Renegades

renegadesTitle: Renegades

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

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Flunked

FlunkedTitle: Flunked

Author: Jen Calonita

Summary:  Twelve-year old Gilly isn’t a bad kid, she’s just done some bad things.  Or, at least the rest of the Enchantasia thinks Gilly’s thieving ways are signs of a tween heading in the wrong direction.  What they don’t take into account is that Gilly steals to keep her siblings fed and provide them with the occasional extra treat or gift.  Unfortunately for Gilly, since motives don’t matter, when she is caught stealing for the third time she is immediately sentenced to the latest development for transforming wayward kids into upstanding citizens- Fairy Tale Reform School (“FTRS”).

FTRS was founded by Flora, the fairly-recently reformed and formerly wicked step-mother of Cinderella, upon realizing the error of her ways and wishing to make amends by helping mischievous youth.  And, FTRS doesn’t just offer troubled youths a second chance, it’s also staffed by former villains like the Sea Witch and Big Bad Wolf.   But with Pegasus riding, big prepared meals, new friends, and only having to share a spacious tower room with one roommate, Gilly is finding reform school really isn’t much of a punishment.  In fact, if she didn’t have a family to worry about it’s the kind of place a kid could get used to.  Then mysterious and dangerous events start to occur, and Gilly and her friends are beginning to wonder if all of their teachers have truly left their villainous ways in the past.

Who will like this?:  This light, quick read is a great selection for middle grade readers who enjoy fairy tale retellings.

If you like this, try reading: The Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, Ever After High series by Shannon Hale, and Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski.

Where can I find a copy?: Paper copy available at Fairfield Public Library and Fairfield Woods Branch 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 Teen Librarian

Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)

Wonder Woman

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

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

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

Carry On

carry

Title: Carry On: The Rise and Fall of Simon Snow

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Orphan Simon Snow is the chosen one – born into the World of Mages to triumph over the Insidious Humdrum, a dark entity that swallows magic whole, leaving devastation and ruin in its path. The problem is that Simon barely understands his power and has almost no control over it. Entering his final year at Watford School of Magicks, he finds himself the focus of an inevitable battle, tutored by a strict and mysterious headmaster, bolstered by support from his best friend, the supremely talented and brilliant Penelope, confounded by his on-again, off-again girlfriend Agatha and tormented by his roommate and nemesis, Basilton, a rich kid from a legendary magickal family.

This sounds…familiar, right? It is supposed to – the story of Simon Snow was introduced to readers of author Rainbow Rowell’s popular book Fangirl, about a college freshman who is also an internet-famous author of slash fiction. But you don’t have to read Fangirl first to fall in love with Simon Snow. As he makes his way through his final year at Watford, he comes face to face with the true nature of the Humdrum, the true motives of his teacher, the mysterious nature of his origin and his true feelings for Baz. This fast-paced and funny fantasy tale is perfect for readers who grew up with The Boy Who Shall Not Be Named (in this post, at least) who are looking for a book with the same sense of emotion and adventure.

 

Who will like this book?: This is the ‘Drarry’ book you’ve been waiting for, shippers!Potterheads. Fan Fic (particularly Slash Fic) devotees. Readers who love coming-of-age adventure stories.

If you like this, try this: The book that inspired this story, Fangirl, also by Rainbow Rowell. For a darker take on fandom, try Kill the Boy Band by Goldy Moldavsky. Another magical quest/school story with a high page count, The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. We don’t need to recommend J.K. Rowling’s stuff, right?

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Only Ever Yours

OEY-USA

Title: Only Ever Yours

Author: Louise O’Neill

Summary: frieda and isabel are eves that have been best friends almost since they were created. Now, at age 16, they are in their final year of training at their isolated academy, both near the top of the class and sure to be selected as companions of the Inheritors – the boys who are born on the outside. The girls have been working towards this goal since they were designed – refining their beauty, maintaining their perfect figures, and learning how to cater to every whim of the men who control the world. Each year, three ‘eves’ are created for each boy born on the outside and those who are not chosen as companions will live the rest of their lives as concubines – set aside for male pleasure only, or as chastities – those considered so undesirable that they remain forever training future eves.

Even the idea of living as anything other than a companion horrifies frieda, so she cannot understand why isabel has drifted away from her during such a crucial time when they are so close to graduation. What’s worse is that isabel seems to have given up her top position – gaining weight rapidly and dropping off the weekly rankings of the eves entirely. As the other eves jockey for position and the introduction of the Inheritors – who will make the decision about their fate – looms, frieda is desperate to hold on to her future in a world where all that matters is your beauty. Can she face this world alone, without isabel’s friendship and support? Or will she be left behind to endure the cruelty of the eves, chastities and men?

This is a gripping dystopia that takes our modern obsession with physical perfection to a horrifying but all-too-plausible end. The sheer brutality of the world created by Irish author O’Neill will be challenging for some readers to engage with, but for those who are interested in dark social horror stories will find much to think about in these pages. It might make you angry, but you won’t soon forget this book and it just might make you look at our world a bit differently.

Who will like this book?: This is an intense book recommended for mature, experienced readers only. People who are interested in feminist theory, or who like to engage in philosophically- or morally-based dystopian ideas. Readers who like books that will keep them up at night, thinking and thinking…

If you like this, try this: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. The Wither series by Lauren DeStefano. The Selection series by Kiera Cass.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian