November 2016: Staff Reviews, Recommendations, and Windows & Mirrors List

November 2016


Maria Padian


Algonquin Young Readers


Ages 14+

Jenny is quiet, studious, and trying to discover who she is, feelings familiar to many first years in college. One night she decides to let her hair down and go partying with a new group of friends. Hanging out with the girls turns into a nightmare when she wakes up in a strange room, with a guy she barely knows. To the women at the Crisis Center, the case is clear -- Jenny was raped -- and they intend to help her get justice. To Jordan, the story is pretty cut and dried, too. He met a girl at a party and they hooked up.

While you might think you know where this story is going, Wrecked provides an interesting perspective, because this story isn't just about Jenny and Jordan. It's also about Jenny's roommate, Haley, and Jordan's housemate, Richard, neither of whom were at the party, but have now been pulled into the unfolding events because of proximity. On a small college campus, Jenny's formal accusations should have been private, but everyone is talking and no one knows the full story. Maybe not even Jenny and Jordan.

Wrecked is more than a he said/she said story about sexual assault. It illuminates the tangled webs of college campus relationships and is a testament to the ripple effect that sexual assault has on everyone and the damage it does to an entire community. It's also about the impossible choices young women like Jenny have to make. Stand up for yourself or try to make it all go away? Tell your story, even if the narrative doesn't quite add up? Keep fighting for justice, while the people around you, some of whom you love and trust, start to question your memory and others will do anything to destroy your reputation?

Wrecked is a powerful story that makes no attempt to define the absolute truth of what happened that night. Instead, it demands that each character, and the reader, decide where to stand, because not taking a stand causes its own damage.

Mary Fran's Picks for Fall 2016



Available November 15, 2016




Windows & Mirrors 2016


NECBA (New England Children's Bookseller Advisory Council) was founded by our very own Carol Chittenden not long after she opened Eight Cousins. I am honored to currently be the co-chair of NECBA and am proud that a small committee of New England Children's Booksellers has worked together to select a list of eight books that we think particularly exemplify Windows & Mirrors books. The term "Windows & Mirrors" has been used across the publishing industry (and beyond) to recognize that all children deserve to see themselves (mirrors) AND to learn about others (windows) in books. Want to know more? Check out Grace Lin's TEDxNatick talk "The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child's Bookshelf" at this link.  

~ Sara

Presenting the 2016 list of Windows & Mirrors books selected by NECBA:


Reviews by New England Booksellers

Ada Twist, Scientist, Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Ada Marie Ada Marie!! This opening line packs such a punch and with an exclamation point we are launched into one of my favorite books of the fall. I don't think there is anything I can add to the dossier of Andrea Beaty except that I want to be her best friend, and I'm pretty sure she's one of the Penderwicks. Ada, the star of this book, gets her name as a tribute to Ada Lovelace the first computer programmer. Andrea Beaty, also a computer programmer and technical writer, has written about a subject near and dear to her heart.

Ada is a tot who does not speak, but we see the wheels turning, as her patient and loving family support her in her quests to answer who what where when and why!! David Roberts' stylized illustrations, and Ada's adorable wide big eyes, along with Andrea's galloping rhythm, give this book a playful joy that is irresistible.


Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood, F. Isabel Campoy, Theresa Howell, and Rafael Lopez 

Mira is an artist and her room is full of color. The streets of her neighborhood, however, are grey and drab. One day Mira meets an artist who envisions something beautiful and the two paint murals on the city walls. The colors and paintings attract the neighbors, inspire music and dancing, and bring the community together. Based on a true story, Maybe Something Beautiful is a gentle reminder that we all need to look beyond the ordinary and envision something beautiful -- something beautiful that inspires us and connect us to the community around us.


The Land of Forgotten Girls, Erin Entrada Kelly 

Sol and Ming are two sisters from the Philippines living  in a poor neighborhood outside New Orleans, with their embittered stepmother, Vea. Having lost the rest of their family, the girls feel trapped with a parent who doesn't seem to love them, and Ming starts weaving elaborate Cinderella fantasies that even Sol thinks might go too far. But their situation isn't as desolate as they think. Friendship and care hide between the cracks, and as the sisters start to look more closely at the people around them, they find that very different lives can touch their own. This is a thoughtful and kind-hearted book that will work well for fans of Wonder and Raymie Nightingale.


One Half From the East, Nadia Hashimi

In modern-day Afghanistan, Obayda's family moves out of the city to a small town following a car bombing that injured her father. Hoping for a change of fortune, Obayda's aunt suggests that Obayda become a bacha posh - a girl who takes on the role of a boy in her family and community. This change will restore the family's luck. While Obayda is initially resistant to the idea, she quickly becomes accustomed to life as a boy. As Obayd, she has freedoms and opportunities completely unavailable to her as a girl, and even starts to fear what will happen when it is time for her to return to being a girl. This book explores gender roles in a thoughtful way, and presents a nuanced picture of a country significantly more complex than its usual media presentation.


Ghost, Jason Reynolds

Ghost knows how to run. He doesn’t need a track coach, and he certainly doesn’t need a team. What he discovers, however, is that being part of a team is bigger than he realized. Having friends and people who believe in him are exactly what Ghost needs to help him stop running from the memories he’ll never be able to shake.


Ashes, Laurie Halse Anderson

In the final book of the Seeds of America Trilogy, Isabel and Curzon head south to find Isabel's sister, Ruth, in the midst of the conflict between the Patriots and the British. With which side should they align themselves? Laurie Halse Anderson makes this era in our history come alive from a unique angle with the help of these truly engaging characters whom we will miss!!!


Outrun the Moon, Stacey Lee

San Francisco, 1906. A child of Chinese immigrants, Mercy Wong is determined to break out of her expected role and become a successful businessperson. But in order to do so, she'll have to get an education. The best to be had is at an elite San Francisco girls' academy that would never accept a girl with bossy cheeks from Chinatown...until she fakes her way in with trickery and a well-placed bribe. Soon Mercy is pretending to be a wealthy Chinese heiress and learning all the things her rich classmates are accustomed to by birth. But when the great San Francisco earthquake hits she must set aside her assumed identity, as it will take every bit of wit she has to keep the academy girls together and find her family in the midst of a natural disaster. This book explores the role of Chinese immigrants to America at a particular historical crossroad and pokes intelligent fun at the concept of culture and cultural appropriation.


On the Edge of Gone, Corinne Duyvis 

There's nothing Denise or anyone alive can do to stop the comet from hitting Earth--the question is, can Denise do something to help her family survive it? With the cataclysm already upon them, Denise finds a beacon of hope: a privately funded generation ship that is late in taking off. If she can gain passage for her family, it will save them against all odds. But the worth of an individual life has never been judged more harshly. How can she prove that an autistic teenager, her trans sister, and their drug-dependent mother deserve to live? This page-turning tale of the (classic) apocalypse, written by a queer autistic woman, is an effective and cinematic disaster story that unapologetically delivers a punch in the face to the genre's tradition of killing off difference.