The Marvels

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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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A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend

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Title: A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend

Author: Emily Horner

Summary: Julia was a theatre nerd, a dreamer, and Cass Meyer’s best friend until she died in a car accident at the end of junior year. When the ‘secret project’ Julia was working on turns out to be a musical called “Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad,” her friends, including her boyfriend Ollie, decide to stage a production of it in her honor. But Cass isn’t a theatre person and she knows that working on sets all summer won’t mend her heart. When Ollie casts Heather, the mean girl who spread rumors about her sexuality in middle school, in the lead role, Cass decides to leave town and bike across the country. It was a trip she and Julia planned together, but now Cass will do it alone and carry Julia’s ashes to the ocean.

When Cass returns home, she decides to help with the production anyway because that’s what Julia would have wanted. How Cass makes this decision over the course of her summer on the road and how she comes to terms with her friends and former enemy Heather will move the readers of this heartfelt story of love, friendship, and discovery.

Who will like this book?: Anyone who has ever felt that they don’t exactly belong in their group of friends. Fans of musical theatre and ninjas, either together or separately. Anyone looking for a good coming out story.

If you like this, try this: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger. Shift by Jennifer Bradbury.

Recommended by: Nicole, Teen Librarian

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

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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

Saving Juliet

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Title: Saving Juliet

Author: Suzanne Selfors

Summary: Mimi Wallingford is sick of Shakespeare theater, and even more sick of being recognized solely by the prestige of her last name.  Unlike her ancestors, Mimi has an extreme case of stage fright whenever she’s about to go on. In her current play of Romeo and Juliet, she’s stuck with superstar Troy Summers playing Romeo: He seems to do all he can to put her down.  Right before her final performance as Juliet, she is transported by magic to Shakespeare’s Verona. There she meets Juliet Capulet as well as the entire ‘cast’ of the play that she’s rehearsed for.

But the play Mimi thought she knew takes an unexpected twist when Romeo and Juliet don’t meet at the dance and Juliet is engaged to marry the Paris within a week’s time! Though Mimi’s regarded as a ‘relative Capulet,’ Benvolio’s got his eyes on her, Tybalt’s out for her neck, Lady Capulet wants her dead, and is that a superstar actor/Romeo sneaking along the streets? It’s going to take more than just some good acting for Mimi to save Juliet and find her way back home.

Who will like this book?: Anyone into the historical fiction genre, or the story of Romeo and Juliet.  It’s aimed more at a female audience with plenty of romance and faults of love, but it’s got plenty of action scenes. It’s an interesting twist on the original tale without the havoc of trying to understand what the words mean.

If you like this, you should try: The Shakespeare Stealerseries by Gary Blackwood. Some other time travel books are Lost in Time by Hans Magnus Enzensberger and The Door to Time by Ulysses Moore. For those who are into the classics, thenA Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain is definitely along the right path.

Recommended by: ZZ, resident of Fairfield and avid reader.