage through trauma to self-understanding and, ultimately, acceptance. From growing up in a Boston homeless shelter to bartending in San Francisco, from smuggling medical supplies into Burma to his lifelong struggle to make peace with his body, Fitzgerald strives to take control of his own story: one that aims to put aside anger, isolation, and entitlement to embrace the idea that one can be generous to oneself by being generous to others. Gritty and clear-eyed, loud-hearted and beautiful, Dirtbag, Massachusetts is a rollicking book that might also be a lifeline.

Gailey, Sarah

Just Like Home is a darkly gothic thriller from nationally bestselling author Sarah Gailey, perfect for fans of Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House as well as HBO's true crime masterpiece I'll Be Gone in the Dark. "Come home." Vera's mother called and Vera obeyed. In spite of their long estrangement, in spite of the memories - she's come back to the home of a serial killer. Back to face the love she had for her father and the bodies he buried there, beneath the house he'd built for his family. Coming home is hard enough for Vera, and to make things worse, she and her mother aren't alone. A parasitic artist has moved into the guest house out back and is slowly stripping Vera's childhood for spare parts. He insists that he isn't the one leaving notes around the house in her father's handwriting... but who else could it possibly be? There are secrets yet undiscovered in the foundations of the notorious Crowder House. Vera must face them and find out for herself just how deep the rot goes.

Gervais, June

An uplifting, feminist coming-of-age love story about a young woman who dreams of becoming a tattoo artist, and living life on her own terms Introvert Gina Mulley is determined to become a tattoo artist, and to find somewhere she belongs in her conventional Long Island town. But this is 1985, when tattooing is still a gritty, male-dominated fringe culture, and Gina's funky flash is not exactly mainstream tattoo fare. The good news is that her older brother Dominic owns a tattoo shop, and he reluctantly agrees to train her. Gina has a year to prove herself, but her world is turned upside down when a mysterious psychic and his striking assistant, Anna, arrive on the scene. With Anna's help, Gina recognizes that the only way she has a shot at becoming a professional tattoo artist is to stand up for herself, and embrace her quirkiness both in her art and her life. When Gina and Anna fall in love, Dominic gives Gina an ultimatum. She's faced with an impossible choice: Is the romance and newfound independence she's found worth sacrificing her dreams? Or can she find a way to have it all?

Groff, Lauren

Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, 17-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease.

Hand, Elizabeth

On a whim, Grady Kendall applies to work as a live-in caretaker for a luxury property in Hawaii, as far from his small-town Maine life as he can imagine. Within days he's flying out to an estate on remote Hokuloa Road, where he quickly uncovers a dark side to the island's idyllic reputation: It has long been a place where people vanish without a trace. When a young woman named Jessie from his flight becomes the next to disappear, Grady is determined - and soon desperate - to figure out what happened to her, and to all those staring out of the island's 'missing' posters. But working with Raina, Jessie's fiercely protective best friend, to uncover the truth is anything but easy, and with an inexplicable and sinister presence stalking his every step, Grady can only hope he'll find the answer before it's too late.

Heltzel, Anne

Spine-chilling and sharp, Just Like Mother is a modern gothic from a fresh new voice in horror, and "is set to be one of the year's most talked-about books" (Andrea Bartz, New York Times bestselling author). A girl would be such a blessing... The last time Maeve saw her cousin was the night she escaped the cult they were raised in. For the past two decades, Maeve has worked hard to build a normal life in New York City, where she keeps everything-and everyone-at a safe distance. When Andrea suddenly reappears, Maeve regains the only true friend she's ever had. Soon she's spending more time at Andrea's remote Catskills estate than in her own cramped apartment. Maeve doesn't even mind that her cousin's wealthy work friends clearly disapprove of her single lifestyle. After all, Andrea has made her fortune in the fertility industry-baby fever comes with the territory. The more Maeve immerses herself in Andrea's world, the more disconnected she feels from her life back in the city; and the cousins' increasing attachment triggers memories Maeve has fought hard to bury. But confronting the terrors of her childhood may be the only way for Maeve to transcend the nightmare still to come.

Herrera, Adriana

Paris, 1889. Luz Alana set sail from Santo Domingo armed with three hundred casks of rum, her two best friends and one simple rule: under no circumstances is she to fall in love. In the City of Lights, she intends to expand the rum business her family built over three generations, but buyers and shippers alike can't imagine doing business with a woman...never mind a woman of color. This, paired with being denied access to her inheritance unless she marries, leaves the heiress in a very precarious position. Enter James Evanston Sinclair, Earl of Darnick, who has spent a decade looking for purpose outside of his father's dirty money and dirtier dealings. Ignoring his title, he's built a whiskey brand that's his biggest -- and only-- passion. That is, until he's confronted with a Spanish-speaking force of nature who turns his life upside down.

Holmberg, Charlie N.

Bound to a magic she never wanted, a young apprentice falls deeper into its mysteries when she must use everything she's learned from her master in order to save him, and his heart.

Hough, Jason M.

Welcome to Silvertown, Washington. Population: 602. (For now.) Officer Mary Whittaker is the lone cop in a small, bizarre mountain town that has yet to fully welcome her. With the chief of police on leave, she is left to uncover the truth behind a sudden spate of abnormal incidents. An exemplary, beloved teenager has died tragically after eating wild mushrooms from his lawn. A hiker was found dead on a trail, smiling serenely after being mauled by a bear. And other residents seem to have lost all sense of self-preservation as they walk out in front of her moving cruiser or sit placidly in the middle of a sharp bend in a mountain road. As she witnesses increasingly odd behavior and more bodies are discovered in baffling-and completely avoidable-circumstances, Officer Whittaker is dismayed to find no two cases are the same, except in their bizarreness. Though every possible explanation and conspiracy theory is considered, from mental breakdowns to aliens, it turns out to be something much more unsettling. The townsfolk are all losing their instincts, one by one. As the town descends into panic, and Mary's own instincts begin to fail, she must figure out what is happening, who is behind it, and how to prevent the quirky mountain village from turning into a ghost town.

Jones, Tayari

Set in a middle-class neighborhood in Atlanta in the 1980s, the novel revolves around James Witherspoon’s families– the public one and the secret one. When the daughters from each family meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows they are sisters. It is a relationship destined to explode when secrets are revealed and illusions shattered. As Jones explores the backstories of her rich and flawed characters, she also reveals the joy, and the destruction, they brought to each other’s lives.

Kingfisher, T.

A gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's classic "The Fall of the House of Usher." When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania. What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves. Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.

Koenig, John

Poetically defining emotions we all feel but don't have the words to express, the creator of the popular online project of the same name invites readers on his epic quest to fill the gaps in the language of emotion.

Liese, Chloe, author.

Gear up for an all-the-feels, steamy slow-burn in this enemies-to-lovers sports romance about fighting for love when life's taught you it's a losing game. Gavin We've been teammates for two years, but it feels like a lifetime that Oliver Bergman's been on my last nerve. A demanding captain and veteran player, I'm feared and friendless, while he's the beloved rising star, all sunshine smiles and upbeat team spirit. To make matters worse, he's obscenely attractive. In short: he's genetically designed to get under my skin. Avoiding Oliver has been my survival tactic on and off the field. But when Coach drops the bomb that we're now co-captains, avoiding him becomes impossible, and keeping the truth from him-let alone my distance-is harder than ever. Oliver Life was great until soccer legend Gavin Hayes joined the team and proved he's nothing like the guy I grew up idolizing. Instead, he's a giant-albeit gorgeous-grump who lives to rain on my parade. I've sworn off pranks since entering the public eye, so rather than settle our differences the Bergman way, I've had to settle for killing Gavin with kindness. There's just one problem: killing him with kindness is killing me.

