MONSTROUS BEAUTY by Elizabeth Fama
Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences. Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra's help, Hester investigates her family's strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.
THE LOST WORLD by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The creator of Sherlock Holmes delivers a classic adventure fantasy in this tale of a trip by journalists, scientists, and adventurers to investigate rumors of dinosaurs on a mysterious plateau deep in a mythical South American jungle. Much fun and over-the-top adventure ensue. The author is ably supported by Glen McCready, who delivers a reading very much in the nineteenth-century style. He plays up the characters’ big personalities and celebrates the rather orotund style of the writing, which isn’t as tight as in the Holmes books.
HOW TO HANG A WITCH by Adriana Mather
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the infamous witch trials and the new home of Samantha Mather. Recently transplanted from New York City, Sam and her stepmother are not exactly welcomed with open arms. Sam is the descendant of Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for those trials—and almost immediately, she becomes the enemy of a group of girls who call themselves the Descendants. And guess who their ancestors were? If dealing with that weren’t enough, Sam also comes face to face with a real, live (well, technically dead) ghost. A handsome, angry ghost who wants Sam to stop touching his stuff. But soon Sam discovers she is at the center of a centuries-old curse affecting anyone with ties to the trials. Sam must come to terms with the ghost and find a way to work with the Descendants to stop a deadly cycle that has been going on since the first accused witch was hanged. If any town should have learned its lesson, it’s Salem. But history may be about to repeat itself.
THE SCARLET LETTER by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s exploration of the dichotomy between the public and private self, internal passion and external convention, gives us the unforgettable Hester Prynne, who discovers strength in the face of ostracism and emerges as a heroine ahead of her time. As Kathryn Harrison points out in her Introduction, Hester is “the herald of the modern heroine."
THE INVISIBLE GIRLS by Sarah Thebarge
A girl scarred by her past. A refugee mother uncertain of her future. Five little girls who brought them together. After nearly dying of breast cancer in her twenties, Sarah Thebarge fled her successful career, her Ivy League education, and a failed relationship on the East Coast and started over in Portland, Oregon. She was hoping to quietly pick up the pieces of her broken life, but instead she met Hadhi and her daughters, and set out on an adventure she’d never anticipated. Hadhi was fighting battles of her own. A Somali refugee abandoned by her husband, she was struggling to raise five young daughters in a culture she didn’t understand. When their worlds collided, Hadhi and the girls were on the brink of starvation in their own home, “invisible” in a neighborhood of strangers. As Sarah helped Hadhi and the girls navigate American life, her outreach to the family became a source of courage and a lifeline for herself. Poignant, and at times shattering, Sarah Thebarge’s riveting memoir invites listeners into her story, finding connection, love, and redemption in the most unexpected places.
GIRLS LIKE US by Gail Giles
A 2015 Schneider Family Book Award Winner! With gentle humor and unflinching realism, Gail Giles tells the gritty, ultimately hopeful story of two special ed teenagers entering the adult world: "We understand stuff. We just learn it slow. And most of what we understand is that people what ain’t Speddies think we too stupid to get out our own way. And that makes me mad." Quincy and Biddy are both graduates of their high school’s special ed program, but they couldn’t be more different: suspicious Quincy faces the world with her fists up, while gentle Biddy is frightened to step outside her front door. When they’re thrown together as roommates in their first “real world” apartment, it initially seems to be an uneasy fit. But as Biddy’s past resurfaces and Quincy faces a harrowing experience that no one should have to go through alone, the two of them realize that they might have more in common than they thought—and more importantly, that they might be able to help each other move forward.
MACBETH by William Shakespeare
Infamously known as the cursed "Scottish play", Macbeth is perhaps Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy. When General Macbeth is foretold by three witches that he will one day be King of Scotland, Lady Macbeth convinces him to get rid of anyone who could stand in his way—including committing regicide. As Macbeth ascends to the throne through bloody murder, he becomes a tyrant consumed by fear and paranoia. An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: James Marsters as Macbeth, Joanne Whalley as Lady Macbeth, Josh Cooke as Banquo/Others, JD Cullum as Macduff/Second Murderer, Dan Donohue as Ross, Jeannie Elias as Second Witch/Others, Chuma Hunter-Gault as Lennox/Servant, Jon Matthews as Malcolm, Alan Shearman as Angus/Others, André Sogliuzzo as Donalbain/Third Witch/Others, Kate Steele as Lady Macduff/First Witch/Apparition, and Kristoffer Tabori as Duncan/Others. Directed by Martin Jarvis. Recorded before a live audience at The Invisible Studios, West Hollywood in May of 2011.
