None of the Above

NoneoftheAbove_Cover

Title: None of the Above

Author: I.W. Gregorio

Summary: Kristin Lattimer takes things in stride – literally. She’s a star athlete with a full track and field scholarship awaiting her once she finishes senior year of high school. She has a wonderful father, great friends and a beloved boyfriend who mean the world to her. No one is surprised when she is voted Homecoming Queen – except for Kristin herself and her best friend Vee who was convinced the crown was hers. Kristin had already planned for that night to be special – she and her boyfriend Sam had decided to become intimate. But when their experience turns out to be one of intense pain for Kristin, she goes to the doctor and learns a shocking truth that turns her life inside out – she is intersex.

While she has the outward appearance and features of a woman, Kristin’s internal anatomy and chromosomes are male. Dealing with this diagnosis would be challenge enough, but when her classmates find out, the intolerance of many of her friends sends Kristin on a downward spiral. She stands to lose everything she believes make her who she was and feels that she has no way to get a handle on who she is now.

This riveting book by debut author Gregorio, a surgeon who based Kristin on a patient she had early in her training, brings this rarely-discussed condition to light. Readers will root for Kristin to overcome the struggles brought on by her diagnosis, while also learning more about intersex people and the lives they lead. The story leads to some wonderfully unexpected places and will have you thinking more carefully about what it really means to be a girl or a guy, all or none of the above.

Who will like this book?: Readers of LGBTQ fiction. Anyone who has ever felt uncomfortable in their own skin. Fans of stories about high school friendship and/or relationship drama.

If you like this, try this:  Alex as Well by Alyssa Brugman. For mature readers, try Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin, Annabel by Kathleen Winter, or Middlesex by Jeffrey Euginedes.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

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Archivist Wasp

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Title: Archivist Wasp

Author: Nicole Kornher-Stace

Summary: Wasp was chosen by the goddess Catchkeep to become an Archivist – the person who will protect her desolate village from the hordes of wordless, mindless ghosts that swarm just outside the walls. In order to maintain her position, she must battle – and kill – the three Upstarts who challenge her each year. Wasp is weary of her work, her isolation from the others in her town, the barely-contained hatred of the Upstarts who want to see her fall, and most of all, the abusive mind games of the Catchkeep priest who she reports to. She has a rebellious nature – while she is supposed to catch and destroy ghosts, she finds herself fascinated by them and takes her other responsibility – to study and learn more about them, as seriously as the first.

After a brutal near-defeat at the hands of the latest batch of Upstarts, Wasp goes hunting and makes a startling discovery: She meets a ghost who can communicate with her. He is unlike any other ghost she has encountered – physically strong, mentally aware and very, very persistent. This ghost needs her help. And so begins an incredible, sometimes brutal story about what it means to be a good person, the nature of friendship versus self-reliance, and the potential benefits of breaking all the rules. While this is technically a dystopian story, it has a timeless, almost fairy tale-feeling about it. This impressive novel will leave you with a lot to think about.

Who will like this book?: Mature readers of fantasy who like ‘otherworldly’ tales. Fans of strong, smart female characters. Anyone who likes books that keep revealing details on how they work as you read them.

If you like this, try this: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld. Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan. For mature readers, What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

In Real Life

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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

I’ll Give You the Sun

Title: I’ll Give You the Sun

Author: Jandy Nelson

Summary: Vibrant, outgoing Jude and shy, artistic Noah are twins. They may not be identical, but they have been together forever. Despite petty jealousies over their parents’ affection, their mother’s ambition for both of them to attend a prestigious art academy, or the attention of local bullies, Jude and Noah can always find their way back to each other. When the unthinkable happens, their bond is shattered and their roles seem to reverse, leaving the twins isolated from each other and their true selves. Brother and sister each have a piece of the whole story of what happened, but because of their grief and guilt, neither of them will share it or begin to help the other heal.

As we learn about these fully realized, complex characters – Noah narrating from age 13 and Jude from three years later, readers see how it all fell apart. This Printz Award-winning book will stick with you for a long time – it is literally gorgeous to read, especially the chapters from Noah’s perspective. It can be heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, often in the same paragraph.

Who will like this book: Fans of literary fiction. GLBT readers. People who like stories that make you put the pieces together.

If you like this, try this: The Sky is Everywhere, also by Nelson. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. All We Know of Heaven by Jacqueline Mitchard.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Fables

     Fables Vol. 20: Camelot

Title: Fables

Author: Bill Willingham

Illustrators: Mark Buckingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha and more

Summary: First printed in 2002, the comic series Fables has endured, becoming one of the most beloved continuing series in recent memory. Forced out of their familiar Homelands by a dark and deadly figure known only as the “Adversary,” the legendary characters of myth and tall tales made their way to our world to establish Fabletown, where, as immortals, they have lived and thrived into our modern age. But the people you meet on these pages bear little resemblance to your favorite cartoon royals and monsters. When Jack (of Beanstalk fame) rushes to tell Bigby Wolf, sheriff of Fabletown that his girlfriend, Rose Red has disappeared and their apartment is covered in blood, an investigation into a possible murder begins. Following Bigby’s every move is Snow White, Rose’s sister and deputy mayor of Fabletown.

Over the course of its 12 year run (collected into 20 volumes so far), Willingham weaves in both beloved figures from the most popular fairy tales to obscure characters you may have never heard of. The nature of the story also changes, from murder mystery to domestic drama to epic quest. This is a great story to curl up in, because the twists and surprises will keep you turning pages, and some will even break your heart. With the end of the story coming soon (in early 2015,) this is the perfect time to start Fables at the beginning.

Who will like this book?: Mature readers who like ‘fractured’ fairy tales – new spins on familiar stories. TV watchers looking for something a bit grittier than Once Upon a Time. Fans of ongoing graphic novel series such as The Walking Dead.

If you like this, try this: Into the Wild and Out of the Wild by Sarah Beth Durst. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. The series The Unwritten by Mike Carey. And if you can’t get enough of the Fables world, read the prequel, 1001 Nights of Snowfall.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Eleanor and Park

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Title: Eleanor and Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Summary: Park sees Eleanor getting on the bus and he knows she’s in for it. Her weird clothes, her wild red hair, her complete newness. He lets her sit down next to him but makes sure to keep his distance. He does okay at school, which is impressive considering his half-Korean/half-Irish heritage – not a common thing in 1986 Omaha, Nebraska. He’d like to keep his head down, listen to his music, read his comics and get through high school without any issues.

Eleanor sits next to Park on the bus and knows instantly that he is not happy about her presence. He doesn’t say a word to her, unlike the awful kids behind them. She doesn’t say a word either: Not to him, or them, because she has other things to think about, things that are a lot more important than school. Like finding a toothbrush. Or figuring out how she can manage to share a room with four younger siblings. Or how to avoid her merciless, manipulative stepfather.

This is the beginning of a beautiful, heart-shredding love story that will leave you breathless. As the connection between Park and Eleanor grows from silently sharing issues of Watchmen, to trading mix tapes, to falling in love, you will be swept along in their tumultuous, difficult romance. This isn’t Romeo and Juliet – the obstacles that exist within both Park and Eleanor’s lives make their attempt at a relationship something that requires more effort than many people would be willing to make, then or now. And that is what makes Eleanor and Park something rare in this genre. It is more honest, more true and ultimately, more beautiful, than a lot of love stories out there. To say this is the best book I’ve read so far this year is an understatement. This is a story that will stay with me – and you – forever.

Who will like this book: Readers who treasure heartfelt, realistic romance against steep odds. Criers (you know you’re out there)! People who are nostalgic for the ’80s.

If you like this, try this: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

My Friend Dahmer

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Title: My Friend Dahmer

Author/Illustrator: Derf Backderf

Summary: Jeffrey Dahmer was a notorious serial killer, responsible for the deaths of 17 men and boys. But before he became a monster, he was a kid growing up in the Midwest alongside author/illustrator Derf. This graphic memoir brings the reader into their world and shows how Dahmer’s crimes had as much to do with the people in his life who failed to see to the warning signs as his own troubled psyche. Beginning with their first acquaintance in middle school in the 1970s, the author tracks his evolving acquaintance with the weird, introverted boy who always seemed to be on the outside looking in.

Derf does not excuse Jeff’s horrifying crimes, but he asks the readers to look a little deeper at the circumstances that enabled Dahmer to become a killer. This book is more about how our actions can have consequences beyond our own understanding at the time. Derf also includes a terrific bibliography and information about his research for those interested in learning more about Dahmer and his crimes. This excellent graphic novel deserves to be read. It is not an easy book, but it is one that you will remember.

Who will like this book?: Older, mature readers interested in crime stories and psychology. This book is disturbing and intense – but it is very thought-provoking and memorable.

If you like this, read this: Stitches by David Small. The true crime graphic novels by Rick Geary, including Jack the Ripper, The Borden Tragedy and The Lindbergh Child. Columbine by Dave Cullen.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian