Karen's Staff Favorites

Karen has been at Annie Bloom's since early 2015. She's been a high school English teacher, a dance teacher, and is currently having a marvelous time working on a first novel (when not at Annie Bloom's).

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Reincarnation Blues Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399178481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey Books - August 22nd, 2017

Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore

 

Milo has ten thousand chances to get it right – to earn his place in the cosmic soul. But Milo is already on life number 9,995, and if things keep going the way they have, instead of becoming one with everything, he may just slide off into nothingness. Still, there are plenty of laughs, heartbreak and growth in his last five lives, and always the companionship of Death (or Susie as she prefers to be called) to keep him company between incarnations. A novel for those who love Vonnegut and Gaiman (with a touch of Steinbeck).


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The Warden's Daughter Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780375831997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers - January 3rd, 2017

YA Novel for Ages 9-12

Nick-named "Cannonball" for her volatile temper, Cammie believes what she really needs is a mother. In the summer before she begins Junior High, she looks for someone to fill the role, focusing on a trustee from the prison where she and her father live. Along the way she befriends inmates, alienates current friends, and experiences PA life in 1959. An exceptional novel from Newbery Medalist Jerry Spinelli. 


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The Bear and the Nightingale Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101885956
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey Books - June 27th, 2017

Vasya the only one who sees the spirits that protect her people from evil, but she isn't the only person who believes in them. Others leave offerings until Vasya's stepmother calls in a priest who demands the people give up their pagan ways. Soon after, things begin to go dreadfully wrong, and Vasya struggles to bolster the spirits, striving to save her village from the evil that threatens to engulf it. Based on a Russian folktale, The Bear and the Nightingale is engaging in both its storyline and its poetic language.


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The Hate U Give Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - February 28th, 2017

(Young Adult) Sixteen-year-old Starr straddles two worlds, the poor black neighborhood where  her father runs the local grocery and her mother works at the clinic, and the private urban school she attends. She successfully keeps these two separate until she witnesses the fatal shooting of her friend Khalil. Because Khalil was killed by a police officer, Starr feels pressure from both her worlds to respond in different ways. Angie Thomas has chosen a timely topic for her debut novel and handles the subject with intelligence and honesty.


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The Girl Who Drank the Moon Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781616205676
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - August 9th, 2016

A fog of sorrow hangs over the city, because each year the witch in the woods demands a baby as a sacrifice. Except that the "witch" abhors the barbaric practice. Every year Zan races to save the baby, feeding it starlight until she can place it with a loving family in another village. But when she accidentally feeds a baby moonlight, the child becomes dangerously "enmagicked." To shield everyone, Zan undertakes raising Luna with the help of Glerk, a swamp monster, and Fyrian, a tiny dragon. Back in the city, Luna's mother has gone mad with grief, yet the unsympathetic leaders of the city require that the tradition continue for disturbing reasons of their own. While Zan struggles to teach Luna to control her powers, things in the city worsen, and a young man enters the forest intent on killing the evil witch. Luna, Glerk and Fyrian race to save Zan from him, but find they must battle an even more sinister enemy lurking in the woods. With a dark yet whimsical fairy-tale vibe, Barnhill's poetical prose reveals the cost of lies, and the absolute necessity of hope.


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The Accident Season Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780147517326
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Speak - August 2nd, 2016

The accident season might seem like a series of coincidences, except that it happens every October. Sometimes there are just more bumps and bruises. Sometimes bones are brokern. And in the really awful seasons, tragedy strikes. Seventeen-year-old Cara worries this is going to be an especially bad year and wonders if it might have anything to do with Elsie, who was her best friend in the year after Cara's father died.

While searching for Elsie, accidents keep occurring and no one in Cara's family is immune to injury. No amount of extra clothing or hiding of sharp objects helps protects them from physical harm, or from the secrets that come to light along the way. Fast-paced and intriguing!

YA - grades 9 to 12


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Britt-Marie Was Here Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501142543
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Washington Square Press - February 7th, 2017

Britt-Marie Was Here – Fredrik Backman
Readers of Backman’s second novel, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, will remember Britt-Marie, as a rule-making, nag-bag with an OCD involving cleaning. Britt-Marie is hard to like, and she hasn’t changed much as this novel begins, except that she has taken a step away from her cheating husband, Kent.
Britt-Marie lands a temporary job looking after a recreation center in a small town decimated by the financial crisis. In Borg she encounters a cast of characters who are almost as eager to steer clear of her as she is to avoid them. It’s when some children demand her attention that the people of Borg and Britt-Marie begin to change.
Backman takes a disillusioned, middle-aged woman, a down-on-its-luck village and delivers a laugh-out-loud novel that is also poignant.


