New Books to Get Lost In

If you ask us, a good book is a form of time travel, transporting you to a different life, era, or world. Time melts away as you're turning the pages. Suddenly you come to, hours into the future and richer and wiser for what you've just read. This week, we're highlighting fourteen new releases with that special time warp quality — books to savor and get lost in, books you'll wish would never end. We have magical realism, science fiction and fantasy, history, mystery, and much more within — read on!

Ages 8-12

The Liars Society by Alyson Gerber

Top notch start for a mystery series! Jack and Weatherby are from opposite backgrounds. Weatherby, the new girl, attends Boston School because of a special scholarship after beating the wealthy Jack at a sailing race. Soon, Weatherby and Jack — plus three other students — find themselves needing to solve the mystery of where the money went for their one-of-a-kind school trip to a private island. Tangled in that dilemma is the need for each one to prove they are worthy of being selected for an exclusive secret society that has been a part of Boston School forever. With word puzzles, hidden places, and false stories, Jack and Weatherby aren't sure who to trust while they work to figure out the game of their lives. Suspenseful and secretive... a perfect mystery for middle graders!

Read if you love Margaret Peterson Haddix or The Westing Game.
Pass if you prefer when you can easily guess every secret and twist.
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Ages 12 & up

Black Girl You Are Atlas by Renee Watson; Illustrated by Ekua Holmes 

Using a variety of forms, Renee Watson's semi-autobiographical collection of poetry explores class, race, and gender while celebrating Black girls and women. Ekua Holmes' illustrations are a magnificent accompaniment to a truly wonderful collection. It's a stunner.

Read because this is a masterpiece from one of our favorite creators.
Pass if you're looking for a read you can move on from quickly.
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With a Little Luck by Marissa Meyer

This book is SO CUTE. Jude works at his parents’ indie record store, loves Dungeons & Dragons, likes to draw, is quiet, and hates the spotlight. He and his twin sister have been friends with Ari ever since she moved to town with her family and started working at the store, too. One day, he finds a 20-sided D&D die and miraculously he starts to have an unbelievable amount of good luck. He realizes since he can't lose, he should finally ask out one of the popular girls at school, Maya, who he has had a crush on for forever. He wins tickets and backstage passes plus a limo ride to a pop concert in town, and invites her — and she says yes! But as Maya comes out of her shell and joins his D&D group, and Ari starts to see some success with a song she's written, Jude thinks everything is going just like he wanted — until he loses the die. When all his luck falls apart, Jude has to think about what he really wants and what really makes him happy.

Read if you're looking for a slightly nerdier To All The Boys I've Loved Before.
Pass if you consider yourself an unlucky person and this will make you jealous.
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Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin

An adventure set in a Japan-inspired fantasy world, with floating cities in the sky, two warring groups, and a special group of people called Crafters who can manipulate and control paper with their minds.  Main character Kurara is a servant girl on a floating ship when it is attacked by a shikigami dragon, a wild paper spirit. She is adopted onto a ship of rebels for hire to hunt rogue shikigami and begins to train under Crafter Himura. She is desperate to become a good enough Crafter to impress the Princess Tsukimi, but she is thrown into a world she doesn't yet understand. She isn't sure shikigami are rogue spirits meant to hunt, but she must decide what side she will be on in the battle raging between those who live on the ground and the sky people who want their floating cities back. Recommended!

Read if you want to get lost in some magnificent world building.
Pass if you're saving this because you know you'll be too impatient for the sequel to come out.
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Ages 14-18

Bunt!: Striking Out on Financial Aid by Ngozi Ukazu; illustrated by Mad Rupert 

On her first day at college, Molly learns that her full ride scholarship has been canceled. It's always been her dream to attend PICA in her hometown, so she rashly takes out student loans at exorbitant rates in order to enroll. She discovers a scholarship awarded to a PICA softball team that needs to win only one game, so she and her childhood friend Ryan assemble a ragtag group of fellow students. Ngozi Ukazu and Mad Rupert have collaborated on a funny graphic novel for teens that looks at the reality of financing a college education. Highly recommended!  

Read if you love books about a crew of delightful weirdos.
Pass if you try to not smile when you read.
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Adult Fiction

The Women by Kristin Hannah

Hannah beautifully shines a light on the women who served as nurses in the Vietnam War — those who may not have been in combat but who saw the gruesome outcomes daily. From 1966 to the unveiling of the Vietnam Memorial in 1982, Hannah takes us to the jungles of war and life after the war with such vivid descriptions that I found myself sobbing at times. We gain insight into the sacrifices that were made by many and appreciated by few. The voices and experiences of these women are priceless and were overlooked for years. Highly recommended.

Read because Hannah is an expert at shining a light on forgotten stories.
Pass if you're waiting to add this to your March TBR pile for Women's History Month.
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The Year of the Locust by Terry Hayes

This way-too-long-awaited follow-up to New York Times bestseller I Am Pilgrim is a compelling novel about the career of a denied-area-access CIA agent. Narrator Ridley Kane knows several languages, including Russian and several Arabic dialects, and is sent to Pakistan/Afghanistan/Iran to uncover details of a suspected plot by ISIS for a 9/11 type terrorist attack. In very short chapters, designed to keep the pages turning quickly, we follow Kane on his mission to kill the mastermind of the plot, a man with a locust tattoo on his back. It's a fascinating look at the use of technology (real? imagined?) by the CIA and the NSA to listen in on conversations, to send stealth missiles to attack moving cars, to make submarines invisible, etc. The narrator escapes death multiple times, suffers from PTSD, goes into rehab and then is sent back to the field. Secondary characters are well-developed and their interactions with Kane create needed diversions from his intense adventures.