Maxwell, Everina

Summoned before the Emperor, Prince Kiem-a famously disappointing minor royal and the Emperor's least favorite grandchild-is commanded to renew the empire's bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire. But the Jainan suspects his late husband's death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers that Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible conspiracy. In the shadows of a secret past and an insecure future, Kiem an Jainan must come together to protect both of their worlds.

Melchor, Fernanda

The Witch is dead. And the discovery of her corpse--by a group of children playing near the irrigation canals--propels the whole village into an investigation of how and why this murder occurred. Rumors and suspicions spread. As the novel unfolds in a dazzling linguistic torrent, with each unreliable narrator lingering details, new acts of depravity or brutality, Melchor extracts some tiny shred of humanity from these characters that most would write off as utterly irredeemable, forming a lasting portrait of a damned Mexican village.

Melendez, Jarrett

Watch things start to really heat up in the kitchen in this sweet, queer, new adult graphic novel! Now that college is over, English graduate Ben Cook is on the job hunt looking for something...anything...related to his passion for reading and writing. But interview after interview, hiring committee after hiring committee, Ben soon learns getting the dream job won't be as easy as he thought. Proofreading? Journalism? Copywriting? Not enough experience. It turns out he doesn't even have enough experience to be a garbage collector! But when Ben stumbles upon a Now Hiring--No Experience Necessary sign outside a restaurant, he jumps at the chance to land his first job. Plus, he can keep looking for a writing job in the meantime. He's actually not so bad in the kitchen, but he will have to pass a series of cooking tests to prove he's got the culinary skills to stay on full-time. But it's only temporary...right? When Ben begins developing a crush on Liam, one of the other super dreamy chefs at the restaurant, and when he starts ditching his old college friends and his old writing job plans, his career path starts to become much less clear.

Nović, Sara

True biz? The students at the River Valley School for the Deaf just want to hook up, pass their history final, and have doctors, politicians, and their parents stop telling them what to do with their bodies. This revelatory novel plunges readers into the halls of a residential school for the deaf, where they'll meet Charlie, a rebellious transfer student who's never met another deaf person before; Austin, the school's golden boy, whose world is rocked when his baby sister is born hearing; and February, the headmistress, who is fighting to keep her school open and her marriage intact, but might not be able to do both at the same time. As a series of crises both personal and political threaten to unravel each of them, Charlie, Austin, and February find their lives inextricable from one another-and changed forever. This is a story of sign language and lip-reading, cochlear implants and civil rights, isolation and injustice, first love and loss, and, above all, great persistence, daring, and joy. Absorbing and assured, idiosyncratic and relatable, this is an unforgettable journey into the Deaf community and a universal celebration of human connection.

Owuor, Yvonne Adhiambo

A vibrant, stunningly global novel about a young woman struggling to find her place--a poignant exploration of fate, mortality, love, and loss. On the small island of Pate, off the coast of Kenya, lives a girl named Ayaana. She is solitary and stubborn--she and her mother, Munira, are outcasts from the insular local society--and her kitten is her main companion. When a wizened sailor named Muhidin, also an outsider, enters their lives, Ayaana receives what she has long hoped for: a father. But this makeshift family's happiness crumbles as Ayaana grows into adulthood and the threats against her begin to mount: from an Islamic extremist, from the black-clad strangers who kidnap Muhidin's son, from a human trafficker, from the simmering resentments of those around her. So when a contingent of cultural emissaries from China invite Ayaana abroad, she embarks on a dramatic ship's journey to the Far East, where she will make friends and enemies; be seduced by the mercurial scion of a powerful Turkish business family; be initiated into a world of intrigue and passion and high stakes; and, at last, find understanding where she least expects it. Her one constant remains her devotion to the sea, which pulls her across the globe in search of a place where she can love and be loved. The Dragonfly Sea is a transcendent, gloriously told story of adventure, fraught choices, and of the inexorable need for shelter in a dangerous world.

