Bundle up with a good book


Photo by Alan Levine

There are 10,950 books in the school library.

Winter break is coming up and these eight books will help you pass the time. Whether you are looking for fantasy, realistic fiction, or a graphic novel, I hope you find a book that works for you. I myself am an avid reader, and I read about 30 or 40 books a year across all genres. Here are some recommendations from Jenna Moller, the learning and innovation hub coordinator, and myself.


Dr. Moller’s Recommendations:

“We know students are more stressed than ever, the [school] library bought a lot of books on self care and mindfulness.  Our November display was a self help shelf and it was focused on ways to relieve stress and just focus on being present in the moment and things like that.”


The Dark Matter of Mona Starr – graphic novel

Laura Lee Gulledge

192 Pages

“The graphics are really beautiful [and] it’s a good read because the protagonist is dealing with normal teenage stuff, but is also dealing with anxiety and moving, and her friend left. She’s navigating a bunch of different relationships and not really understanding why she’s feeling a certain way, but trying to dig deeper and figure out why she’s feeling this way.” 


Your Brain Needs a Hug: Life, Love, Mental Health, and Sandwiches – self help

Rae Earl

288 Pages

Your Brain Needs a Hug is a great read because it provides coping strategies for dealing with any adversity in a witty and honest way. The author shares her own story and gives you specific tools to help deal with any difficult day ahead!”


This Moment is Your Life (and So Is This One): A Fun and Easy Guide to Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga – self help

Mariam Gates, Libby VanderPloeg

248 Pages

This Moment is Your Life shares how you can be more present in your current life, which helps build your confidence and happiness. This book shows the science of our brain with fun drawings and has a lot of places to pause and reflect.”


My recommendations:

The Ones We’re Meant to Find – science fiction

Joan He 

384 Pages

Summary: In a world collapsing due to climate change, this novel will make you think about what it means to be human. This is a tale of two sisters trying to find their way back to each other and uncover mysteries about themselves and their world. Cee is trapped on an abandoned island remembering only her name and her sister, Kay, who she is determined to find at any cost. Kasey Mizuhara lives in an eco-city, built far above the collapsing world. Kasey’s sister, Celia, disappeared three months ago. When Kasey receives a mysterious clue, she sets off on a mission to find her sister or at least discover what happened to her. 

Review: I found this book intriguing from the moment I picked it up to when I finished it at 4 AM the next day. The conflict kept me guessing and was filled with surprising plot twists. The book started off slow, but if you hang in there, it’s worth it. Once I got halfway through I could not put it down again, even though I needed to wake up for school in three hours. I loved the characters’ internal dilemmas and how you could see the character’s motivations, even if you did not agree with them. This book isn’t for everyone, but it was definitely for me. If you like sci-fi, mysteries, or STEM genius girls this book might be for you too.


Gilded – fantasy

Marissa Meyer 

512 Pages

Summary: Blessed, or cursed as she might say, by the God of stories (and lies), a poor miller’s daughter has the ability to spin fantastical stories that are entirely made up. Or so everyone believes. Serilda gets mixed up with the vile Erlking and his undead, wild hunt, when her lies spin out of control. Set in a medieval village this Rumpelstiltskin retelling turns the simple tale into an epic story, combining German folklore elements with classic fantasy. The sequel, Cursed, is expected to come out in November, 2022.

Review: The characters were amazing and felt very vibrant and the conflict was interesting, feeling both ancient yet relevant. The moon cycles were very important to the story and the book was put in sections based on which full moon they were in. That was a really cool element that made me so much more invested in the moon phase aspect of the story. The conflict felt very real and stressful and the romance was cute. The side characters were wonderful to read about as well.


One Last Stop – LGBTQ+ romance

Casey McQuiston 

432 Pages

Summary: August Landry, a cynical mystery loving girl has moved from around all her life and recently ended up in New York City. One day on the Q train she meets Jane, a punk-rock lesbian who quickly becomes August’s subway crush and a part of her everyday life. August can’t resist a mystery and Jane, who is displaced in time from the 70’s and trapped on the subway with no memory of her previous life, is the biggest mystery August has ever encountered. This queer romantic comedy is Casey Mcquiston’s second book, after their wildly successful debut novel, Red, White, and Royal Blue.

Review: All of the characters had so much depth and they were so easy to connect with. From the moment I was introduced to the side characters I absolutely loved them and August and Jane were just so sweet. The interactions between the characters were heartwarming and hilarious. The plot was a perfect blend of mysteries of the past and present and the way everything came together in the end was so perfect. I cried several times while reading and laughed out loud too, this book made me feel so many emotions. The style was interesting too, there were a few interjections of social media posts and articles that made the mystery all the more intriguing. The emotions felt devastatingly real and the conflict kept me intrigued the whole story.


A Phở Love Story – romance

Loan Le 

416 Pages

Summary: This cute, funny, romantic comedy is about two Vietnamese American teens falling in love and trying to navigate their newfound relationship. Bao and Linh come from two feuding families who own competing Pho restaurants across the street from each other. They struggle with confusing family histories, and the need to do what they love while not disappointing their parents. A companion novel, Solving for the Unknown, is expected to come out in 2023.

Review: This book had the best descriptions of food and I want to try everything that was mentioned. I actually went and got Pho while I was reading this novel and it did not disappoint. The characters were cute and believable but they were a bit similar to each other. The novel had dual point-of-view with Linh and Bao alternating. However, I had to keep checking who was talking as their voices were quite similar. The mystery behind their families conflict was interesting and kept me engaged but I did get a bit bored a few times. It was a cute, quick read and had great Vietnamese American representation.


With the Fire on High – realistic fiction

Elizabeth Acevedo 

416 Pages

Summary: Emoni Santiago is a teenage mother, a gifted cook, and a senior in high school trying to find her way in the world. She needs to balance her dreams with the reality of her situation. Her new crush isn’t helping the situation as she needs to juggle her budding romance with her duty to her Buela and baby daughter, Emma. A new cooking class is introduced at her high school and Emoni jumps at the chance to learn from an actual chef. However, school is still a problem and having to follow all the rules does not really mesh with Emoni’s creative style. This realistic fiction novel won the Golden Kite Award for Young Adult Fiction. The author, Elizabeth Acevedo also wrote The Poet X which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pura Belpré Award, the Carnegie medal, the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award.

Review: I loved this book, the conflict felt realistic and the characters were lovely. Emoni was such a relatable character with all of her stress and her struggle to do right by her family and herself. The other characters were hilarious and I loved her best friend Angelica, who was both funny and incredible. There was so much voice in the story with the different dialects for different characters and funny, believable dialogue. Throughout the novel there were recipes sprinkled in, and it was a really cool addition to the story. The book cover is gorgeous and the little food drawings and recipes throughout really add to the story.