Most Anticipated Books in 2014


When I was assembling my “Best of 2013” lists, I also asked friends, family and colleagues what books they were most anticipating in 2014. Quite a variety!

January 2014

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen – Patricia Uttaro – From the author of New York Times bestseller Garden Spells comes a beautiful, haunting story of old loves and new, and the power of the connections that bind us forever…

Still Life with Breadcrumbs by Anna Quindlen – Patricia Uttaro – Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs – Patricia Uttaro – This sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Pandemic by Scott Sigler – John Scalzo (Irondequoit Library) – The entire human race balances on the razor’s edge of annihilation, beset by an enemy that turns our own bodies against us, that changes normal people into psychopaths or transforms them into nightmares.

February 2014

Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffamn – Patricia Uttaro -With its colorful crowds of bootleggers, heiresses, thugs, and idealists, New York itself becomes a riveting character as Hoffman weaves her trademark magic, romance, and masterful storytelling to unite Coralie and Eddie in a sizzling, tender, and moving story of young love in tumultuous times. The Museum of Extraordinary Things is Alice Hoffman at her most spellbinding.

One Way Out: The Inside History of the Allman Brothers Band by Alan Paul – Patricia Uttaro – One Way Out is the powerful biography of The Allman Brothers Band, an oral history written with the band’s participation and filled with original, never-before-published interviews as well as personal letters and correspondence. This is the most in-depth look at a legendary American rock band that has meant so much to so many for so long.

March 2014

To Dwell in Darkness by Deborah Crombie – Patricia Uttaro – A favorite series! In the tradition of Elizabeth George, Louise Penny, and P. D. James, New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie delivers a powerful tale of intrigue, betrayal, and lies that will plunge married London detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James into the unspeakable darkness that lies at the heart of murder.

Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You by Greg Gutfield – Patricia Uttaro – From politics to the personal, from fashion to food, from the campus to the locker room, the desire to be cool has infected  all aspects of our lives. At its most harmless, it is annoying. At its worst, it is deadly, on a massive scale.  The Cool are the termites of life, infiltrating every nook and cranny and destroying it from within. The Cool report the news, write the scripts, teach our children, run our government—and each day they pass judgment on those who don’t worship their coolness.  The cool fawn over terrorists, mock the military, and denigrate employers. They are, in short, awful people.

The Wicked by Douglas Nicholas – Patricia Uttaro – Something evil has come to reside in a castle by the chill waters of the North Sea: men disappear and are found as horribly wizened corpses, knights ride out and return under an enchantment that dulls their minds. Both the townspeople and the court under Sir Odinell’s protection live in fear, terrorized by forces beyond human understanding. But rumors of a wise woman blessed with mysterious powers also swirl about the land. The call goes forth, and so it comes to be that young apprentice Hob and his adopted family—exiled Irish queen Molly, her granddaughter Nemain, and warrior Jack Brown—are pitted against a malevolent nobleman and his beautiful, wicked wife.

April 2014

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – Patricia Uttaro – The other girl from Kansas must travel to Oz to deal with a power-hungry, corrupt Dorothy.

Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems – Tonia Burton (Central Library) – The Pigeon needs a bath! Except, the Pigeon’s not so sure about that. Besides, he took a bath last month! Maybe. It’s going to take some serious convincing to get the Pigeon to take the plunge.

June 2014

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood by Diana Gabaldon – Sally Snow (Monroe County Library System) – In her now classic novel Outlander, Diana Gabaldon told the story of Claire Randall, an English ex-combat nurse who walks through a stone circle in the Scottish Highlands in 1946, and disappears . . . into 1743. The story unfolded from there in seven bestselling novels, and CNN has called it “a grand adventure written on a canvas that probes the heart, weighs the soul and measures the human spirit across [centuries].” Now the story continues in Written in My Own Heart’s Blood.

July 2014

The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness – Patricia Uttaro – After traveling through time in Shadow of Night, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchanting series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they reunite with the cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception.

August 2014

Lock In by John Scalzi – John Scalzo (Irondequoit Library) – Fifteen years from now, a new virus sweeps the globe. 95% of those afflicted experience nothing worse than fever and headaches. Four percent suffer acute meningitis, creating the largest medical crisis in history. And one percent find themselves “locked in”—fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to stimulus.

Disclaimer: all links go to Amazon, and annotations have been borrowed from there as well.


Best of 2013 for Children

The third and last of my Best Of 2013 posts includes a variety of selections for children.

Hold Fast by Blue Bailliet – Tonia Burton (Central Library) – From NYT bestselling author Blue Balliett, the story of a girl who falls into Chicago’s shelter system, and from there must solve the mystery of her father’s strange disappearance.

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean – Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – In this unique construction book for kids who love tools and trucks, readers join a girl and her family as they pack up their old house in town and set out to build a new one in the country.

Journey by Aaron Becker – Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) & Tonia Burton (Central Library) – Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination — and unexpected friendship.

How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton – Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – Everything you need to know about finding, keeping, and training your very own pet train.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers – Kathy Wolf (Central Library) – Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best?

Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle – Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – In this innovative wordless picture book with interactive flaps, Flora and her graceful flamingo friend explore the trials and joys of friendship through an elaborate synchronized dance.

Toilet: How It Works by David Macaulay and Sheila KeenanAdrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – Everyone knows what a toilet is for, right? But what exactly happens after you flush? Where does our waste go, and how is it made safe? With his unique blend of informative text and illustration, David Macaulay takes readers on a tour of the bathroom and the sewer system, from the familiar family toilet to the mysterious municipal water treatment plant.

If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty & Stephen Kellogg – Kathy Wolf (Central Library) – “If you decide to go to the moon,” writes Faith McNulty, “read this book first. It will tell you how to get there and what to do after you land. The most important part tells you how to get home.

Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller and Anne Wilsdorf – Kathy Wolf (Central Library) – On a trip to the farmers’ market with her parents, Sophie chooses a squash, but instead of letting her mom cook it, she names it Bernice. From then on, Sophie brings Bernice everywhere, despite her parents’ gentle warnings that Bernice will begin to rot. As winter nears, Sophie does start to notice changes…. What’s a girl to do when the squash she loves is in trouble?

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi MoralesAdrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – No opponent is too big a challenge for the cunning skills of Niño—popsicle eater, toy lover, somersault expert, and world champion lucha libre competitor!

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett, and Matthew Myers – Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – When Alex gets a silly, sappy picture book called Birthday Bunny, he picks up a pencil and turns it into something he’d like to read: Battle Bunny. An adorable rabbit’s journey through the forest becomes a secret mission to unleash an evil plan–a plan that only Alex can stop.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen – Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – Laszlo is afraid of the dark. The dark lives in the same house as Laszlo. Mostly, though, the dark stays in the basement and doesn’t come into Lazslo’s room. But one night, it does.

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool – Kathy Wolf (Central Library) – New York Times Best Seller Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medalist for Moon Over Manifest, is an odyssey-like adventure of two boys’ incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail where they deal with pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters.

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner – Kathy Wolf (Central Library) – In a near wordless masterpiece that could only have been devised by David Wiesner, a cat named Mr. Wuffles doesn’t care about toy mice or toy goldfish. He’s much more interested in playing with a little spaceship full of actual aliens—but the ship wasn’t designed for this kind of rough treatment. Between motion sickness and damaged equipment, the aliens are in deep trouble.

Disclaimer: All the links go to Amazon, and the annotations have been borrowed from there as well.

Best of 2013 for Teens

The Best of 2013 for teens contains an interesting variety of recommendations from librarians all over Monroe County. Enjoy!

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – Lauren McCormick (Rochester City Schools) – Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and crush – who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie Berry Four – Deena Viviani (Brighton Library) & Claire Talbot (Greece Library) – Four years ago, Judith and her best friend disappeared from their small town of Roswell Station. Two years ago, only Judith returned, permanently mutilated, reviled and ignored by those who were once her friends and family.

Lord of Opium by Nancy Farmer Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – As the teenage ruler of his own country, Matt must cope with clones and cartels in this riveting sequel to the modern classic House of the Scorpion, winner of the National Book Award, a Newbery Honor, and a Printz Honor.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Lauren McCormick (Rochester City Schools) & Matt Krueger (Irondequoit Library) – Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Reality Boy by A.S. King – Deena Viviani (Brighton Library) – In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” struggling to break free of his anger.

The After Girls by Leah Konen – Stephanie Territo (Greece Library) – Ella, Astrid, and Sydney were planning the perfect summer after high school graduation. But when Astrid commits suicide in a lonely cabin, the other girls’ worlds are shattered. How could their best friend have done this–to herself and to them? They knew everything about Astrid. Shouldn’t they have seen this coming? Couldn’t they have saved her?

Every Day by David Levithan – Matt Krueger (Irondequoit Library) – Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler – Stephanie Squicciarini (Fairport Library) – When all signs point to heartbreak, can love still be a rule of the road? A poignant and romantic novel from the author of Bittersweet and Twenty Boy Summer.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – Stephanie Squicciarini (Fairport Library), Claire Talbot (Greece Library), Ashley Armstrong (Lyell Library), Stephanie Territo (Greece Library), and Patricia Uttaro (who was hoping thyis would win the Newbery Award today, but is happy with the selection of Flora & Ulysses) – Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Deena Viviani (Brighton Library) – In Fangirl, quirky introvert, Cath, is safe within the immensely popular Simon Snow (think Harry Potter) fan-fiction blog she writes with her twin sister, but college turns her life upside down, leaving her feeling like an awkward outsider. When she writes, Cath knows exactly what her characters should say to each other, but when it comes to forging real-life friendships, much less a romance, she hasn’t a clue.

Aristotle & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz – Matt Krueger (Irondequoit Library) & Patricia Uttaro – Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein – Deena Viviani (Brighton Library) – While flying an Allied fighter plane from Paris to England, American ATA pilot and amateur poet, Rose Justice, is captured by the Nazis and sent to Ravensbruck, the notorious women’s concentration camp. Trapped in horrific circumstances, Rose finds hope in the impossible through the loyalty, bravery and friendship of her fellow prisoners. But will that be enough to endure the fate that’s in store for her?

5th Wave by Rick Yancey – Stephanie Territo (Greece Library) – The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

Poison by Bridget Zinn Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction-which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend. Disclaimer – all the links go to Amazon, and the annotations have been borrowed from there as well.

Best of 2013 for Grown Ups

Everyone has done their Best of lists for the year, so I thought I’d add to the abundance. I polled my family, friends and colleagues in the Monroe County Library system for their favorites of 2013, and I got dozens of replies. So many, in fact, that I have decided to break the list up into three separate posts, and add a fourth for “Most Anticipated of 2014.” Enjoy!

Longbourn by Jo Baker – Claire Talbot (Greece Library) – Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.

The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin – Claire Talbot (Greece Library) – In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

Light in the Ruins – Chris Bohjalian – Claire Talbot (Greece Library) – Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – Patricia Uttaro & Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – Touching, absurd, and darkly comic, Allie Brosh’s highly anticipated book Hyperbole and a Half showcases her unique voice, leaping wit, and her ability to capture complex emotions with deceptively simple illustrations.

Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – Claire Talbot (Greece Library) – A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert – Carol Moldt (Central Library) – In The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction, inserting her inimitable voice into an enthralling story of love, adventure and discovery.

I Dreamed I was a Very Clean Tramp by Richard Hell – Ashley Armstrong (Lyell Library) – The sharp, lyrical, and no-holds-barred autobiography of the iconoclastic writer and musician Richard Hell, charting the childhood, coming of age, and misadventures of an artist in an indelible era of rock and roll…

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill – John Scalzo (Irondequoit Library) & Heidi Jung (Gates Library) – NOS4A2 is a spine-tingling novel of supernatural suspense from master of horror Joe Hill, the New York Times bestselling author of Heart-Shaped Box and Horns.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent – Carol Moldt (Central Library) – Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Trial of Fallen Angels by James Kimmel, Jr. – Mary McDonald Camille (Reader Extraordinaire, Hilton NY) – When young attorney and mother Brek Cuttler finds herself covered in blood and standing on a deserted train platform, she has no memory of how she got there. For one very good reason. She’s dead. But she doesn’t believe it at first. Trapped between worlds, Brek struggles to get back to her husband and daughter until she receives a shocking revelation that makes her death no longer deniable: She’s been chosen to join the elite group of lawyers who prosecute and defend souls at the Final Judgment.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) & Heidi Jung (Gates Library) – King’s enormously entertaining sequel to The Shining in which we meet Danny Torrance, all grown up.

Attempting Normal by Marc Maron Adrienne Furness (Henrietta Library) – Attempting Normal is Marc Maron’s journey through the wilderness of his own mind, a collection of explosively, painfully, addictively funny stories that add up to a moving tale of hope and hopelessness, of failing, flailing, and finding a way.

Promise of Blood by Brian McClennan – Nell Ruedin (Central Library) – In a rich, distinctive world that mixes magic with technology, who could stand against mages that control gunpowder and bullets? PROMISE OF BLOOD is the start of a new epic fantasy series from Brian McClellan.

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes – Marjorie Shelley (Pittsford Library) – A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

Something Red by Douglas Nicholas – Patricia Uttaro – An intoxicating blend of fantasy and mythology, Something Red presents an enchanting world full of mysterious and fascinating characters— shapeshifters, sorceresses, warrior monks, and knights—where no one is safe from the terrible being that lurks in the darkness. In this extraordinary, fantastical world, nothing is as it seems, and the journey for survival is as magical as it is perilous.

Lean In: Women, Work & the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg – Matt Krueger (Irondequoit Library) & Patricia Uttaro – Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.

Human Division by John Scalzi – John Scalzo – Following the events of The Last Colony, John Scalzi tells the story of the fight to maintain the unity of the human race.

Drinking with Men: a Memoir by Rosie Schaap – Ashley Armstrong (Lyell Library) – Rosie Schaap has always loved bars: the wood and brass and jukeboxes, the knowing bartenders, and especially the sometimes surprising but always comforting company of regulars. Starting with her misspent youth in the bar car of a regional railroad, where at fifteen she told commuters’ fortunes in exchange for beer, and continuing today as she slings cocktails at a neighborhood joint in Brooklyn, Schaap has learned her way around both sides of a bar and come to realize how powerful the fellowship among regular patrons can be.

Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick – Claire Talbot (Greece Library) – Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined—this is a tale of horror and beauty, tenderness and sacrifice.

Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple – Chris Christopher (Rochester City Hall) – Bernadette Fox is notorious. To her Microsoft-guru husband, she’s a fearlessly opinionated partner; to fellow private-school mothers in Seattle, she’s a disgrace; to design mavens, she’s a revolutionary architect, and to 15-year-old Bee, she is a best friend and, simply, Mom. Then Bernadette disappears.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – Claire Talbot (Greece Library) – It’s 1950 and the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie Moraine wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton – Clair Talbot (Greece Library) & Patricia Uttaro – Stanton began photographing people on the streets of New York City three years ago, and those portraits have come to represent the diversity, depth, and beauty of the city. His best work appears in this collection.

The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman – Chris Christopher (Rochester City Hall) & Marjorie Shelley (Pittsford Library) – Tom Sherbourne is a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, a tiny island a half day’s boat journey from the coast of Western Australia. When a baby washes up in a rowboat, he and his young wife Isabel decide to raise the child as their own.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – Carol Moldt (Central Library) – Theo Decker, a thirteen-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don’t know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his unbearable longing for his mother, he clings to one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the underworld of art.

Disclaimer: All the links go to, and the annotations have been borrowed from Amazon.