Rebanks, James

The New York Times bestselling author of The Shepherd's Life chronicles his family's farm in England's Lake District across three generations, revealing through this intimate lens the profound global transformation of agriculture and of the human relationship to the land.

Roffey, Monique

The Mermaid of Black Conch spins the enchanting tale of a cursed mythical creature and the lonely fisherman who falls in love with her.

Sager, Riley

Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale ... The last [Emma]--or anyone--saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips. Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings ... [which] catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to find out what really happened to her friends. Yet it's immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale.

Saunders, George

February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln's beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. "My poor boy, he was too good for this earth," the president says at the time. "God has called him home." Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returned to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy's body.

See, Lisa

A new novel from Lisa See, the New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and family secrets on a small Korean island. Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village's all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook's mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger. Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook's differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. 

Stayman-London, Kate

Bea Schumacher is a leading fashion blogger, known for her warm, honest body-positive message. But after an unexpected heartbreak, Bea's confidence is shaken and she feels hopelessly alone. In the midst of her sadness (and some drunken internet rantings), she receives a surprising proposition: Would Bea like to be the first plus-size woman to star in the next season of reality dating competition sensation Main Squeeze? Against her better judgment, she accepts. The producers promise it will be the most diverse cast yet and a great opportunity to expand her brand. And while she knows she'll never find love, she might find distraction from her broken heart and inspire other plus-sized women to believe that they have a right to the spotlight too. But as the cameras roll, she is forced to face down judgement, ridicule, and expectations amidst over-the-top dates and international travel with a line-up of men who feel like fantasies (a sexy French chef, a sardonic professor, a playful younger man) as she ultimately discovers the truth behind the fairytale, and the reality of falling in love. In this witty, heartfelt debut, Kate Stayman-London shines a light on how the complex standards of female beauty affect how we define ourselves and who deserves to be seen...and loved.

Szpara, K. M.

There is no consent under capitalism. Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles. To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents' debts and buy your childrens' future. Elisha Wilder's family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family's debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family's crowning achievement could have any negative side effects--and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.

Tremblay, Paul

A cleverly voiced psychological thriller about an unforgettable--and unsettling--friendship, with blood-chilling twists, crackling wit, and a thrumming pulse in its veins--from the nationally bestselling author of The Cabin at the End of the World and Survivor Song. What if the coolest girl you've ever met decided to be your friend? Art Barbara was so not cool. He was a seventeen-year-old high school loner in the late 1980s who listened to hair metal, had to wear a monstrous back-brace at night for his scoliosis, and started an extracurricular club for volunteer pallbearers at poorly attended funerals. But his new friend thought the Pallbearers Club was cool. And she brought along her Polaroid camera to take pictures of the corpses. Okay, that part was a little weird. So was her obsessive knowledge of a notorious bit of New England folklore that involved digging up the dead. And there were other strange things--terrifying things--that happened when she was around, usually at night. But she was his friend, so it was okay, right?

Victoria, Eliza

On the shadowy, noir-tinged streets of Manila, two friends seek a cure for a mysterious malady. To add to their problems, the Magic Prohibition Act has been adopted, and Lambana - the supernatural realm of the Diwata - has fallen. Slinky sirenas and wraith-like spirits populate this parallel universe of lurking danger and corruption. Will Lambana spill its secrets and provide the healing balm that's needed? Or will Conrad and Ignacio fail in their quest and perish in the process?

Ward, A.R. (editor)

A group of explorers stumble upon a new species of plant in the depths of the rainforest. A novel virus drives humankind to flee the Earth. A killer fog rolls in off the sea, decimating everything in its path. Eco-horror is one of the hottest and most relevant subgenres around in 2021, and inside this anthology you'll find punchy, eye-catching flash fiction and poetry by no fewer than fifty talented authors. Plants, animals, weather phenomena... It's time for Mother Nature to fight back.

