“Tiger Moon” by Antonia Michaelis

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A wealthy rajah chooses Raka to be his newest bride. Though she does not wish to go, her father arranges the marriage and sends his daughter off to the rajah’s palatial estate. Despite numerous escape attempts, she remains imprisoned within his walls. Lalit, a young man who works for the rajah, asks Raka why she tries to escape and she tells him it is because she is not a virgin, and she knows the rajah will have her killed when he discovers this.

While Raka waits for her imminent death, she tells Lalit the story of a thief named Farhad, who is chosen by the god Krishna to save his daughter from the clutches of a demon king. Farhad, with the help of his magical white tiger, travels across the desert and slowly evolves from a self-serving thief into a compassionate and brave hero. As the end of Farhad’s story approaches, so does the end of Raka’s–until the transcendent power of her magical tale takes over.

This masterfully-written novel, translated beautifully from German by Anthea Bell, utterly captivated me. I felt transported to India, spellbound by the story, sometimes surprised to return to reality when I looked away from the pages. Readers who enjoy sweeping fantasy or fairy tale-inspired novels will love this book.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“Life: An Exploded Diagram” by Mal Peet

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This unusual story focuses on the bizarre history of seventeen-year-old Clem Ackroyd, his parents and his grandparents, and the way war shapes him and his family. The story begins at the end of World War II, lingers over the details of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and ends on September 11, 2001. Not only is it a unique, broad-spanning historical fiction novel, it is also full of beautiful language, a finely-drawn first-love story, and plenty of humor mixed in with all the heartache.

At the heart of the story is Clem’s secret relationship with Frankie, the daughter of his father’s boss. Every nuance of their ill-fated romance is chronicled, juxtaposed with Cuban Missile Crisis thoughts from John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, Fidel Castro and other major players. If this sounds like dry reading to you, trust me, it’s not–Peet brings history to life as well as he evokes the heady, helpless, hormone-soaked feeling of first love.

Highly recommended for teens who like historical fiction or unusual narratives. Fans of realistic fiction by authors such as John Green or Sara Zarr might enjoy this book. Recommended for older readers.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“Bitter Melon” by Cara Chow

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High school student Frances Wong lives with her mother in a one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco. Her mother works hard to put Frances through private school, and constantly dreams of the day her daughter will grow up to be a doctor so she can afford to take care of her mother. Frances works hard to show filial dedication to her mother, as their Chinese culture dictates.

All this changes when Frances accidentally gets put in Speech instead of Calculus at school. Rather than switching to the correct class, Frances is intrigued by her new teacher and the possibility of competing in Speech. She knows her mother would never approve, so she begins lying to prevent her from finding out.

Frances begins to blossom, seeing for the first time the possibility of a life not bound to her demanding and abusive mother. At home, as her lies come to light, her mother becomes more controlling and abusive, both verbally and physically. Frances’ evolution is beautifully illustrated by the changing topics of her speeches over the course of the novel, starting with her acceptance of her culture’s filial piety, and ending with her own desire to explore the world and be her own person even if this is not what her mother wishes.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Amanda Coppedge Bosky

“The Future of Us” by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

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What would you do without Facebook? In 1996, the year Josh and Emma first encounter the Internet, there is no Facebook. But for some mysterious reason, when Emma sets up her new computer given to her by her father as a “guilt gift” after her parents’ divorce, she is able to log on to Facebook. There she is able to see her future and the future of her friends and family.

This is a story that is compelling, but also starts the reader thinking: What would you do if you could see the future? Would you want to know your future? Would you change your destiny? Co-authored by Jay Asher (“Thirteen Reasons Why”) and Carolyn Mackler (“The Earth, My Butt, and other Big Round Things”), it’s part historical fiction (readers find out what life was like way back in the 1990s), part romance, and part science fiction.

Check out this book or put it on hold.

–Lori Kerce

“Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins

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In a magical Parisian setting, Anna learns lessons in language, love and letting go.

Anna Oliphant is a normal teenage girl. She works at a movie theater, babysits her younger brother Sean and has a major crush on cute musician/ co-worker Toph. Things seem to be perfect for Anna until her Nicholas Sparks-esque father sends her to Paris for her senior year of high school. NO FRIENDS, NO PROM, NO ENGLISH? Anna couldn’t be less thrilled. Her first night in the City of Lights is spent sobbing into her pillow until a friendly face, Mer from next door, offers her some hot chocolate and a listening ear. As Anna starts spending more time with Mer and her friends, she is drawn to dreamy Etienne St. Clair. The problem? St. Clair already has a girlfriend. As if that weren’t bad enough, Anna soon realizes that her first friend in Paris, Mer, also harbors feelings for St. Clair. As relationships develop, jealousies threaten to split everyone apart.

This truly is a magical book. I love the way Perkins has developed quirky characters that jump off the page. I’m usually not the type to re-read things multiple times, but I have already read Anna three times in the past year. Anyone that has been to Paris or has ever desired to go, will enjoy the setting. The situations show how strong, and sometimes destructive, attraction can be. Most importantly, you really can’t help who you fall in love with. Perkins has created a wonderful world for both teens and adults to enjoy. I highly recommend this charming story for fans of realistic fiction and romance.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

–Kelly Handy