Realistic Fiction Picks for Guys

Need a book for a teenage boy? Maybe he’s a reluctant reader, or just a guy who doesn’t like fantasy or dystopia? Look no further. These three books are each unique, realistic, and well-written reads for guys. All three offer compelling looks at functioning families, and particularly the relationship between brothers and/or friends, but these aren’t sentimental books. Instead they are well-paced, high-interest reads.

Under the Bridge by Michael Harmon

Tate and his crew dominate the skating scene in Spokane, where they hang out at the skatepark under the bridge. But they live close to the seedier elements of the city, and there are things under the bridge even more dangerous than their stunts. When Tate’s younger brother, Indy, gets caught up with a ruthless drug dealer, Tate is determined to save him, their crew, and their family. The skating scenes steal the show here, but the well-drawn characters and compelling family dynamics make this a thought-provoking read.

Pieces by Chris Lynch

When Eric’s brother dies in an accident, the family donates his organs. A year later, still grieving and unsure what to do with the rest of his life, Eric decides to meet the donor recipients. The novel is short, but not too sweet. The memorable cast of quirky characters, a likable flawed protagonist, and lots of dry humor, make this grief novel a great read.

Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian

Tom has everything a high school senior could want: he’s a soccer star, he dates the hottest girl in school, and is ranked third in his class. When his small Maine town becomes a secondary settlement for Somalian refugees, Tom’s world shifts. With some new Somalian players his team has a chance to make the playoffs, but not everyone is pleased with the influx of refugees. Tom finds himself in the midst of cultural clashes and racial tension. A thoughtful realistic portrait of a guy trying to make sense of the world around him.

Under the Bridge by Michael Harmon; Knopf; $16.99

Pieces by Chris Lynch; Simon & Shuster; $16.99

Out of Nowhere by Maria Padian; Knopf; $16.99

New Picture Books from the Authors we Know and Love!

It is always exciting to see new and old names on our new books bookcase. For the month of  June, we have a few familiar names that we were pleased to see. It’s good to know they haven’t stopped writing and illustrating these wonderful books. Here are a few you can expect to see on our Hot off the Press shelf.

The Hueys in The New Sweater 

The title suggests more to come and we sure hope so. Megan K has raved about the conversation starter of  The Incredible Book Eating Boy, and Oliver Jeffers has done it again with this book. These egg-like creatures called Hueys are so much fun. They all do the same thing, dress the same way, think the same, etc. Until one day a brave Huey by the name of Rupert knits himself a bright orange sweater–very different than everyone else. His fellow Hueys respond in shock. What happens when Rupert’s friend Gillespie decides that being different is not so bad after all, and follows Rupert’s lead?

The Hueys in The New Sweater, by Oliver Jeffers; Penguin Young Readers; $10.99; Ages 3-6

Our favorite dog Zorro is back. We looove Say Hello to Zorro here at Hooray for Books. When it came out, even cat-lovers among us had to agree that it was adorable and true for most dogs.  So when a new Zorro book came out, we all could not wait to read it. This book did not disappoint. Mister Bud and Zorro were going through their previously established routine when there was a hold-up at walk time. Their owner had found a super-hero costume just right for Zorro. While his owner loves it, Zorro finds it very embarrassing, as dogs and even cats laugh at him. Zorro’s mind is changed when he meets a very fast dog at the park who is also wearing a costume.

Zorro Gets an Outfit by Carter Goodrich; Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers; $15.99; Ages 3-6


From the cre8ers who kept our minds busy with Duck! Rabbit! we have a brand-new book. Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a way of making us think and reordering the ordinary. This book mentions it right on the cover that it is a game and a book together, and it sure is fun. This book uses the sounds of the numbers to create words by mixing letters and numbers. For example: 4gotten or con10tment. Rosenthal even found a way to use these wumbers in foreign languages “c’est 4midable, non?” If you’re having trouble figuring out what all these wumbers mean, Tom Lichtenheld’s artwork helps paint the picture. After you’ve figured all the wumbers out, it’s fun to try to come up with some on your own.

Wumbers by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Illustr8ed by Tom Lichtenheld; Chronicle Books; $16.99; Ages 3-6

Happy Reading,


Awesome Teen Author Panel!

We’ve been so lucky to have a steady stream of YA Authors dropping by the store to share their books with all of you and next week we have 4 more! Come join us at 3:30 on June 30th and welcome Elizabeth Scott, Alethea Kontis, Diana Peterfreund, and Brigid Kemmerer to Hooray for Books!

Elizabeth Scott introduces her latest book, Miracle, the story of a young girl who is the only survivor of a plane crash. Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.  Miracle, Simon Pulse, $16.99

Diana Peterfreund’s book, For Darkness Shows the Stars, features 18-year-old Elliot North, a girl who chose family over love four years ago, refusing to run away from the caste system she grew up in, as the servant, Kai, wanted her to. Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.  For Darkness Shows the Stars, Balzer & Bray/Harperteen, $16.99

Alethea Kontis’ foray into the young adult world is Enchanted. It isn’t easy beign the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true. When Sunday meets an enchanted frog, the two become friends and the friendship deepens into something magical. Sunday’s love transforms the frog into a prince!

