Book Bites: A Dreadful Tale of Dinner, Fires, and Moxie... Like a Pig

Friends, we won't lie—Hurricane Harvey uprooted our everyday lives, and our entire staff has had a hard time getting back into reading after the storm. But all it takes is one great story to reintroduce yourself to the magic of books. We recommend eight such stories below, with at least one for every age group. Read on, read on.

Ages 4-8

Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner

Sarabella always has her head full of dreams and ideas. She loves to dream and to draw and to think. This does not always work well in the classroom, but her teacher understands, even as he encourages her to focus. He provides a wonderful project that enables Sarabella to show her classmates who she really is. Gorgeous writing and illustrations combine to create a picture book celebrating imagination and creativity.

Read it because it's a sweet take on creativity and individuality from the author of the Skippyjon Jones series.
Pass if you can't stand imagination.
Order Your Copy on our website.

I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett and Greg Pizzoli (Illustrations)

Celebrating the many ways people love each other, Barnett and Pizzoli collaborate on a very fun picture book for any age. From "I love you like a pig" to "you're funny like a fossil," readers of all ages can explore absurdist humor and make up their own expressions. A great read-aloud that will have everyone giggling.

Read it aloud for an uproarious good time.
Pass if you really need to go to the bathroom before you read it. Or, just go to the bathroom first.
Attend Our Event with Mac on September 19.
Read Our Q&A with Mac before you...
...Order Your Copy on our website. Like a pig?

Ages 8-12

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Red is an oak tree who has been around for years. She's also a wishing tree, so each May 1, neighbors tie their wishes—some silly, some heartfelt, some selfish—on Red's branches in the hopes that they will come true. When a new family moves in, not everyone welcomes them, and Red's role as a wishtree is more important than ever. A beautiful, timely and timeless story for grades 4 and up.

Read because this is another gem from the author of The One and Only Ivan.
Pass if you easily burst into tears and tend to do all your reading on public transportation.
Attend Our Event with Katherine on September 27.
Order Your Copy on our website.

Ages 12-16

The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken

Hundreds of years ago, an ancestor of twelve-year-old Prosper Redding made a deal with the demon Alastor, guaranteeing the family everlasting good fortune, prestige, and wealth in return for eternal servitude. That same ancestor reneged on the contract, and Alastor has been trapped in young Prosper, biding time and gathering strength until he can exact revenge on the Redding family. With no idea whom he can trust, Prosper has less than two weeks to break the family curse.  Betrayals, twists, and turns combine with historical elements and humor to make a deliciously smart read—especially for the fall season.

Read for a spooky, clever tale that never loses its sense of fun.
Pass if you'd hate for the demon inhabiting your body to get any ideas.
Attend Our Event with Alex on September 19.
Read Our Q&A with Alex to whet your appetite.
Order Your Copy on our website.

Ages 14-17

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Viv Carter's goal is to keep her head down, stay unnoticed, and graduate from her small town Texas high school and go to college. But she's fed up. Fed up with the football team being treated like gods, fed up with ridiculous dress codes, fed up with guys making gross comments in class. So, taking a page from her mom's punk rock teenage years, Viv anonymously creates Moxie, a feminist zine that strikes a chord with girls at school regardless of clique or popularity. A novel that perfectly captures small town Texas and girl empowerment. Get yourself some Moxie

Read it because it's thoughtful kindling for your revolutionary fire.
Pass if you're a soulless tool of the patriarchy.
Attend the Launch Party (!) with Jennifer on September 30.
Read Our Q&A with Jennifer to get inspired.
Order Your Copy on our website.

Adult Fiction

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

A Jodi Picoult-like premise meets Shanthi Sekaram's Lucky Boy in this compelling and well-written story of two families who live in contemporary Shaker Heights, Ohio: the Richardsons, a wealthy family with four teenagers, and the Wrights, a peripatetic artist and single mother and her daughter, who rent a duplex from the Richardsons. The lives of everyone in the two families become connected as the teens become friends and as the artist goes to work for the Richardsons. When the two families get involved in a court case about a birth mother trying to regain custody of a toddler who is being adopted, the relationships start to crumble. Suspicions, assumptions, and secrets emerge, and things in Shaker Heights get shaken up. As she did in Everything I Never Told You, Ng does an excellent job describing the lives and loves of contemporary teens as well a their family relationships and upper middle class values. As in real life, there is no tidy wrapping up at the end of the novel, and you will be left wondering how things might have turned out if, and if, and if....

Read it if you're a fan of Jodi Picoult or Shanthi Sekaram—or even if you aren't.
Pass if you're looking for something frothy this month. But put this one on your list for next time. 
Order Your Copy on our website.

Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander

In his new novel, Englander gives readers a mesmerizing look at what has become perhaps the most insoluble political conflict of our time, that between Israel and Palestine. The convoluted nature of the conflict is seen through the eyes of two main characters. One, a young American Jew, Prisoner Z, has been held at a prison in the Negev desert for 12 years, contemplating the events that have brought him to his incarceration. The other, the comatose Ariel Sharon, drifts in a surreal way through his own past experiences. The two men are connected by their relationships with their caretakers: Ruthi, who sits by the General's bed every day, and her son, the guard who is Prisoner Z's only connection to the world. Englander switches brilliantly from thriller action to philosophical contemplation of the human condition in this story of commitment to causes, friendship among enemies, and betrayal. Highly recommended.

Read because Alice said so.
Pass if you have no regard for Alice's feelings.
Order Your Copy on our wbsite.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

Locke is known for her racially charged novels set in Texas and Louisiana.  This one takes readers to the fictional town of Lark in deep East Texas. The discovery of a black man's body in the bayou followed by a similar discovery of a white girl's body opens up a world of tension in which Ranger Darren Mathews finds himself drawn into what will become a deadly situation for many.  It's a great thriller enmeshed with commentary on racial divides in Texas, and you will want to read it in one sitting!

Read because if Valerie's recommendation weren't enough, Ann Patchett also loved it.
Pass if you're not ready for something this heavy after Harvey.
Order Your Copy on our website.