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Jocelyn's Reviews

Jocelyn began working at Bookshop Santa Cruz in 2010 after graduating from UCSC with degrees in Literature, History, and Theatre. She left in 2012 to attend graduate school in New York, but was happy to be able to return to work part-time during breaks. She has been working full time again at Bookshop after graduating with an MFA in 2015, and now wears multiple hats including IT, Magazines, Marketing, and more. You're most likely to find her reviews on nerd-things, including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, as well as theatre, history, technology, and social justice.

Early Departures by Justin A. Reynolds

Justin A. Reynolds has created a lovely modern- day fairy tale of friendship and family and finding the most perfect moments in life in the midst of grief. With the same real-world heart as those of Nicola Yoon, Reynolds’ characters are real and likeable, as are their connections, which evoke the friendships of John Green’s books. The brilliant days they create for each other in the face of loss filled me with the same fun and joy the characters themselves embrace.  — Jocelyn

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ISBN: 9780062748409
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - September 22nd, 2020

Serena Says by Tanita S. Davis

This wonderful middle-grade novel perfectly captures what it means and feels like to watch the friends you grew up with start to change and drift away. Serena is a vibrant and engaging protagonist, and I loved watching her grow past jealousy and shyness into herself both at school and in her videos. Great for any kid who might be facing a tough transition time or is just looking for a story about relatable, creative kids and their friends.
— Jocelyn

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Serena Says Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062936974
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Katherine Tegen Books - November 3rd, 2020

Willa the Wisp: The Fabled Stables, Book 1 Written by Jonathan Auxier Illustrated by Olga Demidova

This delightful, highly illustrated chapter book is perfect for early readers who love animals and dream of adventures where they get to save the day. Auxier introduces readers to a cast of fascinating characters and creatures, chief among them Auggie, the young caretaker of the Fabled Stables. Demidova’s colorful illustrations move you through the story, and are playful when things are light-hearted and exciting during action sequences. A great start to a wonderful new series. — Jocelyn

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Willa the Wisp (The Fabled Stables Book #1) Cover Image
By Jonathan Auxier, Olga Demidova (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781419742699
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - October 20th, 2020

My Rainbow Written by Trinity & Deshanna Neal Illustrated by Art Twink

This #OwnVoices story immediately made me smile, with its depiction of a lovely family finding a solution for their trans daughter’s need to feel like herself. Twink’s vibrant illustrations partner perfectly with the Neals’s prose, welcoming us into the household’s warm embrace by giving us an immediate sense of connection to the family’s kids and their adorable pet pig. Perfect for anyone looking for a feel-good family story and a reminder to kids about how good it can feel to be themselves. — Jocelyn

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By DeShanna Neal, Trinity Neal, Art Twink (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781984814609
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Kokila - October 20th, 2020

Spirits of San Francisco: Voyages Through the Unknown City Written by Gary Kamiya, Illustrated by Paul Madonna

San Francisco is one of the US cities most alive in the collective public imagination, and Gary Kamiya (Cool Gray City of Love) and Paul Madonna (All Over Coffee) know it well. Now they have come together to illustrate (figuratively and literally) some of the lesser-known true stories from the city’s bones. Taking cues from architecture, locations, and ruins, they guide the reader through a pantheon of characters, economics, and culture from the 18th century on. For aficionados of small bites of history and of the City itself. — Jocelyn

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Spirits of San Francisco: Voyages through the Unknown City Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635575880
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - October 20th, 2020

A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

Naomi Novik is a literary chameleon and here she slides effortlessly into the magic school genre, making it brilliantly her own. If you like characters defying their tropes, intriguing magic systems, deadly libraries, stories of friendship and staying true to yourself—amidst magical monsters and backstabbing high school cliques—but with just a little more snark and murder, pick this up. I loved this book, and can’t wait to find everyone else who will love it too. 
— Jocelyn

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A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593128480
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey - September 29th, 2020

Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch

Bea Koch, coproprietor of LA’s The Ripped Bodice, uses the lens of romance to focus on the entertaining microhistory of the under-known royalty, artists, mistresses, and scientists, who, white and black, straight and queer—and more—shaped the culture and history of the British Regency. Koch gives delicious tastes of these women’s complex lives and historical context, and includes lists of further (factual and fictional) reading and viewing. A great read for any armchair historian, especially those also denizens of Romancelandia. — Jocelyn

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Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538701010
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - September 1st, 2020

Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

This #OwnVoices debut takes the tropes and beats of classic noir and crime and brings them to new life on the South Dakota Rosebud Reservation. Virgil Wounded Horse, with rage in his heart and a teenager at home, metes out brutal justice for crimes the broken system won’t touch. Pulled into an investigation of drugs and conspiracy, this is an engrossing mystery and thriller and a look into the modern-day Sicangu Lakota that is especially vivid for those not of the Nation. — Jocelyn

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Winter Counts: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062968944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - August 25th, 2020

When No One Is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Sydney Green’s vibrant childhood brownstone Brooklyn neighborhood comes to life, threatened as it is by rising rents, predatory developers, and new white residents threatening to call the cops on neighbors. Sydney begins to realize she’s not just being paranoid as people, and even the bodega, start disappearing overnight, while she herself is threatened at every turn—and not just to sell her mother’s home. Alyssa Cole’s debut mystery is a genuinely bone-chilling thriller with real, relatable characters facing an almost unbelievable conspiracy whose dangers are all too real. — Jocelyn

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When No One Is Watching: A Thriller Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062982650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - September 1st, 2020

American Utopia by David Byrne & Maira Kalman

David Byrne is a quixotic and irrepressible creator, not limited by convention but not afraid to draw inspiration from it. Such leads to Broadway’s American Utopia, originally a kind of live concert album with a curtain by Maira Kalman, now a documentary by Spike Lee, and here a book of Kalman’s mobile illustrations, themselves illustrated by fragments of Byrne’s lines and lyrics. Like the show-concert-documentary, the book evokes feeling versus story and is meant to be experienced more than read. It is a bright spark within a darker year. — Jocelyn

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ISBN: 9781635576689
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - October 27th, 2020


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