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Beauty queens book cover
Beauty queens book cover

Beauty queens

Libba Bray

YOUNG ADULT FICTION Bray, Libba
Fiction, Young Adult, Adventure

When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

What happens when a plane full of teenage beauty queens crashes on a desert island? Instead of going full Lord of the Flies, they build a successful society! This book is hilarious and heartfelt, but it also is deeply satirical and intriguing. Plus, it has great diversity representation! -Amanda

We have always lived in the castle book cover
We have always lived in the castle book cover

We have always lived in the castle

Shirley Jackson

eAUDIO

This audiobook is probably the best I've ever listened to! The narrator masterfully tells the story and captures the unique voice of each character. This book is creepy, atmospheric, and intense. And, the audiobook is less than 6 hours long--perfect for road trips! -Amanda

The house of the seven gables : a romance book cover
The house of the seven gables : a romance book cover

The house of the seven gables : a romance

Nathaniel Hawthorne

FICTION Hawthorne, Nathaniel
Fiction

Hawthorne's tale about the brooding hold of the past over the present is a complex one, twisting and turning its way back through many generations of a venerable New England family, one of whose members was accused of witchcraft in 17th century Salem. More than 200 years later, we meet the family in its decaying, gabled mansion, still haunted by the presence of dead ancestors: Hepzibah, an elderly gentlewoman fallen on had times; her ineffectual brother, Clifford; and young Phoebe, a country maiden who cheerfully takes it upon herself to care for her two doddering relations. There's also Holgrave, a free-spirited daguerreotypist, who makes a surprising transformation into conventional respectability at the story's end. These people seem to be symbols for Hawthorne's theme more than full-bodied characters in their own right. As such, it can only be difficult for today's young adults to identify with them, especially since they are so caught up in a past that is all but unknown to present day sensibilities. Talented Joan Allen, twice nominated for Academy Awards, reads the tale in a clear, luminous voice. Because she has chosen not to do voices, however, it is sometimes difficult to tell which character is speaking. Still, she is more than equal to the task of handling Hawthorne's stately prose in a presentation that will be a good curriculum support for students of Hawthorne or those seeking special insight into this work of fiction. Carol Katz, Harrison Library, NY.

Hear me out. We were all forced to read The Scarlet Letter in high school (and you really should reread it, because it actually is a pretty great book) and you might feel compelled to move on to someone else's book, but The House of the Seven Gables is good! First, there is a curse that dates back to Puritan misdeeds involving witchcraft allegations. And there is a lot of drama between the current generation of the Pyncheon family, involving inheritance, destitution, insanity, and murder. Of course, a young, pretty cousin, Phoebe, comes to town and begins charming everyone, including the mysterious boarder/historian/daguerreotype enthusiast, who is investigating what happened to the Pyncheon family in the 17th Century. Or does the boarder have ulterior motives? Oh, it is a fantastic novel. Both Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and H.P. Lovecraft hailed the book as "weird." -Anne M

Final girls : a novel book cover
Final girls : a novel book cover

Final girls : a novel

Riley Sager

FICTION Sager Riley
Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Suspense

Emerging as the lone survivor of a serial killer's massacre a decade earlier, Quincy Carpenter struggles to ignore traumatic memories and move on as one of a group of other survivors who look to her for answers when one of them is found dead in a suspicious suicide.

I never read scary books, but I absolutely loved this one! Strong women, a really compelling plot, and a plot twist that's still haunting me nearly a month later. I can't recommend this book enough! -Amanda

Storm front book cover
Storm front book cover

Storm front

Jim Butcher

SCIENCE FICTION Butcher, Jim
Science Fiction

As a professional wizard, Harry Dresden knows firsthand that the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things—and most of them don’t play well with humans. And those that do enjoy playing with humans far too much. He also knows he’s the best at what he does. Technically, he’s the only at what he does. But even though Harry is the only game in town, business—to put it mildly, stinks.

So when the Chicago P.D. bring him in to consult on a double homicide committed with black magic, Harry's seeing dollar signs. But where there's black magic, there's a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry's name...

How did I miss this series when it first came out? Starring Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresdin, the only practicing detective wizard in Chicago, this series started back in 2000, Currently there are 15 books in the series, but it has also been made into graphic novels, a role playing game, and a short lived television series. The audio books, performed by James Marsters (Buffy's Spike) are addicting. You've been warned. -Beth

The perfect stranger book cover
The perfect stranger book cover

The perfect stranger

Megan Miranda

FICTION Miranda Megan
Suspense

"In the masterful follow-up to the runaway hit All the Missing Girls--a "fiendishly plotted thriller" (Publishers Weekly)--a journalist sets out to find a missing friend, a friend who may never have existed at all. Confronted by a restraining order and the threat of a lawsuit, failed journalist Leah Stevens needs to get out of Boston when she runs into an old friend, Emmy Grey, who has just left a troubled relationship. Emmy proposes they move to rural Pennsylvania, where Leah can get a teaching position and both women can start again. But their new start is threatened when a woman with an eerie resemblance to Leah is assaulted by the lake, and Emmy disappears days later. Determined to find Emmy, Leah cooperates with Kyle Donovan, a handsome young police officer on the case. As they investigate her friend's life for clues, Leah begins to wonder: did she ever really know Emmy at all? With no friends, family, or a digital footprint, the police begin to suspect that there is no Emmy Grey. Soon Leah's credibility is at stake, and she is forced to revisit her past: the article that ruined her career. To save herself, Leah must uncover the truth about Emmy Grey--and along the way, confront her old demons, find out who she can really trust, and clear her own name. Everyone in this rural Pennsylvanian town has something to hide--including Leah herself. How do you uncover the truth when you are busy hiding your own?"--

This was a bit Single White Female mixed with Thelma and Louise. It took a little bit to get into, but once it grabbed me, I was hooked! -Meredith

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