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My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501115073
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Washington Square Press - April 5th, 2016

Almost eight-year-old Elsa is different - a misfit who disappoints her parents and is tormented at school. Her only friend is an outlandish grandmother who has managed to alienate the cast of characters that populate their apartment building. When Granny dies, Elsa learns she is expected to convey at string of apologies on her Granny's behalf. Somewhat unwillingly, Elsa finds and delivers letters via a treasure hunt, following clues that lead her to realize there are others worthy of love who will love her in return. (Be sure to pay attention to the fairy-tales as you read.) Recommended for fans of Roald Dahl and Neil Gaiman.


Front Lines Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780062342164
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - January 3rd, 2017

Front Lines – Michael Grant
The novel Front Lines imagines an alternate history of World War II, with women taking up arms to serve alongside men. The young women in Michael Grant’s narrative experience not only sexism and racism, but also have to grapple with the physical and psychological effects of war. The characters are vividly drawn and pull the reader into a gripping story that is difficult to put down. (A must-read for readers who enjoyed Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein!) 

YA grades 9-12


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The Mare Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307743602
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 4th, 2016

 Eleven-year-old Velvet doesn’t want to be a summer project for some rich white woman, and recovering alcoholic Ginger is unsure of how to help her inner-city guest. Each has needs that are awakened during the time they spend together, though neither realizes their relationship will stretch far beyond the allotted two weeks because of an abused and unpredictable horse.
    Point of view alternates between the two main characters, with an occasional shift to Ginger’s husband or Velvet’s mother. All of the characters are damaged, but Gaitskill resists neat solutions. Instead she shows uncertainty, pain, frustration, and breathtaking moments of hope.


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We Are the Ants Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781481449649
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon Pulse - May 16th, 2017

If you knew the world was going to end in 144 days and you had the power to save it, would you? What about if your boyfriend had committed suicide, your father abandoned you, your grandmother was losing her memory, you were harrassed and abused at school, and periodically abducted by aliens who always managed to set you back on earth at some inconvenient time and place in only your underwear?

Henry Denton has a quick wit and strives to keep going while staying under the radar, but his life is grim with the misery he endures both at home and at school. Still, the reader is pulled along, hoping that Henry will find reasons to choose life and discovery that he is worthy of being loved.

YA - grades 9-12. Recommended for those who enjoy Neil Gaiman and Ransom Riggs


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I'll Give You the Sun Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780142425763
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Speak - October 27th, 2015

YAO recommendation. Nelson's story and writing are effervescent! (Ages 14 and up.)
 


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All the Bright Places Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780385755917
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - September 13th, 2016

YAO recommendation. Fresh, funny, and tragic. This novel will resonate with anyone who has loved someone with a mental illness. (Ages 14 and up.)


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The Hired Girl Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780763678180
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Candlewick Press (MA) - September 8th, 2015

A coming-of-age story told in diary form, The Hired Girl has delightful characters; none more so than the literature-loving Joan herself. The 1911 setting will pull the reader back in time with its focus on gender and class roles as well as faith and feminism. Highly recommended! (YA Grades 7 and up.)
 


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Falling from Horses Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780544484030
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - May 5th, 2015

Molly Gloss has a strong voice and her wonderful prose takes the reader into another time. (Descriptions so lush I found myself looking for non-existent places on the map!)


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Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781596439528
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 22nd, 2015

YA Nonfiction - Highly recommended! Steve Sheinkin has wowed me before with BOMB! and Most Dangerous continues making history exciting and accessible. (Lexile level 890)

 


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Fellside Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316300278
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - March 21st, 2017

Jess wakes up in terrible pain, uncertain who she is or where she is. Things get worse when she learns she is accused of murder. With no memory of events leading up to the fire which has disfigured her and caused the death of a child, Jess comes to believe she is guilty and refuses food. On the edge of death, she is visited by the ghost of the boy who died. He wants Jess to help find his real murderer, but what can she do from prison? A thriller with a sci-fi twist, Carey asks the reader to go into another plain of consciousness with Jess and the ghost to solve the mystery. You'll want to read just one more chapter before your head hits the pillow.