“Cemetery Boys” by Aiden Thomas

Ah, young love. Now, just for fun, throw in some of your normal, everyday encounters, such as ghosts, approaching important cultural dates, your family having trouble accepting who you are and the underworld. That’s right, this delightful discussion of diversity has all that and more! When our dapper young protagonist, Yadriel, goes out on a limb to prove himself to his family, he accidentally summons the ghost of someone he didn’t even know had died. This, of course, happens to be Julian, a mysteriously distant peer from school. The twist? Julian has no idea how he died, much less how the real afterlife works. Heart-warming and utterly alluring, this one’s a keeper!

— Angelina Estadt, page, Valley Community Library

“Manjhi Moves a Mountain” by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by Danny Popovici

“Why should some people have so much and others so little?” That’s a question I ask myself very frequently and I thought it was very powerful in this story. Manjhi lives in a poor, desolate village in India separated by a large mountain from the prosperous village. For the people on Manjhi’s side of the mountain, it was a long and treacherous journey to go around the mountain and visit the market. He wished that the villages were closer and easier to travel between. He decides that he will chisel the mountain down to make a path between the two villages. There’s so many great lessons that can be learned from this book: perseverance, equality, empathy and generosity. It’s even more amazing that it is based on a true story. The illustrations are beautiful and can tell the story alone without the text.

— Michelle Georgetti, director, Valley Community Library

“American Royals” by Katharine McGee

“American Royals” was recommended to me by one of my friends and I am so happy that I checked it out! McGee created a wonderful alternate history, in which George Washington was crowned king of America, rather than becoming the first president. The Washington royal family is still in power, and the story is told from four beautiful and strong-willed women: Princess Beatrice is the heir to the crown, Princess Samantha is the second-born spare child, Nina Gonzalez is Princess Samantha’s best friend who might be in love with Prince Jefferson, and Daphne Deighton is determined to win back the prince’s heart. I was hooked on “American Royals” from the very first chapter and can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment in the series!

— Kristen Wallo, adult programming librarian, Valley Community Library

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