The Trepasser

bookTana French’s latest novel finds Antoinette Conway and her partner, Stephen Moran, investigating the murder of a young woman found dead in her house in a Dublin neighborhood. At first glance, it appears to be a domestic case, since the table was set for two, with dinner in the oven. At least, that’s what the other detective working with them on the case, Breslin, wants them to think. But Antoinette and her partner keep digging, and other details begin to unfold. French gives an intriguing glimpse into the inner workings of a Murder Squad, as the case leads the detectives into murky territory. It’s an intense read, but well worth the effort for devoted mystery fans.

Reading Without Walls

artistAccording to a recent article in Publishers Weekly, a new program designed to expand the reading choices of young people will launch this year in April, and become an annual event. “Reading Without Walls” began as an initiative in 2016 designed by the current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Gene Luen Yang.Gene is a talented graphic novelist who has won numerous awards. His novel American Born Chinese was a National Book Award finalist and winner of both a Printz and Eisner awards (given for best young adult novel and best creative achievement in American comic books, respectively).

“Reading Without Walls” challenges the reader in 3 areas: first, to read a book about a character “who does not look or live like you”, 2) to read a book on a topic that “you know nothing about” and 3) to read a book in a format that is unfamiliar to you (ie. graphic novel, novel in verse, etc.) And to really “go for the gold”, he suggests choosing a book that addresses all three challenges.

It sounds like a wonderful program; if you are interested in learning more or to download a free starter kit, check out this site.

Teach Me to Forget

artistWhat makes a teen decide to take his or her own life? In this novel by Erica M. Chapman, seventeen year old Ellery is tired of carrying around the guilt she has for causing her younger sister’s death. The reader does not know the full story until the last part of the novel, when the traumatic event is described by Ellery to a boy that she has fallen in love with, Colter. She feels that she doesn’t deserve to live after what happened, but begins to waver in her decision to die, especially after a once close friend actually goes ahead with his own decision to commit suicide. A heartfelt portrayal of a teen’s struggle, this is recommended for grades 9 and up.

“XO, OX: A Love Story”

If it is true that opposites attract, a new juvenile picture book “XO, OX:  A Love Story” surely is a clever way to illustrate this idea.9781626722880_p0_v3_s192x300.jpgWritten as a series of letters between an ox and a gazelle,  this is a story of never giving up.  In his first letter, Ox admits that he has always admired gazelle for being graceful.  In order words, he loves her. Gazelle replies by stating she has many admirers and can’t reply to each of them, but she does send a signed photo for ox’s collection.

Ox does not give up.  He writes back and tells her that he really appreciates that she has taken the time to respond to him.  Her reply is to resend her original letter.  And so it continues.  Gazelle becoming more and more frustrated with each letter.  Until love takes its course and in the end opposites do attract.

Written by Adam Rex and illustrated by Scott Campbell this is a great book for Valentine’s Day or any other day.


“The Bad Guys”

No one likes to be labeled.  In a new  juvenile fiction series by Aaron Blabey, the author  tackles the concern that certain characters are unfortunately labeled “bad guys.” In the opening pages of the first book in this series, the reader meets “Mr. Wolf.”  He demands of the reader the reasons why he is always portrayed as a monster.  He defends himself and his buddies–Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha, and Mr. Shark.  He claims they are all good guys and, of course, they all get a bad rap.

After introducing all his friends, the four, who have now formed a “good guys club,”embark on their first mission.  They are going to release 200 puppies locked up in the maximum security city dog pound.

“The Bad Guys” is told with oversized drawn black and white characters with a minimum amount of text. Readers ages 7-10, especially boys, will appreciate the humor of this new series, especially if they liked “Captain Underpants,” and “Stinky Cheese Man.”

9780545912402_p0_v1_s118x184.jpgBooks two and three in this series will be published in early 2017.