Staff Picks by Jessica

Jessica Staff Picks

Jessica is a huge fan of fantasy and science-fiction for readers of all ages especially when paired with characters who are people of color. Any adult books she reads tend to be non-fiction or historical fiction. Make sure to check out her audiobook recomendations here!

Newest reviews are at the bottom. 

Staff Pick Logo
Words in Deep Blue Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781101937648
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - June 6th, 2017

Put simply, this is a love story to words; words said and unsaid, written and lost, found and loved. Told from two perspectives with a scattering of letters thrown in between, the story follows Rachel and Henry as they learn to grieve, to let go, and to find themselves. Anyone who has ever loved a book can understand the catalyst that simple words can have on these characters. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars Cover Image
By Seth Fishman, Isabel Greenberg (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062455789
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greenwillow Books - October 3rd, 2017

A beautifully illustrated non-fiction book that is perfect for those kids who always ask "why?". A perfect book for teachers but also sweet enough to read every night as a bedtime story. The more often you read it, the better you will be at reading large numbers! Has a wonderfully accessible back matter page. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras #1) Cover Image
By Asia Citro, Marion Lindsay (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9781943147090
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Innovation Press - March 14th, 2017

The scientific process for kids with magical animals! The cover alone is all your young reader needs to see with this adorable new early chapter book series. Zoey with the help of her cat Sassafras and her handy Thinking Goggles uses deduction and the scientific process to find the best way to help the magical creatures that come to their door in need of care and love. Cute black and white illustrations with a helpful glossary in the back for those carefully introduced scientific words like hypothesis. My new go to recomendation! - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Amina's Voice Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481492065
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for You - March 14th, 2017

A perfect book for young girls that are starting middle school. Amina is trying to figure out who she is and what she stands for as she learns about friends, bullying, and what it truly means to stand up for what you believe in. Lovely coming of age story. It also has such a stunning cover. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Beasts Made of Night Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780448493909
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Razorbill - October 31st, 2017

Every sin is marked on your skin, but that doesn't mean that it is yours. Taj is an aki, a Sin-Eater, and covered in marks large and small in a world where those without sin-marks rule and those who are marked are dispensable. When Taj eats the sin of a royal and learns the origin of the sin, he is set on an adventure filled with magic, secrets, and betrayal. A fast-paced and engaging fantasy with a highly-original world. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Zero Repeat Forever (Nahx Invasions #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481481847
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - August 29th, 2017

Get ready for the end of the world. The Nahx have invaded the earth. Their mission: Dart the humans, leave them where they fall. Told from the perspectives of Raven, a human, and Eighth, a Nahx, as their worlds fall apart and then crash together. A fast-paced and well-written teen adventure featuring a mixed-race character. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Defy the Stars Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780316394031
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 4th, 2017

A fast-paced adventure that is perfect for the sci-fi fan. This story makes you think hard about what it means to be human, and what our responsibilities are to the world we live on and those we interact with. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Roar: A Stormheart Novel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780765386311
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tor Teen - June 13th, 2017

Roar is electric! Carmack is able to build a world that exemplifies the power of natural disasters in a wonderful and terrifying way.  All the while, weaving in a story of magic, love, and independence. Could not put this book down! - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
The Hate U Give Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 28th, 2017

Clear your schedule because this is one book that you need to finish in one day. Starr has a strong voice that pulls you in to really experience her life, loss, love, family, and friendship. A powerfuly written story that is both a meaningful and timely read. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
The Last Gargoyle Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524700201
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Books for Young Readers - January 9th, 2018

Fans of Percy Jackson will devour this hilarious adventure story of a brave gargoyle named Penhallow (Don't call him Goyle!) and his human friend Viola. Penhallow takes the protection of his Wards, the people living in the home he lives on, seriously and when a mysterious Boneless King starts releasing all the scary creatures that go bump in the night, it is his job to get to the bottom of the problem before it is too late. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Dread Nation Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062570604
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 3rd, 2018

Petticoats, secret nighttime meetings, prep schools, and zombies! Set against the backdrop of Civil War-era US, Jane McKeene is a quick-witted, fast-talking, zombie fighter who must not only fight the dead but the racism and sexism found during that time. An amazing reimagining of history that digs deep into racial tensions, gender roles, and so much more with humor, adventure, and honest zombie apocalypse fighting skills. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Rosemarked Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781484788554
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney-Hyperion - November 7th, 2017

Zivah is a healer forced to use her knowledge to hurt others and Dineas is a fighter who must now make friends with the enemy. Together, the two teens suffering at the hands of an empire are forced to set aside their differences in order to fight the enemy that surrounds them. A deep look at the ways war changes both individuals and culture. Livia is able to show a fantasy world that is sure to capture teen readers who are willing to engage in tough questions. These characters are rich with detail and complexity that will draw in fans of An Ember in the Ashes- Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Girls Made of Snow and Glass Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250077738
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - September 5th, 2017

