Favorite Friday – The Other Side of Lost

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jessi Kirby

YA Adventure

Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.

Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.

With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself.

My Thoughts:

I loved this one! I recommend this to a lot of the students that come into the library and those that take me up on it, love it as much as I do. Jessi Kirby has a way of conveying the emotions of the characters and you really care about Mari, those she meets and her journey. We start out with Mari’s world imploding and the guilt and devastation of her cousins death. It was a joy to read as Mari hiked her way through it and finds herself to ultimately come out on top. I loved reading about the hiking aspects of the novel as well. Made me want to lace up some hiking boots (I’d have to go and buy them first) and hit some trails.

To purchase this book, please consider using this link. I earn a tiny commission, but most importantly, Bookshop.org supports local bookstores. They give 75% of their profits to support local bookstores and authors.

Gobbledy – Book Tour

Gobbledy
Lis Anna-Langston

232 pages

Genre: Fantasy – YA – Middle School – Holiday  

From the Award Winning Novelist Lis Anna-Langston comes a new fun-filled holiday story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut butter, a ketchup factory, & one little alien far, far from home. 


Ever since eleven-year-old Dexter Duckworth and his brother, Dougal, lost their mom, everything has been different. But “different” takes on a whole new meaning when, one day just before Christmas (or Kissmas, as they call it), Dexter finds a golden rock in the forest that hatches into an adorable alien. Gobbledy is smarter than he seems and is lost on planet Earth. Before long, Gobbledy takes Dexter, Dougal, and their best friend Fi on an adventure of friendship, family, and loss—one that requires them all to stay out of trouble, protect Gobbledy from a shadowy group called the Planetary Society, and prepare for their school’s Winter Extravaganza Play, where Dexter has to be a dreaded Gingerbread Man. 


Gobbledy is a fun-filled holiday story that adds up to two brothers, three friends, unlimited jars of peanut butter, a ketchup factory, and one little alien far, far from home.  

You can purchase Gobbledy at the following locations:

GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNESANDNOBLE | APPLE

About the author

 Lis Anna-Langston | Instagram | Goodreads

Lis Anna-Langston is a 2020 NYC Big Book Award winner, a Parents’ Choice Gold Book Award winner, a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award winner and the Dante Rossetti First Place Award winner for YA Fiction. She is the author of Tupelo Honey, Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond and the short story collection, The End of the Century. Born in the South she loves writing about misfits, screw ups, outlaws and people who generally don’t fit into nicely labeled boxes. She loves zany, wild rides and is the recipient of many awards including; a two time Pushcart nominee, a five time WorldFest winner, Telluride IndieFest winner, Helene Wurlitzer Grant recipient, New Century Writers winner, a finalist in the prestigious William Faulkner Competition, & Second Place Winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Award. She writes Young Adult, New Adult and Middle Grade novels and loves every second of it. 

Her fiction has been published in Word Riot, The Blotter, Petigru Review, Hot Metal Press, The Smoking Poet, Eclectic Flash Literary Journal, Paper Skin Glass Bones, 491 Magazine, Fiction Fix, The Monarch Review, 5×5 Literary Magazine, Red Booth Review, Hint Fiction Anthology, Chamber Four Literary Magazine, Emyrs Journal, Literary Laundry, Barely South Review, Flash Fiction Offensive, Flashquake Literary Journal, Steel Toe Review, Cactus Heart Press, Empty Sink Publishing, Prick of the Spindle Literary Review, Per Contra, Storyacious, Gravel Literary, Bedlam Publishing, The Merrimack Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Kaaterskill Basin Journal, Sand Hill Review, Conclave. Milk Journal and The MacGuffin Literary Review. 

She is a punk rock Harper Lee word ninja who loves fast moving rivers, improvisational French gourmet cooking, wild encounters with great films and the sounds of chinchillas dreaming. 

Tour Schedule

My Thoughts: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Gobbledy was a darling book and I encourage everyone to go out and buy it! I was asked to read and review this and honestly didn’t have high expectations. I opened up the document on my laptop and was hooked by the 3rd paragraph. I read for a bit and then transferred it to my phone so I could continue reading as I wandered around the house doing all the mom things I had to do. I finally sat back down and finished it in less than two hours. It was entertaining and I loved all the kids. I really didn’t like the Dad at the beginning (I really don’t think you are supposed to, just yet) but as the story went along my sympathies changed and I really felt for Dad and loved him. All of them. None of them really know how to deal with the first Christmas without their mom. Gobbledy was cute and I loved seeing his story unfold and he even made me tear up in one spot. I would love to see more from this author and the fun world she has created.

