Cliff’s pick, from our Naturita branch: “The Water Knife” by Paolo Bacigalupi.
I lived in Phoenix for twelve years, and was continually struck by the sheer unsustainability of the city. It’s a bizarre place, and yet “The Water Knife” is the only science fiction story I’ve found that is set there. Bacigalupi uses the unsustainable nature of Phoenix as a cornerstone for his story, which concerns a race to control water rights in a violent, chaotic, hot world. The writing is clear, dynamic and intelligent, conveying large concepts without bogging down the action.
Sara’s pick: “The Searcher” by Tana French. Audiobook. Narrated by Roger Clark.
Retired Chicago police officer Cal Hooper buys a run-down cottage in an Irish village and begins to renovate it. The villagers don’t know quite what to make of him and the feeling is mutual. When Trey, a troubled local kid, seeks out Cal, it’s the last thing he wants, or needs. Trey needs Cal’s help to solve a mystery, and together they form a bond that is nearly shattered by a serious plot twist. I’m a big fan of Tana French, but it was Roger Clark’s narration that sent this book to the top of my favorites list. “The Searcher” is available at the library or on Libby.
Tina’s pick: “The Graveyard Book” by Neil Gaiman.
This is a story of Bod (short for Nobody) who was raised in a graveyard by the ghosts of an old English cemetery after his family is murdered and the murderer, Jack, will continue to hunt for him for years after to complete his mission. But the true message of this book is that family will always be there for you no matter what that family looks like. Try the audiobook read by the author or the graphic novel version. An award winning book best suited for 10 and up.
Amy D’s pick: Stephen Graham Jones’ “The Only Good Indians” refuses genre: it has dark humor, pathos, eerie happenings, powerful symbolism, horror movie tropes, and nods to Native mythology.
The book delves into the lives of four friends, who as young men illegally hunted elk in a section of the Blackfeet Reservation designated only for hunting by elders. Ten years later, almost to the day, one friend, Lewis, has a vision of a dead elk in his home. The days that follow are a whirlwind of ghosts, psychological twists, blood and gore, and friendship, love, and jokes. Sometimes the book made me laugh. Sometimes I had to wait until it was light outside to keep reading. And now, more than a month after reading, I still can’t stop thinking about the ending.
Laura’s pick: “Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hannah.
This is a story of love, loss and the enduring bond of friendship over the years. Kate, doomed to be at the bottom of the middle school social food chain, is amazed when Tully, easily the coolest girl in school, befriends her during the summer of 1974. From that moment on, the two become inseparable, weathering the storms of friendship. The book follows the friends across three decades of life in the Pacific Northwest. After reading the book, check out Firefly Lane, the series, on Netflix!
John’s pick: “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster.
Milo sits listlessly in his bedroom, a young boy bored of everything around him. A magic tollbooth appears and having nothing better to do Milo enters. He finds himself in a fantasy world full of delightfully off-kilter characters and lacking, literally, Rhyme and Reason. He embarks on a journey that fills him with new desires to learn, explore and create. One of my favorite books since I first read it in sixth grade, “The Phantom Tollbooth” will capture the imaginations of young readers and rejuvenate readers of all ages.