Recent Reviews

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Violets Cover Image
Violets

Following a rural upbringing filled with rejection and abandonment, San moves to Seoul to pursue work as a typist. She instead falls into work at a flower shop, where tending to the flowers and plants brings her unexpected comfort. But when painful memories begin to rear their ugly heads, San struggles to process the loneliness she feels, and the past and present blur into one. Clean and bursting with symbolism, Violets is a portrait of a longing young woman drowning in a bustling city. Shin Kyung-sook is a master of quiet tragedy. Recommended by Mary

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Sir Ladybug Cover Image
Sir Ladybug

Get ready for the most adorable, wholesome graphic novel adventure series you ever did see! Quests always seem to find Sir Ladybug, and today is no exception. Alongside his friends Pell the herald and Sterling the squire, our title hero rescues a caterpillar from a ravenous monster (er…Chickadee)! Read and find out how he will accomplish such a feat, while teaching kids about friendship and the many different ways to be brave.

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The Hair Book Cover Image
The Hair Book

STAFF REVIEW: Perfect for read-alouds, The Hair Book is filled with bright, chunky illustrations of people wearing their hair in different ways—mostly cultural and religious hairstyles, plus a few silly ones just for fun! It’s a great way for kids to learn about hair diversity, and the sparse text makes it a quick and fun-filled read.

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My Own Way: Celebrating Gender Freedom for Kids Cover Image
My Own Way

I love the bright colors and fun illustrations in this book about gender freedom! The rhyming poem conveys so many important messages in a way that is clear, lighthearted, and accessible to kids. My Own Way is bound to be a new staple in gender-creative kid lit. Recommended by Mary

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A Magic Steeped in Poison (The Book of Tea #1) Cover Image
A Magic Steeped in Poison

Like the finest tea prepared by a practiced shénnóng-shi, Judy I. Lin’s debut—the first in a YA fantasy duology—engulfs the reader in a swirl of Chinese folklore, familial ties, and dangerous secrets. After her mother’s death by poisoned tea, Ning leaves her home village and heads to the capital to participate in a competition that could save her sister’s life. Relying upon the skills she inherited from her mother, Ning must prove herself a talented healer in order to be granted a lifesaving favor by the Princess. Meanwhile, as political unrest has everyone on edge, will the mysterious boy she meets in the capital lead her towards life or death? Recommended by Mary

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In the Margins: On the Pleasures of Reading and Writing Cover Image
In the Margins

For fans of Ferrante, or simply, of feminism, In the Margins is a slim series of lectures on reading and writing, accompanied by an essay on Dante. Oracle of oracles, Ferrante discusses process and inspirations, embarking on great, arcing tangents about other writers of note, and inviting devoted readers into her mind for a moment. She writes of writing as a transcendental act, as a becoming, as a flow of thoughts hastily and imperfectly captured. The thoughts she presents on her own novels made me want to immediately read them again, alongside the works that, in part, inspired them. Recommended by Mary

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Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes Cover Image
Real Phones and Geniune Fakes

Reading Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes felt like a dream. Each of Nicky Beer’s poems is blurred around the edges, swirling with hairspray, Marlene Dietrich, and magic tricks. The collection is funny yet emotional, blunt yet reverent, and illuminating. Each poem wraps readers in a soft blanket, but also fits them for a teased wig and sits them down in Dollywood. The story told is one of queerness, which is: a John Hughes movie, Batman, David Bowie, penicillin, and a stereoscope. Beer‘s work reads like a love letter, asking readers to embrace queerness in all its glam and tackiness. Recommended by Nikita

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Read Dangerously: The Subversive Power of Literature in Troubled Times Cover Image
Read Dangerously

Writing is often subversive, sometimes dangerous. In letters to her deceased father with whom she used to discuss writers and writing, Nafisi examines works of several authors whose subversive texts have sometimes landed them in danger. She compels us to examine these texts and others, encouraging us to read dangerously - to be moved to action through reading. In her discussion of writers and texts, Nafisi compares Iran, her birth country, to today’s United States, her adopted country. With these thought-provoking comparisons and examination of writing and texts, Nafisi has herself created a perfect book for those who read dangerously. Recommended by Nancy

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Shmutz: A Novel Cover Image
Shmutz

Felicia Berliner’s Shmutz is a tantalizing and witty journey through a woman’s struggle with tradition. Raizl is an 18-year-old Orthodox Jewish woman whose parents desperately want her to get married. While she would like to embrace the life she has always planned to lead, Raizl has a secret obsession that starts with her college-issued laptop: an all-consuming devotion to online pornography. With the unwanted guidance of a deadpan therapist, Raizl is determined to find love and change the habits she views as shameful. Schmutz is a tug-of-war between family and autonomy, between tradition and possibility, and between humor and tragedy. Recommended by Nikita

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A Brush with Love: A Novel Cover Image
A Brush With Love

A Brush with Love is an adorable niche romance that simmers with sexual tension and chemistry. Two dental students fall for each other, and Harper, the heroine, struggles with panic and anxiety as she trains to become an oral surgeon. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve read fiction with adult anxiety representation, and it’s a really amazing feeling to relate to a character in this way. Harper and Dan’s sweet, funny, sexy slow burn kept me reading for hours. I can’t wait to read more neurodiverse romances from Mazey Eddings! Recommended by Mary