Things I Should Have Known

Things I Should Have KnownTitle: Things I Should Have Known

Author: Claire LaZebnik

Summary:  Looking at Chloe Mitchell you would think life isn’t fair.  After all, she’s beautiful and smart, does well in school, everyone seems to like her, and she has the perfect boyfriend.  Chloe, herself, knows that life isn’t always fair, but for other reasons.   It isn’t fair that her mother remarried a jerk who tries to bully her and her sister into making “healthy” life choices.  It isn’t fair that her mother never seems to have time for her or her sister.  And it isn’t fair that her older sister Ivy, who is on the autism spectrum, is lonely and that Chloe is having problems planning for her own future because she is too worried about leaving her sister.   While Chloe can’t fix all the unfairness in her life, she’s decided it’s time to step-up and help her sister.  So, she comes up with a master plan to set-up her Ivy with another student, Ethan,  from her special needs class.  Ethan’s a sweet boy and Chloe thinks he’s Ivy’s perfect match.

The biggest obstacle Chloe sees in getting those two together is that they don’t feel comfortable going out alone.  So, Chloe and Ethan’s brother agree to chaperone the dates. What Chloe doesn’t know is that Ethan’s brother is none other than David Fields.  David Fields, aka the Class Jerk, who seems to exist just to get a rise out of people by saying exactly what is on his mind.  He and Chloe have clashed many times in the past, but can they get over those hard feelings so that their siblings have a chance to develop some kind of relationship?  And, if Chloe and David give it a chance will they learn that they have more in common with each other than they thought and that maybe they can learn to respect and appreciate their differences?

Who will like this book?:  Fans of realistic fiction will like this quick read.  All the main characters are likeable and well-intentioned, even if at times they are a bit misguided.

If you like this, try reading: What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum, Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, The Truth about Forever by Sarah Dessen

Recommended by: Jen, Teen Librarian

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The Diabolic

The Diabolic

Title: The Diabolic

Author: S.J. Kincaid

Summary:  Kincaid envisions a future filled with contradiction where those in power relish utilizing scientific advances like genetic engineering and personal appearance modification but forbid the development or education of scientific theory.  So as spacecrafts  and high tech equipment created by their ancestors begin to break down, who will be able to repair and develop new technology?

It’s against this backdrop that we follow the story of Nemesis, a diabolic.  A diabolic is a genetically engineered being with a human-like appearance, beyond human strength and endurance, unencumbered by any sense of humanity or social conscience, created to bond with one person and protect that person with every fiber of their being.  Nemesis was created to protect the life of Sidonia, the daughter of an outspoken Senator who rallies for a change back to education and scientific development.   When her father’s beliefs rouse the ire of the power mad Emperor, Sidonia is summoned as a hostage to assure her father’s future good behavior.   But that order directly conflicts with Nemesis only mission in life.  So in order to keep Sidonia safe, Nemesis assumes her identity and goes to galactic court.   It’s a place filled with turmoil and rebellion where she realizes that maybe her mission goes beyond just protecting the life of one person- it might be all of humanity who needs her.

Who will like this?: Fans of Sci-fi and/or strong female main characters-particularly female assassin type figures.  And, if Arya Stark is one of your favorite GOT characters you will appreciate the hardcore nature of Nemesis.

If you like this, read this:  Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas, Graceling by Kristen Cashore

Recommended by: Jen, Teen Librarian

One of Us Is Lying

One of us is lying

Title: One of Us Is Lying

Author: Karen M McManus

Summary:  The set-up for this book is Breakfast Club meets Locked-Room Mystery.  Five high school students walk into detention: Brownyn- the Brain, Addy- the Princess,  Nate-the Criminal, Cooper- the Athlete, and Simon- the Outcast and creator of the school’s notorious gossip app.  Unfortunately, only four students walk out of detention.  It’s no spoiler to tell you, that before the end of detention Simon is dead and it doesn’t look like it was an accident.  When the school gossip dies everyone seems to have a motive- especially the four students in the room when it happens.  Because, as it just so happens the latest gossip Simon was set to post would have revealed each of their darkest secrets.

While the mystery is good, what truly sets this book apart are the author’s character development and her exploration of the dark secrets with which each character is struggling.

Who will like this?:  Fans of mystery and suspense will fly through this one.

If you like this, read thisWe Were Liars by E Lockhart, The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, and Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Recommended by: Jen, Teen Librarian

Here We Are

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Title: Here We Are: 44 Voices Write, Draw and Speak About Feminism

Editor: Kelly Jensen

Summary: “There’s no right way and no wrong way. There are no dead ends. The journey is always changing, always shifting, and influenced by our own experiences and perspectives.” This diverse collection of superbly-written essays, sharply-drawn comics, fun lists and engrossing interviews is a fantastic compendium of contemporary thought on the history, evolution, and current state of feminism for every reader. Organized into topics including body image, gender, sexuality, pop culture, relationships, confidence, and independence, these pieces will introduce you to the concept of intersectionality (the idea that social categorizations are overlapping and interdependent) and encourage you to find your own definition of what it means to be a feminist.Because it’s a collection, you can read just on topics that interest you, pick the pieces by writers you love, or take on the whole thing and discover new voices who will challenge you to see the world in a new way.

Heartfelt stories from beloved writers and artists including Laurie Halse Anderson, Mindy Kaling, Malinda Lo, Liz Prince, Laverne Cox and Daniel Jose Older, as well as pieces from some extraordinary ‘ordinary’ women who have made a difference through their lives and work make this a terrific collection for anyone interested learning more about the many ways one can approach the challenges of what it means to be a woman.  Sure to start some amazing conversations, Here We Are is a great book to read and talk about during Women’s History Month, and that should be shared amongst family and friends.

Who will like this book?: Anyone interested in learning about what it means to be a feminist today. Readers who are sure they are not feminist: You might be surprised to learn that maybe…you are!

If you like this, read this: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Bossypants by Tina Fey. For mature readers: Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

 

Black Panther

Cover image for Black Panther 1.

Title: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1

Author/Artists: Ta-Nehisi Coates/Brian Stelfreeze

Summary: Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Upon returning to Wakanda, King T’Challa faces a challenge that he had never anticipated: An uprising of the people. He is not sure if he has the ability to quell the unrest shaking the technologically advanced African nation, and neither are his team of advisors, who are still reeling from the death of T’Challa’s sister Shuri, assassinated while holding the throne on his behalf. With threats both intellectual and supernatural emerging from all corners, including by some disillusioned members of the Dora Milaje, his elite corps of female guards, can T’Challa redeem himself and bring his nation back to a place of peace, prosperity and understanding?

Ta-Nehisi Coates is a fantastic writer known mostly for his non-fiction and essays so it is  thrilling to see him dive into the comic book form. This collection is not a reboot or a reintroduction with an origin story, but it is still a great place for new readers to jump into the Wakandan saga before the release of the Black Panther movie in 2018, as it includes a re-release of the first-ever appearance of T’Challa from 1966.

Who will like this book: Marvel fans, of course. Anyone intrigued by Chadwick Boseman’s performance in Captain America: Civil War.

If you like this, try this: The Ms. Marvel series by G. Willow Wilson. The Hawkeye series by Matt Fraction. The March collection by Rep. John Lewis.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Emotionary

emotion

Title: The Emotionary: A Dictionary of Words That Don’t Exist for Feelings that Do

Author: Eden Sher

Illustrator: Julia Wertz

Summary: Are you a ‘big-time feeler?’ Actress (best known for her stellar comedic work as Sue Heck on The Middle) Eden Sher is – to the point where she sometimes would have a hard time expressing her emotions through words. In order to overcome this, she began creating her own portmanteaus (a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others – think ‘breakfast’ and ‘lunch’ becoming brunch) to try and describe her the times when her feelings couldn’t be described by any existing definition. The result is this hilarious and charming collection of new words for the times that you just…can’t.

eden

Featuring delightful illustrations by Julia Wertz, often depicting her friendship with Sher and the construction of the book itself, this collection is a fast-paced and wickedly funny dive into the world of conflicting emotions. You’ll laugh, but you’ll also find yourself nodding your head in wonder as you discover that other people have the same feelings as you, and you may be relieved to finally find a way to define those tricky, complicated emotions you’ve had to deal with.

Who will like this book?: This is a great choice for any reader. Those afflicted with all the feels. Fans of Sher from her television work. Anyone feeling a bit stressed or overwhelmed who needs a book that isn’t too silly but will still make them laugh.

If you like this, try this: For a classic spin on the clever redefining of words, try The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce. Another wildly imaginative use of language – in this case, the alphabet – to shape a story, Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

All We Have Left

Cover image for All we have left

Title: All We Have Left

Author: Wendy Mills

Summary: Alia and Jesse both have trouble understanding their parents and why they act the way they do. Alia wants to be a comic book artist, but her parents insist that she study for a more ‘respectable’ profession. Jesse knows why her parents are heartbroken: Her brother Travis died inside the World Trade center on 9/11, and they have never gotten over it. Both girls break the rules and have to face the consequences of their actions: Alia loses her chance to study at a prestigious art camp after being caught with someone smoking in the school bathroom and Jesse is ordered to volunteer at a local community center after she and her friends are caught vandalizing a local business. These young women have never met, but they are connected to each other, though neither of them knows it: One of them is living in the past, and the other in the future. Alia will be a firsthand witness to devastation, and Jesse will live through the long wake of its aftermath.

This book is thought-provoking and gut-wrenching. As the stories of Alia, Jesse and Travis  weave together, you will find yourself turning the pages faster and faster to see how it works out, hoping things will be different than you already know are in the end. Serious, surprising and deeply moving, this is a fantastic book to share with the adults in your life: You’ll want to understand more about what they experienced on that terrible and tragic day.

Who will like this book: People who like to cry. Anyone interested in what life was like before and during the attacks on September 11, 2001. Readers who like stories where characters are strangers who are secretly somehow connected to each other.

If you like this, try this: The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner. Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan.  For mature readers: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian