Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Alex Award Watch: Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible by Stan Lee

Our Alex Award Watch posts focus on highlighting books from the adult section that may appeal to older teens.

Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible by Stan Lee

Thor, Iron Man, Spiderman and Stanley Lieber, what do these names have in common? Lieber is the real name of Stan Lee, a man who grew up during the Great Depression and then went on have a hand in creating many of Marvel's greatest superheroes.

Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible charts his path from starting out as a story writer, through becoming a comics creator, to eventually becoming the publisher of these memorable characters. This comic books style autobiography shares all the inside secrets of the golden age of super hero cartoonists and how they came up with characters who are still showing up in movies, TV shows and of course comic books all these decades later.

 If you are someone who devours entire runs of Antman and Ms. Marvel, or you never miss an episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., you will love all the insider info revealed in Amazing, Fantastic, Incredible.

More to read:

The Shadow Hero by Gene Leun Yang and Sonny Liew

Ms. Marvel (vol. 1) by: G. Willow Wilson ; artist, Adrian Alphona

Middle School Monday: "Ms. Marvel #2, Generation Why" writer, G. Willow Wilson ; artists, Jacob Wyatt (#6-7) & Adrian Alphona (#8-11)

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson


Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Get Away: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

Every summer we like to do something special. This year our bloggers will be giving you their picks for their favorite books to bring on a vacation. Whether you're heading out on a long car trip or catching a flight to paradise, we have the books to put in your carry-on.

This week, our teen reviewer Neeka shares her essential pick:

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

We are all traveling through time and space. Some of our journeys are literal—say, a long, hot car ride to Florida—while others are spiritual, emotional, or mental—like the characters in We All Looked Up. That’s what makes We All Looked Up a perfect travel read.

On the surface, Tommy Wallach’s We All Looked Up seems like a blend of The Breakfast Club and the entire apocalyptic genre: the lives of several very different teenagers are irrevocably changed by an impending asteroid which might mark the end of the world. But this book surprised me a lot with its intensity and poetic, but unpretentious, discussion of philosophy. Each character is likable by their own merit and the book details their coming together. Eventually, they form a karass, a Vonnegut term used by one of the characters, which means a group of people united in a spiritual way.  The characters each learn how to step out of the shells of their expectations and obligations. They move along on their journey to hope…and maybe even acceptance.

More to read:

Read This/Watch That: Friends Against The World Edition

Ashes by Ilsa Bick

Top Tens in 2015: Teen Reviewer Neeka's Best


Monday, July 18, 2016

Middle School Monday: Compass South by Hope Larson with Illustrations by Rebecca Mock

 Compass South by Hope Larson with Illustrations by Rebecca Mock

Alexander and Cleopatra Dodge are on the run. Their father has been missing for months and they've just given the police the names of the gang of pickpockets that they'd been working with. It seems the only option is to get a new start, somewhere far away, like New Orleans. When they see a notice for someone looking for their long lost red-headed twins, it seems like fate. Except for one problem, the ad is looking for two lost twin brothers.

But with a quick cut of Cleo's hair, they should be set, right? Not so fast, first they run into two other red-headed twins (Ed and Silas) who are clearly trying to execute the same scheme. Still more kinks in their plan arise when Ed and Alex get separated from Cleo and Silas. Not to mention the fact that the gang of pickpockets has aligned itself with some pirates and still seeks Alex and Cleo!

Will Cleo and Alex be reunited? Will either set of twins be able to cash in on the missing brothers scheme? And what happened to Alex and Cleo's dad?

To find out, check out the adventure filled, full-color graphic novel Compass South, book one in the Four Points series! This is a fun, fast moving tale that you can devour in one setting, but then you'll want to go back and spend a lot more time looking at the illustrations!

More to read:
Middle School Monday: To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
Middle School Monday: "Ms. Marvel #2, Generation Why" writer, G. Willow Wilson ; artists, Jacob Wyatt (#6-7) & Adrian Alphona (#8-11)

Middle School Monday: Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time : the graphic novel: adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson

Friday, July 15, 2016

Friday Get Away: Kady's Tips for Beach Success

Every summer we like to do something special. This year our bloggers will be giving you their picks for their favorite books to bring on a vacation. Whether you're heading out on a long car trip or catching a flight to paradise, we have the books to put in your carry-on.

Kady shares her picks today:

Since moving to a beach town I've become an expert on the beach day trip- you need a cooler with cold water, some fruit and a sandwich. A timer so you don't forget to pay for parking, and quarters to pay. An old bed sheet to lay out and put your towel on top of. Sunscreen, lots and lots of sunscreen. And a good book.

