‘Tis the Season (to Get Cuffed Up)

Cuffing Season is that time of the year when everyone you know is wistfully reminiscent of old relationships and yearning to begin new ones. It starts in November and ends in early March. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity means emotions start to develop, and all anyone wants to do is snuggle warm with a special someone next to the fireplace. You can enjoy the following reads, either with someone else or all on your own, but be warned: They will stir feelings that may or may not have been dormant in your heart and soul.

The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
Having moved from the windy suburbs of Chicago to a small town in Ireland by the Irish Sea, sixteen year old Maggie Lynch is dealing with problems with her family, adjusting to life in a completely different place, and wondering if it's the place or the boy that she's beginning to fall for. Set in the midst of the 90's, this book carries pop culture references of the time that pair well with an adventurous narrative of a teenager struggling to find her identity after being uprooted from a familiar environment.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
Finn has always had trouble recalling faces. So when the beautiful and mysterious Roza, who showed up in the town of Bone Gap with unexplained bruises all over her body, goes missing, Finn can't remember what her kidnapper looks like. Nobody believes him when he tries to rally the town to search for her, not even his own brother, Sean, who has been taking care of the two of them ever since their mother left with her new boyfriend. Filled with twists and turns, this story of mystic realism contains elements of adventure and romance as Finn labors to find Roza before it's too late.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
After her sister died, Laurel has been having a hard time transitioning to high school life. She feels so out of place in a new school with new people. Her English teacher assigns a project that dictates she must write a letter to a person who is deceased. Thus begins Laurel's journey into exploring herself, her environment, her friends, and the circumstances that surround her sister's death. Breaking traditional narrative form, this book is written from the perspective of all of Laurel's letters to famous dead people. Relying on intertextuality, Ruby weaves a tender and heartwrenching tale about loss and the emotions we face with it.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Ari has no plans for the summer and is not excited in any way to spend it bored out of his mind. But when Dante moves in next door, the two strike up a fast friendship, quickly becoming inseparable. While Ari has only ever known life in Arizona, Dante comes from a different place, and the boys teach each other about their lifestyles. Ari is struggling to deal with his brother's imprisonment and his family's refusal to talk about it, and is grateful for Dante's companionship. The boys discover a lot about themselves as they journey together to try and find the secrets of the universe.

I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Driving a cab underage is about the most accomplished thing Ed Kennedy has ever done in his life. From hanging out with his dog, the Doorman, or playing cards with his group of friends, one of whom he's in love with, Ed has a pretty simple life. Until one day, when a peculiar playing card arrives in the mail with three addresses on it. I Am the Messenger is a coming of age story that can't be put down. Filled with sarcasm and very real moments, the writer of the Book Thief takes a very different approach in this work of fiction. Guaranteed to touch you in the heart and your laugh glands.

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