Here are the Teen Collection Connection (TCC) Spring picks! Check out the reviews, and find the TCC recommendations in our catalog.
Isa B. recommends
“We Are The Fire“ by Sam Taylor
I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 stars. This book would be most appropriate for middle school readers. This book is a wonderful perspective on a fight for freedom and the cost it takes from personal however fictional perspective. I got very attached to the characters in this book and I felt the author did a wonderful job highlighting the risk it takes to fight for freedom and the pain it brings as well. It is heart wrenching and has so many twists and turns. It slowly reveals more about the characters as the story goes on and it pulls you in only to wrench your heart. Overall I loved this book, even though it was difficult to get through at times. I personally found this book on Libby, however it is also in the Read Queen and on other online bookstores.
Sloane K. recommends
“Etiquette and Espionage“ by Gail Carriger
This book was kind of confusing in the beginning, but it really hooked me in. It’s in Victorian times and it was interesting to learn about that time period within the book. The main character has to go to finishing school, but it’s not quite what she expected. She learns how to properly behave in society, along with how to infiltrate a building, throw a knife, and use poisons. I really recommend this book.
Daniel E. recommends
“The Naming“ by Alison Croggon
“The Naming” is a wonderfully written fantasy novel about a girl rescued from slavery, who discovers that she may be a powerful force in the world of Edil-Amarandh, if only she can learn to control her power. This tale enraptured me so much that I never wanted to put the book down (Though to be fair, that happens to me a lot).
“The Riddle“ by Alison Croggon
This sequel to “The Naming” continues the wonderfully woven story of Maerad’s quest through Edil-Amarandh flawlessly. There is hardly a dull moment in this world, and Alison Croggon manages to build a world and tale that you can almost see yourself.
“Three Dark Crowns“ by Kendare Blake
This first book in the four book series following three triplets, raised to kill one another in a dark contest for the throne. The story is intense and very well written, and caused me to want all three sisters to win, but alas, there can only be one queen.
“One Dark Throne“ by Kendare Blake
In this continuation of the story started in “Three Dark Crowns,” the fight for the throne continues in a whirlwind of wonderful twists and turns. Now that the competition has truly begun, alliances will be broken and reforged, but the winner may soon become clear.
“Year One“ by Nora Roberts
As a somewhat dark novel, based around a global pandemic that wipes out much of the world, this book is quite a read in these similar-ish times. Combine that with some magic, some great writing, and a fight for survival, and you have a great book that captured my attention all the way through.
“The Unspoken Name“ by A. K. Larkwood
Overall I rather enjoyed the mixture of sci-fi and magic that this book portrays, there is a lot of diversity in this book, both between races (orcs, elves, humans), as well as genders. There is a lot of content in this book, and that is perhaps its biggest flaw. I feel it could have either been longer or split into two books, as there were times that seemed rushed and threw me off. Overall, a decent read though.
“Warbreaker“ by Brandon Sanderson
Right off the bat, I want to say that I love Sanderson’s books, if you have never read them, do so. “Warbreaker” is a gorgeously written book, with an incredible magic system, compelling characters, and as much wit as you could ever want. Sanderson’s writing is, as always, compelling, and his world-building/storytelling skills are as on display as ever. I would 100% recommend this book.
“A Court of Silver Flames“ by Sarah J Maas
The most recent book in the Court of Thorns and Roses series takes a step back from Feyre and Rhysand, and instead focuses on the fiery Nesta and Cassian. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really sure if I was going to enjoy this book as much as the rest of the series, but Maas quickly stole away my inhibitions. An intense book with wonderful characters and a great plot.
Sarah G. recommends
“The Graduate“ by Charles Webb
This novel is for mature audiences. Following Benjamin Braddock’s life after obtaining his bachelor’s degree, “The Graduate” is a dark comedy/love story. Benjamin starts an affair with the glamorous, lonely, and married Mrs. Robinson, however he falls in love with her daughter. As you can imagine, Mrs. Robinson is not happy about the couple. This is an easy, quick, and funny read if you enjoy dry humor.
