England

A Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley

In A Vision of Light, Margaret Kendall of Ashbury is a young and beautiful housewife living in 14th-century England. She is the mother of two healthy children, loved, and surrounded by many luxuries, but there is one thing more Margaret wishes, and her doting merchant husband is pleased to indulge her. Yet it is such a shocking thing that it is a harder wish to grant than a ring of rubies. Margaret wishes to write a book.

There are many difficulties. Of course, Margaret can not write--or read, for that matter—so she must find someone willing to take down her words. Three clerics refuse her, but they snigger as they point out their compatriot. Tattered, starving, and arrogant, Brother Gregory takes the job--which comes with frequent visits to Margaret’s well-stocked table. But he does so very grudgingly. What could such a feather-headed female have to say that is worth the expense of setting it down on vellum? A monk-in-training should be writing down great deeds and high-minded, philosophical points—not recipes and domestic notions.

The Devil's Company by David Liss

Benjamin Weaver, retired prize fighter and now professional thief-taker, is back in action on the streets of 18th-century London. What seemed a simple job—cheating a card cheat—turns nightmarish when Weaver discovers he’s the one who has been rooked in David Liss' The Devil’s Company. The mysterious and wealthy Mr. Jerome Cobb has a very dangerous plan in which Weaver is an essential player. His physical skills, intelligence, connections, and indeed his very character are necessary to make the plan a success.

No one else will do, and in order to secure his cooperation, Cobb and his cronies have drawn a diabolical net around those Weaver holds dear. The Devil's Company referred to in the title is none other than the terrifically wealthy East India Trading Company. Their near monopoly on imports of tea, fabrics, and other luxury items began more than 100 years before this story opens in 1722, and it is this fortress-like institution that Weaver must infiltrate.
 

Helen Cresswell: Imagination at Play

"Log on to your imagination - that's the real internet - and you can access it just by opening a book." – Helen Cresswell

She is considered to be one of the best modern writers of English literature for young people. From folk tales to picture books to modern stories to screen plays, Helen Cresswell’s deft ways with words have made her works favorites of readers of all ages.

12 Weeks of Hot Summer Reads: Num8ers by Rachel Ward

This is Week 2 of a 12-Week series of blog posts reviewing new young adult books. Check back each Monday for a new review.

Jem has a secret. When she looks into someone's eyes, a number appears in her head. But not just any number - it's the date of their death. She has seen the numbers ever since she was a little girl, but she didn't know what they meant until her own mother died of an overdose. Since then, Jem has had a rough life, being thrown out of one foster home after another, labeled as a problem kid in school and put in "special" classes. She has built an impenetrable wall around herself so she doesn't have to see anyone's number, and no one so far has been able to be close to her. Until Spider.

Spider is an impossible tall, fidgety boy from school, who Jem runs into one day while skipping class. Through different events they become close, and Jem realizes that she has let herself care about someone for the first time since her mother's death. One day they go together to see the London Eye, when Jem notices something disconcerting. She sees the same death date in every tourist's eyes. Unnerved, she grabs Spider's hands and convinces him to run away from the London Eye, which explodes shortly thereafter. They are caught on security camera fleeing from the scene and are considered suspects. All of a sudden - Jem and Spider, two "troubled" kids from London's projects, are on the run.

The Carbon Diaries: 2015

By Saci Lloyd

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In 2015, when England becomes the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing in a drastic bid to combat climate change, sixteen-year-old Laura documents the first year of rationing as her family spirals out of control.
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France and England in North America

By Francis Parkman

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This 19th-century series of writings on the period of colonization of North America is considered to be a classic of its time. Contents of the two volumes include: v. 1. Pioneers of France in the New World. The Jesuits of North America in the seventeenth century. La Salle and the discovery of the Great West. The old regime in Canada -- v. 2. Count Frontenac and New France under Louis XIV. A half-century of conflict. Montcalm and Wolfe. Reserve volumes with a specific copy hold.
Also available to read online.

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Smack

By Melvin Burgess

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Sometimes maybe you need an experience. The experience can be a person or it can be a drug. The experience opens a door that was there all the time but you never saw it. Or maybe it blasts you into outer space.
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Girl, 15, Charming But Insane

By Sue Limb

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Jess Jordan, big of bum and small of boob, wishes she had her best friend's figure and longs for an unattainable guy while ignoring her best guy friend, the class clown.

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My Cup Runneth Over: The Life of Angelica Cookson Potts

By Cherry Whytock

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Believing she is too big, fourteen-year-old Angel tries dieting and kick-boxing to lose weight, but thanks to her friends and the school fashion show, she discovers that her size is just right. Includes recipes.

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Mates, Dates, and Inflatable Bras

By Cathy Hopkins

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In the tradition of "Bridget Jones's Diary" comes this hilarious look at adolescence told by three British teenage girls. Everything around 14-year-old Lucy Loverling is changing, and she wonders when her own life will improve. The day Lucy sees the most wonderful boy, things do begin to change.

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