Library Closed for Memorial Day

Both locations of the Cedar Rapids Public Library will be closed on Sunday, May 26 and Monday, May 27, in observance of the Memorial Day holiday. 

Post Author
Alison Gowans
Post Type
Post Tags

Aug. 14, 2023 – School is starting all too soon, so we collected recommendations for school stories from library staff. From novels about dark magic schools to graphic novels and nonfiction, this list has recommendations to take your mind off the impending start of autumn.  You can also check out our list of school stories for younger readers.

Scroll through the list below and click the titles to put the books on hold in our catalog today. 

"Educated: A Memoir" by Tara Westover

The only non-fiction pick on this list, "Educated" tells the tale or a woman denied a traditional school education, how she overcomes incredible odds, comes to terms with her troubled family, and undertakes her own education to build a new life.

"It was an impactful read for me."

-Jo-Ann Cook, Public Service Associate


"Giant Days" by John Allison

This is the first in a graphic novel series. It's fun and mostly light but still real. I enjoy the friendship dynamics and personal growth of the characters as they navigate university through all the changes and challenges they face as individuals and friends."

"Magic for Liars" by Sarah Gailey

"I found this to be a fun little spin on the classic detective mysteries. The characters are mostly annoying and flawed, which in my mind makes the story more dynamic and tense, which works for a mystery."

"True Biz" by Sara Novic

"It engages with deaf culture in a way that I've never had in a book before. I particularly appreciated that it was mostly from the perspective of teens. It still had those classic coming-of-age dynamics in the midst of a small mystery while giving readers a little bit of deaf history."

- Amy Golly, Programming Librarian


"The Magicians" by Lev Grossman

"This series reads like what might happen if Harry Potter was in grad school, with all the adult concerns that would come with being adults learning to be magicians. It is also a new take on Narnia, with the characters finding their way to their own magical land evocative of the classic fantasy realm of childhood. However, the magical villains are much darker, and more terrifying, in this grown-up version of the tale."

"A Deadly Education" by Naomi Novik

"I haven't actually read this book yet, but it's been on my to-read list for a while, as I've enjoyed other books by Novik. Another book about a magic school, but with a dark twist, this is the first installment of the best-selling 'Scholomance' series."

- Alison Gowans, Content Writer


"Hell Bent" by Leigh Bardugo

"I am currently reading 'Hell Bent' by Leigh Bardugo. It is the second book in the Alex Stern series. The first is called “Ninth House.” Although the author has written several YA series, this one is for adults. Here is a synopsis: Alex Stern has a troubled past she wants to leave behind in California. She was born with the ability to see ghosts. She is recruited by Yale University to work for an organization that polices the secret magical societies of Yale. In addition to attending an Ivy League University, Alex must figure out who to trust and how to keep all hell from breaking loose, literally. Fast-paced and full of interesting characters and historic settings."

- Jill Martinez, Materials Supervisor


"Bless Me, Ultima" by Rudolfo A. Anaya

"A coming-of-age story about a boy growing up on the plains of New Mexico (not far from where I grew up). He is close with his grandmother, a curandera (a medicine woman), who is battling evil forces in their small town, while young men are returning from war, including his brothers. It's sweet and exciting and filled with magical realism."

- Wes Shirley, Downtown Branch Supervisor