From cute holiday-themed romcoms to murderous mysteries, self-help to powerful memoirs, these books will be sure to keep Senior School students (and parents) entertained in front of the fire this winter break.
Young Adult Reads
Carols and Chaos by Cindy Anstey
1817. The happy chaos of the Yuletide season has descended upon the country estate of Shackleford Park in full force, but lady's maid Kate Darby barely has the time to notice. Between her household duties, caring for her ailing mother, and saving up money to someday own a dress shop, her hands are quite full. Matt Harlow is also rather busy. He's performing double-duty, acting as valet for both of the Steeple brothers, two of the estate's holiday guests.
Falling in love would be a disaster for either of them. But staving off their feelings for each other becomes the least of their problems when a devious counterfeiting scheme reaches the gates of Shackleford Park, and Kate and Matt are unwittingly swept up in the intrigue.
Tell Me No Lies by Andrea Contos
Nora and Sophie Linden may be sisters, but they're not friends. Not since the party last month. Not since the night Sophie's boyfriend, Garrett, disappeared. Half the town thinks Garrett is dead, the other half believes he ran away, but Sophie knows something no one else does -- Garrett left that party with Nora. And straight-A, Ivy-league-bound Nora had never been to a single party before that night.
Then Nora withdraws, barely coming home anymore, right when Sophie starts receiving messages from someone who claims to be Garrett, promising revenge -- for what happened to him that night, and for the lies both girls told to the police about it.
With the sisters' futures -- and lives -- in jeopardy, they'll have to decide whether to trust each other again, or risk their secrets leading them to their graves.
The Maze Cutter by James Dashner
Seventy-three years after the events of The Death Cure, when Thomas and other immunes were sent to an island to survive the Flare-triggered apocalypse, their descendants have thrived. Sadina, Isaac, and Jackie all learned about the unkind history of the Gladers from The Book of Newt and tall tales from Old Man Frypan, but when a rusty old boat shows up one day with a woman bearing dark news of the mainland--everything changes. The group and their islander friends are forced to embark back to civilization where they find Cranks have evolved into a more violent, intelligent version of themselves. The islanders are hunted by the Godhead, the Remnant Nation, and scientists with secret agendas. When they cross paths with an orphan named Minho from the Remnant Nation, the dangers become real and they don't know who they can trust. The islanders will have to survive long enough to figure out why they are being targeted, who is friend or foe, and what the Godhead has planned for the future of humanity.
Drizzle, Dreams, and Lovestruck Things by Maya Prasad
The Singh sisters grew up helping their father navigate the bustle of the Songbird Inn. Nestled on dreamy and drizzly Orcas Island in the Pacific Northwest, the inn's always been warm and cozy and filled with interesting guests—the perfect home. But things are about to heat up now that the Songbird has been named the Most Romantic Inn in America.
Nidhi has everything planned out—until a storm brings a wayward tree crashing into her life one autumn . . . and along with it, an intriguing construction worker and a yearning for her motherland. Suddenly, she's questioning everything she thought she wanted.
Avani can't sit still. If she does, her grief for Pop, their dad's late husband, will overwhelm her. So she keeps moving as much as she can, planning an elaborate Winter Ball in Pop's memory. Until a blizzard traps her in a barn with the boy she accidentally stood up and has been actively avoiding ever since.
Sirisha loves seeing the world through her camera, but her shyness prevents her from stepping out from behind the lens. Talking to girls is such a struggle! When a pretty actress comes to the Songbird with her theater troupe, spring has sprung for Sirisha—if only she can find the words.
Rani is a hopeless romantic through and through. After gently nudging her sisters to open their hearts, she is convinced it's finally her turn to find love. When two potential suitors float in on a summer breeze, Rani is swept up in grandeur to match her wildest Bollywood dreams. But which boy is the one she's meant to be with?
Ultimately, the magic of the Songbird Inn leads the tight-knit Singh sisters to new passions and breathtaking kisses—and to unearth the truest versions of themselves.
Two Degrees by Alan Gratz
In California, Akira Kristiansen is driving through the mountains with her mom when a wildfire sparks -- and grows scarily fast. In just moments, Akira and her family have to evacuate... but which way is safe with fire all around them?
In Churchill, Manitoba, Owen Mackenzie is running a tour for travelers who've come to see the polar bears. Lately the bears show up more and more as the ice thins. When Owen and his friend see a bear much too close for comfort, they end up in a fight for their lives.
In Miami, a hurricane bears down on Natalie Torres. That's not so uncommon... but everyone's saying this could be it. The Big One. Natalie and her mom don't have anywhere to run to, so they hunker down to ride out the storm.
