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The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

March 2021 Adult List

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  1. The Lost Village
    by Camilla Sten
    Minotaur Books
    Mar 23, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Hardcover

    Description

    The Blair Witch Project meetsMidsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.

    Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.

    But there will be no turning back.

    Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:

    They are not alone.

    They’re looking for the truth…
    But what if it finds them first?

    Come find out.

    "RELENTLESSLY CREEPY." —Alma Katsu, author ofThe Hunger (An NPR Best Horror Novel)

    "IMPOSSIBLE TO STOP READING." —Ragnar Jonasson, author ofThe Island

    "Readers will revel in the chills." -Booklist

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  2. Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted
    by Gary Barwin 'Canada'
    Random House Canada
    Mar 09, 2021
    FICTION / Jewish
    Hardcover

    Description

    A middle-aged Jewish man who fantasizes about being a cowboy goes on an eccentric quest across Europe after the 1941 Nazi invasion of Lithuania in this wild and witty yet heartrending novel from the bestselling author of Yiddish for Pirates, shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

    Motl is middle-aged, poor, nerdy, Jewish and in desperate need of a shave. Since having his balls shot cleanly off as a youth in WWI, he's lived a quiet life at home in Vilnius with his shrewd and shrewish mom, Gitl, losing himself in the masculine fantasy world of cowboy novels by writers like Karl May--novels equally loved by Hitler, whose troops have just invaded Lithuania and are out to exterminate people like Motl. In his dreams, Motl is a fast-talking, rugged, expert gunslinger capable of dealing with the Nazi threat. But only in his dreams.

    As friends and neighbours are killed around them, Motl and Gitl escape from Vilnius, saving their own skins. But they immediately risk everything to try rescue relatives they hope are still alive. With death all around him, Motl decides that a Jew's best revenge is not only to live, but to procreate. In order to achieve this, though, he must relocate those most crucial pieces of his anatomy lost to him in a glacier in the Swiss Alps in the previous war. It's an absurd yet life-affirming mission, made even more urgent when he's separated from his mother, and isn't sure whether she's alive or dead. Joining forces, and eventually hearts, with Esther, a Jewish woman whose family has been killed, Motl ventures across Europe, a kaleidoscope of narrow escapes and close encounters with everyone from Himmler, to circus performers, double agents, quislings, fake "Indians" and real ones. Motl at last figures out that he has more connection to the Indigenous characters in western novels than the cowboys.

    An imaginative and deeply felt exploration of genocide, persecution, colonialism and masculinity--saturated in Gary Barwin's sharp wit and perfect pun-play--Nothing the Same, Everything Haunted: The Ballad of Motl the Cowboy is a one-of-a-kind novel of sheer genius.
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  3. Acts of Desperation
    by Megan Nolan
    Little, Brown and Company
    Mar 09, 2021
    FICTION / Coming of Age
    Hardcover

    Description

    Heralding the arrival of “a huge literary talent” (Karl Ove Knausgaard), Megan Nolan’s riveting debut is “a blistering anti-romance” (Catherine Lacey) about love addiction and what it does to us.

    Wouldn’t I do anything to reverse my loss, the absence of him?

    In the first scene of this provocative gut-punch of a novel, our unnamed narrator meets a magnetic writer named Ciaran and falls, against her better judgment, completely in his power. After a brief, all-consuming romance he abruptly rejects her, sending her into a tailspin of jealous obsession and longing. If he ever comes back to her, she resolves to hang onto him and his love at all costs, even if it destroys her…

    Part breathless confession, part lucid critique, Acts of Desperation renders a consciousness split between rebellion and submission, between escaping degradation and eroticizing it, between loving and being lovable. With unsettling, electric precision, Nolan dissects one of life’s most elusive mysteries: Why do we want what we want, and how do we want it?

