”The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

Books can be an escape from reality, or in the case of this young adult book, brings reality crashing down, into multiple perspectives and makes you question your own assumptions. The book is extremely well written and emotional.

If you’ve skipped the book and watched the movie, you miss learning about Garden Heights. When reading the about the characters who live there, we see the inequality that our black communities face, the struggle of wanting to make change while trying to climb out of poverty, and how the characters do the best for their families.

The title of the book is very significant and is explained by one of the characters. The reader is forced to think about “what is the hate we are giving kids that’s going to affect us all? And how do we end this cycle of hate?”

I think the perfect spot to start ending this cycle of hate is to start reading books that give us insight into lives that are different from our own. By doing this, we question what we see and what we’ve been taught, and from there, we can start learning, teaching, and acting better towards one another, breaking the assumptions we all are guilty of.

— Fawn Contreras, youth services clerk, Valley Community Library

”Carnegie’s Maid” by Marie Benedict

Follow the life of Clara Kelley from Ireland to Pittsburgh, where she takes a position as a lady’s maid in one of the grandest homes in Pittsburgh. Even though she is not who she pretends to be, Clara gains the trust of Andrew Carnegie while in this new country.

The Pittsburgh steel industry is growing and so is her understanding of business. Andrew Carnegie trusts her ideas, but she can’t be herself even when Andrew becomes more than an employer. She has to stay ahead of her past in order to save her future.

This 19th century historical fiction is sure to capture your heart. You will root for Clara as you find she may very well be the person who turned Andrew Carnegie from a ruthless industrialist to a true philanthropist.

— Donna Simpson, Board President, Valley Community Library

”A Touch of Darkness” by Scarlett St. Clair

“A Touch of Darkness” gives a modern twist to the love story of Hades, the God of the Dead and Persephone, the Goddess of Spring. I wasn’t able to put this book down. It’s an edge-of-your-seat story about love, lust, and finding your potential among the pressures of family, friends and society. Things aren’t always what they seem. Persephone reminds us we all deserve the freedom to push ourselves past our insecurities.

— Bailey Bevan, board member, Valley Community Library

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