A Librarian Reads…

Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao

Laura Gao loved her early childhood in Wuhan, China with her grandparents and cousins. When her parents finally send for her to join them in Texas she is overwhelmed. Making friends and fitting in are tough when you don’t even speak the language. Over time she finds her place, though she still wishes they could move back to their homeland. Having a little brother helps, as does joining the basketball team. But there’s still something missing, and it isn’t until she leaves Texas for college that she is finally able to realize just who she is at heart.

This graphic novel is heartbreakingly honest in its look at an immigrant family, their expectations, and their disappointments, as well as the challenges they face. Recommended for readers in middle school and up who like graphic stories and memoirs.

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Publishers’ Weekly Best Books of 2022 for Middle Grade

New Books

For Tweens:

Operation Final Notice by Matthew Landis
As the new year approaches, best friends Ronny, whose family is in financial trouble, and Josefina, who has a big audition at a prestigious music academy, must learn how to depend on one another and their community when things get tough.

When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle
Even though the city faces nightly air raids, in 1941 Joseph is sent to London to live with the gruff Mrs F, who teaches the angry boy how to care for the remaining animals in the city zoo, including a mighty silverback gorilla named Adonis.

The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings (The Miraculous Sweetmakers, Book One)
In 1683 London during the Great Frost, thirteen-year-old Thomasina and her friend Anne stumble upon Father Winter’s icy kingdom where Thomasina gets a chance to make a wish–to bring her twin brother back from the dead–that has dangerous consequences.

Spirit Week by Ira Marcks (Graphic Novel)
Elijah and Suzy are invited to a largely deserted hotel in Estes Park Colorado to make a film about reclusive horror author Jack Axford, and tutor his son, Danny; but the situation is not as expected: Jack is suffering from early onset dementia, and convinced that his books have released evil, is trying to buy up and destroy them as well as the hotel he lives in.

She Holds Up the Stars by Sandra Laronde
A young Indigenous girl searching for a sense of home finds strength and courage in her gifts, her deepening connection to the land, and her own cultural awakening in this moving coming-of-age story. 

For Teens:

The Lies We Tell by Katie Zhao
During her freshman year at college, Anna Xu investigates the unsolved on-campus murder of her former babysitter, as she and an old rival have to team up to look into the hate crimes happening around campus.

Children of Ragnarok by Cinda Williams Chima (The Runestone Saga, Book One)
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Desperate to escape her demon master, runecaster Reggin Eiklund flees to the Grove, while Eiric Halvorsen, falsely accused of murdering his modir and stepfadir, journeys to the Grove at the behest of a powerful jarl interested in restoring magic to the world.

This Is Our Place by Vitor Martins 
The house at Number 8 Sunflower Street tells the stories of three teenagers who have lived within its walls in the 21st century–Ana, a lesbian forced to leave her home, Greg sent to live with his aunt when his parents divorce, and Beto, a would-be photographer living during the COVID pandemic.

Pretty Dead Queens by Alexa Donne
Not long after seventeen-year-old Cecelia Ellis arrives to live with her estranged grandmother in a coastal California town, the high school homecoming queen is found dead and Cecelia, fearing a copycat killer is on the loose, throws herself into the investigation.

The 9:09 Project by Mark H. Parsons
Seventeen-year-old Jamison finds hope after the loss of his mother, and recognizes the role that family, friends, and even strangers can play in the healing process if you are open and willing to share your experience with others.

Road Trip to Ireland

A Teen Reads…

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

I really liked this book because it was really interesting to explore the interaction between Peter Keating, Howard Roark, and the love interest. The love interest drove the plot particularly because Howard always stuck to his ideals in any situation that arose which was a testament to his beliefs. He was always going against the conventional thinking for himself, while Peter did not have his own creativity even copying other people’s work.

Review by Akshat G.

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Publishers’ Weekly Best Books of 2022 for Young Adults

New Books

For Tweens:

Futureland: Battle for the Park by H.D. Hunter (Futureland, Book One)
Cam Walker, the 12-year-old son of the creators of a traveling theme park called Futureland, must stop an unknown enemy from stealing his parent’s cutting-edge technology and using it for sinister purposes.

Where the Lost Ones Go by Akemi Dawn Bowman
A young pre-teen girl deals with the loss of her grandmother and the appearance of ghosts in a haunted house.

Midnight at the Shelter by Nanci Turner Steveson
MahDi, a three-legged rescue dog, must risk everything to save his pack of shelter animals from an uncertain future.

Freestyle by Gale Galligan (Graphic Novel)
While preparing for the last major dance competition before they graduate from eighth grade and go to separate high schools in NYC, Cory must balance the expectations of his parents, school, crew and his new friend as pressure mounts from all sides.

Swift and Hawk: Cyberspies by Logan Macx (Swift and Hawk, Book One)
When their families mysteriously disappear, Swift and Hawk, teen experts in AI and robotics, are recruited by the secretive Mobius Program to crack an unbreakable code. They are immediately plunged into a life-and-death rescue mission, that takes them from hidden tunnels beneath the British Museum, to the dangerous docklands of Amsterdam in search of the mysterious ship The Nightfall. 

For Teens:

The Q by Amy Tintera
When the president’s son, Lennon, is kidnapped and pushed out of an airplane over the Q, a vast quarantine zone, Maisie gives him a seventy-two hour vaccine and together the two teenagers attempt to fight their way through the Q in order to survive.

The Secrets We Keep by Cassie Gustafson
Fourteen-year-old Emma, whose best friend has accused her father of heinous crimes, must testify against her friend’s word, and her carefully constructed “truths” about what she may or may not have witnessed between father and friend
tart to crumble.

The Midnight Club by Christopher Pike

Rotterham Home was a hospice for young people–a place where teenagers with terminal illnesses went to die. Every night at twelve, a group of young guys and girls at the hospice came together to tell stories. They called themselves the Midnight Club, and their stories could be true or false, inspiring or depressing, or somewhere in-between. And they have a pact that whoever dies first will do whatever he or she can do to contact us from beyond the grave.

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho
To save her family’s bakery, Salt, which has been at war with the Molinas’ bakery, Sugar, across the street, Lari Ramires does the unthinkable by teaming up with Pedro Molinas to save both their bakeries, falling in love in the process.

Sea Serpent’s Heir by Mairghread Scott (Graphic Novel)
Aella spends her days fishing and minding her aunts, but she dreams of life beyond the horizon. Everything changes when she awakens an ancient evil within herself as it’s revealed that she’s the reincarnation of Xir, the serpent that almost destroyed the world. Worse yet, a fanatical religious organization has arrived on Kinamen Isle in search of Xir.

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