Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson and Emily Carroll Farrar Straus Giroux Publication Date: 01/09/18 ISBN: 978-0374300289
After attending a disastrous party before the beginning of her freshman year in high school, 13 year-old Melinda starts school as a pariah. She finds herself ostracized, alienated, and bullied because she was the one who called the police to break up the party. She faces the year mostly friendless at school and unable to talk to her parents at home, unable to confide in anyone to tell them what really happened that night. Art becomes the one outlet for her to express growing her loneliness, depression, and fear. As the year progresses, she must learn how to find her voice, to tell others what happened to her on that summer night, and to stand up to the one person who continues to haunt and threaten her.
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo HarperTeen/HarperCollins Publication Date: March 6th, 2018 ISBN: 9780062662804
Xiomara can’t be the perfect Dominican daughter that her parents expect her to be, so she pours out her frustrations in a secret poetry journal. Her mother expects her to be confirmed and marry a good Dominican boy. Instead, she questions the teachings of her church and falls in love with her chemistry lab partner, Aman, who is definitely not parent-approved. But she can’t hide her secrets from her parents forever.
With so many people starting to prepare for their Halloween celebrations, it seems like a good time to highlight some comics about monsters, ghosts, and other supernatural creatures. Not all of these comics are scary. Some are creepy, some are funny, and some are cute, but if you love supernatural characters, this list is sure to have a book that will keep you glued to the last page.
Given the popularity of comics, it isn’t surprising that many works originally created and released as books and films have been adapted into comics and graphic novels. Not only does this bring these stories to a new audience, but in the process of adapting and illustrating these stories, the creators of the comics are able to add their own take on the original version. In the past, I’ve written about Hope Larson’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time and Leigh Dragoon’s adaptation of Legend by Marie Lu in my post on science fiction comics, but this list offers even more options for thought provoking adaptations of some popular works.
Tales of princesses are timeless and, generally, adhere to a host of tropes and conventions. These representations exist in comics as well, but the comics in this post all combine some of these tropes with a twist that modernizes the storyline and makes it far more thought provoking than more standard adaptations. Whether you are generally a fan of princess stories or not, the books here are sure to spark your interest and keep you reading.
Spera by Josh Tierney with art by Kyla Vanderklugt, Hwei, Emily Carroll, Olivier Pichard, Jordyn Bochon, Cecile Brun, Luke Pearson, Leela Wagner, and Matt Marblo – This story stars not one but two princesses! When Princess Pira arrives with news that her mother has killed Princess Lono’s father, Lono is thrust into a life of adventure that she never expected. Together with Yonder who can appear as either a human or a fire wolf at will, they set off for Spera, a place they have heard of in tales and stories. Along the way they encounter a variety of spirits, demons, and even a warrior cat. This volume includes four chapters and five short stories, all illustrated by different artists, which gives readers several different interpretations on the characters. Continue reading Women in Comics: Princesses with a Twist
It’s that time of year again! The 2016 Eisner Award nominations have been announced and the list includes a ton of great female creators. So many, in fact, that there are too many for a single post. Rather than try to talk about all of these great comics, this post focuses on the nominees that will have the greatest appeal among teens and other fans of young adult literature.
Bandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover has once again earned a double nomination in both Best Digital/Webcomic and Best Continuing Series. This is an extremely fun series that follows a thief with a heart of gold on her adventures. Two volumes are currently available, Presto! (which was on YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels 2014 list) and Stealers Keepers! Also on the list for a second year in a row is Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona, which is nominated in the Best Graphic Album-Reprint. This one also qualifies for the currently ongoing 2016 Hub Challenge, so check it out now if you are participating!
Also nominated in the Best Continuing Series category is Giant Days by John Allison, Lissa Treiman, and Max Sarin, a series that follows a group of friends through their lives at college. The irreverent and off-beat stories are hugely entertaining and have so far been collected in two volumes. For more college adventures, but with a superhero twist, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by Ryan North and Erica Henderson, which was nominated for Best New Series, follows Doreen Green as she tries to balance her life as a secret superhero with college life.
This year’s nominees in both the Best Publication for Kids (9-12) and the Best Publication for Teens (13-17) include a wealth of great titles by women, all of which are well worth checking out. Of particular note, Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola with art by Emily Carroll is an updated take on the Baba Yaga folk tale and is sure to appeal to those who enjoy creepy artwork and a modern take on familiar stories. Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova is also a great book that will have wide appeal. It tells the universal story of trying to fit in and make friends at a new school. Fans of This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki will also be excited to see that Jillian Tamaki’s newest work, SuperMutant Magic Academy has been nominated. These offbeat comics are all set at a boarding school that is slightly reminiscent of Hogwarts, but even more weird and hilarious.
In the category of Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia, both A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Oima and A Bride’s Story by Kaoru Mori made the list. These series have both earned YALSA recognition in the past as well and should definitely be in your Manga collection. As an added bonus, A Silent Voice qualifies for the 2016 Hub Challenge, so you have no excuse not to start reading it now! Continue reading Women in Comics: 2016 Eisner Award Nominations
With Halloween just around the corner, this month is the perfect time to explore another exciting genre of graphic novels – horror. While I am the first to admit that this is not a genre I frequently focus on in my reading, my research for this month’s post introduced me to some great stories that I wouldn’t normally read and some authors and artists whose works I had not previously encountered. If you are a fan of scary stories or are simply looking for something to read on Halloween, this list will help you find the perfect horror story!
