The Marvels

marvels

Title: The Marvels

Author/Illustrator: Brian Selznick

Summary: In 1766, Billy Marvel, survivor of a terrible shipwreck that claimed the life of an entire crew of sailors, including his brother, lands in London. He finds work in a theater and becomes the founding member of an acting dynasty that would span generations and centuries until it fell into ruin. All that remains of the legendary family is their strange and mysterious mansion in London. Decades later, young Joseph Jervis flees his country boarding school in search of his best friend who has moved to the city. Lost and alone, he calls upon his reclusive uncle Albert, who lives in the incredible and bizarre home that once belonged to the Marvels. Albert has no time or patience for Joseph, and he lives by very strict and strange rules about what can be touched, moved or used in the house. With the help of the girl next door, Joseph is determined to discover the secrets of the house, the truth about Marvels and reasons why his uncle seems so peculiar.

This is another masterpiece from Mr. Selznick – author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which was a past One Book One Town title (so yes…we might be a bit biased!) – that takes an unusual artistic artifact – in this case, the Severs house in London, to tell a universal story of love and connection. The history of the Marvel family is told wordlessly and the story of Joseph and Albert is expressed in words, with both tales twisting and spinning their way together for a satisfying and emotional resolution that will stick with you for a long time. This is a book full of surprises and you’ll want to share it with everyone you know.

Who will like this book: Other than everybody? Fans of graphic and illustrated fiction. Artists and actors. Readers who like mysterious stories and characters, but not crime stories or creepy thrills.

If you like this, try this: Anything else by Brian Selznick. (You’ve read Wonderstruck and The Invention of Hugo Cabret already, right?!) The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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Dumplin’

dumplin

Title: Dumplin’

Author: Julie Murphy

Summary: Willowdean Dickson is waiting for that moment when her life will really start. Living in a small Texas town famous for it’s beauty pageant as a fat girl isn’t always easy, but Will knows that she is who she is and she shouldn’t have to apologize for it. Even though things have been tougher since her beloved Aunt Lucy passed away, Will has always had her long-time best friend Ellen, a new job at Harpy’s Dogs and Burgers, and her own piece of freedom in the form of her car, Jolene, named after the legendary song by her all-time hero, Dolly Parton. As the summer before junior year begins, Will begins to realize that Bo, the hot athlete from a local private school might want to be more than just co-workers with her. Is this the beginning of her real life? Suddenly she finds her hard-won self-confidence begin to slip away, setting into a motion a chain of events that will reshape her life and her outlook, forever.

There is a strong chance that this might become your new favorite book. It captures some of the raw truths of navigating the high school experience as someone who doesn’t conform to what is supposedly normal to reveal that, in fact, everyone has something unique about them that makes them better than whatever normal is supposed to be. This delightful and emotional story deserves to be read by anyone who has ever felt less than perfect. Readers will feel like they have been transported to Texas and will wish that Willowdean could leap off the page and into their lives.

Who will like this book?: Mature readers who are fans of Rainbow Rowell and John Green. Anyone who ever dreamed of being a pageant queen.

If you like this, try this: Food, Girls and Other Things I Can’t Have by Allan Zadoff. This Book Isn’t Fat It’s Fabulous by Nina Beck. Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. For mature readers, The Duff by Kody Keplinger.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

In Real Life

IRL

TitleIn Real Life

Author: Cory Doctorow

Illustrator: Jen Wang

Summary: Anda is shy in real life, but online she is a kick-butt character in the massively-multiplayer role-playing game Coarsegold Online where she has begun to make friends with other players. The line between what is right and wrong starts to blur when she befriends a gold farmer who collects valuable objects in game to sell for money out of the game.

Who will like this book?: Fans of characters with strong morals. Graphic novel readers, and online game players.

If you like this, try this: Ms. Marvel Vol. 1, No Normal  by G Willow Wilson,illustrated by Adrian Alphona.  Page by Paige by Laura Gulledge. The Eye of Minds by James Dashner.

Recommended by: Stephanie, Librarian

Code Name Verity

Title: Code Name Verity

Author: Elizabeth Wein

Summary:  Set in World War II, this story tells the tale of two young women and their harrowing experiences serving their country.  Verity is a secret agent captured by the Gestapo after parachuting into Nazi-occupied France.  She is given two options by her captors: reveal everything she knows about England’s defenses and her mission or face torture and an excruciating death.  Verity believes she will die regardless of her decision, so what she must come to terms with is how much she is willing to reveal.  Given paper and ink, she is tasked with betraying her country, yet what she puts down is so much more.  In her writings, she tells the story of her captivity, her past life and how she became friends with Maddie, the pilot, who flew her into France and subsequently crashed.  Her story is a tribute to friendship, a test of courage, and revealing look at how it feels to face the possibility of one’s own failings.

Who will like this book:  Fans of historical fiction and strong female characters will love this emotionally charged story.  That being said, this is really a book for anyone who appreciates a good story with amazing characters.  Code Name Verity is a book you regretfully close after finishing and recommend to all your friends the next day.

If you like this, try thisThe Book Thief by Marcus Zusak, The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

Wonderstruck

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Title: Wonderstruck

Author and Illustrator: Brian Selznick

Summary: It is 1977. Ben likes to collect things. Some are treasures his mom has given to him. Others are things he has found growing up in Gunflint, Michigan. But Ben just lost his mom in a car accident and is living with his aunt and uncle. When he returns to his old home, he discovers in his mother’s things a book about the American Museum of Natural History called Wonderstruck, inscribed to someone David. Could this be the father he has never met? Ben decides to find out.

It is 1927. Rose lives a lonely, isolated life in Hoboken, New Jersey. She longs to cross the river into bustling New York City. She, like Ben, is missing something in her life and she is determined to find it. The way these two stories interweave, one in words, the other in pictures, will suprise and delight you.

I’ll admit it: I love The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It was Fairfield’s One Book One Town book a few years ago and it’s creator, Brian Selznick, might be the most charming author around. So I picked up Wonderstruck with a mixture of excitment and nervous anticipation. Would it be as good as Hugo? The answer is clear: Yes. Yes, yes, yes! Read this book right now.

Who will like this book?: Everybody. Seriously.

If you like this, try this: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, also by Selznick. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Cover

Title: Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Authors: John Green & David Levithan

Summary: One late night in Chicago, two Will Graysons meet. One is a would-be loner, except for the fact that his best friend is the literally larger-than-life football star (and definition of gay fabulosity) Tiny Cooper. The other is a depressed and dark actual loner in town to meet the one ray of hope in his life: another gay teen he met online. How the paths of these two very different Will Graysons intersect and the way their lives change is the story of this wonderful book by two of todays best YA writers.

Every other chapter tells the story from the point of view of one Will, then the other. Can Will Grayson get out of his own way and connect with Jane, a girl who is almost his ideal match – if she wasn’t just so incredibly perfect for him.  Can Will Grayson find the grace to connect with anyone and maybe even find a sort of redemption along the way? And can the miraculous Tiny Cooper really pull of the greatest, gayest high school musical off all time? This heartwarming book will put a smile on your face, and a show tune in your heart. All right – maybe not…!

Who will like this book?: Mature readers looking for books that are both romantic and hilarious. Anyone looking for a heartfelt coming out story. And nerdfighters, naturally.

If you like this, try this: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Into the Beautiful North

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Title: Into the Beautiful North

Author: Luis Alberto Urrea

Summary: It’s not the destination – it’s the journey. This year’s One Book One Town choice is the story of 19 year-old Nayeli, a girl on a mission. All the men who live in her little village of Tres Camarones seem to have left for the States in search of better fortune. When narcos surround the town, Nayeli takes inspiration from – of all people – Yul Brynner and his movie The Magnificent Seven. She decides to solve the problem by heading north in search of men to return and protect the town. One of the men she is seeking is her own father, long ago disappeared into the beautiful North.

It might sound like a story you think you know – but trust us: You’ve never heard it like this. It’s not about the politics of immigration, but instead, the human story. As Nayeli crosses the country in the hopes of finding her father, she manages to discover her true self. Written with an indescribable verve and humor, this is an outstanding novel for mature teen readers. Nayeli and her friends are vibrant heroines (and heroes) worth spending some time with. 

Who will like this book: Mature high school readers who like stories with strong female heroines who are not defined by the men in their lives. Readers who like sensitive stories with a lot of humor.

If you like this, read this: Another great book about ‘the journey,’ Paper Towns by John Green. Someone Like Summer by M.E. Kerr.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian