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      Danny Constantino’s First (and Maybe Last?) Date

      by Paul Acampora

      Oct 2020

      PG Middle Plus

      When Danny Constantino asks his old-friend-turned-Hollywood-movie-star, Natalie Flores Griffin, to his local school dance and homecoming parade, she surprises him…by saying yes! Unfortunately, now everyone in Cuper Cove has something to say about Danny’s love life—especially since Natalie is the hometown hero. Throw in herds of TV reporters and NFG groupies, his mom using Natalie’s arrival for free publicity, and a pep rally gone horribly, horribly awry, and Danny’s left absolutely clueless in this new world of crushes and becoming (kind of) famous.

      The Contradictions

      by Sophie Yanow

      Oct 2020

      Graphic Novels High Plus

      Sophie is young and queer and into feminist theory. She decides to study abroad, choosing Paris for no firm reason beyond liking French comics. Feeling a bit lonely and out of place, she’s desperate for community and a sense of belonging. She stumbles into what/who she’s looking for when she meets Zena. An anarchist student-activist committed to veganism and shoplifting, Zena offers Sophie a whole new political ideology that feels electric. Enamored—of Zena, of the idea of living more righteously—Sophie finds herself swept up in a whirlwind friendship that blows her even further from her rural California roots as they embark on a disastrous hitchhiking trip to Amsterdam and Berlin, full of couch surfing, drug tripping, and radical book fairs.

      Capturing that time in your life where you’re meeting new people and learning about the world—when everything feels vital and urgent—The Contradictions is Sophie Yanow’s fictionalized coming-of-age story. Sophie’s attempts at ideological purity are challenged time and again, putting into question the plausibility of a life of dogma in a world filled with contradictions. Keenly observed, frank, and very funny, The Contradictions speaks to a specific reality while also being incredibly relatable, reminding us that we are all imperfect people in an imperfect world.

      Like Spilled Water

      by Jennie Liu

      Oct 2020

      Mature Young Adults Plus

      Nineteen-year-old Na has always lived in the shadow of her younger brother, Bao-bao, her parents' cherished son. Years ago, Na's parents left her in the countryside and went to work in the city, bringing Bao-bao along and committing everything to his education.

      But when Bao-bao dies suddenly, Na realizes how little she knew him. Did he really kill himself because of a low score on China's all-important college entrance exam? Na learns that Bao-bao had many secrets and that his death may not be what it seems. Na's parents expect her to quit her vocational school and go to work, forcing Na to confront traditional expectations for and pressures on young women.

      Trowbridge Road

      by Marcella Pixley

      Oct 2020

      Advanced Readers Plus

      It’s the summer of ’83 on Trowbridge Road, and June Bug Jordan is hungry. Months after her father’s death from complications from AIDS, her mother has stopped cooking and refuses to leave the house, instead locking herself away to scour at the germs she believes are everywhere. June Bug threatens this precarious existence by going out into the neighborhood, gradually befriending Ziggy, an imaginative boy who is living with his Nana Jean after experiencing troubles of his own. But as June Bug’s connection to the world grows stronger, her mother’s grows more distant—even dangerous — pushing June Bug to choose between truth and healing and the only home she has ever known.

      Trowbridge Road paints an unwavering portrait of a girl and her family touched by mental illness and grief. Set in the Boston suburbs during the first years of the AIDS epidemic, the novel explores how a seemingly perfect neighborhood can contain restless ghosts and unspoken secrets. Written with deep insight and subtle lyricism by acclaimed author Marcella Pixley, Trowbridge Road demonstrates our power to rescue one another even when our hearts are broken.

      It’s Girls Like You, Mickey

      by Patti Kim

      Oct 2020

      Upper Elementary & Junior High Plus

      For the first time in her confident, bold life, Mickey McDonald is nervous about starting school. Her best friend, Ok, has moved away; her father has probably left town for good; and she can’t afford to go back-to-school shopping. But she’s going to make the most of things because that’s the kind of person Mickey is. Nothing’s going to stand in her way or get her down.

      Still, the first few days of school are rough, until she becomes friends with Sun Joo, who has just moved to town. Their connection is instant and strong. But things get complicated when Sydney, the popular (and mean) girl in Mickey’s class, also takes a shine to Sun Joo. Suddenly Mickey is facing her first ever friend breakup, and it’s getting harder and harder to keep her chin up. Luckily, Mickey’s made of tough stuff.

      Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From

      by Jennifer De Leon

      Oct 2020

      High-Interest High Plus

      Liliana Cruz is a hitting a wall—or rather, walls.

      There’s the wall her mom has put up ever since Liliana’s dad left—again.

      There’s the wall that delineates Liliana’s diverse inner-city Boston neighborhood from Westburg, the wealthy—and white—suburban high school she’s just been accepted into.

      And there’s the wall Liliana creates within herself, because to survive at Westburg, she can’t just lighten up, she has to whiten up.

      So what if she changes her name? So what if she changes the way she talks? So what if she’s seeing her neighborhood in a different way? But then light is shed on some hard truths: It isn’t that her father doesn’t want to come home—he can’t…and her whole family is in jeopardy. And when racial tensions at school reach a fever pitch, the walls that divide feel insurmountable.

      But a wall isn’t always a barrier. It can be a foundation for something better. And Liliana must choose: Use this foundation as a platform to speak her truth, or risk crumbling under its weight.

      10 Things I Hate about Pinky

      by Sandhya Menon

      Oct 2020

      PG High Plus

      Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.

      Samir Jha might have a few…quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.

      Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions she’s made (a.k.a. boyfriends she’s had), she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer.

      When Samir’s internship falls through, leaving him with an unplanned summer, he gets a text from Pinky asking if he’ll be her fake boyfriend in exchange for a new internship. He jumps at the opportunity; Pinky’s a weirdo, but he can survive a summer with her if there’s light at the end of the tunnel. As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they'll never forget.

      Not Your All-American Girl

      by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

      Oct 2020

      Realistic Fiction Middle Plus

      Lauren and her best friend, Tara, have always done absolutely everything together. So when they don't have any classes together in sixth grade, it's disastrous. The solution? Trying out for the school play. Lauren, who loves to sing, wonders if maybe, just maybe, she will be the star instead of Tara this time.

      But when the show is cast, Lauren lands in the ensemble, while Tara scores the lead role. Their teacher explains: Lauren just doesn't look the part of the all-American girl. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the everygirl star from Pleasant Valley, USA?

      From amidst the ensemble, Lauren tries to support her best friend. But when she can't bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again?

      Triple Threat

      by Mike Lupica

      Oct 2020

      Sports Middle Plus

      When twelve-year-old Alex makes up her mind to join her middle school’s football team, she doesn’t expect it to be easy. But she also never anticipated she’d be met with scorn and derision from her exclusively male teammates. Football has always been a source of happiness for Alex. She and her single father never miss a Steelers game on TV, and Alex knows she has a talent for throwing the perfect spiral. But the guys suck the joy right out of the game for Alex—going out of their way to trip her up during tryouts, and teaming up against her just to watch her fail. Suddenly, Alex is the lowest she’s ever felt. But if getting QB is worth it to her, she’s going to have to fight for it.

      With Mike’s signature fast-paced, heartfelt writing, he expertly explores gender inequality in football with nonstop sports action.

      I’ll Be the One

      by Lyla Lee

      Oct 2020

      Young Adults Plus

      Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls can’t dance. Shouldn’t wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves.

      But Skye dreams of joining the glittering, intense world of K-pop, and, to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother have set for girls like her. She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else. When Skye nails her audition, she’s immediately swept into a whirlwind of countless practices, shocking performances, and the drama that comes with reality TV. What she doesn’t count on are the highly fat-phobic beauty standards of the Korean pop entertainment industry, or her sudden media fame and scrutiny.

      Luckily, she doesn’t have to go it alone. In the competition, Skye meets new friends and finds herself partnered with fellow competitor Henry Cho, an unfairly cute celebrity model. Sparks soon fly, and with the support of her friends and Henry, Skye sets her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-size K-pop star—by winning the competition without losing herself.

      Take Me with You

      by Tara Altebrando

      Oct 2020

      City High School

      Eden, Eli, Marwan, and Allegra barely know each other beyond sharing a class or two at their Queens high school. But when they're all summoned to an empty classroom after school, they find a small cube waiting on a desk. Its sides light up with rules:
      Do not tell anyone about the device. Never leave the device unattended.

      They think it's some kind of prank. But when the device demands they take it home and take care of it, the group splinters. Their lives are complicated enough, and even those first two rules will be hard to follow. But disobeying the device may have terrifying—and even life-threatening—consequences…

      The Dream Weaver

      by Reina Luz Alegre

      Oct 2020

      PG Middle Plus

      Zoey comes from a family of dreamers. From start-up companies to selling motorcycles, her dad is constantly chasing jobs that never seem to work out. As for Zoey, she’s willing to go along with whatever grand plans her dad dreams up—even if it means never staying in one place long enough to make real friends. Her family being together is all that matters to her.

      So Zoey’s world is turned upside down when Dad announces that he’s heading to a new job in New York City without her. Instead, Zoey and her older brother, José, will stay with their Poppy at the Jersey Shore. At first, Zoey feels as lost and alone as she did after her mami died. But soon she’s distracted by an even bigger problem: the bowling alley that Poppy has owned for decades is in danger of closing!

      After befriending a group of kids practicing for a summer bowling tournament, Zoey hatches a grand plan of her own to save the bowling alley. It seems like she’s found the perfect way to weave everyone’s dreams together...until unexpected events turn Zoey’s plan into one giant nightmare. Now, with her new friends counting on her and her family’s happiness hanging in the balance, Zoey will have to decide what her dream is—and how hard she’s willing to fight for it.
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