A dark fantasy retelling of Snow White with a strong feminist message and a clear look at two powerful women at odds with one another yet bound by the ties of family and loyalty. Strong, chilling, and oh so powerful. An amazing read perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer and Anna-Marie McLemore. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Caraval Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250095251
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - January 31st, 2017

Stephanie Garber is a new writing star! Filled with vivid imagery and a manipulative plot that takes you on an unbelievable journey. A great new read for the older teenage fantasy reader, ages 15 and up. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Speak of Me As I Am Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780399546761
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Philomel Books - April 4th, 2017

Fans of John Green will fall in love with Melanie and Damon as they struggle to live their lives after heart-breaking losses. A moving romance twisted with grief for teens who like emotional reads. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
I Believe in a Thing Called Love Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374304041
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - May 30th, 2017

Flirting failures are all Desi has ever known. But a rulebook based on the tried and true methods of Korean dramas is sure to help her catch the perfect boyfriend. A wonderful romance with a fun and relatable heroine. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
When Dimple Met Rishi Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781481478687
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon Pulse - May 30th, 2017

A hilarious romance told from two perspectives. One a girl who is determined to show her worth and smarts. The other a boy who believes in true love and meeting that perfect someone. What happens when the two meet? Well, coffee in the face and so much more. Great teen romance. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Let's Talk About Love Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250136121
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Swoon Reads - January 23rd, 2018

A fantastic book featuring a black, female, and queer main character! This story takes you to the heart of romance as Alice explores relationships and the different ways she expresses her love of others and how those around her express their love for her. Perfect teen romance. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
A Quiet Kind of Thunder Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781534402416
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon Pulse - January 9th, 2018

Love is a language that needs no translation, or is it? Steffi is known as the mute girl at her school and her anxiety prevents her from communicating with others. So how is she to express her feelings for the new deaf boy at her school? A hopeful love story focused on how love blossoms in different ways. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
For Every One Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781481486248
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum Books - April 10th, 2018

Honest, down to earth, and powerful in its simplicity. This stunning letter/poem/note to self is something everyone needs to read. Easy to pick up, quick to finish, and sure to make an impression. I read it and immediately wished I had 50 copies so I could hand it out to everyone I know, plus keep one for myself. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
The Reader (Sea of Ink and Gold #1) Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780147518057
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Speak - September 5th, 2017

Reading is magic. Not just in some metaphorical sense, but in the true sense that you will experience a new and stunning world in this highly original fantasy. An amazing book that will capture any bookworm. Reminiscent of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Homegoing Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101971062
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017

Generation after generation, both hope and sorrow hit the two families in this story hard. Gyasi uses the episodic nature to her advantage, in a way that inspires a fevered anticipation similar to the tv show Roots. A moving work that would be a great choice for book clubs and writing classes. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
The Rabbit Listened Cover Image
By Cori Doerrfeld, Cori Doerrfeld (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9780735229358
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - February 20th, 2018

Children will be drawn in by the easily relatable animal emotions in this simple and sweet story. A great book to use as a teaching opportunity for toddlers and parents alike. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
I Am a Cat Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781419726439
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Books for Young Readers - February 6th, 2018

We all know that cats have strong personalities, but the star of this book is the determined cat who wants to show that she belongs. Both hilarious and informative, this is everything a non-fiction kids book should be with information sprinkled into a plot driven story so that kids won't even know they are learning about species identification and more! The pictures are spot on with the words. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Drawn Together Cover Image
By Minh Le, Dan Santat (Illustrator)
$17.99
ISBN: 9781484767603
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Disney-Hyperion - June 5th, 2018

An amazing picture book that shows the power of art. Minh Le and Dan Santat (local author!) team up to create a powerful story about family, love, and strength. All with just a few words and a lot of action on the page. I loved the way the two drawing styles came together. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
When the Cousins Came Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780823434572
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Holiday House - July 3rd, 2018

This book perfectly captures cousins, especially in mixed-race families. Reading it I was immediately brought back to the early days of interacting with my cousins and noticing the differences between their family and mine. Also reminiscent of the Caldecott Honor, When the Relatives Came. Truly a book I wish I could have had when I was growing up.  - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Power Forward (Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream #1) Cover Image
By Hena Khan, Sally Wern Comport (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9781534411999
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for You - May 8th, 2018

Power Forward is the perfect story for young sports fans about balancing the ideal amount of school and play. I especially enjoyed this book because it featured a young Pakistani boy and his family going about their lives as Americans. Filled with sibling banter, school-work, home-cooked meals, and family-drama, this is a book that I would give to a young reader who wants to see themselves in a story as  basketball fan or as a Pakistani-American. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
The Prince and the Dressmaker Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781626723634
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - February 13th, 2018

This book was a fantastic story about two kids discovering who they are and how they want to present themselves to the world. Frances is a daring seamstress who has caught the eye of Lady Crystallia a beautiful fashion trend starter. But the world doesn't know that Lady Crystallia is Prince Sebastian and Frances must decide if she wants the world to know about her work, even as it threatens to expose her friend's secrets to the world. Jen's illustrations captures the emotions of the character's so creatively. I also loved the information in the back of the book about her creative process. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Dragons in a Bag Cover Image
By Zetta Elliott, Geneva B (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524770457
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - October 23rd, 2018

A fast-paced adventure perfect for young fantasy readers who enjoy Magic Tree House and the Zoey and Sassafras series. Zax is not happy to be dropped off at Ma's house while his Mama goes to court. This snappy, white-haired lady turns out to be a witch and asks him for his help returning some baby dragons to the magical world before they cause trouble in Brooklyn. I can't wait to see what else Zax and this cast of characters will get into next! - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Bubbles Cover Image
By Kit Chase, Kit Chase (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9780399545740
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers - June 5th, 2018

A cute book about discovering the joy of a new friend. Sure to inspire lots of bubble fun for little ones. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Spinning Silver: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399180989
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Del Rey - July 10th, 2018

A masterfully spun tale weaving together multiple voices in a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin that delves into the cost versus value of love, family, and power. Fans of a more nuanced fantasy and Novik's Uprooted will appreciate the amazing character development and detailed world. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Front Desk Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781338157796
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - May 29th, 2018

A well-balanced book that shows one young Chinese girl's experience immigrating with her family to California. At times funny, heart-wrenching, and innovative, this book shows the difficulties of starting over in a new country in a way that a young reader would be able to understand. A great book to open our eyes to the different and sometimes unseen ways people struggle and how we can make the world a better place by being more inclusive and willing to listen to other's stories. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780448494500
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Razorbill - June 12th, 2018

Destruction takes time. From decades to millennia, each character in Sabaa Tahir's third book has been waiting for the perfect moment to strike and the world is forever going to be changed by their revenge. Sabaa clearly planed her destruction well because I am not sure I can recover from her carefully planed betrayals, prophecies, and heart-pounding moments. This will not disappoint any long-suffering fan. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
From Twinkle, with Love Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781481495400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon Pulse - May 22nd, 2018

This story captures that first date moment at the movie theater when your date touches your hand in the dark while knocking the popcorn over in the loudest way possible - its cute and exciting, but also slightly embarrassing. Sandhya has crafted another excellent teen romance about a shy and ambitious young woman trying to show the world her passion and talent. A fantastic summer read! - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781101997260
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - August 21st, 2018

Marcus Vega may look like the average bully - large, silent, and overwhelming - but inside he is just a boy too big for the quiet kids and too small to fill the shoes of his absent father. Marcus is suspended from school for protecting his brother from a bully and decides his time off would be better spent searching for answers from his father in Puerto Rico. A fast-paced journey of self-discovery about the role of family, friendship, and home. Perfect for 10 to 14. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
The Way You Make Me Feel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374304089
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - May 8th, 2018

LA foodies, look no further. This is the perfect summer read filled with the amazing flavors and feelings only an LA summer can bring. Clara is forced to work in her dad's Korean-Brazilian food truck this summer in order to pay off some completely accidental school property damage with her long time rival. Chaos ensues. This story is so vivdly set in our city filled with freeway humor and the diversity that makes our city amazing. Highly recomend this book for laugh out loud reading. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Saving Winslow Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062570703
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: HarperCollins - September 11th, 2018

Saving Winslow captures an innocence and steadfast belief in miracles that are real and close at hand. Louie is determined to save the sick miniature donkey even though his past animal endeavors haven't turned out well. But he names him Winslow to show that he will survive and with the help of his family and some unexpected sources, maybe miracles can come true. A beautiful book for a family to enjoy together as a read aloud. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Blue Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781626720664
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Roaring Brook Press - September 25th, 2018

A stunning story of a boy and his dog captured in shades of blue. From the bright joy of a new puppy in baby blue to the steady love of a four-legged family member in sky blue. The boy and the puppy get older together and the colors help gently bring the story to its ending that is full of new blues. For intuitive readers ages 5 to 7. - Jessica


Staff Pick Logo
Dry Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781481481960
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - October 2nd, 2018

Today's fiction, tomorrow's reality. Normal California life turns into a war-zone when the taps are turned off and Alyssa's family is torn apart by thirst as the world dries up around her. A gripping read from start to finish that hits close to home. I read it all in one night. Recommended for strong readers ages 13+. A great book to discuss in a classroom or book club. I have never been more grateful for my water bottle next to me. - Reviewed by Jessica


What we're reading this summer!

Be Prepared Cover Image
Staff Pick Logo
Ocean Meets Sky Cover Image
Secret Sisters of the Salty Sea Cover Image
Staff Pick Logo
A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) Cover Image
Staff Pick Logo
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl Cover Image
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever Cover Image

Harry Potter Audiobooks through Libro.fm