Rummanah Aasi
Description: Tuesday Mooney is a loner. She keeps to herself, begrudgingly socializes, and spends much of her time watching old Twin Peaks and X-Files DVDs. But when Vincent Pryce, Boston’s most eccentric billionaire, dies—leaving behind an epic treasure hunt through the city, with clues inspired by his hero, Edgar Allan Poe—Tuesday’s adventure finally begins.
   Puzzle-loving Tuesday searches for clue after clue, joined by a ragtag crew: a wisecracking friend, an adoring teen neighbor, and a handsome, cagey young heir. The hunt tests their mettle, and with other teams from around the city also vying for the promised prize—a share of Pryce’s immense wealth—they must move quickly. Pryce’s clues can't be cracked with sharp wit alone; the searchers must summon the courage to face painful ghosts from their pasts (some more vivid than others) and discover their most guarded desires and dreams.

Review: When the death of Vincent Pryce, one of Boston's most wealthy and eccentric man drops dead at a fundraiser, he leaves behind an epic treasure hunt through the city with clues inspired by his hero, Edgar Allen Poe. Groups of mystery solvers come together in hopes of finding the big prize and splitting the riches amongst each other. One those is our heroine, Tuesday Mooney, best prospect researcher on Boston General Hospital's fundraising team, a "bizarro know-it-all tall girl" with the aura of a grown-up Wednesday Addams. Despite her reputation as a formidable, reclusive goth vibes, Tuesday embraces her introverted lifestyle. She actually does have friends, but she keeps them at  arm’s length. Her friends include her current best friend Dex Howard, a gay, karaoke-obsessed financier who is perpetually unlucky in love; Tuesday's neighbor Dorry Bones, a motherless Somerville teen who looks up to Tuesday as her role model; and Abby Hobbes, a Ouija board–wielding classmate who disappeared during Tuesday's teenage years and whose ghost haunts Tuesday incessantly. The Pryce treasure hunt is exactly what Tuesday is looking for in order to break out of her banal life and if she can exercise her detective muscles, solve the puzzle, and win a big cash prize-even better. The hunt is not what it seems as she comes into contact with the Arches who do not have a friendly relationship with Pryce and her partnership (or propective relationship) with the strange but charming tycoon Nathaniel Arches sink or buoy her chances of success?
  I absolutely loved Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts. It is a genre-bending, highly entertaining, and enthralling mystery that dips into the supernatural but without losing sight to real life problems. All of the characters are dealing with issues of their own ranging from loss to self-acceptance to struggles with intimacy. While there is an over-arching Pryce mystery, there are also mysteries within the Arches family and the disappearance of Abby Hobbes, Tuesday's best friend. I loved following Tuesday and her pals as they ran all around Boston uncovering clues about Poe to solve the crime. There were also plenty of 80s and 90s references that I relished in the book that gave the story character and did not make it feel so dated. I also liked the slow burn of possible romance between Archie and Tuesday. Racculia's writing is funny, poignant, charming, and romantic all at once. Almost all of the mysteries are nicely wrapped up and kept me turning the pages and on my toes. I really hope we get to see these characters again in a new book.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language and sexual situations are mentioned. Recommended for Grades 10 and up.

If you like this book try: Mr. Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
Rummanah Aasi
Description: Just as Aven starts to feel comfortable in Stagecoach Pass, with her friends and schoolmates accustomed to her lack of “armage,” everything changes once again. She’s about to begin high school with 2,300 new kids to stare at her. And no matter how much Aven tries to play it cool, nothing prepares her for the reality. In a year filled with confusion, humiliation, fears, loss, and just maybe love, can Aven manage to stay true to herself?

Review: I love Aven, the spunky, snarky heroine of the Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and I was thrilled to learn her story continues. In the first book Aven is learning how to settle in Stagecoach Pass, Arizona with her lovable adopted parents and find friends. In this follow up sequel, Aven confronts her biggest challenge yet: surviving high school without arms. Once again she will be stared at because of her missing arms —and her feet, which do almost everything hands can (except air quotes to accent her sarcastic retorts). Aven resolves to be “blasé” and field her classmates’ pranks with aplomb, but a humiliating betrayal shakes her self-confidence. Even her friendships feel unsteady. Her friend Connor’s moved away and made a new friend who, like him, has Tourette’s syndrome: a girl. She can not help but feel anyone, especially Lando, her friend Zion’s popular older brother, who is being nice to her has an ulterior motive. The author expertly captures the universal awkwardness of adolescence, especially with Aven's self awareness of her visible disability. Along with themes of bullying and changing friendships, Aven also deals with tougher topics such as death and aging, but warm, quirky secondary characters lend support. There are a few after-school special moments in the book, but it did not distract me from the book because I love Aven's and her friends. I look forward to seeing Aven again and I really hope for another book in this series because it will be hard to say goodbye to these characters.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: Scenes of bullying. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

If you like this book try: Roll with It by Jamie Sumner, Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
Rummanah Aasi
Description: From the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother's hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance. While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother's compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works...and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can't seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter. Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she'll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth--even if it's messy.

Review: Darcy Jane Wells is a bibliophile who works at a bookstore and likes to memorize lines from her favorite classics. Most of her friends and love interests are main characters from her favorite books, but she has one in real life best friend, Marisol, who is the only one who knows Darcy’s secret—her mother is a hoarder. Brokenhearted and traumatized by the abandonment of Darcy’s father, her mother is the image of perfection in public, but their small San Diego apartment is filled to the brim with her compulsive purchases. Darcy’s only refuge is her bookshelf-covered room. Darcy has lived a sheltered life and has most people away in fear of her secret leaking out. With the help of Marisol, Darcy is going to attempt to live her senior year and come out of her shell. There is a potential love interest Asher, who is dealing with his own trauma and illness and a mysterious, magical used copy of Peter Pan, which seems to understand and echo Darcy's inner most thoughts.
  The author's portrayal of mental illness is thoughtful and well executed, and the characterizations of even background characters are fully developed. I loved the friendship between Darcy and Marisol, which definitely passes the Bechdel Test with flying colors. The romance is also swoon worthy, but it too has a realistic aspect to it too. As a fellow bibliophile I also loved the numerous literary references and nods in this story too.  The Library of Lost Things is a sweet, bookish romance that will give  readers all the feels.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and scenes of underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: The Words of Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
Rummanah Aasi
Description: Wherever the sharks led, Lucy Everhart's marine-biologist mother was sure to follow. In fact, she was on a boat far off the coast of Massachusetts, collecting shark data when she died suddenly. Lucy was seven. Since then Lucy and her father have kept their heads above water-thanks in large part to a few close friends and neighbors. But June of her twelfth summer brings more than the end of school and a heat wave to sleepy Rockport. On one steamy day, the tide brings a great white-and then another tragedy, cutting short a friendship everyone insists was 'meaningful' but no one can tell Lucy what it all meant. To survive the fresh wave of grief, Lucy must grab the line that connects her depressed father, a stubborn fisherman, and a curious old widower to her mother's unfinished research on the Great White's return to Cape Cod. If Lucy can find a way to help this unlikely quartet follow the sharks her mother loved, she'll finally be able to look beyond what she's lost and toward what's left to be discovered.

Review: In Rockport, Massachusetts, budding artist and narrator Lucy does everything with her best friend Fred, a keen scientist, including collaborating and creating a field guide to local wildlife. When family friend and fisherman Sookie accidentally catches a great white shark, TV stations broadcast old footage of Lucy's marine biologist mother, a shark expert who died suddenly when Lucy was seven, dredging up old feelings for Lucy. Unlike everyone else who knew Lucy's mother, Lucy has no recollection of her and has not been able to properly mourn her death. Lucy and Fred's relationship is beginning to move beyond friendship, but this is unfortunately short lived as a tragic swimming accident at the local quarry plunges the entire town into grief, and Lucy and her depressed detective father must recover and grieve once again.  
  The Tender Line is a somber read as their there is no escape from grief and death yet is still buoys into light with some humor and the power of memory. Lucy learns the various stages of grief and realizes that grieving looks different for everyone. The author has created a colorful multi-generational cast of characters who serve as Lucy's emotional support network and helps her learn more about her mother's work and begin to heal her own heart. While reading this book I also learned a lot of details about sharks. The Line Tender is a quiet yet powerful story of love, grief, and science. I would not be surprised to see this on the potential candidates for the Newbery Award this year.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language and scenes of underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 5 and up.

If you like this book try: The Bridge of Terebithia by Katherine Patterson, The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Rummanah Aasi
Description: Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to prove himself heroic and capable, while it seems everyone around him suspects him of inevitable villainy and depravity except for Amora. Asgard's resident sorceress-in-training feels like a kindred spirit-someone who values magic and knowledge, who might even see the best in him.
   But when Loki and Amora cause the destruction of one of Asgard's most prized possessions, Amora is banished to Earth, where her powers will slowly and excruciatingly fade to nothing. Without the only person who ever looked at his magic as a gift instead of a threat, Loki slips further into anguish and the shadow of his universally adored brother, Thor.
   When Asgardian magic is detected in relation to a string of mysterious murders on Earth, Odin sends Loki to investigate. As he descends upon nineteenth-century London, Loki embarks on a journey that leads him to more than just a murder suspect, putting him on a path to discover the source of his power-and who he's meant to be.

Review: Loki: Where Mischief Lies is a compelling origin story for Marvel's lovable villain Loki. This book can be read without having any knowledge of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Loki has always been the outcast and has always lived in the shadow of his picture-perfect Norse hero of a brother Thor. After their father, Odin, sees a vision of Loki leading an army of the dead against Asgard, he grows suspicious of his second son’s magical abilities. Loki is now struggling to come to terms of his destiny. Is he always destined to be the villain? Does he have any power to change his destiny? Years later, seeking to prove himself worthy of Odin's respect, a real candidate for the throne, and to prove the prophecy wrong, Loki is sent to Earth to aid a London-based secret organization investigating a series of unusual magical deaths.
  To any Asgardian being sent to Earth is like a banishment because Earth is backwards, has no magic, and it means human contact. Loki's disdain for Earth provides lots of humor while also allowing him to see his identity in a different lens. Loki grows from his disgust of Earth to curiosity and perhaps kinship in those who live on the outskirts of society such as the ex-convict Theo Bell who left lame because of his sexuality. Although Loki uses he/him/his pronouns, he says he exists as both man and woman and that Asgardians do not have strict gender and sexuality norms. There is a flicker of interest between Theo and Loki, but that is pushed to the side as Loki must make a series of choices that will determine his future. While the mystery is a bit underwhelming, I was more enchanted with the characters. Lee embraces Loki's antihero antics that makes him three dimensional and vulnerable. You can not help but love Loki while also being wary of what he will do next. I am thrilled this is the first of a series of books that will feature Loki as I definitely wanted more after I finished this book. A great choice for readers who enjoy superhero stories but also books that feature Norse mythology.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some minor language and disturbing images. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Loki: Agent of Asgard series by Al Ewing, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan
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