Category Archives: Your Next 5 Books

Need a book for winter break? I have a list!

There’s always so many books that I want to, but never have the time to read!  Of the many books that are on my to-read list, these are my top five.

1.)    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak bookthief

My sister got this book for me as a present a few years ago. I read the first 30 or so pages, and then for some reason I didn’t pick it up again. My mom “borrowed” the book from me (I swear she’s a book thief – pun intended), and I didn’t get it back until a few months later. In 8th grade, I read Zusak’s ‘I Am the Messenger,’ and I loved it. Ever since then, ‘The Book Thief’ has been one of my top five to-read books. Also, the movie is out so after I get around to reading it, I can watch that too.

2.)    City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

TImagehe Mortal Instruments series is my favorite series that I have read, no doubt. The last book in this series FINALLY comes out on May 27th, which has been one of the most painful waits for a book. Hopefully Amazon is quick in getting the book to me, because I do not think my sanity will hold past the release date. Unfortunately, I asked Cassandra Clare if she would be coming to Seattle for a book tour, and she said that she would not be (due to some contract that keeps her from touring throughout most of the U.S.)  (*sobs forever*).  But we’ll have the book right? I mean, she’s only killing six (known) characters.  I’ll try not to cry too hard.  And if you’re looking for spoilers, check her Twitter and her Tumblr.  She’s given away a few things that could either comfort your worries, or perhaps heighten them (but hey, Church the cat doesn’t die!).

3.)    Allegiant by Veronica Roth allegiant

Well, this is the last book in the Divergent series, and it’s been out for a while… I’ve been avoiding this book for the past couple of months since the ending was spoiled for me.  I’ll probably get around to reading it… Someday… The second book was a little confusing to me, so maybe I could reread it to clear some things up.  And then, there’s also the movie that was recently (or not-so-recently?) in theaters, which was pretty good.  And when I saw it, I hadn’t read the books in at least a year, so I didn’t have too much critique of the differences between the book and the movie.  My friend, on the other hand, had plenty to share with me.  Maybe I’ll muster up the courage to get through this book.  We’ll see.

4.)    Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor dreamsofgodsandmonsters

ACTUALLY MAYBE THIS IS MY FAVORITE SERIES.  This and the Mortal Instruments are tough competition. Laini Taylor writes beautifully, and this story is incredible. I’ve actually started reading this book, slowly making my way through it, (because school takes up all of my time – it’s not boring!) and I’m about a third of the way through it. I  would highly recommend this book.  Laini Taylor lives in Portland, Oregon, and she has the coolest hot-pink hair.  And one time, she replied to me on Twitter.  Her favorite kind of cheese is ‘EVERYKIND’.

5.)    Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs hollowcity

I read the first book last summer, and loved how the book incorporates old photographs into the story. I really love the setting that the first book set, the characters, and the plot. This was one of those books where you need the next book after you finish the first. The second book has been out for a few months now, and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet. But since summer is coming, I’m looking forward to reading it. There’s also the graphic novel, for the first book, that came out recently. Cassandra Jean illustrated it, and I’m a big fan of her work.

Most of these books are part of a series, and I would recommend any of these series.  Cassandra Clare and Laini Taylor are two of my favorite authors, and they craft wonderful storylines and characters and I love their writing… I could go on about this.  But if you’re looking for books to read, I would definitely recommend these authors and series.

–Claire, Magnolia, Teen Volunteer


Stephen King and Alfred Hitchcock!

NeedfulThingsBookCoverSo, I’ve been reading the horror novel Needful Things by Stephen King ever since school got out. It’s a thick book but not a hard read, and although I’m not finished with it yet, I have been enjoying it so much that I just have to rave about it.

Summary: Everyone in the small town of Castle Rock, Maine is intrigued when this mysterious new shop opens up out of nowhere. Needful Things, a weird kind of curio-shop, is owned by the unsettling, unearthly (but devilishly charming) Leland Gaunt, and you’d never think you’d want what he sells so bad until you actually see it. Anything you could possibly desire, even things which are intangible, manifest themselves in the merchandise of Needful Things, and Mr. Gaunt is always willing to make a bargain… as long as you can pay his price. Slowly, he takes control of Castle Rock as they realize it isn’t as easy as it sounds, and that the dealing is not done until Mr. Gaunt says it’s done.

I started reading this book because I knew Stephen King has an amazing writing legacy, having written books like The Shining, Carrie, and the stories behind movies like The Shawshank Redemption and Stand By MeNeedful Things is so far the only book of his that I have read, but even if you are not a horror or thriller fan I would highly recommend it.

I kept reading because I was completely blown away by how much time King takes to develop each and every character, relationship and story, and how masterfully he keeps track of every single one and weaves it ALL together. The characters and their lives are so amazingly and painfully real, not to mention compelling. The characters and their relationships are written SO WELL, I can’t even handle it. This is truthfully what makes the story for me. The scary parts are developed well, but they can get pretty repetitive and slow sometimes.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a compelling and totally encompassing read and anyone prepared to get really emotionally invested in the lives of characters.

Speaking of horror and thrillers… the Seattle Public Library’s University Branch is currently doing a Movie Mondays feature on Alfred Hitchcock! Happening right now, every Monday they are showing a different movie, going chronologically through his career, including classics like Psycho and Rear Window. This Monday, July 14th’s feature film is Notorious and the series ends with the movie Frenzy. There is even free popcorn! Make sure not to miss it. 


–Gina, 15, University

Your Next 5 Books: dark fantasy for older teens

your_next5A teen wrote in looking for some books like what she’d read before, but older, more mature, and without a historical setting.

I like to read a lot of fiction. I like the fantasy twist that a lot of authors put in their books. I really like PC and Kristen Cast and Alyson Noel. They are pretty cool but I can’t find any more of their books that I want to read. I don’t really like reading about past history or anything like that because I am not interested in that kind of reading. I will read for hours if I have the right kind of book. I really like magical books and books about vampires, wherewolves, ghosts, etc, but I don’t like the really childish books like that, I like the books for older teens. I would really appreciate it if you could send me a few book suggestions so I can keep reading at the pace that I am or even faster depending on how much I like the book. Thank you.

Our intrepid teen librarian Hayden claimed this one, knowing just how our teen reader felt and what sorts of books might work.  Here’s her response:
Continue reading

Your Next 5 Books: I HATE BOOKS

your_next5We teen librarians who spend time answering the Your Next 5 Books requests from teens all had a good look at this recent request:

I HATE BOOKS.  I was forced to read them when I was younger. They were boring and the only ones I enjoyed were the cliche teen romance novels. They were trash. I was flooding my mind with useless tales. My interest in books began in middle school when my LA teacher recommended Hunger Games back in 6th grade. It was the first book that made me stay up all night, anxious for what’s to come. After that, no book compared. It was as good as it got for me in the world of the written word.  In 8th grade LA we read interesting books such as Island of Dr. Moreau which sparked my interest in ethical science. Tried to read Do Android Dream of Electric sheep, but I wasn’t drawn to science fiction. Once I reached freshmen year, I lost interest in books since we were forced to read AND annotate. I hated Shakespeare, I just read the modern translation to get the assignment done. I was also assigned The Lord of the Flies, my interest relit. The book was not just a story of survival but a reflection of corrupt human nature. The writing was exquisite, the symbolism of blood, fire, and pigs excited me. It was like putting together a puzzle when I saw the link between Piggy, The Lord of the Flies and pigs. Then I read Fahrenheit 451. Although some phrases are repetitively repeated. I liked his writing style and his strong message of the preservation of the written word. They make us think, make us question society. The government wants us to be pliable. Technology is distancing humans from creation. (I plan to read 1984 and Ender’s Game. I have read To Kill a Mockingbird although because it was assigned, I only skimmed. I’ve read Of Mice and Men and The Fault in Our Stars. Both of which were likable assignments) Also, I dove into Maze Runner with high expectations. I was completely disappointed. It was recommended for fans of the Hunger Games. The book was solely driven by plot and I was constantly being reminded of Thomas’ frustration and how confused he was. I did not enjoy the book. The characters were not well rounded and I couldn’t empathize with what Thomas was experiencing. Going back to the idea of technology. Personally I hate the era we are living in. My friends can’t even hang out without the comfort of their devices. They console their boredom by staring at flashing colors. Who doesn’t enjoy a little entertainment, even toddlers are mesmerized. I lost hope that humans still held values such as selflessness and honesty. Divergent captivated me.


What a challenge! This reader clearly wanted thought-provoking titles, but would not be easily satisfied with a standard list of teen dystopias, so here’s how our librarian Cheresse answered the first request: Continue reading

Your Next 5: Matched

your_next5 Our patron wrote in to Your Next 5 Books with an absolute minimum of detail:

Matched, by A. Condie

What did she like about it? Did she like the utopian/dystopian future and how the society dictated people’s lives in the interest of maintaining order? Did she want more stories about love triangles? Did she want a confused romance? We may never know the answers to these questions, so we suggested books that attempt to answer them.

Have you read Matched? What would you suggest for someone who liked that book? Answer in the comments below!

Your Next 5 Books: strong female protagonists

your_next5 We recently got a really detailed request for Your Next 5 Books – the details help us zoom in on exactly the right books for our readers. Read on:

Favorite recent books: Kill Me Softly, by Sarah Cross; Discord’s Apple, by Carrie Vaughn; Zombies Vs Unicorns anthology; Daughter of Smoke & Bone, by Laini Taylor; The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin; Going Bovine, by Libba Bray; Garden Spells, by Sarah Addison Allen; Don’t Breathe A Word, by Jennifer McMahon. I like Fiction, YA, Mystery, Mythology/Fairy Tale retellings, and Psychological Thrillers. I love character-driven stories with full world building and excellent use of language. I’m particularly drawn to strong but flawed female protagonists, and well-fleshed-out villains/foils. Thanks!

Our librarian, Cheresse, answered and offered this list:

I looked for books that used language well, were character-driven, and had female protagonists as well as a bit of love and or magic. All of the books in this list are in print format, and all but one (Gateway by Sharon Shinn) are also available as a book on CD.

“A Great and Terrible Beauty” by Libba Bray is gothic, creepy, steamy, and includes a bit of mystery as Gemma Doyle returns to London after the death of her mother and discovers her magical powers.

In “Blood and Chocolate” by Annette Curtis Klause, a beautiful teenaged wherewolf has fallen for a human boy, and must fight her pack and fearful townspeople to figure out where she belongs.

“Gateway” by Sharon Shinn features an adopted Chinese-American girl who gets transported to a parallel world where she is given a dangerous assignment and falls in love with a lower class boy.

“Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquival is an adult title about a woman in Mexico who as the youngest daughter is expected to take care of her mother never marry. She communicates her emotions in the dishes she creates for him, with surprising and magical results.

Lastly, “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield is a gothic, creepy, and suspenseful tale where you never quite know what is going on. This is a little bit of a stretch from fantasy, but it “may” have a ghost or two, depending on whether you believe the story Vida Winter tells her biographer.

So when you give us lots of details, we will try and give you lots of details about why we chose these books for you.

Your Next 5 Books: likes SF, Stiefvater, Green

your_next5 Sometimes we get requests for Your Next 5 Books that don’t give us much detail, but the person is still hoping we can make some good suggestions. This teen wrote in:

science fiction, young adult, kiki strike, Earth Unaware, Maggie Stiefvater, John Green

Not much to go on, right? Well, it was enough for our librarian, Jenny, who sent this list along with this response:

That was a pretty big range of books you mentioned, but I tried to give you a little something for each. There’s a little bit of spy fiction (Etiquette and Espionage) and a little sci-fi (Cinder). There’s something like Steifvater (The Diviners) and something like Green (The Perks of Being a Wallflower). Finally, a book with a little bit of many things: Invisibility. And as a bonus, maybe take a look at Across the Universe, which is a love story and sci-fi and a little dystopian craziness that is hard to put down.

Yeah, sometimes you get lucky and get a sixth book suggestion! 🙂