Mount Prospect, you’ve been reading, and we’ve been talking! Every week we have been extending an open invitation for readers to gather and share the books keeping them company in these odd times. We’ve chatted romance, dark fantasy, nonfiction, mysteries, feel-good, horror, and elegant prose. Check out the titles brought by our attendees, and please consider joining us for this week’s conversation: Let’s Talk Books!
One of the booming arenas of publishing, YA Lit is relatable, well-paced, and offers all the feels. Many stories tackle issues squarely, but in a hopeful way, which makes them an appealing reading choice no matter if your teen years are far behind you. Choose from these hand-picked favorites available on OverDrive or Hoopla, and don’t miss previous staff recommendations for what to read, watch, or listen from home. Looking for something to match a specific mood or interest? Send a request for customized suggestions, and our expert advisory staff will be happy to make your match.
Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan
A motley group of uncool kids are set up by a secret society known as the Chaos Club, so they band together and instigate a prank war. With short chapters, high energy, and the mix of shadowy conspiracy with underdog tale, this is a winner for a variety of teen and adult readers. ~Cathleen
Reading the pages of Gabi’s journal is a gut-punch. On the cusp of adulthood, navigating body shaming, racism, and finding her own voice along with the joys that come from learning how to celebrate yourself and what you love in life, Gabi is a character you’ll want to keep rooting for. ~Jenny
I love books that oscillate between different characters so I get multiple points of view. Let Me Hear a Rhyme highlights three high school students as they work to honor their murdered friend by making him a rap celebrity. Fast paced, full of secrets, and heavy with friendship.. ~Al
I usually give wide berth to stories about boxing, but this tale of a bullied cartoonist in Nazi-era Berlin taking lessons from German national hero Max Schmeling completely won me over. A crowd-pleasing underdog story against backdrop of art, history, and family. ~Cathleen
Sadie attempts to get over her epic heartbreak over her best friend in this satisfying, humorous, uplifting read that is great for fans of Sarah Dessen! The overall hopeful tone of the book paired with Sadie’s dogged attempt to move on makes this book one of my personal favorites. ~Jenny
Looking for a book that’ll keep you turning the pages until the very end? After the Fire is it! Not for the feint of heart, this twisty, turny, thriller escape plot will keep you engaged the entire time. ~Al
Endearing Jesobel presents as a young woman who knows who she is and what she has to offer, and it’s only when faced with a new crush that her self-assurance begins to erode. British teens, sassy dialogue, and friends who love enough to call each other on their stuff — this is a recipe for an entertaining read. ~Cathleen
Are you longing for story but finding it difficult to sink into a full-length book? You might find what you are looking for in comics and graphic novels! Drama, action, history, humor, fantasy, memoir, and romance are all on offer in a medium that combines art and language to deliver absorbing tales. Today our readers’ advisory staff spotlight their favorite selections available to you through the Library’s digital services, so you can sample without delay. Don’t forget to visit previous staff recommendations for what to read, watch, or listen to from home, and you are enthusiastically invited to request customized suggestions for titles in OverDrive or Hoopla might be a perfect match for your current mood.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
This tender-hearted graphic novel will touch anyone who has had to start over somewhere. 7th grader Jordan is forced to go to a new private school instead of art school like he so desires. During his first year at the school, he has to figure out ways to fit in, combat prejudice, and continue with art. This is a poignant, piercing story with amazing artistry, totally able to be binged in one sitting. ~Al N. (also recommended by Kelda and Cathleen)
Sagaby Brian K. Vaughn, illustrated by Fiona Staples
A series to get hooked on and there are plenty of volumes to keep you going. Get lost in the chase to hunt down these outlaws: a couple of star-crossed lovers (and baby makes three). Many adventures and thrills across various worlds in this literal sweeping saga. ~Chelsea
A vivid narrative of abuse, survival, and resilience, this is one woman’s story of her experience with and survival of the Canadian residential schools that First Nations children were forced to attend. ~Allison L.
Unrelenting optimism, faith in the goodness of others, healthy body positivity, and a cheerful sense of duty. This series is more than a bit silly, but that’s part of its charm – and all the more welcome in days such as these. ~Cathleen
The succinct writing and illustrations puts a spotlight on Kaye’s vulnerability in sharing her transition in this illustrated memoir. Her focused chronicles of such a personal experience offer a chance to relate and/or bear witness to another person’s trials and happy moments during a pivotal period. ~Jenny
As one of the characters testifies, this is a story “about life…but death has a big part in it,” but don’t let that keep you away. It is fantastical, heart-wrenching, and surprisingly uplifting, and the ethereal, meditative nature needs to be experienced to be truly appreciated. ~Cathleen
Man-Eaters by Chelsea Cain, illustrated by Kate Niemczyk
One of my favorite satirical comics, Man-Eaters turns young women into cats, cats that men greatly fear. If you like satire and content that at the same time doesn’t take itself too seriously while also revealing more serious lessons about society, give this a try! ~Al N. (also recommended by Chelsea)
There are times when we read for escapism, but there is equal interest in reading to help make sense of the unexpected in life, of what doesn’t turn out as we believe it might when we are children. This is one of those stories. ~Cathleen
Though your commute might be nonexistent these days, audiobooks can still keep you company during cooking and chores, on brief solitary walks, or for taking a break from others in the house. Earlier staff digital picks posts also include audiooptions, but today’s titles are uniquely recommended for the escape of their listening experiences. We can also help with customized suggestions for which titles in OverDrive or Hoopla might be a perfect match for your current mood.
How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper
Looking to fill the Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine-shaped hole? This story features a quirky main character navigating life in a different way than his peers, met with challenges as his solitary and usual routine is disrupted by his need for friendship and maybe even love. ~Chelsea
The Dresden Files, a series centered on a Chicago-based wizard, is one of my go-tos for fun, fantastic, witty adventure in audio, and this inventive heist story set in the underworld is its own reward. ~Cathleen
Sweet and sexy. Charming main characters who fall in love through a case of memory loss and misunderstanding after Cecilia lied about being a wife to her brother’s friend to nurse him back to health and find her missing brother. Delightful audio. ~Liz
In prose that evokes haunting melodies, master narrators take turns giving voice to musicians around the globe who must balance passion and idealism with the realities of making one’s way in the world. ~Cathleen
A fun, light listen. I often found myself suppressing laughter while listening to this in public. Humorous, yet also an insightful look at social media obsession and the toll it can take on us all at times. ~Liz
For comfort reads, stories to make you laugh, and books to help you experience a different life, the next in our series of staff picks of what to try through the OverDrive or Hoopla digital services features e-books with little or no wait. Don’t miss parts one and two, and check back twice each week for spotlights of what to read, watch, or listen to. For even more ideas, follow along on Goodreads or contact us for a suggestion that is personalized just for you!
Nancy recommends The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
by Gabrielle Zevin
“when you want to fall in love with reading again, treat yourself to this bittersweet and quirky story about second chances” ebook (also e-audio)
Liz recommends The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
“a character tries to stay a step ahead of a mysterious curse in this compelling contemporary YA fantasy” ebook (also e-audio)
Chelsea, Denise, and Liz recommend Get a Life, Chloe Brown
by Talia Hibbert
“charming characters both with their own past life and relationship baggage; a bit on the snarky side, and I want to be Chloe’s new best friend!” ebook (also e-audio)