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The Invention of Wings: A Novel by Sue Monk Kidd

The Invention of Wings

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, a women's rights advocate and abolitionist in the nineteenth century, Sue Monk Kidd presents stunning portrayals of Sarah's attempt to leave her mark on the world and the life of her friend, Hetty "Handful" Grimke, a slave who spends her life fighting to free herself and her family. Sarah is "given" Hetty as a birthday gift from her privileged family, and the uproar caused in the family when Sarah attempts to free Hetty opens Sarah's eyes to the horrors of slavery in the United States. The novel tracks the next thirty-five years of these two women's lives as they both experience heartbreak and family strife. Hetty's life in slavery and her continuous determination to become free is beautifully portrayed by Kidd, and the monumental influence Hetty's life has on Sarah's political activity gives voice to a unique point of view about slavery in the South and women's empowerment in the nineteenth century.

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

Handle With Care

Willow O'Keefe breaks multiple bones before she's even born. She’s diagnosed with brittle bone disease, and will go on to endure many more breaks in the coming years. Her parents, Charlotte and Sean, adore their smart but fragile little girl. They rearrange their lives so they can be around for all the medical emergencies and contingency planning their daughter’s condition requires. An attempt to have a normal vacation with Willow and her sister, Amelia, causes her parents to question whether some things could have been done differently. Should Charlotte’s pediatrician have diagnosed Willow earlier so that the parents would have had the option of terminating the pregnancy? Can something be done now to make things easier for Willow and the rest of the family?

Jodi Picoult does a great job of exploring multiple moral dilemmas on all sides of a very difficult issue. She creates characters you can empathize with no matter what their point of view. Meanwhile, we come to a deeper understanding of the pressures that parents and "healthy" siblings of a physically disabled child face.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Cather has always had her twin sister, Wren, by her side to handle everything in life from her mother’s leaving to the surprising popularity of her Simon Snow fanfic (and let’s be honest, her Simon Snow obsession too.) So when Wren starts to pull away at the beginning of their freshman year in college, Cather is at a loss. How can Wren possibly want to party when their Dad still needs helping managing his life? How could she possibly want to reconnect with their absent mother? More importantly to Cather….how could Wren not want to remain involved in creating their beloved Simon Snow fanfiction? Cather is faced with the question of who she is as an individual, not as just Wren’s sister or a Simon Snow fan, when she deals with a difficult writing class and a boy that may change everything. Diving into the world of fiction has always been a way for Cather to ignore her own less than ideal life but will freshman year, a smiling boy, and a changing relationship with her sister inspire Cather to embrace other aspects of life outside of the world of Simon Snow?

Rainbow Rowell, author of acclaimed Eleanor & Park and Attachments, provides another insightful read, chock full of snarky dialogue and pop culture references, that reaches out to audiences in reminder of the tumultuous period of love and change in a young adult’s life.

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

A Discovery of Witches

Meet Diana Bishop, a noted professor and reluctant witch. Diana wants nothing to do with magic, but when she uncovers a long forgotten alchemical manuscript that tells the secrets of the existence of daemons, witches and vampires, she may not have a choice.

Enter Mathew Clairmont, a noted geneticist and vampire. At first, he only wants the manuscript, but soon he realizes that Diana is more intriguing than the secrets the manuscript holds.
Together they will join forces and delve into the world of magic, while trying to stay clear of the people who want to see them fail.

Bishop is a superb writer who not only makes her characters leap off the page, but also delves into the science of alchemy and challenges the reader to go past the ordinary and to explore a world of possibilities.

The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return by Kenan Trebincevic

The Bosnia list

The Bosnia List is a powerfully-written memoir about growing up in a warzone. After fleeing Bosnia at the height of the civil war, Kenan Trebinčević and his family come to live in the United States. Now an adult, Kenan decides to return to Bosnia where begins to confront his past.

Readers will learn much from this book about strength and perseverance as experienced by a young boy and, later, a grown man. When Kenan returns to Bosnia, he expects to extract revenge for the wrongs done to his family during the war, but, when he arrives, his perspective on life changes.

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