Calvin by Martine Leavitt

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Calvin is a brilliant 17 year old who has procrastinated much too long on his final English and biology projects. Recently diagnosed with schizophrenia, he decides to undertake an epic pilgrimage across Lake Erie along with childhood friend Susie and the hallucination of a 10 foot tiger named Hobbes to convince Bill Watterson to write one more strip of Calvin & Hobbes.  Thoughtful and heartfelt. (Submitted by Meghan W).

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Furiously Happy: a funny book about horrible things by Jenny Lawson

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I listened to this book as an audiobook. The subtitle describes the book perfectly – it is both very funny and very sad. Lawson suffers from depression and various other mental and physical issues. The title comes from her deciding to be “furiously happy” and live life to the fullest during the times when she’s able. I found the funny and horrible to be mixed very well–a serious chapter about depression followed by something bizarre about taxidermy raccoons.

Lawson isn’t for everyone; she has a very odd sense of humour and a rather foul mouth and is very frank about depression. But if you enjoy quirky humour and live with depression yourself or in a loved one, this is a great listen. Lawson is a true advocate for mental illness and she provides a very real look at depression – I was particularly interested in her description of how people with mental illness just don’t have the same amount of energy as “normal” people (she calls it the “spoon theory”) and how it is not treated like a disease–sufferers are told to get over it or just be happy while we would never say such things to people with physical ailments.  I laughed a lot and I really admire her philosophy of being furiously happy, I plan to try it myself! (Submitted by Gayle).

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God in Pink by Hasan Namir

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War torn Iraq in 2003 is a brutal time and place to be queer and Muslim. Ramy is facing a forced marriage to please his family and seeks guidance from Ammar. Ammar is a sheikh who thought he knew exactly what he should be doing and what the Qur’an dictates on the subject of homosexuality when Ramy’s letter and some angels complicate his life. Unflinching violence and no easy answers greet readers willing to engage with this text from Iraqi-Canadian author Hasan Namir. A Lambda Literary Award finalist. (Submitted by Meghan W).
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Blind Sight by Carol O’Connell

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The main character in this story is Kathy Mallory, who prefers to be known as Mallory, a highly intelligent police detective in New York. She grew up on the streets and is not only street savvy but her high IQ leads her to solving crimes in a unique and sometimes “off the books” type of way. The latest case is that of a possible serial killer who has, perhaps inadvertently, kidnapped a witness, only to find that the witness, a young boy, was blind.  Jonah, the kidnap victim shows us that being blind doesn’t mean you miss out on what life has to offer. Smells, touch, sense (wind, heat, taste) all contribute to a very vivid circumstance that Jonah is determined to overcome. What is the kidnapper/killer to do with him?  Will Mallory find the boy alive or dead? As more and more secrets are revealed, from the rich to the poor, the politically mighty to the Catholic church, Mallory and the New York police are racing against time.   A well-written interwoven tale that keeps you guessing page turn after page turn. (Submitted by Jamie).

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Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Image result for exit pursued by a bear book coverTalk about tough subjects for a teen novel: rape/date rape, drugs, unwanted pregnancy, and abortion. This may not be gritty enough for some readers but you don’t necessarily need gritty to talk about serious issues.

While attending a camp in Northern Ontario, Hermione Winters was drugged and raped. The repercussions range from testing the strength of families and friendships, romantic relationships – past, present and future – to the school and small town rumours that can mark and make or break the spirit of a victim.

The author admits she was angry when she first started writing this book and that it wasn’t very cohesive but she stuck with it, creating a novel I wasn’t sure I wanted to read but I’m glad I did. It makes you realize the ‘what ifs’ of your life and the decisions that you’ve made that have put you on the path you are on – at the moment. (Submitted by RZ).

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Pet Sematary by Stephen King

Image result for pet sematary book coverIn the small town of Ludlow the Creed family settles in to their new home along a busy highway. In this household the topic of death is taboo until the family pet gets run over in the road. This incident leads the Creed family down the long, dark path to the Pet Sematary and when further trauma occurs, Louis Creed, the father, goes beyond the Pet Sematary to the Micmac burial grounds where unspeakable actions take place. This family faces unimaginable horror of both mental and supernatural extremes and learn the hard way that sometimes dead is better.

King states this is his scariest novel ever written and I have to agree that it is up there as one of my favorites. What I found interesting about this story is that the idea came to him after a similar experience occurred to his family. He had to bury his daughter’s cat in a make shift pet cemetery and even more horrifying was when his son ran towards a busy road with King getting to him just in time, resulting in a story created by that “what if..” outcome. (Submitted by Jess).

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Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images by Terence Dickinson

Image result for hubble's universe book coverHubble’s Universe is a feast for the eyes with stunningly beautiful images of space and just as stunning facts about our universe.

The book will quench the thirst for knowledge and details about cosmos for science-oriented individuals and it will be entertaining and not daunting for those who only want to dip their toes into space matters. There is a fine balance between the written information and spectacular visuals; so, at the end, you don’t get tired of either one. If you would like to explore the universe and see new galaxies, meet new planets,  learn about the dark matter, and see places you have never seen – all at no cost, come to Surrey Libraries and borrow the Hubble’s Universe: Greatest Discoveries and Latest Images(Submitted by Mariya T)

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