April Break: The Best Books to Read for Spring

Kaitlyn Corbin, Staff Writer

With April Break quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to head down to the Essex High School library to check out one or more books. To make this process less intimidating, The Hive talked with EHS librarians, Liz von Nagy and Nikki Stevens, to learn about how our library works. Both librarians also provided books they believe students and staff should dive into over break.

How Our Library Works

Finding your new favorite book to read over break starts with learning how to check out books at our library. Von Nagy began our interview explaining the process.

“If anyone needs a recommendation, they can ask any of the librarians, and then you can check out up to ten books,” von Nagy said “So, you grab an armload of books, head to any adult in the library, and we can check those books out for you.”

One of the first questions someone may have when checking out a book from the library is how long they have to enjoy it before it is due. Von Nagy clarified that books are checked out for four weeks at a time, and that is only counting open days. This means those who check books out the day before break get five weeks to read them until they are due.

Because many students may be bringing their books to a place where they may lose or damage them, von Nagy emphasized the library’s policies around unreturned and damaged books.

“We are a fine-free library,” von Nagy said. “So please don’t let the fear of overdues or a lost book keep you from entering the library.…If you lose a book, you just tell us you lose it, and we take care of the rest….This is truly a free library.”

Many people may have noticed that the library’s fiction section has changed recently from being organized by author to being organized by genre; von Nagy explained why she believes the genre categorization is beneficial for our library.

“It helps bridge the gap between what the library is and how it’s organized and patrons or students finding what they need,” von Nagy explained. “So the purpose behind it was to more easily connect you all to the books that you love.”

For students looking to read non-traditional books, Stevens assured The Hive that the library has it covered. 

“We actually have ebooks,” Stevens explained. “We also have audiobooks, and we have an app for that. It’s called Sora … and any one of us can help you set that up… And it’s free!”

The non-traditional books available at the EHS library aren’t limited to the digital realm; von Nagy elaborated on the various kinds of books the library has.

“We actually have one of the largest graphic novel, manga, and comic book collections in the state for [a] high school,” Von Nagy said. “We have a really good selection. It’s to the left right as you come in.”

Additionally, there is a section dedicated to past Green Mountain Book Award, or GMBA, nominees and winners in the library for people who need somewhere to start when searching for a book.

“We also have the GMBA section…with all the green dots,” Stevens mentioned. “[From] 2005 to last year we have all of those nominees and winners….It’s a great place to start. For one, most of us have read a lot of them because we try to promote them. Second, they’ve been picked by high school librarians from around the state and students like yourself from around the state so they’re well vetted. They have something that’s good in them. You should be able to walk away from that shelf with a book.”

A comprehensive list of past and present GMBA winners and nominees can be found on the Vermont Department of Libraries website.

If the recommendations provided in this article are not what you are looking for, the EHS librarians are available to help. 

“If kids are looking for great fantasy reads, they usually come to me because I love fantasy,” Von Nagy said, “and if they’re looking for great mysteries, they usually go to Nikki. Patrick is great at the classics…. I really want kids to come in and feel like they can talk to us and discuss literature or even just ask for a recommendation because that’s what we’re here for.”

There are also alternate ways to search for a book in the library.

“If you want to be more independent, you can just go online to our catalog,” Von Nagy shared. “We have two computers at the front, and you can look up the title; it’ll give you the section that it’s in and the call number.”

Recommendations For Everyone

Me Moth by Amber McBride

Location in the EHS Library: Realistic Fiction

Me Moth by Amber McBride

“It’s a novel in verse, so it’s really accessible,” von Nagy detailed. “It’s about Moth, this student who got into a big bad crash with her family, and she’s the sole survivor. It’s her story of healing and grief and her journey. It’s so powerful, and it won’t take that long to read. It’s not a huge time investment.”

Stevens explained her love for novels in verse.

“I feel like the words are more precise,” Stevens said. “They kind of give you a bigger punch. We often recommend novels in verse to a student that may not like reading [unless] they have to or don’t want to read a real book…It’s really engaging, it’ll hook you right away.”


Icebreaker by A.L. Graziadei 

Location in the EHS Library: Realistic Fiction

Icebreaker by Hannah Grace

“What I loved about it is it talked about depression,” Stevens recalled. “A depression where I think everyone can relate to on any given day….What’s…my purpose?…Depression isn’t necessarily only valid if you want to hurt yourself.”

“It grows empathy,” von Nagy emphasized. “Those kinds of books grow empathy for others and for yourself. And I think that is a really powerful thing.”

For Those Looking for a Longer Read

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Location in the EHS Library: GMBA Section

“That is an excellent book,” von Nagy praised. “Some fantasies can be really formulaic, where you predict what’s going to happen, and Ember in the Ashes does not do that. It keeps you on your toes.”

“It’s a series, so if you like that series, you can just take the whole series with you before break,” von Nagy reassured. “We love that. If somebody wants to check out an eleventh book, we’re probably not going to say no.”

We Deserve Monuments by Jas Hammonds

Location in the EHS Library: Realistic Fiction

According to the publisher, Roaring Brook Press, “Family secrets, a swoon-worthy romance, and a slow-burn mystery collide in We Deserve Monuments, a YA debut from Jas Hammonds that explores how racial violence can ripple down through generations.”

The A Game of Thrones Series by George R. R. Martin

Location in the EHS Library: Fantasy

According to the publisher, Mass Market Paperback, in A Song of Ice and Fire, “Amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.”

For Those Traveling Somewhere Warm

The Weight of Blood by Tiffany Jackson

Location in the EHS Library: Horror/Thriller

“There are some people that like lighter reads on the beach and some people that like mysteries or thrillers,” von Nagy said. “So another book that I would recommend…is called The Weight of Blood by Tiffany Jackson. That’s a good thriller mystery. And sometimes books can just take you out of your environment, and that is one that will do the trick.”

Heartstopper by Alice Oseman

Location in the EHS Library: Graphic Novels

“We have the whole series,” von Nagy said. “I would definitely suggest that or anything by Alice Oseman.”



For Those Traveling Somewhere Cold

Inheritance: A Visual Poem by Elizabeth Acevedo

Location in the EHS Library: EHS Library (not yet categorized by genre)

“There’s another one that’s called Inheritance which is about black hair,” von Nagy stated. “And the culture [around] black hair…you can finish it in just a few minutes.”


The Cozy Life: Rediscover the Joy of the Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge by Lia Edberg

Location in the EHS Library: EHS Library (not yet categorized by genre)

According to the publisher, ‎CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, “This charming little book, filled with hand drawn illustrations, beautifully addresses that yearning we all have for a more authentic life, created by ourselves instead of external forces. What’s stopping you from living a more meaningful and connected life?”

For Those Looking for a Graphic Novel

Huda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy

Location in the EHS Library: Graphic Novels

“It’s about a young girl named Huda, who is Muslim, and she moves from a really low population Muslim community to a really high population Muslim community,” von Nagy summarized. “What she finds is [that] she’s no longer that one hijabi, because everyone wears the hijab. She has to find her identity, And this book uses humor in a way that’s really endearing and funny and, [it’s] truly a great book.”

For Those Interested in Reading a Popular Title

Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Location in the EHS Library: Romance

Stevens discussed Colleen Hoover’s immense popularity at the EHS library.

“We don’t have a lot of her books but we do have a few,” she explained. “Those are not on the shelf for long. They’re constantly going out.”


We Are Not Okay by Nina Lacour

Location in the EHS Library: Realistic Fiction

Stevens praised Nina Lacour’s work and writing style.

“She writes some really great stuff,” Stevens mentioned. “It’s often very emotional…Those are the ones because Nina makes me cry.” 

“If you’re looking for a book to feel the feelings,” von Nagy added. “Definitely Nina Lacour.”

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silviera

Location in the EHS Library: Romance

“We have a lot of students that come in and [are] like, ’can you get me a book that will make me cry?’” Stevens recalled. “And so one of them is They Both Die at the End.”



Wither by Lauren DeStefano 

Location in the EHS Library: Dystopian

“In the last two months, we have circulated a bunch of books, but some of the most popular ones include The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood,” von Nagy mentioned. “So if you liked The Handmaid’s Tale, I would recommend Wither next, it’s like the young adult version.”

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

Location in the EHS Library: Fantasy

“Another chunky one that is super popular, especially because it has a nice mixture of fantasy and romance, is A Court of Thorns and Roses,” von Nagy mentioned. “I would highly recommend that.”



Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover

Location in the EHS Library: Romance

According to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, “Moving, passionate, and unforgettable, this novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover follows two young adults from completely different backgrounds embarking on a tentative romance, unaware of what the future holds.”


Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale: My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman

Location in the EHS Library: Graphic Novels

According to the publisher, Pantheon Books, “A brutally moving work of art—widely hailed as the greatest graphic novel ever written—Maus recounts the chilling experiences of the author’s father during the Holocaust, with Jews drawn as wide-eyed mice and Nazis as menacing cats.”



milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

Location in the EHS Library: EHS Library (not yet categorized)

According to the publisher, Andrews McMeel Publishing, “#1 New York Times bestseller milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.”

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

Location in the EHS Library: Realistic Fiction

According to the publisher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, “All American Boys tells the story of an incident of police brutality through the eyes of two high schoolers, Rashad and Quinn.”





As the interview wrapped up, von Nagy reiterated Essex High School library’s goal.

“We just want you to walk away with books that you’re going to enjoy reading,” von Nagy explained. “And whether that’s listening, reading, looking- any of that, we just want to connect kids with great books.”