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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.


MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

HSL BOOK DEALS OF THE DAY


Suzanne and I read this for the podcast, and I have to admit that as a Not-Fan of sci-fi, I really loved the way this book played with notions of self, gender, and humanity. (Plus it did NOT have the annoying cliff-hanger ending that so many science-fiction books seem to have.) From Suzanne's review: "Gender roles are upended in an entirely different way in Ann Leckie’s multiple-award- winning story of galactic empire, Ancillary Justice. The sentient AI protagonist of this novel is from a culture that doesn’t bother to linguistically discriminate between genders, instead using only feminine pronouns and nouns. I’ve never before read a book where the gender isn’t actually identified for most of the characters; it’s an interesting and eye-opening experience."


Sometimes a curse can be just what you needed, as Sophie discovers in this delightful fantasy about a hat maker's daughter who's cursed to premature old age by the Witch of the Waste. To break the curse, Sophie will need to team up with the mysterious wizard Howl, who happens to be stuck under a curse of his own—but first, she'll have to get to his castle, which has a habit of wandering around. I love this as a readaloud, on its own, or (of course) a companion piece to the equally wonderful (though often quite different) movie adaptation.


From Booklist: "Tommy and his friends think that Dwight is a weirdo who’s “always talking about robots or spiders or something.” In true Dwight fashion, he shows up at school one day brandishing a little origami Yoda finger puppet. The really weird thing is that it doles out very un-Dwight-like bits of wisdom, and the mystery is whether the Yoda is just Dwight talking in a funny voice or if it actually has mystical powers." Hand this to your 4th to 6th grader who loves the Wimpy Kid series.


It took me a while to get into this book about a girl named Ellie who time travels from a school travel-abroad-trip to Germany in the present day to 1988 Berlin, via a magical red balloon. Turns out, the balloon is part of a spell that helps Germans transport people across the Berlin wall to freedom, but no one is sure how Ellie ended up drawn back in time by it. As she lives through the communist world of 1980s Germany, she also remembers her grandfather's stories of how he survived the Holocaust. It's a weird look at 20th century Germany through the lens of magical realism, but ultimately, it worked for me.


From our review: "In an alternate medieval Brittany, Ismae finally finds a home where she belongs — in a convent of Mortain, the god of death, where she studies the delicate art of assassination. But her first assignment calls on all her will and wiles as she's forced to team up with Gavriel Duval, half-brother to the Duchess of Brittany and potential enemy, to take down a plot to overthrow the young Duchess."


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.


I don't know why more people aren't obsessed with this series! (Maybe it's the terrible covers?) From the blog: "In another series that puts a fantasy twist on adventure, 12-year-old Stephanie Edgley, in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, teams up with the eponymous undead detective-slash-sorcerer to protect the world from the evil and manipulative Nefarian Serpine. Stephanie is everything you could want in a heroine: smart, sassy, brave, and often hilarious. I think you might love this series."


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.


From our review: "If you set a book in 1911 with a feisty heroine who yearns for more books, a kind-hearted Jewish family, and an adorable pet cat, there is a good chance that I am going to love it... Joan has that half-naive, half-arrogant, all-clumsy charm that seems to come with getting your knowledge of the world through reading instead of through experience, and her development over the course of the novel is completely believable. "


Storybound
By Marissa Burt

In this middle grades fantasy, an ordinary girl named Una finds herself unexpectedly written into the land of Story. I love fairy tale reimaginings, and this one is smart and funny. Kirkus Reviews says "“Readers who love fantasy may see an opportunity to snuggle up with a cup of cocoa and unravel the plot, which twists and turns in on itself, with happy surprises.” 


I think this book is brilliant: In a world of Buffys, Winchesters, Jon Snows, Emma Swans, and other Chosen Ones, Mikey and his friends are just trying to make it through high school, while their classmates are busy saving the world. (This whole book kind of reminds me of "The Zeppo" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and that's a good thing in my world!)


Milo's looking forward to a quiet holiday at his family's rickety old inn, but an unexpected influx of decidedly suspicious guests sets him on track to solve a mystery instead. With the help of the new cook's imaginative daughter, Milo sets out to figure out what's going on—and what secrets his home is hiding. Terrific middle grades mystery—I'd definitely recommend this for fans of the Mysterious Benedict Society's adventures.


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."