Wong, Alice

Drawing on a collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, and more, Alice uses her unique talent to share an impressionistic scrapbook of her life as an Asian American disabled activist, community organizer, media maker, and dreamer. From her love of food and pop culture to her unwavering commitment to dismantling systemic ableism, Alice shares her thoughts on creativity, access, power, care, the pandemic, mortality, and the future. As a self-described disabled oracle, Alice traces her origins, tells her story, and creates a space for disabled people to be in conversation with one another and the world. Filled with incisive wit, joy, and rage, Wong's Year of the Tiger will galvanize readers with big cat energy.

Yamanaka, Lois-Ann

Her name is Lovey Nariyoshi, and her Hawai'i is not the one of leis, pineapple, and Magnum P.I. In the blue collar town of Hilo, on the Big Island, Lovey and her eccentric Japanese-American family are at the margins of poverty, in the midst of a tropical paradise. With her endearing, effeminate best friend Jerry, Lovey suffers schoolyard bullies, class warfare, Singer sewing classes, and the surprisingly painful work of picking on a macadamia nut plantation, all while trying to find an identity of her own. At once a bitingly funny satire of haole happiness and a moving meditation on what is real, if ugly at times, but true, Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers crackles with the language of pidgin--Hawai'i Creole English--distinguishing one of the most vibrant voices in contemporary culture.
 

Yoder, Rachel

An artist turned stay-at-home mom becomes convinced that she is turning into a dog and, as her symptoms intensify, struggles to keep her alter-canine-identity a secret, until she meets a group of mothers who may also be more than what they seem.

Zimmerman, Vicky

After a major life upheaval on the eve of her 40th birthday, Kate Parker finds herself volunteering at Lauderdale House for Exceptional Ladies. There she meets 97-year-old Cecily Finn. Cecily's tongue is as sharp as her mind but she has lost her spark, simply resigning herself to the Imminent End. Having no patience with Kate's plight, Cecily prescribes her a self-help book with a difference - it's a 1957 cookbook, featuring menus for anything life can throw at "the easily dismayed." So begins an unlikely friendship between two lonely and stubborn souls - one at the end of her life, one stuck in the middle - who discover one big life lesson: never be ashamed to ask for more.

Teen Books

Check out these Staff Recommendations for teen readers!

Atta, Dean

The son of a film director, Mack grows up on set and into a hopeless romantic -- one who falls hard for the handsome and popular Karim, who eventually notices him back, right before Mack has to relocate to Scotland. Not wanting to lose his first love, Mack asks Karim to be long-distance, but while they're trying, fearless and confident Finlay shows up on set, and Mack's world turns upside down yet again.

Callender, Kacen

Seventeen-year-old nurodivergent and nonbinary Lark pretends that they are the creator of a viral thread that their ex-best friend, Kasim, accidentally posted onto their Twitter account, declaring his unrequited love, but living a lie takes its toll on Lark, forcing them to deal with their own messy emotions.

Chown, Xanna Eve

Discover the art of palm reading in this invaluable introductory guide. It's a must-have for every teen who's ready to get in touch with their inner magic ... and live a charmed life!

Cuevas, Mayra

Neither Malena nor Ruby expected to be leaders of their high school's dress code rebellion. Meanwhile, the girls have to face their own insecurities and biases, as well as the ups and downs of their newfound friendship.

Farizan, Sara

Eighteen-year-olds Cori and Maz, once inseparable best friends, reunite to solve the mystery of what happened to their other friend Sam--who disappeared five years ago and has now returned, not having aged at all.

Ireland, Justina

It is 1937, and Laura Ann Langston lives in an America divided - between those who work the mystical arts and those who do not. Ever since the Great Rust, a catastrophic event that blighted the arcane force called the Dynamism and threw America into disarray, the country has been rebuilding for a better future. And everyone knows the future is industry and technology - otherwise known as Mechomancy - not the traditional mystical arts. Laura disagrees. A talented young mage from Pennsylvania, Laura hopped a portal to New York City on her seventeenth birthday with hopes of earning her mage's license and becoming something more than a rootworker. But six months later, she's got little to show for it other than an empty pocket and broken dreams. With nowhere else to turn, Laura applies for a job with the Bureau of the Arcane's Conservation Corps, a branch of the US government dedicated to repairing the Dynamism so that Mechomancy can thrive.

Kutub, Naz

Sy, a seventeen-year-old gay Muslim boy, travels the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes.

Lo, Malinda

Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can't remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club. America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father--despite his hard-won citizenship--Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.

Oh, Axie

In this retelling of the Korean legend The tale of Shim Cheong, sixteen-year-old Mina is swept away to the Spirit Realm, where, assisted by a motley crew of demons, gods, and lesser spirits, she sets out to awaken the sleeping Sea God and save her homeland and family from deadly storms.

Thomas, Aiden

Yadriel, a trans boy, summons the angry spirit of his high school's bad boy, and agrees to help him learn how he died, thereby proving himself a brujo, not a bruja, to his conservative family.

Thomas, R. Eric

Propelled by his best friend's impending move out of state and inspired by Ferris Bueller's Day Off, sixteen-year-old Harrison plans a farewell through Baltimore that includes a road trip, their first Pride, and a rooftop dance party.

Watson, Renée

Harlem teenager Nala is looking forward to a summer of movies and ice cream until she falls in love with the very woke Tye and pretends to be a social activist.

Kid Books

Check out these Staff Recommendations for kid readers!

Balouch, Kristen

When a boy in Brooklyn opens a mysterious bottle he received from Iran, a gust of wind suddenly blows him over the oceans and mountains, straight into the arms of his grandfather, and despite being separated by politics and geography, the boy and his Baba Bazorg share the bond of their love.

Broaddus, Maurice

"A young graffiti artist learns to fight smart against the gentrification threatening her neighborhood"-- Provided by publisher.

Chisholm, Alastair

Tom discovers that he is a legendary dragonseer -- a person who can summon a dragon -- but he's not sure he's a true dragonseer, especially when he has trouble summoning his dragon, Ironskin.

Do, Anh

Hotdog and his friends are going on a mad adventure to help a baby bird find his missing mom! They'll climb to crazy heights to find her! But can they handle dirty diapers and karate-chopping roosters along the way?

Fagan, Deva

After twelve-year-old Lark, determined to escape her squalid life, steals a magical sword from the Royal Museum, she reluctantly becomes the next Nightingale, destined to vanquish an ancient evil.

Falatko, Julie

Tired of sitting all day on the Nature Finds shelf in Room 214, a rock named Rick escapes the classroom for the great outdoors, only to discover that sometimes the greatest adventure in life is friendship.

Geron, Eric

Our little bundle of joy has arrived--to dismantle gender norms! A board book about gender expression and being true to oneself.

Glaser, Karina Yan

Told that they will have to move out of their Harlem brownstone just after Christmas, the five Vanderbeeker children, ages four to twelve, decide to change their reclusive landlord's mind.

Heuer, Lourdes

A chapter book about a young girl, Esme, who is off to plan her own birthday party with the help of the eclectic neighbors who reside in her apartment building.

Keller, Tae

Mallory Moss knows the rules of middle school. The most important one? You have to fit in to survive. But then Jennifer Chan moves in across the street, and that rule doesn't seem to apply. Jennifer doesn't care about the laws of middle school ... Then Jennifer goes missing. Using clues from Jennifer's journals, Mallory goes searching. But the closer she gets, the more Mallory has to confront why Jennifer might have run ... and face the truth within herself.

Kurilla, Renée

After planting a seed packet in the backyard, things don't go as expected for best friends Anna and Tess. They fall asleep in the sun and wake up to blooms as tall as buildings! Did the seeds really grow that fast? All is explained when Anna and Tess meet May, a little garden gnome whose magic is responsible for the transformation. The girls are May's size now, and they follow her through the flower garden and into May's underground gnome home--discovering new things about their world and themselves along the way.

Kyi, Tanya Lloyd

Welcome to our green city! You'll find flowers, trees, animals... and wind turbines, electric cars, and solar panels, too. In this city, a utopian imagination of what a sustainable community could look like, neighbours from diverse backgrounds come together to care for their surroundings and one another. As readers are invited on a journey through the city, they learn about what makes it environmentally friendly, from electric transportation to green classrooms to community gardens. With an encouraging tone that's never didactic, the text asks questions to encourage readers to find small details: butterflies fluttering by, birds sipping nectar from flowers, and all the ways people work together to take care of the community. The uniquely positive depiction of how city life could look in the future is complemented by backmatter that shares some common environmentally friendly ideas kids can try out at home. This uplifting picture book celebrates sustainability and community and encourages kids to think about what their ideal green city might look like.

Madison, Megan

Developed by experts in the fields of early childhood and activism against injustice, this topic-driven board book offers clear, concrete language and imagery to introduce the concept of consent. This book serves to normalize and celebrate the experience of asking for and being asked for permission to do something involving one's body. It centers on respect for bodily autonomy, and reviews the many ways that one can say or indicate 'no.' The backmatter offers additional resources and ideas for extending this discussion.

Michalak, Jamie

A biography of a powerhouse female Japanese chef and her rise to fame.

Nason, Riel

Ghosts are supposed to be sheets, light as air and able to whirl and twirl and float and soar. But the little ghost who is a quilt can't whirl or twirl at all, and when he flies, he gets very hot. He doesn't know why he's a quilt. His parents are both sheets, and so are all of his friends. (His great-grandmother was a lace curtain, but that doesn't really help cheer him up.) He feels sad and left out when his friends are zooming around and he can't keep up. But one Halloween, everything changes. The little ghost who was a quilt has an experience that no other ghost could have, an experience that only happens because he's a quilt ... and he realizes that it's OK to be different.

Pierce, Tamora

The mage Numair, the knight Alanna, and Queen Thayet enlist thirteen-year-old Daine's help to battle the dreadful immortal creatures that have recently begun to attack the kingdom of Tortall.

Pimienta, Jose

Being twins means having a best friend forever...But when one twin goes to school in Mexico and the other goes to school across the border in Calexico, can that bond withstand the distance? A contemporary middle grade graphic novel about discovering who you are. Luis Fernando and Luisa Teresa are twins, and they finally have the chance to stand on their own. Fernando is staying local in Mexicali, Mexico, and Teresa is planning to cross the border every day so she can go to a private school in Calexico, California. Suddenly on his own, Fernando realizes that without his twin around. Desperate to not be alone in middle school, he finds himself making friends with the first kid who's willing to give him a chance . . . only this new friend says and does a lot of things that Fernando isn't too sure about. Teresa is ready to thrive and stand on her own two feet, but she soon finds herself failing under the pressure of crossing the US/Mexico border every day. 

Rees, Douglas

A humorous picture book in which Edna the very first chicken faces off against a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Vail, Rachel

Exploring the key social emotional skills needed to navigate complicated feelings, this sweet and touching story follows Katie Honors, a nice kid who isn't able to hold in her feelings about her brother, as she learns an important lesson.

Young, Jessica

Rhyming text and sweet illustrations for little ones who love babies or are welcoming a new sibling themselves.

Wilder, Derick

Over the course of a long walk across a city, one curious kid needs to know: 'Does it have a butt?' Everything from sheep to ghosts to dinosaurs is subjected to this all-important question, and Dad is a never-ending source of answers. On a laugh-out-loud father-child ramble, we come to see that every butt, from a bullfrog's to a zombie's, has its own distinctive, and distinctively hilarious, quality.

Summaries provided by DPL's catalog unless otherwise noted. Click on each title to view more information.