When there's a deal on a great book, we want you to know about it! Usually, we'll highlight Kindle books, just because they seem to have the best sales, but if there's a deal on a hard copy, we'll let you know about that, too. We will ONLY post sales for books someone on our staff has read and recommended (or, very occasionally, books that we really, really want to read but haven't gotten around to yet). Prices are correct when we post them here, but always check before you buy—digital prices can change frequently.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2017
HSL BOOK DEALS OF THE DAY
Another perfect-for-Halloween book: Kara Westfall's mother was convicted of witchcraft and hanged on the edge of the mysterious dark forest the villagers call the Thickety when Kara was just five. Everybody knows there's no such thing as a good witch. Kara and her brother live in the shadow of their mother's guilt, but when she ventures into the Thickety and finds a a dangerous grimoire that awakens her own magical abilities, Kara starts to question everything she's always been told is true.
We recommended this as part of our 28 Great Books for Black History Month list, and School Library Journal says: "Emotionally challenging and beautifully written, this book immerses readers in a time and place and raises difficult questions of cultural and ethnic identity and personal responsibility."
One of my favorite books of 2015! From our review: "Even rarer are the books that I love, that I want to stand on a mountain waving and shouting 'Go read this because it’s just wonderful!' But that’s kind of what I want to say about Nightbird, Alice Hoffman’s new middle reader/young adult book. It’s possible that I’m biased. This book has all the things I love: A family mystery, complete with historical documents and research. A lonely adolescent protagonist who feels isolated from the rest of the world until she makes her first friend. Fairy-tale magic that’s mixed with prosaic reality. People finding themselves and their passions and each other. And a boy who can fly."
AUDIOBOOK: Neil Gaiman reads his spooky story about a girl who discovers another world behind a secret door in her new apartment. At first the other world seems perfect—great food! fun clothes! people who actually say her name correctly!—but Coraline soon realizes that she's trapped herself and her parents inside a nightmare that won't be easy to escape. Great Halloween listening!
We recommend this Bradbury classic in our list of great books to inspire young writers: "A lot of writing books can be instructive, but few of them have an author as outspokenly enthusiastic about writing as Bradbury." It's probably most appropriate for high school writers looking to hone their craft, but you could definitely try it with other ages to see if it's a good fit for your child.
Audiobook: My mom kept telling me I had to read this book, and even though I took forever to follow her advice, boy, she was right. Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, this story chronicles a road trip in the life of Salamanca Tree Hiddle, as she travels from Ohio to Idaho with her grandparents, who have been taking care of her since her mother left. Hope Davis—whom I adore—is the narrator of this Audible version.
Audiobook: The ultimate tear-jerker combo: Robert Sean Leonard (who made me sob—and sob and sob—in Dead Poet's Society) reads Katherine Paterson's heart-wrenching tale of friendship and the power of imagination. It's wonderful. Just make sure you have plenty of tissues in your bag if you're carschooling this one.
Still one of my favorite books: Claudia, in search of grand adventure, runs away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with her brother Jamie. At the museum, she finds her quest: To identify the sculptor of a little angel statue, whom she suspects is Michelangelo and, ultimately, to make sense of a world without clear answers. I love this book so much.
One of the first books that made me want to sleep with the lights on! From my review: "There's plenty of spooky in this book—ghostly little girls, haunted jewelry, atmospheric old graveyards—but what elevates it above the classic ghost story is its acknowledgment that the worst horrors can be the ones we keep inside ourselves. Heather is susceptible to Helen's friendship because she has another, darker secret that she has to face if she truly wants to be part of the world of the living. And Molly, who would like nothing better than to get rid of her bratty little sister, finds herself fighting to save Heather.
I am always recommending Philip Pullman's world-hopping trilogy to people who ask me what their teens should read next—this tender, lyrical, subversive reimagining of Paradise Lost is pure readerly delight. In this first book, not-as-orphaned-as-she'd-thought Lyra takes off to the North Pole to rescue a friend who's been taken by the Snatchers, but she finds even graver danger. There's no neat and tidy summary for this book, but trust me, it's worth it. (And its sequels, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, are on sale today, too.)
This isn't a great book—and there are a few clunky bits, especially through the exposition—but it's interesting enough to be worth a read anyway. In Alina's world, technology can track your soul as it moves from one life to the next—which is a problem if your past-life self committed headline-grabbing, world-shocking crimes. Alina can't remember her past life so she doesn't know what would make her a notorious villain, but she does know that she wants to live her own life instead of being punished since birth for someone else's. So when three kids come to break her out of confinement, she runs.
65 million years ago, during the early Paleocene era, just years after the enormous C-T dieback event, mammals are changing. From School Library Journal: "Only Dusk, youngest son of the chiropter colony's leader, has made an evolutionary leap; not only can he fly, he can also see at night, using echo vision. Predictably, the others regard him as a mutant to be shunned—all but his father, who wisely considers his son's differences as gifts. Dusk's real nemesis, however, is a beast (a "felid") called Carnassial, who is the first of his kind to be carnivorous and, like Dusk, is shunned by his own. Clearly the world is poised on the brink of remarkable change, and the future belongs to these two."
Maybe you're already in the mood for a little Gothic suspense? Look no further: This first-in-a-trilogy book (based on The Island of Dr. Moreau and a fun side-by-side read with that book) tells the story of a mad scientist from the perspective of his innocent teenage daughter. Obligatory YA love triangle aside, this is a pleasantly suspenseful read that feels just right for Halloween.
School Library Journal called this middle grades novel "a perfect starter story for budding horror fans." A group of friends on the cusp of growing up set off on a quest to appease a ghost and lay a haunted china doll to rest.
Lin-Manuel Miranda recommends this book as a great read for theater kids, so I'm not really sure how we can talk about this book in any way that is not anticlimactic after a recommendation like that! But this story about a small-town boy who takes the bus to NYC to audition for "E.T.: The Musical" really is pure drama geek delight.
From the fall 2014 issue: "Callum’s father has always taught him to avoid magic—so Callum is determined to do whatever it takes to get kicked out of the magical school he’s forced to attend."