Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Villainous by Stonie Williams and Jef Sadzinski

Cover Art

Villainous by Stonie Williams and Jef Sadzinski
Mad Cave Studios
Publication Date: May 4, 2021
ISBN: 9781952303067

Matilda “Rep-Tilly” Anderson is ecstatic when she’s paired as a sidekick with superhero great Showdown. Showdown is supposed to train her for superhero field duty, but instead, Rep-Tilly spends her time cleaning and picking up dry cleaning. During her “training,” Rep-Tilly learns that Showdown and the Coalition of Heroes are not always so heroic and actually kill people. When she begins to question the heroes and the Coalition, she must decide who she thinks is the real villain and if she wants to team up with the Shadow Order—the people she thought were villains.

Continue reading Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2022) Featured Review of Villainous by Stonie Williams and Jef Sadzinski

#GGN2019 Nominees Round Up, September 27 Edition

Super Late Bloomer: My Early Days in Transition by Julia Kaye
Andrews McMeel Publishing
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
ISBN: 978-1449489625

It took Julia years to understand herself as a trans individual and that she needed to transition in order to be happy. As a way to help herself and others, she decided to create a graphic diary of the first year of her transition and openly share her experiences. From exhilarating moments where sales people happily help her with discovering new body care products to a family member who will no longer acknowledge her, Julia chronicles the complexity of her everyday feelings in these straightforward yet powerful comic strips.

Continue reading #GGN2019 Nominees Round Up, September 27 Edition

Women in Comics – Extending the Story

Last month I wrote about graphic novel adaptations of famous books and series, but increasingly authors are moving beyond merely adapting works into graphic novels and instead creating graphic novels that are entirely new stories in an existing universe. Whether they are building on universes created for TV shows, or movies, these works do more than adapt existing stories. For fans of the original work, they can be exciting opportunities to spend more time in a world that they love and gain a new insight into their favorite characters.

Girl Over Paris coverWires and Nerve coverThe Wendy Project cover Continue reading Women in Comics – Extending the Story

Books to Read Based on Your Divergent Faction

Unless you’ve been living under a rock you know that Veronica Roth’s new book, Carve the Mark, has been released and fans are super excited! For new fans, this book might bring them to Veronica’s original phenomenon, Divergent.

In honor of this I have compiled a list of what books you should read based on your Divergent faction. Don’t know your faction? Take a quiz here!

Get your pens and papers or Goodreads account ready, here are some books you’ll love (hopefully!) based on your faction. And if you’re divergent, your list will be even longer!

Erudite: The Intelligent

  • The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

11-year-old Flavia de Luce, who dreams of being a chemist and has a passion for poison, must clear her father’s name in a murder case. By gathering clues, Flavia is able to tie two deaths together and investigate new suspects. This book is perfect for an Erudite because Flavia is tenacious and smart and uses her incredible depth of knowledge to crack the case.

Six unlikely outcasts band together, with the brilliant criminal Kaz leading the way. They must break into a fortress that is known to be impenetrable, without their pasts getting in the way. Six of Crows is great for an Erudite reader as all six characters have to use their smarts and skills to pull off the heist of a lifetime.

Kestrel’s Commander father wants her to join the military or get married, but she has other plans. When she saves the life of a slave, she discovers he is much more than he seems and her new path is set in motion. Kestrel, just like an Erudite, uses her wits and strategic planning to find her way out of difficult situations. Continue reading Books to Read Based on Your Divergent Faction

Working Teens in Young Adult Fiction

In much of current YA literature readers will find the that the main character is well off, does not have to work, travels often, and has everything designer (car, clothes, electronics, etc.). This does not reflect the reality of most teenagers or new adults, today. While it can be nice to read about something that is different than one’s daily life, characters should also be relatable.

I work at a school library and I see kids every day that come in to finish their homework, sometimes forgoing their lunch, because they have to work directly after school and do not get home until 11 o’clock, or later. Then they wake up and do it all over again. They deserve a lot more credit than they appear to receive. The following list of books includes characters that work while going to school or managing another difficult aspect of life. They work to get what they want. These are often things that teens today have to do. Many come home from school, change and head to work, then finish their homework after getting home late at night. These real teens are strong, hard workers. It is important to show them that they are not the minority and that the idealized life is not necessarily one where someone has everything handed to them. Some of these situations may not be ones that your average teenager might find themselves in, but the work ethic is very relatable.

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2016 Hub Challenge Check-In #5

Not signed up for YALSA’s 2016 Hub Reading Challenge? Read the official rules and sign up on the original post. Anything you’ve read since the awards were announced counts, so sign up now!

It’s hard to believe it is already week five of the 2016 Hub Reading Challenge, but it’s true! Has everyone been catching up on the great books that are eligible this year? I know for me this year’s Challenge is giving me an opportunity to revisit a bunch of favorites. Since I rarely reread books, it has been great to look back on books that I have enjoyed.

the hub 2016 reading challenge

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YA Literary Tropes: The Goofball Best Friend

Welcome back readers!  We have come a long way in our on-going discussion of literary tropes found in young adult fiction.  So far, we have explored The Old Clunker I Drive, The I Already Know you Introduction, The I Have to Take Care of my Parent(s), The Manic Pixie Dream Girl (and Boy), the A-Hole Friends, the Awesome Outfit, and The Repressed Protagonist.  Now let us get to know someone whom I consider to be pretty great: the goofball best friend.  You know the one. They play a crucial role in some of our favorite tales; sometimes it is to be the “explainer”, or the comic relief, often it is an alibi to unsuspecting parents, or a frantic midnight ride. But the goofball best friend is useful, sometimes carrot-topped, and always love-able.

