reza-portrait (2)

Self-portrait by Reza Farazmand

Reza Farazmand, author of Poorly Drawn Lines, shares his list of “Books to Make You Laugh and Think” with the Penguin Hotline:

The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut

Killing and Dying by Adrian Tomine

Eeeee Eee Eeee: A Novel by Tao Lin

The Great Outdoor Fight by Chris Onstad

Goliath by Tom Gauld

Thanks, Reza! The Penguin Hotline can’t help but recommend one more book that makes us laugh and think: Poorly Drawn Lines. And for more custom book recommendations, be sure to check out the Penguin Hotline!


Illustration by Rafael Mantesso

Illustration by Rafael Mantesso

Rafael Mantesso, author of A Dog Named Jimmy and favorite human of Instagram sensation Jimmy the Bull Terrier, shares his top five books about art with the Penguin Hotline:

Only What’s Necessary: Charles M. Schulz and the Art of Peanuts by Chip Kidd and Geoff Spear

Because I love everything from Charles Schulz and this is my pursuit every day: do more with less. Imagine how difficult it is choose what is really necessary from Charles Schulz. For me, everything from him is necessary.

Picasso & Lump: A Dachshund’s Odyssey by David Douglas Duncan and Paloma Picasso Thevenet

Dachshund isn’t my favorite breed, of course. Bull terrier is. But Picasso is my favorite artist ever, and if Picasso loved this kind of dog, there must be a good reason, and I want to know it!

Kill Your Pets by David Shrigley

I love David Shrigley because it’s amazing to know that you don’t need to know how to draw, or you can draw like a kid and be famous, you just need to have a crazy mind. His sense of humor is always one degree forward, so I’d like to know why he wants me to kill my pet.

LaChapelle: Heaven to Hell by David LaChapelle

David LaChapelle is one of my favorite photographers. He is insane and his photos are like Renaissance paintings, I cannot stop looking at them. I hope one day I can do the same with my photos.

600 Black Spots: A Pop-up Book for Children of All Ages by David A. Carter

I think the most difficult thing to do is a book for children. They have the most amazing minds and if you are able to entertain them, my friend you are the guy! My best pictures are the simplest pictures with less elements. Imagine how creative you need to be to get a child’s attention with black spots.

Thank you, Rafael! The Penguin Hotline can’t help but recommend one of our favorite books: A Dog Named Jimmy.

And for more custom recommendations, please don’t forget to head to the Penguin Hotline!


Celeste Ng (c) Kevin Day Photography

Photo (c) Kevin Day Photography

Celeste Ng, author of Everything I Never Told You, shares some of her favorite conversation-sparking coffee table books with the Penguin Hotline:

For me, these books spark stories, but they make great gifts for almost anyone, too: I guarantee people will pick them up to flip through and become totally immersed.

Retronaut: The Photographic Time Machine (Chris Wild) – I’ve long been a fan of the Retronaut blog, which collects vintage color photographs. The photos challenge your perception of the past—but they’re also just delightful, like a shoe-shaped delivery car form the 1920s, or Lyndon B. Johnson driving his “Amphicar” into the water to startle his friends.

Letters of Note (Shaun Usher) – Who can resist reading other people’s letters? From Elizabeth II’s letter to President Eisenhower (sharing her recipe for scones) to Jack the Ripper’s taunting note to the police to the Campbell’s Soup Company’s thank-you to Andy Warhol—sent with a case of tomato soup—every page is fascinating.

Found: The Best Lost, Tossed, and Forgotten Items from Around the World (Davy Rothbart) – A collection of intriguing, funny, and just plain odd lists, notes, and objects that give you a glimpse into other people’s lives. One of my favorites: the angry note left on a boyfriend’s windshield that begins “You said you had to work then whys your car here at HER place?…. I hate you” and ends “p.s. page me later.”

Earth From Above: 365 Days (Yann Arthus-Bertrand) – The title is self-explanatory—aerial photos of the earth—but the pictures inside are breathtaking and will remind you of the beauty and diversity on our planet. They’ll make you feel small, in the best way.

Part Asian, 100% HAPA (Kip Fulbeck) – Fulbeck’s intimate portraits of part-Asian people are paired with their handwritten responses to the question “What are you?”–making for thought-provoking reading.

Food Landscapes (Carl Warner) These whimsical, amazingly detailed “foodscapes”–from a Taj Mahal made of onions to a forest of broccoli studded with potato boulders–will delight both kids and kids at heart.

The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy (Ursus Wehrli) – Swiss Artist Ursus Wehrli likes things tidy—so in this collection of “before” and “after” photos, he’s alphabetized his alphabet soup, sorted his fruit salad, and arranged a group of sunbathers by towel and umbrella color. The results are beautiful and hilarious.

Big Appetites: Tiny People in a World of Big Food (Christopher Boffoli) – A tiny man mows a neat strip of orange peel; pea-sized poachers pry out strawberry seeds with crowbars; miniature miners hike through a sea of coffee beans—Boffoli’s humorous photos and captions create tiny, mesmerizing stories.

Humans of New York (Brandon Stanton) – Stanton’s streetside portraits of New Yorkers, paired with quotes and anecdotes about each, is pure people-watching in book form: a cross-section of the vibrant, diverse population of the city.

Fictitious Dishes: An Album of Literature’s Most Memorable Meals (Dinah Fried) – Designer Dinah Fried pairs famous literary passages—from Proust’s madeleine to Queequeg’s clam chowder to the avocado-crabmeat salad of The Bell Jar—with artfully staged photos of each meal. Perfect for foodies and book lovers alike.

Thanks, Celeste Ng! The Penguin Hotline can’t help but recommend one more book that sparks conversation (and, incidentally, would look great on just about any table): Everything I Never Told YouRead an excerpt here.

And for more custom book recommendations, check out the Penguin Hotline!

9780143127550 (1)

Photo credit: Robin V. Brown

Photo credit: Robin V. Brown

Daniel James Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Boys in the Boat, recommends “Five Books That Take You Away”:

One of the things that I look for in a book is a story that will carry me away to a time or a place that I know I will never be able to visit myself. That applies to both fiction and nonfiction, but for me the draw is particularly powerful in the case of nonfiction, where I know that the world I am journeying into really does or really did exist. Here a few of my favorite armchair adventures.

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides

What an epic journey! Transported back to 1879 you will travel deep into the Polar Regions on the U.S.S. Jeannette. You will soon find yourself struggling valiantly alongside Captain George Washington De Long as he confronts mounting and seemingly impossible obstacles in one of the harshest and most challenging environments on earth. Put out some snacks by your reading chair, because you’re going to get hungry before it’s all over.

The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko

This is one of those books that takes you not only into a spectacular physical environment—the Grand Canyon—but also into a culture that is nearly as exotic as the setting. Racing through the canyon on the Colorado River at crest of an epic flood, you will see it as you have never seen it before, and you will learn about the mindset of the extraordinary young people who live to master the river when it is at its most dangerous.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

By now Krakauer’s epic tale of life and death on Mount Everest is a classic of narrative nonfiction. But it’s a classic for good reason, and if you’ve somehow missed it, you should don a sub-zero parka, grab some supplemental oxygen, and strap on some crampons because you’re going to feel that you need them as you ascend the mountain with Krakauer on what turned out to be a tragic expedition in 1996.  Along the way, you are are going to journey deep into the souls of those who accompanied Krakauer, and the author himself.

Pilgrim’s Wilderness by Tom Kizzla

I suppose this is not so much a journey as a sudden and dramatic translocation. But you are likely to find the world in which Kinzzla sets you down—outside the tiny Alaskan outpost of McCarthy—as exotic and interesting as you could hope for. Aside from the vivid descriptions of the countryside itself, the book will introduce you to a memorable cast of eccentric characters, most particularly Papa Pilgrim, his wife, and their brood of fifteen children. The tale turns on the slow unraveling of Pilgrim’s carefully constructed and self-serving mythology about his life, and in so doing it brings you face to face with just how odd life in rural Alaska can be.

Pirate Hunters by Robert Kurson

This is a book that takes you on two adventures at once. You will travel under the Caribbean with a pair of modern-day, high-tech treasure hunters. And at the same time you will travel back to the 1600s—the Golden Age of pirates—and voyage on the Golden Fleece with her rapacious captain, the infamous John Bannister. Both the modern day and the 17th century stories are first rate.