THE CURSE OF CROW HOLLOW by Billy Coffey
With the “profound sense of Southern spirituality” he is known for (Publishers Weekly), Billy Coffey draws us into a town where good and evil—and myth and reality—intertwine in unexpected ways. Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves. “Coffey spins a wicked tale . . . [The Curse of Crow Hollow] blends folklore, superstition, and subconscious dread in the vein of Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery.’” —Kirkus Reviews
DOCTOR CERBERUS by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's coming-of-age, coming-out cocktail with a twist of terror. Thirteen-year-old Franklin Robertson is trying to survive adolescence. His parents don't understand him, his brother torments him, he has no friends, and he's more interested in the high school quarterback than any girl. The one bright spot in his life is the glow of the black-and-white TV in his parents' basement. Here, he worships at the altar of the Saturday Night Horror Movie, hosted by the eerie Dr. Cerberus. Before long, Franklin is convinced that only by going on the show will his life be redeemed—by Dr. Cerberus himself! An L.A. Theatre Works full cast performance featuring: Simon Helberg as Franklin Robertson, Jamison Jones as Doctor Cerberus, Steven Culp as Lawrence Robertson, Pamela J. Gray as Lydia Robertson, and Jarrett Sleeper as Rodney Robertson.
OPENLY STRAIGHT by Bill Konigberg
Rafe is a normal teenager from Colorado. He's been out since 8th grade, accepted by his peers, and championed by his progressive parents. And while that's important, all Rafe really wants is to be a regular guy. To have his sexuality be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time. So when Rafe transfers to an all-boys' boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret -- not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate breaking down and realizes his own labels aren't well-concealed. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben...who doesn't even know that love is possible.
MY NAME IS NOT FRIDAY by Jon Walter
A gorgeously written account of a freeborn black boy sold into slavery during the Civil War; think 12 Years a Slave for young adults. Well-mannered Samuel and his mischievous younger brother Joshua are free black boys living in an orphanage during the end of the Civil War. Samuel takes the blame for Joshua's latest prank, and the consequence is worse than he could ever imagine. He's taken from the orphanage to the South, given a new name--Friday--and sold into slavery. What follows is a heartbreaking but hopeful account of Samuel's journey from freedom to captivity, and back again.
COME AUGUST, COME FREEDOM by Gigi Amateau
Born a slave in 1776, Gabriel grows up capable and literate only to be taken from his mother and sent to the capital city as a blacksmith’s apprentice. There in the forge, a meeting point for many travelers and news bearers, his work awakens him to the sparks of resistance that are igniting into rebellion around the globe. When he is unable to both defend the love of his life and earn the money to buy her freedom, and with the news of Toussaint’s successful rebellion against Haiti’s slave masters ringing in his ears, Gabriel makes a decision: freedom for just his own family would not be enough. Using the forge to turn pitchforks into swords and his eloquence to turn dreams into rallying cries, Gabriel plots a rebellion involving thousands of slaves, free blacks, poor whites, and Native Americans. To those excluded from the promise of the Revolution, Gabriel intends to bring liberty. Interwoven with authentic original documents, this poignant, illuminating novel about a major figure in African-American history gives a personal face to a remarkable moment in our past that is little known but should be long remembered.
EVERLAND by Wendy Spinale
Forget the story of Peter Pan you know. Because in Everland, the only way to grow up is to survive. London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders -- the German Army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer. Unsure if the virus has spread past England's borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a mysterious boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?
THE JUST MEN OF CORDOVA by Edgar Wallace
The Four Just Men, dedicated to ridding the world of unpunished criminals and profiteers, take their campaign into the treacherous, aristocratic world of gambling, horse-racing and high finance, where blackmail, poison and murder are commonplace. Working outside the law, the Four take it upon themselves to clean things up in their own way.
EXTRAORDINARY MEANS by Robyn Schneider
John Green's The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor and Park in this darkly funny novel from the critically acclaimed author of The Beginning of Everything. Up until his diagnosis, Lane lived a fairly predictable life. But when he finds himself at a tuberculosis sanatorium called Latham House, he discovers an insular world with paradoxical rules, med sensors, and an eccentric yet utterly compelling confidante named Sadie - and life as Lane knows it will never be the same. Robyn Schneider's Extraordinary Means is a heart-wrenching yet ultimately hopeful story about the miracles of first love and second chances.
LOVE AND FIRST SIGHT by Josh Sundquist
After a lifetime attending a school for the blind, sixteen-year-old Will Porter's first day at a mainstream high school went about as well as he expected. He accidentally grazed a girl's boob when reaching for a handrail on the stairs, he sat on another student in the cafeteria, and he somehow drove a new classmate to tears without saying a word. His high school career can only go up from there, right? As Will starts to find his footing, he develops a crush on a charming, quiet girl name Cecily. And despite his fear that having a girlfriend will make him inherently dependent on someone sighted, the two of them grow closer and closer. Then an unprecedented opportunity arises: an experimental surgery that could give Will eyesight for the first time in his life. But learning to see is more difficult than Will could have ever imagined, and as he adjusts to his new sense, he finds the sighted world has been keeping more secrets from him than he realized. It turns out that the girl he's been falling for doesn't meet traditional definitions of beauty. In fact, everything he'd heard about her appearance now appears to be a lie engineered by their so-called friends to get the two of them together. Does it matter what Cecily looks like? No, not really. But then why does Will feel so betrayed? Told in Will's voice as he transitions from blind to sighted, this is a story about the nature of perception, love, trust, and romantic attraction. With moments of breathtaking poignancy, it's about how we relate to each other and the world around us, and how true friendship is one thing you don't need to be able to see to believe.
WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI by Sandhya Menon
Now that Dimple Shah has graduated, she's ready for a break from her family - especially from Mamma's inexplicable obsession with her finding the "Ideal Indian Husband." Ugh. But Dimple knows that her mother must respect that she isn't interested in doing that right now - otherwise she wouldn't have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers, right? Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic, so when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him - during which he'll have to woo her - he's totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. Although their parents hadn't planned suggesting the arrangement so soon, when their kids signed up for the same summer program, they figured Why not?
BAKER'S MAGIC by Diane Zahler
Bee, a young orphan, is terribly hungry when she steals a bun from a local bakery. This desperate act sets off a series of events that takes the twelve-year-old on an incredible adventure that begins with her being hired by the baker and discovering that whatever she bakes reflects her current mood. Bee’s unusual talent comes in handy as she helps her new friend Princess Anika escape the evil mage, meets up with pirates and finds a family. A magical, meaningful story and a most magnificent heroine will delight readers of all tastes!
SAVING MONTGOMERY SOLE by Mariko Tamaki
Montgomery Sole is a square peg in a small town, a girl with two moms forced to go to a school full of homophobes and people who don't even know what irony is. Her saving grace--her two best friends, Thomas and Naoki. Monty's obsessed with paranormal mysteries like ESP, astrology, superpowers, and the healing powers of frozen yogurt, but when strange things actually start happening to Monty, she realizes that the greatest mystery of all is herself. Thoughtful, funny, and honest, this audiobook will make you want to laugh and cry over a big cup of frozen yogurt with extra toppings and your best friends at your side.
BEING JAZZ by Jazz Jennings
Jazz Jennings is one of the youngest and most prominent voices in the national discussion about gender identity. At the age of five, Jazz transitioned to life as a girl, with the support of her parents. A year later, her parents allowed her to share her incredible journey in her first Barbara Walters interview, aired at a time when the public was much less knowledgeable or accepting of the transgender community. This groundbreaking interview was followed over the years by other high-profile interviews, a documentary, the launch of her YouTube channel, a picture book, and her own reality TV series—I Am Jazz—making her one of the most recognizable activists for transgender teens, children, and adults. In her remarkable memoir, Jazz reflects on these very public experiences and how they have helped shape the mainstream attitude toward the transgender community. But it hasn’t all been easy. Jazz has faced many challenges, bullying, discrimination, and rejection, yet she perseveres as she educates others about her life as a transgender teen. Through it all, her family has been beside her on this journey, standing together against those who don't understand the true meaning of tolerance and unconditional love. Now Jazz must learn to navigate the physical, social, and emotional upheavals of adolescence—particularly high school—complicated by the unique challenges of being a transgender teen. Making the journey from girl to woman is never easy—especially when you began your life in a boy’s body.