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. 

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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


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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


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Amina's Voice Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781481492065
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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


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The Hate U Give Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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


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The Last Gargoyle Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524700201
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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


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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


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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


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When Dimple Met Rishi Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781481478687
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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


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Let's Talk About Love Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250136121
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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


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For Every One Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781481486248
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy 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


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The Reader Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780147518057
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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


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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


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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


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Drawn Together Cover Image
By Minh Lê, 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


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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


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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


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The Prince and the Dressmaker Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781626723634
Availability: Not in Stock - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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


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Dragons in a Bag Cover Image
By Zetta Elliott, Geneva B (Illustrator)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781524770457
Availability: On Our Shelves 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


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Spinning Silver: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399180989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
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


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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


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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


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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


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Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak Spanish Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781101997260
Availability: On Our Shelves 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


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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


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Saving Winslow Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062570703
Availability: On Our Shelves 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


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Blue Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781626720664
Availability: On Our Shelves 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: On Our Shelves 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


Books that go BOO!

City of Ghosts Cover Image
Small Spaces Cover Image
The House with a Clock in Its Walls (Lewis Barnavelt) Cover Image
Creepy Pair of Underwear! Cover Image
Ask the Dark Cover Image
Minnie and Moo: The Night of the Living Bed (I Can Read Level 3) Cover Image

Harry Potter Audiobooks through Libro.fm