New and popular titles at Juniata County Library


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“Lizzie” by Dawn Ius

Startling, visceral and heartbreaking, Lizzie is the story of Lizzie Borden, creatively reimagined and set in the 21st century. Present-tense narrator Lizbeth Borden lives with her father and stepmother in the Borden Bed and Breakfast in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her 17-year-old life isn’t easy: her emotionally and physically abusive parents have convinced Lizzie that she’s too fragile to survive without them. Lizzie’s intense sense of Catholic guilt prevents her from pushing back, and her older sister’s escape from their toxic home makes Lizzie’s plight all the more painful. Lizzie is mentally and physically ill; she suffers from depression, anxiety, and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a chronic condition aggravated by her period. The illness makes her do strange, inexplicable–and sometimes horrific–things she can’t remember doing. Enter Bridget Sullivan, the B&B’s new maid, a lovely white girl with an Irish accent. Lizzie is attracted to her from the moment she shows up on the Bordens’ doorstep. Bridget is everything Lizzie isn’t: well-traveled, liberated in many ways, and free from shame and self-doubt. As the girls’ romantic relationship deepens, Bridget’s belief that Lizzie can be more than just her “father’s silly little girl” gives Lizzie the strength to disobey her parents and the power to take control of her own life. In this page-turner, Ius adroitly combines fact and hypothesis to explore one of the most notorious and unsolved murder cases in U.S. history. You can find this book in the New Young Adult section.

“The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz

Former FBI agent Jane Hawk continues her no-holds-barred campaign against the mind-control conspiracy that caused the suicide of her decorated Marine husband. The third book in Koontz’s lively series tends to rehash scenes from the first two, but it’s still an absorbing thriller full of fresh touches. In past adventures (“The Whispering Room,” 2017, etc.), Hawk dispatched some of the villains responsible for creating and injecting brainwashing nanotech implants–and dramatically raising the national suicide rate. With the corrupt cell entrenched in government agencies and private industry, she got indicted for espionage, treason, and murder and is now the most wanted person in America. Continuing her mission to restore her husband’s good name and nail Booth Hendrickson, the corrupt Department of Justice figure behind the conspiracy, she must evade all manner of sophisticated surveillance technology. Her path to Hendrickson is through his half-brother, Simon, a mother-obsessed sociopath who tortures and psychologically breaks women. To get to Simon, Hawk must tame his naive spitfire girlfriend, the memorably named Petra Quist. For Hawk, who is as fearless as she is beautiful, no obstacle is too great, especially with the well-being of her hidden-away 5-year-old son on her mind. There is seemingly nothing she doesn’t know, from intricate details about alarm systems to the functions of the three pairs of saliva glands. She’s also a skilled pianist. With many pages devoted to a less compelling parallel mind-scrubbing story about brilliant young fraternal twins, the book sometimes bogs down in the padding. But writing his unusual heroine, Koontz keeps the pages alive with attitude as well as action. You can find this book in the New Adult Fiction section.


Vince Giordano has been the director of the Juniata County Library since 2015.