I have two favorite types of books for long days on the beach- first I like books that are as hot as I'm going to be. Anything that takes place in a heat wave, where characters can see the air shimmering in front of them and small children bust open fire hydrants in the streets. And second I like books where something a little sinister, a little creepy, and a whole lot dramatic is happening. There's something about reading creepy books in the middle of the bright sun, surrounding by people having fun that makes them extra effective and chilling. Today I have two book recommendations that fit both of my favorite beach read categories.

Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

The year is 1977, the place is New York City. Taking her cue from real historical events that happened in Manhattan that summer- a string of arsons, a record heat wave and, oh yeah, the Son of Sam serial killer- Meg Medina weaves a tale of a girl about to become a woman, caught up in both her family and the city's turbulence (see our full review here).

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff

It's the hottest summer ever on record in Ludlow and a serial killer is stalking the streets, targeting teenage girls and leaving a valentine on each body. Hannah is working a boring summer job at a photo print store and trying to deal with the fact that her dead best friend's ghost is haunting her bedroom.

When Hannah starts to see the ghosts of the victims of the Valentine Killer, she knows she has to do something. So with a dead best friend and one of the best mysterious loner boys in the history of mysterious loner boys, she sets out to solve the case and confront the killer (see our full review here).

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

New E-Only Novella: Order of the Wicked by Danielle Paige

Whenever we get new E-Only Novellas from authors you love, we want to tell you about them. Here are a few ones to check out:

All descriptions are from our catalog.

Order of the Wicked by Danielle Paige

This digital original novella is the seventh installment in the series’ prequel arc, and reveals how some members of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked came to be.

Dorothy Gale’s armies killed Lanadel’s entire family, and she’s determined to seek revenge. She sets off to find the elusive, secretive group known as the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. They’re rumored to be training their own army to defeat Dorothy. But when she finds them, Lanadel soon learns that she’s seriously underprepared both in fighting skills, as well as magical abilities, and she has to prove herself in order to join the Order and become one of them.

More to read

New E-Only Novella: The Straw King by Danielle Paige

More New E-Only Novellas

Y'all Fest Recaps: Gender Studies 101 Panel

Monday, July 11, 2016

Teen Review: This is My Brain on Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer

Fabulous High School TAB member, Anna shares her love for a new romantic comedy:

This Is My Brain On Boys by Sarah Strohmeyer

This book was handed to me by my friend as a joke after TAB-- they pointed at the cover and said "Look, it's you!!" I took it without question, because YES this cover and title is Me: I have a bird brain when it comes to boys. As I was reading, I discovered that the STORY was also relatable and hilarious, and I want more people to read this book.

Addie Emerson, a huge nerd and complete literalist, attends a private school called Academy 335. This school has all the resources she needs to conduct a science project and submit the results to a committee that could grant her the Athenian Award, AKA a full ride to Harvard. Her hypothesis is that in "specific"-- so, dangerous-- situations, you could get any two people to feel instant attraction. While Addie herself doesn't want to fall in love (phd > boys), she'd certainly like this experiment to be successful. So of course, love story-- ensue.

The main reason I liked this book so much is that IT IS SO FUNNY. Addie and I share the trait of taking everything literally and seeing her amplified version of myself had me snorting.  Even if this is not how you look at life, you can still relate to her small group of friends who are constantly laughing at her. The humor in this book will reach you no matter what kind of person you are. 

While the whole cast is not memorable, I think there is a little bit of everyone in each of the characters: Addie-- Nerd Girl; Kris-- the smoldering eyes, dark hair, total loser love interest; Tess-- the reliable best friends; Dexter-- the jerk with a cause. This is completely personal opinion but I love casts with exaggerated tropes, and this group is one of them.

I found the plot a little predictable, and sometimes not enough context was given, but all books have flaws. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the humor, characters, and plot of the novel. 4.5 stars!

More to read:

Up and Coming: Past Perfect by Leila Sales

Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall

Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw

Last Minute Reviews! Mostly Good Girls by Leila Sales

Friday, July 8, 2016

Friday Getaway Read: His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

Every summer we like to do something special. This year our bloggers will be giving you their picks for their favorite books to bring on a vacation. Whether you're heading out on a long car trip or catching a flight to paradise, we have the books to put in your carry-on.

Librarian M kicks us off with her fantastical pick for a travel companion read:

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

I know many people like to take it easy with their reading over vacation and check out a stack of “beach reads,” but I can’t be the only one who thinks, “Finally, I have the brain power to concentrate on a more complicated book!”

With that in mind, I’m going to suggest that summer might be the perfect time to read (or reread) Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. While you’re soaking up some sun you could also soak up: parallel universes, kidnappings, and prophecies. The seamless weaving of science and fantasy is breathtaking and the adventure top notch. Plus, the trilogy is complete so there won’t be any waiting to find out what happens next! Hundreds of pages of glorious escapades are waiting for you to devour them!