Staff Faves 2021

GPPL staff have spoken! These are our favourite reads published this past year.

(when asked which books brought personal joy)

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Ace of spades

Ace of spades

Àbíké-Íyímídé, Faridah, author
2021

At Niveus Private Academy, Devon and Chiamaka are the only students chosen to be Senior Prefects who are also Black, which makes them targets for a series of anonymous texts revealing their secrets to the entire student body. Both students were on track toward valedictorian and bright college futures, but this prank quickly turns into a very dangerous game and they are at more than one disadvantage as it looks like things could turn deadly.

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Claimed

Claimed

Ward, J. R., 1969-, author
2021

"Lydia Susi is passionate about protecting wolves in their natural habitat. When a hotel chain develops a tract of land next to the preserve, Lydia is one of the most vocal opponents of the project--and becomes a target. One night, a shadowy figure threatens Lydia's life in the forest, and a new hire at the Wolf Study Project comes from out of nowhere to save her. Daniel Joseph is both mysterious, and someone she intrinsically wants to trust. But is he hiding something? As the stakes get higher, and one of Lydia's colleagues is murdered, she must decide how far she will go to protect the wolves. Then a shocking revelation about Daniel challenges Lydia's reality in ways she could never have predicted. Some fates demand courage, while others require even more, with no guarantees. Is she destined to have true love ... or will a soul-shattering loss ruin her forever?"-- Provided by publisher.

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Dark rise

Dark rise

Pacat, C. S., author
2021

"Sixteen-year-old dock boy Will is on the run, pursued by the men who killed his mother. Then an old servant tells him of his destiny to fight beside the Stewards, who have sworn to protect humanity if the Dark King ever returns. Will is thrust into a world of magic, where he starts training for a vital role in the oncoming battle against the Dark"-- Provided by publisher.

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The final girl support group

The final girl support group

Hendrix, Grady, author
2021

This is an "homage to slasher films" and follows six girls who belong to a survivors support group that has been meeting for nearly two decades. The women in the Final Girl Support Group have been in therapy together ever since one was attacked by a cannibal family in Texas, by a machete-wielding maniac at summer camp, by an older brother who returned to settle scores on Halloween, and by a lunatic who allegedly entered their dreams. And now, the final girls are mysteriously dying, one by one.

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Firekeeper's daughter

Firekeeper's daughter

Boulley, Angeline, author
2021

Daunis, who is part Ojibwe, defers attending the University of Michigan to care for her mother and reluctantly becomes involved in the investigation of a series of drug-related deaths.

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For your own good

For your own good

Downing, Samantha, author
2021

Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest. Teddy really can't be bothered with the death of a school parent that's looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy's personal life. All he wants is for his colleagues - and the endlessly meddlesome parents - to stay out of his way. It's really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.

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It happened one summer : a novel

It happened one summer : a novel

Bailey, Tessa, author
2021

"Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father's dive bar... in Westport, Washington. Piper hasn't even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won't last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can't do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She's determined to show her stepfather-and the hot, grumpy local-that she's more than a pretty face. Except it's a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there's an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn't want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan-and this town full of memories-may have already caught her heart."--Provided by publisher.

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The kingdoms : a novel

The kingdoms : a novel

Pulley, Natasha, author
2021

Joe Tournier has a bad case of amnesia. The only clue Joe has about his identity is a century-old postcard of a Scottish lighthouse that arrives in London the same month he does. Joe is certain whoever wrote it knows him far better than he currently knows himself, and he's determined to find the writer. The search will drive Joe from French-ruled London to rebel-owned Scotland and finally onto the battle ships of a lost empire's Royal Navy. In the process, Joe will remake history, and himself.

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The last graduate : a novel

The last graduate : a novel

Novik, Naomi, author
2021

At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year - and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules.

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The last house on Needless Street

The last house on Needless Street

Ward, Catriona, author
2021

"This is the story of a murderer. A stolen child. Revenge. This is the story of Ted, who lives with his daughter Lauren and his cat Olivia in an ordinary house at the end of an ordinary street. All these things are true. And yet some of them are lies. You think you know what's inside the last house on Needless Street. You think you've read this story before. But you're wrong. In the dark forest at the end of Needless Street, something lies buried. But it's not what you think."-- Provided by publisher.

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Let's talk about down there : an OB-GYN answers all your burning questions...without making you feel embarrassed for asking

Let's talk about down there : an OB-GYN answers all your burning questions...without making you feel embarrassed for asking

Lincoln, Jennifer (Gynecologist), author
2021

"Dr. Lincoln has been sharing her expertise as an OB-GYN to her millions of followers on TikTok, and now in this accessible, illustrated guide she answers real questions about vaginal, sexual, and reproductive health for fans and new readers alike. Let's Talk About Down There is like the health class you wish you had-think evidence-based, myth-busting sex ed where shame gets tossed out the window-in a format that's as approachable as a fifteen-second video. Addressing topics such as hormones, menstrual cups, and birth control, all with the help of infographics and illustrations, this succinct, vibrant handbook answers the questions that you may have been too embarrassed to ask, so you'll be empowered to make more informed health choices and truly care for yourself."-- Provided by publisher.

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The little wooden robot and the log princess

The little wooden robot and the log princess

Gauld, Tom, author, illustrator.
2021

When a wooden robot prince forgets to say the magic words that turn his sister from a log into a princess she is thrown away, so he goes on an epic journey to find her and bring her back.

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Lore Olympus. Volume one

Lore Olympus. Volume one

Smythe, Rachel (Comics artist), author, illustrator.
2021

"Persephone, young goddess of spring, is new to Olympus. Her mother, Demeter, has raised her in the mortal realm, but after Persephone promises to train as a sacred virgin, she's allowed to live in the fast-moving, glamorous world of the gods. When her roommate, Artemis, takes her to a party, her entire life changes: she ends up meeting Hades and feels an immediate spark with the charming yet misunderstood ruler of the Underworld. Now Persephone must navigate the confusing politics and relationships that rule Olympus, while also figuring out her own place--and her own power."--Provided by publisher.

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A marvellous light

A marvellous light

Marske, Freya, author.
2021

"Red White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell in debut author Freya Marske's A Marvellous Light, featuring an Edwardian England full of magic, contracts, and conspiracies. Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He's struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents' excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what's been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he's always known. Now Robin must contend with the beauty and danger of magic, an excruciating deadly curse, and the alarming visions of the future that come with it-not to mention Edwin Courcey, his cold and prickly counterpart in the magical bureaucracy, who clearly wishes Robin were anyone and anywhere else. Robin's predecessor has disappeared, and the mystery of what happened to him reveals unsettling truths about the very oldest stories they've been told about the land they live on and what binds it. Thrown together and facing unexpected dangers, Robin and Edwin discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles-and a secret that more than one person has already died to keep"-- Provided by publisher.

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On the other side of the forest

On the other side of the forest

Robert, Nadine, author
2021

"Whats on the other side of the forest? A young rabbit and his father are determined to find out."--Provided by publisher.

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One last stop : a novel

One last stop : a novel

McQuiston, Casey, author
2021

Cynical twenty-three-year old August doesn't believe in much. She doesn't believe in psychics, or easily forged friendships, or finding the kind of love they make movies about. And she certainly doesn't believe her ragtag band of new roommates, her night shifts at a 24-hour pancake diner, or her daily subway commute full of electrical outages are going to change that. But then, there's Jane. Beautiful, impossible Jane. All hard edges with a soft smile and swoopy hair and saving August's day when she needed it most. The person August looks forward to seeing on the train every day. The one who makes her forget about the cities she lived in that never seemed to fit, and her fear of what happens when she finally graduates, and even her cold-case obsessed mother who won't quite let her go. And when August realizes her subway crush is impossible in more ways than one-namely, displaced in time from the 1970s-she thinks maybe it's time to start believing.

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The plot

The plot

Korelitz, Jean Hanff, 1961- author
2021

Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he's teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what's left of his self-respect. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn't need Jake's help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that-a story that absolutely needs to be told. In a few short years, all of Evan Parker's predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.

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Project Hail Mary

Project Hail Mary

Weir, Andy, author
2021

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission - and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish. Except that right now, he doesn't know that - let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it. All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. Alone on this tiny ship that's been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it's up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species. And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

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Revelator

Revelator

Gregory, Daryl, author
2021

"In 1933, nine-year-old Stella is left in the care of her grandmother, Motty, in the backwoods of Tennessee. The mountains are home to dangerous secrets, and soon after she arrives, Stella wanders into a dark cavern where she encounters the family's personal god, an entity known as the Ghostdaddy. Years later, after a tragic incident that caused her to flee, Stella--now a professional bootlegger--returns for Motty's funeral, and to check on the mysterious ten-year-old girl named Sunny that Motty adopted. Sunny appears innocent enough, but she is more powerful than Stella could imagine--and she's a direct link to Stella's buried past and her family's destructive faith. Haunting and wholly engrossing, summoning mesmerizing voices and giving shape to the dark, Revelator is a southern gothic tale for the ages."--Provided by publisher.

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Sure, I'll be your Black friend : notes from the other side of the fist bump

Sure, I'll be your Black friend : notes from the other side of the fist bump

Philippe, Ben, author
2021

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a good white person of liberal leanings must be in want of a Black friend. In this memoir-in-essays, the author chronicles a lifetime of being the Black friend (see also: foreign kid, boyfriend, coworker, student, teacher, roommate, enemy) in predominantly white spaces.

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While we were dating

While we were dating

Guillory, Jasmine, author
2021

Ben Stephens has never bothered with serious relationships. But when Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star, Anna Gardiner, however, it's hard to keep it purely professional. For Anna, this ad campaign will be a great distraction while she waits to hear if she's booked her next movie. However, she didn't expect Ben Stephens to be her biggest distraction. Their light-hearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other, truths they've barely shared with those closest to them.

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