Hello, everyone! I hope you all had a restful Easter break and a smooth first week back to classes.
The first book I want to recommend this week is a fun historical fantasy called Enchanteé by Gita Trelease. It takes place during the buildup to the French Revolution, and follows the story of an orphan girl named Camille who has magical powers of transformation. When she finds an old, once-beautiful dress within a chest of her late mother’s belongings, Camille uses her powers to make the dress good as new so that she can infiltrate the royal court, disguising herself as a Baroness in the hopes that she’ll find a way to make money there and support her siblings. At court, she realizes she can use her powers to cheat at cards and win money by gambling; desperate to support her little sister and make up for her older brother’s financial recklessness, this is the dangerous path she decides to take. However, her powers are limited, and the longer she stays at court, the more she risks her true identity and her secret powers being discovered. Enchanteé is an exciting, edge-of-your-seat, historical fiction-slash-fantasy adventure-slash-political thriller, highlighting the extreme poverty that led to the French Revolution. And there’s a sweet romantic side-plot too. Think Cinderella meets Les Misérables. It’s a story that truly has a little bit of everything in it, and I think that makes it a good pick for all sorts of readers. If you do read it and love it as much as I did, there’s good news: a sequel called Liberté is set to come out next year!
Continuing with this month’s celebrations of National Poetry Month, my second recommendation is a book called More Than Anger by Lexi Bruce. Miss Bruce is a local author who grew up in Buffalo and actually graduated from the Canisius College creative writing Bachelor’s program with me! More Than Anger is her debut, and it’s marketed as a “Hi-Lo” book. This means that it’s “high interest level,” but “low content”–that is, it explores an interesting topic in a short word-count, making it accessible to readers of different levels and abilities. The book is a really fast read because it’s written in verse, and each chapter is just the length of one poem. It tells the dramatic story about Anna, a girl whose parents fight constantly, edging closer and closer to their inevitable divorce. Sadly, Anna’s parents don’t realize what a huge toll their arguments take on their daughter until she starts acting out. This book certainly deals with heavy topics and, in some scenes, it can be difficult to read on an emotional level. It is definitely a tear-jerker! But it’s well-written and hard to put down. I found Anna to be such a true-to-life character. Her actions and reactions to the things happening around her–good and bad–are realistic, and her poems make it so easy to sympathize with her. If you want to celebrate National Poetry Month, but you usually prefer to read regular books over poetry, this is a good middle-ground pick for you. You still get the excitement of a traditional narrative that makes poetry accessible to everyone, whether they usually like poetry or not.
That’s it for this week. Happy reading!
Ms. Lee Ann Kostempski, Library Media Specialist