Ms. Marvel

kamala

Title: Ms. Marvel

Author/Illustrator: G. Willow Wilson/Adrian Alphona and Jacob Wyatt

Summary: Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl living in Jersey City. She goes to school, hangs out with friends and fangirls over pretty much everything, including her favorite hero, Captain Marvel. She does her best to be a good daughter to her strict parents, as well as a faithful Muslim. But one night, she disobeys the rules to sneak out to a party, when something impossible happens: A strange mist drifts across the city, rendering everyone unconscious. When she wakes up, Kamala discovers that like her hero, she has superhuman (or, Inhuman) abilities – she can shape shift and even heal herself! Calling herself Ms. Marvel in homage to her hero, Kamala decides to use her new powers to protect and serve her community.

To say this is a groundbreaking comic is an understatement: This is the first ongoing storyline to have Muslim headline character. Kamala’s heritage is skillfully woven into the story as she tries to balance being a good and respectful person while discovering the full scope of her sometimes-scary new abilities. She is diligent and brave, even when facing dangerous situations, horrifying villains and potentially-embarrassing run-ins with legendary heroes. She is also lighthearted, silly and headstrong – an ordinary girl with extraordinary powers. This series, of which three collected volumes are now available, are perfect for summer reading. Funny, bold and heartfelt, the story of Kamala Khan is not to be missed.

Who will like this book?: Readers who like strong, sassy and brave heroes. Pop culture obsessives. Comics fans who like to see classic characters rebooted.

If you like this, try this: The Hawkeye books by Matt Fraction, which also spend time with a superhero going about their ‘ordinary’ life. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword Back by Barry Deutsch.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

The Ghosts of Heaven

Title: The Ghosts of Heaven

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

Summary:My new hypothesis: If we’re built from Spirals while living in a giant Spiral, then is it possible that everything we put our hands to is infused with the Spiral?” Maximillian Cohen in Pi

The spiral is an ancient shape, found in prehistoric art across the globe, in nature and even in our own DNA as a helix. It is that shape and the meanings hidden in it that unite the four parts of this book by Printz Award-winner Sedgwick. A young girl, longing to be chosen to create magic for her tribe of nomadic hunters, scratches spirals into the ground even though she is forbidden to. Another young woman, thought to be a witch, sees spirals during her trials, even as her world comes crashing down around her. A doctor with secrets befriends his patient, a poet living in an insane asylum who cannot bear to even look at a spiral because he knows its secret. Finally, in the distant future, a man races against time trying to save the ship that will colonize a new Earth incomprehensibly far away from ours.

How these tales connect to each other is the joy of reading this unique book. Readers can choose to read the book from front to back, or in any order they choose. It is thought-provoking and beautifully written. This is a set of stories you will want to take your time with because you won’t want to miss a single word.

Who will like this book?: Readers who like to see how different stories and characters connect.

If you like this, try this: The Ghosts of Kerfol by Deborah Noyes. Midwinterblood, also by Sedgwick.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Jackaby

Title: Jackaby

Author: William Ritter

Summary: Abigail Rook has been running for a long time – first from the strict English household of her childhood, where she was expected to be a proper lady, and then from the far-off lands she had first tried to escape to. In 1892, she finds herself aboard a ship headed to New England, where she will find the adventure she has been longing for in the form of R.F. Jackaby, a bizarre investigator who claims to see paranormal creatures that might cause problems both large and small in the world. When Abigail joins him as his assistant, her own sense of careful observation and logic makes them a formidable team.

They are soon on the case of what appears to be a serial killer in their midst and Jackaby is convinced something supernatural is at play. Alternately joining forces with, and then avoiding local authorities, Abigail and Jackaby work to solve the mystery before anyone else, including themselves, lose their lives. This is a terribly fun book for almost any reader. It has elements of mystery, adventure and of course, magic. You will race to the end to see how it all turns out, and you will then wait impatiently for the planned sequel, Beastly Bones, due in September.

