The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

April 2019 Adult List

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  1. Death Threat
    by Vivek Shraya 'Canada'
    Arsenal Pulp Press
    Apr 01, 2019
    COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / LGBT
    Hardcover

    Description

    In the fall of 2017, the acclaimed writer and musician Vivek Shraya began receiving vivid and disturbing transphobic hate mail from a stranger. Celebrated artist Ness Lee brings these letters and Shraya's responses to them to startling life in Death Threat, a comic book that, by its existence, becomes a compelling act of resistance. Using satire and surrealism, Death Threat is an unflinching portrayal of violent harassment from the perspective of both the perpetrator and the target, illustrating the dangers of online accessibility, and the ease with which vitriolic hatred can be spread digitally.

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  2. When I Arrived at the Castle
    by Emily Carroll 'Canada'
    Koyama Press
    Apr 26, 2019
    COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Horror
    Paperback

    Description

    Like many before her that have never come back, she’s made it to the Countess’ castle determined to snuff out the horror, but she could never be prepared for what hides within its turrets; what unfurls under its fluttering flags. Emily Carroll has fashioned a rich gothic horror charged with eroticism that doesn’t just make your skin crawl, it crawls into it.
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  3. I Know Who You Are
    by Alice Feeney
    Flatiron Books
    Apr 23, 2019
    FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
    Hardcover

    Description

    From theNew York Times and international bestselling author ofSometimes I Lie comes a brand new, highly anticipated, dark and twisted thriller:I Know Who You Are.

    Meet Aimee Sinclair: the actress everyone thinks they know but can’t remember where from.

    Except one person.

    Someone knows Aimee very well.

    They know who she is and they know what she did.

    When Aimee comes home and discovers her husband is missing, she doesn’t seem to know what to do or how to act. The police think she’s hiding something and they’re right, she is—but perhaps not what they thought. Aimee has a secret she’s never shared, and yet, she suspects that someone knows. As she struggles to keep her career and sanity intact, her past comes back to haunt her in ways more dangerous than she could have ever imagined.

    InI Know Who You Are, Alice Feeney proves that she is a master of brilliantly complicated plots and killer twists that will keep you guessing until the final page.

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  4. Maiden, Mother, and Crone
    by Gwen Benaway 'Canada'
    Bedside Press
    Apr 30, 2019
    FICTION / Fantasy / Collections & Anthologies
    Paperback

    Description

    Maiden, Mother, and Crone: Fantastical Trans Femmes is a Bedside Press anthology of new fantastical short fiction by trans women and trans feminine writers curated by celebrated poet and author Gwen Benaway. Drawing on high fantasy and other genres of fantasy writing, Maiden, Mother, and Crone is the first anthology by trans femme authors to explore the realms of magic, supernatural beings, and alternate universes. Enter a universe of wonder where trans femmes are powerful heroines, sorceresses, and warriors fighting against dark forces in vivid magical worlds. Created by celebrated trans femme writers this anthology will transform the landscape of fantasy fiction and offer radical portals into excitement, danger, and transformation.
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  5. Miracle Creek
    by Angie Kim
    Sarah Crichton Books
    Apr 16, 2019
    FICTION / Literary
    Hardcover

    Description

    A thrilling debut novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Celeste Ng about how far we’ll go to protect our families—and our deepest secrets

    My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie. He probably didn’t even consider it a lie, and neither did I, at first . . .

    In rural Virginia, Young and Pak Yoo run an experimental medical treatment device known as the Miracle Submarine—a pressurized oxygen chamber that patients enter for therapeutic “dives” with the hopes of curing issues like autism or infertility. But when the Miracle Submarine mysteriously explodes, killing two people, a dramatic murder trial upends the Yoos’ small community.

    Who or what caused the explosion? Was it the mother of one of the patients, who claimed to be sick that day but was smoking down by the creek? Or was it Young and Pak themselves, hoping to cash in on a big insurance payment and send their daughter to college? The ensuing trial uncovers unimaginable secrets from that night—trysts in the woods, mysterious notes, child-abuse charges—as well as tense rivalries and alliances among a group of people driven to extraordinary degrees of desperation and sacrifice.

    Angie Kim’sMiracle Creekis a thoroughly contemporary take on the courtroom drama, drawing on the author’s own life as a Korean immigrant, former trial lawyer, and mother of a real-life “submarine” patient. Both a compelling page-turner and an excavation of identity and the desire for connection,Miracle Creekis a brilliant, empathetic debut from an exciting new voice.

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  6. I Was Their American Dream
    by Malaka Gharib
    Clarkson Potter
    Apr 30, 2019
    COMICS & GRAPHIC NOVELS / Contemporary Women
    Paperback

    Description

    A triumphant tale of self-discovery, a celebration of a family's rich heritage, and a love letter to American immigrant freedom.

    I Was Their American Dream is at once a journal of growing up and a reminder of the thousands of immigrants who come to America in search for a better life for themselves and their children. The daughter of parents with unfulfilled dreams themselves, Malaka navigated her childhood chasing her parents' ideals, learning to code-switch between her family's Filipino and Egyptian customs, adapting to white culture to fit in, crushing on skater boys, and trying to understand the tension between holding onto cultural values and trying to be an all-American kid.

    In a graphic novel format, Malaka Gharib's illustrations bring to life her teenage antics and illuminate earnest questions about identity and culture, while providing thoughtful insight into the lives of modern immigrants and the generation of millennial children they raised. Malaka's upbringing will look familiar to anyone who grew up in the pre-internet era, but her particular story is a heartfelt tribute to the American immigrants who have invested their future in the promise of the American dream.
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  7. Trust Exercise
    by Susan Choi
    Henry Holt and Co.
    Apr 09, 2019
    FICTION / Literary
    Hardcover

    Description

    “Choi is a masterful novelist, who understands exactly where we are and how we got here.”Tom Perrotta

    “This witty, sharp, unsettling novel grabs you and won’t let you go.”Dana Spiotta

    NAMED A MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK OF 2019 by Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, Electric Literature, The Millions, PopSugar,The Philadelphia Inquirer, Publisher's Weekly, Lit Hub, Bustle, andThe Huffington Post

    In an American suburb in the early 1980s, students at a highly competitive performing arts high school struggle and thrive in a rarified bubble, ambitiously pursuing music, movement, Shakespeare, and, particularly, their acting classes. When within this striving “Brotherhood of the Arts,” two freshmen, David and Sarah, fall headlong into love, their passion does not go unnoticed—or untoyed with—by anyone, especially not by their charismatic acting teacher, Mr. Kingsley.

    The outside world of family life and economic status, of academic pressure and of their future adult lives, fails to penetrate this school’s walls—until it does, in a shocking spiral of events that catapults the action forward in time and flips the premise upside-down. What the reader believes to have happened to David and Sarah and their friends is not entirely true—though it’s not false, either. It takes until the book’s stunning coda for the final piece of the puzzle to fall into place—revealing truths that will resonate long after the final sentence.

    As captivating and tender as it is surprising,Trust Exercise will incite heated conversations about fiction and truth, and about friendships and loyalties, and will leave readers with wiser understandings of the true capacities of adolescents and of the powers and responsibilities of adults.

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  8. The Empress of Idaho
    by Todd Babiak 'Canada'
    McClelland & Stewart
    Apr 30, 2019
    FICTION / Literary
    Paperback

    Description

    Bestselling and award-winning author Todd Babiak returns with an immersive and affecting story about a teenager's fascination with an enigmatic new woman in town whose past is catching up with her.

    Monument, Colorado, July 1989. Fourteen-year-old Adam Lisinski is mesmerized the moment Beatrice Cyr steps into his life. Adam has a lot going for him: he's hoping to be a starter on his high school football team, he has a fiercely protective mom, a girlfriend, and a part-time job at Eugene's Gas Stop, where he works with his best friend. But he neglects everything that matters to him after Beatrice, his neighbour's enigmatic new wife, comes to town. Soon he finds himself alone with her--in the change room at Modern You, a clothing store on Second Street; in the back row of the theatre at Chapel Hill Cinema; in the front seat of her truck. He's confused about who she is, what she wants, and where she comes from. Adam is desperate, caught between wanting to spend time with Beatrice--whose past is catching up with her--and lying to everyone he cares about. The guilt overwhelms him. And when Beatrice convinces Adam's mom to quit her job and partner in a risky real estate venture, he has to do something before everything spins further out of control. The plan he comes up with tests his courage and leads him to an unshakable truth about loyalty and love.

