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Youth and Teen
Jessica: A Scare of a Dare (Diary of a Minecraft Zombie #1) by Zack Zombie
In the first book of this hilarious Minecraft adventure series, we get to read the diary of an actual 12 year old, Minecraft Zombie. Take a peek at what is really going on between the hollow eyes, and dead expression that we normally see when we face the dreaded Zombies of Minecraft.
Are Zombies really different from us? You’ll be surprised at what you discover. So, jump into this Minecraft adventure and find out!.
Why I like It: My son really enjoys the series and it’s a great book to get kids interested in reading.
Jasmine: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light.
Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power.
Why I like It: It’s a really good thriller, read in one sitting. It is Get Out meets Gossip Girl.
Jake: Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.
Why I like It: This mixes ancient Greek mythology with modern day America. The adventures of Percy Jackson and his quest to save the world is a wonderful imaginative story to read especially in warmer weather.
Tee: Unmask Alice by Rick Emerson
In 1971, Go Ask Alice reinvented the young adult genre with a blistering portrayal of sex, psychosis, and teenage self-destruction. The supposed diary of a middle-class addict, Go Ask Alice terrified adults and cemented LSD’s fearsome reputation, fueling support for the War on Drugs. Five million copies later, Go Ask Alice remains a divisive bestseller, outraging censors and earning new fans, all of them drawn by the book’s mythic premise: A Real Diary, by Anonymous.
But Alice was only the beginning.
In 1979, another diary rattled the culture, setting the stage for a national meltdown. The posthumous memoir of an alleged teenage Satanist, Jay’s Journal merged with a frightening new crisis—adolescent suicide—to create a literal witch hunt, shattering countless lives and poisoning whole communities.
Why I like it: It’s a deep dive on the truth behind Beatrice Sparks and all of her “anonymous” teen diaries like “Go Ask Alice”, “Jay’s Journal”, etc. It explores the ways in which the war on drugs, the Satanic Panic, and the publishing industry fed into each other to create sensationalist narratives that furthered each group’s political interests, while also exploring the inner lives of the real people who inspired and wrote the faux diaries.
Patty: The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict
Hedy Kiesler is lucky. Her beauty leads to a starring role in a controversial film and marriage to a powerful Austrian arms dealer, allowing her to evade Nazi persecution despite her Jewish heritage. But Hedy is also intelligent. At lavish Vienna dinner parties, she overhears the Third Reich’s plans. One night in 1937, desperate to escape her controlling husband and the rise of the Nazis, she disguises herself and flees her husband’s castle.
She lands in Hollywood, where she becomes Hedy Lamarr, screen star. But Hedy is keeping a secret even more shocking than her Jewish heritage: she is a scientist. She has an idea that might help the country and that might ease her guilt for escaping alone—if anyone will listen to her.
Why I like it: Oh yeah. I enjoyed reading about the life of actress and inventor, Hedy Lamarr, especially the challenges she faced getting out of German occupied Austria in the 1930s and her marriage to an arms dealer. I was surprised to learn that, besides being an actress, she was also a scientist and inventor with a very high IQ.
Sarah: Maid by Stephanie Land
At 28, Stephanie Land’s plans of breaking free from the roots of her hometown in the Pacific Northwest to chase her dreams of attending a university and becoming a writer, were cut short when a summer fling turned into an unexpected pregnancy. She turned to housekeeping to make ends meet, and with a tenacious grip on her dream to provide her daughter the very best life possible, Stephanie worked days and took classes online to earn a college degree, and began to write relentlessly.
Maid explores the underbelly of upper-middle class America and the reality of what it’s like to be in service to them. “I’d become a nameless ghost,” Stephanie writes about her relationship with her clients, many of whom do not know her from any other cleaner, but who she learns plenty about. As she begins to discover more about her clients’ lives-their sadness and love, too-she begins to find hope in her own path.
Why I like it: It’s a well-written memoir. Also a great depiction of determination in the face of struggle. It speaks to many of the issues in our society and just how precarious our situations really are.
Brad: Masters of Doom by David Kushner
Masters of Doom is the amazing true story of the Lennon and McCartney of video games: John Carmack and John Romero. Together, they ruled big business. They transformed popular culture. And they provoked a national controversy. More than anything, they lived a unique and rollicking American Dream, escaping the broken homes of their youth to produce the most notoriously successful game franchises in history—Doom and Quake— until the games they made tore them apart. This is a story of friendship and betrayal, commerce and artistry—a powerful and compassionate account of what it’s like to be young, driven, and wildly creative.
Why I like it: This book gives you a window looking in on the early days of Id Software, creators of Doom, Wolfenstein, and Quake, and it’s not just some guys sitting at their computers. there’s Ferraris, computer heists, a door getting hacked to splinters by a battle axe, and plenty of backstabbing & betrayal. I’d love to see it adapted into an HBO series one day.
Breana: The Sword of Kaigen by M.L. Wang
When the winds of war reach their peninsula, will the Matsuda family have the strength to defend their empire? Or will they tear each other apart before the true enemies even reach their shores?
High on a mountainside at the edge of the Kaigenese Empire live the most powerful warriors in the world, superhumans capable of raising the sea and wielding blades of ice. For hundreds of years, the fighters of the Kusanagi Peninsula have held the Empire’s enemies at bay, earning their frozen spit of land the name ‘The Sword of Kaigen.’
Born into Kusanagi’s legendary Matsuda family, fourteen-year-old Mamoru has always known his purpose: to master his family’s fighting techniques and defend his homeland. But when an outsider arrives and pulls back the curtain on Kaigen’s alleged age of peace, Mamoru realizes that he might not have much time to become the fighter he was bred to be. Worse, the empire he was bred to defend may stand on a foundation of lies.
Why I like it: Great read if you like fantasy and martial arts.
Treasure hunter Victor “Sully” Sullivan recruits street-smart Nathan Drake to help him recover a 500-year-old lost fortune amassed by explorer Ferdinand Magellan. What starts out as a heist soon becomes a globe-trotting, white-knuckle race to reach the prize before the ruthless Santiago Moncada can get his hands on it. If Sully and Nate can decipher the clues and solve one of the world’s oldest mysteries, they stand to find $5 billion in treasure — but only if they can learn to work together.
Why I like It: An amazing adventure to solve a centuries old mystery and still has a sense of humor.
Jake: Downton Abbey a New Era
The Crawley family goes on a grand journey to the South of France to uncover the mystery of the dowager countess’s newly inherited villa.
Why I like It: A continuation of the great storylines from the series.