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Find the Perfect Summer Book!


Looking for the perfect book to read this summer? We asked our librarians for recommendations on books they feel are perfectly suited to reading on a luxurious sunny day - whatever that may mean! Whether you're reading by the ocean or in the dappled shade of a forest - take a look at some of our summer picks...


 

¡Ay, Mija!: My Bilingual Summer in Mexico by Christine Suggs

Recommended by Rocio


In this bilingual and heartfelt graphic novel, sixteen-year-old Christine takes their first solo trip to Mexico to spend a few weeks with their grandparents and tía. At first, Christine struggles to connect with family they don’t yet share a language with. Seeing the places their mom grew up—the school she went to, the café where she had her first date with their father—Christine becomes more and more aware of the generational differences in their family.


Soon Christine settles into life in Mexico, eating pan dulce, drawing what they see, and growing more comfortable with Spanish. But when Mom joins their trip, Christine’s two worlds collide. They feel homesick for Texas, struggle against traditions, and miss being able to speak to their mom without translating. Eventually, through exploring the impacts of colonialism in both Mexico and themselves, they find their place in their family and start to feel comfortable with their mixed identity.


 

The Bell at Sealey Head by Patricia A. McKillip

Recommended by Jack


Sealey Head is a small, sleepy town on the edge of the ocean, where sunset marks the tolling of a bell no one can see. On the outskirts is the great Aislinn House, where the aged Lady Eglantyne lies dying, and where the doors sometimes open not to its own dusty rooms, but to the wild majesty of a castle full of knights and princesses…



 

Castle Hangnail by Ursula Vernon

Recommended by Debbie B.


When little twelve-year-old Molly arrives at Castle Hangnail to fill the vacancy for a wicked witch, the minions who dwell there have no choice but to give her the job, and at first it seems she'll be able to keep the castle open, but Molly has quite a few secrets that could cause trouble.


 

Eager: The Surprising Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter by Ben Goldfarb

Recommended by Kira


Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America's lakes and rivers. The consequences of losing beavers were profound: streams eroded, wetlands dried up, and species from salmon to swans lost vital habitat. Today, a growing coalition of 'Beaver Believers'--including scientists, ranchers, and passionate citizens--recognizes that ecosystems with beavers are far healthier, for humans and non-humans alike, than those without them. From the Nevada deserts to the Scottish highlands, Believers are now hard at work restoring these industrious rodents to their former haunts. Eager is, ultimately, it's about how we can learn to coexist, harmoniously and even beneficially, with our fellow travelers on this planet


 

The Flag, The Cross, and the Station Wagon by Bill McKibben

Recommended by Debbie M.


McKibben grew up believing―knowing―that the United States was the greatest country on earth. As a teenager, he cheerfully led American Revolution tours in Lexington, Massachusetts. He sang “Kumbaya” at church. And with the remarkable rise of suburbia, he assumed that all Americans would share in the wealth.


But fifty years later, he finds himself in an increasingly doubtful nation strained by bleak racial and economic inequality, on a planet whose future is in peril. And he is curious: What the hell happened?



 

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

Recommended by Kira


Helen’s idyllic life—handsome architect husband, gorgeous Victorian house, and cherished baby on the way (after years of trying)—begins to change the day she attends her first prenatal class and meets Rachel, an unpredictable single mother-to-be. Rachel doesn’t seem very maternal: she smokes, drinks, and professes little interest in parenthood. Still, Helen is drawn to her. Maybe Rachel just needs a friend. And to be honest, Helen’s a bit lonely herself. At least Rachel is fun to be with. She makes Helen laugh, invites her confidences, and distracts her from her fears.


But her increasingly erratic behavior is unsettling. And Helen’s not the only one who’s noticed. Her friends and family begin to suspect that her strange new friend may be linked to their shared history in unexpected ways. When Rachel threatens to expose a past crime that could destroy all of their lives, it becomes clear that there are more than a few secrets laying beneath the broad-leaved trees and warm lamplight of Greenwich Park.


 

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Recommended by Kirsten


William Waters grew up in a house silenced by tragedy, so it's a relief when his skill on the basketball court earns him a scholarship to college, far away from his childhood home. He soon meets Julia Padavano, a spirited and ambitious young woman who surprises William with her appreciation of his quiet steadiness. Happily, the Padavanos fold Julia's new boyfriend into their loving, chaotic household. But then darkness from William's past surfaces, jeopardizing not only Julia's carefully orchestrated plans for their future, but the sisters' unshakeable loyalty to one another.


 

Hokuloa Road by Elizabeth Hand

Recommended by Rocio


On a whim, Grady Kendall applies to work as a live-in caretaker for a luxury property in Hawai'i, as far from his small-town Maine life as he can imagine. Within days he's flying out to an estate on remote Hokuloa Road, where he quickly uncovers a dark side to the island's idyllic reputation: It has long been a place where people vanish without a trace. When a young woman named Jessie from his flight becomes the next to disappear, Grady is determined to figure out what happened to her, and to all those staring out of the island's 'missing' posters. But working with Raina, Jessie's fiercely protective best friend, to uncover the truth is anything but easy, and with an inexplicable and sinister presence stalking his every step, Grady can only hope he'll find the answer before it's too late.


 

I Have Some Questions For You by Rebecca Makkai

Recommended by Kirsten


Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia's death and the conviction of the school's athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.


But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent flaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn't as much of an outsider at Granby as she'd thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.


 

It. Goes. So. Fast. by Mary Louise Kelly

Recommended by Debbie M.


Ever since she became a parent, Mary Louise Kelly has said “next year.” The bargain she has always made with herself is this: this time I’ll get on the plane, and next year I’ll find a way to be there for the mom stuff. James and Alexander are now seventeen and fifteen, and a realization has overtaken Mary Louise: James will be leaving soon for college. There used to be years to make good on her promises; now, there are months, weeks, minutes.


Mary Louise is coming to grips with the reality every parent faces. Childhood has a definite expiration date. You have only so many years with your kids before they leave your house to build their own lives. It’s what every parent is supposed to want, what they raise their children to do. But it is bittersweet. What would she do if she had to decide all over again?



 

Now Comes Good Sailing: Writers Reflect on Henry David Thoreau edited by Andrew Blauner

Recommended by Rocio


The world is never done catching up with Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), the author of Walden, "Civil Disobedience," and other classics. A prophet of environmentalism and vegetarianism, an abolitionist, and a critic of materialism and technology, Thoreau even seems to have anticipated a world of social distancing in his famous experiment at Walden Pond. In Now Comes Good Sailing, twenty-seven of today's leading writers offer wide-ranging original pieces exploring how Thoreau has influenced and inspired them--and why he matters more than ever in an age of climate, racial, and technological reckoning.


 

The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller

Recommended by Kira


It is a perfect July morning, and Elle, a fifty-year-old happily married mother of three, awakens at "The Paper Palace"—the family summer place which she has visited every summer of her life. But this morning is different: last night Elle and her oldest friend Jonas crept out the back door into the darkness and had sex with each other for the first time, all while their spouses chatted away inside.


Now, over the next twenty-four hours, Elle will have to decide between the life she has made with her genuinely beloved husband, Peter, and the life she always imagined she would have had with her childhood love, Jonas, if a tragic event hadn't forever changed the course of their lives.


 

A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers

Recommended by Debbie B.


It's been centuries since the robots of Panga gained self-awareness and laid down their tools; centuries since they wandered, en masse, into the wilderness, never to be seen again; centuries since they faded into myth and urban legend.


One day, the life of a tea monk is upended by the arrival of a robot, there to honor the old promise of checking in. The robot cannot go back until the question of "what do people need?" is answered. But the answer to that question depends on who you ask, and how. They're going to need to ask it a lot. Becky Chambers's new series asks: in a world where people have what they want, does having more matter?


 

The Rachel Incident by Caroline O'Donoghue

Recommended by Debbie M.


Rachel is a student working at a bookstore when she meets James, and it's love at first sight. Effervescent and insistently heterosexual, James soon invites Rachel to be his roommate and the two begin a friendship that changes the course of both their lives forever. Together, they run riot through the streets of Cork city, trying to maintain a bohemian existence while the threat of the financial crash looms before them. When Rachel falls in love with her married professor, Dr. Fred Byrne, James helps her devise a reading at their local bookstore, with the goal that she might seduce him afterwards. But Fred has other desires. So begins a series of secrets and compromises that intertwine the fates of James, Rachel, Fred, and Fred's glamorous, well-connected, bourgeois wife.


