• The cover of the book The Bluest Eye

    The Bluest Eye

    Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in. A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.

    Recommended by: Mansfield/Richland County Public Library
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  • The cover of the book The Outsiders 50th Anniversary Edition

    The Outsiders 50th Anniversary Edition

    Ponyboy can count on his brothers. And on his friends. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a goo d time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far.

    Recommended by: DC Public Library
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  • The cover of the book Slaughterhouse-Five

    Slaughterhouse-Five

    Fifty years after its initial publication at the height of the Vietnam War, Vonnegut’s portrayal of political disillusionment, PTSD, and postwar anxiety feels as relevant, darkly humorous, and profoundly affecting as ever, an enduring beacon through our own era’s uncertainties.

    Recommended by: Mansfield/Richland County Public Library
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  • The cover of the book Heather Has Two Mommies

    Heather Has Two Mommies

    Heather’s favorite number is two. She has two arms, two legs, two pets, and two mommies. When Heather goes to school for the first time, someone asks her about her daddy, but Heather doesn’t have a daddy. Then something interesting happens. When Heather and her classmates all draw pictures of their families, not one drawing is the same. This delightful edition for a new generation of young readers features fresh illustrations by Laura Cornell and an updated story by Lesléa Newman.

    Recommended by: @a_cays
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  • The cover of the book Animal Farm

    Animal Farm

    As ferociously fresh as it was more than a half-century ago, this remarkable allegory of a downtrodden society of overworked, mistreated animals, and their quest to create a paradise of progress, justice, and equality is one of the most scathing satires ever published. As we witness the rise and bloody fall of the revolutionary animals, we begin to recognize the seeds of totalitarianism in the most idealistic organization; and in our most charismatic leaders, the souls of our cruelest oppressors.

    Recommended by: Wells Branch Library
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  • The cover of the book His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (HBO Tie-In Edition)

    His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (HBO Tie-In Edition)

    Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach. A war is brewing in Lyra’s world—a battle between those who would keep people in ignorance and those who are willing to fight for true freedom. Lyra is thrust into the middle of the conflict when her uncle Asriel comes to Oxford, fomenting rebellion, and when her best friend, Roger, suddenly disappears. To find him, she will travel to the cold, far North, where armored bears and witch clans rule… and where her uncle Asriel is attempting to build a bridge to a parallel world.

    Recommended by: Wells Branch Library
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  • The cover of the book The Picture of Dorian Gray

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

    Entranced by the perfection of his recently painted portrait, the youthful Dorian Gray expresses a wish that the figure on the canvas could age and change in his place. When his wish comes true, the portrait becomes his hideous secret as he follows a downward trajectory of decadence and cruelty that leaves its traces only in the portrait’s degraded image. Wilde’s unforgettable portrayal of a Faustian bargain and its consequences is narrated with his characteristic incisive wit and diamond-sharp prose.

    Recommended by: Wells Branch Library
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  • The cover of the book The Kite Runner

    The Kite Runner

    The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.

    Recommended by: Mulberry St. Branch
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  • The cover of the book Looking for Alaska

    Looking for Alaska

    Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words—and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet François Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young, who will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

    Recommended by: Mulberry St. Branch
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  • The cover of the book Two Boys Kissing

    Two Boys Kissing

    Based on true events—and narrated by a Greek Chorus of the generation of gay men lost to AIDS—Two Boys Kissing follows Harry and Craig, two seventeen-year-olds who are about to take part in a 32-hour marathon of kissing to set a new Guinness World Record. While the two increasingly dehydrated and sleep-deprived boys are locking lips, they become a focal point in the lives of other teens dealing with universal questions of love, identity, and belonging.

    Recommended by: Janice
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  • The cover of the book 1984

    1984

    Written 70 years ago, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, his dystopian vision of a government that will do anything to control the narrative is timelier than ever. A startling and haunting vision of the world, 1984 is so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the influence of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions—a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

    Recommended by: Tina van Winkle
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  • The cover of the book The Awakening

    The Awakening

    With its forthright treatment of sex and depression, The Awakening, first published in 1899, was so shocking to turn-of-the-century readers that it was neglected for decades. Rediscovered in the 1960s, this brief, beautiful novel is considered a landmark of early feminism. It is the story of Edna Pontellier, a twenty-eight-year-old wife and mother of two who—with devastating consequences—rejects her conventional married life for a transgressive path of self-discovery.

    Recommended by: Tina van Winkle
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