Read because this thriller is guaranteed to make you sweat.
Pass if you've been waiting so long for a new Terry Hayes that you need to reread I Am Pilgrim to remind yourself of why.
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Twice Lived by Joma West

I loved this book — it just kept getting better and better the more I read. Twice Lived takes place in a universe with two parallel realities, and a small minority of children can "shift" between them. The children usually pick one world and one family to settle with by a certain age. But Canna and Lily, the split personalities of the main character, have been shifting much longer than most. Their continued shifting begins to affect both their mind and their families on each side of the shift. This book explores loss and love, and as all the lives and perspectives of the characters become intertwined, it became impossible for me to choose which life l wanted Canna and Lily to settle in. An exciting, heartbreaking, and inspiring story that I definitely recommend!

Read because this is a unique genre piece with deep themes of family and identity.
Pass if you are already stressed out from the synopsis. (Trust us, you'll be okay!)
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Waiting For the Flood by Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall returns to Waiting For the Flood, a previously published e-book, and bookends the novel with Chasing the Light, a follow up story. Waiting For the Flood finds Edwin working through a breakup with Marius and dealing with a flood in town. Adam, an engineer with the Environment Agency, provides kindness and assistance during the flood. Chasing the Light follows Marius after his breakup with Edwin when he feels he has nothing left. Fans of Hall's books will rejoice to read Marius' story and all readers will fall for this pair of stories about finding love where you least expect it.

Read because Hall is the king of emotional and moving romances.
Pass if you need to read Hall's first Spires book, Glitterland, first!
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Turtle House by Amanda Churchill

Lia Cope has run back home to Curtain, TX after an incident in Austin at her new job as an architect. Lia's grandmother Minnie is also there after a fire at the family ranch. As Minnie tells Lia her story of growing up in a small Japanese village just before and during the war, we learn that Minnie gave up so much to ensure her children's safety. Slowly, Lia's story unfolds about a professor who may be approaching her inappropriately. It is a believable story about a small North Texas town and the family who must factor in the past with the present. For fans of historical fiction and family drama.

Read if you're looking for a book where you really get to know and become close with the characters.
Pass if you thought this was an instructional book about building terrariums.
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Attend Our Event with the author on February 26!

Come and Get It by Kiley Reid

Millie, a hardworking RA at University of Arkansas, meets Agatha Paul, a writer and visiting professor who offers Millie a possibility of building her nest egg which will help her become a homeowner when she graduates. Lines of all sorts are crossed during these encounters, which focus on studying the financial/social lives of the residents in the dorm. Ranging from incidents of mild pranks, which are really just mean girl moves, to illicit affairs and observations of depression, isolation, greed, and general bad behavior, this character-driven story encompasses a year of college life. Book clubs will have lots to unpack with this novel!

Read because this is an Indie Next List pick and a Good Morning America book club choice.
Pass if you still need to read Reid's other explosive story, Such a Fun Age, first.
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Ready Or Not by Cara Bastone

Eve Hatch finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand and learns to stand up for who and what she wants in her life in this perfect romantic comedy novel. Eve lives in Brooklyn, not far from her best friend Willa, Willa's husband, and Willa's brother Shep. Eve, Willa and Shep all grew up together in the midwest, with Willa's mom Corrine acting as an extra mom to Eve when they were all kids. When Corrine passed away, Eve held up her friend, and held her hand while Willa was unable to get pregnant. Now the tables are turned — Eve is pregnant, she knows Willa is having a hard time and needs distance, and the baby-daddy, bar owner Ethan, is struggling (to put it mildly). The one constant she can rely on is Shep. Eve must figure out what she wants with the baby, with Ethan, with Willa, with her job, and most importantly, with Shep. 

Read if you're looking to be taken on an emotional journey.
Pass if you prefer your slow burns to feel flat and unearned.
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The Road from Belhaven by Margot Livesey

A young girl named Lizzie comes of age in late 19th century Scotland in this lovely new novel by Margot Livesey. Orphaned at an early age, Lizzie grows up on her grandparents' farm, busy with milking, sheep shearing, making friends with the farm animals, and not knowing much about life outside the farm. At an early age she started seeing "pictures" — visions of future events, an ability that she is afraid to explain to anyone, and one that doesn't enable her to successfully change the future she sees. She falls in love with a hired hand named Louis who has come to help with the harvest and who promises to marry Lizzie when he has completed his apprenticeship to a tailor in Glasgow. In the meantime, Lizzie gives birth to a daughter. She decides to leave the baby with her grandparents, and she follows Louis to Glasgow, where she gets a job as a kind of commercial artist, slowly coming to realize that Louis is more interested in his business than in her. A vision of her daughter in danger sends Lizzie back to Belhaven, and from there, to a new life. Recommended.

Read because this is a beautiful read, tinged with magic.
Pass if you need to practice your Scottish accent so you can properly read the book out loud.
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The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

A World War I combat nurse sent home to Canada after being injured and discharged returns to Belgium after receiving a box of items belonging to her brother, a Canadian army soldier, and some cryptic messages hinting that he may still be alive. Encounters with old friends and ghosts and tales of a dark character known by the soldiers as "the fiddler" guide her on her perilous journey. I stayed up way past my bedtime reading this engrossing tale.

Read because there is a reason Arden is a bestselling author.
Pass if you need to wake up early tomorrow — just ask Jean!
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