    By turns riveting and tender-hearted, The Empress of Idaho is a story about the vulnerability and confusion of adolescence at the moment when it slams against adulthood. It's an unforgettable portrait of a boy's difficult coming of age.
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  9. No Country for Old Gnomes
    by Kevin Hearne
    Del Rey
    Apr 16, 2019
    FICTION / Fantasy / Action & Adventure
    Hardcover

    Description

    Go big or go gnome. The New York Times bestselling authors of Kill the Farm Boy welcome you to the world of Pell, the irreverent fantasy universe that recalls Monty Python and Terry Pratchett.

    War is coming, and it’s gonna be Pell.

    On one side stand the gnomes: smol, cheerful, possessing tidy cardigans and no taste for cruelty.

    On the other side sit the halflings, proudly astride their war alpacas, carrying bags of grenades and hungry for a fight. And pretty much anything else.

    It takes only one halfling bomb and Offi Numminen’s world is turned upside down—or downside up, really, since he lives in a hole in the ground. His goth cardigans and aggressive melancholy set him apart from the other gnomes, as does his decision to fight back against their halfling oppressors. Suddenly Offi is the leader of a band of lovable misfits and outcasts—from a gryphon who would literally kill for omelets to a young dwarf herbalist who is better with bees than with his cudgel to an assertive and cheerful teen witch with a beard as long as her book of curses—all on a journey to the Toot Towers to confront the dastardly villain intent on tearing Pell asunder. These adventurers never fit in anywhere else, but as they become friends, fight mermaids, and get really angry at this one raccoon, they learn that there’s nothing more heroic than being yourself.

    In No Country for Old Gnomes, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly tweak the tropes of fantasy and fairy tales. Here you’ll find goofy jokes and whimsical puns, but you’ll also find a diverse, feminist, and lighthearted approach to fantasy that will bring a smile to your face and many fine cheeses to your plate.
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  10. Lost and Wanted
    by Nell Freudenberger
    Knopf
    Apr 02, 2019
    FICTION / Friendship
    Hardcover

    Description

    "Freudenberger's brilliant and compassionate novel takes on the big questions of the universe and proves, again, that she is one of America's greatest writers." --Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less

    A LitHub, O Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly 'Most Anticipated Book of 2019'
    A Newsday 'New Book to Look Forward To'
    Listed in Kirkus Reviews' 'What to Watch for in 2019'
    One of Boston.com's '20 Books to Look Out For in 2019'

    An emotionally engaging, suspenseful new novel from the best-selling author, told in the voice of a renowned physicist: an exploration of female friendship, romantic love, and parenthood--bonds that show their power in surprising ways.


    Helen Clapp's breakthrough work on five-dimensional spacetime landed her a tenured professorship at MIT; her popular books explain physics in plain terms. Helen disdains notions of the supernatural in favor of rational thought and proven ideas. So it's perhaps especially vexing for her when, on an otherwise unremarkable Wednesday in June, she gets a phone call from a friend who has just died.

    That friend was Charlotte Boyce, Helen's roommate at Harvard. The two women had once confided in each other about everything--in college, the unwanted advances Charlie received from a star literature professor; after graduation, Helen's struggles as a young woman in science, Charlie's as a black screenwriter in Hollywood, their shared challenges as parents. But as the years passed, Charlie became more elusive, and her calls came less and less often. And now she's permanently, tragically gone.

    As Helen is drawn back into Charlie's orbit, and also into the web of feelings she once had for Neel Jonnal--a former college classmate now an acclaimed physicist on the verge of a Nobel Prize?winning discovery--she is forced to question the laws of the universe that had always steadied her mind and heart.

    Suspenseful, perceptive, deeply affecting, Lost and Wanted is a story of friends and lovers, lost and found, at the most defining moments of their lives.
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April 2019 Juvenile and Young Adult List

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  1. A Quick & Easy Guide to Queer & Trans Identities
    by Mady G.
    Limerence Press
    Apr 23, 2019
    YOUNG ADULT NONFICTION / LGBT
    Paperback

    Description

    A great starting point for anyone curious about queer and trans life, and helpful for those already on their own journeys!

    In this quick and easy guide to queer and trans identities, cartoonists Mady G and JR Zuckerberg guide you through the basics of the LGBT+ world! Covering essential topics like sexuality, gender identity, coming out, and navigating relationships, this guide explains the spectrum of human experience through informative comics, interviews, worksheets, and imaginative examples. A great starting point for anyone curious about queer and trans life, and helpful for those already on their own journeys!

    And don't miss A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni and Tristan Jimerson!
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  2. Most Marshmallows
    by Rowboat Watkins
    Chronicle Books
    Apr 30, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
    Hardcover

    Description

    Most marshmallows are born into marshmallow families, play with marshmallow friends, and go to marshmallow school where they learn to be squishy. Most marshmallows read a book before bed and then fall asleep to dream ordinary marshmallow dreams. Is this book about most marshmallows? It isn't. Because Rowboat Watkins knows that just like you, some marshmallows have big dreams, and just like you, these marshmallows can do anything they set their minds to. This sweet and silly book is an inspiring reminder that by being true to ourselves each of us can be truly extraordinary.
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  3. The Tallest Tree House
    by Elly MacKay
    Running Press Kids
    Apr 23, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Friendship
    Hardcover

    Description

    From esteemed author-illustrator Elly MacKay comes a magical fantasy tale about the importance of working as a team and being a good friend.

    Mip and Pip are two fairies who live in a beautiful forest near a waterfall. One day, Mip has a brilliant idea to build a tree house and decides to make it into a contest: whoever can build the tallest tree house the fastest wins! Pip, who is much more thoughtful and a planner, reads about architecture and sketches out blueprints while Mip, the speedster, is already halfway done constructing her house. But when a powerful gust of wind threatens Mip's tree house and Pip's safety, the two friends must learn to appreciate each other's talents to save the day-and to build the tallest tree house in the forest.
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  4. Hot Dog Girl
    by Jennifer Dugan
    G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
    Apr 30, 2019
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance / LGBT
    Hardcover

    Description

    A fresh and funny contemporary YA rom-com about teens working as costumed characters in a local amusement part.

    "I'm wrecked with love for this funny, joyful, bighearted book." --Becky Albertalli, bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

    Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

    * She's landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
    * Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou's never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
    * Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who's always been up for anything, suddenly isn't when it comes to Lou's quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou's scheme to get close to Nick.
    * And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland--ever--unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

    Jennifer Dugan's sparkling debut coming-of-age queer romance stars a princess, a pirate, a hot dog, and a carousel operator who find love--and themselves--in unexpected people and unforgettable places.

    "Both classic and new, hysterical and heartfelt, and packed with all the awesomeness and awkwardness of first love, first job, and the painful thrill of growing up." --Mackenzi Lee, bestselling author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
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  5. Papergirl
    by Melinda McCracken 'Canada'
    Roseway Publishing
    Apr 01, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / Canada / Post-Confederation
    Paperback

    Description

    Ten-year-old Cassie lives with her working-class family in 1919 Winnipeg. The Great War and Spanish Influenza have taken their toll, and workers in the city are frustrated with low wages and long hours. When they orchestrate a general strike, Cassie — bright, determined and very bored at school — desperately wants to help.

    She begins volunteering for the strike committee as a papergirl, distributing the strike bulletin at Portage and Main, and from her corner, she sees the strike take shape. Threatened and taunted by upper-class kids, and getting hungrier by the day, Cassie soon realizes that the strike isn’t just a lark — it’s a risky and brave movement.

    With her impoverished best friend, Mary, volunteering in the nearby Labour Café, and Cassie’s police officer brother in the strike committee’s inner circle, Cassie becomes increasingly furious about the conditions that led workers to strike.

    When an enormous but peaceful demonstration turns into a violent assault on Bloody Saturday, Cassie is changed forever.

    Lively and engaging, this novel is a celebration of solidarity, justice and one brave papergirl.

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  6. When You're Scared
    by Andrée Poulin 'Canada'
    Owlkids
    Mar 15, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Emotions & Feelings
    Hardcover

    Description

    It’s a bright and beautiful day at the lake where a boy and his mother are camping. The boy is just a little scared of jumping into the water. At the same time, not too far away, a hungry bear cub is a little scared of diving deep into a dumpster, where tasty snacks await.

    Later, when the boy encounters a distraught mama bear sniffing around the dumpster, he’s very scared. But so is her bear cub, who is trapped inside! Bold, graphic artwork moves the narrative along in this mostly-wordless book full of sound effects and simple variations on a single phrase full of so many meanings (“He was scared”). Parallel stories of the mother and son, and mama and cub, come together when the campers, despite being scared, help rescue the cub from the dumpster.

