Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Top 5 of 2013 (so far): Karen's Most Excellent Choices

Karen's list is not-to-be-missed, full of thought-provoking graphic novels, cool fiction and one of our fave non-fiction titles around.

This is poignant.  Intriguing.  Disturbing.  If you’ve read the novel version or McKay’s Thunder Over Kandahar then you’ll know what I mean.  This intense and condensed graphic novel tells the harrowing story of a group of friends who are kidnapped in the middle of the night and forced to be child soldiers in Uganda.  Jacob makes his friends swear a pact together: they are brothers; they will watch out for each other.  The images give a sharp life to the words and paint a picture so upsetting that you’re left wondering who the victim is and who the culprit.  Though a fictional work, this novel pulls from real events and real people.  

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
First off it’s the 80s and there are mixed tapes.  Who doesn’t love mixed tapes?  The 80s?  If you say you don’t well, you are clearly missing out.  Eleanor is new to school.  She’s had a rough time but music is her escape.  She spends nights rationing the use of her walkman.  She has to be sure her batteries last.  In walks Park.  Or I guess I should say there sits Park.  They meet on the bus.  He’s the only one willing to give her a seat even if grudgingly.  Uncomfortably silent bus rides slowly turn into music and comic book sharing.  As their relationship changes, you’ll remember your own first love. (see our full week of posts)

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Elegant writing brings authenticity to the very real issue of body image that teens face while entwining a chilling murder mystery.  Hannah is haunted by the ghost of her best friend Lillian who self-destructed six months ago.  When the insufferable heat of July brings a series of grisly murders to town, Lillian won’t stop until Hannah investigates.  But Hannah’s more interested in Finny Boone, the bad boy and moving on; it’s time to let Lillian go.  Will Lillian let Hannah move on or will she be entangled in a murder investigation?  (see our full review)

Drama (2012) by Raina Telgemeier
Drama abounds on, off and behind stage in this graphic novel!  Callie loves theater and she’d love to try out for the musical.  But she can’t sing so she takes on set design.  She’s ready to make the best set ever but boy drama might get in the way.  When two cute brothers enter stage left, the drama ticks up a notch.  While the writing is great, it’s the pictures that I love!  They are beautiful and elicit fond memories of my own drama days (on and off the stage)…. (see our full review)

If I hadn’t known this was non-fiction when I picked it up, I probably would have thought it was fiction.  Sheinkin’s writing makes this both an engaging and exciting tale while shedding light on the history of the atomic bomb’s creation.  I loved it!  You get a look into the world of the scientists who created the bomb, the spies who shared national secrets and the commando forces that slipped behind enemy lines.  This may be written for kids but anyone and everyone will love it, even if you aren’t a history buff; it reads more like a suspense novel! (see our full review)

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