This month's BCPL's Reading Challenge is read a book that is first in a series. Here are some of our suggestions. Select any title to learn more or to request a copy. You can participate in BCPL's Reading Challenge with the help of a parent or guardian on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #Bwellread to earn prizes at the end of each month!

 

 BCPL Reading Challenge 2017 In Partnership with WBALTV

Cover art for The Adventures of Captain Underpants Cover art for Amelia Bedelia Cover art for Anne of Green Gables Cover art for Arthur's NoseCover art for The Bad Beginning Cover art for Basil of Baker Street Cover art for Beezuz and Ramona Cover art for The Big Honey Hunt Cover art for BirdCatDogCover art for Bud, Not Buddy Cover art for Cam Jansen Cover art for The Cat in the Hat Cover art for Chains Cover art for Curious George Cover art for Smoke and Bone Cover art for Delirium Cover art for Divergent Cover art for Boy Detective Cover art for Frog and Toad Cover art for The Giver Cover art for The Golden Compass Cover art for Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Cover art for Henry Huggins Cover art for Hi! Fly Guy Cover art for Hothead Cover art for How to Train Your Dragon Cover art for Hoy Volare Cover art for The Hunger Games Cover art for I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912Cover art for Jake Drake Bully Buster Cover art for Judy Moody Cover art for The Kife of Never Letting Go Cover art for Knights of the Kitchen Table Cover art for The Land of Stories Cover art for The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe Cover art for Little Bear Cover art for Little House on the Prairie Cover art for Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye Cover art for Madeline Cover art for Max Cover art for Mercy Watson to the Rescue Cover art for One Crazy Summer Cover art for Partials Cover art for The Raven Boys Cover art for Sabriel Cover art for SmileCover art for Song of the Trees Cover art for Stargirl Cover art for Steelheart Cover art for Today I Will Fly!Cover art for Virals Cover art for The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Cover art for Clifford the Big Red Dog Cover art for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Cover art for Dragons Love Tacos Cover art for Rotten Ralph


 
 

Caraval

posted by: April 26, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover art for CaravalStephanie Garber’s debut novel Caraval has taken the teen world by storm. The first in a series, Caraval will lead you on an unforgettable, magical journey full of deception, love and family.

 

Scarlett and Donatella (Tella) Dragna dream of a future outside the grip of their violent, suffocating father. For Scarlett, that future lies in an arranged marriage. Scarlett’s plan is derailed, however, when she receives a long-awaited letter from Caraval Master, Legend.

 

For years during her childhood, Scarlett wrote to Legend in vain, pleading with him to bring Caraval, a touring interactive performance show, to their island home Trisda. Now, at the worst possible time, Legend invites Scarlett, her fiancé and Tella to experience Caraval as his special guests.

 

Scarlett initially refuses Legend’s offer, but is tricked by Tella and a mysterious sailor, who cart her off to Caraval despite her objections. Convinced she should make the most of the situation, Scarlett plans to stay for only one night so she can be home in time for her wedding. All of that changes, however, when her sister goes missing.

 

Scarlett has no choice but to enter Caraval, hoping to find Tella inside. At the start of Caraval, players and spectators alike are warned not to trust anything they see: it’s all just part of the game. The winner will receive the grand prize of one wish, and the object is simple: find Donatella Dragna.

 

Scarlett finds herself in a race against time — and every other Caraval player — to find her sister. Can she navigate the labyrinth of mystery and deceit that is Caraval? Or will she fall for the illusion?

 

Caraval is a one-of-a-kind reading adventure. Garber knowingly creates an unreliable narrator in Scarlett: if Scarlett can’t trust anything in her surroundings, how can the reader trust her? “Remember, it’s only a game.”

 


 
 

Girl Mans Up

posted by: April 24, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover Art for Girl Mans UpWhat does it mean to be loyal to your friends? To respect your parents? In Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard, Pen’s life is governed by the loyalty and respect others demand from her — loyalty to her best friend Colby, even if it means aiding his womanizing; respect to her old-fashioned parents, even if their expectations of who Pen should be don’t match who Pen knows she is.

 

What does it mean to be a girl? A boy? Despite others assuming at first glance she’s a boy, Pen knows she’s a girl who likes playing video games, doing yard work and (if she ever finds someone who’s interested) dating other girls. However, her mother wants Pen to wear dresses and makeup, learn how to cook and find a nice boy to date, like Colby. Colby wants Pen to be his wingman and help him create the illusion he’s a nice guy to date because he’s friends with a girl, even if she dresses and acts like one of the guys.

 

It doesn’t matter to Pen that Colby doesn’t stay in a relationship for long, that is until two things happen: One, she meets Olivia, one of Colby’s former flings who’s keeping a secret; two, she gets a girlfriend in Blake, a fellow classmate who Colby was initially interested in dating. These two new relationships force Pen to reevaluate her role as friend and daughter and her understanding of loyalty and respect. She’ll make some hard decisions about the type of person she wants to be as well as the types of people she wants in her life.

 

Girard captures not only how complicated friendships can become as children grow into teenagers but also how hard it is to struggle with the world’s perception of who you should be and how you should act versus who you know yourself to be. Girl Mans Up is brutally honest from start to finish in its depictions of gender identity, sexuality and bullying as well as the complications that accompany strained family relationships. It’s not an easy book in terms of topic, although it is a quick read, and Pen is a strong, complex character. Readers looking for more books featuring LGBTQ characters and themes should also check out The Other Boy by M. G. Hennessey and Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown.


 
 

A Taste for Monsters

posted by: April 20, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover Art for A Taste for MonstersIf you are interested in reading a work of teen fiction, especially one that involves a Victorian tale, horror and feel good story wrapped into one, then try A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby. Within the bustling crowded streets of late 19th century London, a killer, sometimes referred to as Leather Apron but more commonly known as Jack the Ripper, terrorized the town of Whitechapel. Caught in the middle of this chaotic situation are two unlikely characters who must find a way to solve this murder mystery or face its deadly and haunting consequences.

 

Joseph Merrick, a.k.a. The Elephant Man, is a major character, and this story provides insight into how his life may have been during this time period. The physical deformities that he developed as a child caused him to experience much hardship in life that ranged from extreme discomfort to hiding underneath a mask to avoid the often unwanted attention given to him around the streets of London. Despite this, Merrick was able to befriend a doctor named Jonathan Treves, who helped him to have a comfortable stay at the London Hospital until the end of his days. Along with these historical figures, an unexpected friendship develops between The Elephant Man and a young lady named Evelyn, who is hired to be his maid. Having worked as a matchstick girl, Evelyn contracts a disease which eats away at the jaw due to phosphorous exposure. As you can already guess, physical deformities are a prevalent theme throughout the book and the author encourages the reader to reflect on who really is the “monster” in the story.

 

A teen historical fiction, this is one that not only recreates the terror of Jack the Ripper but is also about being different and finding friendship despite the bleak circumstances. Those with an interest in this time period and subject matter may also want to try The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson or Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.


 
 

The Outsiders Turns 50

posted by: April 19, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover Art for The OutsidersFifty years ago this month, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton was published. This classic in teen literature tells the story of young men in two competing gangs, the Greasers and the Socs. Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma, it is a gritty, raw look at a teenage rivalry which turns deadly.

 

The novel inspired a 1983 film adaptation directed by Francis Ford Coppola. It starred unknown young actors who would go on to great fame, including Tom Cruise, Rob Lowe, Patrick Swayze, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Ralph Macchio and Matt Dillon.

 

The Outsiders remains a cultural touchstone. Since 1967, over 15 million copies have been sold. It is a regular required read for middle and high school students and has been translated into 30 languages. According to fanfiction.net, there are 8,100 stories based on the book. And Instagram has more than 300,000 posts which use the hashtag #staygold, an inspiration from a Robert Frost poem that appears in the book.

 

Hinton was 16 when the book was published and had no idea the impact her novel would have on generations of teens. Hinton told Entertainment Weekly last year, “I was 15 when I started writing the book, but I was even younger when I first started thinking about the story, so The Outsiders has been a significant part of the majority of my life.”


 
 

This month's BCPL's Reading Challenge is read a book that takes place in Asia. Here are some of our suggestions. Select any title to learn more or to request a copy. You can participate in BCPL's Reading Challenge with the help of a parent or guardian on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #Bwellread to earn prizes at the end of each month!

 

 BCPL Reading Challenge 2017 In Partnership with WBALTV

Cover art for And The Bollywood Burglary Cover art for Boxers and Saints Cover art for The BreadwinnerCover art for Chandra's Magic Light Cover art for Children Growing Up With War Cover art for Climbing the Stairs Cover art for The Contest Cover art for A Crack in the Sea Cover art for Cracker! Cover art for Diary of a Tokyo Teen Cover art for Dumpling Days Cover art for Every Falling Star Cover art for Factory Girl Cover art for The Forbidden Orchid Cover art for Four Feet, Two Sandals Cover art for Golda Meir Cover art for The Golden Sandal Cover art for Grandma and the Great Gourd Cover art for The Green Bicycle Cover art for Hush! Cover art for I Am Malala Cover art for I Remember Beirut Cover art for I Survived the Japanese Tsunami Cover art for Ibn al-Haytham Cover art for Inside Out & Back Again Cover art for Into the Killing Seas Cover art for Jungle Adventures Cover art for The Jungle BookCover art for The Knight, the Princess and the Magic Rock Cover art for The Last Cherry Blossom Cover art for The Last King Angkor Wat Cover art for Listen, Slowly Cover art for Little Lek Longtail Cover art for Lost and Found Cover art for Malala A Brave Girl from PakistanCover art for Mission Mumbai Cover art for The Monkey King Cover art for The Monster on the Road is Me Cover art for My Beautiful Birds Cover art for Night of the Ninjas Cover art for One Half from the East Cover art for The Paper Dragon Cover art for Patrol Cover art for Rutabaga Peak Cover art for The Persia Cinderella Cover art for A Piece of Home Cover art for Ronit & Jamil Cover art for The Jungle Book Cover art for Sachiko Cover art for SadakoCover art for Samurai Rising Cover art for Saving the Ghost of the Mountain Cover art for Season of the Sandstorms Cover art for Shalom Everybodeee! Cover art for Seven Days of YouCover art for Sherlock Sam Cover art for Shooting Kabul Cover art for he Imagination Station Cover art for Ticket to India Cover art for Tiger Boy Cover art for Tuko and the Birds Cover art for The Turtles of Oman Cover art for Vietnam Cover art for Women Heroes of World War IICover art for Year of the Jungle Cover art for Let's Celebrate Diwali Cover art for The Nian Monster Cover art for The Shady Tree


 
 

This month's BCPL's Reading Challenge is read a book recommended by a librarian. Here are some of our suggestions; select any title to learn more or to request a copy. You can participate in BCPL's Reading Challenge with the help of a parent or guardian on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #Bwellread to earn prizes at the end of each month!

 

 BCPL Reading Challenge 2017 In Partnership with WBALTV

Cover art for And the Trees Crept In Cover art for As Brave As You Cover art for Asking for It Cover art for The Bad Beginning Cover art for The Best Man Cover art for Booked Cover art for Crooked Kingdom Cover art for Du Lz Tak? Cover art for A Family is a Family is a Family Cover art for The First Step Cover art for Freedom in Congo Square Cover art for Ghosts Cover art for Giant Squid Cover art for The Girl Who Drank the Moon Cover art for Grumpy Pants Cover art for The Hammer of Thor Cover art for Hare and the Tortoise Cover art for I Dissent Cover art for If I Was Your Girl Cover art for In Plain Sight Cover art for In the Shadow of Liberty Cover art for The Inquisitor's Tale Cover art for Labyrinth Lost Cover art for Leave Me Alone! Cover art for Maybe Something Beautiful Cover art for Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run! Cover art for The Passion of Dolssa Cover art for Pride Cover art for Rani Patel in Full Effect Cover art for Sachiko Cover art for Scythe Cover art for The Serpent King Cover art for The Sun is Also A Star Cover art for This Land is Out Land Cover art for Unbecoming Cover art for Uprooted Cover art for The Water Princess Cover art for We Will Not Be Silent Cover art for When We Collided Cover art for Wolf Hollow Cover art for Bringing the Outside In Cover art for A Poem for Peter Cover art for The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo Cover art for They All Saw A Cat

 


 
 

A Shadow Bright and Burning

posted by: February 15, 2017 - 7:00am

A Shadow Bright and BurningHarry Potter fans will love the magical world of A Shadow Bright and Burning, the first book in Jessica Cluess’ Kingdom on Fire series.

 

Henrietta Howell can set herself on fire, something only she and her best friend Rook know about. In their world, not all magic is created equal, especially that wielded by a woman. When Henrietta’s secret is suddenly revealed, she expects to be executed immediately. Imagine her surprise when, instead, she is dubbed the prophesied female sorcerer, the key to saving the world from the terror of the Ancients.

 

As she begins her training, however, Henrietta realizes she is not like the other sorcerers-to-be. Frustrated and alone, she seeks advice from an unexpected friend and learns of a secret that puts everything she believes into question: maybe she is not the prophesied one after all. One thing is certain, Henrietta must do whatever she can to hone her skills and blend in with her fellow trainees. Her life, and the lives of everyone around her, depends on it.

 

A Shadow Bright and Burning is a great introduction to what promises to be a powerful and enlightening series. Cluess puts an enchanted spin on an age-old tale: triumph in the face of inequality, something readers of all ages can relate to.


