“The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise” by Dan Gemeinhart
Coyote Sunrise and her dad, Rodeo, have been on the road in a converted school bus for five years. When Coyote finds out the park in her home town is being destroyed, she wants to return to save the memory box her mom and sisters buried before they died in a car accident. The two make an unforgettable 3,600 mile journey across the U.S. in this touching family story of loss, new beginnings and friendship. Readers can also enjoy the collection of books Coyote reads along the way.
“Hope” by Matthew Cordell
Caldecott Medal-winning author and illustrator Matthew Cordell continues his stories about family with a new tale told by lion grandparents. In this love letter to their grandchild, the elders share their journey of life’s highs and lows and tell the cub, “in your time, you will shine.” The illustrations in this picture book depict joyful animals, starry nights and hope for the future. It’s a delightful and thoughtful read for the whole family.
— Paige Bentley-Flannery, Deschutes Public Library community librarian
“The Sky Between You and Me” by Catherine Alene
Alene’s debut novel is a heartbreaking and heartwarming story of a teen spiraling into the mental illness of anorexia. Raesha’s mother has recently died, she perceives pressure to win at barrel racing, and her boyfriend seems to be attracted to the new girl in town. She is overcome, but the one thing she can control is whether or not she eats. The novel is in verse which is often stunning, such as when Raesha describes her mother’s last night. “I’d listened to her breath rattling in her lungs/Like leaves/Browned and brittle/Chased down the sidewalk by a jagged breeze.” A powerful, but often emotionally difficult story, based on the author’s personal journey toward healing.
“Exo” and “Cross Fire” by Fonda Lee
Lee is a master at creating new worlds, inserting details that make everything seem possible in her science fiction novels. “Exo” and its sequel “Cross Fire” tell of an Earth that is now the colony of an alien race. Alien technology allows protective exoskeletons to develop on some childrens’ bodies. Donovan Reyes is one of these enhanced human soldiers and his father is a senior diplomat. When Donovan is captured by the revolutionary group, Sapience, he becomes a bargaining chip. It’s up to him to save the human race in this page turner that will appeal to teens and adults.
— Heather McNeil, Deschutes Public Library youth services manager
Note: The four authors featured above will each speak at the free Youth Lit Fest presented by Deschutes Public Library on April 6 at Summit High School. Additional details and registration available online at deschuteslibrary.org/ylf.
“Wrecked” by Joe Ide
Isaiah Quintabe is known as IQ in South Central Los Angeles where he solves mysteries in exchange for whatever clients can pay him. When an acquaintance asks for help finding her missing mother, IQ and his cohorts end up in more trouble than they bargained for, as a group of ex-military police are trying to find her first. “Wrecked” is the third in Ide’s excellent IQ series offering smart and fast plots with well-drawn characters and a healthy dose of humor. As a bonus, Sullivan Jones reads the excellent audiobook versions.
“Where Reasons End” by Yiyun Li
Li imagines a series of conversations between a mother and her son who has recently died by suicide. What follows is less a novel and more a series of meditations on life, writing, time and grief. It is an experiment in how art serves us and also how it fails us. The narrator, who mirrors Li and is also an author, struggles to express her feelings: “None of the words, I thought, would release me from the void left by him.” It is a gorgeous attempt from a nightmare of a topic. Li has given us a dream of a book.
— Jenny Pedersen, Deschutes Public Library community librarian