June 2023 Staff Picks

Jun 5, 2023 | Book Lists, News, Staff Picks

Summer’s almost here! Try one of our recent favorites while you wait for the sun. 


Guncle by Steven Rowley

Gay Uncle Patrick (GUP for short) is Maisie and Grant’s favorite (albeit only) uncle. He is fun and silly and spoils them rotten when they come out to visit him from Connecticut. He is also a has-been Famous Person who is floundering.

Tragedy rears its ugly head when Maisie and Grant’s mother, Patrick’s dear friend from college, passes away at the same time their father, Patrick’s brother, is in the midst of an additional crisis requiring him to take a leave of absence from his life. Before he knows what hit him, Patrick is the sole caretaker of his niece and nephew for the entire summer.

A story of loss and renewal and the importance of family and friends, Rowley manages to brilliantly intertwine and temper tenderness with hilarity. Some of the snappy dialogue is simply and truly laugh-out-loud funny.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up!



A Unicorn, a Dinosaur, and a Shark Walk Into a Book by Jonathan Fenske

Do I need to say anymore?!



Snake’s Big Mistake by Sarah Kurpiel

“Snake’s Big Mistake” by Sarah Kurpiel. For most of the book our main character Snake wears an argyle sweater that is just a tube of fabric, since snakes don’t have arms. If that’s not enough to entice you to read this book…he also wears a tube of pajama fabric with a little sleep hat. If that’s still not enough, the plot of regretting a big mistake but not knowing how to fix it surely will. Snake’s incredibly relatable story teaches kids and reminds adults that everything takes practice, even things we can’t see, like friendship and taking accountability for our bad decisions. Also, Snake’s friend Turtle wears glasses that tie in a bow behind her head because turtles don’t have ears. That should get you to read this masterpiece.


Always Never by Jordi LaFebre

This is a wonderful love story told in reverse taking place decades through Ana and Zeno’s lives. A wonderful balance of humor, love, conflict, and heartbreak,  You will fall in love with the characters as well as their story. This graphic novel’s art style is beautiful and able to fully capture the emotions of these characters without needing words. I highly recommend checking this book out!


Hoops by Matt Tavares

Hoops is a graphic novel for teens based on the true story of a girl’s basketball team in 1975. I loved the portrayal of strong friendships and flawed adults who come through for the kids. Plus basketball! 


The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

A perfect easy summer read with lovable characters. Recommend to anyone looking to escape in a cutesy romance!


City of Nightmares by Rebecca Schaeffer

I initially grabbed City of Nightmares because I’m a fan of Rebecca Schaeffer’s other series, Market of Monsters, and was not disappointed. City of Nightmares is set in another version of Earth, where years ago when people had nightmares they would become what they most feared in mind or in body. This could mean that they become twisted monsters who rampage through streets causing mass destruction, or they could become something more sinister, like a deadly disease. Some nightmares are even contagious and people who haven’t dreamed can catch them (like one of 7+ strands of vampirism). Most cities have nightmares controlled through drugs in the water or medicine you take every night, but sometimes that fails. And not only are there literal monsters absolutely everywhere, people are embracing their worst selves. The Mayor keeps a pet pterodactyl that eats people on command and is going to jail. Rival gangs have all out wars in the street. Bribery is the only way to get things done so if you don’t have money, tough buckets. 
Eight years ago Ness’s sister went to bed early and woke up a man-eating spider, eating their father while Ness hid under the sink. Ness survived, but became an utter coward in every way. In order to try and gain some semblance of safety Ness joins a sort-of-cult called Friends of the Restful Soul where they offer free “therapy” to survivors of monster attacks. Her place in the Friends is put at risk when her cowardice outweighs her usefulness. Ness bullies her way into one more chance, only to have everything blow up in her face- literally. The mail boat she’s traveling on explodes and the only survivors are Ness and a Vampire monster boy named Cy. Surviving means that Ness and Cy are neck deep in a massive assassination conspiracy that goes way deeper than either of them ever expected. In order to survive Ness has to face her ultimate fears- spending time with an actual Nightmare.
This book was utterly chaotic and absolutely amazing in every way. It was weirdly funny in spots and majorly thought-provoking in others. Highly recommend.
*I borrowed the audio version of this title from cloudLibrary