Staff Reads

Check out what our staff have to say about these new titles in our collection!

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Review by Jesse

 
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This month I endeavored to read another Chambers’ book, this time it was To be Taught if Fortunate. I can’t say that I adored it the way I adored Psalm for the Wild Built but it was a good book all the same. Focusing on the crew of the Merian, an explorer ship sent out to catalogue life on distant worlds, this short novella explores what it means to be a person in the wider community of the universe and how the concept of home can change over time. After losing contact with Earth, the crew of the Merian decide to continue their mission. WIth neat little nods to very possible science and some cool, if subtle, sci-fi, To be Taught if Fortunate focuses on the human experience of being far from home, especially when you can no longer hear from it. I give it a perfect 5/7 on my patented 7 star scale.

If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich is a YA romance title following the fictional boyband Saturday at the height of their fame. Zach and Ruben, two members of the band and our main characters, find themselves struggling under the pressures of fame and their unrelenting work schedule. In the midst of a hectic European tour, they find themselves growing closer to one another and then starting to fall in love. They choose to keep their relationship secret from the rest of the world, knowing their management team will never let them come out publicly. This book ties together the excitement, and the exhaustion, behind fame and the budding wonderment of new love. The authors work together well to craft a well-rounded dual narrative, showing the reality behind the glamour of fame and yet still celebrating boybands and their popularity. The romance is sweet and heartfelt, and it pulls you in completely. And even though our main characters are super famous pop stars, they still feel completely relatable to the reader. At the end of the day, they’re just normal teenagers falling in love with their best friend and trying to navigate it in a world that may not always accept them. This book is definitely a celebration of love, and ultimately I gave it four out of five stars. I would recommend this to any fans of BTS or other boybands, as well as anyone who loves a good YA romance!




If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich

Review by Dani

 
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Broken (in the best way possible) by Jenny Lawson

Review by Sara

 
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Jenny Lawson is known for her personal stories reflecting on her own life experiences. She writes about her own personal happy things, sad things, and everything in between. Reading Broken is like sitting down and having a heart-to-heart with a good friend; sometimes sad, oftentimes uplifting, and unfailingly hilarious. This story will make you laugh out loud and is just the hug you need for having survived 2021. I listened to the downloadable audiobook from Libby and it’s read by the author. The short chapters fly by quickly and you will be glad you took the time to visit with the author.

This amazing book is written in free verse for middle readers, but all ages can learn something about empathy from this heart wrenching title. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness. Ellie, the main character, is bullied by family, students and teachers at school because of her weight. With the help of a good counselor, her dad, and good friend Caitlynn, she begins to accept herself and realizes she is a good person just the way she is. You will cheer her on as she stands up to the bullies in her life. I love that it is a librarian who provides her with a safe haven.

Starfish by Lisa Fipps

Review by Miss Fran

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The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales by Yoon Ha Lee

Review by Paige

 
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The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales is a book of short stories to turn to for light, magical reading. Each short story packs so much into a page or two or three, so every detail becomes a character in and of itself. From animals, to witches, to kings and queens, every character is a fun character to get to know (though you only meet them for a short time). During my read, I even questioned if these were classic fables I had forgotten. There is a timeless quality to the foxes and the robots that the author writes. Many of the stories include LGBT characters whose identities are portrayed with care for readers to appreciate in what read like new classics. The language and imagery are really dreamy and flow so well from one new story to the next. It is an enchanted little read, and my only complaint is that I wished it was longer. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a book to brighten your day.

The Shattering by Kevin Boyle is a historical account of the United States within the 1960s. As someone who has read a lot of history, I thought the brief synopsis at the beginning really helped to establish the role that the 1960s played within American politics. Boyle discusses the major and minor events that created the political atmosphere within that important decade. Boyle examines the civil rights movement by following Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and explaining how the work of these two men led to a white nationalist movement. The author follows George Wallace and Richard Nixon and analyzes how they used the fear of civil rights for African Americans to give power to their segregationist and “law & order” causes. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in this time period and who wants to know more about the Vietnam war, 1960s presidential politics, and civil rights. 



The Shattering by Kevin Boyle

Review by Andrew

 
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Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor

Review by Karrah

 
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Beautifully Me by Nabela Noor, first and foremost, has amazing illustrations! The cover is so colorful and bright, I just couldn’t resist. The book starts with little Zubi, a Bangladeshi-American girl, being super excited for her first day of school. Her and her family’s morning was a bit confusing for this little one because her sister, mother, and father all critique their own bodies. She wonders why they made such comments about themselves when she sees absolutely nothing wrong with them! Later, when she goes to school, a classmate calls her friend “fat” and she doesn’t understand why it seemed like an insult. She then starts to question her own body, and her family soon realizes the effect of critiquing their bodies in front of her. This book also has a glossary in the back for any words that might be unfamiliar to the reader, such as Eid, jaan, lassi, and much more. This author does a great job at introducing a new culture to their readers. I would also highly recommend this book to any child because every child deserves to feel beautiful and worthy, no matter what anyone says!

Binny’s Diwali by Thrity Umrigar has wonderful illustrations that would catch anyone’s eye. This book follows little Binny who loves the holiday Diwali. She loves it so much, she prepared a class presentation for it! When she goes to present this holiday to her classmates, she clams up with nervousness. She takes some deep breaths, and with the support of her teacher, is able to get through it and all of her classmates love it just as much as she does! This book is a great way for anyone to learn more about the holiday Diwali. In the back of the book, there is the story of Diwali and explains how the 5 days are celebrated!

Binny’s Diwali by Thrity Umrigar

Review by Karrah

 
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The Universe and You by Suzanne Slade

Review by Karrah

 
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The Universe and You by Suzanne Slade is a relaxing book filled with wonderful illustrations and information. This book shows a little one getting ready for bed, and the universe around them. We see all of the planets in our solar system, which is most definitely my favorite aspect of the book. This would be great for any child interested in space and I think it would make for a great bedtime story just because it has a very calm feeling to it! There is also a great bonus in the back where it explains more about the milky way, stars, and much more. This book gets 5/5 stars for me (pun intended), and I guarantee your little one would love it just as much as I did!

I will admit that I am the type of person who often checks out a cookbook, takes it home, and then never makes a recipe from it. More often than not, I think a cookbook looks amazing only to discover that the recipes it contains are too complicated, time consuming, or require ingredients that are too difficult or expensive to acquire—that is not the case with Perry’s Ready, Set, Cook: How to Make Good Food with What’s on Hand. She opens her cookbook with a “What to Buy” chapter, which lists the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer staples that you should try to keep on hand at all times in order to cook unplanned meals. I know that, personally, this is something I struggle with because I plan my meals out for everyday of the week and never buy extra ingredients; this cookbook has inspired me to change my ways! In addition, all of the recipes are made of ingredients that you can find at your everyday grocery store and they don’t require 30 elaborate steps to make a meal. Finally, the best part of this cookbook is the “Afterthoughts” chapter, which includes recipes that turn leftovers into “new” meals. Perry says “Leftovers need to be made over. Not remade from scratch, of course, just updated with some other items you likely have on hand,” and my leftover-despising self has never been happier. Some recipes that I found especially delicious are the cinnamon toast crepes; olive oil muffins; gingerly chicken and rice soup; pasta with zucchini, nuts, and herbs; chocolate skillet cake; universal yogurt cake; and half-baked peanut butter pie; however, this list could go on, and on, and on. I have a feeling that whatever recipe you try from Ready, Set, Cook, you won’t be disappointed.

Ready, Set, Cook: How To Make Good Food with What’s On Hand by Dawn Perry

Review by Alyssa

 
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