Wednesday, November 15, 2017

November Recommendations

TRAIN I RIDE, by Paul Mosier, brings us Rydr’s story as she heads east from California via Amtrak. Her mother is dead, her Gramma just died, and she’s bound for a distant relative who lives in Chicago. It’s an emotional journey full of longing, regret, plenty of fun, and some very clever antics courtesy of a unique and absorbing main character. (MG)

ALL THE WIND IN THE WORLD, by Samantha Mabry, tells of Sarah and James who harvest maguey (a plant that gets made into mescal and tequila) in New Mexico. A sudden dust storm and a terrible accident send the two fleeing east, to work at a supposedly cursed ranch called The Real Marvelous. It’s got gorgeous, lyrical prose, fully fleshed out characters and setting, romance, and a touch of magic. Long-listed for the National Book Award this year, this will be a Book Talk discussion book early next year. (YA)

In JANE UNLIMITED, by Kristin Cashore (author of Graceling), Jane has floundered since her beloved Aunt Magnolia was lost while on a photography expedition to Antartica. Because of a bizarre promise, Jane accepts an invitation to the mansion of her former writing tutor, where she is confronted with five life-changing answers to a single question. An intelligent, quirky literary treat. (YA)

ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS, by Maggie Stiefvater, takes place in the "dark, true-dark" of the desert, where 18-year-old Beatriz Soria and her cousins transmit their pirate radio show from the back of a box truck. The entire Soria family are performers of miracles, and pilgrims flock to their ranch, where the darkness inside a person becomes visible. Read it for the language, for the way Stiefvater effortlessly weaves the narrative back and forth in time, and to savor the magic she conjures. (YA)

Also, two great paranormal series have just wound up:

LOCKWOOD & CO., by Jonathan Stroud (Bartimaeus books), caps off a terrific five book run with THE EMPTY GRAVE, an extremely satisfying wrap-up to this series about ghosts and other specters running amok in present-day England. It’s witty, snarky, charming, filled with action, and maybe a bit gross. Teenage Psychic Detective Agent Lucy Carlyle’s sidekick is a ghost in a jar. Not to be missed! (Upper MG)

And JACKABY, by William Ritter concludes in epic fashion with THE DIRE KING. This quartet of novels takes place in the 1890s and features eccentric detective R. F. Jackaby (who rightly understands the supernatural are everywhere). He is ably assisted by Abigail Rook from their offices in New Fiddleham, New England. There’s also shape-shifting police detective Charlie Cane and the very ghostly Jenny Cavanaugh, owner of the New Fiddleham building. It’s Sherlock Holmes meets Harry Potter. (YA)


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