The Library will be closed on Monday, January 20 in observance of Martin Luther King’s Birthday.

Print this page

Check These Out! Titles to Look for at the Library

Daryl M., Librarian, West Valley Regional Branch Library,
3 new book covers with a library logo

At Check These Out!, each month you will find a few recently published or upcoming titles that are worth “checking out” from the library. All titles are either currently available or have a record in the catalog where you can place a hold and be among the first to read them when they hit the library's shelves. For many of these titles, you will also find interviews with the author on the LAPL Blog and/or a longer, more in-depth review on LAPL Reads.

Onyebuchi, Tochi

Ella, a young girl growing up in Compton, California has psychokinetic abilities that allow her to see into the future. This is more of a curse than a blessing. And, as she grows older, her Thing, as she refers to it, will allow her to do more than simply see into the future.

Her younger brother, Kev, is born in the early hours of the riots that erupted in South Central Los Angeles in the spring of 1992. With their neighborhood destroyed, their mother moves Kev and Ella to the East Coast and Harlem. Life is hard for people of color in Harlem, and Kev is no exception. He is regularly and repeatedly harassed by the local police officers with little or no cause.
Ella and Kev are unhappy with the world in which they are forced to live. And they may be the ones to finally make the changes that need to be made.

In Riot Baby, Tochi Onyebuchi provides an unflinching and unvarnished look at life for people of color in the US. This is a difficult read. It is grim and, at times, tragic. But it is also surprisingly hopeful, looking toward a day when equality is more than a word, where understanding is realized, and freedom is achieved, even if characters with supernatural powers are required to create that world (rather than continuing to wait for it to happen for them).

This is a journey worth taking.

McCormick, Chris

Ruben Petrosian is a serious, solitary young man living in Kirovakan, Armenia in 1971. Ruben is obsessed with two things: backgammon and the Armenian Genocide of 1915.

Mina is also a backgammon player and studies under the same tutor as Ruben. Even though she is a girl, she is the best player in Kirovakan. And Ruben is obsessed with besting her.

Avo is Ruben’s cousin. When his parents die in a factory fire, he is sent to live with Ruben and his family. While Ruben is slight and not particularly tall, Avo is tall and physically intimidating from a very young age. Where Ruben is quiet and introverted, Avo is extroverted and outgoing. They have almost nothing in common beyond blood, and yet, they each become the brother that the other never had. 

These three young people, who in their youth never imagine leaving Armenia, will end up travelling the world on different paths that will cross intermittently over the three decades.

Terry “Angel Hair” Krill is a veteran of the US Navy and a former professional wrestler turned manager. Terry’s life will intersect with Avo, Ruben, and Mina over those three decades and he may, ultimately, be the only one that knows their entire story.

In The Gimmicks, debut author Chis McCormick tells a compelling and heartbreaking story of connections made, broken, grieved and reestablished all set within the Armenian community of our recent past. This is a compelling read.

Cummins, Jeanine

Lydia’s world changed in a single afternoon. While celebrating her niece’s quinceañera, her entire family, including her husband and mother, are murdered by a drug cartel. It is a wonder that Lydia and her son, Luca, who were also intended targets, were not killed.

Now Lydia is fleeing Acapulco with Luca. She must get them away from, and out of the reach of, the cartel’s jefe, Javier, a former friend and customer of Lydia’s bookshop. But, where can she go and how do you remain hidden in a country where anyone you can encounter may be looking for you?

In American Dirt, Jeanine Cummins tells a gripping, page-turning story that could have been torn from today’s headlines.

McGuire, Seanan

In the anticipated fifth installment of the Wayward Children series, Seanan McGuire returns to Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children and picks up the story of Jack, Jill, and the Moors.

If you have read the previous Wayward Children novellas (Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Beneath the Sugar Sky, In an Absent Dream), you are probably thrilled to hear a new novella is available. If you have not yet read them, this is the perfect reason to pick up the first one and read them all in preparation of this month’s addition to the series.

If you like this type of advance, or near advance, notice about upcoming titles, you can send a comment through the Contact Us page at and let us know. Also, if you read one of the recommended titles, send a comment and let others know what you thought of the book. In both cases, be sure to put Check These Out! in your message.