 
 

Rani Patel In Full Effect

posted by: February 6, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover art for Rani Patel In Full EffectRani Patel In Full Effect is the debut young adult novel by author and child psychologist Sonia Patel, a resident of Hawaii and devout hip-hop enthusiast born to Gujarati parents. The novel follows the life of Rani Patel, a teenager living on the island of Molokaʻi with her mother and father. Rani is similarly devoted to '80s and '90s hip-hop music and shares much of the author’s background and heritage, but even with all of the obvious similarities, Rani is a fully developed character in her own right and should not be written off by readers as a “self-insert” author proxy. We see her grow and change over the course of the book, and to say that Rani Patel In Full Effect chronicles a tumultuous period of the titular character’s life would be putting it mildly. At times, the events and subject matter are downright unsettling — which is important.

 

Rani Patel is not a typical young adult novel protagonist. She isn’t white, to begin with, or shoe-horned into any particular high school caste, or fighting to save the world. Patel’s novel is, at its core, about trauma, and she does an outstanding job depicting the realities of recovery, if not the time frame. This book pulls no punches, and I respect the hell out of that and enjoyed reading it thoroughly. Sonia Patel is clearly interested in talking about the realities of being a teenager — not an adult’s notion of what that means — and the end product is dark. Very, very dark. But so is that reality, sometimes. Yet through music and the love and support of friends and family, Rani learns how to express what she’s gone through and finally acknowledge that her feelings and fears are valid.

 

And don’t get me wrong, this book isn’t all darkness. In addition to a cast of characters as culturally rich and diverse as Hawaii itself, Sonia Patel’s narrative is sprinkled through with '90s hip-hop slang and native Hawaiian phrases that let the reader play interpreter (supported by a helpful glossary, of course), and I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the poetry and raps that Rani labors over for the entirety of the novel. I would love to see Sonia Patel, who raps herself, drop the Rani Patel mixtape in the future, but the words stand on their own merit on the page and the author’s detailed description of every beat laid down by “DJ Skittles” make it easy for the reader to transport themselves to the pavilion at Pala’au State Park where Rani’s crew performs.

 

Rani Patel In Full Effect is a refreshing and important addition to the culture of YA novels as a whole. It covers so many bases and demographics normally marginalized by the mainstream that I don’t even know where to begin. Rani herself is an Indo-American teenager, acutely aware of her own sexuality, whose life has been defined by men her entire life, just like her mother and grandmother before her. She fights for native Hawaiian rights with her friends and she strives to be the first woman in her family to get an M.D. Interwoven with Rani’s story, Sonia Patel writes about the crystal meth epidemic that has plagued Hawaii for decades and decries a toxic tourist culture that preys on residents. As far as first books go, Rani Patel In Full Effect is a knockout. You can learn more about Sonia Patel’s writing endeavors and work in child psychology at her website, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram, where she will occasionally grace her followers with clips of her rap skills and sick dance moves.


 
 

Labyrinth Lost

posted by: February 2, 2017 - 7:00am

Cover art for Labyrinth LostFor some, having magic run in your family would be pretty cool; you could heal injuries, conjure light and even talk to the dead. But for Alex, who watched magic drive away her father and distort her memories of her favorite aunt, magic is nothing but trouble and pain. Seeking to escape her family’s struggles, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her magic. But in Zoraida Córdova’s Labyrinth Lost, rejecting the gifts of your ancestors comes with horrific consequences, and Alex is going to have to work very hard to fix her mistake if she ever wants to see her family again.

 

The trouble begins on Alex’s Deathday, the day her entire family (living and dead) gather to bestow their blessings on a bruja, or witch, newly come into her power. When Alex damages the cantos they were performing, she calls an entity known as the Devourer, who then steals her family away. To rescue them, Alex will have to journey to the world of Los Lagos, an in-between limbo where nothing is what it seems, accompanied by Rishi, her best friend, and an untrustworthy brujo named Nova. There, she’ll have to face horrific monsters, powerful curses and her own painful memories as she begins to understand not only her role as one of the most powerful bruja in a generation, but also her place in the long tradition of her family.

 

Córdova expertly blends Latin American traditions, Latinx culture and urban fantasy to create a fresh, richly detailed story filled with diverse characters, but Labyrinth Lost isn’t just about magic. Alex’s physical journey may take her through the twisted wonderland of Los Lagos, but her emotional journey requires her to work through her fears and anger in learning to accept her family’s love and acceptance.

 

Fans of the book should know this is the first of the Brooklyn Brujas trilogy, although there’s no publication date yet for the second book. Readers who enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone or When the Moon Was Ours should consider giving Labyrinth Lost a try.
 


 
 

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