Month: April 2022

Check It Out Blog

National Poetry Month: Staff Favorites from the Young Adult Collection

Collections of poetry, free form, or novels-in-verse: we’ve got all your tastes covered! Celebrate National Poetry Month this April by reading lyrical, beautiful poetry from our Young Adult collection. Browse our curated lists below or pick up a staff favorite.

other words for home book cover

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

A beautiful and hopeful free-verse novel about a girl who tries to adjust to a new home after she emigrates from Syria with her mother while also worrying about her father and brother still in Syria. Jude’s emotions ring clear though the verse and catch the reader. I highly recommend the audio version as well!

-Abby, Teen Librarian

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Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds & illustrated by Jason Griffin

This stunning and unique book is a blend of art and text in a journal-like format that captures the frustration and anxiety of a Black boy overwhelmed by the onslaught of bad news — COVID, racism, police brutality, and more — and the way he finds solace and hope in the embrace of his family.

-Andrea, Teen Librarian

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Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance by Nikki Grimes

What a unique read! Grimes creates one-of-a-kind poems from the words of little-known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance. The poems are enhanced by incredibly beautiful full-page illustrations. A glorious and refreshing celebration of women creators!

-Al, Readers’ Advisor

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Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

The book is an eye opening look at grief, gang violence, and family. The verse is melodic and intense yet very approachable! Heartbreaking yet oddly hopeful. A must read!

-Denise, Readers’ Advisor

You Don't Have to be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves book cover

You Don’t Have to be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves by Diana Whitney

Featuring a diverse tapestry of poets such as Amanda Gorman, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Mary Oliver, this compilation of poetry speaks to the emotional experiences of growing up. Interwoven between some of the more intimate or tough parts of growing are the joys and highs of life, ultimately leaving a message of hope behind.

“If you cannot believe that things will soften, trust that I believe for you.”

-Jenny, Program Librarian-Supervisor

March Madness in the Teen Space: And the Winner is…

Sixteen titles went head-to-head in a bracket-style, four-round tournament of champions voted on by MPPL teens. Only one was crowned the coveted 2022 Favorite Teen Read Winner.

And the winner is…

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They Both Die at the End

by Adam Silvera

Loved the top four bracket finishers? Want more reads like those? Here are our suggestions for readalikes!

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If you liked Dress Coded,

try A Good Kind of Trouble.

Native American Gardening

This week we had an amazing time learning about gardening, harvesting, recipes, and history from award-winning Ojibwa author and speaker Kim Sigafus. Missed the program? Watch the recorded version anytime through April 27th.

If you are interested in reading about Native American experiences or about gardening, check out our staff recommendations:

braiding sweetgrass: Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teachings of plants book cover

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on “a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise.

*Nonfiction read

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Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.

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The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

Rendered a single mom after her husband’s fatal car accident, textbook illustrator Lillian recruits her young daughters and supportive sister to help her do research for a boutique vegetable guide at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden, where a patient instructor and quirky gardeners help her grieve and find healing.

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There There by Tommy Orange

A novel which grapples with the complex history of Native Americans; with an inheritance of profound spirituality; and with a plague of addiction, abuse and suicide, follows 12 characters, each of whom has private reasons for traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow.

*Featured in our Book Discussion Collection!

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Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts

Centering around three courageous women, who meet for the first time at a crossroads in their lives, this first installment in a new trilogy follows Stella as she casts aside her fears and finds a special love that she will do anything to protect.

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The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich

A historical novel based on the life of the author’s grandfather traces the experiences of a Chippewa Council night watchman in mid-19th-century rural North Dakota who fights Congress to enforce Native American treaty rights.

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The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

Seeking solace in the Malaysian plantations of her childhood after grueling World War II experiences, criminal prosecutor Yun Ling Teoh discovers a Japanese garden and its enigmatic tender, an exiled Japanese royal gardener who reluctantly accepts her as an apprentice.

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Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

A vigilante enforcer on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation enlists the help of an ex to investigate the activities of an expanding drug cartel, while a new tribal council initiative raises controversial questions.

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Rules for Visiting by Jessica Francis Kane

A talented but reclusive gardener is inspired by her love of classic literature to embark on a female odyssey to reconnect with her four once-close friends through simple activities and digital encounters that unexpectedly catapult her into viral fame.

*Also available as a Books-to-Go Discussion Kit!

Funny Fiction for Adults

Belly laugh, guffaw, chuckle, slap your knee, cackle, chortle, snicker, snort, or simply smile from these funny fiction reads sure to lift your spirits.

Bridgerton: The duke and I (Daphne's story) book cover

The Duke & I by Julia Quinn

Banter-filled / Sarcastic

In an effort to keep himself footloose and single in spite of the efforts of the town’s matchmakers, Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings, begins a sham courtship with Daphne Bridgerton.

