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Provocative reading for Young Adults:
Automaton Nation by Cynthia Kumanchik pits technological progress against humanity in the futuristic Capitol City. With meat shortages, protests, swat teams in battle gear, climate change and revolution the book could be recounting 2020 newspaper headlines from across America. Perfect for YA science-fiction fans, particularly those who enjoyed The Hunger Games. Read review.
Snowflake by Arthur Jeon offers a compelling portrait of a young man in crisis. Teenage awkwardness gives way to suffocating despair as protagonist Benji contemplates the state of the world and the antics of the current president. Unable to stand by any longer, Benji decides to assassinate him. As Benji’s mental state deteriorates the novel careens toward a devastating conclusion. Read review.
Ice Queen by Felicia Farber is a cautionary story about the consequences of bullying and cyberbullying. Without warning, on the first day of senior year, Blair and David are arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and felony sexting. If convicted, they face 30 years in prison. With her college-bound future and relationship in doubt, Blair, along with family and friends, rushes to prove her innocence and unmask the perpetrator, even as new cyberattacks threaten. Read reviews.
Fun and adventure for middle-graders:
In Sunny Weber’s novel From Wild to Mild, Australian Shepherd Kaya is kidnapped by a coyote where she struggles for years to fit in. Her life is upended when she’s caught in a trap, rescued by animal aid workers, and brought to live on a farm with its owner, Laurie, and a friendly community of farm animals. Kaya’s task is to tame her wild skittishness and recognize her purpose in a place where she’s accepted and loved for whom and what she is. Read review.
In Enchanted Everglades by G.A. Kowatch an airboat ride through the Everglades results in a crash, landing pre-teens Ocean and Ellen in a jungle-like atmosphere. Suddenly, with the help of a legendary Seminole ghost, they realize they can communicate with animals. They meet an alligator and his cohorts: a naive, soft-shelled baby turtle and a wise wood stork who are intent on helping the adolescents find their way home. Read review.
The Mighty Adventures of Mouse the Cat by Louis Paul Degrado highlights a young cat’s courageous mission to save animals trapped in a shelter. But the mission’s outcome is uncertain, as the journey to the country, which will be the freed animals’ destination, is full of dangers, from ferocious wild dogs to bloodthirsty raptors. As the story unfolds, readers witness Mouse’s insightful leadership and the team’s courageous acts. Read review.
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