When a group of young Brooklyn students are given the opportunity to gather together in a safe, adult free classroom, they begin an explorative journey through dialogue, poetry, revelation, and storytelling. Jacqueline Woodson taps into the most current challenges that many our youth face today with such unbridled courage and sheer eloquence.
Author: Marissa Meyer
Summary: In Renegades, Marissa Meyer envisions a world where prodigies, persons either born with or who attain later in life superhero type attributes, are relatively plentiful. From being able to transform into a swarm of butterflies to the ability to create bombs out of thin air, the talents of prodigies are varied and unique. Once they were persecuted and hated, but then a group of prodigies called Anarchists rose up and challenged the status quo, fighting against prodigy persecution and all forms of government and institutions of order and control. For a time with the Anarchists in control, chaos reigned and those without powers suffered and starved. Then the Renegades, five mighty prodigies intent on bringing back order and saving the world from itself, battled the Anarchists killing all but a handful. Now the Renegades are a huge organization and symbol of justice and hope. They also basically run the world and people without powers seem to be completely dependent on them.
Enter into the scene, Nova, aka Nightmare. She was only a child when the Anarchists and Renegades fought- a child born with the ability to put a person to sleep by simply a touch. She’s a gifted inventor, has some serious fighting skills, and is bent on the destroying the Renegades. Nova has a reason for hating the Renegades and plotting their demise. But, some of her venom is tempered when she gets to know a young Renegade name Adrian. Adrian truly believes in justice and doing the right thing. But will being Nova’s burgeoning friendship (and possibly a little more) with Adrian be enough to throw her off her mission to destroy the Renegade organization?
Who will like this?: Meyer’s writing is a hybrid of fantasy and sci-fi. If you enjoy strong female protagonist, she is the author for you. She carefully crafts her worlds and characters so readers must be willing to make a commitment to reading the whole story. Trust me it is worth it…I would read the back of a cereal box if Marissa Meyer wrote it.
If you like this, try reading: Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series is a must. For a little more light-hearted and humorous superhero take try Perry Moore’s Hero. And, for a serious, epic tale of good against evil with strong female characters try An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Where can I find a copy?: Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch Library and digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library.
Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Teen Librarian
Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Summary: Meet Dimple Shah. She just graduated high school and is ready to start proving to her tradition loving Indian parents that her future lies in coding and college- not marriage and tradition. Above all, she wants her parents to understand that an arranged marriage has no place in her life…ever. Considering her parent’s-particularly her mother’s- view on the necessity of a good Indian marriage, Dimple is shocked when they readily agree to her request to attend a prestigious summer program for aspiring web developers. The program will give Dimple a chance to get a leg up on developing her own app and put her in the running to win a chance to meet and collaborate with her idol app developer Jenny Lindt.
Now meet Rishi Patel. He also just graduated high school and comes from an Indian family deeply seated in tradition. However, Rishi embraces those traditions and looks forward to the day he is matched with a traditional Indian bride. With that in mind, despite almost no interest in web development, he accepts his parent’s proposal to participate in a summer coding camp that will allow him to meet the girl his parent’s hope to match him with, Dimple Shah.
When one person thinks they are meeting a potential partner for life and the other person thinks she is there to get a head start on an education and career opportunity- but instead finds out she is being manipulated by matrimony-obsessed mother- how can you expect anything but disaster? It may sound like it, but sometimes love works in unexpected ways.
Who will like this book?: There’s family, tradition, friendship and love all wrapped up in a tidy package in this book. So, high school and older readers who are looking for a fun summer beach read-for the fall or winter will certainly enjoy it.
If you like this, try reading: Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, and Dairy Queen by Catherine Murdock
Where can I find a copy?: Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library, Digital copy downloadable from Overdrive through Fairfield Public Library, and audio copy downloadable from Hoopla through Fairfield Public Library.
Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian
Title: Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Summary: Don’t read this book if you are hoping for an origins story that simply recycles the summer blockbuster movie. But wait, don’t stop reading! First, let me explain why I picked up this book. I’m a huge fan of Bardugo’s Crooked Kingdom series. She is a master at world creating and crafts complex and compelling characters. With that in mind, I had to see what she would do with this iconic superhero. In this origins story, Bardugo takes a modern day setting and combines it with Themyscira, the mythical place of Wonder Woman’s creation. She puts her own spin on Wonder Woman’s origins while still managing to stay true to what fans love most about this hero.
In Bardugo’s iteration, Diana, Princess of the Amazons, risks all to save a mortal named Alia Keralis. Unfortunately, her brave choice puts the entire world in danger because Alia is no mere mortal-but rather a Warbringer. She is a descendent of Helen of Troy, herself, and is destined to bring war and misery to the world. Alia’s death would bring an end to the threat of war her existence all but guarantees, but Diana can’t accept that solution. Instead, Diana and Alia join forces, along with a small group of Alia’s mortal friends, to face both divine and human foes that seek to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Only by working together can they hope to succeed in their quest to save the world.
Who will like this book?: Fans of all things superhero will love this new take on Wonder Woman’s origins. If you like strong female protagonists this is the book for you.
If you like this, try reading: The Black Widow Series by Margaret Stohl, The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer, Throne of Glass series by Sarah Maas
Where can I find a copy: Print editions available at Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, and Pequot Library. Digital copy available through Overdrive.
Recommended by: Jen Laseman, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian
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
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
Title: Boxers & Saints
Author/Illustrator: Gene Luen Yang
Summary: In this stunning masterwork, Gene Luen Yang tells an epic story across two books about young people facing the devastating consequences of war in 18th century China. Little Bao and Vibiana both live in the idyllic but impoverished rural countryside with families that are facing challenges. Soon, inspired and driven by the hidden magic surrounding them (Bao by the god-kings of Chinese mythology and Vibiana by the legend of Joan of Arc), they each embark on a journey through the rapidly-changing world around them, finding themselves as they endure the upheaval, war and devastation that comes when people with different points of view cannot coexist peacefully. When their paths finally cross, neither will be the same.
It probably doesn’t matter in which order you read these dual narratives, but I’d suggest you start with Boxers. You might not learn too much about this famous colonial-era Rebellion in your history classes, but this story will immerse you in the violent and bloody struggle between those who wished to reject foreign influence in China and others who welcomed it. You will be moved by both of these young people as they find themselves leading their people towards an unthinkable destiny, each believing they are right.
Who will like this book: Graphic n0vel readers. Fans of historical fiction and stories laced with magic and spirituality.
If you like this, try this: Yang’s Printz-winning work, American Born Chinese. Another fantastic graphic novel with a supernatural element, Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brogsol.For another era in Chinese history, take a look at Revolution is not a Dinner Party by Ying Chang Compestine. For more on the history of this era, read The Boxer Rebellion by Diana Preston.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian