New Voices in Teen Fiction

It’s always exciting to discover new books and authors and, as usual, some of the freshest voices can be found in young adult publishing.   Here are three recent debut novels you should know about:

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles

Twins Tyler and Marvin have always been close, but lately Tyler has been increasingly secretive and running with a new crowd.  When a party is broken up first by gunshots and then the police Marvin figures Tyler will make his own way home, but as the next day comes and goes and Tyler is still missing Marvin begins to fear the worst.  Searching the neighborhood only raises more questions, and Marvin starts to wonder how much he really knew his brother.  With sympathetic characters and an all-too-familiar premise, this speaks to the urgency of the Black Lives Matter movement.  A great read-alike for fans of The Hate U Give.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

This fictionalized biography of baroque painter  Artemisia Gentileschi focuses on the event that forever shaped her life and art: her rape by Agostino Tossi, a tutor hired by her father.  After taking Tossi to trial (nearly unheard of during that time period), Gentileschi eventually returned to painting, focusing on biblical stories depicting women’s strength.  Gentileschi was far ahead of her time, depicting women as capable and human rather than objectifying them as dictated by painting traditions, and this timely novel will resonate with #MeToo survivors.  The raw and justifiably angry first-person verse is tempered by a gentle and loving second-person narration.

Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius Kellner definitely does not run with the popular crowd.  Relentlessly bullied at school, a trip to Iran to spend time with his ailing grandfather offers some relief from the daily harassment and his battle with chronic depression.  Much to his surprise, it’s a developing friendship with Sohrab, the boy who lives next to his grandparents, that offers Darius his first real taste of possibility.  As Darius begins to learn more about Iran, his extended family, and himself, he begins to truly blossom.  This offers a wonderful look at Persian culture, the strength of family, and the magic of being seen for the first time.

~posted by Summer H.

Spooky Stories, Coming to a Bar Near You!

Shadows lengthen, leaves crisp and fall, and a presage of winter’s chill runs down your spine. Its the perfect time to gather for some spooky stories, and we have several opportunities coming up in the weeks ahead, as our Booktoberfest celebration nears its close. First up, two storytimes at the Central Library this coming Monday:

  • Thrilling Tales, Monday, October 22 at Noon: Blood Son, by Richard Matheson. They thought young Jules was crazy, but what’s so wrong with wanting to be a vampire when you grow up? Also, The Estuary, by Margaret St. Clair. On stranger tides lie old rotting hulks, waiting for anyone foolish enough to board.
  • Thrilling Tales After Dark, Monday October 22, 7 p.m. The Whole Town’s Sleeping, by Ray Bradbury. Walking home from the picture show, all the girls are terrified that they’ll be The Lonely One’s next victim, but in just a few more minutes, Lavinia will be safely home. (This is a repeat of the LitCrawl reading that The Stranger recommended. Facebook event: invite your friends!)

Then we head out to area bars in true Booktoberfest spirit, for two different spooky readings, each at two great venues. There’s nothing quite like relaxing with a drink as the lights go low, and out of the darkness, a voice calls out your deepest fears. Continue reading “Spooky Stories, Coming to a Bar Near You!”

Nightstand Reads: Trudi Trueit recommends middle-grade novels to read now

Seattle author Trudi Trueit’s newest book, The Nebula Secret, is part of the Explorer Academy series of novels from National Geographic. We asked Trudi to tell us about some other middle-grade books she’s been reading and loving. Here are five she recommends:



Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
When Amal, a young Pakistani girl, offends the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, she is forced into indentured servitude to work off her family’s debt. In a country where women are perceived as inferior, Amal refuses to abandon her belief that girls have as much right to pursue their dreams as boys. This story could have easily turned darkly tragic, but Saeed chooses, instead, to make it a hopeful one. Amal’s optimism, as well as her bravery and resolve, gives hope to us all that change is possible. At the end of the book, Saeed writes that she was inspired by the real life story of Malala Yousafzai. Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Trudi Trueit recommends middle-grade novels to read now”

Spooky Books for Every Reader

It’s October, the best time to read all manner of scary, chilling, horror-inducing tales.  Many readers avoid horror, believing it is all gore, but is a surprisingly varied genre with titles ranging from unsettling to funny to downright terrifying.  Here are some outstanding examples:

The Elementals by Michael McDowell.

Originally written in the 1980’s, this gripping, terrifying Gothic horror writing at its best. It’s a terror that occupies their family home and has haunted two brothers for years.  It may be poised to strike again.  Set in Deep South Alabama, this anticipatory, sultry and alluring tale keeps you on the edge of your seat whilst also speculating about just what strange events are afoot in this coastal Victorian house.  This book certainly falls into the category of a lost classic. Continue reading “Spooky Books for Every Reader”

A trio of reads on Western land

The land and coasts that make up the West are many things to many people: recreation areas, sacred sites, grazing land, just to name a few. In the past five years we’ve seen an escalation, reflected in mainstream news stories, of the conflicts among groups with differing visions for public lands: from the ongoing fight over the designation of Bears Ears National Monument, to escalating action over federal land management that culminated last year in the occupation of Oregon’s Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, to a newly urgent discussion about what steps should be taken to save the orca whales of Puget Sound. No matter which side you agree with on these issues, there’s no denying that human actions have had a dramatic and direct impact on land, flora, and fauna. To dig deeper on a few issues, check out these recent books about our Western geography: Continue reading “A trio of reads on Western land”