A lovely retelling of “The Frog Prince.”  Enchanted, Harcourt Children’s Books, $16.99

Brigid Kemmerer has written Storm, a fast-paced story with lots of thrills and will definitely have you turning the pages faster and faster!

Ever since her ex-boyfriend spread those lies about her, Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys — the ones she doesn’t want. Then she saves Chris from a beating in the school parking lot. Chris is different. Way different: he can control water– just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. They’re powerful. Dangerous. Marked for death. Storm, Kensington Publishing, $9.95

Come join us as the authors talk about their latest books, answer questions, and sign your copies.

If you like Jenny Han, you’ll love Morgan Matson!

We get a lot of customers in the store looking for read alikes. The “I’ve read this book, what should I read next” kind of thing. That’s probably my favorite question from those of you that walk in our doors, because it’s like solving a mystery.

I know we have a lot of fans of Jenny Han’s “Summer” series, myself included, and as I was reading Morgan Matson’s fantastic new book, Second Chance Summer, I couldn’t stop comparing them…in a good way! They’re both perfect get-ready-for-summer reads, with an excellent balance of relationships, family, and emotional impact, as well as the required cute boys and beach time.

Each and every character in Second Chance Summer has a place and you’ll end up caring about all of them.  You’ll sympathize with Taylor as she works through some serious friendship hurtles after returning to her lake house after 5 years of being away and you’ll laugh as her serious brother Warren attempts to wrangle himself a date with the girl from the pet store. You’ll cry as Taylor’s father battles a tragic illness and you’ll cheer when she and Henry finally start to talk to each other again. A rollercoaster of emotions in the best sort of way.

So much is going on in this book, but Matson, like Han, has managed to play out a realistic teen’s life on the pages. It’s like real life: bad things happen, but life also goes on. Funny moments get taken out with tears and vice versa. I loved Second Chance Summer and I think all of those fans of Jenny Han’s books (and Sarah Dessen and Jessi Kirby) will love it too.

Be sure to check out Morgan Matson’s previous book, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, which is also one of my favorite get-ready-for-summer books. Can you say road trip?!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson; $16.99; Simon & Schuster; Ages 14+

Author event with Sharon Draper

This Thursday we are hosting Coretta Scott King award-winning author Sharon Draper at the store! She’ll be here to talk about the paperback release of her fantastic book, Out of My Mind. Several of us here at the store have read it and loved it and we recommend it to customers all the time. Now is a great time to pick up the book if you haven’t read it before (trust me, you want to), or if you’ve been a fan for awhile and want to ask Ms. Draper some questions. We’re really excited to have her!

The book centers on 11-year-old Melody, an incredibly smart girl with a photographic memory, who also happens to have cerebral palsy and is unable to speak for herself. Unfortunately, this leaves both teachers and her peers believing that she is functioning on a low level of learning, teaching her the same letters and numbers every day, rather than the math and history and science she loves and is perfectly capable of doing.

When Melody finally gets an electronic device that helps her speak, she’s able to communicate her thoughts and her intelligence to the world. She even earns a spot on her school’s quiz team, surprising everyone! The story follows Melody on her journey “out of her mind,” including the difficulties and triumphs she faces along the way.

It’s an amazing story of hope and perseverance  and could be used as an excellent classroom tool by teachers. Come hear Sharon Draper talk about the book on Thursday, 5/10, from 6:30-7:30. Let us know you’re coming at 703-548-4092.

Simply Adorable: Itsy-Bitsy Baby Mouse by Michelle Meadows

The cover of this new picture book is eye catching all on its own: an itsy, bitsy baby mouse (as promised) stares up at the giant words of the title. This dash of whimsy is continued throughout the book with bright pastel graphics that mimic the wild race of our rodent protagonist. Hilarious rhyming text is laced seamlessly into the adventure, making this a near perfect read aloud.

Did you hear that? A near perfect read aloud!

Itsy, bitsy baby mouse is lost. He scurries across the vast wasteland of the living room (narrowly escaping the dangerous claws of a monstrous house cat!), desperately searching for his own little door. At the very last moment, when all seems to be lost, two friendly faces appear, ready to calm his frazzled nerves. Mama and Papa Mouse gently soothe their little one and put him to bed.

It’s a simple enough story, and Silver Spring-based author Michelle Meadows (Pilot Pups, Hibernation Station) doesn’t muddle things with over-embellishment. Her rhyming text propels the story forward with charm and humor. Illustrator Matthew Cordell (Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie) develops a similar aesthetic in his artwork, striking just the right balance between silliness and restraint.

I can’t imagine a child (or grownup!) who could resist this delightful little story! Stop by the store today and share it with your little one!

Itsy-Bitsy Baby Mouse by Michelle Meadows, illus. by Matthew Cordell; Simon & Schuster; 15.99; Ages 2-6

Megan K’s Favorites of 2011

Megan had a huge list of favorites for the year, proving that 2011 was a GREAT year for publishing! After some crafty picking and choosing, she was able to pick just a few of her favorite books to share with you:

Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver; $16.99; HarperCollins; ages 8+





Everything Goes On Land by Brian Biggs; $14.99; HarperCollins; ages 3+

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer; $16.99; Penguin Group; age 10+

You Are My Work of Art by Sue DiCicco; $11.95; Running Press Books; ages 2+

Red Sled by Lita Judge; $16.99; Simon & Schuster; ages 3+