Akira, Owen, and Natalie are all swept up in the global effects of climate change, each struggling to survive their individual disasters. But, as they will discover, the three kids are more deeply connected than they could ever imagine--in ways that will change them, and hopefully, can change the world.
The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
In 1937 in the snowbound city of Kiev (now known as Kyiv), wry and bookish history student Mila Pavlichenko organizes her life around her library job and her young son--but Hitler's invasion of Ukraine and Russia sends her on a different path. Given a rifle and sent to join the fight, Mila must forge herself from studious girl to deadly sniper--a lethal hunter of Nazis known as Lady Death. When news of her three hundredth kill makes her a national heroine, Mila finds herself torn from the bloody battlefields of the eastern front and sent to America on a goodwill tour.
Still reeling from war wounds and devastated by loss, Mila finds herself isolated and lonely in the glittering world of Washington, DC--until an unexpected friendship with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and an even more unexpected connection with a silent fellow sniper offer the possibility of happiness. But when an old enemy from Mila's past joins forces with a deadly new foe lurking in the shadows, Lady Death finds herself battling her own demons and enemy bullets in the deadliest duel of her life.
The Sleeping Car Porter by Suzette Mayr
When a mudslide strands a train, Baxter, a queer Black sleeping car porter, must contend with the perils of white passengers, ghosts, and his secret love affair
The Sleeping Car Porter brings to life an important part of Black history in North America, from the perspective of a queer man living in a culture that renders him invisible in two ways. Affecting, imaginative, and visceral enough that you’ll feel the rocking of the train, The Sleeping Car Porter is a stunning accomplishment.
Baxter’s name isn’t George. But it’s 1929, and Baxter is lucky enough, as a Black man, to have a job as a sleeping car porter on a train that crisscrosses the country. So when the passengers call him George, he has to just smile and nod and act invisible. What he really wants is to go to dentistry school, but he’ll have to save up a lot of nickel and dime tips to get there, so he puts up with “George.”
On this particular trip out west, the passengers are more unruly than usual, especially when the train is stalled for two extra days; their secrets start to leak out and blur with the sleep-deprivation hallucinations Baxter is having. When he finds a naughty postcard of two queer men, Baxter’s memories and longings are reawakened; keeping it puts his job in peril, but he can’t part with the postcard or his thoughts of Edwin Drew, Porter Instructor.
Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson
With his single mother in jail, Sequoyah, a fifteen-year-old Cherokee boy, is placed in foster care. Literally and figuratively scarred by his mother’s years of substance abuse, Sequoyah keeps mostly to himself, living with his emotions pressed deep below the surface. At least until he meets seventeen-year-old Rosemary, a troubled artist who also lives with the family.
Sequoyah and Rosemary bond over their shared Native American background and tumultuous paths through the foster care system, but as Sequoyah’s feelings toward Rosemary deepen, the precariousness of their lives and the scars of their pasts threaten to undo them both.
Playing the Long Game by Christine Sinclair
Christine Sinclair is one of the world's most respected and admired athletes. Not only is she the player who has scored the most goals on the international soccer stage, male or female, but more than two decades into her career, she is still the heart of any team she plays on. She captains both Canada's national team and the top-ranked Portland Thorns FC in the National Women's Soccer League.
Working with the brilliant and bestselling sportswriter Stephen Brunt, who has followed her career for decades, the intensely private Sinclair will share her reflections on the significant moments and turning points in her life and career, the big wins and losses survived, not only on the pitch. Her extraordinary journey, combined with her candour, commitment and decency, will inspire and empower not only her fans and admirers, but also girls and women everywhere.
Flourish by Martin Seligman
“This book will help you flourish.” With this unprecedented promise, internationally esteemed psychologist Martin Seligman begins Flourish, his first book in ten years—and the first to present his dynamic new concept of what well-being really is. Traditionally, the goal of psychology has been to relieve human suffering, but the goal of the Positive Psychology movement, which Dr. Seligman has led for fifteen years, is different—it’s about actually raising the bar for the human condition.
Flourish builds on Dr. Seligman’s game-changing work on optimism, motivation, and character to show how to get the most out of life, unveiling an electrifying new theory of what makes a good life—for individuals, for communities, and for nations. In a fascinating evolution of thought and practice, Flourish refines what Positive Psychology is all about. While certainly a part of well-being, happiness alone doesn’t give life meaning. Seligman now asks, What is it that enables you to cultivate your talents, to build deep, lasting relationships with others, to feel pleasure, and to contribute meaningfully to the world? In a word, what is it that allows you to flourish?
Contributed by Carmen Moser - Senior School Teacher-Librarian