Donovan Curtis is a boy who gets into a lot of trouble. But one day he accidentally goes over the top. He winds up in the principal’s office again. But things get mixed up and he’s gets away scot-free. Then a letter comes in the mail. It’s something for gifted school. He goes, but he knows he doesn’t belong. But he does help the gifted kids in different ways. Will he stay hidden or will it turn into a mess? If you want a funny read- this is the the book.
– Ben (Teen Reviewer)
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: 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.
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
Title: Every Exquisite Thing
Author: Matthew Quick
Summary: Nanette O’Hare is a good girl. She’s been a great student, star athlete and loyal friend with her future mapped out for as long as she can remember. When her favorite teacher gives her a copy of The Bubblegum Reaper, an obscure paperback with a cult following. She seeks out the mysterious author, who lives near her in suburban New Jersey and her friendship with him changes everything. Questioning why she just goes along with everyone else’s idea of who she should be, Nanette stops it all and embarks on a new adventure: Finding out who she is on her own terms. Rejecting expectations, falling in love and leaping wildly into possibility, Nanette begins to author her own story instead of following the plot that has been written for her since before she even had a say in the matter. But life isn’t a fairy tale and sometimes there are sad and serious consequences for rebellion.
Matthew Quick is one of the best writers of mature young adult fiction working today and he maintains his track record with this new book. With characters so real you feel like you know them already, Every Exquisite Thing is a terrific choice for anyone who wonders about the ‘whys’ behind all the rules young people are expected to follow. While Nanette may not exactly be a role model, she just might inspire you to think a bit more deliberately about your own choices and the path you choose to walk.
Who will like this book?: People with inquisitive, curious minds who like to ask questions and find unexpected answers. Readers who like stories with unique and witty protagonists. Anyone whose life has been changed forever by a book.
If you like this, try this: Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, also by Quick. A non-fiction book about going your own way (with darker results), Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: Kill the Boy Band
Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Summary: Four girls, Apple, Erin, Isabel and our narrator are as different as can be, but they are united by their undying devotion to the world’s most popular, if only marginally-talented, British boy band, the Ruperts. Incredibly, just before a big show in Manhattan, the intrepid super-Strepurs (a fandom name derived from spelling the band name backwards, of course) find themselves in a position that any fangirl would envy: Alone in a hotel room with one of the boys. The problem is he is there against his will, sort of kidnapped and tied to a chair, with everyone in the Ruperts’ universe looking for him, from his fellow singers to his stylist to his girlfriend to the hordes of fans jamming the streets outside the building. As the girls sink deeper and deeper into the mess they’ve made, cracks in their bonds begin to show, proving that people are not always what they seem to be, and that maybe you can never truly know anyone, even your best friends.
This fast-paced, smart and hilariously funny story is part mystery and part an examination of the ups and downs (and downright insanity) of being part of a fandom. The language is blunt and at times profane, the reality of the situation is bizarre and often dire and the pages practically turn themselves, revealing ideas about fandom, adolescence and life itself that are more profound than can be described without spoilers. Put this at the top of your too-read list!
Who will like this book?: Fans and stans. Mature readers who like twist-and-turn psychological mysteries, and stories with potentially unreliable narrators. Anyone who has ever worshipped a boy band.
If you like this, try this: Born to Rock by Gordon Korman. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. The Haters by Jesse Andrews. I am (not) the Walrus by Ed Briant.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States
Author: Sarah Vowell
Summary: With the surging popularity of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musicalization of Alexander Hamilton’s life, there is new interest in not just the Founding Fathers, but those who fought and served around them. Here with a take on the tale of ‘America’s Favorite Fighting Frenchman,’ is humorist Sarah Vowell. While you may not be familiar with her brand of irreverent historical writings, I bet you have heard her voice: as Violet in The Incredibles. Here, she follows the young French nobleman from his early days in France to his final, farewell tour as the last living Revolutionary general.
This isn’t just a date-by-date retelling of Lafayette’s incredible and improbable life as a rebel and statesman. Instead, like all of her books, Vowell uses his story to consider something deeper – when have these States of ours ever truly been United? Her witty, clear-as-the-Liberty-Bell voice is an excellent guide through parts of our history that have been forgotten or romanticized into mythology. You will learn, you will laugh, and you will perhaps see the world a little differently. As we wander through an intensely combative political season, this books is not only a joy to read, but contains important lessons for us to understand.
Who will like this book?: Mature readers. Fans of the new musical Hamilton. American history buffs. Anyone who likes non-fiction that will make them laugh.
If you like this, try this: For more by Sarah Vowell, start with Assassination Vacation. More non-fiction: try Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow or Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts. For fiction set in the Revolutionary era, try the graphic novel The Sons of Liberty by Alexander Lagos or Fever, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Andreson, or 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson.
Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian
Title: Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up in Turkey
Author/Illustrator: Özge Samancı
Summary: Özge grew up in a small village on the Mediterranean sea in Turkey, a proud and ancient nation with a tumultuous recent history. While she treasured her dreams of becoming an actress, or an adventurer, or even an underwater explorer like her idol Jacques Cousteau, she also knew that she had an obligation to her family and to herself to study as hard as she could and enter a profession that would allow her to support herself in a time when such opportunities were rare, especially for girls. So at a young age, Özge sets her dreams aside in order to devote herself to one goal: Getting in to the best college possible so she can study the most challenging subjects so she can get a great job to guarantee her future. Will she succeed? Is it worth it? What will she find out about herself along the way?
This bright and charming graphic memoir was written and designed by Samancı, who is now a professor living in Chicago. While it offers a detailed and lighthearted look at growing up in Turkey, what makes it truly fascinating is its terrific depiction of living through the stress of expectations, be they of your family or your society in general, and how it is truly universal, whether you live in the United States today or grew up halfway around the world 30 years ago. Heartfelt and unexpectedly sensitive, this book is well worth your time.
Who will like this book?: Fans of books set in other countries. Memoir readers. Anyone who likes beautiful illustrations – these pages are full of creative and clever visuals.
If you like this, try this: Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. For more on Turkey, try Blue Voyage by Diana Renn.