Staff Picks: January 2012

Divergent

Divergent Book Cover

In a future society, sixteen year old Beatrice Prior must choose one of five factions where she will spend the rest of her life. Each faction is devoted to a specific virtue: Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace), and Erudite (knowledge). Her decision is complicated during a test each sixteen year old takes that tells them which faction they would best fit in with. For Beatrice the results are inconclusive and she is warned not to revel this to anyone or risk death. As Beatrice struggles to come to terms with what her test results mean and her future she discovers that the society she lives in is not as perfect as it seems. Reminiscent of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, this is recommended for teens that enjoy dystopian fiction.

The Night Circus

The Night Circus Book Cover

Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) arrives without warning. It is extraordinary, only open at night, and has no color except for black and white. The circus is the arena in which Celia and Marco compete. Bound in a deadly game while they were children, they must demonstrate their magical abilities within the circus with no clear rules and only one intended winner. Eventually, the two fall in love complicating the game. There are other memorable characters, each with their own role and story in relation to the circus. The book is hard to describe but will appeal to both adults and young adults that enjoy reading fantasy or books about magic with an unusual twist.

Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery

Death of the Mantis: A Detective Kubu Mystery Book Cover

When a group of bushmen in Botswana are accused of murdering a game ranger, Khumanego solicits the help of his childhood friend, Detective Kubu. Khumanego fears the bushmen will be wrongfully prosecuted due to prejudice against his people. The plot thickens as another similar murder takes place and may be linked to an earlier set of deaths in the same area. Detective Kubu unravels the mystery while facing the hardships of the Botswana desert. The likeability of Detective Kubu and the descriptions of the Botswana landscape, culture, and people make reading this book an entertaining and educational experience.