The Sellout Book Cover

The Sellout by Paul Beatty


A young black man grows up determined to resegregate a portion of an inner city, aided by a former Little Rascals star who volunteers to be his slave. This illegal activity brings him to the attention of the Supreme Court, who must consider the ramifications of this (and other) race-related cases. Readers who can handle provocative language and racial stereotypes will appreciate the glee that Paul Beatty brings to his critique and questioning of black identity. 

Finlay Donovan is Killing It book cover

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Farcical comedy of errors / Tongue-in-cheek

When struggling suspense novelist and single mom Finlay Donovan is mistaken for a contract killer, she inadvertently accepts the offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet, discovering that crime in real life is a lot harder than fiction.

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The Woman Who Died a Lot: Now with 50% Added Subplot by Jasper Fforde

Wacky / Absurd

Forced into semi-retirement after an assassination attempt, Thursday Next finds her recuperation challenged by the personal and professional struggles of her children and Goliath’s constant attempts to replace her with synthetic duplicates.

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Dial A for Aunties Jesse Q. Sutanto

Witty banter / Slapstick

Accidentally causing the death of a blind date, Meddy is persuaded by her meddlesome Chinese-Indonesian mother and aunts to dispose of the body, which upends a billionaire’s wedding and Meddy’s reunion with a former flame.

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No Sunscreen for the Dead by Tim Dorsey

Quirky / Dark humor

Serge’s visit to a scandal-tainted Florida retirement village turns into a Robin Hood-like crusade to save the residents’ stolen funds, an effort challenged by two nosy detectives.

been there, married that book cover

Been There, Married That by Gigi Levangie

Wry / Over-the-top

Agnes Murphy Nash is the perfect Hollywood wife – she has the right friends, the right clothes and even a side career of her own as a writer – until her bigshot producer husband decides it is time to end their marriage.

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Sourdough by Robin Sloan


Enduring a virtually solitary existence working for an ambitious software company, an exhausted coder is bequeathed a sourdough recipe from sibling bakers who are forced to close their shop, a gift that leads to a new vocation, a legal dispute and a venture into a secret market that fuses food with technology.

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Anxious People by Fredrik Backman


Taken hostage by a failed bank robber while attending an open house, eight anxiety-prone strangers—including a redemption-seeking bank director, two couples who would fix their marriages and a plucky octogenarian—discover their unexpected common traits.

New Fiction in April

Whatever your reading mood, we’ve got you covered with our New Fiction in April list here. Discover some of our most anticipated reads below, from immersive and intense to thoughtful and thrilling.

Looking for more personalized suggestions? Fill out this form for titles curated just for you, or feel free to give us a call at 847/590-4070. 

Memphis book cover

Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow

Told over the course of 70 years, this spellbinding debut novel traces three generations of a Southern Black family and one daughter, who, channeling her rage into art, discovers with the power of her paint brush, she can change her family’s legacy.

Family saga / Alternating points of view / Vibrant writing

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Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

A detective in the black-skied Night City investigates an anomaly in the North American wilderness and uncovers a series of lives upended: the exiled son of an earl driven to madness, a writer trapped far from home as a pandemic ravages Earth, and a childhood friend from the Night City who, like Gaspery himself, has glimpsed the chance to do something extraordinary that will disrupt the timeline of the universe.

Science fiction mystery / Lyrical writing / Conceptually rich

city on fire book cover

City on Fire by Don Winslow

A mid-1980s longshoreman who does occasional stints for the Irish crime syndicate becomes embroiled in a conflict between rival factions in the first book of a new series from the New York Times best-selling author of The Force.

Crime fiction / Immersive / Intense

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Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li

A Chinese American art history major at Harvard, Will Chen is offered a (very illegal) chance to reclaim five priceless treasures China lost centuries ago and assembles a team of fellow students, chosen for their skills and loyalty, to help him on his mission–and make history.

Heist story / Thoughtful / Thrilling

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The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth

When their father decides to divorce their mother, who, in a care facility for dementia, cannot speak for herself, so he can marry his young girlfriend Heather, sisters Tully and Rachel must find the truth about their family’s secrets, Heather and who their father really is.

Domestic suspense / Darkly humorous / Twists and turns

part of your world book cover

Part of Your World by Abby Jimenez

ER doctor Alexis Montgomery’s world is turned upside down by a ridiculously hot carpenter who’s ten years younger, and as their short-term flings turns into a relationship, she must choose between her ultra-wealthy parents and true love.

Contemporary romance / Emotional rollercoaster / Happily-ever-after

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A Woman of Endurance by Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa

A novel illuminates a little discussed aspect of history–the Puerto Rican Atlantic Slave Trade–witnessed through the experiences of Pola, an African captive used as a breeder to bear more slaves.

Historical fiction / Emotionally touching / Richly detailed

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Cover Story by Susan Rigetti

Moving to Grand Haven with her traumatized veteran husband, Abby bonds with her reclusive next-door neighbor over a shared love of flowers that they cultivate together, discovering hope and healing along the way.

Thriller / Fast-paced / The Devil Wears Prada meets Gone Girl