Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley

Lies We Tell OurselvesLies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a difficult book to read, but it was completely worth it. The point of view switches between Sarah, a black teenager who is one of the first to attend Jefferson High School and Linda, a white teenager who is the daughter of one of the town’s most vocal opponents of integration. Forced to work together on a school project, Linda and Sarah eventually become to see beyond the color of each other’s skin to the person underneath.

Sarah’s descriptions of what the black kids endure from the white students are incredibly painful, as are Linda’s justifications for the behavior of both white kids and adults. Talley does a really good job of writing from both points of view. Both Linda and Sarah have very strong, unique voices and both changed as a result of knowing the other. I think it would make a great addition to reading lists relating to both identity and civil rights.

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Genre Guide: Clifi (Climate Fiction) in YA Lit

Read the full post at YALSA Teen Hub.

Climate fiction (CliFi) books (also known as eco-fiction) are ones that deal with climate change as part of the plot in which the characters struggle to survive. A lot of dystopian novels are clifi books because the breakdown of society is attributed to a catastrophic event like a nuclear war that affects the climate. I wanted to focus here on books where the climatic event was not directly caused by a man-made event like a war, but by nature, for the most part. Not all of these novels are realistic fiction or science fiction; at least one contains fantastical elements as well.

For other eco-fiction for adults and kids, see the Environmental Novels LibGuide.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars. I really enjoyed this. It defies description or characterization. It’s a slightly weird combination of quest, fantasy (without swords, horses, or dragons), and literary fiction (which I tend not to like because it’s more about the writing than the plot and characters).  I’ll be thinking about this one for awhile.

From the jacket copy:

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.

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Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

AttachmentsAttachments by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and finished it in two days because I felt such a strong connection to the characters. As with Eleanor & Park, I was sad when the book ended because it meant I wouldn’t be able to spend more time with the characters. The semi-epistolary format was really interesting and I thought it was clever to set it in late 1999, when organizations did have people monitoring individual e-mails.

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Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is clearly designed to capitalize on the recent interest in the darker side of children’s fairy tales. I found it to be a very engaging twist on Baum’s original story.  The author does an excellent job of casting Glinda and Dorothy as Oz’s mean girls and the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion as their twisted sidekicks. I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

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Any Other Name by Craig Johnson

Any Other Name (Walt Longmire, #10)Any Other Name by Craig Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Walt’s former boss, Lucian Conally, asks him to take on a mercy case in an adjacent county. Detective Gerald Holman is dead and Lucian wants to know what drove his old friend to take his own life. With the clock ticking on the birth of his first grandchild, Walt learns that the by-the-book detective might have suppressed evidence concerning three missing women.

This series is one of the best I’ve ever read. I love spending time with the characters. It’s going to be a long wait for the next book.

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The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson

The Dark Horse (Walt Longmire, #5)The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5/5 stars. When Mary Barstad lands in the Absaroka County jail, accused of killing her husband, Walt’s instincts tell him that there’s more to the story. This leads him to go undercover as an insurance investigator to discover what really happened. This is another fine addition to the Longmire series. The characters are well-developed and believable. In particular, I hope we see Benjamin and Juana again.

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Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson

Another Man's Moccasins (Walt Longmire, #4)Another Man’s Moccasins by Craig Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love this series. The time period of this book switches between present day Wyoming and Vietnam around the time of the Tet Offensive. Walt’s war experiences added a lot to both the book and to my understanding of the character. Walt and Henry’s relationship continues to be one the highlights of the series. The addition of Dog, Ruby, Vic, and the rest of Absaroka County’s characters makes this series addictive.

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