The Cormoran Strike novels have been a favorite mystery series of mine since the first book, The Cuckoo's Calling, came out in 2013. The mystery novels were written under the pen name Robert Galbraith by J.K. Rowling. I love the series because they are so well written and the plots are captivating.
In the third book, Career of Evil, someone is determined to destroy Strike. They begin a dangerous game, starting with sending a severed leg to Strike's coworker Robin. As Strike and Robin begin investigating who may have committed the act, both of them have to face demons from their past.
Career of Evil is a very dark book, but the story is masterfully told and it's a great read if you're looking for a compelling mystery.
Due to the popularity of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling wrote several other books as offshoots of the originals. Several of those titles included the textbooks that Harry and his friends read in the books. These books are a lot of fun because Rowling designed them like they were actual textbooks with notes in the margins, doodles, and library checkout information complete with notes from the Hogwarts librarian. The books also give extra information about the wizard world, such as how the game of Quidditch started or how the folk tales told to children in wizard families influenced the wizard world. The Hogwarts Classics are a great addition to Harry Potter fans' collections. Also, don't forget to join Saturn for the July 30th midnight release of the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
I loved Kimberly McCreight's first book, Finding Amelia, because of its mixture of well-developed characters, mystery, intrigue, and an amazing plot. All of these aspects are found in her newest novel, The Outliers, which is the first in a trilogy for young adults. In this novel, Wylie decides to go and save her former best friend Cassie (again) after receiving a text from her that reads, "Please Wylie, I need your help." Following a series of cryptic texts from Cassie, Wylie and Cassie's boyfriend, Jasper, start driving north to find her, but soon face troubles of their own. Needless to say, the three teenagers find themselves entangled in a very dangerous game of cat and mouse between several different groups that are all searching for people known as Outliers. As in all of her books, McCreight throws a lot of twists and turns into the plot, keeping readers glued until the last page. This is definitely one of my favorite young adult novels that I've read this year.
No Better Friend is the story of Judy, a pointer who was the mascot of a British unit during WWII. After several battles with the Japanese, Judy and her unit were captured and sent to a POW camp. Judy helped the men by creating distractions when the Japanese were targeting the soldiers and providing hope to the men.
This was one of my favorite non-fiction books of last summer, and I was thrilled to see it rewritten for a young adult audience. In addition to the story, Weintraub added maps, timelines, and sidebars with extra information to help put things into context for readers. Pre-teens and teenagers who are fans of non-fiction will love this thrilling tale from WWII. Also, teenagers who are fans of non-fiction should come in and check out our new young adult non-fiction section, which will be set up by the end of next week.
Vinegar Girl is a modern retelling of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. Since her mother's death fifteen years ago, Kate has taken care of her eccentric scientist father and her bratty teenage sister. Kate's father always puts his work before his daughters, and Kate is used to shouldering the burden of keeping their house running smoothly, being a mother to her younger sister, and taking care of everything from ironing to taxes for her father.
However, Kate thinks her father has gone too far when one day he asks if she would marry his assistant, Pyotr, who is at risk of being deported. Kate may be 100% against the marriage, but the charming and sly Pyotr is determined to win her over, not because he likes her, but because in his logical mind this is the perfect solution to his and Kate's father's problem of having their important experiment interrupted by immigration issues.
The Taming of the Shrew has been adapted several times, however, Vinegar Girl gives a completely new spin on the old characters. The characters, and their behavior, are quirky, and Tyler masterfully pulls in some modern day issues while remaining true to the themes of the original play.
Everyone knows that Theodore Roosevelt lead a group known as the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War in Cuba. However, historians have debated for years the role that the group actually had in the Spanish-American War. Using diary entries, letters, and first-hand accounts, Mark Lee Gardner explores how Roosevelt pulled the group together from a mix of upper class young men from the east and rough and tumble cowboys from the west, fought for the men to be on the front line (sometimes bullying his way past obstacles), and charged up the San Juan Hill.
Even though the book concentrates on Roosevelt and his role during this time, I liked the fact that the book also talked about many of the other men in the Rough Riders and their experiences. Gardner gathered a great variety of sources, and combined them to create a really interesting read. If you are a fan of historical books, such as Unbroken or The Boys in the Boat, this is one that you must read.
When a little boy attempts to win a goldfish at the carnival, he and his parents are shocked when he wins the grand prize, a whale! Taking care of the whale causes some challenges, and the parents are ready to get rid of him. But the little boy and the whale are determined to show that there are benefits to having a whale around.
I Won a What? is an adorable and fun story that children and parents will enjoy.
Homegoing follows the lineage of two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, who are born in eighteenth century Africa. Effia marries a white man who is part of the powerful group of British civilians and soldiers who run the slave trade in the Cape Cod area. Esi is captured by that group and is shipped off to America as part of the slave trade. Spanning several generations, Gyasi explores how the Europeans impacted the people of Africa and how the slave trade impacted America.
I really enjoyed how Gyasi connected many of the events that have occurred in history by following the family members of these two women. She takes an honest look at many tough issues, but has created a beautiful and inspirational story about the twists and turns of life.
Drew Barrymore's autobiography, Wildflower, is a collection of stories rather than a chronological tale of her life. Each story captures Barrymore's voice, as they are short, sweet, and uplifting stories of the events and people that have made her into the person she is today. From stories about her family, to skydiving, to becoming an adult at the age of fourteen, each story is infused with the humor and optimism that Barrymore is known for.
When sixteen-year-old Percy goes looking for her mother at a notorious drug house, she doesn't find her mother, but instead finds a crying baby girl. The baby's mother and the owner of the home, Shelton, are passed out from drugs, and Percy knows she can't leave the baby, Jenna, there alone. She takes the girl with the intention of getting her safely to a hospital. However, when Shelton wakes up and finds Jenna missing, he becomes intent on bringing her back at any cost.
Sweetgirl is an exciting book set in a fictional northern Michigan town. I really enjoyed this novel for a number of reasons, including the fact that I was never certain about what would happen next. If you are a fan of thrillers set in Michigan, this is a must-read.
Every ten years a wizard known as the Dragon chooses a girl from the villages around his castle to serve him. The villagers have never refused him because they depend on his magic to keep back the Woods, a dark, corrupted place that destroys everything and everyone in its path.
Agnieszka knows that her best friend, Kasia, is going to be chosen and that there is nothing she can do about it. However, she is shocked when the Dragon chooses her. Agnieszka doesn't understand why she was chosen, until she finds out that she has a gift that the Woods would love to corrupt and take advantage of.
Uprooted is an amazing, heartbreaking story. I loved the fact that it isn't the typical, predicable folk tale and had plenty of unexpected twists and turns. This is definitely one of my favorite books of the year.