 

A Scatter of Light by Malinda Lo

Recommended by Debbie B.


Aria Tang West was looking forward to a summer on Martha's Vineyard with her best friends—one last round of sand and sun before college. But after a graduation party goes wrong, Aria's parents exile her to California to stay with her grandmother, artist Joan West. Aria expects boredom, but what she finds is Steph Nichols, her grandmother's gardener. Soon, Aria is second-guessing who she is and what she wants to be, and a summer that once seemed lost becomes unforgettable—for Aria, her family, and the working-class queer community Steph introduces her to. It's the kind of summer that changes a life forever.


 

A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham

Recommended by Jenna


The city-state of Saraykeht dominates the Summer Cities. Its wealth is beyond measure; its port is open to all the merchants of the world, and its ruler, the Khai Saraykeht, commands forces to rival the Gods. Yet Saraykeht is poised on the knife-edge of disaster.


At the heart of the city's influence are the poet-sorcerer Heshai and the captive spirit, Seedless, whom he controls. Far to the west, the armies of Galt have conquered many lands. To take Saraykeht, they must first destroy the trade upon which its prosperity is based. Marchat Wilsin, head of Galt's trading house in the city, is planning a terrible crime. If he succeeds, Saraykeht will fall.


Amat, House Wilsin's business manager, is a woman who rose from the slums to wield the power that Marchat Wilsin would use to destroy her city. Through accidents of fate and circumstance Amat, her apprentice Liat, and two young men from the farthest reaches of their society stand alone against the dangers that threaten the city.


 

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

Recommended by Jenna


Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land-at the cost of sacrificing all jinn. With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan's oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie's past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything-her enemy, her magic, even her own past-is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality


 

Starless by Jacqueline Carey

Recommended by Jenna


Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.


In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.


If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.



 

The Sound of Waves by Yukio Mishima

Recommended by Jack


Set in a remote fishing village in Japan, The Sound of Waves is a timeless story of first love. It tells of Shinji, a young fisherman and Hatsue, the beautiful daughter of the wealthiest man in the village. Shinji is entranced at the sight of Hatsue in the twilight on the beach and they fall in love. When the villagers' gossip threatens to divide them, Shinji must risk his life to prove his worth.


 

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Recommended by Jack


An elderly artist and her six-year-old granddaughter while away a summer together on a tiny island in the gulf of Finland. Gradually, the two learn to adjust to each other's fears, whims and yearnings for independence, and a fierce yet understated love emerges - one that encompasses not only the summer inhabitants but the island itself, with its mossy rocks, windswept firs and unpredictable seas.


 

Those Empty Eyes by Charlie Donlea

Recommended by Pat M.


Alex Armstrong has changed everything about herself—her name, her appearance, her backstory. She’s no longer the terrified teenager a rapt audience saw on television, emerging in handcuffs from the quiet suburban home the night her family was massacred.


It’s been ten years since, and Alex hasn’t stopped searching for answers about the night her family was killed, even as she continues to hide her real identity from true crime fanatics and grasping reporters still desperate to locate her. As a legal investigator, she works tirelessly to secure justice for others, too. People like Matthew Claymore, who’s under suspicion in the disappearance of his girlfriend, a student journalist named Laura McAllister. Alex realizes there are unexpected connections to the murder of her own family. For as different as the crimes may seem, they each hinge on one sinister truth: no one is quite who they seem to be . . .


 

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Recommended by Kirsten


On a bitter-cold day, in the December of his junior year at Harvard, Sam Masur exits a subway car and sees, amid the hordes of people waiting on the platform, Sadie Green. He calls her name. For a moment, she pretends she hasn't heard him, but then, she turns, and a game begins: a legendary collaboration that will launch them to stardom. These friends, intimates since childhood, borrow money, beg favors, and, before even graduating college, they have created their first blockbuster, Ichigo. Overnight, the world is theirs. Not even twenty-five years old, Sam and Sadie are brilliant, successful, and rich, but these qualities won't protect them from their own creative ambitions or the betrayals of their hearts.


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