Spend a day working at a library or a bookstore and you’ll spend a day surrounded by readers. People will line up with piles of books all day. Many of those people will be back within a week to borrow another stack. All day, you’ll be sending good books on their way with eager readers.
In spite of all this you might often hear the phrase, “People just don’t read like they used to.” I’m here to tell you – that’s true! We don’t read like we used to. We read more. A study by The Toronto Star revealed that 80% of Ontarian adults are readers, and over half prefer to physical books to digital ones. Whether you prefer ebooks, audiobooks, or the good old hard copy, here are 4 new novels to check out:
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – Young Adult Romantic Comedy
Delightfully “cheesy,” with a pinch of teenage snark. Pepper and Jack are children of rival fast food establishments: one a huge burger chain with a Wendy’s-esque twitter presence, and the other a mom-and-pop deli with killer grilled cheese. They go to the same preppy NYC private school. They’re involved in an over-the-top Tweet War. And they’re falling in love on an anonymous chat app, without realizing who the other is.
Secrets, twists, and dramatic reveals make this YA RomCom compulsively readable. The writing is straightforward and fast-paced, and the characters each have a distinct voice. It’s a really fun reading experience with a You’ve Got Mail feel.
My Life as a Diamond by Jenny Manzer – Middle Grade Fiction
The nostalgia of Sandlot meets a young LGBTQ+ perspective. This wonderful, feel good baseball story is about a trans boy who gets a fresh start in a new city. The vast majority of the story takes place on the baseball diamond, which will appeal to any reader who loves the game. It was wise of the author to tackle the topic of a trans boy through the narrowed lens of an underdog baseball team. There are so many aspects of young life to consider, but by focusing on baseball the book stayed light, simple, and will appeal to many young readers. Even reluctant ones.
Who doesn’t LOVE a baseball story where the immoral, nasty team eventually loses to the underdogs? I highly recommend this book to children in grades 4-6, and any adult who wants a light read that will expand their perspective.
Dual Citizens by Alix Ohlin – Literary Fiction
I have never been so hooked by a realistic, family-centred literary novel. We start with an unsettling scene involving the two sisters in a forest, one pregnant. A wolf, who they inexplicably know as Catherine, appears. She charges past them, and the pregnant sister goes into labour. We don’t find out the context of that scene until the very end of the book.
Lark and Robin have a complicated upbringing – emotional abuse and neglect are present, and yet they both manage to become remarkable. Lark is the top of her class in high school and earns a full scholarship, while Robin shows her talent as a piano prodigy. We follow their lives in detail in university and early career.
It is a literary masterpiece, with subtle themes and devices poking up throughout. But it is not at all pretentious. This is a book that will impress students of literature, and at the same time draw in fans of general fiction.
The Bear by Andrew Krivak – Literary Fiction
A lyrical fable for fans of soft apocalypse. The world as we know it ended long ago, and there are only two people left: a young girl and her father. They live a peaceful life together in a forest cabin, telling stories, hunting for food, and crafting tools. The man leads the girl on a long journey by foot to the ocean when he is bitten by a poisonous animal. After he succumbs to the poison, a bear appears and speaks to the girl. Can the last human on Earth survive without a father?
Lovers of language take note: the act of reading this book is truly an experience. The slow pace of the plot forces you to savour every word, and you’ll find yourself wanting to read sentences aloud for the full affect.
Karissa Fast is a librarian at St. Catharines Public Library. Visit us online or at your closest branch to place a hold on any of the reviewed books.