2022 Winner

The results are in! 428 student votes were cast and the winner is Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang.

In this YA graphic novel, set in1946, the Lee family has moved from Chinatown to Downtown Metropolis. While Dr. Lee is eager to begin his new position at the Metropolis Health Department, his two kids, Roberta and Tommy, are more excited about being closer to the famous superhero Superman.

The full list of nominees, ordered by number of votes received, is:

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang (149)
Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas (104)
Gone to the Woods, Surviving a Lost Childhood by Gary Paulsen (80)
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong (69)
Barry Squires, Full Tilt by Heather Smith (26)

Twenty-eight staff also cast a vote for their favourite, with Barry Squires, Full Tilt emerging as the winner with eleven votes. This was followed by Gone to the Woods (6), These Violent Delights (5) Concrete Rose (4), and Superman Smashes the Klan (2).

CCRCE Library Services would like to extend a huge thank you to all participating students and staff. It couldn’t have happened without you!

Read Alikes: Gone to the Woods

If you liked Gone to the Woods by Gary Paulsen, you may enjoy the following contemporary stories of wilderness survival.

“The world is not tame. Ashley knows this truth deep in her bones, more at home with trees overhead than a roof.

So when she goes hiking in the Smokies with her friends for a night of partying, the falling dark and creaking trees are second nature to her. But people are not tame either. And when Ashley catches her boyfriend with another girl, drunken rage sends her running into the night, stopped only by a nasty fall into a ravine.

Morning brings the realization that she’s alone—and far off trail. Lost in undisturbed forest and with nothing but the clothes on her back, Ashley must figure out how to survive with the red streak of infection creeping up her leg.” -Amazon

“One night, just before final exams, 18-year-old Franklin Crabbe – smart, rich, yet unhappy and semi-alcoholic – packs his gear and drives away into the woods to disappear completely. Totally unprepared for bush life, Crabbe nearly perishes until he meets someone else who has her reasons to hide.” -Amazon

“On San Nicolas Island, dolphins flash in the surrounding blue waters, sea otters play in the vast kelp beds, and sea elephants loll on the stony beaches. Here, in the early 1800s, a girl named Karana spent eighteen years alone.

Karana had to contend with the ferocious pack of wild dogs that killed her younger brother, constantly guard against Aleutian sea otter hunters, and maintain a precarious food supply. Her courage, self-reliance, and grit has inspired millions of readers in this breathtaking adventure.” Amazon

“Sixteen-year-old shy, socially awkward trans teen Bass reluctantly skips school and goes on a boat trip with his adventure-seeking girlfriend, Rosie. When a sudden storm smashes their boat on a rocky shore off a deserted island, Bass and Rosie struggle to make it to safety. After a horrible night, Rosie, an experienced climber, decides to scale a steep cliff to find help. She falls and injures herself badly. Now Bass has to find the strength and courage to swim around a dangerous headland and make his way back to civilization before it’s too late.” -Amazon

“Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together-a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest. Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare … and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.” -WorldCat

“Every summer, Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to hunt birds. But this summer, no one arrives to take them home. Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they’ve been abandoned–cold, starving, and clinging to life, in the grip of a murderous ocean. How will they survive such a forsaken place of stone and sea?” -WorldCat

Read Alikes: “Barry Squires, Full Tilt”

If you enjoyed Barry Squires, Full Tilt by Heather Smith you may enjoy the following novels.

“Billy’s mother is dead, and his father and brother are fiercely involved in a bitter miners’ fight that has split the local community. Billy’s father wants his son to learn boxing, like he did and his father before him. But Billy is fascinated by the grace and magic of ballet and is determined to dance his way to a different future.” -WorldCat

“High school senior Evan Hansen has been given the chance of a lifetime- to belong. When the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy took his own life, he did so in possession of a letter Evan had written to himself. Now everyone thinks they were best friends. As he helps Connor’s family deal with their grief, it’s clear that Evan isn’t invisible anymore – even to the girl of his dreams. Every day is suddenly amazing. But Evan is soon pulled deeper into Connor’s family’s swirl of anger, regret, and confusion. And then everything starts to go wrong.” -WorldCat

“Evie Thomas doesn’t believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began . . . and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.

