... which I think you all expect is my usual modus operandi. -Sarah
Do you know how rare it is to find a young adult novel in which there isn’t a love story? Often, even if you’re reading genre fiction, there’s some romance element in play. I Am Princess X isn’t just successful because the action is focused around the mystery of what really happened to Libby and who is responsible for the Princess X webcomic. The characters are all really well developed, the art is amazing, and right away you’re plunged into a story whose action carries you through to the end. I can’t say enough good things about this book
I’m going to make this as short as possible. Yes, it’s not a polished novel. There’s no way it would have been published if Harper Lee (age 89, hard of hearing and seeing) had been asked to revise a novel she forgot she’d written. Yes, there are complicated circumstances surrounding its publication. Yes, Atticus is a racist. Those are all legit reasons not to want to read it. But not reading GSAW really limits how much a part of the conversation about it you can be. There’s a lot to like, here too. Lots of really beautiful passages and descriptions. Most importantly, Scout grows up to be a badass. Lots of the racial stuff is especially relevant today. I’m sure I’ll re-read this and just as I do with TKAM, I’ll come away with something new.
Two wealthy, demanding jerks spend the first half of the book being grumpy about their sad lots in life, and the second half of the book working in a titular secret garden that magically cures one of their physical or mental illness. Oh, also some imperialistic shade thrown at India for fun.
This was so sweet and smart and incredibly touching and personal. Hayden's style is reminiscent of Roz Chast and Julie Doucet. This isn't really just a breast cancer memoir. It's the story of the author's family, her marriage, and the ways in which those things supported her through her cancer, mastectomy, and eventual breast reconstruction. Hayden has obviously worked really hard on this book - the writing is as engaging as the art and I can't wait for this to be available to the public so I have other people to gush with.
Dietland is two stories, woven together. Alicia “Plum” Kettle ghostwrites answers to an advice columnist that never gets published. She works from home and sometimes from a coffee shop. With few exceptions, Plum lives a solitary life waiting for her real life to start once she has bariatric surgery. A cell of radical feminists called “Jennifer” begin to take action against rapists, producers of revenge porn, etc. Plum doesn’t become a counter terrorist, but her exposure to women who are doing big, important things changes her in drastic ways. She confronts the men who mock her, stops starving herself, and starts to think about her place in the world around her. I’m not doing this book justice, really. This is one of the most feminist books I’ve ever read. The violence will make people uncomfortable and Jennifer’s actions will be controversial for a lot of others. Regardless of how it makes you feel, the author’s intention is to make you think. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if you like this book or hate it, you’ll certainly spend a lot of time thinking about it. I’d call that a success.
I grew up about an hour from Jolo, WV which is known primarily for being the home of a Pentecostal Church that practices snake handling. So, right away I was bought into this book. I fell pretty quickly in love with the characters and even more so with Zentner's eloquent prose and perfect timing. The Serpent King is about Dill, Lydia, and Travis - three misfit teenagers with dreams too big for their small town to contain. I'm not going to spoil a lot here, but this gorgeous freaking novel made me cry like I was being murdered and when I closed the cover on it, I was incredibly sad to be done.
Holy snot. I bought this book and it sat on my shelves for a long time. I picked this up to fill a square on my summer book bingo and read it in one sitting. This is the sort of book that is so incredibly good that I can't stop thinking about it for days. The kind of book that you think: Oh, this is for dudes who are reluctant readers. And then you realize that you'd been totally unfair and wrong and you want to write a personal letter of apology to the author for misjudging. You can tell by the cover that this basketball plays a big role in The Crossover, but it's about so much more than that. It's about growing up, girls, family relationships, race, and mortality. I can't recommend this enough.
I'm pretty on board with whatever Mo Williams does. This is no exception. It's a cute, well drawn story of an adventurous cat and a pampered pooch who learn something new about themselves and the world around them. I think reading Gerald and Piggie to my storytime shorties spoiled me on longer books. Even less satisfying MW is pretty awesome. Will definitely sell a stack of these.
This is one of those books I've loved every time I've read it. There's some magic, some mystery, and the eternal struggle between good and evil. This checks so many boxes on my list - references to King Arthur, a band of raggedy, good-natured kids, and a prophecy, song, or poem that they must figure out in order to win the battle.
Again, a series a really loved. The main character is a little forgettable, except that he is a foil for the forces surrounding him. Will turns eleven and comes into power as an "Old One." It's interesting to see how his new wisdom contrasts with the way the world around him expects a kid to act. Lots of adventure and mystery, lots of action.
This was pretty reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics in the very best ways possible. Reincarnated gods, magical powers, stardom and manipulation. This was a lot of fun to look at and read even if it lost me occasionally. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I was pretty surprised how into this comic I am. I picked up the first issue for free at BEA and only now got around to looking through the stack. The art is clean and simple. It's subtle but really beautiful. Alex is a single guy who works a pretty boring job in a society where AIs are well integrated. His grandmother buys him a lady android and he feels weird about it, but gives bonding with her the old college try. Unfortunately, Ada is programmed to have zero desires that don't revolve around Alex, which feels weird and uncomfortable to him. There are a lot of interesting takeaways about human connectivity and at what point the devices we depend on stop being just functional. I will say that this comic starts out slowly and then builds.