Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

gabi

Title: Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

Author: Isabel Quintero

Summary: During her senior year of high school, Gabi Hernandez keeps a diary about the things that are on her mind: friends, her appearance, guys, family, college and the future. Each piece of her life has its own complications and contradictions: Her best friends are dealing with coming out and an unplanned pregnancy. Her dad is in and out of her life due to his meth addiction. And does a Mexican-American girl from a poor neighborhood really have any chance of getting in to college, let alone her top choice school? Gabi finds herself making serious decisions about her life and the person she wants to be, as well as discovering her talents as a writer and artist over the course of an awful, wonderful, unforgettable year.

Don’t let the strange-looking cover fool you  – this is an incredible book and worthy 2017 High School Nutmeg nominee, as well as a Printz Honor winner, for a reason. If the story sounds melodramatic, that’s because it is – but only a bit more so than the life of any teen girl  growing up today. What makes this book extraordinary is its clear-eyed portrayal of the ups and downs that make up an ordinary life. You will be so glad to have spent time observing the world through Gabi’s eyes and will miss her frank, unsentimental voice in your head once the story is done. This is a book that teens and parents should consider reading together – adults could learn quite a bit about what life feels like for young people today.

Who will like this book?: Mature readers who like realistic, contemporary fiction. People who like multicultural stories. People who like reading books in diary format.

If you like this, try this: Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas. Yaqui Delgado…by Meg Medina. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

I’ll Give You the Sun

Title: I’ll Give You the Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Summary: Vibrant, outgoing Jude and shy, artistic Noah are twins. They may not be identical, but they have been together forever. Despite petty jealousies over their parents’ affection, their mother’s ambition for both of them to attend a prestigious art academy, or the attention of local bullies, Jude and Noah can always find their way back to each other. When the unthinkable happens, their bond is shattered and their roles seem to reverse, leaving the twins isolated from each other and their true selves. Brother and sister each have a piece of the whole story of what happened, but because of their grief and guilt, neither of them will share it or begin to help the other heal.

As we learn about these fully realized, complex characters – Noah narrating from age 13 and Jude from three years later, readers see how it all fell apart. This Printz Award-winning book will stick with you for a long time – it is literally gorgeous to read, especially the chapters from Noah’s perspective. It can be heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, often in the same paragraph.

Who will like this book: Fans of literary fiction. GLBT readers. People who like stories that make you put the pieces together.

If you like this, try this: The Sky is Everywhere, also by Nelson. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. All We Know of Heaven by Jacqueline Mitchard.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Fables

     Fables Vol. 20: Camelot

Title: Fables

Author: Bill Willingham

Illustrators: Mark Buckingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha and more

Summary: First printed in 2002, the comic series Fables has endured, becoming one of the most beloved continuing series in recent memory. Forced out of their familiar Homelands by a dark and deadly figure known only as the “Adversary,” the legendary characters of myth and tall tales made their way to our world to establish Fabletown, where, as immortals, they have lived and thrived into our modern age. But the people you meet on these pages bear little resemblance to your favorite cartoon royals and monsters. When Jack (of Beanstalk fame) rushes to tell Bigby Wolf, sheriff of Fabletown that his girlfriend, Rose Red has disappeared and their apartment is covered in blood, an investigation into a possible murder begins. Following Bigby’s every move is Snow White, Rose’s sister and deputy mayor of Fabletown.

Over the course of its 12 year run (collected into 20 volumes so far), Willingham weaves in both beloved figures from the most popular fairy tales to obscure characters you may have never heard of. The nature of the story also changes, from murder mystery to domestic drama to epic quest. This is a great story to curl up in, because the twists and surprises will keep you turning pages, and some will even break your heart. With the end of the story coming soon (in early 2015,) this is the perfect time to start Fables at the beginning.

Who will like this book?: Mature readers who like ‘fractured’ fairy tales – new spins on familiar stories. TV watchers looking for something a bit grittier than Once Upon a Time. Fans of ongoing graphic novel series such as The Walking Dead.

If you like this, try this: Into the Wild and Out of the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. The series The Unwritten by Mike Carey. And if you can’t get enough of the Fables world, read the prequel, 1001 Nights of Snowfall.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Nazi Hunters

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Title: The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi

Author: Neal Bascomb

Summary: Adolf Eichmann was a decorated Nazi officer and a key figure in the transport of Jews and other ‘undesirable’ populations from Hungary to overcrowded ghettos and eventually to the deadly concentration camps located throughout eastern Europe. He prided himself on his efficiency and the lengths he would go to in convincing that these moves were in the best interest of those who would eventually perish in the Holocaust. After the war was over and Nazi Germany had fallen in 1945, Eichmann disappeared. This is the story of how this wanted man was found, captured half a world away in Argentina and brought to Jerusalem to stand trial for his atrocities 15 years after the end of the war.

