Youth Reads

These are the books our Youth Ambassadors are currently reading.
What are YOU reading? Would you like to find out more about Atlantic Canadian Books?

Annaka

by Andre Fenton

Nimbus Publishing

Annaka has always hated her first name. That’s why, when her mother packed her up at age seven and moved from Yarmouth to Halifax, she decided she would go by Anna. Now Anna is back in Yarmouth after the death of her beloved Grampy, and sorting through memories from her younger self. She discovers a journal Grampy gifted her years ago; it is filled with snapshots of a happy childhood: sketches of Nan braiding Anna’s hair on the porch, stories about road trips Anna and Grampy took in his antique truck, and memories of her best-kept secret, who also happened to be her best friend.

When she finds out her childhood imaginary friend, Clay, is not only real but waiting for her to return to Yarmouth, Anna also discovers that Clay can transport her into those journal entries. Maybe physically reliving memories can help with her Nan’s Alzheimer’s. Maybe Anna will finally piece together who her absent father is. Maybe she will discover the identity of the mysterious “other Annaka” scribbled in her Grampy’s handwriting.

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Moriya

Time of Treason

by Susan M. MacDonald

Breakwater Books

Picking up right where Edge of Time left off, Time of Treason continues the story of Riley and Alec, otherwise normal teens whose special genetic traits grant them powers they are only now learning to control – powers that also make them targets for the extraterrestrial Tyons.

Riley and Alec have traveled back in time to the start of their adventures, courtesy of Alec’s creepy time shifting abilities. But instead of fixing things, it’s made everything much worse. The Tyons have tracked their time shift and are hot on their heels, and Rhozan is back, more dangerous than ever. After a brazen attack, Alec finds himself out of the frying pan and definitely into the fire.

Can Riley save him? Or is Alec just a pawn of time?

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Oliver

Anne of Green Gables : The Original Manuscript

by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Nimbus Publishing 

This fascinating book presents the original text of Montgomery’s most famous manuscript, including where the author scribbled notes, made additions and deletions, and other editorial details. L. M. Montgomery scholar Carolyn Strom Collins offers a rare look into Montgomery’s creative process, providing a never-before-published version of the worldwide phenomenon.

This book differs from previous versions of Anne in that it provides a transcription of the text and notes from Montgomery’s original manuscript, and shows how they were integrated to form the full novel. The culmination of years of research, Anne of Green Gables: the Original Manuscript is a necessary addition to any Montgomery lover’s collection. This volume features scans of the first page of each chapter from the original archived document (showing editorial notes in Montgomery’s handwriting) and an appendix of rare foreign-language covers.

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Katie

Nimbus Publishing

A professional criminologist, Rosalind works with a cranky private investigator named McBride—a long-time association that has led her from one sordid foray to another in the world of crime. Her passionate escape is theatre and her latest venture is with a company of out-of-work actors putting on an independent production of Hamlet.

 

Shakespeare’s language is a fabulous distraction until the uncanny parallels between life and art begin to unnerve her. Peter King, a respected environmental lawyer working tirelessly to keep water in the public domain, dies suddenly. Is it murder? His son Daniel thinks so. And as Roz and McBride delve deeper into the case, it becomes all too clear that there are those who will stop at nothing to ensure their foul deeds stay buried.

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Oliver

Breakwater Books

Someone wants Alec dead.

 

And that someone can invade innocent bystanders, bending their will to his, forcing them to murder. That someone can travel through multiple dimensions, has powers beyond Earthly experience, and knows everything Alec knows.

 

Riley is a target too. The Tyons have come to Earth, looking for kids like Riley and Alec, who aren’t even aware of their special genetic traits and don’t know how to control them. It’s a race against time. Do they have the edge needed to save themselves, and more importantly, the world?

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Kaylee

An Unorthodox Guide to Wildlife

by Katie Vautour

Breakwater Books

Katie Vautour’s extraordinary debut collection is an eclectic examination of the space where humans and animals meet, where migratory patterns encounter commercial flights, and birds appear as fishermen, security guards, and street performers. There are riffs on the chameleon and lyrebird, odes to buffalo and shark. With poems that are at once intuitive yet idiosyncratic, visceral yet cerebral, and that flourish an unconventional sense of effortless motion, An Unorthodox Guide to Wildlife considers how animals exist in our lives and imaginations: as autonomous beings, as mimics and metaphors of our own lives, and as bellwethers of environmental damage. At times humourous, tragic, or both, these poems tell the story of natural existence in a sometimes unnatural world.

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Claire

Daughters of Silence

by Rebecca Fisseha  

Goose Lane Editions

Strong female voice, a clear-eyed narrator examining self and family.
Ash from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano fills the skies. Flights are grounded throughout Europe. Dessie, a cosmopolitan flight attendant from Canada, finds herself stranded in Addis Ababa — her birth place.

Grieving her mother's recent death, Dessie heads to see her grandfather, the Shaleqa — compelled as much by duty as her own will. But Dessie's conflicted past stands in her way. Just as the volcano's eruption disordered Dessie's work life, so too does her mother's death cause seismic disruptions in the fine balance of self-deceptions and false histories that uphold her family.
As Dessie reacquaints herself with her grandfather's house, familiar yet strangely alien to her diasporic sensibilities, she pieces together the family secrets: the trauma of dictatorship and civil war, the shame of unwed motherhood, the abuse met with silence that gives shape to the mystery of her mother's life.
Reminiscent of the deeply immersive writing of Taiye Selasi and Arundhati Roy, Rebecca Fisseha's Daughters of Silence is psychologically astute and buoyed both by metaphor and by the vibrant colours of Ethiopia. It's an impressive debut.

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Ellie

Crow 

by Amy Spurway

Goose Lane Editions

When Stacey Fortune is diagnosed with three highly unpredictable — and inoperable — brain tumours, she abandons the crumbling glamour of her life in Toronto for her mother Effie's scruffy trailer in rural Cape Breton. Back home, she's known as Crow, and everybody suspects that her family is cursed.

With her future all but sealed, Crow decides to go down in a blaze of unforgettable glory by writing a memoir that will raise eyebrows and drop jaws. She'll dig up "the dirt" on her family tree, including the supposed curse, and uncover the truth about her mysterious father, who disappeared a month before she was born.
But first, Crow must contend with an eclectic assortment of characters, including her gossipy Aunt Peggy, hedonistic party-pal Char, homebound best friend Allie, and high-school flame Willy. She'll also have to figure out how to live with her mother and how to muddle through the unsettling visual disturbances that are becoming more and more vivid each day.

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Jiayu

Sewing Basket

by Susan White

Acorn Press

Dealing with a parent’s illness can be difficult at any age It is 1967 and twelve year old Ruth Iverson’s world pretty much revolves around her friends, a boy she likes, the Monkees and spending time with her Dad doing special stuff like watching the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. But she is soon to realize that her mom’s strange behaviour which has become an embarrassment, are symptoms of a disease that will affect the family’s life and possibly Ruth’s future. While she watches major events like the marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the birth of Priscilla Presley, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Ruth faces some major life events of her own and struggles to come to terms with the changes they bring.

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Damini

Breakwater Books

In 1977, a young woman steals a duffel bag full of drug money and flees her bad-news boyfriend, hitching a ride with a long-haul trucker to the world’s edge. She intends to disappear forever, to redefine herself on her own terms as Dawn Taylor.

 

But eventually, stars and satellites align. In a remote roadside motel, Dawn’s past catches up with her.

 

As a ferocious storm blows in, Vryenhoek vividly captures the desires of a host of characters whose paths have converged in this strange place. Ethan struggles to escape a tired narrative of childhood trauma. Cheryl is desperate to resuscitate a reputation blown apart on social media. And Spencer, an ex-con seeking to overcome his criminal past, chases a faint hope he’s glimpsed on a website built half a continent away. When the highway closes and the power fails, there’s nothing to keep them from disclosing who they really are.

 

Eloquent and propulsive, We All Will Be Received reveals the difficulty of finding redemption when the tightening web of an interconnected world has made the past inescapable.

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Ellie

Nimbus Publishing

Kate’s family has told her that on her thirteenth birthday she’ll hear the “Whooooo” call of the moon, and howl back, and become a werewolf just like them. But she doesn’t want to be a werewolf. She’s always felt more like a duck. On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Kate stands near her family’s cabin in the backwoods of New Brunswick and hears the moon calling—but it sounds like more of a “Whooooo?” as in “Who are you?” and Kate does what she’s always wanted to do—she quacks. Quack, quack, quacks.

Her family tries to understand Kate’s new full-moon form, but they are busy integrating themselves with some new, edgy werewolves in town.

Engaging, hilarious, and utterly believable, Wereduck is a thrilling addition to the were-canon.

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Oliver

Nimbus Publishing

Vintage Margaret Atwood meets Patricia Highsmith in this slyly seductive debut set on an eerily beautiful farm teeming with secrets.

 

The drought has discontented the bees. Soil dries into sand; honeycomb stiffens into wax. But Cynthia knows how to breathe life back into her farm: offer it as an artists’ colony with free room, board, and “life experience” in exchange for backbreaking labour. Silvia, a wide-eyed graduate and would-be poet, and Ibrahim, a painter distracted by constant inspiration, are drawn to Cynthia’s offer, and soon, to each other.

 

But something lies beneath the surface. The edenic farm is plagued by events that strike Silvia as ominous: taps run red, scalps itch with lice, frogs swarm the pond. One by one, the other residents leave. As summer tenses into autumn, Cynthia’s shadowed past is revealed and Silvia becomes increasingly paralyzed by doubt. Building to a shocking conclusion, The Honey Farm announces the arrival of a bold new voice and offers a thrilling portrait of creation and possession in the natural world.

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Molly

Rattled

by Lisa Harrington

Nimbus Publishing

It’s just all so unfair. My ditzy sister is trying to get her claws into my future husband, plus, I’m pretty sure I’m living across the street from a murderer, and of course no one believes me. Could my life get any suckier? I didn’t know it yet, but apparently it could.

 

Fifteen-year-old Lydia, resigned to a boring summer in Halifax, is thrilled when Megan and her totally hot brother, Sam, move in across the street. But their rude and hostile mother, Mrs. Swicker, is strangely protective, and does everything she can to stop Lydia and her older sister, Jilly, from getting anywhere near her kids.

 

One day Lydia accidentally stumbles across something very puzzling in the Swickers’ basement. Determined to find some answers, Lydia enlists the help of Jilly. But the further they investigate, the more bizarre the discoveries.

 

Lydia’s suspicions about Mrs. Swicker are mounting, but she has no idea what a twisted, dangerous secret she has uncovered until it’s too late.

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Molly

The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes

by Bridget Canning

Goose Lane Editions

Wanda Jaynes is about to lose her job amidst a mountain of bills, and she suspects her musician boyfriend might be romantically interested in her friend, Trish. But Wanda’s life changes radically on a routine trip to the grocery store when a gunman enters the supermarket and opens fire. When Wanda comes face to face with the shooter, she instinctively hurls a can of coconut milk at his head and knocks him unconscious. In the ensuing media storm, she’s hailed as a hero and miracle worker. But in the aftermath of so much attention, she receives strange emails and believes she’s being followed. As her fear and paranoia grow, both her private and professional lives hang in the balance. And it takes another act of bravery before she’ll learn who she really is.

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Ainslie

The Rest is Silence

by Scott Fotheringham

Goose Lane Editions

In the backwoods of Nova Scotia, a man has decided to withdraw from the world and live off the land. Meanwhile, news reports begin to trickle in of a global environmental catastrophe. Someone has released a genetically modified strain of bacteria that devours plastic. The world will never again be the same.

In this masterfully atmospheric novel, both apocalyptic in scope and intimate in setting, Scott Fotheringham cracks opens Pandora’s box to let loose a trail of chilling consequences.

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Claire

Breakwater Books

With birth, death, contemplation, and close calls, Send More Tourists… the Last Ones Were Delicious explores how we respond to the weight of social expectations. From the hidden pressures of wall paint and tarot card predictions, to the burden of phone numbers and the dismembering of saints, Waddleton takes us on a surrealist road trip through the missteps of her vivid characters with honesty and compassion.

 

These are stories of survival.

 

Unafraid, dreamy, and downright weird, these stories cross boundaries of geography, gender, and generation with an eye to the transient nature of human life.

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Ainslie

Nimbus Publishing

Oh to be a Selkie,
And live between two worlds
Half your days spent as a seal,
And the other half, a girl…

Stories about the selkie have been told for hundreds of years by those who live near the North Atlantic and North Sea. Sometimes called “seal folk,” the selkie, as humans, are tall and strong with dark hair and eyes. Extremely private, they keep their seal coats hidden away until they get restless and are called to the sea, and take on their seal forms.

In her lyrical follow-up to She Dreams of Sable Island, artist and author Briana Corr Scott explores the Selkie legend in a book of short, whimsical poems. Find out what Selkie likes to eat, where she lives, how she spends her time on land and in the sea, and learn a Selkie lullaby. Lilting and lyrical, with acrylic paintings that recall the ocean’s depths, this magical book is ideal for both bedtime and playtime. Features a paper doll, clothes, and seal.

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Claire

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