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Staff Summer Reading Favorites 2014

The County of Los Angeles Public Library staff are enjoying the Summer Reading Program too. From fiction to nonfiction and teen to adult, here are a few of the titles we have enjoyed this summer, selected from over 900 reviews we have submitted so far. (June 2014)

Find the July/August 2014 booklist of staff summer favorites here!

Find more reading suggestions at Books & More.

 

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The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson keeps her readers in suspense the whole novel.... will Hayley's father get any better? Will he finally seek the treatment that he desperately needs? This is an easy read that makes you feel sympathy towards the main character who is trying to balance her social life, school, and taking care of her ill father. Also available in: Downloadable eBook.

Genre: YA Fiction

Recommended by Ashley from Anthony Quinn Library

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I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand

Henry Lambert is shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp, even though he insists he "is not a wuss." His main concerns are the psycho camp counselor, the possibility of girls at the music camp three miles away and the drive to not look like even more of a loser. Can Henry and his four fellow campers survive when confronted by criminals? A quick, humorous read that would be enjoyed by all, especially reluctant male readers.

Genre: YA Fiction

Recommended by Laurie from Lake Los Angeles Library

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Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

This is not your average historical fiction! Eleanor Fitt is a headstrong 16 year old, living in Philadelphia with her widowed mother, and awaiting her brother's return from New York. Her mother is pressuring her to "secure an engagement" and her wardrobe consists of tight corsets, itchy furs and full skirts. If that wasn't bad enough? The Dead are being risen (and controlled) by a mysterious necromancer, there is a quirky trio of Spirit Hunters to contend with, and her brother seems to be forever detained in New York. This is a fantastic read, and I couldn't put it down once I started. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the 2nd & 3rd installments. Also available in: Downloadable eBook.

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Recommended by Stormy from Hacienda Heights Library

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Push Girl: A Novel by Chelsie Hill

I've enjoyed the series Push Girls on the Sundance channel, and this book is co-authored by the youngest woman that stars on that show. It's a story about a high school girl who is paralyzed in a drunk driving accident and it follows her through the next several months as she and everyone around her adjust to the changes that ensue as a result. I liked that the main character had a wide range of emotions and wasn't always in control of them...which seems a pretty realistic response to such an accident.

Genre: YA Realistic Fiction

Recommended by Stacey from City Terrace Library

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Blonde Ops by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman

After being expelled from yet another boarding school, Bec Jackson is shipped to Rome to intern for the editor in chief of one of the world's top fashion magazines. When a mysterious accident lands the editor in the hospital, Bec cannot help herself but investigate using her hacking skills that got her in trouble in the first place. An easy and quick read with plenty of action and mysteries.

Genre: YA Fiction

Recommended by Kathy from City Terrace Library

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One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

A romantic comedy about Alek, who is forced to go to summer school by his over-achieving Armenian-American parents and Ethan, a member of the D.O. (Drop-Outs) skater clique. This novel was sweet and frothy with just the right amount of conflict and teen angst. Plus, the Armenian ethnic details made it feel fresh. Believable characters, a lead you will root for, and the funny, romantic plot make this a must read for lovers of romantic comedy and coming-of-age stories.

Genre: YA Romance

Recommended by Katharine from Westlake Village Library

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La Corda d'Oro by Kure Yuki

If you like music stuff and manga, then I recommend this one! Hino Kahoko is a student in the General Education department at Seiso Academy. Lili, a music fairy who Hino runs into, grants her a magical violin and a spot in the school's musical competition. Hino, with no musical ability, of course declined but Lili's persistence makes her change her mind. I love this manga. What's more, there is an anime adaptation to this so you could actually hear the music! Recommended!!!

Genre: Manga

Recommended by Ruth from Willowbrook Library

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Soccer in Sun and Shadow by Eduardo Galeano

Eduardo Galeano writes powerful vignettes, all related to the beautiful game known throughout the world as "football". Each vignette takes a look back into history and conjures up images of heroism and despair associated with football. Made for football fans.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Brian from Anthony Quinn Library

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Child of Mine by David and Beverly Lewis

Following the deaths of his brother and sister-in-law in an accident, Jack Livingstone has been raising their adopted daughter with the help of an Amish nanny. Now age 8, Nattie is curious about her birth mother and wants a complete family. Kelly Maines' search for her daughter, kidnapped and sold on the black market by her ex-husband, brings her to Jack and Nattie. Well-crafted tale of families, romance and forgiveness.

Genre: Inspirational Fiction

Recommended by Laurie from Lake Los Angeles Library

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The Reason I Jump: The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism by Naoki Higashida

In The Reason I Jump, Naoki Higashida seeks to answer the "FAQs" ("Frequently Asked Questions") about behaviors that fall within the spectrum of autism. Aided by a Japanese alphabet grid (an equivalent to the QWERTY keyboard), this thirteen-year-old boy becomes a voice for the autistic community by opening the doors of his heart to the non-autistic majority. It is through this means that the audience learns to see autism subjectively, through the eyes of a person living within the spectrum, and discovers that people with autism are as human as any other human being. Through the use of anecdotes, similes, comparisons, personal experiences, and short narratives, Higashida conveys his feelings on the reader. They are feelings of happiness when good memories come to his mind, or feelings of sadness, desperation, and loneliness, when he is not understood by "normal" people. I highly recommend this book to all those parents and loved ones of children with autism. It may change their perspective regarding this condition. Also available in: Downloadable eBook.

Genre: Autobiography, Nonfiction, Narrative

Recommended by Cristian from East Rancho Dominguez Library

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The Lost Art of Dress: The Women Who Once Made America Stylish by Linda Przybyszewski

An excellent look into the history of the "dress doctors". These were women who taught young ladies how to dress well (and stylishly) on a budget, and through the means of presenting themselves appropriately for all occasions encouraged them to be "confident, engaged members of society."

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Heidi from George Nye, Jr. Library

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Love Life by Rob Lowe

Absolutely love it! Truly enjoying learning about Hollywood culture in the 70s and 80s. But most importantly loved the positive attitude the writer projected in his memoirs in writing about his most important role as a loving father and husband.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Martha from City Terrace Library

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Raising My Rainbow by Lori Duron

Raising My Rainbow is Lori Duron's frank, heartfelt, and brutally funny account of her and her family's adventures of distress and happiness raising a gender creative son. Whereas her older son Chase is a Lego loving, sports playing boy's boy, her younger son CJ would much rather twirl around in a pink sparkly tutu, with a Disney's princess in each hand while singing Lady Gaga's Paparazzi. CJ is gender variant or gender nonconforming, whichever you prefer. Whatever the term Lori has a boy who likes girl stuff - really likes girl stuff. He floats on the gender variation spectrum from super macho masculine on the left all the way to super girly feminine on the right. He's not all pink and not all blue. Also available in: Downloadable eBook.

Genre: Nonfiction

Recommended by Nancy from Graham Library

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The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation by Jonathan Hennessey

This was a brilliant rendition of the Constitution and the amendments! It is visually stunning to see each amendment portrayed symbolically. A little dark in its color scheme, Hennessey gives an unbiased description to help in understanding this document.

Genre: Graphic Novel, Government

Recommended by Anne from Lancaster Library

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A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

The story takes place over the summer of 1938 and flashbacks. Lily Dane spends the summer being cordial and polite to her best friend who married her ex-fiancé who decide to spend the summer in Seaview, RI where her family has a home. I enjoyed the historical detail and the love story.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Recommended by Leticia from Sorensen Library

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City of Thieves by David Benioff

17-year-old Lev Beniov is caught looting a German pilot's corpse. The penalty for this infraction (and many others) is execution. But NKVD Colonel Grechko confronts Lev and Kolya, a Russian army deserter also facing execution and offers to spare them if they acquire a dozen eggs for his daughter's wedding cake. Of course no eggs are to be found in besieged Leningrad so they must go out behind enemy lines. Depicts the horrors of war but is also a tale of friendship, tense adventure, coming-of-age and page-turning suspense. The characters live and breathe, the setting comes alive and you will be thankful you weren't born in WWII Leningrad. Also available in: Downloadable Audiobook.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Recommended by Richard from Rosemead Library

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The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

A young Japanese couple who both work at home are "adopted" by a beautiful calico cat who comes out of nowhere. They grow to love this "guest cat" and look forward to each visit with her. But tragedy strikes, causing the couple much pain and grief, but the memories are cherished and new cats come into their lives. A quiet, moving story that cat lovers are sure to appreciate.

Genre: Fiction

Recommended by Roberta from South El Monte Library

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Lost for Words by Edward St. Aubyn

A wonderful satire about the process of choosing book prize winners. When a cookbook makes the short list of something equivalent to the Booker Prize for fiction, you know you are in for sarcastic, biting writing on the part of the author. Wonderful writing. His previous works, the Patrick Melrose novels, are not to be missed. They are definitely 5 star. Also available in: Downloadable Audiobook.

Genre: Fiction

Recommended by Rochelle from Agoura Hills Library

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Suspect by Robert Crais

LAPD cop Scott James is suffering from PTSS after his partner, Stephanie was shot and killed. Maggie is a German Shepherd K-9 dog also suffering from form of PTSS after seeing his handler shot and killed while serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan. They are put together as partners in the LAPD K-9 unit but it is doubtful either one will make it. The two bond and work to find Stephanie's killers. This is a can't-put-it-down-read-in-one-day type of book. You'll fall in love with the dog even if you're not a dog lover.

Genre: Mystery

Recommended by Theresa from Los Nietos Library

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Books, Cooks, and Crooks by Lucy Arlington

In Inspiration Valley, North Carolina a festival entitled Taste of the Town is underway. Chefs from around the country, including many television personalities, descend on the town to promote their cookbooks. There will also be cooking demonstrations and a culinary writing contest. As usual, there is a death (or more) and the usual suspects include a diva celebrity chef, members of the entourages, and family members. Like the other novels in this series, it was an enjoyable read.

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Recommended by Donna from View Park Library

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Frozen Stiff by Annelise Ryan

Mattie Watson, former OR nurse and now deputy coroner, is back in trouble when Detective Steve Hurley is framed for multiple murders and asks her not to report his involvement. But with the gossip mill in Sorenson, Wisconsin on high alert this won't stay hidden for long. Mattie's ex is still demanding reconciliation while she is hoping Steve will ask her out. This small town is filled with characters and pets that make this a fun read. If you like the Stephanie Plum series you might want to give this one a try.

Genre: Mystery

Recommended by Cathy from Library Headquarters