This gripping page turner delves into the espionage work done by several key players, from ordinary citizens whose lives had been shaped by the horrors of war, stake out artists and military men who could be compromised in an instant,  and up to the highest offices in the Israeli government. The seven-year operation had to be completed with absolute secrecy and precision and even though you know the outcome, it reads like the best kind of spy thriller and is a great choice even if you aren’t a fan of non-fiction reading.

The Nazi Hunters won the 2014 YALSA Award for Excellence in Non-Fiction for Young Adults.

Who will like this book: Anyone in interested in World War II or Israeli history. Readers who like learning about ‘secret’ or lesser-known stories in history.

If you like this, try this: Mature readers should check out Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt. Eichmann in My Hands by Peter Malkin, a key figure in The Nazi Hunters. 

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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Title: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Author: Benjamin Alire Saenz

Summary: Aristotle and Dante meet for the first time at a public pool in El Paso, where Dante offers to teach Ari how to swim. Over the long summer of 1987, the two boys, both loners, become best friends. Dante is confident and free-spirited. Ari, with an older brother in jail and a father emotionally scarred by his time in Vietnam, is more guarded and unsure of his place in the world. Over the course of the next year and a half, the extraordinary relationship between Ari and Dante is tested, first by an accident, then by a separation, and finally by a revelation: Ari is into guys.

After they reunite for another summer, Ari must come to terms with how he has changed in the past year, the secrets about his family’s history and his own uncertainty about his feelings for his best friend. This is a lovely story about what it means to be a friend and what it means to become a man. Ari and Dante will live on in your heart long after you’ve finished turning the pages of this book.

Who will like this book?: Readers who like beautiful, poetic language. Romance fans. Teens who are questioning their place in the world.

If you like this, try this: Ask the Passengers by A.S. King.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Drama

[Cover]

Title: Drama

Author/Illustrator: Raina Telgemeier

Summary: Callie loves the stage…well, backstage anyway. A proud member of the stage crew, she is thrilled to get the opportunity to design the sets for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi. Callie may not be in the spotlight, but she and her friends all have some drama to deal with. Does she still have feelings for Greg? Or does she really like Jesse? Does Jesse like her? Or is he into boys like his twin brother? And how on earth is she going to convince everyone to let her fire a live cannon onstage in the middle of the show?

This delightful graphic novel is great fun for anyone who likes a little bit of innocent drama in their stories. Telgemeier perfectly captures the chaos of stage production and the calm of performance in such a way that you feel like you are right next to Callie as she preps the next scene. The characters are all teens you can root for, whether you are an ‘onstage’ type, a ‘backstage’ type or an ‘offstage’ type. This is a great choice for someone looking some something fast and fun to read.

Who will like this book: Theatrical types of all ages. Readers who like stories with love trianges…or pentagons…or octagons.

If you like this, try this: Dramarama by E. Lockhart, My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluge, A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

My Friend Dahmer

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Title: My Friend Dahmer

Author/Illustrator: Derf Backderf

Summary: Jeffrey Dahmer was a notorious serial killer, responsible for the deaths of 17 men and boys. But before he became a monster, he was a kid growing up in the Midwest alongside author/illustrator Derf. This graphic memoir brings the reader into their world and shows how Dahmer’s crimes had as much to do with the people in his life who failed to see to the warning signs as his own troubled psyche. Beginning with their first acquaintance in middle school in the 1970s, the author tracks his evolving acquaintance with the weird, introverted boy who always seemed to be on the outside looking in.

Derf does not excuse Jeff’s horrifying crimes, but he asks the readers to look a little deeper at the circumstances that enabled Dahmer to become a killer. This book is more about how our actions can have consequences beyond our own understanding at the time. Derf also includes a terrific bibliography and information about his research for those interested in learning more about Dahmer and his crimes. This excellent graphic novel deserves to be read. It is not an easy book, but it is one that you will remember.

Who will like this book?: Older, mature readers interested in crime stories and psychology. This book is disturbing and intense – but it is very thought-provoking and memorable.

If you like this, read this: Stitches by David Small. The true crime graphic novels by Rick Geary, including Jack the Ripper, The Borden Tragedy and The Lindbergh Child. Columbine by Dave Cullen.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian