Holiday Recommendations: Day Four

The holidays are almost upon us! The malls are packed, the post office is filled with Amazon orders, and your local independent bookstore is a beacon of hope for last-minute but meaningful gifts. Here are three more recommendations from us at Martin and Associates…

Margot’s Pick: Cyril and Pat by Emily Gravett (Pan Macmillan, 9781509857272)

Perfect for: any child who needs a new, hilarious read… especially animal lovers!

Cyril is the only squirrel in Lake Park, and he’s very lonely. Until one day he meets Pat – the big, grey……other squirrel. Cyril and Pat have lots of adventures and fun together and Cyril is so pleased he’s made a friend. But everyone is adamant that Cyril and Pat simply cannot be friends, and they soon reveal why: Pat, as the reader has known all along, is actually a RAT! But Cyril’s life turns out to be a lot duller and quite a bit scarier without Pat by his side, and in the end the two friends learn that some things are more important than being the same, or listening to others.

Rich and colourful, Cyril and Pat is a rhyming romp through the park from the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Emily Gravett. A hilarious book that’s empowering for… er, rats.

Bronte’s Pick: Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith (Capstone, 9781630790868)

Perfect for: readers of YA fantasy and dystopian fiction

Children of Daedala is the second instalment in this riveting dystopian fantasy series by Caighlan Smith. Following on the heels of Children of Icarus, which saw our nameless narrator venture into the horrors of the labyrinth and all the deception, menace, and secrets it entailed, Daedala brings us back into this high-pressure, dangerous world. The narrator is forging new connections, and new discoveries bring her closer to escape and the tantalizing possibility of freedom—if she can go against everything she’s learned and take some risks. Frightening creatures and fascinating, layered characters round out this fast-paced read.

We had this one as a Book of the Week back in April, and the excitement hasn’t diminished since then. If you want an adventure, this is the series for you!

Michael’s pick: The Wildlands by Abby Geni (Grove/Atlantic, 9781619022348)

Perfect for: animal-lovers, readers of literary fiction

When a Category 5 tornado ravages Mercy, Oklahoma, the McCloud family loses everything. The four children are orphaned and homeless, and tension between Darlene and Tucker, the eldest siblings, begins in earnest. Tucker is still reeling from their mother’s death from cancer, his personality being the most like hers—they shared a love of animals and the natural world. When Darlene prevents Tucker from attempting to rescue their father during the storm, the family is set on a course of devastating consequences that leads to further tragedy.

The story really begins three years after the tornado. Tucker has long since abandoned his sisters and joined an anarchist group. He moves towards animal rights activism that leads him back to Mercy, where he kidnaps Cora, his youngest sibling. The pair live like Bonnie and Clyde, plotting violent acts of retribution over the course of a summer that culminate in a tragic crescendo. Geni uses Cora to narrate The Wildlands. She is now a grown woman, decades after the natural and manmade disasters that have impacted her family. Cora operates a refuge shelter for animals where she finds relief from the post-traumatic stress of her childhood, and, in the solitude and compassion of caring for the wounded creatures, finds her purpose and a means to connect to the memory of her parents and brother. The Wildlands is a remarkable literary thriller that examines what happens when a family becomes trapped in the tenuous space between the human and animal worlds.

Abby Geni is the author of three novels and a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. Her debut novel, The Lightkeepers, received starred reviews in Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

Stay tuned for our last three picks!

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