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Damselfly

Chandra Prasad, Scholastic Press, 259 pages, 2018

The themes that often dominate young adult novels — friendship, coming to grips with the forces in the world that are much bigger than yourself, and finding out who you actually are — are so elemental that they attract readers well outside the target demographic. From the opening pages of North Haven author Chandra Prasad’s first YA novel, these themes are central. A prep school fencing team’s plane has crashed on a remote island and the teenagers must band together and figure a way out. But there is something on the island. (The similarities to the TV show Lost are acknowledged.) How would teenagers organize themselves in the absence of adults? Read to find out.

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Let Your Mind Run: A Memoir of Thinking My Way to Victory

Deena Kastor and Michelle Hamilton, Crown Archetype, 304 pages, 2018

Mystic author and fitness and health journalist Michelle Hamilton helps tell marathon runner Deena Kastor’s story in this inspiring new memoir. Kastor was gifted with many physical talents as a runner, but she credits her mental outlook with powering a career that ultimately saw her become the first American woman to run under 2 hours, 20 minutes in the marathon, and the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in the marathon in 20 years. Kastor, a successful youth runner, and Hamilton describe how the former’s career almost ended as she grew older because her winning-centric mindset left her terrified of failure. In Colorado, under the tutelage of legendary running coach Joe Vigil, Kastor learned how to train her mind as well as her body. Ultimately she got faster — a lot faster. The book details the mental techniques she used to improve not just as an athlete but as a person.

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Sea Kayaking and Stand Up Paddling: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Long Island Sound

David Fasulo, Falcon Guides, 237 pages, 2017

As the weather warms, thoughts tend to turn to outdoor activities after months of being cooped up indoors. Some of the most popular outdoor options in our corner of the country involve being on or in the water. Not only can everyone in Connecticut get to the ocean in under two hours by car (the good folks of Salisbury may need to step on it a bit), but once there they will find “some of the best paddling waters in the country” due to the natural protection from ocean swells provided by Long Island. For the beginners and indoorsmen among us, Fasulo offers insight on equipment, etiquette and safety before breaking down every single town, west to east, that boasts coastline on the Atlantic. Loaded with maps, photos and suggestions, this may be the only guide you need for summer fun at the ocean.


This article appeared in the May 2018 issue of Connecticut Magazine. Did you like what you read? You can subscribe here.

Erik Ofgang is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager is a former editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine. He was born and raised in Bristol.