Enter the giveaway below! Win a $50 gift card and a signed copy of Gobbledy. Giveaway ends December 16th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway <

Top 10 Graphic Novels

Our school opened in 2019 and not counting being closed for the pandemic or summer months, we have been open for 10 months total. The checkout numbers may not be considered high to some, but take into account we’ve only been open 10 months.

Graphic novels have become sooo popular over the last few years. In our library, graphic novels only represent 20% of our collection, yet they count for 41% of all our checkouts. A lot of parents are unhappy when their teens only checkout graphic novels, but I call them gateway books. They are fast to read and highly entertaining. Once a person, or a reluctant reader, has learn that a book can be a great source of entertainment they are eventually willing to branch out and read traditional books. A big portion of graphic novels are manga – Japanese graphic novels that are read from back to front, left to right. There are also many classics and popular novels that have been turned into graphic novels. The Hobbit, Anne of Green Gables, Maximum Ride, and the Percy Jackson series to name a few. I finessed this list a bit. If it was a true top 10 there would be 8 My Hero Academia books and 2 others, so I chose to combine all of those into one slot so I could highlight some more really popular books.

#1 – MY HERO ACADEMIA

By far and away, these are our number one checkouts. Hugely popular, we have two sets of these and they are constantly put on hold. The 1st book in the series has been checked out 54 times.

What would the world be like if 80 percent of the population manifested superpowers called “Quirks” at age four? Heroes and villains would be battling it out everywhere! Being a hero would mean learning to use your power, but where would you go to study? The Hero Academy of course! But what would you do if you were one of the 20 percent who were born Quirkless?

Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny… 

#2 – THE TIME MUSEUM

This book has won many awards. The kids really liked this one and couldn’t wait for us to order the sequel. Checked out 35 times.

The internship program at the Time Museum is a little unusual. For one thing, kids as young as twelve get to apply for these prestigious summer jobs. And as for the applicant pool . . . well, these kids come from all over history.

When Delia finds herself working at the Time Museum, the last thing she expects is to be sent on time-traveling adventures with an unlikely gang of kids from across the eons. From a cave-boy to a girl from the distant future, Delia’s team represents nearly all of human history! They’re going to need all their skills for the challenge they’ve got in store . . . defending the Time Museum itself!

#3 – GHOSTS

Raina Telgemeier’s books resonate with many of our readers. This one is a popular re-read. Checked out 33 times.

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake – and her own.

#4 – The Complete Chi’s Sweet Home

A cute cat comic book, this one is constantly being put on hold. Checked out 31 times.

A multiple New York Times Best Seller and two-time winner of the Manga.Ask.Com Awards for Best Children’s Manga, Konami Kanata’s tale of a lost kitten has been acclaimed by readers worldwide as an excellent example of a comic that has truly been accepted by readers of all-ages.

Chi is a mischievous newborn kitten who, while on a leisurely stroll with her family, finds herself lost. Separated from the warmth and protection of her mother, feels distraught. Overcome with loneliness she breaks into tears in a large urban park meadow., when she is suddenly rescued by a young boy named Yohei and his mother. The kitty is then quickly and quietly whisked away into the warm and inviting Yamada family apartment…where pets are strictly not permitted.

#5 – CRUSH

#3 in the Berrybrook Middle School series. I don’t know much about, except I’m always shelving them. Checked out 26 times.

Jorge seems to have it all together. He’s big enough that nobody really messes with him, but he’s also a genuinely sweet guy with a solid, reliable group of friends. The only time he ever really feels off his game is when he crosses paths with a certain girl… But when the group dynamic among the boys starts to shift, will Jorge be able to balance what his friends expect of him versus what he actually wants?

#6 – DRAMA

Another popular Raina Telgemeier book. Checked out 26 times.

PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

#7 – AWKWARD

#1 in the Berrybrook Middle School series. Checked out 24 times.

Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.

Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.

On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!

Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals–the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!

#8 – SMILE

Raina Telgemeier wins again! Checked out 24 times.

Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth, and what follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly. This coming-of-age true story is sure to resonate with anyone who has ever been in middle school, and especially those who have ever had a bit of their own dental drama.

