Staff Picks

Let’s dive into staff picks! This is a good bunch–you’ll find a mix of authors on the rise and ones who are already in their primes.

The Kept by James Scott

“Every so often a book comes along that just knocks my socks off. The more I think about it the more it resonates with me. The Kept is such a book. While it is one of these bleak and grim types that I tend to gravitate towards and know exactly which readers will enjoy, I will recommend this book to almost anyone. Set in 1897 in upstate NY during the middle of winter, it is the Quixotic quest of mother and son for vengeance after the death of their family. What sets this apart from others of its ilk is the scope of the story and the depth of the characters (especially Caleb, the 12-year-old son who carries the weight of the world on his shoulders). Nothing is what it seems as the story intensifies into one of the best endings I’ve read in years! Maybe 4 or 5 books a year make it into my permanent history. The Kept is the first for 2014.”


Editor’s note: You know Pete is excited about a book when he uses up 4 notecards writing its review.

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis (for ages 9-12)

“Here is a cool, young girl–smart, sassy, and plucky–Deza Malone. Her family falls on hard times during the Great Depression. Deza’s parents are funny and real and face the pain of poverty and racism with courage and hope. A whirlwind of wonder and delight!”


Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins

“What happens when the past has claws and sharp teeth? Claire Vaye Watkins shows us in these tales that are downright scary. Join Watkins as she ventures West: to a Las Vegas trip gone awry, to a hermit’s house on the edge of a dried-up lake, to a girl stalked by Razor Blade Baby. Did I say these stories are scary? Watkins is scary-good at what she does.”


Words Will Break Cement by Masha Gessen

How did a group of young Russian citizens develop the ideas and language to speak back against the state? Gessen combines the story of Pussy Riot’s inception, infamy, and incarceration with a recent history of Russian protest and political trials. This is a riveting account of political confrontation and its consequences: part investigative journalism, part character study, part homage to Theory and to Art.”


Go forth and read!

– McIntyre’s Crew