  • Harry Potter Series (Best Books For Young Adults: 1999,2000, 2004, 2006, 20082009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, Teens Top Ten: 2004, 2006, & 2008) by J.K. Rowling: Ron is the quintessential goofball best friend; he is this literary trope.   Ron is the comic relief from Harry’s angst.  Understandable angst, I mean we all know Harry has had it rough.  But Ron also plays the role of explaining magical culture to Harry (and us readers.) Hermione does this as well but as a “muggle” she tends to know more textbook-based facts.  Ron is a great best friend to have, and an absolute goofball.

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What Would They Read?: Abby from NCIS

NCISI have watched and loved NCIS from the show’s beginning in 2003, and my favorite character has always been Abby Sciuto.  She’s smart and funny and not afraid to be herself, even if “herself” isn’t what people expect when meeting a computer and science expert. Someone as accomplished and confident as Abby surely has developed her own taste in reading, but if she were to ask me for book recommendations, this is what I’d offer her:

The Martian by Andy Weir (2015 Alex Award) is a science-packed story about a failed Mars mission. Abby would understand the science behind Mark’s attempts to get himself back to Earth, and she might even have some other suggestions for things he could try in order to survive on the red planet.

Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby (2008 Schneider Family Book Award) chronicles the life of Joey, a 13-year old who is missing out on a lot of things because she is deaf and her mother will not let her learn sign language. She meets a man who is teaching a chimp to sign, and through them Joey is able to find her voice. Abby’s mother was deaf, so Abby and Gibbs occasionally communicate using sign language.  That, and the science aspect of this story, would appeal to Abby.

pink_wilkinsonPink by Lili Wilkinson (2012 Stonewall Honor Book) follows Ava as she trades in her anti-establishment goth persona for a “good girl” look involving lots of pink. Ava finds it difficult to maintain her good-girl guise, though, just as Abby felt uncomfortable when [temporarily] forced to follow a strict dress code at work.

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil features a science whiz named Josie who gets trapped in an alternate universe and has to use her knowledge of physics to return to Earth. The complex science discussed in this book, along with the paranormal/mystery aspect, would definitely appeal to Abby.

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden takes place in a post-Katrina New Orleans, and in addition to a setting which Abby would love, the paranormal elements would appeal to her love of all things Gothic. Continue reading What Would They Read?: Abby from NCIS

The Magical Girl’s Guide to Books, Anime, and Graphic Novels

This is a post about the power of friendship . . . magical girl friendship.

All three of these anime titles feature coming of age stories with a sprinkling of magic and science fiction on top.  Like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . but with superpowers.

 

Sailor Moon Crystal

Sailor Moon Crystal

It is a huge shock when Usagi Tsukino discovers that she is Sailor Moon, a magical warrior sent from the distant past to defend earth. Luckily she is about to find the rest of the Sailor Guardians to help her fight the forces of evil.

Sailor moon was a huge hit in America in the 1990s, but fans of the original will need to adjust their expectations for this reboot. All five of the original Sailor Scouts have joined up by episode eight (it took up to thirty-three in the original series).  This rapid pacing means that the series is missing character development and a number of subplots (including a few romantic relationships), but the tighter storyline also brings the viewer’s focus to the fantastical science fiction elements of the Sailor Moon Universe. Continue reading The Magical Girl’s Guide to Books, Anime, and Graphic Novels

Diversity YA Life: Diverse Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

shadowshaperMuch of diverse young adult literature is contemporary, realistic fiction, or historical fiction about the struggle of being a person of color.  As a teen library worker, I get to know the personal lives of teens and some of their stories are heartbreaking.  From poverty to bullying, I recognize that the struggle is real and I am happy to be a non-judgemental adult soundboard.  I am also grateful for the plethora of young adult fiction available so that I can hand a book to a teen I feel will provide some insight and comfort.

But when life is tough, many teens also like to escape into fantasy and science fiction. Readers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror also like to see themselves in these books.  If people of color can survive slavery and oppression and poverty, they can also survive zombies and maniacal kings and naiyadragons. So, where are the black Hermiones?

I am a teen services specialist and a major part of my job is to connect teens with books.  I have an avid reader, who is Middle Eastern, who asks me to recommend fantasy books about once a month.  A year ago when the We Need Diverse Books movement started, I asked her to do a cue card about why we need diverse books and she stated that she would like to see more Middle Eastern characters in fantasy.   A little over a year later, I gave her The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh and she came back and absolutely raved about the book.  She said that she particularly loved the inside cover because there was a girl who looked and dressed like her.  This is one reason why we need diverse books.

If you are a library worker looking to enhance your diverse young adult repertoire or a teen reader looking for yourself in a magical world or a speculative fiction reader seeking something new, here’s a list of speculative young adult fantasy/science fiction titles for you to try.  Please note that some titles feature characters of color in a supporting role—but that’s okay because Hermione was a supporting character, too. Continue reading Diversity YA Life: Diverse Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror