What Girls Are Made of


TitleWhat Girls Are Made Of

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Summary:  This National Book Award for Young People’s Literature finalist examines the life and choices of an every day teen girl.  One day while fourteen-year old Nina Faye was helping her mother fold a sheet, she was “gifted” with the following advice from her mother, “There is no such thing as unconditional love.”  That simple premise was to shape how Nina perceived her relationship with her mother, how she interacted with friends, and what kind of treatment she deemed acceptable from a romantic partner for years to come.   You see, if love is not unconditional you will do anything to get the boy you love to notice you.   And, you will do anything to keep that boy once you have him.  And, when you lose that boy to another, it will crush you and you will wonder how you can get by in life.

Arnold’s writing is stunningly honest and the issues of body image, sexuality, family dynamics, and friendship will be relatable to many.  That being said, it is definitely written for a mature young adult audience as the handling of the above issues is fairly graphic.  It’s also a very sad story and Nina’s choices may be difficult for some readers to appreciate or understand.    As an aside, I highly recommend reading the author’s note.  It will make you view the story you just read in a whole new light.

Who will like this book?  Mature YA readers who like books that deal with gritty, real life situations with all the drama, sadness and loneliness teens sometimes feel.

If you like this, try readingSpeak, Winter Girls, or The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson, any book by Ellen Hopkins,  and Whale Talk or Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher.

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


A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

a wrinkle in time, graphic novel

Title: A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

Author: Madeleine L’Engle’s classic book adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson

Summary:  If you’re as excited as I am about the upcoming movie A Wrinkle in Time, then you need to pick up this book.  Illustrator, cartoonist and two-time Eisner Award winner (think the comic book industry’s equivalent of the Oscars) Hope Larson inks this fast-paced graphic adaptation of the Madeleine L’engle classic.  Using a palette of blue, black, and white Larson captures the angst filled Meg, the inconceivable genius that is Charles Wallace, and sheer goodness of Calvin in every pane.

The story opens with the introduction of Meg, a thirteen-year old misfit, struggling to deal with the disappearance of her beloved father.  Her scientist mother and her equally misunderstand and underestimated  five-year-old child prodigy brother, Charles Wallace, seem to be the only ones that understand her.  On a stormy night, a new and eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Whatsit, stops in for a visit with Charles Wallace, Meg, and Mrs. Murry.  The next day while exploring, Charles Wallace and Meg run across Calvin, a popular upperclassman from Meg’s school.  Calvin seems to immediately bond with the two because deep down he too has always felt like a misfit.  The trio then go to the home of Mrs. Whatsit and meet up with her equally eccentric/otherworldly companions- Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which.  Shortly thereafter, adventure ensues when the three otherworldly entities enlist the help of the children to find Mr. Murry and quite possibly save the world from ultimate evil.

Who will like this?: Fans of the original book will want to check out this inventive retelling.  If you’ve never tried reading a graphic novel, but love fantasy with a splash of sci-fi this is a great book to start with.

If you like this, try reading:  Some other graphic novel classic retellings such as: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation by Tim Hamilton; Romeo & Juliet, graphic novel adaptation by Garth Hinds; and The Conte of Monte Cristo Manga Classics by Alexandre Dumas (Author),‎ Nokman Poon (Artist),‎ Crystal Chan (Artist)

Where can I find a copy?:  Paper copies can be found at Fairfield Public Library, Fairfield Woods Branch Library, and the Pequot Library.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Teen Librarian

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