Manhattan Country School will continue MCS En Casa, our distance learning program, for the remainder of the school year.
6-7s Building Study: Progressive Education

Jay's 2019 Winter Reading List for Upper School Students

Jay's 2019 Winter Reading List for Upper School Students

Friday, December 13, 2019

I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day - In her debut middle grade novel—inspired by her family’s history—Christine Day tells the story of a girl who uncovers her family’s secrets—and finds her own Native American identity. All her life, Edie has known that her mom was adopted by a white couple. So, no matter how curious she might be about her Native American heritage, Edie is sure her family doesn’t have any answers. Until the day when she and her friends discover a box hidden in the attic—a box full of letters signed “Love, Edith,” and photos of a woman who looks just like her. Suddenly, Edie has a flurry of new questions about this woman who shares her name. Could she belong to the Native family that Edie never knew about? But if her mom and dad have kept this secret from her all her life, how can she trust them to tell her the truth now? (CB, ages 10 and up)

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer - One week after their eleventh birthday, the Fowl twins--scientist Myles, and Beckett, the force of nature--are left in the care of house security (NANNI) for a single night. In that time they befriend a troll who has clawed his way through the earth's crust to the surface. Unfortunately for the troll, he is being chased by a nefarious nobleman and an interrogating nun, who both need the magical creature for their own gain, as well as a fairy-in-training who has been assigned to protect him. The boys and their new troll best friend escape and go on the run. Along the way they get shot at, kidnapped, buried, arrested, threatened, killed (temporarily), and discover that the strongest bond in the world is not the one forged by covalent electrons in adjacent atoms, but the one that exists between a pair of twins. (CB, ages 10 and up)

Beverly, Right Here by Kate DiCamillo - Beverly Tapinski has run away from home plenty of times, but that was when she was just a kid. By now, she figures, it’s not running away. It’s leaving. Determined to make it on her own, Beverly finds a job and a place to live and tries to forget about her dog, Buddy, now buried underneath the orange trees back home; her friend Raymie, whom she left without a word; and her mom, Rhonda, who has never cared about anyone but herself. Beverly doesn’t want to depend on anyone, and she definitely doesn’t want anyone to depend on her. But despite her best efforts, she can’t help forming connections with the people around her — and gradually, she learns to see herself through their eyes. In a touching, funny, and fearless conclusion to her sequence of novels about the beloved Three Rancheros, #1 New York Times best-selling author Kate DiCamillo tells the story of a character who will break your heart and put it back together again. (CB, 10 and up)

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling - Born without arms, white “problem-solving ninja” Aven Green can do almost anything with her feet instead—even solve a mystery. “Now that I’m thirteen years old, I don’t need much help with anything. True story.” Aven’s adoptive parents have always encouraged her independence. She’s never felt self-conscious among her friends in Kansas, playing soccer and guitar and mischievously spinning wild yarns about losing her arms. But when her father suddenly gets a job managing Stagecoach Pass, a run-down theme park in Arizona, tales of alligator wrestling can’t stop her new classmates’ gawking. Making friends with Connor, a self-conscious white boy with Tourette’s syndrome, and Zion, a shy, overweight, black boy, allows her to blend in between them. Contrasted with the boys’ shyness, Aven’s tough love and occasional insensitivity provide a glimpse of how—and why—attitudes toward disability can vary. While investigating the park’s suspiciously absent owner, the kids discover clues with eerie ties to Aven. The mystery’s twist ending is somewhat fairy-tale–esque, but Connor’s Tourette’s support-group meetings and Aven’s witty, increasingly honest discussions of the pros and cons of “lack of armage” give the book excellent educational potential. Though much of this earnest effort reads like an after-school special, its portrayal of characters with rarely depicted disabilities is informative, funny, and supportive. (CB, ages 10 and up)

The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA by Brenda Woods - On Gabriel's twelfth birthday, he gets a new bike--and is so excited that he accidentally rides it right into the path of a car. Fortunately, a Black man named Meriwether pushes him out of the way just in time, and fixes his damaged bike. As a thank you, Gabriel gets him a job at his dad's auto shop. Gabriel's dad hires him with some hesitation, however, anticipating trouble with the other mechanic, who makes no secret of his racist opinions. Gabriel and Meriwether become friends, and Gabriel learns that Meriwether drove a tank in the Army's all-Black 761st Tank Battalion in WWII. Meriwether is proud of his service, but has to keep it a secret because talking about it could be dangerous. Sadly, danger finds Meriwether, anyway, when his family receives a frightening threat. The South being the way it is, there's no guarantee that the police will help--and Gabriel doesn't know what will happen if Meriwether feels forced to take the law into his own hands. (CB, ages 10 and up)

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia - In this triumphant middle grade debut inspired by West African mythology and African-American folk tales, black seventh grader Tristan Strong is sent from Chicago to spend the summer on his grandparents’ Alabama farm. His best friend has just died, and he’s lost a boxing match (much to his boxing family’s disappointment). When a talking doll named Gum Baby steals his prized book of stories— which has mysteriously begun to glow—Tristan pursues, accidentally tearing a hole between the farm and the myriad lands of Alke. There, he encounters legendary folk heroes such as hammer-swinging John Henry and wily Brer Fox, whose people are being captured and enslaved by terrifying monsters. To mend the rift, save the day, and return home, Tristan and his allies must seek out the missing trickster god Anansi, a journey that takes them to regions inhabited by ancient gods. As a reluctant hero—afraid of heights, grieving, and burdened by past failures—Tristan’s voice rings true and sympathetic, while the irrepressible Gum Baby steals every scene. Mbalia expertly weaves a meaningful portrayal of family and community with folklore, myth, and history—including the legacy of the slave trade—creating a fast-paced, heroic series starter. (CB, ages 10 and up)

Dear Sweet Pea by Julie Murphy - Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco isn’t sure what to expect when her parents announce that they’re getting divorced, but she certainly doesn’t predict that her father will move into an identical house right down the street. Things don’t go as smoothly as she had hoped, and an encounter with the town’s advice columnist lands her in a whole new kettle of fish. Can Sweet Pea set right all the messes she causes? Julie Murphy’s middle-grade debut resonates with honesty and a wink of the eye and a chuckle. (CB, ages 10 and up)

The Okay Witch by Emma Steinkellner - Magic is harder than it looks. Thirteen-year-old Moth Hush loves all things witchy. But she’s about to discover that witches aren’t just the stuff of movies, books, and spooky stories. When some eighth-grade bullies try to ruin her Halloween, something really strange happens. It turns out that Founder’s Bluff, Massachusetts, has a centuries-old history of witch drama. And, surprise: Moth’s family is at the center of it all! When Moth’s new powers show up, things get totally out-of-control. She meets a talking cat, falls into an enchanted diary, and unlocks a hidden witch world. Secrets surface from generations past as Moth unravels the complicated legacy at the heart of her town, her family, and herself. In this spellbinding graphic novel debut, Emma Steinkellner spins a story packed with humor and heart about the weird and wonderful adventures of a witch-in-progress. (GN, ages 10 and up)

Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson - On a birthday trip to New York City, a girl learns about her roots, Harlem, and how to stay true to herself. Eleven-year-old sneakerhead Amara is struggling to feel seen and heard. A new baby sister is on the way, her mom still wants to put her in dresses, and that birthday trip from the Portland, Oregon, suburbs to New York City that she so desperately wants feels out of reach. When Amara gets a family-history assignment, she is finally able to convince her mom to say yes to the trip, since it will allow Amara to meet her dad’s side of the family in person. In addition to the school project, her mom gives Amara a secret mission: get her dad and grandpa to spend time alone together to repair old wounds. Harlem proves unlike any place Amara has ever been, and as she explores where her father grew up she experiences black history on every street. Watson is a master at character development, with New York City and especially Harlem playing central roles. Through her all-black cast she seamlessly explores issues of identity, self, and family acceptance. Although the ending feels rushed, with no resolution between Amara and her mom, Amara’s concluding poem is powerful. (CB, ages 10 and up)

The Last Kids on Earth and the Midnight Blade by Max Brallier - Surviving their first winter after the Monster Apocalypse was no easy feat, yet Jack and his buddies waste no time springing to action against some of the nastiest, most evil monsters around. When Jack discovers his Louisville Slicer has new, otherworldly powers, he's thrown into epic training to find out what kind of destruction the blade can wield. But between fighting off zombies, fleeing from strange, glowy Vine-Thingies erupting from the ground, and squeezing in a video game session or two, there's barely time left to figure out what's wrong with their buddy, Dirk, who's been acting weird any time he's around the undead. When an unexpected villain appears, can Jack and his friends save themselves--and the rest of the world--from cosmic domination? (CB, ages 10 and up)

The Magnificent Migration: On Safari with African’s Last Great Herds by Sy Montgomery - Take a journey into the heart of the wildebeest migration with a wildlife biologist who has been studying these African mammals for more than 50 years. Eleven chapters and a reflective epilogue chronicle a two-week visit to Tanzania’s northern plains with a small group led by Richard Estes, “the guru of gnu.” Montgomery, who has described many remarkable scientific field trips for the Scientists in the Field series, aims this report at older readers who can take in and act on her underlying message: “Throughout the Serengeti, our kind threatens the very survival of the migration we’ve come so far to witness.” Tension heightens as the wildebeest hordes elude them for days. Finally, a dramatic car breakdown in the wilderness is followed by “immersion” in an ocean of migrating gnus—a climax that would be unbelievable in fiction. Setting this particular safari in a larger context, and heightening the suspense, are interspersed short segments about Serengeti wildlife, poachers’ snares, the role of fire, “other magnificent migrants,” and more. The overall design is inviting and appropriate to the subject. There are maps, plentiful photos of African animals, and pictures and minibiographies of Montgomery’s all-white safari companions, both American and Tanzanian. Montgomery touches on the white-directed nature of much scientific research in Africa as well as pressures from colonialism and climate change but keeps her focus tightly on the wildebeest. (CB nonfiction, ages 10 and up)

The Long Ride by Marina Budhos - A quiet but stirring historical novel about the awkward, thrilling, and often painful moments that make middle school a pivotal time. It’s 1971, and best friends Jamila, Josie, and Francesca are excited to start seventh grade. But when their school district decides to bus the students in their northern Queens neighborhood to a middle school in predominantly black southern Queens in an attempt to desegregate New York City schools, their trio threatens to fall apart. Though their multicultural identities in a predominantly white neighborhood have united them in the past—Jamila is white and Bajan, Josie is Latinx and Jamaican, Francesca is black and white—their families’ and community’s divisions over the new policy chip away at their camaraderie. Along with all of the usual adolescent milestones, including first love, juggling old friendships and new, and moments of burgeoning independence from parents, Budhos deftly explores the tensions that pulled at the seams of the fraught and divided city during this time. Jamila’s narration is thoughtful, capturing the growing pains of seventh grade and the injustices, big and small, that young adolescents face. She portrays with nuance the ways multiracial identities, socio-economic status, microaggressions, and interracial relationships can impact and shape identity. (CB, ages 11 and up)

Hurricane Child by Kacen Callendar - Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child. Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and 12-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and -- worst of all -- Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back. But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend -- and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush. Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother -- before Caroline loses her forever. (CB, ages 11 and up)

My Jasper June by Laurel Snyder - Leah Davidson, 13, lives in a tight-knit Atlanta neighborhood—“one big family,” neighbors call it. But ever since last summer, when her brother Sam drowned, Leah’s parents have become ghostlike, and the closeness she once felt with her family and best friends has disappeared. Now, facing a long and lonely summer at home, Leah is immediately intrigued by the red-headed girl she meets while wandering through a nearby farm. Jasper is gregarious, adventurous, and possessing emotional intelligence beyond her age, qualities that help Leah to shed her grief and guilt. But as Leah learns that Jasper has a past she wants to leave behind as well, she grapples with how to protect her friend while keeping her secrets. Snyder tackles heavy topics (death and grief, abuse and homelessness) straightforwardly in this coming-of-age story. Her adept characterization of Jasper, whose hope and sincerity are palpable, offers buoyancy, and the joyful, almost ethereal friendship the two girls form is refreshingly and intensely honest. Snyder maintains a languid, unhurried pace that evokes the lazy days of summer and crescendos in a meaningful, bittersweet ending. A candid story about two teens who find solace and strength in each other. (CB, ages 10 and up)

Alan Cole Doesn’t Dance by Eric Bell - Alan Cole has a problem: Ron McCaughlin. Ever since Alan revealed he’s gay, Ron has been bullying Alan with relentless fury. Alan can’t tell his parents why he’s really coming home with bruises—because they still don’t know the truth about him. Yet buoyed by the support of his classmates and with his friends Zack and Madison by his side, Alan thinks he can withstand the bullying and—just maybe—break through to Ron. But all things come to a head when Alan’s father asks that he take June Harrison to the upcoming Winter Dance. Never mind that Alan has two left feet, does not like girls, and might be developing feelings for a new boy at school. This resounding tale about friendship, family, and the many meanings of bravery will leave readers rooting for Alan and his gang of proud misfits once more. (CB, ages 11 and up)

Shine by J.J. Grabenstein - "Who do you want to be?" asks Mr. Van Deusen. "And not when you grow up. Right here, right now." Shine on! might be the catchphrase of twelve-year-old Piper's hero--astronaut, astronomer, and television host Nellie Dumont Frisse--but Piper knows the truth: some people are born to shine, and she's just not one of them. That fact has never been clearer than now, since her dad's new job has landed them both at Chumley Prep, a posh private school where everyone seems to be the best at something and where Piper definitely doesn't fit in. Bursting with humor, heart, science, possibilities, and big questions, Shine! is a story about finding your place in the universe--a story about figuring out who you are and who you want to be. (CB, ages 11 and up)

The Forgotten Girl by India Hill Brown - On a cold winter night, Iris and her best friend, Daniel, sneak into a clearing in the woods to play in the freshly fallen snow. There, Iris carefully makes a perfect snow angel -- only to find the crumbling gravestone of a young girl, Avery Moore, right beneath her. Immediately, strange things start to happen to Iris: She begins having vivid nightmares. She wakes up to find her bedroom window wide open, letting in the snow. She thinks she sees the shadow of a girl lurking in the woods. And she feels the pull of the abandoned grave, calling her back to the clearing...Obsessed with figuring out what's going on, Iris and Daniel start to research the area for a school project. They discover that Avery's grave is actually part of a neglected and forgotten Black cemetery, dating back to a time when White and Black people were kept separate in life -- and in death. As Iris and Daniel learn more about their town's past, they become determined to restore Avery's grave and finally have proper respect paid to Avery and the others buried there. But they have awakened a jealous and demanding ghost, one that's not satisfied with their plans for getting recognition. One that is searching for a best friend forever -- no matter what the cost. The Forgotten Girl is both a spooky original ghost story and a timely and important storyline about reclaiming an abandoned segregated cemetery. (CB, ages 11 and up)

Games of Deception: The True Story of the First U.S Olympic Basketball Team at the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany by Andrew Maraniss - The first game of basketball was played in 1891 without nets or dribbling. Created by James Naismith as an indoor winter activity that would support Muscular Christianity, early participants from the YMCA training program in Springfield, Massachusetts, soon spread the new game worldwide. When basketball was added as a sport in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, Hitler saw it as an opportunity to showcase German might and athletic superiority. Meanwhile, American basketball players were holding fundraisers to help with travel costs while many Americans were calling for a boycott of the games altogether. Maraniss (Strong Inside, 2016, etc.) includes little-known facts about basketball, brutal information about Nazi Germany, and the harsh realities of blatant racism in the U.S. and Germany alike. The U.S. basketball team was all white; despite feeling conflicted by rampant anti-Semitism on both sides of the Atlantic, one Jewish player still chose to compete. Written with the captivating voice of a color commentator and the sobriety of a historian, Maraniss peppers readers with anecdotes, statistics, and play-by-play action, shining a spotlight on names found only in the footnotes of history while making it painfully clear that racism affected both politics and sport, tarnishing, a bit, each gold medal and the five Olympic rings. (CB nonfiction, ages 12 and up)

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu - This action-packed graphic novel based on the New York Times bestselling book by Marie Lu transports readers to the shadowy gates of Arkham Asylum, where Gotham City's darkest mysteries reside...and which now threatens to imprison Bruce Wayne. A ruthless new gang of criminals known only as Nightwalkers is terrorizing Gotham and the city's elite are being taken out one by one. On the way home from his 18th birthday party, newly minted billionaire Bruce Wayne makes an impulsive choice that puts him in their crosshairs and lands him in Arkham Asylum, the once-infamous mental hospital. There he meets Madeleine Wallace, a brilliant killer...and Bruce's only hope. Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Adapted by Stuart Moore and illustrated by Chris Wildgoose, this graphic novel presents a thrilling new take on Batman before he donned the cape and cowl. (GN, ages 12 and up)

The Best At It by Maulik Pancholy - Rahul Kapoor may not be sure about his sexuality, but he is sure of one thing: This year, he wants to make an impression. Inspired by a story his grandfather tells him, Rahul decides that the best way to impress his classmates—and, in the process, to protect himself from bullies—is to pick something and be the best at it. With the help of his fiery best friend, Chelsea, a white girl who wisely, consistently steers Rahul toward being himself and doing what he loves, Rahul tries a number of activities before settling on Mathletes, where he soon becomes a star. But when Japanese American Jenny asks him to the Sadie Hawkins dance, and when his Mathletes career doesn’t go as planned, Rahul spirals into an anxious depression with symptoms of OCD that force him to confront and eventually accept exactly who he is. In his author’s note, Pancholy notes that Rahul’s story is semi autobiographical, and it shows. Every character in the story is nuanced and sympathetically rendered, and the book does not shy away from racism, sexism, ableism, or homophobia. The protagonist’s devastatingly honest voice pulls readers deeply into a fast-paced journey riddled with heartbreakingly authentic moments of anxiety, confusion, and triumph. This coming-of-age story about diverse characters coming to grips with their layered identities rings true. (CB, ages 12 and up)

Lalani of the Distant Sea by Erin Entrada Kelly - Twelve-year-old Lalani Sarita lives on the fictional island of Sanlagita, where people say benedictions to the foreboding Mount Kahna and dream of sailing to paradise on Mount Isa. But sailors who journey to Isa never return. When a strange creature on Mount Kahna grants Lalani a wish, she discovers magic comes with a price. After her mother falls ill, the villagers turn on her, and with everything in ruins, she runs away in search of Isa and the flower that might save everyone. Along the way, she encounters creatures and plants, some friendly and some deadly. Lalani must overcome many hardships and challenges to create her own path. Inspired by Filipino folktales, Newbery Medalist Kelly (Hello, Universe, 2017) writes a heroic fantasy about making choices, going on a quest, and conquering evil. Though the tale is told primarily in the third person, characters develop deeply through revealed thoughts and actions. Each character adds another layer to the story, all facing their own issues, such as finding courage, patriarchy, and gender roles. Scattered throughout the novel are short, beautifully illustrated second-person vignettes allowing readers to imagine they are the mythical creatures Lalani encounters, adding yet another layer of depth and fantasy to the story. (CB, ages 12 and up)

