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Reader name: Gina
Hometown: Northeast Wisconsin
Favorite genre: Medical memoirs; paranormal stories involving magic; anything revolving around Christmas or Thanksgiving

In her note to BookPage, Gina mentioned that she reads “about three books a week on average.” No wonder she needs some new recommendations!

The Cost of Hope is a recently published memoir that I’d suggest for people interested in medical ethics. In the book, author Amanda Bennett details her husband’s fight with kidney cancer. After his death, she tallied the cost of his treatment (covered by insurance)—more than half a million dollars. She tries to answer two key questions: Where did that money go? And was it worth it?

I also recommend Origins by Annie Murphy Paul, a memoir that explores the world of the fetus during the nine months of pregnancy. This blend of memoir and medical fact-finding will appeal to readers interested in those crucial months before birth.

Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook is a must-read paranormal story that begins with a fabulous hook: The protagonist wakes up in a park, surrounded by bodies. She has no memory of who she is, so she assumes the identity of a bureaucrat in a magical secret society—then tries to find out who’s trying to kill her.

strangers at the feast jacketIt may be the last day of August, but many readers enjoy holiday stories all year long. Strangers at the Feast by Jennifer Vanderbes takes place on Thanksgiving Day. In 2010, BookPage reviewer Amy Scribner wrote: “It’s a day fraught with
. . . hurt feelings, tipsy misunderstandings, sibling squabbles over long-simmering resentments. But what ultimately happens . . . is much more sinister.” Read this one, then hope for a more peaceful Thanksgiving at your own house this year!

Reader name: Alissa
Hometown: Lapeer, Michigan
Favorite genre: Fiction; quirky humor; chick lit romance (but not paranormal); fantasy (but no vampires or faeries)
Favorite books: Going Bovine (Libba Bray); Keeper (Kathi Appelt); the Summer trilogy (Jenny Han); Beastly (Alex Flinn)

Alissa is a teen librarian, and she tells us that “99.99%” of her reading is in the YA genre.

Based on Alissa’s list of favorites, I’d recommend she read Cinder by Marissa Meyer, a futuristic story of a cyborg Cinderella. For a scary spin on Hansel and Gretel, read A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, about a brother and sister who live in a world of untrustworthy adults and must rely on each other. This novel would make a perfect pairing with Sweetly by Jackson Pearce, a YA twist on Hansel and Gretel.

Continuing with the theme of terrifying teen novels (Halloween is coming up, after all!), I recommend The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, a chilling story that combines a gothic atmosphere with plenty of gore. (And don’t miss the follow-up: The Curse of the Wendigo.)

If you like contemporary YA fiction à la Jenny Han, I suggest you read a new debut about family and first love: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick. The two teens at the heart of this novel balance “family responsibilities, work, worries about friends and questions about their futures,” writes BookPage reviewer Deborah Hopkinson. This is a book that will cause teens (and adults!) to turn inward and reflect on the story for days.

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