Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin
Illustrated by Giovanni Rigano
Sourcebooks / Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Ebo and his older brother, Kwame, leave Northern Africa, seeking refuge and their sister in Europe. Crossing the blazing desert by foot and rough Mediterranean seas on an inflatable boat, there is no guarantee of their survival.
The gloomy cover image of a boat crossing a choppy sea by only the light of the moon sets the tone for this graphic novel, with the title grabbing attention in bright yellow. The ripped from the headlines topic of immigrants and refugees prevails daily on televised and internet news. Ebo and Kwame are a relatable character duo and readers will empathize with their plight. Told in alternating “then” and “now” chapters, the challenges of both the desert and the sea are depicted candidly, with devastating authenticity. The illustrator uses light, setting, and facial expressions often to reinforce the atmosphere the boys are experiencing. Readers will no doubt keep turning pages quickly to find out what happens to these courageous brothers.
Although a work of fiction, the format and credible portrayal of current events holds appeal for both for fiction and non-fiction readers, and is a fantastic discussion book for classrooms or book clubs. Pair with the novel Refugee by Alan Gratz or another graphic novel, such as Escape from Syria by Samya Kullab and Jackie Roche.
How We Roll by Natasha Friend
Macmillan / Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Quinn is an average teenage girl, until she is diagnosed with alopecia. She’s still the same girl; she just doesn’t have hair anymore. After a year filled with bullying, Quinn is ready for the fresh start she will get when her family moves across the country. She hides behind wigs and slowly starts to feel normal again. She even starts getting close to Jake, a former football star who lost both his legs in a tragic accident. The closer they get, the more her secrets tear at Quinn. Will she ever be able to trust again?
With an eye-catching cover that begs to be opened, How We Roll is an inspiring novel about not giving up and looking beyond the surface. The story is filled with an ability-diverse cast of characters that are well defined and grow as the story unfolds. Along the way there are a lot of hopeful notes and familiar topics for teens like bullying and developing friendships that they can identify with. With its clear writing style, the thoughtful story draws the reader into Quinn and Jake’s world.
Fans of John Green titles like The Fault in our Stars and Turtles All the Way Down will relate to this material. The everyday teenage lifestyle is also great for fans of Freeform’s drama series such as The Fosters and Switched at Birth.
Uncle John’s Top 10 of Everything 2018 by Paul Terry
Printers Row Publishing Group / Portable Press
Publication Date: November 1, 2017
Curious about the fastest animal species, largest bloodsuckers, and longest roller coasters? How about the top songs, movies, and video games? This book has all of that, and much more!
Uncle John is back again with fun facts about high interest subjects from outer space to sports to animals and forces of nature. The book is divided into ten topics with vivid photographs and easy to read information in color coded tables. Although not marketed as a teen book, its broad appeal from adult to middle grades is robust. Browsable sections lend this book to a high level of accessibility for all types of readers.
Hand this one to teens who enjoy interesting truths from Ripley’s Believe it or Not, The Guinness Book of World Records, and Discovery channel’s Mythbusters.