The Wrath and the Dawn

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Title: The Wrath and the Dawn

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Summary: Khalid, the dangerous and mysterious young Caliph of Khorasan, has an unsettling habit: He marries a new young girl from his city of Rey each night, only to have them killed each following dawn, strangled by a silken cord. One of the most recent victims of his bewildering cruelty was Shiva, the dearest friend of Shahrzad, daughter of a former vizier. Planning to exact revenge, Shahrzad volunteers to be Khalid’s next bride. While she is able to survive the first night of her marriage due to her skill as a charming storyteller, her place in the palace as Calipha is not secure and she is in constant danger from everyone around her. Meanwhile, outside the city, Shahrzad’s childhood friend and first love Tariq plots to free Shahrzad and the kingdom of Khorasan from the tyrannical rule of the hated Khalid. Of course, there is more to the Caliph than meets the eye. As an improbable connection begins to form between the married strangers, a tale of curses, true love and political intrigue begins to swirl that is as mesmerizing as one of Shahrzad’s nighttime tales.

This dynamic, un-put-downable page-turner is an outstanding debut by author Ahdieh. It is a fascinating retelling of The Arabian Nights and a great interpretation of its narrator, Scheherazade. There is romance, intrigue, adventure and even a dash of the supernatural to satisfy most readers, even those who are not interested in the revived trend of updated and fractured fairy tales. With the second book in the series, The Rose and the Dagger, due in 2016, you’ll want to get your hands on this title as soon as possible.

Who will like this book?: Readers who like intrigue and love-triangle romance with a dash of the supernatural. Fans of historical fiction based in non-European settings.

If you like this, try this: The forthcoming A Thousand Nights by Emily Kate Johnson. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt. The original Arabian Nights tales, found in many translations. For mature readers, another fairy-tale retelling along these themes, Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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srsly Hamlet

hamletTitle: srsly Hamlet

Author: William Shakespeare and Courtney Carbone

Summary: I am a hardcore bardolator – I love Shakespeare. I read his plays for fun. I get really excited when new productions of his plays, especially the ‘boring’ historical ones, come to town. I’m the first person in line to see the latest movie adaptation. And yes – I am recommending a series of books that retells some of the greatest plays ever written using emojis. I know what you are thinking – I need to reconsider my membership to the Shakespeare Fan Club. I’m the last person I’d ever think would say this, but these books are so much fun! I expected to ‘hate-read’ them but as I kept turning pages, I found the design of the book, featuring not just emojis but all sorts of modern communication techniques, to be very, very charming. Take a look:

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These books are quick and light and probably best suited to readers who have already read the original plays or seen productions or film adaptations. Sometimes you just need a good laugh and these books provide that, making them perfect for end-of-summer reading. As the adapter of this volume, Courtney Carbone states perfectly in her dedication: “To all my extraordinary English teachers, I’m sorry.”

Who will like this book?: This book would put a smile of the face of pretty much any reader. It might make some Shakespeare lovers angry, but it’s all in good fun!

If you like this, try this: More books in the OMG Shakespeare series, including YOLO Juliet and the forthcoming Macbeth #killingit and A Midsummer Night (no filter). If you are interested in learning more about Shakespeare’s plays, along with his life and times, try DK’s The Shakespeare Book. And if you want to take a deep dive, read Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human by critic Harold Bloom.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

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Title: The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin

Author: Josh Berk

Summary:  Self-deprecating, incredibly witty, bright, and highly observant are just a few words that describe Will Halpin.  However, as the new kid at Carbon High Will Halpin is defined only by his hefty size and his inability to hear.  Luckily, Will is not the type of guy to let others define him or control his actions.  So, when the star quarterback is pushed down a mine shaft on a class field trip it is Will Halpin who secretly steps up to solve this murder mystery.  Will finds himself teamed up with the second least popular kid in school, Devon Smiley, to solve a crime where everyone is a suspect, including the porkrinds-eating bus driver, the ever-inappropriately dressed young math teacher, the most beautiful girl in school, and the weird kid who talks to his fingers.

Who will like this book:  While this is a mystery, the real draw of this book are the characters.  Readers who enjoy a clever outsider-type character who possesses a sardonic wit will appreciate Will Halpin and his side-kick, Devon.   

If you like this, read this:  Any book  by Jordan Sonnenblick. Going Bovine by Libba Bray.  Repossessed by A.M. Jenkins.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

I Am Not a Serial Killer

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Title: I Am Not a Serial Killer

Author: Dan Wells

Summary: John Wayne Cleaver is not a serial killer…yet. He might be a sociopath: He has no empathy for others and cannot relate to their messy, irrational feelings. To keep the monster inside him at bay he meets with a psychiatrist and follows strict rules of his own creation – no stalking, no obsessing, and no imagining what people would look like as bleeding corpses…Until the day a body turns up behind the laundromat.

And not just any dead body – one that has been mutilated and appears to be missing parts. John is convinced it means a serial killer is in their midst. When he decides to track down the killer, John gets much more than he bargained for. As he embarks on an intense, violent journey of self-discovery, John must outwit his demonic adversary and keep the evil inside him under control.

Who will like this book?: This book is recommended for older, mature teens – it is not for the weak of stomach or faint of heart. Readers of intense fiction who don’t mind a little bit of the supernatural mixed in with an otherwise realistic story. If you are a fan of the TV shows Dexter or Criminal Minds, you’ll love this book.

If you like this, read this: My Father’s Son by Terri Fields. Acceleration by Graham McNamee. Killing Britney by Sean Olin.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Columbine

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Title: Columbine

Author: Dave Cullen

Summary: On April 20, 1999, two boys entered their high school and proceeded to unleash the most unforgettable school shooting of the modern era. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were troubled outcasts in black trench coats, picked on by jocks and preps, who, after years of listening to angry music and playing violent video games, finally snapped.

Or were they? Actually, none of these accepted facts about the young killers are true. In this absorbing book for mature readers, a reporter who was on the scene that day and followed the story long after the tragedy of school shootings became seemingly commonplace, dispels the myths behind the shooting, its perpetrators, and even its victims. Everyone knows what you mean when you say ‘Columbine,’ but not one of us has ever heard the whole story until now.

Who will like this book?: Mature teen readers interested in crime and detection stories. 

If you like this, try this: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser. A mature fictional work that deals, in part, with Columbine and it’s aftermath, The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian