In this graphic memoir, Telgemeier recounts her early relationship with her sister Amara through a series of anecdotal flashbacks, framed by a summer...moreIn this graphic memoir, Telgemeier recounts her early relationship with her sister Amara through a series of anecdotal flashbacks, framed by a summer road trip to a family reunion. Telgemeier's trademark style is here with its vivid colors, here dimmed to indicate the flashback sections, and expressive faces. There's a scene where she tells Raina tells cousins she likes comics, citing "Foxtrot" as an example, and the resemblance between Sisters and the long-running strip is clear, once you're looking for it, in both the visual style and the content of the book.
Telgemeier's real strength is hitting the sweet spot between true middle-grade and true YA by capturing the turmoil of early adolescence without the seriousness or older content of much YA. That's not to say Sisters doesn't tackle serious issues: Raina's parents marriage is slowly falling apart, and the family's outgrown their tiny apartment but can't afford a bigger place. Still, Raina's about 14 during the summer road trip, and she's mostly concerned with having enough batteries to keep her Walkman playing. The family reunion perfectly captures the in-between-ness that lots of middle schoolers feel: Raina's older cousins make fun of her for sleeping with a stuffed animal and aren't interested in roller skating anymore; the younger ones are rowdy and wild. Although they spend most of the book fighting, in the end, Raina and Amara find they can rely on each other when they can't count on anything else.
It’s the summer of 1964, and Mississippi is filling with young volunteers from all over the country, here for a Freedom Summer during which they’ll se...moreIt’s the summer of 1964, and Mississippi is filling with young volunteers from all over the country, here for a Freedom Summer during which they’ll set up schools and community centers in black communities and encourage African-Americans to register to vote. Sunny, a white girl about to turn thirteen, is barely aware of the changes going on around her. She’s content to listen to the Beatles’ new record, go to the pool in the afternoons, and spend her evenings at the movie theater, where her uncle Parnell always lets her in for free. Raymond, a black boy, isn’t so lucky. There’s a Freedom Rider named Jo Ellen staying at his house, and his mother wants to register to vote, regardless of the consequences. Intertwined with Sunny and Ray’s stories are historical documents - photographs, newspaper clippings, leaflets, song lyrics - as well as short essays by the author that provided background information and evoke the summer’s uneasy mood. Revolution is a beautifully crafted and beautifully written book that provides a complex look at the summer of 1964. Highly recommended for grades 5-8. (less)
An extremely quick read about Marvin, a homeless teen with super powers. Unfortunately he's a "dirty," meaning it's against the law for him to use his...moreAn extremely quick read about Marvin, a homeless teen with super powers. Unfortunately he's a "dirty," meaning it's against the law for him to use his powers. When he saves a family during a carjacking, he's offered the opportunity to try out for the Core, a group of revered superheroes who protect the city.
The author has a background in comic writing, and it shows. It's a thoughtful take on public heroism, corruption, and doing the right thing. The writing is straight forward and the dialogue and action scenes flow naturally. Overall, this is a nice surprise from a small publisher and highly recommended for reluctant readers and fans of Steelheart.
Note: there's an unexpected rape scene - not graphic, but it's pretty clear exactly what happens. (less)
A thoughtful but never preachy look at growing up between cultures and race and class in poor neighborhoods of San Diego. Great dialogue, flawed but r...moreA thoughtful but never preachy look at growing up between cultures and race and class in poor neighborhoods of San Diego. Great dialogue, flawed but realistic and likable characters, riveting baseball scenes. Some pacing problems, but a great addition to the YA canon.(less)
Captain Drake, a member of the king's royal guard, is hunting for three unnamed thieves. The story alternates between his current search for them in a...moreCaptain Drake, a member of the king's royal guard, is hunting for three unnamed thieves. The story alternates between his current search for them in a house of healing and his early days in the king's guard. In the flashbacks, young Drake grapples with complicated palace politics. The text raises questions of loyalty and morality without feeling heavy-handed, but the because the story focuses on the adult Captain Drake, it feels a little old for the intended middle grade or young YA audience. Color illustrations for the main storyline alternate with black and white for Drake's memories; the use of two palettes is an effective story-telling technique and a handy cue for young readers. The King's Dragon is clearly not a standalone, but it is a strong entry into the Three Thieves series. Recommended where the first three are popular.(less)
A serviceable YA romance about Charlie, the youngest child and only girl in a family of four. Raised by her policeman father and three athletic older...moreA serviceable YA romance about Charlie, the youngest child and only girl in a family of four. Raised by her policeman father and three athletic older brothers (her mother died when Charlie was six), Charlie is a great athlete but uncomfortably with anything she deems girly or feminine. When a speeding ticket leads to a job at a clothing shop, Charlie makes new friends, learns about "being a girl," and falls in love with the boy next door, who may or may not think of her like a sister. Stereotypes about gender and relatively flat characters, plus an abundance of plot points (the romance, Charlie's new friends, nightmares about her mother's death) weaken this novel, but it will appeal to teens looking contemporary romance. An additional purchase where romance is popular. (less)