The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

January & February 2020

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  1. Stormsong
    by C. L. Polk 'Canada'
    Tor.com
    Feb 11, 2020
    FICTION / Fantasy / Gaslamp
    Paperback

    Description

    “Fantastical, thoughtful, and un-put-downable, I flew throughStormsong and want the third in the series NOW.” —Elizabeth Hoyt

    After spinning an enthralling world inWitchmark, the winner of the World Fantasy Award for best novel that was praised as acan't-miss debut byBooklist, and asthoroughly charming and deftly paced by theNew York Times, C. L. Polk continues the story inStormsong. Magical cabals, otherworldly avengers, and impossible love affairs conspire to create a book that refuses to be put down.

    Dame Grace Hensley helped her brother Miles undo the atrocity that stained her nation, but now she has to deal with the consequences. With the power out in the dead of winter and an uncontrollable sequence of winter storms on the horizon, Aeland faces disaster. Grace has the vision to guide her parents to safety, but a hostile queen and a ring of rogue mages stand in the way of her plans. There's revolution in the air, and any spark could light the powder. What's worse, upstart photojournalist Avia Jessup draws ever closer to secrets that could topple the nation, and closer to Grace's heart.

    Can Aeland be saved without bloodshed? Or will Kingston die in flames, and Grace along with it?

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  2. Alone in the Wild
    by Kelley Armstrong 'Canada'
    Doubleday Canada
    Feb 11, 2020
    FICTION / Thrillers / Crime
    Paperback

    Description

    In #1 New York Times bestseller Kelley Armstrong's latest thriller, the hidden town of Rockton is about to face a challenge none of them saw coming: a baby.

    Every season in Rockton seems to bring a new challenge. At least that's what Detective Casey Duncan has felt since she decided to call this place home. Between all the secretive residents, the sometimes-hostile settlers outside, and the surrounding wilderness, there's always something to worry about.

    While on a much needed camping vacation with her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, Casey hears a baby crying in the woods. The sound leads them to a tragic scene: a woman buried under the snow, murdered, a baby still alive in her arms.

    A town that doesn't let anyone in under the age of eighteen, Rockton must take care of its youngest resident yet while solving another murder and finding out where the baby came from--and whether she's better off where she is.

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong again delivers an engaging, tense thriller set in perhaps the most interesting town in all of contemporary crime fiction.
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  3. Pretty as a Picture
    by Elizabeth Little
    Viking
    Feb 25, 2020
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
    Hardcover

    Description

    An egomaniacal movie director, an isolated island, and a decades-old murder--the addictive new novel from the bestselling author of Dear Daughter

    Marissa Dahl, a shy but successful film editor, travels to a small island off the coast of Delaware to work with the legendary--and legendarily demanding--director Tony Rees on a feature film with a familiar logline.

    Some girl dies.

    It's not much to go on, but the specifics don't concern Marissa. Whatever the script is, her job is the same. She'll spend her days in the editing room, doing what she does best: turning pictures into stories.

    But she soon discovers that on this set, nothing is as it's supposed to be--or as it seems. There are rumors of accidents and indiscretions, of burgeoning scandals and perilous schemes. Half the crew has been fired. The other half wants to quit. Even the actors have figured out something is wrong. And no one seems to know what happened to the editor she was hired to replace.

    Then she meets the intrepid and incorrigible teenage girls who are determined to solve the real-life murder that is the movie's central subject, and before long, Marissa is drawn into the investigation herself.

    The only problem is, the killer may still be on the loose. And he might not be finished.

    A wickedly funny exploration of our cultural addiction to tales of murder and mayhem and a thrilling, behind-the-scenes whodunit, Pretty as a Picture is a captivating page-turner from one of the most distinctive voices in crime fiction.
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  4. False Value
    by Ben Aaronovitch
    DAW
    Feb 25, 2020
    FICTION / Fantasy / Urban
    Hardcover

    Description

    Now in hardcover, the eighth book of the bestselling Rivers of London series returns to the adventures of Peter Grant, detective and apprentice wizard, as he solves magical crimes in the city of London.

    Peter Grant is facing fatherhood, and an uncertain future, with equal amounts of panic and enthusiasm. Rather than sit around, he takes a job with émigré Silicon Valley tech genius Terrence Skinner's brand new London start up—the Serious Cybernetics Company.

    Drawn into the orbit of Old Street's famous 'silicon roundabout', Peter must learn how to blend in with people who are both civilians and geekier than he is. Compared to his last job, Peter thinks it should be a doddle. But magic is not finished with Mama Grant's favourite son.

    Because Terrence Skinner has a secret hidden in the bowels of the SCC. A technology that stretches back to Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage, and forward to the future of artificial intelligence. A secret that is just as magical as it technological—and just as dangerous.
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  5. The Firmament of Flame
    by Drew Williams
    Tor Books
    Feb 04, 2020
    FICTION / Science Fiction / Space Opera
    Hardcover

    Description

    For fans ofFirefly and James S. A. Corey's Expanse novels,The Firmament of Flame is the third installment in Drew Williams' Universe After series.

    For nearly a century, the Justified have been searching for gifted children to help prevent the return of the pulse. Until recently, they thought they were the only ones.

    Jane Kamali and her telekinetic protégé Esa, now seventeen, barely managed to claim victory against a Cyn—a being of pure energy—hell bent on hunting down the gifted. Now they face an army.

    The Cyn and their followers will stop at nothing to find Esa and the others. No one knows what they want, but Jane, Esa, and their allies in the Justified are determined to find out.

    Even if they have to go to the ends of the known universe to do it.

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  6. Big
    by Christina Myers
    Caitlin Press
    Feb 14, 2020
    LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Essays
    Paperback

    Description

    Pop culture stereotypes, shopping frustrations, fat jokes, and misconceptions about health are all ways society systemically rejects large bodies. BIG is a collection of personal and intimate experiences ofplus size women, non-binary and trans people in a society obsessed with thinness. Revealing insights that are both funny and traumatic, surprising and challenging, familiar and unexpected, 26 writers explore themes as diverse as self perception, body image, fashion, fat activism, food, sexuality, diet culture, motherhood and more. These stories offer a closer look at what it means to navigate a world designed to fit bodies of a certain size (sometimes literally) and, in turn, invites readers to ask questions about?and ultimately reconsider?our collective and individual obsession with women?s bodies. Contributors include Dr. Rohini Bannerjee, Amanda Scriver, Cassie Stocks, Jo Jefferson, Layla Cameron, Rabbit Richards, Sonja Boon, Simone Blais, Tracy Manrell and other writers from across Canada, the US, and the UK.
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  7. When We Were Vikings
    by Andrew David MacDonald 'Canada'
    Gallery/Scout Press
    Jan 28, 2020
    FICTION / Coming of Age
    Hardcover

    Description

    A heart-swelling debut for fans of The Silver Linings Playbook and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

    Sometimes life isn’t as simple as heroes and villains.

    For Zelda, a twenty-one-year-old Viking enthusiast who lives with her older brother, Gert, life is best lived with some basic rules:

    1. A smile means “thank you for doing something small that I liked.”
    2. Fist bumps and dabs = respect.
    3. Strange people are not appreciated in her home.
    4. Tomatoes must go in the middle of the sandwich and not get the bread wet.
    5. Sometimes the most important things don’t fit on lists.

    But when Zelda finds out that Gert has resorted to some questionable—and dangerous—methods to make enough money to keep them afloat, Zelda decides to launch her own quest. Her mission: to be legendary. It isn’t long before Zelda finds herself in a battle that tests the reach of her heroism, her love for her brother, and the depth of her Viking strength.

    When We Were Vikings is an uplifting debut about an unlikely heroine whose journey will leave you wanting to embark on a quest of your own, because after all...

    We are all legends of our own making.
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  8. A Long Petal of the Sea
    by Isabel Allende
    Ballantine Books
    Jan 21, 2020
    FICTION / Literary
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the New York Times bestselling author of The House of the Spirits, this epic novel spanning decades and crossing continents follows two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War in search of a place to call home.

    In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them is Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires.

    Together with two thousand other refugees, they embark on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda, to Chile: “the long petal of sea and wine and snow.” As unlikely partners, they embrace exile as the rest of Europe erupts in world war. Starting over on a new continent, their trials are just beginning, and over the course of their lives, they will face trial after trial. But they will also find joy as they patiently await the day when they will be exiles no more. Through it all, their hope of returning to Spain keeps them going. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.

    A masterful work of historical fiction about hope, exile, and belonging, A Long Petal of the Sea shows Isabel Allende at the height of her powers.

    Advance praise for A Long Petal of the Sea

    “Both an intimate look at the relationship between one man and one woman and an epic story of love, war, family, and the search for home, this gorgeous novel, like all the best novels, transports the reader to another time and place, and also sheds light on the way we live now. Isabel Allende is a legend and this might be her finest book yet.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, author of Saints for All Occasions

    “This is a novel not just for those of us who have been Allende fans for decades, but also for those who are brand-new to her work: What a joy it must be to come upon Allende for the first time. She knows that all stories are love stories, and the greatest love stories are told by time.”—Colum McCann, National Book Award–winning author of Let the Great World Spin
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  9. The Other People
    by C. J. Tudor
    Doubleday Canada
    Jan 28, 2020
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Paperback

    Description

    The gripping new thriller from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man and The Hiding Place, about a man desperately searching for his missing family who falls under the sway of a sinister support group with a murderous agenda.

    Three years ago, Gabe's family disappeared. Most people think they died. Some of them blame Gabe. Hardly anyone believes the truth--that Gabe saw his daughter the day she and his wife disappeared, smiling at him from the back of a rusty old car speeding down the highway. So even though it's been three years since that day, Gabe cannot give up hope. Even though he has given up everything else. His home, his job, his old life. He spends his days travelling up and down the highway and sleeping in service stations, searching for the car that took her.

    It's hard for most people to understand. But Gabe has found some who do in an online group set up by people who have also lost loved ones--who have suffered like him. They call themselves "The Other People." Because isn't that what everyone thinks: bad stuff only happens to "other people."

    When the car that Gabe saw driving away that night is found in a lake with a body inside, Gabe is suddenly under suspicion--and in danger. In desperation, he turns to The Other People for help. Because they are good people. They know what loss is like. They know what pain is like. They know what death is like. There's just one problem . . . they want other people to know it too.
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  10. A Longer Fall
    by Charlaine Harris
    Gallery / Saga Press
    Jan 14, 2020
    FICTION / Fantasy / Paranormal
    Hardcover

    Description

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris returns with the second of the Gunnie Rose series, in which Lizbeth is hired onto a new crew, transporting a crate into Dixie, the self-exiled southeast territory of the former United States. What the crate contains is something so powerful, that forces from across three territories want to possess it.

    In this second thrilling installment of the Gunnie Rose series, Lizbeth Rose is hired onto a new crew for a seemingly easy protection job, transporting a crate into Dixie, just about the last part of the former United States of America she wants to visit. But what seemed like a straight-forward job turns into a massacre as the crate is stolen. Up against a wall in Dixie, where social norms have stepped back into the last century, Lizbeth has to go undercover with an old friend to retrieve the crate as what’s inside can spark a rebellion, if she can get it back in time.

    #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris (Sookie Stackhouse mysteries and Midnight, Texas trilogy) is at her best here, building the world of this alternate history of the United States, where magic is an acknowledged but despised power.
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January & February 2020 Juvenile and Young Adult List

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  1. One of Us Is Next
    by Karen M. McManus
    Delacorte Press
    Jan 07, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Thrillers & Suspense
    Lexile measure HL740L
    Hardcover

    Description

    The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling thriller everyone is talking about, One of Us Is Lying! There's a new mystery to solve at Bayview High, and there's a whole new set of rules.

    Come on, Bayview, you know you've missed this.

    A ton of copycat gossip apps have popped up since Simon died, but in the year since the Bayview four were cleared of his shocking death, no one's been able to fill the gossip void quite like he could. The problem is no one has the facts.

    Until now.

    This time it's not an app, though—it's a game.

    Truth or Dare.

    Phoebe's the first target. If you choose not to play, it's a truth. And hers is dark.

    Then comes Maeve and she should know better—always choose the dare.

    But by the time Knox is about to be tagged, things have gotten dangerous. The dares have become deadly, and if Maeve learned anything from Bronwyn last year, it's that they can't count on the police for help. Or protection.

    Simon's gone, but someone's determined to keep his legacy at Bayview High alive. And this time, there's a whole new set of rules.

    And don't miss Two Can Keep a Secret, another "must-read YA thriller" from Karen M. McManus (Bustle)!

    Praise for One of Us Is Lying:

    Pretty Little Liars meets The Breakfast Club....
    so make room for One of Us Is Lying in your bags, because this is one carry-on you won’t want to put down." —EW

    “You’ll tear through this juicy, super-fun (if murder can ever be fun?) thriller."—Bustle

    "A whodunit with a Breakfast Club twist...following four unique voices on a chase to find the killer, this one will keep you guessing until the very, very end."—Popcrush

    "Twisty plotting, breakneck pacing and intriguing characterisation add up to an exciting, single-sitting thrillerish treat."—The Guardian

    "This is no ordinary whodunit…surprising and relevant."—USA Today

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  2. The Bat
    by Elise Gravel 'Canada'
    Tundra Books
    Feb 04, 2020
    JUVENILE NONFICTION / Animals / Nocturnal
    Lexile measure 610L, Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient L
    Hardcover

    Description

    Hilarious illustrated nonfiction about bats perfect for beginning readers. Conversational text and silly illustrations will have you up all night reading about the only flying mammal on Earth!

    Fast bat facts:
    • Distinctive trait: The only flying mammal
    • Diet: Insects, fruit and even animal blood
    • Special talent: Sleeping upside down

    The Bat covers habitat (bats live everywhere except Antarctica!), species (there are over 1,200 kinds of bats), echolocation, hibernation (bats hibernate just like bears!), conservation (don't disturb a sleeping bat!) and much more. Although silly and off-the-wall, The Bat contains factual information that will both amuse and teach at the same time.
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  3. The Conference of the Birds
    by Ransom Riggs
    Dutton Books for Young Readers
    Jan 14, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Paranormal, Occult & Supernatural
    Hardcover

    Description

    The brand-new book in the #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children series!

    With his dying words, H—Jacob Portman’s final connection to his grandfather Abe’s secret life entrusts Jacob with a mission: Deliver newly con­tacted peculiar Noor Pradesh to an operative known only as V. Noor is being hunted. She is the subject of an ancient prophecy, one that foretells a looming apocalypse. Save Noor—Save the future of all peculiardom.

    With only a few bewildering clues to follow, Jacob must figure out how to find V, the most enigmatic, and most powerful, of Abe’s former associates. But V is in hiding and she never, ever, wants to be found.

    With enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman’s story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into The Conference of the Birds, the newest installment of the beloved, #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.
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  4. The Cockroach
    by Elise Gravel 'Canada'
    Tundra Books
    Feb 04, 2020
    JUVENILE NONFICTION / Animals / Insects, Spiders, etc.
    Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient M, Lexile measure 760L
    Hardcover

    Description

    Hilarious illustrated non-fiction about cockroaches perfect for beginning readers. You'll bug out over this perfect pairing of humorous text and funny illustrations about this insect that's been around for over 335 million years!

    Fast cockroach facts:
    • Distinctive trait: Flat and oval-shaped body
    • Diet: Everything! (Especially if it's greasy and sweet . . .)
    • Special talent: Running

    The Cockroach covers lifestyle (cockroaches prefer the dark and only come out during the day when their colonies get big enough), anatomy (cockroaches have wings but rarely fly), habitat (they prefer heat to cold), life cycle (a female can give birth to up to 350 babies during her lifetime) and much more. Although silly and off-the-wall, The Cockroach contains factual information that will both amuse and teach at the same time.
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  5. Swim Swim Sink
    by Jenn Harney
    Disney-Hyperion
    Jan 21, 2020
    JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Birds
    Hardcover

    Description

    Three tiny ducks. One straight line.
    New happy flock. All feeling fine.

    Until, that is, the last ducking sinks when she should swim. Let's try that again . . . and again and again. All this sinking is ruining the rhyme!

    Little ones will love following the antics of these adorable ducklings, and parents will enjoy the way the book goes off the rails halfway through. Everyone will laugh at the tiny ducky's string of failures and cheer when it comes up with the best solution of all.
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  6. Northwest Resistance
    by Katherena Vermette 'Canada'
    HighWater Press
    Feb 25, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / People & Places / Aboriginal & Indigenous
    Paperback

    Description

    The third graphic novel in the A Girl Called Echo series, Northwest Resistance follows Echo Desjardins and her travels through time. Going back to 1884, Echo finds herself in the thick of a new Métis resistance led by leader Louis Riel, who has returned from exile to resist encroaching forces from the East and to ensure his people’s rights are honoured. For Echo, the experience is empowering, focusing her own identity and giving her the strength to confront the challenges in her life.
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  7. Belle Revolte
    by Linsey Miller
    Sourcebooks Fire
    Feb 04, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Fantasy / Epic
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the author of the Mask of Shadows duology comes a standalone fantasy where two young women must trade lives, work together to stay alive, and end a war caused by magic and greed.

    Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

    Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

    Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician's assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

    But when their nationinstigates a terrible war, Emilie and Annette come together to help the rebellion unearth the truth before it's too late.

    "A bursting-at-the-seams stand-alone empowerment story."—Kirkus Reviews
    "Hand to any lover of magic, rebellion, secrets, and self-discovery."—Booklist

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  8. Bent Heavens
    by Daniel Kraus
    Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
    Feb 25, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Thrillers & Suspense
    Hardcover

    Description

    “Kraus gets under your skin with brutal, elegant efficiency. Necessarily horrifying, devastatingly timely.”—Kiersten White,New York Times-bestselling author ofThe Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein andSlayer

    FromNew York Times-bestselling author Daniel Kraus comes a breakneck, genre-defying YA thriller perfect for fans of Kiersten White, Neal Shusterman, and M. T. Anderson.

    Liv Fleming’s father went missing more than two years ago, not long after he claimed to have been abducted by aliens. Liv has long accepted that he’s dead, though that doesn’t mean she has given up their traditions. Every Sunday, she and her lifelong friend Doug Monk trudge through the woods to check the traps Lee left behind, traps he set to catch the aliens he so desperately believed were after him.

    But Liv is done with childhood fantasies. Done pretending she believes her father’s absurd theories. Done going through the motions for Doug’s sake. However, on the very day she chooses to destroy the traps, she discovers in one of them a creature so inhuman it can only be one thing. In that moment, she’s faced with a painful realization: her dad was telling the truth. And no one believed him.

    Now, she and Doug have a choice to make. They can turn the alien over to the authorities…or they can take matters into their own hands.

    On the heels of the worldwide success ofThe Shape of Water, Daniel Kraus returns with a horrifying and heartbreaking thriller about the lengths people go to find justice and the painful reality of grief.


    Bent Heavens is the darkest, angriest alien horror story that I've ever encountered. Hell. Yes.”—Stephanie Perkins,New York Times-bestselling author ofThere's Someone Inside Your House

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  9. Llamaste and Friends
    by Pat-A-Cake
    Rodale Kids
    Feb 25, 2020
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
    Board book

    Description

    Practice yoga with your little ones with Llamaste and Friends, a yoga book about being kind.

    Meet Llamaste, a llama who loves yoga! Join her in this funny, sweet story as she helps Tiger calm down and Koala be brave by showing them simple, practical yoga poses. The easy-to-use text also encourages children to explore their emotions and develop empathy skills.

    All of Llamaste's poses are designed to help parents and children to begin their own yoga practice at home!
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  10. Straight On Till Morning
    by Liz Braswell
    Disney-Hyperion
    Feb 04, 2020
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Fairy Tales & Folklore / Adaptations
    Hardcover

    Description

    What if Wendy first traveled to Neverland . . . with Captain Hook?

    Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling's life is not what she imagined it would be. The doldrums of an empty house after her brothers have gone to school, the dull parties where everyone thinks she talks too much, and the fact that her parents have decided to send her away to Ireland as a governess-it all makes her wish things could be different.

    Wendy's only real escape is in writing down tales of Never Land. After nearly meeting her hero, Peter Pan, four years earlier, she still holds on to the childhood hope that his magical home truly exists. She also holds on to his shadow.

    So when an opportunity to travel to Never Land via pirate ship presents itself, Wendy makes a deal with the devil. But Never Land isn't quite the place she imagined it would be. Unexpected dangers and strange foes pop up at every turn, and a little pixie named Tinker Bell seems less than willing to help.

    But when Captain Hook reveals some rather permanent and evil plans for Never Land, it's up to the two of them to save Peter Pan-and his world.

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