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We're Back!!! Lit Librarians' Summer Reading

Mrs. O'Daniels & Mrs. Grieshaber earn their Super Readers signs!

Grieshaber and O'Daniels accepted the St. Charles City County Library's challenge of completing 10 Summer Reading game boards in order to earn these amazingly super cool Super Reader yard signs so they could brag to all their neighbors.

Earning these signs means we each read over 200 hours this summer. It's what we do and we love it! Out of all of our reading, we each selected our three favorite books. Here they are:

O'Daniels' Faves:

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Cinderella has always been my favorite fairy tale but I admit, I never stopped to think about what happens after she puts on the glass slipper and marries the prince, leaving her two ‘evil’ step-sisters behind. Jennifer Donnelly answers that question in the novel Stepsister. This was a fascinating take on the two sisters, who might not be so evil after all. Isabelle, a girl who tried to fit in all her life, now faces the shame of the pressure her mother put on her. Thankfully, Fate and Destiny have a few tricks up their sleeves and both underestimate the power of identity and self-worth that is waiting to burst from Isabelle, allowing her to be the warrior she was destined to become.

Frankly in Love by David Yoon

Frankly In Love by David Yoon, the husband of author Nicola Yoon (Everything Everything), has his own contemporary YA debut coming out September 10. It was one of my FAVORITE books this summer and I fell hard for this character driven story. I also needed a few Kleenex. Frank straddles being an American teenager grappling with the old school ways of his Korean born parents, having a non-Korean girlfriend, and hanging onto the happy moments all while trying to be the best son possible. But it is hard and it’s getting harder. The story takes place during Frank’s senior year of high school and into college and I will admit to thinking this was going to be a predictable read. Yoon proved me wrong and tugged on my heartstrings more than I was prepared for in this delightful read with memorable characters.

Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Man, this book hit me hard. Mindy McGinnins is known as an author who doesn’t hold much back, and if you read the prologue, you’ll get why. She gives the reader a glimpse into the life of an athlete, a star catcher on her softball team who gets into a car accident just months before college scouts will come see her play. Numb to what the doctors tell her, she pushes through the pain and depression getting hooked on Oxy. But soon Oxy isn’t enough and heroin is the next step. You’ll cringe at the simplicity of this addiction, realizing that drugs don’t care about who you are, how much money you have or don’t have, or who your parents are. Heroine by Mindy McGinnis is a gut punch of reality.

Grieshaber's Faves:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

It’s a kind of Beauty and the Beast retelling but it’s one like you’ve never read. A handsome, jerk of a prince is cursed by an evil enchantress. His curse is to relive the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over again until a woman falls in love with him. If Fall ends without true love, he turns into a beast and is left to that beast’s devices. After many, many seasons, Prince Rhen in beast form has destroyed his family and has all but destroyed his kingdom. Since the threat to Emberfall is ever increasing as enemy kingdoms learn of Emberfall’s weakening defenses and population, it’s more important than ever that love finds Rhen. But there’s a problem. And here’s the really good Beauty & the Beast twist. Rhen is running out of women. So his trusty and loyal and very last guard, Grey, uses his magical ability to enter the human world to KIDNAP WOMEN for Rhen. When Grey enters the human world this time, it’s his last chance to find the right woman.

Enter Harper. Harper’s life is extremely difficult. Dad left, leaving Harper with a dying mother and an older brother who is forced to become a hitman to the debtors from whom his father escaped. Harper is strong, fierce, determined, crazy smart, and loyal. But she has physical limitations. See, Harper was born with cerebral palsy so the only real help she can be to her brother in his quest to settle their father’s debts is to be the lookout. On this particular night of watch duty, Harper spies a man trying to abduct a woman. With difficulty, Harper charges in to save the day. Unfortunately, she finds herself being the person that gets kidnapped. The kidnapper is Grey and he is snatching Harper off to his world where he hopes she will end the curse.

What follows is partly what you expect and partly something entirely new. All I’ll say is Harper is the heroine you’ve been looking for. She DOMINATES. And Rhen and Gray’s characters are also completely dynamic and engaging. This book has it all, including a really mean cliffhanger. I can’t wait for book two!

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is my absolute favorite YA author (and has been since I started reading YA pretty much exclusively since 2007). My favorite Dessen book is The Truth About Forever. Her latest, The Rest of the Story, is my new second favorite. The setting is a summer at the lake. Emma Saylor reunites with a family she didn't even really understand she had. And there's a really, really cute boy. Dessen's writing is as outstanding as ever. I gotta go reread this one now.

In this hilarious and powerful graphic novel, Jordan is starting middle school. He was really hoping his parents would enroll him in an art-focused school (Jordan’s got mad skills drawing cartoons and keeps a sketchbook with him at all times) but his parents decide on a prestigious private school instead - one known for its academics and lack of students and teachers of color. Jordan is not thrilled with the aspect of being one of the few kids at school with brown skin. What follows is the story of Jordan being the new kid in school and all of the challenges that go along with that. In addition to navigating the race thing, he now belongs to two very different cultures - his affluent school and his Washington Heights neighborhood filled with his public school friends from elementary days.

The author/illustrator explores many, many serious issues in a lighthearted and sweet manner with absolutely delightful, funny, yet nuanced drawings. New Kid is the best book I have ever read in showing what stereotyping and microaggression looks like and feels like. I cannot stop recommending this book! It’s one I think every kid and adult should read.


How about you? What did you read this summer that you loved? We're sad that summer reading time is over but excited about all those new fall releases. Keep up with the Librarians' Lit Books blog to see what we're reading and loving!

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