10 Great Nonfiction Books at CA Library

Here’s a list of some of the best new nonfiction titles available at CA Library that feature starred reviews:

Attucks! Oscar Robertson and the Basketball Team That Awakened a City by Phillip Hoose — “In 1950s Indiana, the success of a black high school’s basketball team drove integration despite overwhelming odds. Excessively readable, this should appeal to sports fans and those looking for a good book about the civil rights era” (Booklist).

Blacklisted! Hollywood, the Cold War, and the First Amendment by Larry Dane Brimner — “A tightly focused, meticulously detailed account of the 1947 House Un-American Activities Committee hearings that led to the Hollywood blacklist. More broadly, Brimner offers a cautionary tale about the damage done to individuals and society when constitutional rights are denied by officials sworn to uphold them” (Booklist).

Bonnie and Clyde: The Making of a Legend by Karen Blumenthal — “This exquisitely researched biography examines the romantic image that made Bonnie and Clyde folk heroes despite the violence they spread. An extraordinarily successful resource about a painful time in history and a complicated, infamous pair” (Booklist).

Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge — “This conscientious look at the Vietnam War focuses on the author’s interviews with eight people–soldiers, refugees, medics, Vietnam natives, and more. With an impressive amount of well-chosen photographs, this is a necessary look at a factious time in American and world history” (Booklist).

Buried Lives: The Enslaved People of George Washington’s Mount Vernon by Carla Killough McClafferty — “This handsome, well-documented book explores slavery at Mount Vernon in George Washington’s day and introduces six enslaved people who worked there. With meticulous back matter linking quotes to many primary sources as well as more recent works, this is an enlightening presentation on slavery in the late 1700s” (Booklist).

Crash: The Great Depression and the Fall and Rise of America by Marc Favreau — “With lucid writing and well-chosen archive photos, Favreau explains the 1929 stock market crash, subsequent depression, and how the resulting poverty affected the U.S. An enlightening and very readable book on a complex historical period” (Booklist).

The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler by John Hendrix — “Dynamic artwork and stirring text combine in this biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which also offers eloquent historical context. A poignant, compellingly presented, and timely account of a brave individual who lived his life with true conviction” (Booklist).

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka — “A moving, artful memoir of the comic artist’s complicated upbringing, his mothers heroin addition, and his ever-growing love of art. There have been a slew of graphic memoirs published for youth in the past couple of years, but the raw, confessional quality and unguarded honesty of Krosoczka’s contribution sets it apart from the crowd” (Booklist).

Just Mercy (Adapted for Young Adults): A True Story of the Fight for Justice by Bryan Stevenson — “Lawyer and social-justice advocate Stevenson brings the topic of mass incarceration to a teen audience, urging the compassionate treatment of prisoners. Classrooms and book groups will find plenty to discuss and debate. Compassionate and compelling, Stevenson’s narrative is also unforgettable” (Booklist).

Spooked! How a Radio Broadcast and The War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America by Gail Jarrow — “Jarrow dives deep into Orson Welles’ notorious radio broadcast, the panic it sparked, and its parallels with modern media hoaxes. An enriching bridge that connects history with current events” (Booklist).



New and Continuing Series

Many of the new books we get at the library are the beginnings of exciting new series, or the next titles in established series. Here are some of the latest books available in the library that are part of a series:

The Crimes of Grindelwald: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling — Continuing the film series that started with Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, The Crimes of Grindelwald finds the powerful Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald captured in New York with the help of Newt Scamander. But, making good on his threat, Grindelwald escapes custody and sets about gathering followers, most unsuspecting of his true agenda: to raise up pure-blood wizards to rule over all non-magical beings.

The Devil’s Thief by Lisa Maxwell — In the second book in The Last Magician series, Esta and Harte set off on a cross-country chase through time to steal back the elemental stones they need to save the future of magic. “This sequel needs a scorecard and seat belt, switching quickly between several characters and locations, and the action is fast and furious” (Booklist).

For A Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig — In this first book of a new series by Heilig (The Girl From Everywhere, The Ship Beyond Time), Jetta, a teen who possesses secret, forbidden powers, must gain access to a hidden spring and negotiate a world roiling with intrigue and the beginnings of war. “This start to a new trilogy is fast-paced and gripping while also offering readers a thoughtful commentary on the long-lasting ramifications of war and colonization” (School Library Journal starred review).

Impostors by Scott Westerfeld — While not a direct sequel to the best-selling Uglies series by Westerfeld, Impostors is set in the same world — one that is rapidly descending into chaos. Frey and Rafi are twin sisters, but few people know of Frey’s existence, because she has been raised to be her sister’s body double and lethal bodyguard, while Rafi has been raised to further the family’s political power. “Even if readers aren’t familiar with the original series, they’ll still enjoy this well-paced novel from start to finish” (Booklist).

Light Years by Kass Morgan — Ender’s Game meets The 100 at an interstellar military boarding school in this romantic new series by best-selling author Kass Morgan. After centuries of exclusivity, the Quatra Fleet Academy finally accepts students from the settler planets, forcing four teenagers from different backgrounds, with different ambitions, motives, and missions, to work together to outmaneuver a mysterious alien enemy. “The many space-combat scenarios are convincing enough to thrill ardent Trekkies. A fun, fast-paced read laced with a froth of space romance” (Kirkus Reviews).

A Map of Days by Ransom Riggs — The fourth volume in the best-selling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. After having saved the peculiar world, Jacob Portman is back in Florida with his peculiar friends, where they set out on a journey across America to discover the truth about Jacob’s grandfather. “Riggs’s latest installment is a fast-paced and compelling addition to this unique mythology. As in the previous books, found snapshot photographs illustrate the text, offering a refreshing confirmation that the Peculiars are among us — and have been all along” (School Library Journal).

Otherearth by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller — Return to the series BuzzFeed compared to Ready Player One in the second book in a new fast-paced trilogy from bestselling authors Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller that’s perfect for fans of HBO’s Westworld. After discovering terrifying information about Otherworld, the Company’s high-tech VR gaming experience, Simon and his friends are on the run, searching for Simon’s old roommate. He may just be the key to shutting the Company down, although if they don’t find him in time, it may be too late for not only them, but for all of humanity. “Fans will be onboard for the ride and left with just enough of an appetite for more, while newcomers will be compelled to seek out the original” (Kirkus Reviews).

Rule by Ellen Goodlett — Three Dark Crowns meets Pretty Little Liars in this striking new fantasy duology from debut author Ellen Goodlett. The three secret daughters of the king of Kolonya must compete for their father’s throne, all while evading a blackmailer who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets. “An epic fantasy adventure…[with] death threats, political intrigue, and just the right amount of romance. A great purchase for libraries with strong readers and fantasy lovers” (School Library Journal).

Sunny by Jason Reynolds — In the third book in Reynolds’ best-selling Track series, Sunny, the Defenders’ best runner, only runs for his father, who blames Sunny for his mother’s death, but with his coach’s help Sunny finds a way to combine track and field with his true passion, dancing. “This series continues to provide beautiful opportunities for discussion about viewpoint, privilege, loss, diversity of experience, and exactly how much we don’t know about those around us” (Booklist starred review).

The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen — In the first book of a new series by best-selling author Nielsen (Mark of the Thief, The False Prince), Kestra Dallisor has been summoned back to Antora by her father after three years in exile. When she is intercepted and kidnapped by the Coracks who want to use her to get the Olden Blade, which they believe can be used to kill the seemingly immortal king, Simon, one of the rebels with his own grudge against the Dallisors, is assigned to accompany her — but Kestra has her own plans and she does not intend to let anyone get in her way. “An otherworldly story with a side of fantasy on the surface, the setup and struggle feels universal. This is clearly the first of a series, as the ending is just the reckoning that some much larger battle is at hand” (School Library Journal).

The Traitor’s Ruin by Erin Beaty — In this second book in The Traitor’s trilogy (following The Traitor’s Kiss), the spy Sage Fowler has completed her training and is comfortably situated as the royal tutor — but only longs to be reunited with her betrothed: Captain Alex Quinn. As a way to be near to him again, she accepts a secret mission only to continuously clash with Quinn’s gruff demeanor, until they are separated and she ends up in enemy territory. “Plentiful action scenes, unflinching but never gratuitous violence, and a smoldering yet still-chaste romance should keep readers’ appetites whetted for the third installment” (Kirkus Reviews).

Best YA Books of 2018

With much fanfare, here it is — CA Library’s Best YA Books of 2018! With so many great books out there, it can be a daunting task to pick out the best of the best. After spending a few weeks compiling titles from various sources, I came up with the books that appear on the most lists.

This year, I again tried to include as many reputable best books lists as I could find. I go to my usual sources of book reviews (School Library JournalBooklist, etc.), then check out a few other media outlets that have year-end reviews as well. Here are my Top 26 Best Books list sources of 2018…

Each list is a little different — some include just fiction or nonfiction, some include both, and some include books for all ages, from which I pick the ones written for teens and young adults (again, it’s a daunting task!)

This year, of the 26 lists I drew from, two titles showed up on an amazing 17 of them: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.

One book was on 13 best-of lists: Sadie by Courtney Summers.

Three books appeared on 12 lists: What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka and The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert was on 10 lists, and Justina Ireland’s Dread Nation and Tahereh Mafi’s A Very Large Expanse of Sea each appeared on 9 lists.

Four books were on 8 best-of lists: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram, and Pride by Ibi Zoboi.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCollough and The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang both appeared on 7 lists, rounding out the 15 books that make up the CA Library Best YA Books of 2018 Superlist!

The Best of the Best…

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo — When Xiomara Batista, who pours all her frustrations and passion into poetry, is invited to join the school slam poetry club, she struggles with her mother’s expectations and her need to be heard. “Poignant and real, beautiful and intense, this story of a girl struggling to define herself is as powerful as Xiomara’s name: ‘one who is ready for war'” (Kirkus starred review).

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi — Seventeen-year-old Zélie, her older brother Tzain, and rogue princess Amari fight to restore magic to the land and activate a new generation of magi, but they are ruthlessly pursued by the crown prince, who believes the return of magic will mean the end of the monarchy. “Adeyemi’s devastating debut is a brutal, beautiful tale of revolution, faith, and star-crossed love” (Publishers Weekly starred review).

Sadie by Courtney Summers — Told from the alternating perspectives of nineteen-year-old Sadie who runs away from her isolated small Colorado town to find her younger sister’s killer, and a true crime podcast exploring Sadie’s disappearance. “The fresh, nuanced, and fast-moving narrative will appeal to a range of YA and new adult readers, and serves as a larger examination on the way society interacts with true crime…A heartrending must-have” (School Library Journal starred review).

What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera — Told in two voices, when Arthur, a summer intern from Georgia, and Ben, a native New Yorker, meet it seems like fate, but after three attempts at dating fail they wonder if the universe is pushing them together or apart. “Albertalli and Silvera balance cynicism and starry-eyed optimism to paint an honest, compelling picture of adolescent romance. Part feel-good, part star-crossed, this seamless blend of the authors’ styles will appeal to fans old and new alike” (School Library Journal starred review).

Hey, Kiddo: How I Lost My Mother, Found My Father, and Dealt with Family Addiction by Jarrett J. Krosoczka — A profoundly important memoir about growing up in a family grappling with addiction, and finding the art that helps you survive. “A compelling, sometimes raw look at how addiction can affect families. A must-have, this book will empower readers, especially those who feel alone in difficult situations” (School Library Journal starred review).

The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan — After her mother’s suicide, grief-stricken Leigh Sanders travels to Taiwan to stay with grandparents she never met, determined to find her mother who she believes turned into a bird. “An evocative novel that captures the uncertain, unmoored feeling of existing between worlds—culturally, linguistically, ethnically, romantically, and existentially—it is also about seeking hope and finding beauty even in one’s darkest hours” (Kirkus).

…and the Rest of the Best!

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert — When the scary, magical world in her grandmother’s book of dark feminist fairy tales becomes real, seventeen-year-old Alice, partnered with Ellery, an obsessed fan of the fairy tales, must enter the world to rescue Alice’s kidnapped mother.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland — Jane McKeene is born two days before the dead begin to walk the battlefields of Civil War-era America—derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. Years later, Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do from the restless dead.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi — It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped. Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. But then she meets Ocean James, the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know her.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black — Jude, seventeen and mortal, gets tangled in palace intrigues while trying to win a place in the treacherous High Court of Faerie, where she and her sisters have lived for a decade.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton — In a world where beauty is a commodity only a few control, beautiful Camellia learns the dark secrets behind her powers and is asked to choose between saving herself or changing her world forever.

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram — Clinically-depressed Darius Kellner, a high school sophomore, travels to Iran to meet his grandparents, but it is their next-door neighbor, Sohrab, who changes his life.

Pride by Ibi Zoboi — Pride and Prejudice gets remixed in this smart, funny, gorgeous retelling of the classic, starring all characters of color. Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCollough — In Renaissance Italy, Artemisia Gentileschi endures the subjugation of women that allows her father to take credit for her extraordinary paintings, rape and the ensuing trial, and torture, buoyed by her deceased mother’s stories of strong women of the Bible.

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang — When Prince Sebastian confides in his dressmaker friend Frances that he loves to masquerade at night as the fashionable Lady Crystallia, Frances must decide if Sebastian’s secret is worth a lifetime of living in the shadows.