Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour – Morgan Matson

After Amy’s father dies in a car accident, her brother is sent to rehab and her mom moves to Connecticut, leaving Amy alone in California. When Amy graduates, her mom tells her to bring the family car to their new home. Amy doesn’t drive, so her mom recruits Roger, whom Amy hasn’t seen since they were little kids. Her mom’s boring 3-day itinerary isn’t going to cut it, so they embark an epic detour that takes them to Yellowstone Park, a spooky highway, the home of the Kentucky Derby, and Graceland. By the end of the trip, they’ve overcome their individual heartbreaks and they might even become more than road trip buddies… I really enjoyed this book. It’s cool that it includes actual photos and things like postcards and receipts, as well as Amy’s handwritten journal. I also loved all of the descriptions of the different burger joints they visited. (submitted by GH)

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Life Beyond Measure: letters to my great-granddaughter

Sidney Poitier writes about his life experiences in the form of letters to his great granddaughter. I am not sure if it is the form of the book (letters) or perhaps the wisdom of the writer (Sidney Poitier), but I found myself totally engaged in reading it. The author shares his advice on love, marriage, faith, courage, and the future. His inspirational stories, although addressed to his great granddaughter, are really speaking to all of us. They are meant to motivate us and guide us in our own life journeys. If you are looking for a beautifully written and heartwarming memoir, you will not be disappointed by choosing this title. (submitted by IS)

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Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen

How could you possibly resist a story of an orphan, a travelling circus, love, elephants, and gritty drama?  It was a great read. Delightful and heart-warming, if you asked me for just two words to describe it.  Set in 1932, the characters and the storytelling of their adventures is quite charming. (submitted by JB)

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The Maze Runner – James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up inside an elevator shaft, he remembers nothing except his name. Soon the elevator doors open, and Thomas quickly finds himself immersed in the world of the Glade, an enclosed space populated entirely by boys who share a single goal: to escape. However, the day after Thomas’ arrival, a girl appears in the Glade, holding a note: “This is the last one. Ever.” As life in the Glade begins to unravel, finding a way out becomes more important than ever. Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, The Maze Runner is the first of a trilogy for young adults, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book, The Scorch Trials! (submitted by AA)

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The Handbook for Lightning Survivors – Michele Young-Stone

A young girl is struck by lightning in her driveway one afternoon, but no one believes her.  A young boy’s mother, in another part of the country, is killed by lightning. She grows up to become an angst-ridden artist who paints scenes of lightning; he writes The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. The parallel stories of two dysfunctional families and these unusual “survivors” is a beautifully-written page-turner. (submitted by GA)

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Lean on Pete – Willy Vlautin

I was completely charmed by this book.  Fifteen-year-old Charley Thompson wants a home, food on the table, and a high school he can attend for more than part of a year. But as the son of a single father working in warehouses across the Pacific Northwest, Charley’s been pretty much on his own. When tragic events leave him homeless, weeks after their move to Portland, Oregon, Charley seeks refuge in the tack room of a run-down horse track. Charley’s only comforts are his friendship with a failing racehorse named Lean on Pete and a photograph of his only known relative. Due to increasingly desperate circumstances, Charley heads east, hoping to find his aunt —but the journey to find her will be a perilous one.  It is easy to care about Charley and his journey – it’s an easy book to love. (submitted by SB)

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