Chris's Staff Picks

A little bit about Co-owner Chris:

Before apprenticing as a bookseller at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA, Chris worked as a magazine editor, production manager, programmer, web consultant and IT director. He’s the author of Anatopsis, a young adult fantasy that came out in 2006, and his short stories, poetry and book reviews have appeared in The Boston Globe, Agni Magazine, The Literary Review, Epoch, Southern Review, New England Review, Other Voicesand Literal Latté. His awards include grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Somerville Arts CouncilHis latest work—a YA suspense novel—is sitting on various agents' desks right now, waiting for its big break.

These are the books he loves!

Catherine's War Cover Image
By Julia Billet, Claire Fauvel (Illustrator), Ivanka Hahnenberger (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780062915597
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperAlley - January 21st, 2020

I loved this book. A brilliantly drawn story of a young Jewish girl using her camera to find kindness and hope as she and her schoolmates are fleeing the Nazis. Based on the author’s mother’s own experiences in World War II.

City Spies Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534414914
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Aladdin - March 10th, 2020

I can't remember the last time I read a book that took off so fast. Great set-up, wonderful characters, riveting plot: City Spies will have even the most reluctant readers begging for the next book in the series.

Out of the Easy Cover Image
ISBN: 9780147508430
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Speak - March 4th, 2014

With a 1950s New Orleans setting, mob murders, and a cast of dangerous characters, Out of the Easy is very different from Ruta Sepetys's other novels. It's one of my favorites, though, mainly because of Josie Moraine, the smart, tough, book-loving heroine at the heart of it.

The Beast Player Cover Image
By Nahoko Uehashi, Cathy Hirano (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781250307460
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) - March 26th, 2019

A smart, gorgeously written YA fantasy from Japan. I love the main character's quiet strength, the way everyone slowly begins to realize she can control the deadliest beasts on Earth.

The Missing of Clairdelune: Book Two of the Mirror Visitor Quartet Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609455071
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - May 7th, 2019

Christelle Dabos's Mirror Visitor Quartet is what you would get if Charlotte Bronte and V.E. Schwab had a baby together--a brilliant, dangerous mixing of society and scifi, manners and magic, with a heroine whose dance card always seems to be filled with people who want to kill her. This second volume is as fascinating as the first as Ophelia dives deeper into the mysteries of Thorn, Farouk, Berenilde, the Book and the host of strange characters--some of them invisible--who seem deeply invested in her and Thorn's destruction. There are a couple of especially nice twists at the end. And, of course, you'll be left begging for Book 3.

Pie in the Sky Cover Image
By Remy Lai, Remy Lai (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250314109
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Henry Holt and Co. BYR Paperbacks - May 14th, 2019

Don't let the cute cover fool you: Pie in the Sky is an incredibly rich story of immigration, family, loss, and recovery. Everythingfrom Jingwen's memories of his father, to his mother's grief, to the bullies in the school and the little brother who annoys him constantlycomes out as layered as the cakes Jingwen bakes. And the end is so sweet and salty (both literally and metaphorically), you'll be left crying and smiling at the same time. A wonderful book!

Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus, Volume 2 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781454933298
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sterling Children's Books - September 17th, 2019

I loved Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus and I love this one even more. Aven, born with no arms, has to do everything with her feet: read, write, play, even eat. Now she’s in a giant high school with 3,000 strangers and she feels like everyone is watching her. A great story about fear, bravery and friendship.

Shatter the Sky (The Shatter the Sky Duology) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781534437906
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - July 30th, 2019

Dragons, ghosts, poison, mysterious seers, dark fortresses and LGBQT romance--what more could you want in a YA fantasy? SHATTER THE SKY is nothing less than top-flight (pun intended) story telling. When you reach the end, you'll be begging for more.

New Kid Cover Image
By Jerry Craft, Jerry Craft (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062691194
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quill Tree Books - February 5th, 2019

Our bestselling book of the year! Drawn in bright colors and sharp lines, New Kid delivers a complex, hilarious, heartwarming story of family and friendship while shedding much needed light on issues of race and identity. Voted one of the best books of the year by Kirkus, Time, The Washington Post, School Library Journal and many others.

Hurricane Child Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338129304
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Scholastic Press - March 27th, 2018

As true a story as you'll ever read about what it's like to grow up surrounded by water and mysteries. Why did 12-year old Caroline's mother run away? Why do the other kids hate her so much? Who is this new girl who seems to love everyone? One of the most beautiful and fascinating YA books I've read in a long time.

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524767570
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers - May 1st, 2018

I really loved this book. The main character, Lucy, is a wonderful combination of extraordinary and perfectly ordinary, and a lot of the fun of the book is in her discovering when it's time to let her genius shine and when it's time to be one of the gang. I think a lot of young readers will identify with her struggles.

Front Desk Cover Image
ISBN: 9781338157796
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Arthur A. Levine Books - May 29th, 2018

My favorite kids' book of 2018! Mia's Chinese parents get tricked into managing a run-down hotel for almost no money. Since Mia's the only one who speaks English, she ends up running the front desk. Smart and gutsy, she finds ways to keep the hotel running and the guests happy. It's partly a story about immigrants overcoming adversity, but also about people coming together to help each other, even when the rest of the world wants them to be enemies. A wonderful book!

I Am Princess X Cover Image
By Cherie Priest, Kali Ciesemier (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781338032352
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - April 26th, 2016

Don't let the graphic novel cover fool you. This is a full-out mystery with great characters, plenty of suspense and some plot twists you definitely won't see coming. From the eerie appearance of a new comic by a friend who is supposedly dead to the final revelation of what really happened, this book is a smart, sharp, suspenseful ride.

Estranged Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062653864
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: HarperAlley - August 7th, 2018

One of the most exciting graphic novel debuts this year! Great characters, terrific world building, a captivating story and gorgeous artwork. Perfect for fans of AmuletMighty Jack and Neil Gaiman.

A Winter's Promise: Book One of the Mirror Visitor Quartet Cover Image
ISBN: 9781609454838
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Europa Editions - September 25th, 2018

One of my favorite books of 2018! A smart, original steampunk-fantasy with a great female character, some wildly inventive world-building, and layers of intrigue worthy of Game of Thrones. Highly recommended for anyone who loved V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic series.

Flashback (Keeper of the Lost Cities #7) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481497435
Availability: Available from Warehouse
Published: Aladdin - November 6th, 2018

The latest in the KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES series. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you'll love these books. No, there aren't any witches or warlocks or Hogwarts. But there are elves with incredible powers, a school of magic, tons of intrigue and adventure, and--best of all--awesome friendships. You'll rip through this series faster than Ron Weasley through a box of chocolates!

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