Book Recommendations From The Public Library

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Are you looking for a good beach read as summer winds down? Perhaps you’re seeking a story to capture your son or daughter’s interest as they enjoy the last few weeks before school starts. Librarians from Mountain Road Library shared their recommendations for a range of audiences.

“Will's Red Coat” by Tom Ryan (Adult Nonfiction)
Recommended by Bill Contarino, Mountain Road circulation assistant

From the author of “Following Atticus,” this is a story of an old dog that was neglected and despondent but was able to recover with the patience and understanding of Tom Ryan. This story is heartbreaking, uplifting and honors what's possible in all of us, at any stage in life.

“The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants” by Eric Litwin (Children’s Picture Book)
Recommended by Bill Contarino, Mountain Road circulation assistant

Hazel nut wants to sing and dance, but all the other family is too busy. This is a great singalong-style book children ages 3 to 5 really enjoy. It’s available as a Vox book, a print-meets-audio book all in one.

“Hey, Kiddo” by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Teens)
Recommended by Sandy Murphy, Mountain Road Library associate

The author tells his life story in this graphic novel about being raised by his tough-living but fiercely loving grandparents. Jarrett's mother is a heroin addict who is in and out of rehab and jail and his father has never been part of his life. He finds that he has a skill for drawing, and it helps him work through some dark times as he struggles with his mother's absence and drug addiction. This book is honest, raw and sometimes sad but shows that if you don't give up you can survive and thrive.

“If the Creek Don't Rise” by Leah Weiss (Adult Fiction)
Recommended by Sandy Murphy, Mountain Road Library associate

This book is set in the 1970s in a poor community called Baines Creek in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Seventeen-year-old Sadie Blue finds herself pregnant and newly married to Roy Tupkin, a mean-spirited man with a cute grin. Knowing she needs to change her life, she finds support in a cast of authentic and colorful characters. If you are a fan of character-driven, southern literature this book is for you.

“The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors” by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Adam Rex (Children’s Picture Book)
Recommended by Natalie Benjamin, Mountain Road Library associate

Drew Daywalt is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling children's author whose books include “The Day the Crayons Quit” and “The Day the Crayons Came Home.” His humor continues in his version on the origins of the classic argument-ending rock, paper, scissors. The story is hilariously told, and if you read it in your best performance voice, it will leave your children in tears … the good kind, not the sad kind. It’s awesomely illustrated by Adam Rex, who gives life to these ordinary everyday objects that are ready for battle. This is a nostalgia book for adults and a new spin for children. One for the ages!

“The Day the Earth Caved In” by Joan Quigley (Adult Nonfiction)
Recommended by Natalie Benjamin, Mountain Road Library associate

“The Day the Earth Caved In” is an unprecedented account of the nation's worst mine fire, beginning on Valentine's Day, 1981, when 12-year-old Todd Domboski plunged through the earth in his grandmother's backyard in Centralia, Pennsylvania. Personally, having grown up in Northeastern Pennsylvania where coal was king, I found the history behind the Centralia mine fire fascinating and relatable. Today, Centralia is a ghost town only attracting tourists to the “painted highway,” inspiring horror movies and video games, such as “Silent Hill.” The town was once a thriving community filled with families who later had their lives pulled out literally from beneath their feet, left with nothing but a buyout to move. This riveting story, complete with cover-ups, greed, and history, will leave you wondering, “How can this be real?”

“We're Not From Here” by Geoff Rodkey (Young Adult Fiction)
Recommended by Samantha Zline, Mountain Road Library manager

Refugees from Earth, in search of a new home, are invited to planet Choom. But after their 20 years in cryosleep, they awake at the new world and discover they are no longer welcome. The alien beings on the planet have reviewed Earth's history and have decided humans are too volatile to coexist with the aliens that already inhabit the world. After some debate, it is decided that one family can come to the planet to represent the entire human race! Lan, his sister Ila and his parents are sent down to Choom as a test to see if the rest of the humans are worthy. And you thought your first day of school was nerve-wracking!

This book was a lot smarter than I thought it was going to be. With the cover image featuring two large aliens that look like giant insects, I assumed it would just be goofy fish-out-of-water story with Lan bumbling around, embarrassing himself. And while there are lots of comedic moments, this story has a lot more going on beneath the surface.

“This Was Our Pact” by Ryan Andrews (Young Adult Fiction)
Recommended by Samantha Zline, Mountain Road Library manager

I picked up this book not knowing anything about it; I just found the cover art intriguing - the group of kids on their bikes, pedaling off into the night. And it started simple enough, with a boy struggling through a bit of peer pressure. Ben's friend from his younger days, Nathaniel, is now too “nerdy” for him to hang out with for fear of also being labeled a nerd, so Ben leads his new group on an adventure. They make a pact to follow the lanterns down the river, promising never to turn back. Nathaniel overhears their plans and follows them, much to Ben's chagrin. But as the rest of Ben's new friends find excuses to go home, he finds that only Nathaniel has stayed by his side on this adventure.

As the pages turned, it felt like a Studio Ghibli story, with a world that is similar to our own but with some magical things hidden in the corners. But at the core of this story is the friendship of Ben and Nathaniel and how they find each other again after growing apart.

“Apocalypse Taco” by Nathan Hale (Young Adult Fiction)
Recommended by Samantha Zline, Mountain Road Library manager

If you're a fan of “Stranger Things,” this strange tale is one you don't want to miss. While on a late-night run for tacos, three students find themselves first attacked by a box of nachos and then sucked into an underground world. But things are not always as they seem! This is a creepy sci-fi read that will not only make your skin crawl but also make you think about science experiments in a whole new way!

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