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The top books chosen by Canadian library staff

January & February 2021 Adult List

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  1. The Survivors
    by Jane Harper
    Flatiron Books
    Feb 02, 2021
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / International Crime & Mystery
    Hardcover

    Description

    Coming home dredges up deeply buried secrets inThe Survivors, a thrilling mystery byNew York Times bestselling author Jane Harper

    Kieran Elliott's life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences.

    The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.

    Kieran's parents are struggling in a town where fortunes are forged by the sea. Between them all is his absent brother, Finn.

    When a body is discovered on the beach, long-held secrets threaten to emerge. A sunken wreck, a missing girl, and questions that have never washed away...

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  2. The Sanatorium
    by Sarah Pearse
    Pamela Dorman Books
    Feb 02, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
    Hardcover

    Description

    "An absolutely splendid Gothic thriller."--A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

    "This spine-tingling, atmospheric thriller has it all: an eerie Alpine setting, sharp prose, and twists you'll never see coming. A must-read."
    --Richard Osman, international bestselling author of The Thursday Murder Club

    You won't want to leave. . . until you can't.


    Half-hidden by forest and overshadowed by threatening peaks, Le Sommet has always been a sinister place. Long plagued by troubling rumors, the former abandoned sanatorium has since been renovated into a five-star minimalist hotel.

    An imposing, isolated getaway spot high up in the Swiss Alps is the last place Elin Warner wants to be. But Elin's taken time off from her job as a detective, so when her estranged brother, Isaac, and his fiancée, Laure, invite her to celebrate their engagement at the hotel, Elin really has no reason not to accept.

    Arriving in the midst of a threatening storm, Elin immediately feels on edge--there's something about the hotel that makes her nervous. And when they wake the following morning to discover Laure is missing, Elin must trust her instincts if they hope to find her. With the storm closing off all access to the hotel, the longer Laure stays missing, the more the remaining guests start to panic.

    Elin is under pressure to find Laure, but no one has realized yet that another woman has gone missing. And she's the only one who could have warned them just how much danger they are all in. . .
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  3. The Paris Library
    by Janet Skeslien Charles
    Simon & Schuster
    Feb 02, 2021
    FICTION / Historical / World War II
    Paperback

    Description

    Based on the true World War II story of the American Library in Paris, an unforgettable novel about the power of books and the bonds of friendship—and the ordinary heroes who can be found in the most perilous times and the quietest places.

    Paris, 1939.

    Young, ambitious, and tempestuous, Odile Souchet has it all: Paul, her handsome police officer beau; Margaret, her best friend from England; Remy, her twin brother who she adores; and a dream job at the American Library in Paris, working alongside the library’s legendary director, Dorothy Reeder. When World War II breaks out, Odile stands to lose everything she holds dear—including her beloved library. After the Nazi army marches into the City of Light and declares a war on words, Odile and her fellow librarians join the Resistance with the best weapons they have: books. Again and again, they risk their lives to help their fellow Jewish readers, but by war’s end, Odile tastes the bitter sting of unspeakable betrayal.

    Montana, 1983.

    Odile’s solitary existence in gossipy small-town Montana is unexpectedly interrupted by her neighbor Lily, a lonely teenager craving adventure. As Lily uncovers more about Odile’s mysterious past, they find they share not only a love of language but also the same lethal jealousy. Odile helps Lily navigate the troubled waters of adolescence by always recommending the right book at the right time, never suspecting that Lily will be the one to help her reckon with her own terrible secret.

    Based on the true story of the American Library in Paris, The Paris Library is a mesmerizing and captivating novel about the people and the books that make us who we are, for good and for bad, and the courage it takes to forgive.
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  4. A Town Called Solace
    by Mary Lawson 'Canada'
    Knopf Canada
    Feb 16, 2021
    FICTION / Small Town & Rural
    Hardcover

    Description

    New York Times bestselling author Mary Lawson, acclaimed for digging into the "wilderness of the human heart", is back after almost a decade with a fresh and timely novel that is different in subject but just as emotional and atmospheric as her beloved earlier work.

    A Town Called Solace--the brilliant and emotionally radiant new novel from Mary Lawson, her first in nearly a decade--opens on a family in crisis: rebellious teenager Rose been missing for weeks with no word, and Rose's younger sister, the feisty and fierce Clara, keeps a daily vigil at the living-room window, hoping for her sibling's return.

