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Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is this week’s staff pick.  A fantastic story about love, friendship, and some of the darker things in life, all behind the glittering lights of the circus.  As it’s set in the 1930’s, there is unfortunately some animal abuse in the novel so please be prepared.

“Orphaned, penniless, Jacob Jankowski jumps a freight train in the dark, and in that instant, transforms his future.

By morning, he’s landed a job with the Flying Squadron of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. By nightfall, he’s in love.

In an America made colourless by prohibition and the Depression, the circus is a refuge of sequins and sensuality. But behind the glamour lies a darker world, where both animals and men are dispensable. Where falling in love is the most dangerous act of all…” –Taken from Goodreads.com

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Did you know that we have a great selection of Young Adult books?  Did you also know that lots of adults read YA too? This ever-changing collection has tons of great reads!  If you’re looking for somewhere to start, we recommend checking out our YA Staff Pick Bookmarks (there are 2 so far), our Book Recommendation Pinterest board which incluces YA reading choices, and/or checking out YA award winning books which you can check out for free to see if it was worthy of winning an award.

And some other staff picks, all shelved in YA fiction:

Alanna* – Tamora Pierce (girl poses as boy to become a knight, talking cat)

Lonely Werewolf Girl – Martin Millar (what happens when a werewolf gets depressed)

Man Made Boy – Jon Skovron (Frankenstein’s son takes a roadtrip and invents the female version of Ultron)

Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman (the magical seedy underbelly of London and a poor guy who gets caught up in an assassination attempt)

Sabriel* – Garth Nix (girl has to rescue father and the kingdom from an army of the dead)

The Fault in Our Stars – John Green (heartbreaking, romantic, two teens with cancer setting out to accomplish a dream)

A Curse Dark as Gold – Elizabeth Bunce (an excellent retelling of Rumpelstiltskin)

Cinder* – Marissa Meyer (Cinderella is a cyborg, and it gets complicated)

Dealing with Dragons* – Patricia C. Wrede (a princess who wants no Prince Charming, and is her own hero)

The Goddess Test* – Aimee Carter (want to be the bride of Hades? There’s a series of tests for that)

Un Lun Dun – China Mieville (Alice in Wonderland meets Neverwhere… full of weird fun adventure and saving the world)

Evil Librarian – Michelle Knudson (school librarian is a demon and a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to save her bestie and the school)

Pushing the Limits* – Katie McGarry (trauma, romance, the typical life of a bad-thing-happened teen)

The Here and Now – Ann Brashares (she’s s time traveler who can’t break the rules for fear of disaster, but…)

Leviathan – Scott Westerfeld (sci-fi, girl posing as boy, princes, crazy adventure ensues)

Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell (friendship can change your life, especially in high school)

Throne of Glass* – Sarah J. Maas (female assassin, crazy competition, magic, craziness – the 2nd book is even better)

The Maze Runner* – James Dashner (boy has amnesia, dropped into the middle of a maze with crazy monsters, lots of running, think Lord of the Flies but better)

Divergent* – Veronica Roth (dystopian novel with 5 factions, crazy choices and training, adventure. May want to stop after the first or second novel to avoid the emotional drama of Allegiant)

City of Bones* – Cassandra Clare (girl meets demon, boy kills demon, girl’s mom is kidnapped, girl gets sucked into angel/demon war and has cool powers. Way better than the movie)

Mairelon the Magician – Patricia C. Wrede (not a romance, historical fiction, girl posing as boy, spies) – has a sequel

 

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

If you’d like the history of the holiday, The History Channel always does a good job.  There are tons of love stories out there, but here’s a small list of non-traditional love stories.

If you’re celebrating Singles Awareness Day, the Funny Valentines’ website is full of fun and funny stuff.  BookRiot also has some great recommendations for anti-love reading, if that’s what you’re looking for.

Our book recommendation for the day is The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan.  This is a fantastic and fast read.  If you’ve ever been in a relationship or want to be, you should read this.  It was our Staff Pick of the Week a couple month’s ago, and is one of our recommending staff member’s favorite books.

Whatever you’re doing today, we hope you have a wonderful day!

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This week’s staff pick is Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid – this updated take on Jane Austen’s classic is sure to please mystery/suspense lovers and Downton Abbey fans.  If you’d rather read the original, we have that too.  You can see what’s available in the catalog.

“Internationally best-selling crime writer Val McDermid has riveted millions of readers worldwide with her acutely suspenseful, psychologically complex, seamlessly plotted thrillers. In Northanger Abbey, she delivers her own, witty, updated take on Austen’s classic novel about a young woman whose visit to the stately home of a well-to-do acquaintance stirs her most macabre imaginings, with an extra frisson of suspense that only McDermid could provide.

Cat Morland is ready to grow up. A homeschooled minister’s daughter in the quaint, sheltered Piddle Valley in Dorset, she loses herself in novels and is sure there is a glamorous adventure awaiting her beyond the valley’s narrow horizon. So imagine her delight when the Allens, neighbors and friends of her parents, invite her to attend the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh as their guest. With a sunny personality, tickets every night and a few key wardrobe additions courtesy of Susie Allen, Cat quickly begins to take Edinburgh by storm and is taken into the bosom of the Thorpe family, particularly by eldest daughter Bella. And then there’s the handsome Henry Tilney, an up-and-coming lawyer whose family home is the beautiful and forbidding Northanger Abbey. Cat is entranced by Henry and his charming sister Eleanor, but she can’t help wondering if everything about them is as perfect as it seems. Or has she just been reading too many novels? A delectable, note-perfect modern update of the Jane Austen classic, Northanger Abbey tells a timeless story of innocence amid cynicism, the exquisite angst of young love, and the value of friendship.”–Taken from Goodreads.com

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Acclaimed author Colleen McCullough died recently at the age of 77.  This week’s staff pick is her best known work, The Thorn Birds, and one several staff members have recommended for years.

Powered by the dreams and struggles of three generations, THE THORN BIRDS is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story’s heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican…but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life.”–Taken from Goodreads.com

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