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Framed!

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$18.99
ISBN: 9781481436304
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Aladdin - August 23rd, 2016

Middle grade mysteries can be amazing if they possess two things: (1) a good mystery (duh) and (2) characters that find themselves in reasonably plausible situations (you'd read fantasy if you wanted otherwise.) Thankfully, James Ponti's new novel, FRAMED!, serves up excellent characters, believable situations, powerful friendships, and a mystery worth reading! Perhaps my favorite read of the summer (and my favorite middle grade mystery by far,) FRAMED! is the story of how one 12-year-old and his best friend, Margaret, become involved in an investigation of a major museum robbery. Kids interested in tradecraft, mysteries, and the powers of observation will really, really enjoy this page-turner. (P.S. It's a series!) ~ Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo


Asking For It

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Call or email to see if a used copy is available.
ISBN: 9781681445373
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Quercus - April 5th, 2016

Parents won't want to read it, but you will. Emmy and her friends like to party--they're beautiful, popular, and relatively boy-crazy. But when one party gets out of hand, Emmy's life--and her town--is turned upside-down: who can decide, after all, whether or not it was she who "asked for it"? Important, fearless, and self-selecting, Asking For It establishes O'Neill as the most powerful, "most YA" Young Adult author writing today. ~ Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo


Chirri & Chirra

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By Kaya Doi, Yuki Kaneko (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781592701995
Availability: Backordered
Published: Enchanted Lion Books - September 6th, 2016

Simple and sweet, Doi's lovely book captures the just-rightness of a child's day out. When Chirra and Chirri go for a bike ride, they find that the forest world not only welcomes the woodland animals, but that it has a place for them, too! What will they choose to drink at the forest cafe? What sandwich and jam will they pick from the forest bakery? These are Chirri and Chirra's most pressing concerns. Magical. ~Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo


Vango: Between Sky and Earth

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$12.99
ISBN: 9780763687816
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick - April 12th, 2016

Cinematic and exciting, Vango is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that is as fantastical as it is rooted in history. A young man of unknown origin finds himself framed for a murder that he did not commit. In order to escape prosecution, he must delve into the mystery of his identity and seek asylum from friends who may or may not know more about his past than he does himself. Zeppelins, Nazis, and pirates abound! This is adventure writing at its finest. ~Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo


The Alex Crow

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$10.99
ISBN: 9780147511768
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Speak - August 2nd, 2016

There's a bionic crow in Andrew Smith's latest novel--a crow formed out of old DNA and a new genetic process called "chipping." There's also a boy, Ariel, who has been adopted into a family in suburban West Virginia after a harrowing escape from a refugee camp and a litany of traumas. There's a woman--a kind of warped therapist figure--who distributes her book, "Male Extinction," at an all-boys summer camp. And I guess there's also a man who believes that Joseph Stalin whispers in his ear to make him do evil things.

On the simplest level, Smith's novel is the tale of Ariel, the refugee. It's the story of a boy trapped in a coming of age story into which he believes he does not fit: trapped in America, trapped in a weird summer camp, trapped into "bonding" with his new teenage brother--all of these things are surreal to Ariel, who is sick of being saved (or surviving) time and time again. But Smith's novel, which can be described as sci-fi, coming-of-age, and a critique of the patriarchy and Western humanitarianism all at once, quite deftly resists reduction to being any one thing. And perhaps this is appropriate, insofar as the novel seems to strive to articulate the sense that some stories cannot be simply told.

I loved that this book was exceedingly cerebral while still being so heartfelt and appropriately adolescent at times. Even with so many moving parts, Smith navigates the bizarre landscape of the summer camp and Ariel's history with an understated confidence that refuses to lose the reader's trust or attention. I wish I could give away all the reasons to love this book, but that would only do sophisticated teenage (and adult) readers a disservice. Smith is a game-changer for YA--and this novel truly showcases his strengths as a genre-bending storyteller. ~ Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo


A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches

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By Tyler Kord, William Wegman (Illustrator), Emma Straub (Foreword by)
$22.99
ISBN: 9780804186414
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Clarkson Potter - June 14th, 2016

Fun fact: I used to make sandwiches for a living. They were good sandwiches (beyond Subway-level), but not great ones. This book, though, is spectacular. Not only is it wholly entertaining (you can and should read it through) but the sandwiches within are amazing, too. Lots of short recipes are included for the components that you might not already understand--the sauces/technique tips might be the book's highlights. If I received this book as a gift, I would be a happy person: not just because sandwiches once defined me and my livelihood, but because Kord rightfully illuminates the immense amount of creativity and care that goes into making sandwiches great. ~ Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo


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