#9 – THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER

The kids always told us how much they liked this book when they brought it back. It is one of our most worn out books. Checked out 22 times.

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

#10 – NARUTO SERIES

This is another series I am constantly re-shelving. The first 3-in-1 book has been checked out 21 times.

Twelve years ago the Village Hidden in the Leaves was attacked by a fearsome threat. A nine-tailed fox spirit claimed the life of the village leader, the Hokage, and many others. Today, the village is at peace and a troublemaking kid named Naruto is struggling to graduate from Ninja Academy. His goal may be to become the next Hokage, but his true destiny will be much more complicated. The adventure begins now!

OTHER GRAPHIC NOVELS WITH MORE THAN 20 CHECKOUTS

Countdown

⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 

Deborah Wiles

Franny Chapman just wants some peace. But that’s hard to get when her best friend is feuding with her, her sister has disappeared, and her uncle is fighting an old war in his head. Her saintly younger brother is no help, and the cute boy across the street only complicates things. Worst of all, everyone is walking around just waiting for a bomb to fall.

It’s 1962, and it seems that the whole country is living in fear. When President Kennedy goes on television to say that Russia is sending nuclear missiles to Cuba, it only gets worse. Franny doesn’t know how to deal with what’s going on in the world — no more than she knows how to deal with what’s going on with her family and friends. But somehow she’s got to make it through.

Featuring a captivating story interspersed with footage from 1962, award-winning author Deborah Wiles has created a documentary novel that will put you right alongside Franny as she navigates a dangerous time in both her history and our history. 

My Thoughts:

This was another book that caught my eye as I was shelving books in my library. Countdown is set in 1962 and it was like entering another world for me. I wasn’t born until the late 1970’s and was 11 (same age as the main character) when the Berlin Wall came down so I don’t remember Russia (then the USSR) being an overwhelmingly looming threat. Wiles does a great job creating Franny’s world and the pages of propaganda and ads from that time period is a wonderful addition. It really cements the feel and climate of the 1960’s in the reader’s mind. Smoking, bomb shelters, duck and cover drills, race issues, women’s issues, etc were a daily part of the 1960’s.  While Franny and her family are worrying about Russia, Cuba, you also see that life goes on. Friend drama, family issues, etc. You see Franny grow up a bit through the book.  The only drawback to the book is you never find out what Jo Ellen’s secret is. It’s alluded to, and adults reading will have a pretty good idea, but I’m not sure the target audience of the book will figure it out and they will be left hanging. This is the first book of The Sixties Trilogy and I’m looking forward to reading the other two. 

The Geography of Lost Things

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Jessica Brody

After Ali’s father passes away, he leaves his one and only prized possession—a 1968 Firebird convertible—to his daughter. But Ali doesn’t plan on keeping it. Not when it reminds her too much of all her father’s unfulfilled promises. So when she finds a buyer three hundred miles up the Pacific coast willing to pay enough money for the car to save her childhood home, Ali can’t wait to get going. Except Ali has no idea how to drive a stick shift. But guess who does?

Ali’s ex-boyfriend, Nico. And Nico has other plans.

He persuades Ali that instead of selling the car, they should “trade up” the items they collect on their trip to eventually reach the monetary amount Ali needs. Agreeing with Nico’s crazy plan, Ali sets off on a unique adventure that is unlike anything she ever could have expected.

And it’s through Ali’s travels, through the strangers she meets and the things that they value—and why they value them—that Ali eventually comes to understand her father and how his life may not have been as easy and carefree as she previously thought. Because just like the seemingly insignificant objects Ali collects, not everything is exactly as it appears.

My Thoughts:

Oh this was a good one!! It’s not newly published, but it was new to our middle school library. The cover is beautiful, caught my eye and made me want to pick it up. Don’t be scared off by the page count. I read this in hardcover and the font size was pretty big. 

I started it while eating breakfast and stayed up late the same day to finish it. When I first started to read I had my doubts. Sometimes I can’t get the adult (and mom) in me to be quiet and when Ali talks about her scholarship I had one of those moments. I wasn’t sure if my inner teenager would be able to surface and connect with her and her story. But I kept going and I was so glad I did. I got lost in her story, her relationship with Nico, her father, and the journey they go on. 

This is age appropriate and I will be recommending it to others. In fact, I’ve already recommended it to 2 students. 

We have 7 other books written by Jessica Brody in our collection and I definitely am interested in reading more from her.