Library Picks: 'An Abundance of Katherines', 'The Graveyard Book'

If you’ve never ventured beyond the adult fiction shelves at the Orion Township Public Library, you’re missing out on a wealth of wonderful literature written for teens and children.

Just because a book is published for children or teens doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyed by adults.  The Hunger Games trilogy and Harry Potter series come to mind immediately, but there are many hidden gems tucked on the shelves of the youth department and in the teen section.  So if you’ve never ventured beyond the adult fiction shelves at the Orion Township Public Library, you’re missing out on a wealth of wonderful literature.  Here are two selections from our teen fiction collection and one from our juvenile fiction collection that I wholeheartedly enjoyed.

An Abundance of Katherines

By John Green

Former child prodigy Colin Singleton has been dumped by nineteen girls named Katherine.  And the last one hurt really, really bad.  So the recent high school graduate becomes obsessed with perfecting a formula that will predict the success of future relationships, because that’s just the kind of genius he is.  To distract him from his pain, his pal Hassan takes him on an aimless road trip that leads them to somewhere named Gutshot, Tennessee.  Colin meets a girl there, and as luck would have it, her name is not Katherine.  Colin’s fascination with anagrams and factoids and the interaction between the two friends makes for a hilarious read.  In my opinion, you can never go wrong with a John Green book.

The Graveyard Book

By Neil Gaiman

The beginning is a bit grisly, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.  But once you get past that, you have the sometimes frightening, but more often tender coming-of age story of human orphan Nobody Owens – Bod for short – who is raised by ghosts in a graveyard.  As Bod gets older, he longs to explore the world outside the graveyard, but his ghostly protectors know that something dangerous lurks outside the boundaries of the cemetery, and he mustn’t leave at any cost.  The story cleverly parallels Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, and is a good pick for anyone who enjoys fantasy that’s slightly dark, but still charming and whimsical.  Think Beetlejuice or any Tim Burton movie.

Each Little Bird That Sings

By Deborah Wiles

Yes, this is a children’s book, but it is one of the most beautifully written books I have read for any age group.  The town and townspeople of Snapfinger, Mississippi that Wiles created are unforgettable and exude southern charm.  Ten year-old Comfort Snowberger lives in the funeral home that has been in her family for generations, so death is nothing new to her.  Within the space of a few months she loses both her Great Uncle Edisto and her dear Great-great Aunt Florentine, and she handles the grief in stride, but she is not prepared for the next loss that unexpectedly befalls her.  While dealing with her sorrow, Comfort also finds herself at odds with her lifelong best friend Declaration, and obligated to spend time with her annoying cousin, Peach.  This poignant book brought me to tears the first time I read it, and even though I knew what was going to happen, I choked up again while reading it aloud with my daughter a second time around.

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Kristen Remenar August 13, 2012 at 06:39 PM
"Each Little Bird that Sings" is one of my favorite books! Great recommendations!
Alice Cruz August 13, 2012 at 09:03 PM
Thanks Kristen! I think I need to read some more Deborah Wiles with my little lady.


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