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll – This collection of creepy and twisted fairy tales will leave you thinking (and possibly sleeping with the lights on) long after you finish the final page of the book. For many of the stories Carroll takes traditional themes and creates stories that look at these themes from a different point of view. The stories are complemented by gorgeous artwork with rich colors and a general creepiness that fits perfectly with the stories themselves. This is a great book for both art fans and comic fans. If you want to check out her style, try her Eisner-award-winning short story, When the Darkness Presses, which is available for free online. Continue reading Women in Comics: Some Horror For Halloween
If you are like me, you’ve been ready for Halloween since August 1st. Not everyone is so Halloween-happy. Maybe you haven’t bought out the grocery store’s stock of canned pumpkin or purchased a new shade of orange nail polish, but, like it or not, October is upon us, which means you may have teens swarming your stacks in search of something to creep them out and give them nightmares. In my experience I get more requests for “scary stories” than horror novels. With that in mind I’m going to highlight some collections of short stories sure to meet various spine-chilling needs as well as give some horror specific readers’ advisory tips.
“Scary” is subjective. Every reader is going to be comfortable with different levels of the supernatural, violence, gore, etc. A good way to assess what type of horror a reader wants is to ask them what their favorite scary book is. If they are not an avid reader you may need to ask about their favorite scary movie or scary television show. You are probably going to want to recommend a different book to a fan of The Sixth Sense than you would to a fan of Saw.
If you are not a horror reader yourself or get scared easily, it’s OK for you to tell teens this. Particularly with younger teens this may help them to be more open about how scary they want their stories to be. If you aren’t a horror reader, however, you will want to familiarize yourself with the popular horror titles in your collection. If you can pick the brain of a fellow staff member or teen volunteer who reads a lot of horror, this is a great start.
Those of you who spend a lot of time on Vine or Twitter may already be familiar with this game: divide a piece of paper into four quadrants, writing “yes” and “no” in opposite corners. Place a pencil along one center line, and another pencil balanced on it crossways. Ask “Charlie, Charlie, are you here?” If the top pencil moves to point to “yes,” you can ask the spirit further questions. Or just scream and run away.
The #CharlieCharlieChallenge spiked last month, and teens who’ve discovered the delight of scaring themselves silly may be looking for the next fright. Hopefully they’re well-schooled in the existence of Charlie Charlie’s cousins in spooking and fortunetelling, the Ouija board, Bloody Mary, the Magic 8 ball, and cootie catchers.
Book-wise, here are some titles to keep readers’ eyes wide and hearts pounding.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, by Alvin Schwarz — The original scare-yourself-to-death-at-a-sleepover book, this one bears repeating simply because the folklore-sourced stories are still powerful today. For maximum effect, get the original version with the terrifying watercolors by Stephen Gammell.
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman — The supposedly-kids’ story that’s really plenty scary enough for teens. A short, Alice-through-the-looking-glass tale with a decidedly dark twist and visuals you won’t soon forget.
The Nightmarys, by Dan Poblocki — Possibly the most-requested scary book in my teen section. Cursed to be tormented by your greatest fears brought to life? Yep.
The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allan Poe (Graphic Novel version by Benjamin Harper) — If you’ve read a lot of the scary YA that’s out there, be sure you don’t miss the master of terror, Mr. Poe himself. For an especially vivid gateway, try the graphic novel series of his short stories.
Through the Woods, by Emily Carroll (Graphic Novel) — There are woods, ghosts, and fairy tale themes here, but not like you’re used to. Get ready for some major spine tingles and gore.
Hub readers shared their own thoughts on this topic in Books that Spooked Us!, and some of my peers wanted it known that the adult titles House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski) and It (Stephen King) still give them nightmares.
There are a lot of scary books to choose from — which are your favorites? And since we’ve progressed all the way from pencils to nightmares…Charlie, Charlie, can we stop?
–Rebecca O’Neil, currently reading The Lost Hero, by Rick Riordan
It’s AP Exams season where I work, and finals time for many a college and high school. Which means legions of bleary-eyed students trying to summon up the discipline for a last surge of studying, even though they just want to be done. The sunshine is calling. I hear it too, and even though I’m well past the exam-taking phase of life, I’m still in crunch mode, trying to power through to many deadlines.
For the dedicated bookworms among us, studying for exams generally requires two sets of reading; the materials we’re actually supposed to be reviewing, and the reading we sneak for “study breaks.” This is a calculated strategy (no, really!) designed to achieve the perfect balance of discipline and release, allowing us to get all the necessary reviewing in while also getting enough of a break to feel revived and ready for…still more reviewing. Because the internet and everything that lives there can rapidly turn into a vast time-suck, all responsible students (and worker-bees) know: if you’re serious about getting something done, you have to stay (temporarily) signed out of all the stuff, especially this close to the finish line. And the pitfalls of streaming-binges are obvious, so the TV’s got to stay off too (as do the game consoles).
But a book…a book feels studious, even if what we’re reading isn’t likely to show up on any exams, or help cross anything off a task list.
So. What to read when you don’t really have time to be reading at all, but you absolutely must get a little escape in if you have any hope of staying motivated long enough to cover everything you’ve still got to do?
Unless you are a reader with very good self-discipline, novels are probably out. Novels are what we get to read when everything on the task list is actually done, when grades are in, school is out, and your to-do list is all inked-out lines.
Page count matters when you’re on a deadline. Short-ish graphic novels and short story collections are what we need when time is at a premium; pieces vivid enough to truly escape into, and short enough that we emerge from our work-respite refreshed and ready to dive back into the task at hand.
Here, then, are some suggestions for quick escapes, to tide you over until the freedom of summer is a reality, and not just a highly-anticipated future fantasy.
Lips Touch, Three Times by Laini Taylor. Are you a fan of sweeping fantasy shot through with romance, like Taylor’s epic Daughter of Smoke and Bone series? Well, here are three short stories about three different girls who’ve never been kissed, told in Taylor’s distinct, dramatic style, with brief page counts (but high pulse rates). A 2010 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults book.