There isn’t much I can say about We Were Liars without giving it away. I can tell you that it takes place on the private island of a rich Boston family. I can tell you that it’s about a group of four friends who call themselves “the Liars”, and that there are indeed a lot of lies in the story. I can tell you that the writing is fearless, razor-sharp and beautiful, and that I read it in the space of about three hours. But as for what it’s actually about? No, I can’t tell you that. The heavy, portentous suspense in We Were Liars is the book’s best feature. The phrase “unputdownable” gets thrown around a lot with new, hyped books, but I’m gonna say it anyway: you will genuinely not put this book down until you get to the end. As it says on the back of the book: Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart; Random House; 17.99; 13+ years old
Calling all outdoorsmen and women! Camp Rex is the perfect camping book for you and your dinosaur friends. You’ll get good advice on where to set up camp, how to make a fire, and fun games you can play in the wilderness. Just make sure you don’t run afoul of the animals already living in the forest! Molly Idle returns with an adorable sequel to the tea party hit Tea Rex. Just like its predecessor, Camp Rex features absolutely beautiful art composition and gorgeous pastel colors. Almost every page in this book could be a painting on your wall!
“Nevermore!” quoth the tiniest little raven you’ll ever see. The literature-themed board book series BabyLit gets an even more adorable addition with this Edgar Allen Poe-inspired picture book. Edgar struggles through dinner, clean-up time, bath time, and bedtime stories, until his mama finally assures him that no matter what, she will love him “evermore”. Will you ever find a cuter introduction to important American literature? I think you know the answer to that…
Edgar Gets Ready for Bed by Jennifer Adams; Gibbs Smith Publishers; 16.99; 3-6 years old.
All of Triton’s mermaid daughters have special skills and interests, except for Minnow, who just seems to get in the way. Minnow asks too many questions, like “Why don’t crabs have fins?” and “Where do bubbles go?” But when Minnow finds a mysterious object, that tireless curiosity leads her on a journey to discover what it’s for, and maybe even to discover what it is that makes Minnow unique.
I love that where most mermaid books are aimed at pre-teens or teenagers, this sweet, beautifully illustrated story is for the younger set. It’s also nicely reminiscent of The Little Mermaid, without any of more “grown-up” aspects of the original story. Its simplicity, innocence, and fairy-tale feel make The Mermaid and the Shoe really stand out from the mermaid crowd.
The Mermaid and the Shoe by K. G. Campbell; Kids Can Press; 16.95; 3-6 years old
It’s taken quite a long time this year, but the air is finally chilly enough outside to start reading books about winter. One of my favorites of this upcoming season is Eileen Spinelli’s Cold Snap. It’s perfect for sharing with your loved ones as a fire roars in your fireplace (or, if you’re like me, the electric baseboard heaters warm the room) and you sip on some toasty hot chocolate.
The story is the perfect mixture of cozy and sweet, perfect for reading on a chilly day. Included is a recipe for Miss Dove’s Sugar-on-Snow Candy, which would be great to make after reading the story! Yum! The temperature in Toby Mills is COLD and as each day passes, it just gets colder and colder. Icicles are hanging from the General Toby’s statue and no one can seem to get warm. Everyone is discouraged and lonely and COLD, until the Mayor’s wife has a brilliant idea, bring the entire town together for a fun surprise to ride out the cold snap.
Stay warm, Amanda
Cold Snap by Eileen Spinelli; $ 17.99; Knopf; Ages 4+
Every season IndieBound puts out “Kids’ Next” a newsletter featuring recommendations from Indie booksellers around the country. We’re invited to write reviews throughout the year for books that we get a chance to read in advance (a perk of being a bookseller) and occasionally, reviews from our staff are featured!
In the Autumn 2012 edition of Kids’ Next, three reviews from Hooray for Books! staff made it in. Check out our recommendations:
In the section for ages 4-8, Amanda said this about Bear Has a Story to Tell:
“The Caldecott-winning team who created A Sick Day for Amos McGee is back with another utterly charming story. The quiet-yet-strong demeanor of a bear wanting to tell his friends a story is subtly sweet, and the selfless acts of help he gives those friends in their preparation for winter instead of telling them his story is lesson for all of us. The soft and detailed illustrations give soul to the animals. Just lovely!”
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Philip C. Stead and illustrator Erin E. Stead; $16.99; Roaring Brook Press; Ages 4+
In the section for kids ages 9-12, Ellen talked about the latest Adam Gidwitz book, In A Glass Grimmly:
“This is a bloody marvelous, wonderfully horrible companion to Gidwitz’s award-winning debut, A Tale Dark & Grimm. In this Mother Goose-meets-the-Brothers Grimm version of ‘Jack and Jill,’ the two children will meet a talking frog – he’s a good guy – and lots of murderous giants, twisted mermaids, gruesome goblins, and other scary bad guys. But that’s okay, because what’s the point of going on a life-or-death quest if it’s easy-peasy?? A must-read for middle-graders!”
In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz; $16.99; Dutton Juvenile; Ages 9+
Finally, in the section for teen readers, Megan raves about Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick:
“Bick’s follow-up to Ashes is another heart-pounding, frantic, action-packed adventure for those who can’t get enough of the zombie-apocolypse. As protagonist Alex fights to survive in a world gone seriously haywire, she begins to piece together just how dangerous her situation is. These are not the walking dead we know from television and film; they are cognizant beings, fueled as much by shrewd instinct as by animalistic blood lust. Bick keeps her complicated plot moving with plenty of twists and turns, creating a cringe-inducing, fascinating, and utterly entertaining read.”
Shadows: The Ashes Trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick; $17.99; Egmont USA; Ages 14+
We love IndieBound and can’t wait to see what makes it into the future issues of IndieNext and Kids’ Next. We have plenty of copies of this season’s newsletter, as well as back issues, at the store for your taking!