Sultry September Staff Picks

Slip these sultry specimens in your satchel of "to-reads!"

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Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781982168438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - September 28th, 2021

Anthony Doerr, author of the best selling novel All the Light We Cannot See, has written a story that will stay with you forever! Cloud Cuckoo Land connects the distant past, with the wounded planet of the present, and the terrifying future that surely awaits us!  Doerr’s story has the gift of stretching time, using an ancient Greek manuscript to interconnect these time periods, reminding us that we humans are all part of Earth’s story; knowing where we came from, and understanding the mistakes of the present that will affect the future of those that come after us. All I can say is WOW! This novel carries so much food for thought, and I just can’t shake it! 

“There is nobility in being part of an enterprise that will outlast you.” A. Doerr

-Virgie

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Great Circle: A novel Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780525656975
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 4th, 2021

Every few years I am lucky enough to read a masterpiece, a big compelling story, characters who get under your skin- whom you can’t wait to get back to every evening, sentences that take your breath away, storytelling that reveals superb craftsmanship, books like Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese) or Jacob de Zoet (David Mitchell) or Circe (Madeline Miller).

Great Circle is one of these books. Inspired by Amelia Earhart, Shipstead grapples with “being” in the world, with the small wins and the boundless sky and the disappointment of returning to earth. Fly with Marian Graves. You will be richly rewarded.

-Ron

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What We Carry: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781643858470
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alcove Press - August 10th, 2021

Twenty-five percent of pregnancies result in a miscarriage, and Cassidy is one of the “one in four.” It’s astounding to observe the anger, fears, insecurities, and pain of the once-confident Cassidy when she loses her child four months into her pregnancy.  It’s not only Cassidy who feels the pain. Consider her husband, family, and close friends whom she closes herself off to. Her relationships take a real beating, and this does not appear to help Cassidy move on.  Author Fogarty has experienced a miscarriage herself, and has written this fictionalized story to shed light on a painful topic, helping others to understand and empathize with those “one in four.” 

-Virgie

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Station Eleven: A novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385353304
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - September 9th, 2014

Station Eleven follows a troupe of actors traversing the American landscape, risking all for the chance to spread their art to what remains of civilization after a ravenous illness wipes out most of the worlds’ population. Through the cast of authentic and believable characters, we get glimpses at the world that once was, and at how humanity perseveres after society collapses. It is elegant, quiet, yet radiant and absolutely stunning - a true work of art.

If you liked The Stand by Stephen King, you may like this book.

-Marissa

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A Slow Fire Burning: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780735211230
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - August 31st, 2021

This thrilling murder mystery, written by the bestselling author of The Girl on the Train, will keep you guessing until the very end! One young man is brutally murdered, and three women with separate connections to the victim, are suspects. These women have one thing in common; they have been victimized in their own ways, and in order to simmer their resentments, they’re “burning” to get even with what life has dealt them! The themes of betrayal, retaliation, and loss are entwined within the characters, and new twists are cleverly dispensed in bite-sized bits!  I must admit that I changed my predictions several times throughout this story. It’s a great read, and I dare you NOT to read it in one night!

-Virgie

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Hollow Kingdom Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781538745823
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - August 6th, 2019

Have you ever wondered what the end of the world would look like from the point of view of our beloved pets? Trust me, you really need to know. Hollow Kingdom is by far the liveliest horror read I’ve found in quite some time, and the experience was a total blast. Full of moments of gut-busting humor and others of absolute terror, at this books’ core you will also find threads of hope and optimism that will move and inspire you. I know that it did that for me.

If you like this book, you may also like Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament by S.G. Browne, and World War Z by Max Brooks.

-Marissa

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Fault Lines: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063099807
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Custom House - September 7th, 2021

This novel takes a hard look at marriage and what is important in the long run. Mizuki, a Japanese housewife living in Tokyo, is disillusioned with her 10-year marriage. Her successful husband has faded into the background, and she feels like she’s in a cage without bars, screaming to only deaf ears. Maybe her college years spent abroad in the US can contribute to her dissatisfaction! Nevertheless, Mizuki is tired of her dreary, domestic relationship and is prime for something different. This is when the fault line of her marriage cracks open! Will her relationship survive or perish?

