Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear by Robin Wasley
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
1w ago
Those who favor fantasy literature laced with an apocalyptic zombie thread will likely enjoy Dead Things Are Closer Than They Appear by Robin Wasley. The plot revolves around seventeen-year-old Isidora (Sid) Spencer who claims to have no best self; she is one self without a qualifier. This adopted Korean girl has an adopted brother, Matt Spencer, whom she loves deeply but doesn’t know completely. Matt has a secret: he is a Guardian of the fault-line in Llewellyn (Wellsie) where the ghosts look like rainbows made of smoke. People come to Wellsie “to stand where magic lies sealed beneath the ear ..read more
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K Is in Trouble by Gary Clement
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
1w ago
A graphic novel organized in five parts, K Is in Trouble by Gary Clement tells the story of young K. Although K has ambitions and hopes to be a writer someday, he more often finds himself misunderstood and admonished. As he navigates a world of mostly unkind adults, K tries to please but rarely receives compliments. Ultimately, this is a quick read on the absurdities of childhood. K talks to a beetle, converses with a crow, and finds himself tricked by a talking carp. These creatures have more patience with K than any of the adults he encounters. Posted by Donna ..read more
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Sail Me Away Home by Ann Clare LeZotte
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
1w ago
Set in the early 1800s, Sail Me Away Home by Ann Clare LeZotte tells the story of Mary Elizabeth Lambert. Mary, a deaf-mute living in Chilmark, Massachusetts, travels to Paris to return with ideas for starting a school in the Americas for the non-speaking deaf population. Like a bee pollinating flowers, Mary hopes to return with methods that will enable the languages of the deaf and the speaking to converge. Born with hereditary deafness, something that was not an anomaly in Martha’s Vineyard from 1740 to the late 1800s, Mary is determined “to treat all—no matter their dress, parentage, or how ..read more
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Duel by Jessixa Bagley and Aaron Bagley
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
1w ago
Written by Jessixa Bagley and illustrated by Aaron Bagley, Duel is a graphic novel about family relationships as much as it is about fencing. With creative word play and pictures, the pair tell the story of Lucy and Georgia (Gigi) Jones whose passion is fencing, a passion developed by their father and passed on to his two daughters. When Dad unexpectedly dies, the girls and their mother forget how to be a family, and soon, they are in turmoil. Feeling inadequate and unsure of themselves, the two tweens take out their frustrations on one another. Pushed to her limits, Lucy challenges her sister ..read more
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I Hope This Doesn’t Find You by Ann Liang
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
1M ago
Set in Melbourne, Australia, I Hope This Doesn’t Find You by Ann Liang features Sadie Wen and Julius Gong, two teens who are on a trajectory to future success. Having researched the highest-paying job and the most in-demand degrees, Julius plans to be a lawyer and Sadie a data analyst. Both young people attend Woodvale Academy, a selective high school for gifted students and populated predominantly by other young Asians. At Woodvale, “dreams, [like astronaut, playwright, and artist] are shattered and hobbies are traded for more stable, lucrative, practical careers” (130). Sadie has perfect gra ..read more
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Heroes by Alan Gratz
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
1M ago
Set in Oahu, Hawaii, in 1941, Heroes by Alan Gratz is a novel about the attack on Pearl Harbor. Two thirteen-year-old boys: Stanley Summer and Frank McCoy, whose fathers are pilots for the U.S. Navy, bond over their love of comic books. The two see the fleet of ships on Battleship Row as a metaphor for superheroes: the Justice Society of America. Frank is a writer and Stanley an illustrator. Together, they invent characters, write their origin stories, and draw them into situations where they emerge as heroes. However, Frank feels a bit like a fraud. Ever since The Incident in Florida, their l ..read more
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Wander in the Dark by Jumata Emill
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
1M ago
Jumata Emill writes a killer murder mystery with his new young adult novel, Wander in the Dark. It will lead readers down circuitous paths as they attempt to follow the clues and resolve the murder of Chloe Danvers. Set in New Orleans at the time of mardi gras in February, the novel features the family drama of Marcel and Amir Trudeau. The two teen brothers are estranged, however, because their father, Martin Trudeau is himself guilty of adultery. Now the famous chef is married with a second family who seems to have it all in Amir’s eyes: connections, cash, and closeness. When Marcel invites A ..read more
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Just Keep Walking by Erin Soderberg Downing
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
2M ago
Set in Minnesota, Just Keep Walking is a middle grade novel written in part to encourage resilience and perseverance in tweens. Erin Soderberg Downing creates twelve-year-old Josephine Conlan, aka Jo, to carry her message about not giving up in the face of adversity and challenge. Jo’s older brother, Jake, is in college now, and her dad side-stepped into a new family despite his promise to take his daughter on the Superior Hiking Trail the summer of her seventh grade year.  With all of her alone time, Jo experiences “too many uncomfortable silences. Too much time to think about the way th ..read more
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Artifice by Sharon Cameron
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
2M ago
Any reader who enjoys genre bending and a good mystery will likely appreciate Artifice by Sharon Cameron. Set in Amsterdam in 1943-1946, the novel is most clearly a historical fiction piece about the Holocaust, but it’s not “just another Holocaust story.” In this account, Cameron focuses on the efforts of Resistance workers who set out to save the children. An estimated 600 Jewish toddlers and babies were saved from death in the concentration camps. It is also a story about art. Isa De Smit lives in a home that houses Gallery De Smit, a place that is “full of art and artists. Lessons in her mo ..read more
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Remember My Story by Claire Sarnowski
Phoenix Book Company Blog
by Donna
2M ago
Remember My Story by Claire Sarnowski with Sarah Durand recounts the memories of the author who befriends Alter Wiener, a Holocaust survivor, when she is only nine years old. The main purpose of the book is to share the truth that remembering the history of atrocities like the Jewish genocide can help prevent intolerance, violence, and hate. After hearing Alter Wiener’s presentation about his surviving the concentration camps, Claire is inspired by his attitude to “become better, not bitter.” Despite their huge age gap—Alter is 87—the two become fast friends, and together they spread the messa ..read more
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