Well, I never thought I’d say this (and I will only admit this to you, Hubbers), but I’m a little burned out on comics right now. What?! I know, right?! Don’t get me wrong, I still love comics, but as the old saying goes too much of a good thing is too much (that is the saying, right?). So, anyways, I have just been reading so many fiction and nonfiction comics lately that one day a few weeks ago, I put down my copy of Batman: Zero Year/Secret City (and, don’t worry, Batman, you didn’t turn me off of comics – you’re perfect just the way you are) and picked up some of the galleys I had brought home from ALA in June. I just wanted something a little different than my usual to curl up with on these cold October nights (the best month of the year, if you ask me!).
Luckily for me, and you, dear readers, there is some unbelievably great realistic teen fiction that has been or will be released that book lovers will absolutely swoon over. From feminism to a 1990s semi-love story to a gerbil named Baconnaise and more interrobangs than you can handle (more on that in a sec!), if you like stories of teens being teens, make sure to check out all of these fun and fantastic reads for the fall. Now normally, you know we always start with Batman, but this time, let’s start with Baconnaise!
The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer: You guys. So, for most of the time I’ve been a Teen Librarian, I’ve had one and only one favorite teen book. Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A.S. King has always had my heart – no runners up; no top five list. But, now, there is a serious contender for #1 teen book in my heart, and it’s this new one by first time author, Kate Hattemer. TVPoSA (I wanted to abbreviate the title, so this is it!) tells the story of Ethan and his group of friends who attend Selwyn Academy, a performing arts school in Minnesota. Much to the chagrin of Ethan and his friends – Luke, Jackson & Elizabeth – their school is now the filming location of the very popular reality show, For Art’s Sake, a show that has Selwyn Academy students competing against each other using their artistic craft to receive money and scholarships. It’s sleazy and sensationalistic and Ethan’s group hates it so much that the four of them start writing long form protest poems after reading about how Ezra Pound employed the same tactic. But, the problem is– when the producers of For Art’s Sake get ahold of the Contracantos (their super cool name for their poems which they print out and distribute all around the school), they love them and promptly ask Luke to be on the show. And, the (second) problem is that Luke does it, and he loves it. Now Ethan is feeling betrayed and is determined to make Luke and the school sorry they ever let this sham of a show film at their school. The threesome just know that the administration is up to something nefarious and suspicious regarding Selwyn’s involvement with For Art’s Sake, and they won’t stop until they expose everyone and all their lies, even if they discover it might just involve their very favorite teacher in the world. Plus! There’s a gerbil named Baconnaise that definitely steals the spotlight and just might be their secret weapon in the end. This book is hilarious and you should read it now, and it introduced me to my new favorite punctuation- move over, semi-colon, there’s a new favorite in town: the interrobang. Seriously. Read it now. I’ll wait.