Brandi's Picks (page 1)
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Brandi, when not escaping the pesky paparazzi, enjoys reading and buying books for the Children's and Young Adult sections. When she's not reading picture books and middle grade or YA fantasy, she likes humorous fiction and the occasional memoir. She is an advocate for cats and giraffes, enjoys swing dancing and anything that lets her hone her inner child. She especially loves matching young readers with books they will love.
When I first heard of Caraval and it's constant comparison with The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (of which I'm more than a little obsessed with) I was intrigued and skeptical. I must say though, that Caraval stood up well to expectations. I can see why the comparison, but you have to give props to Stephanie Garber for writing a book that, while reminiscent of The Night Circus, is a captivating tale in it's own right. I found myself swept up in the mystery, trying desperately to hold onto what I "knew" to be true of this fictional reality. Like the players, as much as I tried to stick to the facts, it was often hard to discern what the truth really was until the very end. Bravo Stephanie, bravo.
Those who know me, know that I do not usually go for the creepy, haunting books, but when Suzanne Young writes a book, I just can’t help but read it. So, I swallowed my trepidation and entered the world of Hotel for the Lost. As the book tagline says," Stay Tonight, Stay Forever." Well, I did. Once I opened the book, I couldn’t put it down and it has stayed with me long after I read the final page. Hotel for the Lost is delightfully spooky.
A beautiful, honest and hilarious novel about growing through your grief. Quinn Roberts loses his sister when she dies in a car accident. Now his ambitions and purpose in life has come to a standstill. If not for his best friend, Geoff, he might never leave the house. When Geoff convinces Quinn to go to a college party with him, Quinn meets a hot guy who jump-starts his heart again and encourages him to start taking part in his own life. I can't imagine losing my sisters. But I know what it's like to lose a family member without warning. Tim Federle deftly navigates the frustration and hopelessness of never getting to say goodbye, of experiencing guilt despite the circumstances, and feeling so singular in your grief. However, through all this, he shows us that it's okay to remember the person you lost and still look forward to your own future, while sharing a laugh, or two, or three, with current and new loved ones along the way. Whether you've lost someone or not, this novel will make you laugh and encourage you to follow your dreams.
Kate DiCamillo tugs at our heartstrings yet again with her newest novel about three young ladies bonding through personal tragedies. Raymie sets out to win her father's affection by competing in the Little Miss Central Florida contest. If she succeeds, she's convinced this will bring her father back home. Her competition includes Louisana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski, who have their own agendas for the competition. Through a good deed mishap, the girls band together to rescue a book and a cat, with unexpected results that ultimately solidify their friendship. You'll definitely need a tissue with this book. It's beautiful, heartbreaking and endearing.
Anyone who loves Press Here will enjoy this book too. It's absolutely brilliant. I like that it encourages the kids to really look at the world around them. I used LOOK! around my apartment with my cats and was amazed at how the book applied in every situation. Kids will have fun using this book around the house, outside, and even on road trips!
I think this book was written for me. I am pretty sure I have a mild to not so mild case of undiagnosed arachnophobia. I can't even look at a photo of a spider without cringing. But I safely read this entire book and can now say I actually like a spider book - book being the keyword here. This may not have cured my spider fears, but it certainly has given me some facts to appreciate about spiders. It's funny and informative and not at all scary. Finally, a book that will appeal to everyone, no matter their phobia level
Imagine a world where you knew the exact date you would die. This is the reality in which 17 year old Denton finds himself. He doesn't know the time of his death, he just knows that he will not live to see 18. With death looming, Denton decides he can’t waste any more of his life by just being “normal”. Instead, he’s going to change the world with the time he has left and ends up learning that science can sometimes make mistakes too. What that means for Denton will change his world in a way he never expected. Speaking of the unexpected, this novel made me laugh more times than I can count. In this refreshing novel, Lance Rubin shows that it’s okay to also see humor in the things we fear.
By the time your senior year rolls around, you are expected to make some pretty big decisions. Will you go to college? What do you want to do with the rest of your life? But that's not the only thing these four seniors have to put the pressure on. Now they have to contend with an asteroid, heading toward Earth. There is a 66% chance it will hit the Earth and obliterate any hope of a future, for anyone. Of course, there is a small chance it wont. Faced with this uncertainty, four seniors from different social backgrounds must decide who they want to be today, rather than tomorrow. However, amid this looming catastrophic event, there is hope. The hope of humanity; the hope of being true to yourself. From beginning to end I was captured by this amazing debut. Tommy Wallach's words are poetry in prose form. We All Looked Up left me feeling light, optimistic and thoughtful.
After years of discarding female babies in favor of boys, men now out populate women 5 to 1. Thus making women the more valuable gender, choosing husbands who will be the most likely to carry on the female gene through a series of tests. Told in alternating voices, Sudasa, in verse, and Kiran, in prose, are forced to participate in these tests, not knowing they have the same agenda. To defy the system and leave this backward society behind. Rife with many great discussion points, 5 to 1 is perfect for book clubs. Of course, you don't have to be in a book club to enjoy this beautiful debut.
Every year on her birthday Lottie receives a letter granting her birthday wish from a magic apple tree in her front yard. So, when her best friend's illness takes a turn for the worse, Lottie asks for one thing, a cure to save his life. Instead of a letter though, Lottie receives two sprites who take her through the apple tree to their world. There she must weigh the importance of her friend's life against the lives of an entire world of sprites. A fun debut perfect for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia.
With a nod to classic fairy tales, Monstrous is a fascinating debut about a young chimera girl. Kym was created with the sole purpose of rescuing girls from an evil wizard who wishes to kill them to cope with the loss of his own daughter. Although Kym is loyal to her father's noble mission, she becomes distracted by a boy called Ren; who seems familiar, though she's sure she's never met him before. Soon her hodgepodge brain begins remembering things that threaten to destroy everything she believes.
Shelby lives a sheltered life of home school, the golf range and the library. Her mother wants to keep her safe, warning her about boys and walking on the safe side of the street. So when a random truck veers off the road and hits her, not only is her leg shattered, but so is life as she knows it. Nick Lake has written a twisting plot that will leave you emotionally stunned and surprised at every chapter. If I had to compare this novel to anything, think Dead to You by Lisa McMann meets Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King.
Prepare yourself to be taken on two journeys. First, you will be captured by the edge-of-your-seat opening chapter in Afterworlds--about a girl who can navigate the thin line between reality and the afterworld. In the alternating chapters, you are taken behind the words and into the mind of the “author”. I've always thought it would be cool to jump into a novel and meet the characters, but I never thought how cool it would be to jump into the mind of an author while she is writing her first, soon to be published, novel! While this is an amazing book to read just for the sake of reading, it's especially fun for readers who want to become authors themselves.Afterworlds is the tangible answer to "What advice would you give to a new author?"
Brilliant! Tim Federle is a genius of wit and Nate is an adorable, clever young man bravely following his passion. I loved revisiting New York City through the innocent eyes of a 13 year-old dreamer. A perfect story for anyone – especially kids who have shining dreams of their own.
After this stunning cover grabs you, prepare yourself for an epic adventure! Soman Chainani thrills us with his new take on a fractured fairy tale. Taking the core of both sides — good and evil — and whipping them into a story you will not put down. Best friends Sophie and Agatha think they know which side they belong to in the fairy tale world. When the school master comes for them and places them in opposite schools, they must face their true selves and they find a way to survive their own stories. Great for readers who like a throwback to fairy tales (which I do!).
I love how this book challenges the reader to go beyond the words of a story (or, in this case, word) and interpret what the author-illustrator is presenting. For me, this is a story of a dog who loves the little girl who plays with him. When she is gone he tries to find various ways to play "Ball". But nothing is quite the same until she returns home again. It's amazing how this one word can, with pictures to guide you, come to have several different meanings.
You can't get much cuter than a sneezing baby panda. Chu is a little panda with a big problem. He can't sneeze — but oh, when he does, you will need to hold onto something stronger than a tissue! In addition to the cute story, the rich illustrations go beyond the words to show you Chu's world and how his sneeze really does affect everyone around him.
Pulse is a thought provoking, chilling look at what our future could become in the aftermath of a global warming catastrophe -- a cross between Cameron Stracher's Water Wars and Marvel's X-Men. With a thrilling plot, fast paced action and strong characters, readers will have a hard time putting this down. —Brandi
"Once there was a girl, an all-alone girl, who didn't have a dragon for a friend. " Such a sweet, sweet tale of friendship. Have you ever wished for a specific friend so hard and one day your wish came true? That's the friend you should give this book to.
From the award winning author of I Want My Hat Back comes another cautionary tale about taking what is not yours. Some books are clearly made just for kids, while others appeal to a wider audience. While this book is marketed to children, it's one of the handful of great artistic picture books that appeal to adults and children alike. Kids will enjoy the funny tale of a tiny fish who steals a small hat from a giant fish while adults will amuse themselves with the unwritten repercussions of this unfortunate decision.
Butter is an intense look at one teen's struggle with food and depression. J.P. (aka “Butter”) has an over-eating disorder and is dangerously obese. Tired of being the "fat kid" at school, he decides to end it all by binge eating to death on New Year's Eve, an act which will stream live on his website, butterslastmeal.com. When Butter's morbid website sweeps him into the "cool" crowd, he must decide if popularity is worth dying for. It takes courage to write a true to life story, unveiling a world we may not want to acknowledge. I think many teens will connect with Butter's quest for acceptance.
This is a beautiful story of a lost book and the child who eventually gives its life purpose once again. Soft illustrations capture the bitter-sweet mood of this tale. The Lonely Book is a great book for anyone who loves books. Give it as a gift to your favorite teacher, librarian or bookseller.
Have you ever wanted to run away to the circus? How about the carnival? That's just where Portia Remini finds herself when she escapes from Mister and McGreavey's Home for Wayward Girls. She's a "normal" among a menagerie of human oddities, looking for a new life and the father that left her behind. A beautifully crafted tale of loss, hope, curiosity, and a little murder mystery mixed in for good measure. The Wonder Show is a book to get lost in.
This is a fantastic book for toddlers! Youngsters are asked to interact with the book by simply "pressing here" on the yellow dot. When they do the next page will show them how the dot has changed! It's exciting and a great way to engage them in a reading activity. In this case the book is the toy!
The Future of Us took me to the "past of me" - back to high school and my introduction into the World Wide Web when I was 18. The Future of Us is set in 1996, when 17 year old Emma launches AOL for the first time. Only instead of "You've Got Mail" she is asked to login to a blue and white screen with a foriegn word attached, "Facebook". Suddenly she sees herself in her early 30's, living a life she isn't sure she wants. What would you do, when suddenly faced with the possiblity of changing your future? Would you do it? Remember to think about the ripple effect your actions of today have over the years to come. It's not as easy as it sounds. —Brandi