    Combining the intellectual excitement of Rachel Cusk with the emotional rawness of Elena Ferrante, Acts of Desperation interrogates the nature of desire, power, and toxic relationships, challenging us to reckon honestly with our own insatiability.
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  4. My Mother's Daughter
    by Perdita Felicien 'Canada'
    Doubleday Canada
    Mar 30, 2021
    BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Personal Memoirs
    Hardcover

    Description

    "A phenomenal, human story. . . . I could not put this book down." —CLARA HUGHES

    A raw and affecting memoir about a mother and daughter who beat the odds together.


    Decades before Perdita Felicien became a World Champion hurdler running the biggest race of her life at the 2004 Olympics, she carried more than a nation's hopes—she carried her mother Catherine's dreams.

    In 1974, Catherine is determined and tenacious, but she's also pregnant with her second child and just scraping by in St. Lucia. When she meets a wealthy white Canadian family vacationing on the island, she knows it's her chance. They ask her to come to Canada to be their nanny—and she accepts.

    This was the beginning of Catherine's new life: a life of opportunity, but also suffering. Within a few years, she would find herself pregnant a third time—this time in her new country with no family to support her, and this time, with Perdita. Together, in the years to come, mother and daughter would experience racism, domestic abuse, and even homelessness, but Catherine's will would always pull them through.

    As Perdita grew and began to discover her preternatural athletic gifts, she was edged onward by her mother's love, grit, and faith. Facing literal and figurative hurdles, she learned to leap and pick herself back up when she stumbled. This book is a daughter's memoir—a book about the power of a parent's love to transform their child's life.
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  5. The Girls Are All So Nice Here
    by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
    Simon & Schuster
    Mar 09, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Paperback

    Description

    Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.

    A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.”

    It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.

    At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.

    Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.
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  6. Meet Me in Paradise
    by Libby Hubscher
    Berkley
    Mar 23, 2021
    FICTION / Romance / Contemporary
    Paperback

    Description

    Marin Cole has never:
    Seen the ocean
    Climbed a mountain
    Taken a risk on love
    ....But if her sister's plan works, she just might do all three.

    Ever since her journalist mother died on assignment, Marin has played it safe, refusing to set foot outside the state of Tennessee. Her wild-child younger sister, Sadie, has trotted the globe as a photographer, living off of art and adrenaline.

    When Sadie returns from a tough assignment abroad and looks a little worse for wear, Marin reluctantly agrees to a sisters' spa weekend on the tropical island of Saba. But her lifelong fear of travel is affirmed when Sadie misses the flight, Marin's luggage gets mixed up with another passenger's, and an episode of turbulence sends her hurtling into the lap of Lucas Tsai, the handsome stranger who stole her sister's seat.

    For the first time in a long time, Marin has to step outside of her comfort zone as she explores the island with Lucas and learns what she's been missing out on. With each breathtaking new experience, Marin gets closer to her real self, the man she’s falling for, and the heart-wrenching truth about why she’s there in the first place.
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  7. Central Park
    by Guillaume Musso
    Back Bay Books
    Mar 16, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Paperback

    Description

    From the #1 international bestselling author: a woman wakes up on a Central Park bench with no memory of how she got there in this “unpredictable and moving psychological thriller that keeps you holding your breath” (Métro)

    Alice, a fierce and respected Parisian cop, wakes up on a Central Park bench with no memory of the night before, handcuffed to a complete stranger—a musician named Gabriel. Disoriented, dazed, and with someone else’s blood on her shirt, Alice works furiously to reconnect the dots. She remembers clubbing with her friends the night before on the Champs-Élysées. Gabriel claims he was playing a gig in Dublin. Was she drugged? Kidnapped? Why is the gun in her jacket pocket missing a bullet? And whose blood is on her clothes?

    Over the next twenty-four hours, Alice and Gabriel race across New York in search of answers, stumbling upon a startling set of clues that point to a terrible adversary from the past. Alice must finally confront her memories of hunting the serial killer who took everything from her—a man she thought was dead, until now.