    This simple, moving story invites readers to observe expressions, body language, and details hidden in the illustrations to follow the narrative. It’s a sweet summer read that normalizes fear and encourages acting with courage and compassion—even when you’re scared.
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  7. Pilu of the Woods
    by Mai K. Nguyen
    Oni Press
    Apr 16, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Comics & Graphic Novels / Fairy Tales, Folklore, Legends & Mythology
    Paperback

    Description

    "Pilu of the Woods is a heartwarming tale full of natural wonder, with wise and lovely messages about coping with grief, facing your feelings, and learning to forgive yourself." - KATIE O'NEILL (Eisner Award-winning author of The Tea Dragon Society)


    For fans of Hilda and the Troll comes PILU OF THE WOODS, a heartwarming and bittersweet story of friendship, loss, exploring complex emotions and finding your way home from debut creator Mai K. Nguyen.

    Willow loves the woods near her house. They’re calm and quiet, so different from her own turbulent emotions, which she keeps locked away. When her emotions get the better of her one day, she decides to run away into the woods. There, she meets Pilu, a lost tree spirit who can’t find her way back home—which turns out to be the magnolia grove Willow’s mom used to take her to. Willow offers to help Pilu, and the two quickly become friends.

    But the journey is long, and Pilu isn’t sure she’s ready to return home yet—which infuriates Willow, who’s determined to make up for her own mistakes by getting Pilu back safely. As a storm rages and Willow’s emotions bubble to the surface, they suddenly take on a physical form, putting both girls in danger… and forcing Willow to confront her inner feelings once and for all.

    BONUS CONTENT: This edition includes blank journal pages in the back to encourage readers to keep their own notes about nature and their feelings.
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  8. I Will Be Fierce
    by Bea Birdsong
    Roaring Brook Press
    Apr 23, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Imagination & Play
    Hardcover

    Description

    Today, I will be fierce!

    It's a brand new day, and a young girl decides to take on the world like a brave explorer heading off on an epic fairytale quest. From home to school and back again, our hero conquers the Mountain of Knowledge (the library), forges new bridges (friendships), and leads the victorious charge home on her steed (the school bus).

    Written by Bea Birdsong and illustrated by Nidhi Chanani,I Will Be Fierceis a powerful picture book about courage, confidence, kindness, and finding the extraordinary in everyday moments.

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  9. Carl and the Meaning of Life
    by Deborah Freedman
    Viking Books for Young Readers
    Apr 02, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Humorous Stories
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the often Caldecott-buzzed Deborah Freedman, a sweet and funny story about finding your place in the world.

    Carl is an earthworm. He spends his days happily tunneling in the soil until a field mouse asks him a simple question that stops him short: "Why?" Carl's quest takes him on an adventure to meet all the animals of the forest, each of whom seems to know exactly what they were put on this earth to do, unlike the curious Carl. But it's not until the world around him has changed that Carl begins to realize everyone, no matter how small, makes a big difference just by being themselves.
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  10. Mya's Strategy to Save the World
    by Tanya Lloyd Kyi 'Canada'
    Puffin Canada
    Apr 30, 2019
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Peer Pressure
    Lexile measure 780L
    Hardcover

    Description

    Twelve-year-old Mya Parsons could save the world and organize her family, if only she had her own cell phone. A Dork Diaries for today's socially conscious young readers.

    Mya Parsons runs her school's social justice club with her best friend, Cleo. Her lifelong desire is to work for the United Nations and change the world, and then bask in all the ensuing adulation. Her more immediate desire is to get a phone, preferably one like Cleo's, with a leopard-print case to match. When her distracted dad and her long-distance mom (temporarily in Myanmar taking care of Mya's grandmother) both say no, no way, and possibly never, Mya launches a campaign to prove herself reliable and deserving. She advertises her babysitting services, takes on more responsibility around the house, and attempts to supervise her sister's skateboarding lessons. Her efforts leave her ego bruised and the kitchen slightly scorched. She's no closer to touch-screen victory, let alone the Nobel Peace Prize she deserves. But all that changes after an accident leaves Mya to take charge--an experience which helps her realize how much she's grown, with or without access to proper communications.
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