On the Radar: Five Books to Check Out in February

by vkovenmatasy

Get your library card handy and reserve your place in line for these new February releases! If you place a hold now, they can be in your hands before they even hit the shelf.

Please note: all summaries are taken from the Boston Public Library catalog unless otherwise noted. They may have been edited for length and clarity.


american street cover

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

Summary: On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie — a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream? (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: First of all, look at that absolutely gorgeous cover! How could you not be excited? And secondly, we now more than ever need literature that sympathetically and accurately portrays the immigrant experience in America. Ibi Zoboi, who immigrated to the US from Haiti herself as a child, is in a position to do exactly that. This is her debut novel, so now is a great opportunity to not only read what sounds like an excellent book, but let the publishing industry know that we want to hear authentic voices like hers!


king's cage cover

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Summary: Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country — and his prisoner. As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back. (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: This is the final volume of one of the big fantasy trilogies of the past few years — I have heard so many raving good reviews about Red Queen and Glass Sword, but I haven’t had a chance to pick them up yet! We can pretend that this was on purpose so I wouldn’t have the agonizing year-long wait in between books. If you’re in the same boat as me, now would be a great time to catch up…


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Beastly Brains: Exploring How Animals Think, Talk, and Feel by Nancy Castaldo

Summary: In Beastly Brains, Castaldo delves into the minds of animals and explores animal empathy, communication, tool use, and social societies through interviews and historical anecdotes. Researchers from Charles Darwin to Jane Goodall have spent years analyzing the minds of animals, and today’s science is revolutionizing old theories and uncovering surprising similarities to our own minds. Humans are not alone in our ability to think about ourselves, make plans, help each other, or even participate in deception. You’ll think differently about the animals on this planet — maybe it’s their world and we’re just living in it! (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: Animals are ♥, obviously! But as much as I like to believe my cat really loves me, the truth is that I don’t know much about how her brain works. Scientists are figuring out new things all the time and it doesn’t surprise me that we know more about animal minds now than we did when I was in school… and that’s really neat! Time to learn some new stuff. (But if the newest research shows that cats don’t love their humans, I’m going to go right ahead and ignore it.)


long may she reign cover

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Summary: Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne. Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life. (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: The premise of this book sounds both bonkers and delightful (and reminds me inescapably of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder). An entire royal family murdered, and the under-under-understudy suddenly gets stuck with the crown? Can’t beat that for drama. To be honest the cover isn’t really grabbing me, but the plot summary more than makes up for it!


the hate u give cover

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. (summary via Goodreads)

Why We’re Excited: I’ve been waiting for this book to come out ever since I read an excerpt from the first chapter on Entertainment Weekly’s website. Angie Thomas’s writing is incredible, and this is a book America needs to read right now. (Bonus book to look out for: Renee Watson’s Piecing Me Together, which I wanted to include this month but couldn’t quite make fit!)


icon of VeronicaDid I get you interested in reading one of these books? Just click the title of the one you want and the link will take you to the relevant page in the catalog. From there you can click the green “Place a Hold” button and you’re all set!

Need a library card? Wondering how long you can borrow a book? Borrowing and Circulation information can be found here.


*”On the Radar” features book previews by Veronica, the Teen Librarian at the Dudley Branch, on the last Tuesday or Friday of every month.