Book Genre: Contemporary

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Ellen Hopkins
Becker
3

This novel in verse follows three teens--Conner, Tony, and Vanessa--as they meet and go through treatment after attempting suicide. Each is in residential facility Aspen Springs for different reasons, and they connect in different ways. As the poems, told from each of their voices, reveal their...

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Joyce Carol Oates
Jennifer D
5

“Black Water” was my first journey into the world of Joyce Carol Oates, and a perfect autumn read. Lush descriptions of the day leading up to a car accident, vignettes of the main character’s life render descriptions of the accident and subsequent entrapment in the car underwater all the more...

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Tom Robbins
Lily
5

Tom Robbins is one of my favorite authors because he can combine unrelated topics like immortality and perfumery and create poetic, flowery prose that borders on nonfiction. Like all Robbins novels Jitterbug Perfume is stylized, fanciful, and funny, but only Jitterbug Perfume...

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Ben Stroud
Brett
4

In this debut collection of stories, Ben Stroud demonstrates an amazing versatility, creating completely believable characters in a variety of contemporary and historical settings. Stroud takes us from 19th century Berlin to present day East Texas to the ancient city of Byzantium. To give you an...

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Jesmyn Ward
Mary P
3

Jesmyn Ward paints a beautiful picture of a bleak and challenging situation in this novel.  It takes place in the Mississippi Delta during the days leading up to and including Hurricane Katrina.  The characters in this novel are visceral and struggle with many difficult issues before...

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Jim Butcher
Rebecca
3

Storm Front is one of those novels that navigates a couple of genres at once, namely, fantasy (Harry Dresden, the main character, is a wizard) and crime noir (he's also a private investigator who contracts sometimes with the Chicago PD). This is not, however, a slightly-parallel world...

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Meg Rosoff
Kristi
3

Londoner Mila is traveling to upstate NY with her translator father Gil to visit his old friend Matt. But two days before they arrive, Matt disappears. He leaves behind his unhappy wife, toddler son, and beloved dog. What happened to him? Mila soon finds out that Matt has a complicated life. He...

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Meg Rosoff
CarolE
5

Mila admits that she's still technically a child, but her observational powers are strong and accompanying her father on a trip to locate Matthew, an old friend of his who has disappeared makes her aware that adult concerns impact her life.  Mila sees what many of the people around her are...

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Josh Farrar
Josh
3

  I had read A Song for Bijou, another title by Josh Farrar and decided to pick this particular book up because I like how Farrar introduces elements of Caribbean diasporic culture into his works. This book deals with a sixth grader named Annabelle who has recently moved from Brooklyn, New...

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Liane Moriarty
Dawn
4

Three women’s lives are entwined.  Cecilia, mother of three young daughters, finds a letter from her husband to be read after his death.  She decides to read it.  Her view of her husband changes radically.  Tess, mother of a six-year-old, finds out that her husband has fallen...

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Gavin Extence
Becker
4

Alex Woods hasn't had a typical life. Struck in the head by a meteor at age 10, he developed epilepsy. He's bookish and a target for bullies at school, and finds his friends elsewhere--in the scientist who first examined "his" meteor, in his neurologist, and, by chance, in Mr. Peterson, an...

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Rainbow Rowell
Kelly
3

Lincoln O’Neill isn’t necessarily happy with his life. It’s been several years since college and he is back living at home (though his mom makes delicious food) and working a job he isn’t so proud of, dreaming of his lost college love. Lincoln works as an “internet security officer” for a...

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Jay Kopelman
Josh
3

    I am old enough to remember the build up leading up to the war in Iraq and I also remember the nighty tallies of the amount of American soldiers  killed each day there. This book mentions some of the atrocities soldiers experienced early in the Iraq war and details life among...

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Neil Gaiman
Tara
4

Akin to the original Grimm fairytales, within this haunting and lyrical tale lurk terrifying monsters ripped from your worst nightmares. Sharp and quick, like a pin prick, I will likely spend an exponentially longer time thinking about the book than I spent reading it. I cried near the end of...

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David Levithan
Jennifer
4

Over the years, I've definitely heard a lot of hype about David Levithan's books. Then he went ahead and co-authored Will Grayson, Will Grayson with John Green, of whom I'm a huge...

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Edited by Dave Eggers
ShellyB
4

A mix of short stories, essays, magazine articles, and online resources, the 2012 edition also includes meeting minutes from various Occupy movements across the country.  Some of the more familiar authors in this edition are Sherman Alexie, Junot Díaz, Louise Erdrich, Jon Ronson, and Jess...

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Tracy Letts
Mary P
3

There is some heavy, heavy business going on in this play.  Even from the opening scene, I found myself thinking about the characters and the situations long after I finished reading.  I chose to read the majority of the play in one sitting so that I could imagine it as if I were...

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Mario Alberto Zambrano
Lily
5

Lotería is a dark tale told from the perspective of a young Mexican girl punctuated by vivid illustrations of lotería cards. The cards act as vignettes that slowly reveal the causes of why narrator Luz Castillo is in foster care while her sister is in the intensive care unit, her...

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Matthew Quick
Kelly
4

Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday, and he is planning on making it his last. He goes to school with his grandfather's pistol with plans to shoot his ex-best friend and then himself. He spends this day giving four gifts to some important people in his life that he wants to say goodbye to. There...

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Sara Gran
Emily
4

Oh Claire, I love you, my heart breaks for you, I want you to be my friend but honestly I don't think it would work out.

Claire deWitt should be dead, it's true, my god the things she does to her body... Ms. Gran, you write such wonderful, messy, broken, hopeful, sad, lonely, damaged,...

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David Levithan
Becker
5

From the cover and title of this one, you might think this is a love story...and you'd be right, but wrong. It's about love, but not romantic love, not entirely. The two boys kissing in the title are Craig and Harry, who are ex-boyfriends, but are attempting to break the world record in kissing...

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Thrity N Umrigar
Becker
4

Friends during the 1970s in college in Bombay, the lives of Armaiti, Laleh, Kavita, and Nishta have gone in very different directions from their days as activist students, ready to change the world. Armaiti has left for America. Nishta, admired for choosing a life with the man she loved even...

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Luis Alberto Urrea
Becker
5

I listened to this book on a recent road trip, and fell in love with the characters, the descriptions, the quest. Nayeli, a young woman from the Mexican village of Tres Camarones, and her friends have realized that there are almost no men left in their town, they have all gone north, to the U.S...

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Howard Jacobson
Lily
3

Zoo Time is a scathingly hysterical account of the current state of the publishing industry. This book is worth reading for any self proclaimed literati or bookworm merely for the dry criticism of "Oxfam, Amazon, eBooks, iPads, Oprah, apps, Richard and Judy, Facebook … the graphic novel...

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Will Self
Lily
3

If you are interested in a challenging literary read and you secretly wish for the second coming of James Joyce, then Umbrella will meet all your Modernist resurrection fantasies. Will Self uses boggling and dense language to describe the mistaken institutionalization of suffragette...