As common as such comparisons are these days, I really can't think of any better measuring stick for this book than the Song of Ice and Fire series. Intrigues, differing factions of variable power, usually completely willing to let everyone else rot. Trying to do the right thing will, more often than not, see you tormented and failing. The good guys are a bit easier to see...but that was true for "A Game of Thrones" as well. I fully expect the waters to grow murkier as time goes by.
The big difference, which really changes how you engage the story, is the number of characters. Instead of a cast so large you can barely keep it all straight, some who disappear for a couple hundred pages, there are less than two dozen people of note to track. This is their story, and their loves, jealousies, hatreds, fears, and goals drive everything. It's painful to watch at times, as men who don't care take full advantage of those that do, family or foe alike. The author pulls no punches; expect people to die, often suddenly and without fanfare. Plots and dreams die in an instant, and this, more than anything, makes the story work. It's a dark, brutal world, and it's going to get worse. Whether or not it ever gets better, I can't wait to find out.
Recommended by - Don Priest, Library Director
1982, a fantastic year. Roller-skating parties are at an all-time high in popularity, scratch and sniff stickers are still abundant in supply, Midway released Ms. Pac-Man in arcades, and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial has just rocked Abby Rivers' 9-year-old mind. It was the year that changed her life, it was the year she met her best friend forever, Gretchen Lang.
Completely inseparable, Abby and Gretchen did everything together from experimenting with make-up in sixth grade to dabbling in LSD that summer before their sophomore year of high school at Margaret Middleton’s family beach house. After that, Gretchen... Changed. The other girls say she just tripped out too hard and that’s why she ran off like she did and got herself lost in the woods all night but Abby knows her best friend and that thing wearing Gretchen’s skin is not her.
What happened to Gretchen in the woods that night? Abby is determined to find out and no one is going to get in her way. Not her parents, not the Langs, or school, or her other fake friends, no, not even the devil himself. He’s going to have to pry Gretchen out of Abby’s cold, dead hands because this kind of friendship, true friendship, is strong enough to overcome anything. Isn’t it?
Grady Hendrix, famed author of the 2014 hit Horrorstör and the controversial (but extremely good and also highly recommended) Satan Loves You, has mixed together a wholesome coming-of-age tale of friendship with 80’s pop songs and supernatural satanic horror in My Best Friend’s Exorcism.
Recommended by - Ren, Staff member
From the brilliant mind of Kate Beaton, the Hark a Vagrant author, comes the second installment of terribly witty repartee on classic literature, history, and pop culture. She takes a stab at Healthcliff, Napoleon, Black Canary, and Achilles using colorful language and adding modern phrases, all the while shedding light on Ida B. Wells, the lady of Shalott, and Kokoro. Unfortunate book covers and postcards get a second life with droll comic panels. Featuring such delights as Buff Cinderella, Brown Recluse Spider-Man, and rampant velocipedestriennes, you will not want to miss this book!
Recommended by - Barbara Keresztury, Adult Librarian
Most kids would jump for joy at a chance to attend a secret magic school where they could learn to control the fundamental forces of the universe. Callum Hunt is not most kids. Something terrible happened on the day he was born, and he’s convinced that entering the Magisterium will be his doom.
Unfortunately for him, and despite his best efforts to fail the Iron Trial, he is admitted, and attendance is now mandatory. Once he begins to learn the ways of magic his opinion of the school begins to change, but there may be something to all those warnings his father had given him after all . . .
Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have teamed up to flip the Harry Potter script on its head, and deliver delightful twists and surprises at every step of the way. Young fans of the Wizarding World, or fantasy in general, will surely enjoy this start to an intriguing series by these authors.
Recommended by - Mike DiMuzio, Youth Librarian