Thanks, Daniel James Brown! And the Penguin Hotline can’t help but recommend one book that takes us away: The Boys in the Boat! Start reading an excerpt here. And check out the Penguin Hotline for custom book recommendations!

9780143125471 (2)

Team Canada NEW

Members of the Penguin Hotline – Team Canada! (Left to right: Amy Smith, Marketing Associate; Randy Chan, Director, Marketing; Charidy Johnston, Senior Director, Marketing; Lindsey Hamilton, Director, Digital Marketing; Evan Klein, Marketing Coordinator )

What kind of work do you do at Penguin Random House Canada? Do you have any crowning achievements or memorable moments from your time at PRH (either as individuals, or collectively)? 

Introducing Canada to the Penguin Hotline was a major achievement for us during Mother’s Day this year! Now that we are all in one office as PRHC, we’re excited to bring the Penguin Hotline to even more Canadians as a united team.

9780525426592 (1)When you aren’t busy at work with books, what are your hobbies? Do you have any book recommendations related to these hobbies? 

Between the six of us, we like: traveling, cats, comic books, concerts, baseball, and movies. We’ll let you guess who likes what!

Which books are you most excited about gifting this year? 

Books that top our gift giving lists this year are: The Illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood, After You by Jojo Moyes, What Pet Should I Get by Dr. Seuss, The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew, Avenue of Mysteries by John Irving, and Make Ahead Meals by Michael Smith.


What is your favorite holiday read of all time? 

A classic favorite? How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss. A brand new favorite? It’s a tie between Merry Christmas Squirrels by Nancy Rose and When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey.

What’s your favorite part of working the Penguin Hotline?

Interacting with everyone – colleagues and, especially, requesters! We usually don’t have much of an opportunity to personally chat with book buyers, so it’s really fun and rewarding to be able to share our love of our favorite books outside of our family and friends.


For more custom recommendations, check out the Penguin Hotline!


Linda Cowen, Penguin Lawyer, with Blue Rider author Elvis Costello

Linda Cowen, SVP Associate General Counsel, with Blue Rider author Elvis Costello

What kind of work do you do at Penguin? Do you have a crowning achievement, or memorable experience from your time here?

I’m a lawyer, with a job that is the envy of all other lawyers. Like all the lawyers here I have a few imprints that I primarily advise. I follow the books from acquisition through publication and beyond, responding to all sorts of issues that may arise in the full life of the book. A big part of my job is reading many of our books before they are published, to make sure there are no legal risks in them. This means I also get to talk to our authors, and many times I’m the first person other than their editor and close friends to read the book. There’s nothing better than being the first person to tell an author you love their book. I’m very lucky to advise Blue Rider Press, which publishes some of the greatest rock musician memoirs around. So in addition to reading great books I’ve had the good fortune to meet Neil Young, Rick Ocasek, Jewel and Elvis Costello. I also advise some of the corporate areas of the company, including Human Resources.


When you aren’t busy at work with books, do you have a hobby? Do you have any book recommendations related to this hobby?

When I’m not busy with books I spend a lot of time running—I’ve run 5 marathons, and will soon be training for another. Several years ago I worked on the book Running on Empty, by Marshall Ulrich, and that as much as anything made me want to become a long distance runner. Marshall ran across the entire country, and while I was reading I was thinking, “he’s crazy.” But I also was thinking, “I really want to do that.”  Dean Karnazes’s  Ultramarathon Man is also great. For running history I love Kings of the Road, by Cameron Stracher. And of course the modern classic for all runners is Born To Run, by Christopher McDougall.



Which books are you most excited about gifting this year?

My absolute favorite nonfiction book of 2015 is M Train, by Patti Smith. My favorite novel of the year is The Story of the Lost Child, by Elena Ferrante. Together, Patti Smith and Elena Greco are the most fascinating women–and people–I’ve read about in ages.  This year I also want to give people beautiful print books, ones that they will want to hold and peruse, like Thunder and Lightning, by Lauren Redniss,  and Notorious RBG, The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik.  As I was filling out this questionnaire my 15-year-old son sent me a photo of the cover of my copy of Notorious RBG with the text, “It’s the greatest book cover I’ve ever seen.” Long live the print book!


