Staff Favorites 2012

Francesca Denton, Reference Manager, Beaufort Branch

Grave Mercy coverYet another excellent teen fantasy novel with the unique premise of a Medieval convent of women assassins doing the bidding of Mortaine, the god of death (not to mention political powers that be and the pawns in their games.). I listened to the audio which had a mixture of male/female, young/older characters who were convincingly rendered by the reader. I'm thrilled to know that this is the first book in a series with more to come!

 

Shay Brooks, Teen Librarian, St. Helena Branch

Guantanamo Boy coverFifteen-year-old Khalid spends years imprisoned in the Guantanamo detention center after being adbucted while searching for his father during a vacation in Pakistan. Waterboarding, isolation, and sleep deprivation are frightening enough experiences to undergo; they are truly disorienting when you’re young and innocent. Teens may view their level and type of computer use differently after this read.

 

Amanda Brewer, Reference Manager, Bluffton Branch

Home Front coverFrom a distance, Michael and Joleen Zarkades seem to have it all: a solid marriage, two exciting careers, and children they adore. But after twelve years together, the couple has lost their way; they are unhappy and edging toward divorce. Then the Iraq war starts. An unexpected deployment will tear their already fragile family apart, sending one of them deep into harm's way and leaving the other at home, waiting for news. When the worst happens, each must face their darkest fear and fight for the future of their family. An intimate look at the inner landscape of a disintegrating marriage and a dramatic exploration of the price of war on a single American family, HOME FRONT is a provocative and timely portrait of hope, honor, loss, forgiveness, and the elusive nature of love

Julie Bascom, Youth Services Manager, Hilton Head Branch

In Honor coverWhen seventeen-year-old Honor's brother, Finn, dies in Iraq, her dreams of starting college in the fall seem trivial and unimportant. After finally reading a letter from Finn that he had written before his death, she finds two tickets to a Kyra Kelley concert, and a request to "tell her all about your handsome older brother." Honor decides to take Finn's old Impala from Texas to California, on a road trip to the concert. Finn's best friend, Rusty, comes along, providing Honor with comic relief, frustration, and eventually a love interest. The road trip proves cathartic to both Rusty and Honor, and the adventure allows both of them to mourn, celebrate, and share parts of Finn's life with one another, even in his absence. The story of Honor and Rusty's road trip offers moments of hilarity, potential romance, and spiritual awareness as the two travel across the desert to commemorate Finn's life. Honor moves through various stages of grief as she grapples with the death of her brother and her inability to say good-bye. The characters are entertaining, and their budding relationship is believable. Readers will find themselves rooting for the two to see past their differences and get together. This title is recommended for middle and high school readers of light romance, and those who appreciate accompanying characters on an emotional journey with interesting stops along the way.

Halle Eisenman, Reference Manager, Hilton Head Branch

Into the Darkest Corner coverThis book was completely absorbing and creepy, in the best way. I stayed up way too late for several nights so I could see what happened next, but it was worth the yawns at work the next day. Into the Darkest Corner tells the story of Catherine and Lee, who seem to enter into an idyllic relationship until his attention turns to obsession. Told in alternating time frames between 2004, as the relationship grows more intense, and 2008, when Catherine is attempting to put her life back together as she deals with the symptoms of OCD and PTSD, the story races forward to an exhilarating ending. 

Maria Popek, Children's Programmer, Hilton Head Branch

Killing Lincoln coverO'Reilly recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history--how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of incredibly bloody battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. One man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased. In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington, D.C., John Wilkes Booth--charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist--murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theater. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country's most wanted fugitive.

Amanda Brewer, Reference Manager, Bluffton Branch

Language of Flowers coverA mesmerizing, moving, and elegantly written debut novel, The Language of Flowers beautifully weaves past and present, creating a vivid portrait of an unforgettable woman whose gift for flowers helps her change the lives of others even as she struggles to overcome her own troubled past. The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating grief, mistrust, and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system, Victoria has nowhere to go and sleeps in a public park, where she plants a small garden of her own. Soon a local florist discovers her talents, and Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But a mysterious vendor at the flower market has her questioning what’s been missing in her life, and when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness.

Sheryl Hill, Circulation, Beaufort Branch

Last Letter from your Lover coverMore than forty years after a car accident causes Jennifer Stirling to lose her memory on the day she planned to leave her husband for a mysterious lover, journalist Ellie becomes obsessed by the story and seeks the truth in the hopes of revitalizing her career.

Sheryl says "I love the reader's British accent, plus it is a very good story."

 

Halle Eisenman, Reference Manager, Hilton Head Branch

Let's pretend this never happened coverI had to stop reading this book in public because I was laughing so hard and was afraid people would think I was crazy. Lawson is a natural storyteller who is able to mine the bizarre and absurd events of her life for maximum comedic value. Recommended for fans of David Sedaris, Chelsea Handler, and Tiny Fey.

 

Ann Cox, Reference Librarian, St. Helena Branch

Life of Pi coverI never read this when it came out but several enthusiastic recommendations by family members convinced me to read this before the movie came out. I was completely astounded. Both a remarkable survival story and a philosophical parable, this novel left me pondering for days afterward.