What We're Reading Now

We're always on the lookout for wonderful new books, from picture books to adult, from light to literary.  Take a look at some of our current favorites, featured on the What We're Reading table this month.

ISBN-13: 9780385353304
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 9/2014

Arthur Leander, a thrice-divorced fading movie star, falls dead of a heart attack while performing as King Lear on the Toronto stage. Within days, most of humanity is wiped out by the highly contagious Georgia flu. Thus begins the story of survival for the people who were lucky enough (or not?) to be spared. Switching between post and pre-flu times, most of the characters' lives have some connection to Arthur's. While dangers abound, including many from the cult led by the "Prophet," most people are trying to make their way, by hunting, growing, and foraging in abandoned houses. The Traveling Symphony group moves from one area to the next, performing Shakespeare and symphonic music, and a community has formed at the Severn City airport. Older survivors swap stories of what it was like with cell phones, the Internet, and airplane travel, not to mention electricity and running water. This is not a post-apocalyptic story of warriors but rather a thoughtful character study and a questioning look at what makes a civilization. I loved it! -Cynthia

Backhoe Joe (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780062250155
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins Publishers, 9/2014

Nolan loves big machines and he's always wanted a pet. Enter Backhoe Joe, seemingly without a "home.” Nolan's parents insist that prior to bringing Joe home to live with them, he must be properly trained. Backhoe Joe is a cute little book that your lovers of all things construction will love. Perfect bedtime story for your sweet boy. – Julia

Rites of Passage (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780062295194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Teen, 9/2014

Sam McKenna, the only daughter in a famed military family, is among the first class of women entering Denmark Military Academy (DMA). She fully expects the physical hardships as well as the hostility, but she did not expect the brutal hazing and unrelenting threats. When a secret society is determined to drive the women from DMA, it takes everything Sam has to make it through. A tense thriller for grades 8 and up. – Cathy

The Paying Guests (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781594633119
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Hardcover, 9/2014

After the deaths of her two brothers in WWI and her father shortly afterwards, Frances Wray and her mother are forced, for financial reasons, to let their maid go and to open their London home to lodgers. A young couple moves in, Lillian and Leonard Barber, and over the next few months, Frances finds her life changed by her relationship with them. She and Lillian become friends and then start a secret love affair. Halfway through the novel, an accident occurs, followed by a police investigation, and tension begins to build as this romance novel turns into a taut psychological drama. The sometimes excruciatingly detailed descriptions of the characters' actions contribute to the intensity of the drama that unfolds as Frances and Lillian confront moral and ethical issues that challenge their relationship and their perspectives on right and wrong. Waters writes masterfully about the seamy and sordid things that happen in proper society, and her new novel does not disappoint. Recommended. –Alice

ISBN-13: 9780399162428
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Putnam Juvenile, 5/2014

In Rick Yancy’s follow-up to The Fifth Wave, it’s the dead of winter, and the human survivors are holed up at Cassie and Evan’s pre-arranged rendezvous point just four miles from Camp Haven. Evan has not shown up. Ringer has left to scout out safer living conditions in the caverns nearby and has not returned. Teacup has gone missing. Vosch is still out there. Not only are the Others using the weather to wipe out humanity, they have an even more lethal weapon of destruction. Remember Rule #1: Trust no one. Every bit as exciting as the first book, The Infinite Sea will leave readers 7th grade and above breathless and desperate for book three! —Jennifer

Conversion (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780399167775
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Putnam Juvenile, 7/2014

Senior year at St. Joan’s Academy in Danvers, Massachusetts, is incredibly stressful. A top choice for high-achieving girls, there is a constant competition for class rank, college admission and boys. One day, Clara collapses in a seizure, and within weeks more girls exhibit the same symptoms, seemingly without a cause. Howe weaves a tense thriller, alternating between current day and 18th century Salem, Massachusetts. It’s a rich story and a very worthwhile read for grades 8 and up. – Cathy

ISBN-13: 9780545525527
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books, 5/2014

Jackson Greene is known for his antics, but he’s been on his best behavior now for four whole months. He is one act away from being expelled from school, and more importantly, Gaby de la Cruz hasn’t spoken to him since his last stunt. However, when it becomes apparent that the Student Council election is rigged and the budgets for their favorite clubs are at risk, Jackson comes out of retirement to assemble a crack crew and concoct an elaborate plan to expose the culprit…and maybe win the girl. For grades 5 and up. – Jennifer

Lucky Us (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781400067244
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House, 8/2014

“My father’s wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us.” And suddenly Iris’s and Eva’s lives become forever entwined as each discovers the half-sister she never knew. As WWII rages in the background, the teenaged girls embark on a cross-country journey that takes them from the glamour of Hollywood to the golden mansions of Long Island. Along the way, the girls cling to one another in a newly forged friendship that allows them to survive bitter disappointment, searing betrayal, crushing failures and exhilarating triumphs. Readers can’t help but be swept up into the journey as the vivacious, tenacious sisters pursue their dreams with reckless abandon. – Martha

ISBN-13: 9780399256677
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books, 8/2014

While we may not be preparing to hibernate, we can relate to the journey of friendship between Beatrice the bunny and her friend Bear. Beatrice hates the thought of not seeing her friend for such a long time, so she hatches a plan on how to capture her time away from him. Adorable illustrations make this a very sweet read-aloud. – Valerie

The Young World (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780316226295
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 7/2014

It’s post-apocalyptic New York, and “The Sickness” has killed adults and children; only the teens survive. Think Lord of the Flies in Manhattan. When his brother turns 18 and dies, Jefferson takes the lead in his tribe, located in Washington Square Park. He and a few friends hear rumors of a cure, and they journey through the city to determine whether the rumors are true. Weitz’s skills as a film director and screenwriter come into play as he creates a believable world that leaves readers begging for more! For grades 9 and up. – Cathy

ISBN-13: 9780804136631
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown, 7/2014

Philby was an upper class, Cambridge educated journalist who decided, at age 21, to devote his life to communism. Landing a job with the British intelligence service during WWII, he embarked on a long and successful career as a double agent, gathering intelligence for the British and forwarding it on to the Soviets. MacIntyre focuses on the British class system and the old boy network that pervaded M16 in the middle of the 20th century, exploring the careers of several of Philby's friends in the British secret service, those who refused for a long time to believe that one of them could have betrayed his country as Philby did. This is an amazing story, gripping and well-written, that tries to answer the questions: How could an intelligent person believe so strongly and with such discipline in Soviet Communism? And how did he get away with his double life successfully for so long?-- Alice

ISBN-13: 9781596439092
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press, 6/2014

In the small town of Healy, Texas, rumors fly and grow exponentially after Alice Franklin is linked romantically with both Tommy Cray and local football hero Brandon Fitzsimmons and allegedly causes the latter’s death in a car accident. Told through the perspectives of Brandon’s best friend, his on-and-off-again girlfriend, his nerdy next-door neighbor, and Alice’s former friend, each character justifies their actions and inaction in the ostracizing of Alice, and from there, the whole truth about Alice unfolds. This fabulous debut is from local author Jen Mathieu, and is best for grades 9 and up. – Jennifer

That Part Was True (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781455573653
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing, 2/2014

When Englishwoman Eve Pentworth writes a fan letter to author Jackson Cooper, she begins a friendship that endures his romantic travails as well as her daughter's impending marriage. Both have struggled to find a relationship -- he, by holding himself apart, and she, almost literally shutting herself away in the family home. Through their letters, they provide each other understanding and affection. A charming story! – Cathy