What is your favorite holiday read of all time?

I can’t say I have a particular favorite holiday read–like Patti Smith I spend a lot of time thinking about the books I want to take away with me on Christmas vacation every year, and also like Patti, this year at her “recommendation” (meaning she wrote about it in M Train) I’m planning on taking The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, by Haruki Murakami (incidentally also the author of another favorite running book: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running). I’m going to Iceland, so I’ll have two long flights and a lot of semi-darkness when there’s nothing to do but read.

What’s your favorite part of working the Penguin Hotline?

I love working the Hotline because it gives me a chance to use books to solve people’s problems. Seriously, people reveal a lot about their relationships when they describe the person they are shopping for. I love the idea that we can make people happy and feel understood by each other just by helping them choose the right books.

For more custom recommendations, check out the Penguin Hotline!

FullSizeRenderKellie Schirmer is Director of Trade Production for The Berkley Publishing Group. Originally from Western NY, she now resides in Bergen County, NJ. When not making books…or reading books… she enjoys genealogy, baking, and travel.


9780141392462The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Originally published in 1844-1845, The Count of Monte Cristo revolves around a young man named Edmund Dantes, whose future is bright. He’s just been promoted and is soon to be married to a beautiful woman, but on the very day of his wedding, he’s accused of a crime he did not commit and is taken away….for a loooong time. Unbeknownst to him, three of his acquaintances, each jealous of him for different reasons, had banded together and plotted against him.

This book is often described as “the ultimate revenge story” and that may be true…the core of the story revolves around Dantes, his transformation into the “Count of Monte Cristo” and how he goes about punishing those who wronged him…but in my opinion, it’s also a story of adventure, friendship, envy, jealousy, love (and love lost), death, loyalty and deceit. Whew!

There are many versions of this book floating around, but if you are interested in a great read I’m recommending you pick up the Penguin Classics Unabridged edition, translated (and with notes and intro) by Robin Buss. The translation is excellent — the 200+ year old story reads as though it was written in present day – and the notes section is exhaustive, which saved me a lot of Googling!)

 Start Reading an excerpt!

9781101075821 2Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

“What do you mean, ‘Angle of Repose?’ she asked me when I dreamed we were talking about Grandmother’s life, and I said it was the angle at which a man or woman finally lies down. I suppose it is; and yet … I thought when I began, and still think, that there was another angle in all those years when she was growing old and older and very old, and Grandfather was matching her year for year, a separate line that did not intersect with hers. They were vertical people, they lived by pride, and it is only by the ocular illusion of perspective that they can be said to have met. But he had not been dead two months when she lay down and died too, and that may indicate that at that absolute vanishing point they did intersect. They had intersected for years, for more than he especially would ever admit.”

Published in 1971 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction in 1972, Angle Of Repose may be one the most beautifully written stories I’ve ever read. The story’s narrator is Lyman Ward, a former history professor who was forced to retire due to health issues. He moves into his deceased grandparents’ home and begins organizing their personal effects. As he reads through his grandmother’s correspondence, he reflects on his own life and marriage while imagining his grandparents life living in various mining towns in the west at a time when the land was still wild and untamed.

Start Reading an excerpt!

9780142437254 2On the Road by Jack Kerouac

It took me a long time to pick up On the Road but once I did, I was diggin’ it! There has been so much written about this book, there’s probably nothing more I can add that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll let Kerouac speak for himself. The plot is a simple one….the adventures of two guys criss-crossing the country….but it’s the way the story is told….the frenetic pace….that keeps you turning the page:

“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going ’till we get there.’

‘Where we going, man?’

‘I don’t know but we gotta go.”

“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

Start Reading an excerpt!

The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution and The Federalist Papers

9780143121961 2I’ve always been interested in the historical, but the last few years I find myself interested in the Founding Fathers and the early years of our country. I’ve been reading Ron Chernow’s bio of George Washington, and waiting patiently for the new season of AMC’s Turn.

9780143121978 2I had  been wanting to read The Federalist Papers (which are a series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, making the case for the Constitution) but  I found them a bit daunting. So when I came across these two volumes the other day, I was very excited. Both are annotated by Professor Richard Beeman, who provides context and notes making the text easy to digest. If you have even a passing interest, I would recommend  you check these out. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Start Reading an excerpt!


Find more books on the Penguin Classics page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories!

Reinhart_bioColleen Reinhart is a Designer at Berkley NAL and reads more books than her tiny Brooklyn apartment can hold.



The Book of Other People edited by Zadie Smith 

The premise of The Book of Other People is delightfully simple: make somebody up, write a story about them and then name that story after them. The collection is full of gems but among my favorites is gorgeous comic Jordan Wellington Lint by Chris Ware that follows a boy from birth to age thirteen, the heartbreaking Puppy by George Saunders which depicts two mothers struggling to care for their families, and the hilarious Roy Spivey by Miranda July about a woman’s encounter with a famous actor on an airplane.





My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki 

I love when fiction tackles topics that most would shy away from if packaged in a non-fiction context. Take for example Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats. The heroine, Jane Takagi-Little, is a documentary filmmaker stuck working on a show that peddles beef to Japanese housewives by showing “wholesome and attractive” Americans cooking and eating it. Throughout the production of the show Jane struggles with the limited America she is promoting while discovering unsavory truths about the beef industry. Things really start to get interesting when Jane has the opportunity to direct and defies her bosses’ directions.




My Education by Susan Choi 

The premise of Susan Choi’s novel may sound familiar, young grad student Regina falls for charismatic older professor, But the book takes a sharp turn when the beautiful and angry professor’s wife Martha is introduced and the reader sees that the real attraction is between Martha and Regina. Choi uses their tumultuous relationship to explore the way opinions of love and desire change as you age and gain more experience. She stresses this even more in the final part of the book, which jumps 15 years into the future, when Martha and Regina are meeting again as equals.

Start Reading an Excerpt!



Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr.

Everything Matters! reads like a “what if” question. “What if you had voices in your head that told you the world was going to end when you turned 36?” That’s exacrtly what happens to Junior Thibodeau who has had these voices telling him about the future since he was still in his mother’s womb. This special “ability” makes Junior question the point of concepts like loyalty, love and devotion when the world faces certain demise. Even though the set-up sounds incredibly dark, Currie keeps it from being so by embedding Junior with an incredible wit. Currie is in on the cosmic joke and he invites you to laugh with him.

Start Reading an Excerpt!



Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

I had to include Little Women because it’s the first book I ever fell in love with. The family at the center is instantly relatable even though the four sisters fit into archetypal molds so easily. The oldest, Meg March, is the “good” daughter who follows all the rules, Jo is the rebel, tomboy author, Beth is the desperately shy one and Amy is the spoiled, beautiful artist. The book follows them as they fight, fall in love, put on plays, deal with loss, get married, have children of their own, and discover what it means for them to be women.

Start Reading an Excerpt!



Find more books on the Literary Fiction page.

See Staff Picks for all our categories!

HealthandSelfImprovementPhotoRoshe Anderson works in Avery Books. When she is not preparing recipe to-do lists from the cookbooks, she can be found reading other health and self-improvement books as well as fiction. She also enjoys exploring health-related topics on her blog.


cook-for-your-life-by-ann-ogden-gaffney 2

Cook for Your Life by Ann Ogden Gaffney

“Comforting” and “unique” are two words that quickly come to mind whenever I think about this phenomenal cookbook. Author Ann Ogden Gaffney, who is a two-time cancer survivor, designed the recipes specifically for men and women dealing with the fatigue and altered taste buds associated with cancer treatment. Simplicity is a key ingredient to the book, and Ann encourages her readers to take advantage of the convenience of modern supermarkets to find prepped food items. In addition to the extremely well-thought-out design, I love the diversity of the recipes and the representation of various world cuisines. More specifically, I was excited to find recipes for “Jamaican Sorrel Tea,” “Kimchi Grilled Cheese,” and “Moroccan Pumpkin Stew with Chermoula Sauce” among the pages. I’ve already enjoyed the simple potato salad made with a vinaigrette instead of mayonnaise, and I look forward to trying the soothing, banana-rice smoothie recipe soon.

Start Reading an Excerpt!



Simply Scratch by Laurie McNamara

This cookbook had me at the DIY seasoning blends. Me: “You mean, I can make my own Italian seasoning!” I was also enamored with the author’s variations on the traditional pesto, substituting other herbs for basil. Author Laurie McNamara enlivens the book with her humor and inviting tone; she’s “the girl next door” who makes everything from scratch. In addition, Laurie brings a lot of originality to her creations and the names of the dishes. Since the book shows you how to create all of the ingredients in your pantry as well as the dishes it’s so comprehensive and a great resource. Laurie’s approach highlights how cooking from scratch offers greater control over health factors like sodium levels.



Woman On Fire by Amy Jo Goddard

Woman On Fire is one of the most powerful emotional toolkits I have ever encountered. Amy Jo is that brilliant and compassionate best friend, eloquently delivering insights to accelerate your personal growth. She shows readers how to approach the work of maintaining a relationship with great thought and intentionality. The book also contains compelling advice for understanding and then communicating your needs to a romantic partner. The incredible chapter on body image offers innovative ideas for rituals to help celebrate your body. As many others have already said, every woman deserves to read Amy Jo’s book and engage in this amazing work!

Start Reading an Excerpt!



Triumph of the Heart by Megan Feldman Bettencourt 

The mind-blowing story of a man who forgives his son’s killer sets the stage for all of the remarkable accounts shared in Triumph of the Heart. Author Megan Feldman’s personal story of her career and relationship struggles is also incredibly relatable and impactful.  The thoroughness of Megan’s investigation into forgiveness is impressive: she travels to Rwanda and throughout the United States, interviewing adult children who have chosen to forgive abusive or absent parents, heads of a school in Baltimore who are implementing principles of restorative justice with amazing results, as well as survivors of the genocide in Rwanda. I really enjoyed such a complex view of forgiveness, which includes the notion that the act of forgiveness can release repressed positive memories.

Start Reading an Excerpt!



To find Health & Self-Improvement books, click here

See Staff Picks for all our categories!


Bri1Bri Lockhart is a Marketing Coordinator at Penguin Young Readers focusing on young adult and middle grade titles. Born and raised in New Jersey, Bri spends most of her time reading, writing about pop culture, and watching horror movies. If you stop hearing from her, it’s because the book piles have fallen over and smothered her to death in the night.




The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

I’m a huge fan of Andrew Smith’s b-movie style coming-of-age story Grasshopper Jungle, so I wasn’t surprised that I adored The Alex Crow. The Alex Crow follows Ariel, a refugee that finds himself in a tech detox camp thanks to his adoptive family. Ariel’s story has the same genre-bending style as Grasshopper Jungle, but packs a powerful emotional punch—something that might not be wholly expected from a book that boasts about featuring a depressed, bionic, reincarnated crow.

Start Reading an Excerpt!




Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Ally, ashamed of her trouble with reading, acts out in class to distract her teachers from the problem at hand. When the substitute teacher Mr. Daniels walks in, he sees Ally’s troubles for what they are and helps her learn to work around her dyslexia and develop confidence again. Reading Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s sophomore novel will make you want to hug both the book and your favorite teachers.

Start Reading an Excerpt!




Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Ruta Sepetys is a master when it comes to historical fiction—anyone who has read Between Shades of Gray or her upcoming Salt to the Sea can attest to that. Her sophomore effot Out of the Easy tells the story of Josie, the daughter of a prostitute in 1950’s New Orleans, who wants nothing more than to get out of the Big Easy—a dream that might be dashed when a mysterious dead body makes an appearance in the Quarter. A savvy heroine, the New Orleans backdrop, and a dash of noir add up to one compelling read.

Start Reading an Excerpt!



Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps by Sophy Henn

There are some days (like yesterday, for instance) where everything is going wrong and there’s nothing you can do to stop that black cloud from following you around. Pom Pom gets it. Like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day, Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps shows us that bad days are universal (even among adorable pandas) but usually temporary.





The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

I’m fascinated by the psychology behind cults, so The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly was an auto-read for me. Jumping between the present day at a juvenile detention center after the murder of the cult leader and the past under the Kevinian Cult, Stephanie Oakes’s debut explores the dangers of blind faith and what happens when someone challenges those beliefs. I couldn’t put it down.

Start Reading an Excerpt!





Find more books on the Young Readers page.

See Staff Picks for all our categories!