Sometimes telling a story is all about retelling—tracing the thread of a long-ago series of events and finally getting it right. Minnesota student Joe Talbert discovers this when he is tasked with writing a senior citizen’s biography for a college English class. Short on options and time, Joe heads to Hillview Manor nursing home in search of potential subjects. There he meets Carl Iverson, a dying Vietnam vet who’s out on parole after serving a 30-year sentence for the rape and murder of 14-year-old Crystal Hagen.
If the picture book world has celebrities, Mac Barnett (author of Oh No!) and Jon Klassen (author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back) are two of the biggest. So when the two of them team up, it’s kind of a big deal. The last time it happened, the result was Extra Yarn, which received a Caldecott Honor, among many other accolades. Now the two have paired up again with Sam and Dave Dig a Hole, another wryly subtle, unexpectedly funny picture book about two brothers in search of something extraordinary.
Spoiled Brats is ridiculous in the very best way. It’s a short story collection that avoids the usual pitfalls because the stories work well together and don’t lose steam as they go along. A common theme (spoiled rich kids, mostly) keeps these stories cohesive, and author Simon Rich holds our interest with a unifying style—each chapter is very funny, and they’re all based on a different outlandish premise.
Everyone has thought about what three wishes they would make if they ever found a genie in a bottle. But what if you couldn’t think of three? Or, worse, what if the genie had lost his powers and couldn’t grant them anyway? This is what happens to young Emma in Cornelia Funke’s new book for young people, Emma and the Blue Genie.
Cleopatra, Nefertiti: These are the names that come to mind when thinking of the legendary female rulers of ancient Egypt. In her highly engrossing The Woman Who Would Be King, Egyptian scholar Kara Cooney shines a spotlight on Hatshepsut, Egypt’s largely overlooked, longest-ruling female pharaoh, who led her country through a period marked by peace, prosperity and architectural achievement.
While we all know George Washington as our first president and leader of American forces in the Revolutionary War, in The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson illuminates another key role he played: leading the Constitutional Convention.
Graveyards and corpses don’t usually scream romance, but Brenda Novak uses them to perfect effect in her new historical romance, A Matter of Grave Concern. Action, mystery and fascinating historical tidbits are combined in this story of unlikely—and deliciously lusty—love.
Celebrated Japanese author Keigo Higashino makes his authorial power internationally known with Malice, the latest installment in his mystery series featuring police detective Kyochiro Kaga. This well-crafted dual narrative will entice and perhaps even outwit the most seasoned mystery readers.
In 2010, the world watched the dramatic rescue of 33 Chilean miners who had endured 69 days buried a half-mile underground. The men, who agreed in advance that they would only tell their story collectively, talked to Héctor Tobar, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who had exclusive access to the miners. They were generous and unsparing as they shared their experiences with him, resulting in a narrative that’s both harrowing and deeply moving.
Contemporary young adult literature is full of teenage heroines trying to survive in a world, either real or fantastical, that has gone completely mad. Sometimes the power they find within themselves is natural, sometimes supernatural. It can be a gift or a curse. Marie Lu’s wonderful new novel has many of these familiar qualities.