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We're thankful for great books!

Dear Reader,

Halloween is over which means Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year's are coming up fast.  It's good to step away from the hurtling end of the year and read a good book.  Hopefully, this newsletter helps to move you in that direction.

It's also a good time to start thinking about gifts for the holidays -- and books make great gifts!  We, of course, have more books than just YA, from kids books to art books, science books to history books, fiction, poetry and photography books.  We love helping you find books as gifts, just ask us and we're full of ideas!

See you soon in the store, and don't forget to take some time to read a good book as part of the mix.

Happy Reading!

New Books We Love This Month
What If It's Us
by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera

Georgia-born Arthur Seuss, always an optimist, loves fiction and all things theater, so, when he gets an internship at his mom’s Manhattan law firm for the summer, he’s sure something magical is going to happen. A few weeks into the job, his excitement for living in the Big Apple has declined. He has settled into a monotonous routine, balancing work, staying at his great-uncle’s apartment, and occasional trips to Levain Bakery. He begins to accept that his summer will be a lot less glamorous than how Broadway portrays New York.

Ben Alejo, a New Yorker through and through, strongly believes that fantasy should be restricted to books. Heartbroken after a recent breakup with his boyfriend, Hudson, and stuck in summer school for the entirety of vacation, Ben is sure that his summer will be an absolute disaster.
 
On a hot summer’s day, both go to the same post office... and meet each other for the first time. Arthur thinks it’s fate that he’ll have a New York boyfriend, and Ben believes it’s a coincidence that someone new appears so soon after his breakup. Nevertheless, their meet cute ends without a plan to meet again. With nothing but first names to go on, Ben and Arthur have to search for one another through faith, hope, and a little bit of digging through Craigslist and Instagram. Even once they find each other again, they will struggle to truly understand each other. Arthur tries too hard to make his first relationship work, while Ben tries too little as he attempts to hold onto Arthur and, simultaneously, forget his memories with Hudson. As the summer reaches its end, they’ll have to sort out where their relationship stands.

I’ve recently read books by both Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, and was eagerly anticipating this collaboration between the two. Though I’m often wary of whether multiple writers can contribute well to the same novel, Albertalli and Silvera approach teen romance with a perspective that really draws you into the incredibly different lives of Ben and Arthur. Familiar characters from the authors’ past works are present, too: fans of Albertalli’s books will see Simon Spier, of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, in Arthur, and Silvera’s Rufus Emeterio from They Both Die in the End is visible in Ben. As you progress through the story of their summer, you will root for Ben and Arthur as they try to sort out and determine the meaning of love. --Paisley Kandler

 

The Grand Escape
by Neal Bascomb

The Grand Escape is a true story of World War I allied prisoners who ingeniously dug their way out of Holzminden, an internment camp considered nearly impenetrable in that it was landlocked in a remote part of Germany and heavily guarded. These allied officers were not deterred by a challenge, nor were they amateurs at prison break; one of them had busted out of 9 other POW camps. Their previous experience gave them the foresight to prepare for departure by putting pepper in the boots they left behind. When the search dogs were given the boots to catch the scent, they were rendered entirely incapacitated. That dog don't hunt, know what I'm saying?

Astoundingly, a total of 29 allied prisoners tunneled out of Holzminden. Too dangerous to travel in groups, some of the most nail biting accounts are of the sets of two or three making their way through forests and moors of Germany on their way to Holland. Only ten made it.

The Grand Escape is a young adult version of Bascomb's adult history entitled The Escape Artists: A Band of Daredevil Pilots and the Greatest Prison Break of the Great War. For fans of Bascomb's earlier young adult books like Nazi Hunters and Sabotage, you will not be disappointed. This kind of narrative nonfiction makes learning history a joy.--Mia

Start Without Me
by Joshua Max Feldman
Now in paperback!

* Please note that this is adult fiction and may contain situations or themes not appropriate for all YA readers.

Start Without Me
is the story of family, friendship, and second chances, as we follow two strangers, Adam and Marissa, who abruptly come into each other's lives, both helping each other through their own hardships over the course of a few hours.

Feldman does an amazing job of making interesting, compelling characters that you can easily grow attached to. It was awesome to see how they grew and changed as people in such a short time. They will make you laugh, angry, maybe even make you cry, and show you how one person can really make all the difference in your life.

I won’t give anything away, but it was so satisfying without telling you exactly how Adam and Marissa's stories ended. This wasn’t a happily ever after, but it was a start, ending on a happy note that would make you happy for the characters. In the end, it’s up to the reader on how their stories end, and I think that’s absolutely beautiful. Anyone can get through this book in a few hours, and overall it’s a really great book. I’d definitely think about reading it again.--Charley Zinn

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