Charlie McCarthy is known in Ballyronan village as a simpleton or gamal. In therapy for PTSD, he tells of star-crossed lovers Sinead and James, his lifelong best friends. Throughout Ciarán Collins’ The Gamal, Charlie’s unique voice weaves haunting flashbacks, insightful commentary, witty Irish dialect, and memorable characters to present a tragic storyline at an engaging pace.
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Mountains of Sorrow, Rivers of Song is Amos Lee’s fifth studio album. This powerful album is a mix inspired by folksy, bluesy, and even some funky influences. Whatever your mood, there is something to like here. From the title song to “Chill in the Air” you can’t listen to this without big feelings.
NW by Zadie Smith highlights the paradoxes in human existence. It follows the lives of four London friends who grew up in the same impoverished area of northwest London. Ideas of class and ethnicity are major players in this character-driven, passionate story that keeps you guessing on what comes next.
It’s New York City in 1938. Katy Kontent moves from the secretarial pool at a law firm to the upper echelon of society. In Rules of Civility, Amor Towles creates a wonderful depiction of life in New York City filled with witty dialogue, intense friendships, and a fabulous heroine.
Josef Horkai wakes up paralyzed after being frozen for 30 years and has no memories of his past or the “kollaps” that destroyed the world. Immobility by Brian Evenson is a postapocalyptic thriller about how to trust the motives of others when you can’t trust your own mind.
Barb F. of Fiction/AV/Teen Services recommends Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson:
Author G. Willow Wilson creates a fast-paced story that combines modern hacker culture and ancient Muslim mysticism. Set in an unnamed Middle Eastern city, the story centers on computer hacker Alif. Alif writes a program that is able to secretly detect the online activity of the woman who broke his heart. The program catches the attention of government censors and the chief of state security, known as “The Hand of God”. A series of dangerous adventures involving an ancient manuscript dictated by the Jinn, religious leaders, and a plethora of supernatural creatures is set in motion. This fantasy thriller is an interesting look at the world of both the seen and unseen.
Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace are two of the most powerful characters in YA fiction today. They meet in a child Cancer Support Group where they begin a relationship that is deeply moving and often hilariously irreverent. The Fault in Our Stars is a love story that celebrates being alive.
Ever wonder what happens to your trash when you throw it away? Find out in Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte. This is the highly readable, often funny, and sometimes disgusting story of where trash goes when it leaves your house.
The Snow Child, by Eowyn Ivey, is a remarkable story based on a Russian fairytale. Jack and Mabel distract themselves from a bad winter in Alaska by building a girl from snow. Ivey’s ability to mix magical elements alongside the harsh realities of frontier life make for an engrossing read.