“Cards on the Table“ by Agatha Christie
Hercule Poirot and 3 other detectives are invited to a dinner with 4 supposed murders by an ectrenic host. Then, the host dies. The 4 sleuths are left to find out which of the four killers did it. I love mystery novels and this is one of my favorites. Rarely can I guess anything with Agatha Christie, but this book had so many red herrings I couldn’t decide a suspect until the very end. I adore the settings in the novel and the colorful characters.
“The Ultimatum” on Netflix
Get married or break up is the ultimatum presented on this Netflix show. Following 5 couples, the show breaks couples up for three weeks and reunites them. At the end the couples must decide if they want to get married. I love reality TV and this show is MESSY! Jealousy and tension runs high in this amazing series.
“The Girl Who Smiled Beads“ by Clemantine Wamariya and Elizabeth Weil
“The Girl Who Smiled Beads” is a heartbreaking memoir told by a woman who lived through the Rwandan genocide in 1994. The book goes back and forth between Wamariya’s experiences during the conflict, and after the conflict after she moved to the United States. It explores the heartwrenching experiences Wamariya and her sister went through as they fled from Rwanda through seven countries, as well as her struggles wrapping her head around what she had lived through once she had escaped the conflict.
This book left me with a heavy pit in my stomach the entire time I was reading it, but I couldn’t put it down. It didn’t focus so much on the details of the genocide, but rather the experiences of the author and her internal struggles with what was going on as well as her relationships with the people around her. The entire story, as well as the author’s honest writing style, was both educational and emotional. It made me cry copiously, but it was well worth the read.
“Heartstopper” on Netflix
“Heartstopper” is a new Netflix TV series based off the graphic novels by Alice Oseman (all well worth a read), and follows the story of a teenage boy named Charlie Spring and his friendship with Nick Nelson. The show follows the vibe, characters, and story with the graphic novels perfectly. Aside from the beautiful visuals, music, and diverse cast, the writing of the show depicts the life of teenagers and the troubles they face sensitively and accurately.
Honestly, though, one of the most attractive things about this show is that it’s simply a fluffy queer teenage drama. It has a happy ending, and is very feel good, which I think is something everyone could always use more of.
Diversify Our Narrative recommends
“This Is How It Always Is“ by Laurie Frankel
“This Is How It Always Is” by Laurie Frankel is an engaging fiction book that thoughtfully addresses the nuances of the LGBTQ+ community. It follows the story of a transgender child and their family, focusing mainly on the child’s journey to becoming their true self as well as the struggles they face along the way. Despite the gravity of some of the topics discussed in the book, Frankel keeps a light-hearted sense of humor that makes the book so charming. The story has great LGBTQ+ representation and also teaches many valuable lessons in fun ways.
“Angelfall“ Susan Ee
“Angelfall” is a phenomenal post-apocalyptic fantasy novel written by Korean-American author Susan Ee. The story follows 17-year-old Penryn Young as she tries to find her sister in a world that has been overrun by angels. The story is action-packed and each character and relationship is well developed. The characters are lovable and the story is absolutely thrilling, featuring a well-thought-out plot and hints of romance.
“Tomboy“ by Lisa Davis
“Tomboy” is an excellent non-fiction book that discusses the cultural phenomenon of the tomboy archetype. Davis addresses how the concept has evolved and the implications of identifying as a tomboy through personal anecdotes and the stories of many other incredible people she interviewed. The inspirational narratives help readers understand complex concepts like gender and gender roles. The book shows the nuances of identity and has great representation of LGBTQ+ people.
“The Undocumented Americans” by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
“The Undocumented Americans” is a powerful non-fiction book that tells the stories of many undocumented immigrants from Central and South American countries. Villavicencio is a DACA recipient and beautifully displays the humanity of those who immigrated to the United States illegally. Each page is powerful and blurs the lines between what some people might think is right or wrong. It depicts each migrant as a courageous and well-rounded person rather than just a stereotype. The book fosters understanding in its audience and tells stories that many people never get to hear.
What is the TCC? TCC is a volunteer group of teens that love to read and discuss books, movies, and music. Every month they get together to pick books for our teen collection and write short book reviews. Want to join? Then apply today!
– Contributed by Kelsey, Librarian – Teen Services