Through the Water Curtain, Edited by Cornelia Funke - An anthology of diverse tales that stray away from the norm. This collection of 13 lesser-known fairy tales from Europe and Asia begins with the Japanese tale of a boy who continually draws cats, emphasizing a hero who finds his artistic ability and the life it creates. From Germany, the tale of six brothers who turn into swans and their sister who saves them by not speaking for years presents a different kind of heroine, with patience and quiet strength. “The One-Handed Murderer,” from Italy, is a tale of a strong, independent woman who saves herself from the titular villain. The words of these tales create enthralling images, transporting readers to earlier times and enchanted worlds. Editor Funke introduces the collection, explaining her attraction to the darker, unorthodox stories. Refreshingly, many of these tales differ from the more famous ones that follow a patriarchal, middle-class view. Each story has its rebellious hero or heroine and an atypical happy ending. After each tale, Funke explains why she loves it or how it shaped her novels. Giving context to the periods and countries of the tales, she critically analyzes and reflects on their conveyed social values. (Short stories, ages 10 and up)

The Land of Neverendings by Kate Saunders - Emily and her sister, Holly, were as close as sisters could be. They did everything together. But Holly died three months ago, and Emily's world is shattered. Amid a sea of changes--her best friend is acting distant, she's just started at a new school, and she's been cast as the lead in the school play--Emily is surprised to find that she misses Holly's teddy bear, Bluey, almost as much as she misses Holly herself. But Bluey was buried with Holly, and there's no getting either of them back. Then one night, Emily dreams of talking toys, who tell her they have come from the toy world with a message from Bluey. Emily is convinced she can be reunited with him. But there's something strange about the barrier between the toy world and the real world. Not just strange, but dangerous--magic is spilling out, and it's wreaking havoc on Emily's world. Now she must decide whether finding Bluey is worth risking the lives of those she loves. (CB, ages 12 and up)

The Crossover: A Graphic Representation by Kwame Alexander - The tale follows a year in the life of the Bell family, with Chuck “Da Man” Bell at the helm as he teaches his twin sons, Josh and Jordan, how to follow in his star-studded footsteps. Josh “Filthy McNasty” Bell takes the lead in narration, providing readers with in-depth court play-by-play as he deals with the growing pains of adolescence, balancing brotherhood and his own becoming. Myriad poetic forms appear throughout. A portion embrace rhyme, with a hint of old-school flow recalling hip-hop’s golden era. Veteran comics illustrator Anyabwile brings an expansive range of black-boy emotional expressiveness to the page, accompanied by a striking attention to detail and pop-cultural reference. Just check the fresh barber lines on display or the true-to-life illustrations of beloved athletes and musicians such as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Lil Wayne, 2 Chainz, and more. Eschewing the traditional paneled look of the graphic-novel form creates a dynamic flow between the scenes. These are sectioned out into basketball-appropriate quarters and dotted with Chuck’s inspirational Basketball Rules, such as this excerpt of No. 3: “The sky is your limit, sons. Always shoot for the sun and you will SHINE.” These messages grow ever more resonant as readers approach the climax of this heartwarming story. (GN, ages 10 and up)

Count Me In by Varsha Bajaj - Karina Chopra would have never imagined becoming friends with the boy next door--after all, they've avoided each other for years and she assumes Chris is just like the boys he hangs out with, who she labels a pack of hyenas. Then Karina's grandfather starts tutoring Chris, and she discovers he's actually a nice, funny kid. But one afternoon something unimaginable happens--the three of them are assaulted by a stranger who targets Indian-American Karina and her grandfather because of how they look. Her grandfather is gravely injured and Karina and Chris vow not to let hate win. When Karina posts a few photos related to the attack on social media, they quickly attract attention, and before long her #CountMeIn post--"What does an American look like? #immigrants #WeBelong #IamAmerican #HateHasNoHomeHere"--goes viral and a diverse population begin to add their own photos. Then, when Papa is finally on the road to recovery, Karina uses her newfound social media reach to help celebrate both his homecoming and a community coming together. (CB, ages 12 and up)

All the Impossible Things by Lindsay Lackey - Red’s inexplicable power over the wind comes from her mother. Whenever Ruby “Red” Byrd is scared or angry, the wind picks up. And being placed in foster care, moving from family to family, tends to keep her skies stormy. Red knows she has to learn to control it, but can’t figure out how. This time, the wind blows Red into the home of the Grooves, a quirky couple who run a petting zoo, complete with a dancing donkey and a giant tortoise. With their own curious gifts, Celine and Jackson Groove seem to fit like a puzzle piece into Red’s heart. But just when Red starts to settle into her new life, a fresh storm rolls in, one she knows all too well: her mother. For so long, Red has longed to have her mom back in her life, and she’s quickly swept up in the vortex of her mother’s chaos. Now Red must discover the possible in the impossible if she wants to overcome her own tornadoes and find the family she needs. (CB, ages 12 and up)

Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee - Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity . . . except for Amora. Asgard's resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him. But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard's most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor. When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he's meant to be. (CB, ages 12 and up)

Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean - In this Carnegie-winning novel, McCaughrean (The Middle of Nowhere, 2013, etc.) turns a small piece of history into an epic, nearly mythic, tale. St. Kilda’s archipelago, far off the northwest corner of Scotland, is the most remote set of islands in Great Britain. In 1727, a boat set off from the sole occupied island, Hirta, dropping a small group of men and boys at Warrior Stac, a giant rock, for a fowling expedition. Told from the point of view of Quilliam, one of the older boys, (precise ages are never given; the boys seem to range in age from around 10 to about 16), the trip begins as a grand adventure: scaling cliffs via fingertip holds, making candles out of dead storm petrels, and cutting the stomachs out of gannets to use as bottles for oil. But then, inexplicably, the village boat does not return for them. As the weeks stretch to months and the birds begin to leave the rock, the party fears the end of the world. Cane, one of the men, sets himself up as a divine authority, praying for repentance, while Quill attempts to soothe the younger boys through story—and himself through memories of a young woman he loves. McCaughrean takes the bones of a real event, wraps it in immersive, imaginative detail and thoroughly real emotion, and creates an unforgettable tale of human survival. (Historical fiction, ages 13 and up)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo - Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price―and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone. . . .A convict, a sharpshooter, a runaway, a  spy, a heartrender, a thief - six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don't kill each other first. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo returns to the breathtaking world of the Grishaverse in this unforgettable tale about the opportunity―and the adventure―of a lifetime. (CB, ages 13 and up)

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho - Miyoung may look like any other Korean girl, but she's the daughter of a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who feeds on the life force of men. This makes Miyoung half gumiho—and half human. Though raised by her mother, Miyoung is drawn to humans as well, wondering about her missing father and hating that she must kill in order to live. Nevertheless, she manages to follow her mother's rules, always maintaining distance from others so that her secret is not discovered. But one night she strays from the rules, saving the life of Jihoon, a human boy who was attacked by a goblin, and all does not go according to plan. Miyoung suddenly finds herself juggling Jihoon's human world of school and friends with her supernatural world of shamans, spirits, and magic. This is urban fantasy as readers have not seen it before: steeped in Korean folklore but with an added layer of contemporary Korean school and home life, appealing not only to K-drama fans but to lovers of fantasy in general. Dealing with themes of family, loyalty, and trust, the book has a unique setting and premise. (CB, ages 13 and up)

The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border by Juan Pablo Villalobos - Every year, thousands of migrant children and teens cross the U.S.-Mexico border. The journey is treacherous and sometimes deadly, but worth the risk for migrants who are escaping gang violence and poverty in their home countries. And for those refugees who do succeed? They face an immigration process that is as winding and multi-tiered as the journey that brought them here. In this book, award-winning Mexican author Juan Pablo Villalobos strings together the diverse experiences of eleven real migrant teenagers, offering readers a beginning road map to issues facing the region. These timely accounts of courage, sacrifice, and survival―including two fourteen-year-old girls forming a tenuous friendship as they wait in a frigid holding cell, a boy in Chicago beginning to craft his future while piecing together his past in El Salvador, and cousins learning to lift each other up through angry waters―offer a rare and invaluable window into the U.S.–Central American refugee crisis. In turns optimistic and heartbreaking, The Other Side balances the boundless hope at the center of immigration with the weight of its risks and repercussions. Here is a necessary read for young people on both sides of the issue. (Nonfiction, ages 13 and up)

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - A young readers’ adaptation of the groundbreaking 2014 work, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, offering an important corrective to conventional narratives of our nation’s history. Questioning the ideologies behind the belief systems that gave birth to America’s dominant origin stories, this book not only challenges the standard tale of European explorers “discovering” America, it provides an Indigenous perspective on key events. The book urges students to think critically about private property and extractive industries, land conservation and environmental rights, social activism, the definition of what it means to be “civilized,” and the role of the media in shaping perceptions. With an eye to the diversity and number of Indigenous nations in America, the volume untangles the many conquerors and victims of the early colonization era and beyond. From the arrival of the first Europeans through to the 21st century, the work tackles subjects as diverse as the Dakota 38, the Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee, the American Indian Movement’s takeover of Alcatraz, and the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance. A deeply felt connection to the Earth’s health permeates the text, along with the strength and resiliency that have kept Indigenous cultures alive. (Nonfiction, ages 13 and up)

Pet by Awaeke Emezi - There are no monsters anymore, or so the children in the city of Lucille are taught. Jam and her best friend, Redemption, have grown up with this lesson all their lives. But when Jam meets Pet, a creature made of horns and colors and claws, who emerges from one of her mother's paintings and a drop of Jam's blood, she must reconsider what she's been told. Pet has come to hunt a monster, and the shadow of something grim lurks in Redemption's house. Jam must fight not only to protect her best friend, but also to uncover the truth, and the answer to the question--How do you save the world from monsters if no one will admit they exist? Acclaimed novelist Akwaeke Emezi makes their riveting and timely young adult debut with a book that asks difficult questions about what choices you can make when the society around you is in denial. (CB, ages 13 and up)

Peak: A Novel by Roland Smith - After fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he's left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. But Peak quickly learns that his father's renewed interest in him has strings attached. Big strings. As owner of Peak Expeditions, he wants his son to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit--and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But it's also one that could cost him his life. Roland Smith has created an action-packed adventure about friendship, sacrifice, family, and the drive to take on Everest, despite the incredible risk. The story of Peak’s dangerous ascent—told in his own words—is suspenseful, immediate, and impossible to put down. (CB, ages 13 and up)

Spin by Lamar Giles - There has never been any love lost between Fatima "Fuse" Fallon and Kya Caine, even though they once shared a best friend, Paris Secord (dj ParSec to her fans). Technology genius Kya was instrumental in helping ParSec develop her sound, and savvy Fuse helped her reach the masses and create her brand. Paris's meteoric rise to fame is cut brutally short, however, when she is murdered before a show. Though Kya and Fuse have both fallen out with Paris, they are pulled back into her orbit when they discover her body. Looking for someone to blame, ParSec's frenzied fans are calling for Kya's and Fuse's blood. In order to clear their names and deliver justice, they have little choice but to work together. While much of this tense thriller focuses on the hunt for a killer, this novel transcends its genre. Alternating first-person chapters reveal the complicated lives of these three brilliant young women and will push readers to contemplate deeper themes, such as media bias, isolation, grief, and conflict resolution. The three narratives successfully create tension and add an intriguing level of dramatic irony, as the girls slowly expose one another's secrets. The three protagonists identify as black, and the supporting characters are a realistic mix of many ethnicities and races. The protagonists are completely different from one another, yet it is in those very differences that most of the tension, as well as the satisfying (and surprising) resolutions lie. (CB, ages 13 and up)