As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything — including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he’s only just met.

Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it’s that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk?” -Amazon

“It’s Newfoundland, 1986. Fourteen-year-old Bun O’Keefe has lived a solitary life in an unsafe, unsanitary house. Her mother is a compulsive hoarder, and Bun has had little contact with the outside world. What she’s learned about life comes from the random books and old VHS tapes that she finds in the boxes and bags her mother brings home. Bun and her mother rarely talk, so when Bun’s mother tells Bun to leave one day, she does. Hitchhiking out of town, Bun ends up on the streets of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Fortunately, the first person she meets is Busker Boy, a street musician who senses her naivety and takes her in. Together they live in a house with an eclectic cast of characters: Chef, a hotel dishwasher with culinary dreams; Cher, a drag queen with a tragic past; Big Eyes, a Catholic school girl desperately trying to reinvent herself; and The Landlord, a man who Bun is told to avoid at all cost. Through her experiences with her new roommates, and their sometimes tragic revelations, Bun learns that the world extends beyond the walls of her mother’s house and discovers the joy of being part of a new family — a family of friends who care.” -Amazon

Read Alikes: “Superman Smashes the Klan”

If you enjoyed Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang you may want to check out the following books. Four are graphic novels and one is a nonfiction book.

American Born Chinese tells the story of three apparently unrelated characters: Jin Wang, who moves to a new neighborhood with his family only to discover that he’s the only Chinese-American student at his new school; the powerful Monkey King, subject of one of the oldest and greatest Chinese fables; and Chin-Kee, a personification of the ultimate negative Chinese stereotype, who is ruining his cousin Danny’s life with his yearly visits. Their lives and stories come together with an unexpected twist in this action-packed modern fable.” -WorldCat

“Seventh grader Jordan Banks loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his life. But instead of sending him to the art school of his dreams, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school known for its academics, where Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his entire grade. As he makes the daily trip from his Washington Heights apartment to the upscale Riverdale Academy Day School, Jordan soon finds himself torn between two worlds–and not really fitting into either one. Can Jordan learn to navigate his new school culture while keeping his neighborhood friends and staying true to himself?” -WorldCat

“In 1945, at the end of World War II, Adolf Eichmann, the head of operations for the Nazis’ Final Solution, walked into the mountains of Germany and vanished from view. Sixteen years later, an elite team of spies captured him at a bus stop in Argentina and smuggled him to Israel, resulting in one of the century’s most important trials — one that cemented the Holocaust in the public imagination. This is the thrilling and fascinating story of what happened between these two events. Illustrated with powerful photos throughout, impeccably researched, and told with powerful precision.” -WorldCat

“In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten relocation centers, hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.” -Amazon

“Omar and his younger brother, Hassan, have spent most of their lives in Dadaab, a refugee camp in Kenya. Life is hard there: never enough food, achingly dull, and without access to the medical care Omar knows his nonverbal brother needs. So when Omar has the opportunity to go to school, he knows it might be a chance to change their future . . . but it would also mean leaving his brother, the only family member he has left, every day.” -Amazon

Read Alikes: “These Violent Delights”

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson is a solidly plotted, swiftly paced international murder mystery laced with just a hint of romance.

“Fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya. Her mother found work as a maid for a family headed by Roland Greyhill. But the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. After her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. A job for the Goondas brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, but as soon as she steps inside the lavish home she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships. Uncovering the truth about who killed her mother– and why– could cost Tina her life.” -WorldCat

The gripping Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom duology from #1 New York Times bestselling YA author Leigh Bardugo, introduces readers to fantastic characters, cities, and cultures. Follow Kaz and his crew into a world of magic and mayhem as they attempt to pull off—and survive—the job of a lifetime.

In Six of Crows Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. So six dangerous outcasts help Kaz with one impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction―if they don’t kill each other first.

In Crooked Kingdom  Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a daring heist. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

In The Walled City by Ryan Graudin there are three rules: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife.