    From France's #1 bestselling author, Central Park is a taut and suspenseful thriller that will keep readers riveted until its final shocking twist.
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  8. Never Have I Ever
    by L.V. Hay
    Hodder
    Mar 16, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Paperback

    Description

    Never Have I Ever been punished for what I have done . . .

    'An unsettling whirlwind of a novel with a startlingly dark core. 5 Stars' Sun on The Other Twin

    Twenty years ago

    Four teenagers discover a new game.

    They add their own rules, going from sharing secrets to sharing firsts.

    And then it all goes spiraling out of control.


    Now

    A woman gets a note through her door which chills her blood

    'Never have I ever been punished for what I have done'

    She thought this was over. But it looks like it's her turn to play

    Because no matter how far it goes, you have to obey the rules of the game. And the game is never really over.

    'Well written, engrossing and brilliantly unique, this is a fab debut' Heat on The Other Twin

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  9. Flight
    by Laura Griffin
    Berkley
    Mar 30, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Paperback

    Description

    One tenacious local detective can only get the help he needs from a former forensic photographer with a serial killer on the loose in the new romantic thriller from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.

    When former forensic photographer Miranda Rhoads moves to the seaside town of Lost Beach, she's decided to make her living as a wildlife photographer and put crime scenes behind her. But her plans are quickly upended when one morning, she comes across a couple sleeping in a canoe, entwined in an embrace. Looking closer, she realizes the man and woman aren't asleep—they’ve been murdered.

    Detective Joel Breda sets out to find answers--not only about the unidentified victims in the marshy death scene, but also about the aloof and beautiful photographer who seems to know more about his investigation than he does.

    As they begin to unravel the motivation of a merciless serial killer, Miranda and Joel must race against the clock to make an arrest before the killer can find them first.
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  10. The Relatives
    by Camilla Gibb 'Canada'
    Doubleday Canada
    Mar 23, 2021
    FICTION / Family Life / Marriage & Divorce
    Hardcover

    Description

    From the renowned author of Sweetness in the Belly, The Beauty of Humanity Movement and This Is Happy, comes a bold, urgent and richly imagined novel about what it means to be a family in our modern world.

    Lila is on a long, painful journey toward motherhood. Tess and Emily are reeling after their ugly separation and fighting over ownership of the embryos that were supposed to grow their family together. And thousands of miles away, the unknown man who served as anonymous donor to them all is being held in captivity in Somalia. While his life remains in precarious balance, his genetic material is a source of both creation and conflict.

    What does it mean to be a family in our rapidly shifting world? What are our responsibilities to each other with increasing options for how to create a family?

    As these characters grapple with life-altering changes, they will find themselves interconnected in ways they cannot have imagined, and forced to redefine what family means to them.
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Winter 2021 Juvenile and Young Adult List

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  1. Claudia and the New Girl (The Baby-sitters Club Graphic Novel #9)
    by Ann M. Martin
    Graphix
    Feb 02, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / General
    Lexile measure GN360L
    Paperback

    Description

    A brand-new Baby-sitters Club graphic novel adapted by newcomer Gabriela Epstein!

    Claudia has always been the most creative kid in her class... until Ashley Wyeth comes along. Ashley's really different: She wears hippie clothes and has multiple earrings, and she's the most fantastic artist Claudia has ever met.

    Ashley says Claudia is a great artist, too, but thinks she's wasting her artistic talent with The Baby-sitters Club. When Claudia starts spending more time with Ashley and missing BSC meetings, it becomes clear that Claudia has to make a decision -- one of them has to go!

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  2. Girl Giant and the Monkey King
    by Van Hoang
    Roaring Brook Press
    Dec 01, 2020
    JUVENILE FICTION / Fantasy & Magic
    Hardcover

    Description

    From debut author Van Hoang comesGirl Giant and the Monkey King, a tale packed with magic, adventure, and middle-school woes—perfect for fans of Rick Riordan and Roshani Chokshi.

    Eleven-year-old Thom Ngho is keeping a secret: she’s strong. Like suuuuper strong. Freakishly strong. And it’s making it impossible for her to fit in at her new middle school.

