Springing forward into new beginnings: April’s Literature Lineup


Graphic by Mandi Karpo, Editor-in-Chief

Zoe Poulis, Features Editor

As we wrap up the school year and allow our personalities to thaw from the chill of winter, now might be the ideal time to make some changes in our lives. After all, the spring season is often thought of as a reawakening; a time for starting over and moving forward. In this month’s Literature Lineup, walk (or read) alongside these characters as they take their first steps into a new phase of life. Whether it’s the first book of a series or the end of an era, each character evolves in their own way, just as we all do. Even though it’s necessary, change can be scary, but if this lineup teaches us anything, it might be that we don’t have to go through it alone. I hope that these April showers bring you all the May flowers and then some.  

Zoe Poulis, Features Editor – “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins

I know what you’re thinking: “Zoe, didn’t you recommend a “Hunger Games” book last month?” and the answer to that is, yes, reader, I did. But that just goes to show how good they are, or how obsessive I am, whichever way you want to see it. In the third book of the series, Katniss has now lost her home and several loved ones, causing her to lose her mind a little, too, as a result. In all fairness, I would also lose my mind if I lost Peeta Mellark, so I understand. Now that she’s even more desperate for change, Katniss is closer than ever to taking down the Capitol once and for all, knowing that after she does, she will be forced to rebuild her life from the ground up, a seemingly even more daunting task than the former. Although “Mockingjay” signifies the end of Suzanne Collins’ renowned trilogy, it truly serves as a fresh start for all of its characters and a hope that things can be made new even after all that’s been said and done.

Mandi Karpo, Editor-in-Chief  – “Atomic Habits” by James Clear 

When he got hit in the face by a baseball bat on the last day of his sophomore year of high school, James Clear spent the next two years of his life recovering from a broken nose, half a dozen facial fractures and a bulging left eye that took more than a month to return to its socket entirely. He managed to return to high school baseball after his recovery and went on to attend Denison University as a collegiate athlete. In “Atomic Habits,” Clear recounts the tiny changes he made throughout his life that showed remarkable results, even ones as simple as keeping his room neat and going to bed early, getting him out of depression and anxiety during the aftermath of his injury. His practice led him to earn straight As his freshman year, become team captain of Denison’s baseball team his junior year, eventually got selected as the top male athlete at Denison and was named one of the players on the ESPN Academic All-America team. With graduation looming four weeks away for some of us, now is the time to get rid of the old and welcome the new, letting those old habits die off and implementing habits that will have a lasting impact. While they say, “New year, new me,” I, for one, believe it’s never too late to rebrand yourself. 

Jaeden Pinder, Executive Editor – “Parable of the Sower” by Octavia Butler

Nothing says new beginnings like the apocalypse, and in “Parable of the Sower,” Octavia Butler envisions a collapsed and devastated Earth that is at times terrifyingly similar to ours now. Through her journal, Lauren Olamina documents the happenings of her neighborhood and journey as she creates a new religion in the face of ecological and social despair. Olamina also experiences “hyper-empathy” as she feels the pain of those around her and she grapples with saving her community and reconstructing society from scratch under her Earthseed principles. While Butler published “Parable of the Sower” in 1993, the novel takes place in 2024, making now the best time to read this sci-fi classic.

Gia Sparacino, Secretary  – “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner

New beginnings don’t have to be fresh. Sometimes they are set in motion because of the end of something else. “Crying in H Mart” by Michelle Zauner speaks of her own new beginnings in a memoir surrounding the loss of her mother to cancer. Zauner earnestly presents the different layers of guilt and grief she was forced to face throughout her mother’s cancer journey from the perspective of not only a daughter but an imperfect one, as every daughter is. Being half Korean on her mother’s side, Zauner questions what legitimacy her Koreanness will still hold in her mother’s absence and explores the part her Koreaness has played throughout her life. Hungry for validation, Zauner seeks to connect through the Korean meals she and her mother shared growing up. For anyone looking to get into audiobooks, Zauner self-narrates this memoir giving non-Korean readers the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language and will leave both your eyes and mouths watering.

Lyndsey Brown, Treasurer  – “The Anthropocene Reviewed” by John Green 

The Anthropocene is our current geological state marked by humanity’s distinct impact on our ecosystem. Based on his podcast, John Green explores human existence through a collection of short essays, deconstructing thoughts and connections he’s made throughout his own lifetime. From Diet Dr. Pepper to Haley’s Comet, Green wraps up his thoughts with short anecdotes summarizing our human existence. Green’s book allows readers to think deeply about the universe and put our time on Earth into perspective. While we continue in the Anthropocene epoch, Green’s stories might be able to open readers’ eyes to the themes and ideas that surround our human-centered planet as we enter this new season.

Emily Shafer, News Editor – “The Soloist” by Steve Lopez

I don’t read many things that have “new beginnings” as a theme, but I read “The Soloist” a while ago after it was recommended to me by a high school English teacher, and couldn’t think of a more perfect book to fit this theme. This true story follows author Steve Lopez, a journalist, as he begins a friendship with a homeless person on Skid Row in Los Angeles named Nathaniel Ayers and tries to get him off of the street and into supportive housing. As he begins to understand what makes him happy and what he wants to achieve in life, Lopez finds out that Nathaniel was a classically trained musician who studied at Julliard, one of the most prestigious music conservatories in the world. Follow Nathaniel’s journey through the eyes of Lopez as he turns what was supposed to be a newspaper column into a whole book. 

Sarah Bergin, Arts Editor – “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan

From the book series to the new Disney+ television show and everything in between, Rick Riordan has created an everlasting fanbase (not kidding, someone was wearing a “Camp Half-Blood” t-shirt in my class very recently). “The Lightning Thief” is the book that started it all, chronicling Percy Jackson’s life as a demigod and all of the perks, quirks and challenges surrounding it. Even though the series was released almost two decades ago, it still lives on through its many adaptations and Riordan’s immersive worldbuilding spinoffs. If you love Greek mythology and a lighthearted YA, pick up the first book of this series!

Priya Persaud, Opinion & Editorial Editor – “Malibu Rising” by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Every year, Nina Riva throws an end-of-summer party known for its legendary stories and celebrity appearances. Also in attendance is her famed family, Jay, Hud and Kit. The family’s fortune is derived from their acclaimed father, Mick Riva, an iconic singer. By midnight, the party grows out of control as family secrets and various levels of “party favors” are served around the household. By morning, the Riva mansion is set aflame. The first section of this book introduces you to each family member, as well as their conflicts in past-present alternating chapters, while the second section serves as a catalyst for each character’s new beginning. Taylor Jenkins Reid holds the key to trilogy fans have dubbed the “Mick Riva Universe,” where Mick Riva serves as a character in three separate novels. Though you don’t have to read them in any particular order to understand his character, “Malibu Rising” is a great place to start as you get a full encapsulation of his persona. Full of complex family dynamics, California scenery and great writing, you’re sure to want to follow this read up with another one of the author’s classics, whether it be “The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” or “Daisy Jones and the Six.”