“Jin, Mei Yee, and Dai all live in the Walled City, a lawless labyrinth run by crime lords and overrun by street gangs. Teens there traffic drugs or work in brothels – or, like Jin, hide under the radar. But when Dai offers Jin a chance to find her lost sister, Mei Yee, she begins a breathtaking race against the clock to escape the Walled City itself.” -Amazon

The Gilded Wolves trilogy is a novel series by New York Times Bestselling Author Roshani Chokshi. The series is set in the 18th century in France. 

The Gilded Wolves, the first in the trilogy, follows a band of rogues on a race through Paris in search of an ancient artifact that may help wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie obtain his rightful inheritance as an heir of the Order of Babel. 

In The Silvered Serpents, the second book of the trilogy, Séverin and his team are haunted by their last success. Looking to make amends, Sverin pursues a dangerous lead to find a long lost artifact rumored to grant its possessor the power of God. Their hunt lures them far from Paris, and into the icy heart of Russia where hidden secrets come to the light and the ghosts of the past catch up to them,

In the final tale, The Bronzed Beasts, Sverin appears to have been betrayed and his crew divided. Armed with only a handful of hints, Enrique, Laila, Hypnos and Zofia must find their way through Venice, Italy to locate Séverin. Meanwhile, Séverin must balance the deranged whims of the Patriarch of the Fallen House and discover the location of a temple beneath a plague island where the Divine Lyre can be played and all that he desires will come to pass. 

Don’t forget to check out Our Violent Ends, the beautiful conclusion to this captivating Chloe Gong duology that began with These Violent Delights.

“The year is 1927, and Shanghai teeters on the edge of revolution. After sacrificing her relationship with Roma to protect him from the blood feud, Juliette has been a girl on the warpath. One wrong move, and her cousin will step in to usurp her place as the Scarlet Gang’s heir. The only way to save the boy she loves from the wrath of the Scarlets is to have him want her dead for murdering his best friend in cold blood. If Juliette were actually guilty of the crime Roma believes she committed, his rejection might sting less. Roma is still reeling from Marshall’s death, and his cousin Benedikt will barely speak to him. Roma knows it’s his fault for letting the ruthless Juliette back into his life, and he’s determined to set things right-even if that means killing the girl he hates and loves with equal measure. Then a new monstrous danger emerges in the city, and though secrets keep them apart, Juliette must secure Roma’s cooperation if they are to end this threat once and for all.” -WorldCat

Read Alikes: “Concrete Rose”

If you enjoyed Concrete Rose, a prequel to the beloved The Hate U Give, you should absolutely check out the following books. Whether you’re looking for another book set in the ’90s or you’re wanting a compelling coming of age story, the following titles are awesome.

Let Me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson, another fantastic YA author, is also set in the ’90s and it features a big cast of friends who have each other’s backs no matter what.

“When a young black teen is murdered, his two best friends decide to keep his memory alive by promoting his music — rhymes that could turn any hangout into a party — with the help of his younger sister, Jasmine, who is out for justice. As the buzz builds, it forces Quadir, Jarrell, and Jasmine, to each confront the death in their own ways.” -WorldCat

This is My America by Kim Johnson also features a teen who is dealing with her father being incarcerated.

“Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time–her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a thug on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?” -Amazon

In Patron Saints of Nothing by Randy Ribay, the main character is dealing with losing someone to gun violence.

“Jay Reguero plans to spend the last semester of his senior year playing video games before heading to the University of Michigan in the fall. But when he discovers that his Filipino cousin Jun was murdered as part of President Duterte’s war on drugs, and no one in the family wants to talk about what happened, Jay travels to the Philippines to find out the real story. Hoping to uncover more about Jun and the events that led to his death, Jay is forced to reckon with the many sides of his cousin before he can face the whole horrible truth–and the part he played in it.” WorldCat

With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo also features a main character who is a teen parent with a lot of responsibilities. It’s an emotional story that features a character with big dreams.

“Ever since she got pregnant freshman year, Emoni Santiago’s life has been about making the tough decisions – doing what has to be done for her daughter and her abuela. The one place she can let all that go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Even though she dreams of working as a chef after she graduates, Emoni knows that it’s not worth her time to pursue the impossible. Yet despite the rules she thinks she has to play by, once Emoni starts cooking, her only choice is to let her talent break free.” -WorldCat

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds features teen boys grappling with their new responsibilities after a major life change.

“Matt wears a black suit every day. No, not because his mom died – although she did, and it sucks. But he wears the suit for his gig at the local funeral home, which pays way better than the Cluck Bucket, and he needs the income since his dad can’t handle the bills (or anything, really) on his own. Then Matt meets Lovey. Crazy name, and she’s been through more crazy stuff than he can imagine. Yet Lovey never cries. She’s tough. Really tough. Tough in the way Matt wishes he could be. Which is maybe why he’s drawn to her, and definitely why he can’t seem to shake her. Because there’s nothing more hopeful than finding a person who understands your loneliness – and who can maybe even help take it away.” -Amazon

Dear Martin by Nic Stone features Justyce McAllister, a good kid and honor student, reckoning with the ugly, persistent violence of social injustice.

“Justyce McAllister is a good kid, an honor student, and always there to help a friend—but none of that matters to the police officer who just put him in handcuffs. Despite leaving his rough neighborhood behind, he can’t escape the scorn of his former peers or the ridicule of his new classmates. Justyce looks to the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for answers. But do they hold up anymore? He starts a journal to Dr. King to find out. Then comes the day Justyce goes driving with his best friend, Manny, windows rolled down, music turned up—way up, sparking the fury of a white off-duty cop beside them. Words fly. Shots are fired. Justyce and Manny are caught in the crosshairs. In the media fallout, it’s Justyce who is under attack.” -Amazon

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam, a novel in verse, tells the story about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated.

“Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighborhood escalates into tragedy….Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it.” -WorldCat

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, a free-verse novel, is a fast and furious, dazzlingly brilliant look at teenage gun violence.

“A cannon. A strap. A piece. A biscuit. A burner. A heater. A chopper. A gat. A hammer. A tool
for RULE. Or, you can call it a gun. That’s what fifteen-year-old Will has shoved in the back waistband of his jeans. See, his brother Shawn was just murdered. And Will knows the rules. No crying. No snitching. Revenge. That’s where Will’s now heading, with that gun shoved in the back waistband of his jeans, the gun that was his brother’s gun. He gets on the elevator, seventh floor, stoked. He knows who he’s after. Or does he?” -Amazon

Calling My Name by Liara Tamani tells the story of an African-American protagonist, Taja Brown, as she searches for spirituality, love, and a sense of self.

“This novel tells a universal coming-of-age story about Taja Brown, a young African American girl growing up in Houston, Texas, and deftly and beautifully explores the universal struggles of growing up, battling family expectations, discovering a sense of self, and finding a unique voice and purpose. Told in fifty-three short, episodic, moving, and iridescent chapters, Calling My Name follows Taja on her journey from middle school to high school.” -WorldCat

Irish Step Dancing: “Barry Squires”

Finbar Barry Squires is quite the character. He is the kind of guy who unnerves parents and teachers because of his temper but endears himself to them because of his wise and witty ways. After watching the Riverdance video twice Barry has a dream to gain fame by joining The Full Tilt Irish Stepdancers, famous throughout St. John’s. The following is a short clip demonstrating Irish step dancing.

Praise for “Barry Squires, Full Tilt”

One of the Globe and Mail’s Globe 100 Favorite Books of 2020
One of CBC Books’ Best Middle-Grade and Young Adult Books of 2020
One of Canadian Children’s Book News’ Best Books of 2020
One of the Ontario Library Association’s 2020 Best Bets selection, Young Adult Fiction category

PRAISE FOR Barry Squires, Full Tilt:

“Barry’s quest for footloose fame instead takes him on a grand tour of humanity. . . . Offbeat, quirky, and full of heart.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[T]his is one foot-stompingly enjoyable, while also heart-rending, read.” —Quill & Quire