Who will like this book?: Fans of stories featuring occult monsters and spirits. Whovians. Readers of supernatural mysteries.

If you like this, try this: The collection The Great Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle. The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson. While it is not a paranormal story, another great team detective story is The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd.

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

Paper Valentine

[Cover]

Title: Paper Valentine

Author: Brenna Yovanoff

Summary: Hannah just wants things to go back to normal. She wants to enjoy the summer, hang out with friends, and maybe even talk to the brawny, delinquent, possibly not-to-bright but surprisingly kind cute, Finny Boone.  But how can anything ever be normal again when your best friend dies? Lillian died six months ago, but she’s not gone…at least not for Hannah. Hannah sees Lillian everywhere, in her room, at the mall, even at her job at the local photo developing place. She’s haunted by Lillian, not just the thought of her, but the actual nagging specter of her friend.

Then the murders start happening and Hannah’s small-town becomes locked down with fear. Young girls are being murdered and the biggest clue police seem to have is a paper heart left at each crime scene.  Hannah finds herself drawn into the mystery by her ghostly friend and soon realizes that she may be the only one who can stop the killing.

Who will like this?: At its heart, this is a mystery but there is also a bit of romance, a fair amount of friendship and fighting, and of course the paranormal (it is a ghost story after all.)

If you like this, try this: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, Bad Girls Don’t Die by Katie Alender, Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol.

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian

The Age of Miracles

[Cover]

Title: The Age of Miracles

Author: Karen Thompson Walker

Summary: Julia is an ordinary girl about to embark on an ordinary summer day: Breakfast with her parents, a soccer game, a sleepover with her best friend. She doesn’t know that in every possible way, this is the last ordinary day she will ever have. For some reason, the Earth’s rotation is slowing down. As scientists try to discover why this is happening and people do their best to carry on, the days get longer: 25 hours. 30 hours. 40 hours of sun. Society begins to change as some people stick to clock time: keeping a 24 hour day even if it means sleeping through the bright sunshine; while others attempt to live within the new rhythms of light and dark.

As this slow apocalypse continues, Julia lives her life: friendships that end and begin, growing suspicions about how much the adults in her life really understand about themselves and what is going on around them and planning for an uncertain and maybe even non-existent future. This is a stunningly good book for readers who like science fiction that tells the story of regular people dealing with incredible circumstances. If you like books that make you think about what you would do if you were a character in the story, this one is for you.

Who will like this book?: This is a great book for sophisticated readers who like science fiction that tells the story of regular people dealing with incredible circumstances. If dystopian stories (like The Hunger Games, Matched and Divergent) are your thing, give this book a try.

If you like this, try this: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Ashfall by Mike Mullin. Trapped by Michael Northrop.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Every Other Day

Cover

Title: Every Other Day

Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Summary:  Every second day Kali is just your average 16-year-old girl, who reluctantly transferred halfway through first semester junior year from a gifted high school program run by her father’s university to public school.  She has no friends,  a mother who disappeared when she was just a kid, and an absentee father who doesn’t seem to understand her at all.

But every other day she is something else entirely.  She is confident and beyond strong.   And, on those days she is not human.  She is the thing that hunts and kills supernatural creatures that would do harm to the human race and she is practically indestructible.   Kali doesn’t know what she is on those days, but she knows there is no denying her need to hunt and destroy evil.

One day, Kali notices a demon mark on the back of the most popular girl at school.  A mark that means she will be dead within 24 hours.  Unfortunately,  it is on a day when Kali is simply a human.  Without the benefit of super strength or extraordinary healing powers Kali decides to try to save this girl.  It’s a decision that will change everything.  It will create friendships, threaten family relationships, endanger lives, and change the hunter within Kali.

Who will like this book?:  If you like strong-willed, tough female main characters in paranormal settings this is the book for you.

If you like this, try this: Strange Angels series by Lili St. Crow, Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Raised by Wolves and Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Recommended by: Jen, Fairfield Woods Branch Teen Librarian