Books recommended by our librarians


Rani Fanning

Lory Hall (left) and Karen Harmon (right)

Bobo K., Writer

The Matthew William Moore librarians, Lory Hall and Karen Harmon have opened their doors for students to become interested in reading. According to research published by the American Psychological Association, 20 percent of U.S. teens read a book, magazine, or newspaper daily for pleasure, which compared to the 80 percent of teens who say they use social media every day, is a low percentage. Hall and Harmon, when asked, were more than happy to pick out three books each from the MWM Library and recommend them to students. “I think there’s a book for everyone,” Hall says. “There’s so many different genres, so many different tastes out there, so many different styles of writing. I think if you have a strong opening in a book that grabs you right away then that’s the kind of book you’re looking to put in other people’s hands.”

Love in English by Maria Andreu

This is one of those books that could be turned into a Netflix original series or film. Love in English is a romance novel about learning a new language and fitting into a new place. The reader follows a sixteen-year-old girl named Ana. Moving to the United States from Argentina, she began to learn English through her ESL (English as a Second Language) class. In school, Ana meets Harrison, an American boy from her algebra class and Neo, a Greek Cypriot from ESL. A love triangle forms with both of them and Ana has the task of figuring out exactly what her heart wants. This book includes friendship, family, crushes, and adaptation, all while dealing with a significant language barrier. “She is navigating not only a new life but also a regular life: being a teenager and being interested in relationships,” says Hall. Hall also pointed out some humor in the book. “What is good about this book is that it has some humor in it. Some of our sayings, idioms, just sound weird if you’re learning a new language.” If you are a fan of the To All The Boys I Loved Before series, you should definitely check out this book.

Layoverland by Gabby Noone

Taking place in the afterlife, Layoverland is also a romance novel. Layoverland focuses on Beatrice Fox, a seventeen-year-old who dies in a fatal car crash. She then wakes up in an airport-like purgatory, where she learns the deceased have to stay to await their chance to work through whatever is holding them back from Heaven. Bea learns that she has been specifically assigned to help souls understand what they need to do in order to move out of purgatory The conflict of the novel comes from the fact Bea has to help Caleb, the boy who caused the wreck that killed her, get to Heaven. “She has to put aside her emotions, but she doesn’t want him to pass through because of what he did to her life. So you go through [the book] and she’s trying to figure out if she wants to help this boy or not,” Harmon explains. If you’re a fan of the hit TV show, The Good Place, then you will like this book.

Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh

Flame in the Mist, a fantasy novel, is about a feudal society in Japan. This book has many similarities to the Disney movie, Mulan. “There are … a lot of mythological elements from Japanese folklore,” Hall says. In this Japanese society, men are raised and trained to be warriors and women are raised to be wives. It follows a seventeen-year-old girl, Mariko. Despite being a skilled alchemist, her future was already decided from her first breath. Her future: To become a wife. On her way to her betrothed, her carriage is attacked and everyone in her company is slaughtered by the Black Clan. Mariko, to get revenge, decides to go undercover as a peasant boy (hence the Mulan similarity) and infiltrate the clan that attempted to assassinate her. If you’re looking for a book with a bit of history and magic, while having action, then this is the book for you.

Five Total Strangers by Natalie D. Richards

Five Total Strangers is a young adult mystery-thriller. The main character in the book, Mira, is desperately trying to get home for the holidays, but her flight has been canceled due to a snowstorm. She decides to hitch a ride with a group of college kids, who were supposed to be on the flight with her. Mira assumes the group she hitches a ride with are all friends. As the chapters unfold, the reader finds out that no one knows each other at all. What she thought was a group of friends helping each other out, is actually a group of strangers with secrets. Not only that, every time the car stops, someone steals stuff out of their bags. “You have a lot of ‘who did this?’ or ‘who did that?’ Fingers pointing at each other and there’s someone who’s not so nice in the car with them that she’s being targeted by,” Harmon says. If you’re into the ‘who’s done it’ type of cinema or literature, look out for this book.

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman

Dry is a dystopian book like The Hunger Games. In this book, California is experiencing a large drought, or the Tap-Out as everyone calls it, which has been going on for a while. Californians have been using their taps to drink water, but soon the taps run dry and no one in the metropolitan area can get water. Anarchy takes place and martial law is instituted on the fourth day. No one can get out, all flights are grounded. There’s no leaving, and yet they have no water. This book specifically follows Alyssa, whose parents leave to seek water. When Alyssa’s parents don’t return, it is clear to her that her life and her brothers are threatened. “This book is a page-turner. I read the whole book in one night. What was so interesting to me was the behavior of the people in this book. How people were turning on each other, just because they were in a panic.”

The Bridge by Bill Konigsberg

“I chose this next book because this is our next Bulldog Book Club read.” Harmon encourages people to join the Bulldog Book Club, which is the third Thursday of every month. This book touches heavily on mental illness. The book follows two characters, Aaron and Tillie, who want to end their lives by falling off a bridge. The book is split into four parts. The four parts share the aftermath of certain choices. In one part, Tillie jumps off the bridge and Aaron is left with the trauma and has to move through life without her. In the second part, it’s the opposite. The second part goes through Tillie’s circulating emotions and thoughts after Aaron died. In the third part, Aaron and Tillie both jump. It goes into detail about how the parents are emotionally dealing with the loss of their kids. In the last part, neither one jumps off the bridge. Tillie and Aaron turn to each other for support and things begin to positively change in both of their lives. “I think it’s very realistic,” Hall praises the book. This book touches a lot on suicidal thoughts and depression, making it realistic and relatable. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the hotline National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

If any of these books interest you, check them out through the MWM library at FHS. Even if these books didn’t interest you, there are almost 130 million books in the world. One of them is waiting to be read by you.