    In a desperate bid to get rid of her super strength, Thom makes a deal with the Monkey King, a powerful deity and legendary trickster she accidentally released from his 500-year prison sentence. Thom agrees to help the Monkey King get back his magical staff if he'll take away her strength.

    Soon Thom is swept up in an ancient and fantastical world in where demons, dragons, and Jade princesses actually exist. But she quickly discovers that magic can’t cure everything, and dealing with the trickster god might be more trouble than it’s worth.

    Kirkus Best Book of 2020

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  3. Standing on Her Shoulders
    by Monica Clark-Robinson
    Orchard Books
    Feb 02, 2021
    JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Women
    Hardcover

    Description

    A stunning love letter to the important women who shape us -- from our own mothers and grandmothers to the legends who paved the way for girls and women everywhere.

    Standing on Her Shoulders is a celebration of the strong women who influence us -- from our mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers to the women who fought for equality and acceptance in the United States.

    Monica Clark-Robinson's lyrical text encourages young girls to learn about the powerful and trailblazing women who laid the path for their own lives and empowers them to become role models themselves. Acclaimed illustrator Laura Freeman's remarkable art showcases a loving intergenerational family and encourages girls to find female heroes in their own lives.

    Standing on Her Shoulders will inspire girls of all ages to follow in the footsteps of these amazing women.

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  4. Home Is in Between
    by Mitali Perkins
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
    Feb 23, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / Emigration & Immigration
    Hardcover

    Description

    In the timely yet timeless picture bookHome Is in Between, critically acclaimed author Mitali Perkins and illustrator Lavanya Naidu describe the experience of navigating multiple cultures and embracing the complex but beautiful home in between.

    Shanti misses the warm monsoon rains in India. Now in America, she watches fall leaves fly past her feet.

    Still, her family’s apartment feels like a village: Mama cookingluchi, funny stories in Bangla, and Baba’s big laugh. But outside, everything is different – trick-or-treating, ballet class, and English books.

    Back and forth, Shanti trudges between her two worlds. She remembers her village and learns her new town. She watches Bollywood movies at home and Hollywood movies with her friends. She is Indian. She is also American. How should she define home?

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  5. Little Helpers Toddler Baking Cookbook
    by Barbara Lamperti
    Rockridge Press
    Feb 09, 2021
    JUVENILE NONFICTION / Cooking & Food
    Paperback

    Description

    A fun and tasty guide to baking with little chefs ages 1 to 4

    If your little one is curious about what goes on in the kitchen, this toddler cookbook is the perfect way to get them involved. The recipes are designed to be whimsical and simple, so even young kids can start learning cooking basics, fine motor skills, and the joy of tasting and sharing their own creations.

    You’ll find advice for the best ways to bake with a toddler, including how to set up the workspace ahead of time, explain kitchen safety, and create a backup plan in case things get a little too messy. Every recipe includes both “adult steps" and “toddler steps” so you can see where to give your toddler some independence and where they’ll need a grown-up to lend a hand.

    Get kids excited about baking with a toddler cookbook that offers:

    • Three difficulty levels—Choose what to cook based on your toddler’s interest and skill, and give them the chance to grow with the book, trying more advanced recipes as they improve.
    • Fun, flavorful, and healthy recipes—This toddler cookbook features a wide range of sweet and savory flavors to encourage kids to try new foods while limiting the use of refined sugar.
    • A personalized keepsake—Find space to write down when you made each recipe, what you enjoyed the most, how many stars you’d rate it, and any notes or memories you want to share.

    Explore a toddler cookbook that makes it fun, easy, and safe for your whole family to bake together.

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  6. I See You See
    by Richard Jackson
    Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
    Feb 16, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Cats
    Hardcover

    Description

    When a brother and sister go for a walk, their imaginations turn the ordinary into the extraordinary in this sweet and whimsical picture book.

    Pup is pulling, Maisie is pushing, and Jonah is looking and listening as the three of them set off on their daily dog walk. But what begins as a chore becomes an unexpected celebration of imagination as their neighborhood transforms. Maisie sees butterfly; Jonah sees a popsicle garden! Maisie sees the postman; Jonah sees a sky slide! And…is that…a tree of cats?!

    Differences are what brings richness to the everyday in gorgeous homage to the wonders of the world around us—and the worlds we can create—if only we stop to look and listen.
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  7. Sharing a Smile
    by Nicki Kramar
    Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
    Feb 23, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Social Themes / New Experience
    Hardcover

    Description

    In the spirit of Come With Me, this timely and charming tale about mask-wearing follows a little girl and her generous plan to find her own courage by helping those in her neighborhood find theirs.

    In a changing world, little Sophie is feeling a bit worried. She loves being outside and playing with her friends in her neighborhood. But going outside lately means wearing a mask—something Sophie is still trying to understand. It makes her nervous when she wants to be brave. And after taking a closer look outside her window, watching her neighbors adjusting to this new normal, she realizes she isn’t the only one who feels a little scared.

    Which gives Sophie an idea. With her grandpa’s help, she does something special for the people in her neighborhood. When Sophie sees her small acts of kindness spread, she realizes that with the help of friends in our communities, anyone can find their courage—and their smile.
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  8. Dear Black Girls
    by Shanice Nicole 'Canada'
    Metonymy Press
    Feb 08, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Girls & Women
    Hardcover

    Description

    Dear Black girls all around the world, this one is for you -- for us.

    Dear Black Girls is a letter to all Black girls. Every single day poet and educator Shanice Nicole is reminded of how special Black girls are and of how lucky she is to be one. Illustrations by Kezna Dalz support the book's message that no two Black girls are the same but they are all special--that to be a Black girl is a true gift. In this celebratory poem, Kezna and Shanice remind young readers that despite differences, they all deserve to be loved just the way they are.

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  9. The Secret Fawn
    by Kallie George 'Canada'
    Tundra Books
    Feb 02, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Deer, Moose & Caribou
    Lexile measure AD430L
    Hardcover

    Description

    Gorgeous cut-paper art illuminates this sweet, heartfelt picture book about how special being little can be. For fans of Finding Wild and Little Fox in the Forest.

    A little girl is always missing out on the wonderful things her family gets to see and do, just because she is the youngest and smallest. She misses seeing shooting stars because she goes to bed too early; she can't pick the first apple of autumn because she's too short; and, this morning, everyone else got to see a deer . . . except her. She goes into her backyard in search of the deer, a sugar cube tucked in her pocket. She sees a flick of brown in the orchard -- is that the deer? No, it's just the neighbor's friendly dog (Shhhhh, Nala!). Is that it by the pond? No, that's just a bird, playing in the water. Just when she's about to give up, she spots a fawn, beautiful, quiet and small . . . just like her.

    The Secret Fawn beautifully captures the power of nature to inspire children and shows how connecting with animals can help kids who feel left out or overlooked.
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  10. Elephants Do Not Belong in Trees
    by Russ Willms
    Orca Book Publishers
    Feb 16, 2021
    JUVENILE FICTION / Animals / Elephants
    Lexile measure AD500L, Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient L, Guided Reading Level L
    Hardcover

    Description

    Elephants do not belong in trees. It’s not natural. It makes other animals uncomfortable. This is the story of Larry, an elephant who wanted to live in a tree. This is a story about being the new kid and being a little bit different (okay, A LOT different). A story about acceptance and making friends. When Larry decides he wants to live in the big bushy tree in the middle of the wide-open field, the current residents, Bird, Squirrel and Monkey, are not very welcoming. They throw nuts at him and peck at his head; they tell him to leave and are downright rude. But Larry persists—why can’t he live in the tree? When his new home is threatened by something much bigger than all the animals combined, Larry shows everyone that he cares just as much about the tree as they do.
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