    Enter thirtyish Liam Kane, newly divorced, newly unemployed, newly arrived in this small northern town, where he promptly moves into the house next door--watched suspiciously by astonished and dismayed Clara, whose elderly friend, Mrs. Orchard, owns that home. Around the time of Rose's disappearance, Mrs. Orchard was sent for a short stay in hospital, and Clara promised to keep an eye on the house and its remaining occupant, Mrs. Orchard's cat, Moses. As the novel unfolds, so does the mystery of what has transpired between Mrs Orchard and the newly arrived stranger.

    Told through three distinct, compelling points of view--Clara's, Mrs. Orchard's, and Liam Kane's--the novel cuts back and forth among these unforgettable characters to uncover the layers of grief, remorse, and love that connect families, both the ones we're born into and the ones we choose. A Town Called Solace is a masterful, suspenseful and deeply humane novel by one of our great storytellers.
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  5. Murder in an Irish Bookshop
    by Carlene O'Connor
    Kensington
    Feb 23, 2021
    FICTION / Mystery & Detective / Women Sleuths
    Hardcover

    Description

    In Carlene O'Connor's seventh installment of her USA Today bestselling Irish Village Mystery series, the grand opening of a new bookstore in Kilbane becomes the closing chapter of an author's life--and a whodunit that tests even Garda Siobhán O'Sullivan's deductive reasoning...

    "A mélange of clues from classic mysteries plus plenty of Irish charm produce an enjoyable read."--Kirkus Reviews

    Join a bestselling author and travel to County Cork in Ireland to solve a bookish mystery full of twists in a cozy whodunit perfect for fans of Sheila Connolly, Kate Carlisle, and Laura Childs!

    Between training the new town garda and trying to set a wedding date with her fiancé, Macdara Flannery, Siobhán O'Sullivan is feeling a bit overwhelmed. She's looking forward to visiting the new bookshop and curling up with an exciting novel--only to discover the shelves contain nothing but Literature with a capital L. The owner not only refuses to stock romances, mysteries, and science fiction, but won't even let customers enter his store unless they can quote James Joyce or Sean Hennessey.

    Despite the owner deliberately limiting his clientele, he's hosting a reading and autographing event featuring up and coming Irish writers who will be taking up residency in Kilbane for a month. Among them is indie author Deirdre Walsh, who spends more time complaining about the unfairness of the publishing industry and megastar bestsellers instead of her own creative works, causing a heated debate among the writers. She seems to have a particular distaste for the novels of Nessa Lamb.

    Then Deirdre's body is found the next day in the back of the store--with pages torn from Nessa's books stuffed in her mouth. Now, Siobhán must uncover which of Kilbane's literary guests took Deirdre's criticisms so personally they'd engage in foul play . . .
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  6. Two White Queens and the One-Eyed Jack
    by Heidi von Palleske 'Canada'
    Dundurn Press
    Feb 09, 2021
    FICTION / Literary
    Paperback

    Description

    “How the characters in this story are interconnected is a marvel of storytelling.” — JOHN IRVING

    Fate, circumstance, and the symbolism of sight collide in this modern gothic novel.


    On a hot June day in 1965, two six-year-old boys, Gareth and Jack, compete to see who can climb higher up a tree. When Jack falls and loses his eye on a thorn bush, the accident sets off a series of events that will bind the boys together for the rest of their lives.

    When the best friends meet albino twins Clara and Blanca, a shared fate unfolds. With Gareth and Jack’s help, the twins are able to reclaim their lives and leave their nightmarish past behind them.

    From the shores of Lake Ontario to the hustle of Berlin, from the art of oculary to punk opera, this is a story of dark secrets, suppressed desires, forgiveness, and love.
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  7. The Four Winds
    by Kristin Hannah
    St. Martin's Press
    Feb 02, 2021
    FICTION / Women
    Hardcover

    Description

    From Kristin Hannah, the #1New York Timesbestselling author ofThe NightingaleandThe Great Alone, comes an epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America’s most defining eras—the Great Depression.

    Texas, 1934. Millions are out of work and a drought has broken the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as the crops are failing, the water is drying up, and dust threatens to bury them all. One of the darkest periods of the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl era, has arrived with a vengeance.

    In this uncertain and dangerous time, Elsa Martinelli—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or go west, to California, in search of a better life.The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American Dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.

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  8. The Push
    by Ashley Audrain 'Canada'
    Viking
    Jan 05, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Psychological
    Paperback

    Description

    INSTANT INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER

    “Written with an unflinching eye and a stylistically sharp, tight economy The Push is a single-sitting read, as suspenseful as any thriller, as thoughtful as any literary novel, with an almost physical force behind each of its turns and revelations.”—Toronto Star


    A tense, page-turning psychological drama about the making and breaking of a family, told through the eyes of a woman whose experience of motherhood is nothing at all what she hoped for--and everything she feared.

    Blythe Connor is determined that she will be the warm, supportive mother she never had to her new baby Violet.

    But in the thick of motherhood's exhausting early days, Blythe doesn't find the connection with her daughter she expected. She's convinced that something is wrong with Violet--the little girl is distant, rejects affection, and becomes increasingly disruptive at preschool.

    Or is it all in Blythe's head? Her husband, Fox, says she is imagining things. Fox doesn't see what Blythe sees; he sees a wife who is struggling to cope with the day-to-day challenges of being a mother. And the more Fox dismisses her fears, the more Blythe begins to question her own sanity...

    Then their son Sam is born--and with him, Blythe has the natural maternal connection she'd always dreamed of. Even Violet seems to love her little brother. But when life as they know it is changed in an instant, the devastating fall-out forces Blythe to face the truth about herself, her past, and her daughter.

    The Push is a rare and extraordinary gift to readers: a novel about the expectations of motherhood we're taught not to challenge and what really happens behind the closed doors of even the most perfect-looking families. It's impossible to put down and impossible to forget.
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  9. The Perfect Guests
    by Emma Rous
    Berkley
    Jan 12, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Hardcover

    Description

    The USA Today bestselling author of The Au Pair returns with another delicious, twisty novel—about a grand estate with many secrets, an orphan caught in a web of lies, and a young woman playing a sinister game.

    1988. Beth Soames is fourteen years old when her aunt takes her to stay at Raven Hall, a rambling manor in the isolated East Anglian fens. The Averells, the family who lives there, are warm and welcoming, and Beth becomes fast friends with their daughter, Nina. At times, Beth even feels like she's truly part of the family...until they ask her to help them with a harmless game—and nothing is ever the same.

    2019. Sadie Langton is an actress struggling to make ends meet when she lands a well-paying gig to pretend to be a guest at a weekend party. She is sent a suitcase of clothing, a dossier outlining the role she is to play, and instructions. It's strange, but she needs the money, and when she sees the stunning manor she'll be staying at, she figures she’s got nothing to lose.

    In person, Raven Hall is even grander than she'd imagined—even with damage from a fire decades before—but the walls seem to have eyes. As day turns to night, Sadie starts to feel that there’s something off about the glamorous guests who arrive, and as the party begins, it becomes chillingly apparent their unseen host is playing games with everyone...including her.
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  10. The Burning Girls
    by C. J. Tudor
    Doubleday Canada
    Feb 09, 2021
    FICTION / Thrillers / Suspense
    Paperback

    Description

    A woman trying to outrun her past uncovers a great evil in the fourth riveting and psychologically compelling novel from the acclaimed author of The Chalk Man.

    Welcome to Keeper's Croft. Five hundred years ago, protestant martyrs were burned at the stake. Forty years ago, two teenaged girls disappeared without a trace. And two months ago, the vicar of the local parish killed himself.

    Reverend Alex Brooks, a single mother with a fourteen-year-old daughter and a heavy conscience, arrives in the village hoping to make a fresh start and find some peace. She left Nottingham after a vulnerable child died. It's a death she could have prevented, one that still haunts her. But Alex discovers that peace is the last thing she will find in Keeper's Croft.

    Instead, the previous vicar has left a message. An old exorcism kit and a suicide note instruct Alex to search for the truth about the village's history and the girls' disappearance. And when both Alex and her daughter Flo are troubled by strange sightings in the old chapel--apparitions that seem all too real--it becomes apparent that there are ghosts here that refuse to be laid to rest.

    But discovering the truth is hard in a village where everyone has something to protect, everyone has links with the village's bloody past and no one trusts an outsider.
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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
    Fountas & Pinnell Text Level Gradient L, Guided Reading Level L, Lexile measure AD500L
    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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