-Virgie

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The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois: An Oprah's Book Club Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062942937
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - August 24th, 2021

This book will absolutely win prizes, and you should devour it (like I did) before that happens.  This is a compelling multi-generational family saga taking place in rural Georgia, from before European colonization all the way to the modern-day.  Every single character is someone you’ll find yourself invested in.  The writing is second to none, and any reader will be unsurprised to find that Jeffers is actually a published poet several times over.  The title is taken from the works of civil rights activist W.E.B Du Bois (pronounced Du BOY-CE) and I recommend reading his other writings as well, mostly The Souls Of Black Folks.

-Jenna

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Lightning Strike: A Novel (Cork O'Connor Mystery Series #18) Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982128685
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria Books - August 24th, 2021

This novel, a prequel to the Cork O’Connor mystery stories, takes place on an Indian Reservation in 1963, and the sentiment of the present-day Native Americans’ concerns echo from the time of this novel setting; anger about their land being stripped from them, and their children being marched off to boarding schools. Liam O’Connor is an Irish cop from Chicago, who now presides over the Ojibwe Reservation in northern Minnesota. Living with his Indian wife and son, Cork, in a community near the reservation, Liam is constantly reminded that he is not “one of them.” Some people call him “squaw man sheriff.” When a beloved Ojibwe, Big John, is found hanging in the woods, it’s Liam’s job to determine if this was a suicide or a murder. In a community that finds it easy to point the finger of blame on someone “different” Liam has to open his mind and perspective to solve this mystery, and his young son, Cork, is watching his every move! This is an intriguing story that will help you better understand the events that shaped Cork’s life. It certainly held my interest until the very end!

This book is for fans of Krueger’s mysteries; Sulfur Springs, This Tender Land, Manitou Canyon, and Desolation Mountain.

-Virgie

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Persephone Station Cover Image
$27.00
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781534414587
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - January 5th, 2021

On a backwater planet, in a highly suspect bar, in a backroom, a group of morally dubious but altruistic mercenaries find themselves caught up in something much bigger than themselves. Swept up in company politics, a truly intelligent AI’s agenda, and the mysteries of Persephone Station itself, Angel and her crew of mercs must now figure out what the hell they got into with this most recent job.

This is a book for folks who love a heist and multiple angles spinning into one another. Leicht’s writing kept my attention through every twist and turn this story took. I loved all of the characters, even the evil ones. If a queer space opera with a heist sounds good to you, then read this book. Even if it just sounds ok to you, read this book.

-Izzy

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Ariadne: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250773586
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 4th, 2021

I’m a sucker for a good retelling of an old tale, and Ariadne did not disappoint. 

Ariadne learned from an early age that the gods prefer to punish the sins of men by raining cruelty down on their women, as evidenced by her mother Pasiphae’s awful encounter with a bull and the subsequent birth of the half-bull half-human known as the Minotaur. As Ariadne grows up under the Minotaur’s threatening presence, she comes to resent her traumatized, absent mother and her cold father, Minos. When given the opportunity to help the prince of Athens - Theseus - defeat the Minotaur for good and strip Minos of his power, Ariadne jumps at the chance. Heroes, however, do not always live up to their reputations. 

If you liked Circe by Madeline Miller, then you will love this book!

-Megan

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Winter's Orbit Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250758835
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Books - February 2nd, 2021

Content warning: Mentions of verbal and physical abuse 

Kiem didn’t think anyone would take him seriously enough to put him in the midst of a treaty crisis via a rushed marriage contract, but here he is. Jainan is still reeling from the sudden and suspicious death of his partner Prince Taam, but is bound by duty to keep the treaty stable. But the treaty that maintains peace between planets is more precarious than either of them initially understood. As they begin to investigate Taam’s death and all that surrounds it, Kiem and Jainan sink into a torrid web of intergalactic politics.

This is quite a beautiful book. It’s all about relationships and communication… but in space. 

-Izzy

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Project Hail Mary: A Novel Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780593135204
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - May 4th, 2021

Project Hail Mary is the perfect book for a biology and sci-fi freak like myself. Weir combines his aptitude for grounded scientific stories with an interstellar setting, for one of, if not the most, interesting Sci/Fi concepts I have ever read. A recovering amnesiac, Ryland Grace is not a perfect man, but he is a perfect character. Grace is laugh-out-loud funny and able to stir up emotions on a whim. This book will appeal to seasoned and new sci-fi fans alike. 

-Ely

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The Program Cover Image
$12.99
ISBN: 9781442445819
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - March 4th, 2014

Content warning: Suicide 

The third-floor windowpane of Sloane's high school is sealed shut. Just in case anyone gets the urge to jump. Which, in Sloane’s case, a third of her teenage peers take that jump. With suicide now being an international epidemic, a facility called The Program becomes instated. A care center that extracts an individual's memories to erase any pain or suffering from their mind. The idea of the place is to free those under the age of 18 of the now seemingly abundant depression. Yet Sloane knows the truth. Those who come back from The Program are not better or even happier. The Program survivors have lost touch with themselves and their reality. Sloane feels uncomfortably numb in this world as she watches her classmates, friends, and family get dragged off into a system that erases more than just memories. It erases people. 

-Liesel

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The Last Wish: Introducing the Witcher Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780316029186
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Orbit - May 1st, 2008

The Last Wish is a breath of fresh air in a flooded genre of monsters and magic. Instead, Andrzej Sapkowski fills the pages with tales of magical monsters (big Difference), and a compelling cast of characters to fight them. An anthology is a perfect format for an introduction to the Witcher, and a glimpse into Geralt’s life on the Path.  

-Ely

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I Am Not Okay With This Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781683961932
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Fantagraphics - November 6th, 2018

Now a live-action Netflix series I Am Not Okay With This explores the life of Sydney, a 15-year-old with some strange abilities. Sydney struggles with coming of age in a suburban town filled with unsavory characters. Like much of Charles Forsman’s other work, this is a bitter take on how harsh puberty really is. I enjoy how genuine Sydney is as a protagonist. Seeing both the ugly truth and the wholesome beauty of every moment kept me right there with her the whole time. 

If you enjoy I Am Not Okay With This a great follow-up would be End of the FXXXing World also by Charles Forsman.

-Jonah


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Invincible Compendium Volume 1 Cover Image
By Robert Kirkman, Cory Walker (Artist), Ryan Ottley (Artist)
$64.99
ISBN: 9781607064114
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - August 30th, 2011

The Invincible Comics exist in a heavily saturated area of satirical superheroes, but while comics like “The Boys” take an extremely one-sided stance of “What if superheroes were bad”, Invincible takes the road less traveled and explores what happens when a person you love, the Superman of your world, turns out to be the villain. This exciting twist on a worn-out genre allows for Robert Kirkman, creator of “The Walking Dead”, amongst others to write new and inventive stories that utilize super-powered individuals in amazing ways. I cannot recommend these comics enough.

-Ely


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Light From Uncommon Stars Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250789068
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - September 28th, 2021

Deals with the Devil, soul-saving violins, donuts, and gay space adventures. Fall into this beautiful story of three women and their search for the value of a soul. Light From Uncommon Stars scratches the wanderlust itch of mine that is rarely scratched. Ryka Aoki has a graceful way of pulling me in and leaving me suspended among the stars. 

If you like Light From Uncommon Stars you may like Winters Orbit by Everina Maxwell.

-Jonah

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Tales from the Gas Station: Volume One Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781732827813
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Jack Townsend - February 7th, 2019

We’ve all been there, those strange corners of the world, hidden where we’re all looking; unassuming but under a surface of spilled soda decades old you find something… off. Jack works in one such liminal space. Burdened with a rare condition of terminal insomnia, he waits out his final days in the shady gas station at the edge of town (you know the one), where anything is possible if you can fend off the mutant raccoons that is.

Originally a hit Creepy-Pasta, Tales is a hilariously dark comedy-horror and impossible to replace, this is by far my favorite story in recent years, don’t let this series sneak by you!

-Ryan


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The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982102548
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - September 7th, 2021

I knew Zoraida Cordova as a powerhouse of an author in the young adult realm, and Orquidea Divina has been such a ride as an adult novel! I can tell I’m going to be obsessed with her for the foreseeable future.  If you, like me, became immersed in anything having to do with Central American folklore after Mexican Gothic came out, this is your next favorite read. I promise! Here we step into a story about a family with ties to their Ecuadorian heritage and contemporary American roots. Reading this book is like stepping into a mythic desert oasis where the characters are both strange and familiar.  Mostly, it is a story about the power of stories, and how our family tales tie us to each other.  And hey! If those stories have magic and curses, all the better to rope you in with my dears…

-Jenna

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The Bones of Ruin Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781534453562
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Margaret K. McElderry Books - September 7th, 2021

Iris cannot die. This comes in handy in her line of work, a tightrope walker with a traveling circus. She also cannot remember her life before the circus, but she kinda feels like she’s always running from or towards something. When Adam, a young man with too much money and a membership to a secret society/doomsday cult, finds her she begins to remember her past. Adam coerces her into joining a battle between folks with powers with more secrets of her past. Iris fights, makes friends with, and learns more and more about her fellow freaks and starts to doubt her role in this battle. As she competes and remembers more of her past, Iris’s past and current identities start to clash. Will she succumb to her past self’s violence, or will the person she has become remain?

-Izzy

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School of Fear Cover Image
$8.99
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780316033275
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - September 7th, 2010

School of Fear, #1 in a wonderful trilogy, is a book I would recommend to anyone and everyone! Her hilarious and creative writing had me crying laughing and highlighting sentences that I want to reread over and over again. The quirky, cute, and mostly straight-up weirdness of this story stuck with me for years, so much so that I had to buy another copy and reread it 10 years later. Harry Potter meets Lemony Snicket with many twists and turns in this amazing, all-ages, book!

-Hallie

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Beasts and Beauty: Dangerous Tales Cover Image
By Soman Chainani, Julia Iredale (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062652638
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins - September 21st, 2021

This collection of 12 classic stories is retold in a completely new way. Chainani’s retellings harken back to the fairy tale’s darker roots. They can be a little scary, a little happy, but always excellent. I enjoyed the twists and turns down the paths, and the dark little corners waiting to be discovered.

-Izzy

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You Are the Blue Sky Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781736839409
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Know Your Nature LLC - July 12th, 2021

In You are the Blue Sky, Sarah Kostin translates the Three Principles philosophy of self into a personal, courageous, and peaceful message about being in the world. In 40-50 simple, succinct, conversational essays, she may not convince you, but she will stir your inner self, inspire you, and leave you warm, fuzzy, full of optimism and pushing away thoughts to lavish in the beauty that is the Blue Sky.

-Ron


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Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light: Essays Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780385546157
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - July 13th, 2021

This collection of essays concerning Helen Ellis’ life will bring you to your knees with laughter!  Whether Helen is chatting to you about water parks or menopause you’re going to want to hear what she has to say.  I always love comedic books in audio format, especially when they are read by the author like this one is, because it feels like having a front-row seat to a stand-up comedy special.  This is for anyone who loves Chelsea Handler or David Sedaris!

-Jenna

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The Secret Life of Fungi: Discoveries From a Hidden World Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781643137858
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pegasus Books - September 7th, 2021

Want to feel like you are talking to your kinda crazy but really cool British aunt about fungus? Then this is the book for you! The Secret Life of Fungi is a lovely reflection on this kingdom and all the ways it impacts everyday sciences, history, and life. It is a truly delightful jaunt through this endlessly fascinating subject.

-Izzy


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Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393351903
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 28th, 2015

A wonderful snapshot at a strange, tumultuous, and (and rather ashy) time of her life, this memoir was an absolute treat, despite the macabre nature. Doughty has a unique talent at bringing a relatable levity to her subject matter and does it better than anyone. Follow a young Caitlin, unsure of her place in an LA-based funeral home, as she regales you with the reasons why she started, and with the lessons learned there. Not just a book for those of us with a more morbid fascination, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes has a little something for everybody.

-Ryan

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Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781324001935
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 14th, 2021

What happens when a bear breaks into your Aspen mansion? What happens when a monkey kills a person? How can you bring an elephant to justice? Mary Roach writes about how or if human laws apply to the wild animals we live with. She travels around the world to explore how human-animal conflicts are resolved and how this changes depending on the cultural context. This fascinating subject is made even more accessible with Roach’s humor and frank writing style.

Fuzz is full of facts for you to whip out at your next happy hour, but more importantly, it is a joy to read.

-Izzy


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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781400052172
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown - February 2nd, 2010

It’s very likely that you have read about, or even been personally affected by, the legacy that Henrietta Lacks left behind, without knowing anything about the woman herself. But thanks to Rebecca Skloot’s intimate reporting of this extraordinary story, we get a full look at the life of a woman who inadvertently changed the world, the fascinating medical drama surrounding her, and the devastating repercussions that followed. To read this book is to ensure that Henrietta Lacks does not remain forgotten, and instead be commended for her contribution to the world as we know it today.

If you enjoy this, you might also like The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

-Marissa

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Facing the Mountain: A True Story of Japanese American Heroes in World War II Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780525557401
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - May 11th, 2021

In Facing the Mountain Daniel James Brown (Boys in the Boat) tells two heroic stories. One is the story of Japanese Americans interred in prison camps during World War II. The other is the story of those families' native-born boys who despite the maltreatment of their families, enlisted in the 442nd Army battalion and fought with extraordinary bravery to help win the war in Europe. Told through the eyes of four now old men, Brown pays homage to the sacrifice of Japanese Americans in WWII.

-Ron

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Choose Your Own Adventure Spies: Spy for Cleopatra Cover Image
By Katherine Factor, Gabhor Utomo (Illustrator)
$7.99
ISBN: 9781937133788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chooseco - May 1st, 2021

I love the entire idea of Choose Your Own Adventure books, and this one is especially great because it deals with one of the most fascinating figures in ancient history, Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Egypt.  There are 24 different endings in this one and they take you from Alexandria to Rome and modern-day to ancient adventures! So many cool historical figures make appearances, including Caesar, Hypatia, and Mark Antony, not to mention a god or two. This whole series of CYOA books are excellent for voracious readers, or even read aloud bedtime stories! Especially if you have a kid who loves the same story, but you can’t stand to read it even one more time.

-Jenna


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Pony Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780553508116
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - September 28th, 2021

R. J. Palacio, the author of Wonder, has created a heart-warming story about a boy, his kidnapped father, a pony, a counterfeit ring, and two sheriffs. Ten-year-old Silas is on a manhunt by means of a magical pony, and with the help of his imaginary friend, Mittenwool. The story is full of action, courage, and unlikely connections that bind the characters, both living and dead! If you love adventure and solving mysteries, then I’m certain this is the book for you!

-Virgie

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Bear Island Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250317162
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - January 26th, 2021

Bear island broke, warmed, and healed my heart all in its few colorful pages. This story, about a little girl named Louise who is sad about the loss of her family dog, Charlie, touches on points about loss, healing, and acceptance of things you can't change. This book may be a little sad, but its ending gives hope for the future and hope for healing. If you need a story that comforts and understands, this book is for you!

-Hallie

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