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Staff Picks

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Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
Ollie's school bus breaks down on the way home from a field trip and when her teacher leaves to find help, the creepy new bus driver tells her classmates, "They're coming; best get moving." So begins a suspenseful, creepy story best for kids 4th grade and up. I love a good scary read for long summer nights! -- Jenny at East Grand Rapids
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
A tense, atmospheric mystery set in the hot, dusty, Australian outback. Two cattle ranching brothers find their third brother dead, having apparently walked from his truck full of supplies to a lonely gravestone in the middle of nowhere. The mystery of what actually happened causes suspicion among the family, until the truth is revealed in a truly surprising ending. -- Susan at Plainfield
The Last Days of Night: A Novel by Graham Moore
Paul Cravath, a young attorney is hired by George Westinghouse to defend a lawsuit filed against him by Thomas Edison over the patent of the electric light bulb. J.P. Morgan, Nikola Tesla, and Alexander Graham Bell make appearances in this delightful read. -- Gene, Information Substitute
A Ladder to the Sky: A Novel by John Boyne
A psychological thriller about the book publishing industry, complete with the twists that we have come to expect from John Boyne. If you enjoyed The Wife or love books about books, give Ladder in the Sky a try. -- Nanette at Cascade
McTeague: A Story of San Francisco (Twentieth Century Classics) by Frank Norris
This classic tale of a young couple whose lives are undone when they come into a large sum of money, has never been out of print, and its themes are as relevant today as when the book was first published in 1899 -- Mark at Krause Memorial
A Darker Shade of Magic: A Novel (Shades of Magic) by Victoria Schwab
Kell, an Antari, can travel between the four worlds - Red London, White London, Grey London, and the forbidden Black London. It's a rare gift marked with one black eye. While traveling Kell is tricked into smuggling a dark magical stone from Black London into the other worlds.The stone triggers a powerful and treacherous force that threatens all worlds. -- Abby at Wyoming
Hacking Darwin: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Humanity by Jamie Metzl
Through this thought-provoking exploration on genetic engineering, Metzl wants to inform and invite the public into the conversation about genetically altering our future children. We are on the cusp of uncovering Humankind 2.0, but at what cost? -- Jake at Plainfield
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel
“I really enjoyed the book. It was a fascinating true story about a man who walked into the Maine woods in 1986 and lived there until he was captured for stealing from a nearby camp after 27 years. He lived in complete isolation and other than saying “hi” to a hiker at some point, he had no human contact. During a time when most of the world is becoming more and more connected, he craved complete isolation.” – Kathy Information Substitute
A People's History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian
“This novel was set in a slum in India that is in danger of being torn down in the interest of creating land for development. The story follows the lives of five young residents as they try to save their homes and themselves in the process. It was beautifully written and gritty and gives a brief insight to a life that most of us don’t even think about and the stigma of the caste system in India.” — Laura at Plainfield
Slime: How Algae Created Us, Plague Us, and Just Might Save Us by Ruth Kassinger
“Ruth Kassinger is the perfect voice for algae. She travels all over the globe, and even learns to scuba dive in her journey to convey the importance and wonder of these organisms. Algae are a nutritious food source, have the ability to create sustainable oil, and form an important symbiotic relationship with corals. Science and sustainability enthusiasts will love this, but I would argue this is an important read for everyone.” – Cassidy at Spencer
The Atlas of Reds and Blues: A Novel by Devi S. Laskar
“Based on Laskar’s own experiences as a second generation Bengali immigrant, this book opened my eyes to the realities of the ways we make humans around us miserable, as well as the little things we can do to help. Laskar writes of her experiences in small poetic chapters.” – Penni at Cascade
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise
“A wonderful tribute to Pura, the brave young woman whose cuentos folklóricos forever changed the American library landscape. This new biographical picture book is gorgeously illustrated and beautifully written, effortlessly weaving Spanish in and out of English text. A true gem – I wanted to start it again as soon as I finished!” – Melissa at Krause Memorial
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
“A clandestine relationship between the prince of England and the First Son of the United States leads to hilarious texts, endearing emails, and jet setting around the globe. You’ll be lucky to be in on the secret!” – Liz at Plainfield
The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
“This captivating thriller pulls you to the edge of your seat. It’s a new creative twist to the classic murder mystery!” – Noey, Circulation Assistant
Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship by Gregory Boyle
“A Jesuit priest and founder of Homeboy Industries traces his experiences of working with gangs in Los Angeles for three decades, sharing what his efforts have taught him about faith, compassion, and the enduring power of radical kinship.” – Mark at Krause Memorial
By Alan Moore - Saga of the Swamp Thing Book 6 by Alan Moore
“Introduce yourself to the life (afterlife?) of Alex Holland, informally known as The Swamp Thing! When Alan Moore took over the series in 1984, his re-imagining of the classic swamp dweller took the world by surprise. Book One of this series will entertain and frighten you, but may also have you contemplating the nature of humanity. If you love a great anti-hero story then be sure to check this series out. Take a plunge into The Green!” – Jake at Plainfield
A Woman Is No Man: A Novel by Etaf Rum
“Fascinating story about a woman from Palestine coming to America in an arranged marriage, which toggles between her experiences and those of her teenage daughter years later. A beautiful, yet tragic, story about how far we have come as humans, and the challenges of the changes in our world.” – Audrey at Caledonia
Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini
“It’s an old book that puts light on how much we depend on technology along with a relatable ending. It also has a Broadway musical to match!” – Tabby at Wyoming
Marilou Is Everywhere: A Novel by Sarah Elaine Smith
“Quietly complex, bleak, zany and wonderful, Marilou is Everywhere explores a 14-year-old girl’s deep desire for love and human connection in rural Pennsylvania poverty after the mysterious disappearance of an older, wealthier, and more cultured girl, whose life she slips into. I’ve never read anything like this, and I will be thinking of this new favorite for quite some time.” – Jaci at the KDL Service Center
On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel by Ocean Vuong
“Wholly sophisticated, layered, and memorable, Vuong’s novel is queer man’s letter to his Vietnamese and nearly illiterate mother – one she will not read, begging the question: will our loved ones ever truly know us? In addition to chronicling a young immigrant’s experience interpreting his elder’s world, the novel also reopens wounds of a raw first love that shaped his identity during this tumultuous youth. When a poet writes a novel, magic happens.” – Jaci at the KDL Service Center
Dry by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman
“A great book about the survival of humanity in crisis, with very scary real world parallels. I’d highly recommend it to everyone; it is full of life lessons we all need right now!” – Sierra at Englehardt
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
“A picaresque novel, The Lies of Locke Lamora follows a band of gentleman thieves as they cheat, swindle, and con their way across the city of Camorr. It turns witty, suspenseful, and emotional. The Lies of Locke Lamora is a fun read all the way through.” – Bastian at Wyoming
The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui
“The Best We Could Do is a biographical graphic novel “exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family. Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970’s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.” – Shaunna at Alpine
Comedy Sex God by Pete Holmes
“This book came to me at just the right moment. It is an honest, raw, and funny depiction of Pete’s transformation from evangelical Christian shame to enlightened lover of the universe. After reading it, I felt honored to be invited into his story and a bit of his giddiness toward life rubbed off on me. Thanks Pete!” – Abby at Wyoming
God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant
“Even though this book is a JNF, the message will resonate with all ages. Plus it’s funny sometimes, too. And it gives us a clue where we can find God other than Heaven.” – Sue at Walker
Becoming by Michelle Obama
“Michelle Obama narrates her book Becoming herself. This heartfelt memoir shares the difficulties the Obama family faced while living in the White House. This memoir made me laugh and cry but it especially made me appreciate my ordinary non-presidential life.” – Hollie at Wyoming
Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War by Ray Lambert, Jim DeFelice
“The book was fabulous if you like WWII history/biography. Co-written by a Metal of Honor winner who landed in North Africa, Sicily and Normandy, who came back, raised a family and was a successful entrepreneur. All around bad-ass if there ever was one!” – Mike at Kelloggsville
Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
“Laura Ingalls Wilder was fond of saying that everything she wrote was true, but while what she wrote was certainly true, it wasn’t the whole truth. This extraordinary and gripping biography goes far beyond the original Little House books and puts them into the context of a broader American history. The story of the real Ingalls family and their role in the settlement of the American West and how the books have shaped our understanding of history is not to be missed.” – Mark at Krause Memorial
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf
“This is a book for grade school aged young people on how students in the same classroom react and interact with the “new” student in class. I shed a few tears reading the story, but loved it.” – Jacque at Cascade
The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains: A Tale of Travel and Darkness with Pictures of All Kinds by Neil Gaiman
“This short and spooky book is as fantastic to read as it is beautifully illustrated but for an added experience listen to this book on audio. As with all Neil Gaiman narrated books it is WELL WORTH the listen, and this book has the added effect of an accompanying string quartet! As our main character heads on an adventure, one he is not likely to return from the same, haunting melodies lead you along the perilous journey by his side. Perfect if you’re looking for a spooky addition to your reading selection! Either way you read it, book or audiobook, you will be spoiled!” – Emily at Tyrone
Not Even Bones (1) (Market of Monsters) by Rebecca Schaeffer
“Not Even Bones (Market of Monsters #1) by Rebecca Schaeffer is a dark and twisty tale of dissection, black markets, and betrayal. It’s a little gruesome, but I absolutely could not put it down!” – Liz at Plainfield
Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver by Jill Heinerth
“As an armchair outdoor adventure enthusiast, the concept of cave diving was a new concept to explore. Her description of being inside an Antarctic iceberg not only gave me shivers, but had me listening more intently than I normally do. Her writing style is engaging and pulls me into the events with her.” – Diane at the KDL Service Center
Copperhead: A Novel by Alexi Zentner
“Copperhead by Alexi Zentner is a slow, gritty coming-of-age story in which class, racial, and family tensions come to a head in one long weekend. Told with honesty this book tells the story of contemporary America and asks whether hatred, bigotry, and violence can ever be unleashed.” – Shaunna at Alpine
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
“Nina Hill, a likeable, quirky character, works in a bookstore, and other than her involvement with a competitive Trivia team, books are her life. Raised by an absent single mother, she’s thrown for a loop when she finds out that the father she never knew passed away and left her not only a mysterious inheritance, but a large family of half-siblings and other relations. ” – Jan at Walker
The Paper Time Machine: Colouring the Past by Wolfgang Wild, Jordan Lloyd
“130 captivating historical photographs that originally were black and white, and have been colorized and enhanced to show so much” – Megan at the KDL Service Center
The Whisper Man: A Novel by Alex North
“It was pretty chilling and I could put it down. A newly single father not knowing how to relate to his young son after the death of his wife moves to a small village hoping to start fresh. However the village has a dark past that finds them caught up in the trouble, and his son starts saying things he should not know about. ” – Craig Buno
The Tenth Muse: A Novel by Catherine Chung
“Unlike her sisters, the tenth muse wanted to express her own creation and so was condemned to mortality. In this novel, Katherine is female and a mathematician in the middle of the 20th century, and must insist she have her own voice. Inspiring!” – Penni at Cascade
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
“Are some friendships meant to be? What does it take to be a hero? This Newbery Award-winning novel follows four endearing and vibrant misfits as their worlds collide in the woods of their neighborhood, and shows how a universe of possibility exists in the word “hello.”  – Melissa at Krause Memorial
Middlewest Book One by Skottie Young
“This book will blow you away.” – Hannah at Wyoming
Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction by Chuck Klosterman
“Delicious thought experiments in bite-sized short stories.” – Trevor at Grandville
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
“I haven't been able to really dig in to a fantasy novel in a while, but Priory just felt like a breath of fresh air. It really brought its main characters to life in this vibrant world, and there was just a real sense of mystery surrounding that world that made you excited to uncover what happens next. Additionally, the romance in it wasn't conventional high fantasy romance, which I appreciated.” – Chloe at Plainfield
We're Not from Here by Geoff Rodkey
“I just finished "We're Not From Here" by Geoff Rodkey and I loved it. Great for 4th grades and up, this funny, fast-paced sci-fi read will get any child thinking about what it means to be human. It's like nothing I've ever read- a really original story about a group of humans trying to survive on a new planet called Choom after Earth was blown up in nuclear war decades ago and their Mars station is no longer habitable. “ – Jenny at the KDL Service Center
The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek: A Novel by Kim Michele Richardson
“Cussy Mary carries books on horseback to people of remote Appalachia. She is a witness to the supreme struggles of her people and faces much discrimination of her own. Richardson delivers a hopeful and well-researched historical novel that will leave you feeling fortunate and inspired.” – Nanette at Cascade
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
“It is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. Instead of opening presents Leonard hatches a plan to murder his childhood friend and kill himself. What is he hiding? Will the unforgettable and loveable characters in his life be able to save him? Or does Leonard find the strength to save himself?” – Nanette at Cascade
The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World's Longest Treasure Hunt by Randall Sullivan
“I want to be believe there’s treasure buried on Oak Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, and this nonfiction book only further tantalizes the possibility! Sullivan does a great job of distilling the 200-year mystery, beginning with the discovery of the storied Money Pit and catching us up to the most recent search efforts by the Lagina brothers from Michigan” – Vivi at the KDL Service Center
Who wet my pants? by Bob Shae
Red Queen and Glass Sword are part of a series, they were recommended to me by our KEL Youth Librarian, Clare, the intrigue and fantastic abilities of the characters take the reader in, there is violence, not my thing, but the protagonists always win, so it works for a reader who doesn’t want to see them lose. – Rebecca at Wyoming
Grandpa’s Stories: A Book of Remembering by Joseph Coelho
Follow a young girl who spends a year with her grandpa, reliving all the ways he loved her. It teaches us to appreciate the moment, and how love lives on. – Ashten at Wyoming
You Are Light by Aaron Becker
This board book is gorgeous. You’ll find a yellow sun with a halo of bright die-cut circles of all different colors. The author has a reflecting on all the things that are light, including ourselves. – Ashten at Wyoming
Over the Top : A Raw Journey to Self-love.
This book is an honest and raw look at one of our favorite Queer Eye cast members. As If I didn’t love JVN any more, this book allows me to understand his story, and honor my own. – Ashten at Wyoming
How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper
How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper is a darkly comic story of Andrew whose job is to explore the homes of people discovered to have died alone. He is looking for their family and other things of value in their tragically empty lives, an emptiness echoed in his own life. Andrew must decide whether he can face his past and expose the truth of his life to himself and the other people in it, all while maintaining a witty British stiff upper lip. – Penni at Cascade
The Throwback Special by Chris Bachelder
It’s football season. And although this is a novel about 21 men spending the weekend to reenact the play in which Lawrence Taylor broke Joe Theismann’s leg on Monday Night Football in 1985, it’s not really a football book. This is a book about us guys and all our quirky performances, told with insight and humor. – Trevor at Grandville
The Medallion by Cathy Gohlke
I found myself sitting on the seat of my chair, I was caught up in the lives of the characters, the suffering, sorrow, pain, turmoil and hate, especially during the war against the Jewish people and anyone who dared assist them in any way. I knew the story would be hard to read, because of what people suffered, especially the children. But I loved the power of love, sacrifice, and forgiveness that shines bright in this book. - Kelly at Nelson/Sand Lake
Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui
I recently read a good Graphic Novel called “Delicious in Dungeon. It’s a great teen series with a new twist on exploring when the adventurers lose all of their gear and have to eat the monsters that they slay and make them into meals like “Dragon Ham” and “Roasted Basilisk”. Sounds good right? – Tabby at Wyoming
Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
I love this series about a black Texas Ranger in East Texas. The setting and culture of East Texas are just as much a character in the book as Darren. – Shauna at Alpine
Mr. Churchill’s Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
Mystery readers who enjoy books in series will want to consider Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Maggie Hope, a whip-smart, educated, and beautiful young woman with a background in mathematics and a talent for breaking codes, chafes at her role as secretary, but her talents don’t remain undercover for long. Readers will want to start with this, the first in the series, which introduces the many characters and which so accurately conveys the atmosphere of London during the war. – Mark at Krause Memorial
I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt
The little worms go on big adventures—you just have to use your imagination! I read it to a third grade class and we all laughed together, especially those of us who CAN only draw worms. – Elizabeth at Plainfield
A Dream about Lightning Bugs by Ben Folds
This month I read "A Dream About Lightning Bugs" by Ben Folds. It’s a great read for creative types as it explores the art-making process that any art maker can appreciate and learn from. It’s fun, insightful, and interesting, especially for people who loves Ben Folds music. – Jenny at Kentwood
High Fidelity by Nick Horby
My pick for this month is High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. My one line: “Dive into record shop owner Rob’s brain as he comes to understand why it’s ‘what you’re like’ and not ‘what you like’ that matters in life. (And no, I don’t always plug headphones into the books I’m reading.)” – David at the KDL Service Center
Attila: The Barbarian King and the Fall of Rome by John Man
Not a lot is known about the Huns, but John Man does a great job of uncovering the history of the Huns and their mysterious leader, Attila, who almost took down the Roman Empire. – Megan at the KDL Service Center
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
Moby and friends on the bookmobile have been enjoying Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andrede and Guy Parker-Rees. It’s filled with charm and affirmation. – Kevin Kammaraand on the Bookmobile
The Oracle by Jonathan Cahn
I have a recommendation and a profound and uplifting read for you, called ‘The Oracle’ by Jonathan Cahn. Jonathan Cahn’s website, which is connected to his church, is It is an excellent church for Jews and Gentiles pastored by Jonathan Cahn. I have followed his teaching for over a decade now. – Trish at Walker
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Red Queen and Glass Sword are part of a series, they were recommended to me by our KEL Youth Librarian, Clare, the intrigue and fantastic abilities of the characters take the reader in, there is violence, not my thing, but the protagonists always win, so it works for a reader who doesn’t want to see them lose. – Rebecca at Wyoming
Because by Mo Willems
I read the book “Because” by Mo Willems and Amber Ren. It’s such a sweet, simple story about how following your passion can inspire and change the course of someone else’s entire life. – Ashten at Wyoming
Survivor’s Club by Michael Bornstein
I enjoyed the first person account by Michael Bornsein, one of the youngest survivors of Auschwitz. I wanted to engross myself in this survival story as I anticipate the Holocaust survivor Guest Speaker, Lowenberg, who is coming to WYO on Nov 13th. Like the boy in this book, it is about surviving but most importantly about overcoming hate. – Jules at Wyoming
Caligula by Lingua Ignota
Kristin Hayter has created something truly terrifying and beautiful. With her blend of operatic singing, primal screams, dark industrial sounds, metal offshoots, and pungent themes the listener is drawn in and repelled simultaneously. Hayter requires much attention from her listeners. – Joel at Wyoming
The Upside by Neil Burger
Classified as a Comedy, I thought this was more of a Dramady. This movie really showcased the talents of Kevin Hart and Bryan Cranston as an unlikely pair who really come through for each other. Based on a true story, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the performances and by how much I enjoyed a movie I’d not ordinarily pick up. - Laura at Plainfield
Primer by Shane Carruth
The only movie I've ever seen to make time travel seem possible. – Jake at Wyoming
Exhalation by Ted Chiang
Ted Chiang never ceases to be able to drown me in wonder and existential dread at the same time. – Jake at Wyoming