YA – The Infinity Courts

Bowman, Akemi Dawn. The Infinity Courts. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. 978-1-534-45649-5. 465 p. $19.99. Grades 9-12.

The Infinity Courts starts with Nami who is sure that her life is finally beginning at the age of eighteen; however, those dreams are halted when she is murdered. When she comes to, she realizes she is in a place called Infinity. Infinity is ruled by a queen called Ophelia who was a virtual assistant to the human race when Nami was alive. Now, Ophelia is determined to eradicate humans, and she is very close to completing that mission. Nami has a choice to join the resistance and help eliminate Ophelia, or just ignore everything and let Ophelia take over and complete her mission.

THOUGHTS: This is a great science fiction book that doesn’t get bogged down in science facts. The pacing is well done, and the main characters have decent character arcs throughout the story. This is the first book in a trilogy, so readers have something to look forward to.

Science Fiction          Mary McEndree, Lehigh Valley Regional Charter Academy

YA – Be More Chill: The Graphic Novel

Levithan, David. Be More Chill: The Graphic Novel. Hyperion, 2021. 978-1-368-05786-8. 138 p. $19.99. Grades 9-12.

High school is hard. Jeremy finds it especially hard being an awkward nerd who can’t seem to say the right thing to anyone. He really wants to catch the eye of Christine, a pretty girl he sees every day at play rehearsal. When Jeremy tries to talk to her, he bumbles through his words, and that’s when he realizes he will never be able to charm her… until he hears about the squip. The squip is a supercomputer, compressed into a pill-sized capsule and swallowed. After that, it takes over your brain and helps awkward teens navigate through the complex social hierarchy of high school. Don’t know what cool clothes to buy at the mall? The squip will guide you. Not sure what to say to the most popular girl in school? The squip will tell you. When Jeremy buys one on the black market, he thinks he has squashed his awkward behavior for good. But he very quickly realizes the dark consequences that can come from trying to alter his own biology.

THOUGHTS: This graphic novel, adapted from the hit Broadway musical of the same name, will resonate with any high schooler who struggles to fit in. The art, done mostly in black, white, and blue, shows the differences between dialogue and the squip’s commands, making it easy to follow. High school librarians should add this to their graphic novel collections.

Graphic Novel          Danielle Corrao, Manheim Central SD

YA – The Loop

Oliver, Ben. The Loop. Chicken House, 2020. 978-1-338-58930-6. 368 p. $18.99. Grades 9 and up. 

The Loop. The high-tech prison serving adolescent death-row inmates is a unique hellscape. With torture every night and isolation most of the day, these juveniles are the dregs of society, committers of crimes so unspeakable as to be sentenced to death before they ever turn 18. But one thing can “save” them; choosing a ‘Delay’ extends their sentence by 6 months. Another 6 months to live, but only if they partake in scientific experiments including experimental surgeries, that’s assuming they survive. Everything runs like clockwork, down to the minute the same thing happens every day. Until it doesn’t. Until the rain doesn’t come. Set in a society where the government has the control, even over the weather, what will happen when things go awry, when the people revolt?

THOUGHTS: A thrilling-fast paced dystopia, The Loop will appeal to fans of The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games.

Dystopian          Samantha Helwig, Dover Area SD

MS/YA NF – Artificial Intelligence; Exploring Careers; Bernie Sanders

McPherson, Stephanie Sammartino. Artificial Intelligence: Building Smarter Machines. Twenty First Century Books, 2017. 978-1-5124-1826-2. 104 p.  $35.99. Gr. 7 and up.
This short but information-packed book reviews discoveries and milestones in computer science leading to the development of artificial intelligence. The early chapters provide information and facts about the efforts of computer science pioneers to create machines that mimic the functions of the human brain and details the current uses of AI technology in the fields of commerce, manufacturing, medicine and others. Later chapters explore the questions and concerns regarding the benefits AI can provide for human society as well as raising questions about potentially harmful effects with current scientists weighing in with their views. Includes glossary, bibliography and source notes.  Numerous informative and engaging text features include illustrations, photos and captions, and sidebars featuring profiles of famous figures in computer development. THOUGHTS: A solid choice to add a readable and accessible title on a STEM topic to a school or public library collection.
Computer Science; 006.3          Nancy Summers, Abington School District


Exploring Careers.  Reference Point Press. 2017. $29.95 per title, 23 volumes. 80 p. Gr. 6 and up. 

Roberts, Laura. Careers in Digital Media. 978-1-68282-197-8.

Mooney, Carla. Careers in Business Administration. 978-1-68282-194-7.

Mooney, Carla. Careers in Computer Science. 978-1-68282-192-3.

Kallen, Stuart. Careers in Entertainment. 978-1-68282-198-5.

Wilcox, Christine. Careers in Environmental Conservation. 978-1-68282-203-6.

McGhee, Leanne Currie. Careers in Medicine. 978-1-68282-200-5

This reference series on career exploration has 23 slim volumes providing concise information on a variety of careers.  Introductory chapters provide an overview of the field and subsequent chapters highlight eight or more specific job titles with salary information, education or training requirements, job expectations and conditions and more. Each chapter lists contact information for professional associations and links to websites with additional information. Also features a Q and A session with an individual who works in the highlighted field. Includes index. Thoughts: Perfect series for quick reference information to support the growing focus on career education.

Careers                 Nancy Summers, Abington School District


Sanders, Bernie. Bernie Sander’s Guide to Political Revolution. Henry Holt & Company, 2017. 978-1-250-13890-3. 226 p. $16.99. Gr 8-12.

In this young readers edition of Our Revolution, Bernie Sanders invites readers to make a change in their local and global community and to “stand up and fight back”. Each chapter focuses on a hot-button but relevant issue, such as living wage, tax reform, climate change, healthcare, higher education, and more, and provides statistics, quotes, and graphics alongside text. Senator Sanders presents his progressive (and to many, controversial) ideas that will appeal to liberal teens affected by and interested in today’s current political and social events. THOUGHTS: Chapters on living wage, tax reform, climate change, healthcare, high education, and more are informative but text heavy. Sanders book deserves to be in any public or school library but will likely polarize readers in the current political landscape.

322.4; Political Action     Vicki Schwoebel, Friends’ Central School