Sutter Keely is a high school senior with no vision for his future and, in his words, "God's own drunk." He takes life as it comes -- embracing the weSutter Keely is a high school senior with no vision for his future and, in his words, "God's own drunk." He takes life as it comes -- embracing the weird, hanging out with his best friend Ricky, sipping on his trusty cup of Seagram's and 7-UP, and trying not to piss off his beautiful fat girlfriend Cassidy. But when Cassidy kicks him to the curb and Ricky starts dating his first girlfriend, Sutter finds himself alone & restless. When Aimee, a quiet nerdy girl with no self-esteem, randomly enters his life, he decides to help her gain self-confidence any way he can. But his good intentions have unexpected consequences. . .
Sutter is one of the funniest, truest and most memorable teen voices I've had the pleasure to read in a loooooong time. What I really love about this book, though, is its radical departure from the normal rules of realistic teen fiction. Even though the characters drink, do drugs, and have sex, no one gets pregnant, dies, or gets a terrible disease. By the end, no one is cured of their bad habits and nothing is neatly tied up and resolved. That fact alone makes this book worth reading. Things do change for Sutter and his friends, but life goes steadily onward, and so does Sutter, always embracing the spectacular now. ...more
Absolutely fantastic. You MUST read this book now. Frankie reminds me of a teenage, Foucault-reading Harriet the Spy with a budding feminist consciousAbsolutely fantastic. You MUST read this book now. Frankie reminds me of a teenage, Foucault-reading Harriet the Spy with a budding feminist consciousness. Plus she is a genius at making up super-nerdy slang. The dialogue is brilliant, the plot is totally engrossing, and the characters actually seem like teens you might know. I listened to it as an audiobook and would definitely recommend it -- good narrator for this book. ...more
Beautiful, otherworldly illustrated stories that are funny, melancholy, and pretty much perfect. These are brief -- some are only a page long -- but yBeautiful, otherworldly illustrated stories that are funny, melancholy, and pretty much perfect. These are brief -- some are only a page long -- but you can spend hours studying Tan's intricate, captivating drawings. My favorites are "Eric" (about an alien exchange student who lives in the pantry), "Stick Figures" (the haunting illustrations really tell this story), and the one about the poetry ball, I can't remember its title but it is the best use of cut-and-paste collage to tell a story that I have seen in a long while. ...more
A postmodern take on the Arthurian legends that brilliantly deconstructs these timeless myths through the eyes of a gender-bending narrator -- could tA postmodern take on the Arthurian legends that brilliantly deconstructs these timeless myths through the eyes of a gender-bending narrator -- could there be a more perfect retelling of these stories for little ole postmodern-feminist me? Reeve's wonderful book cleverly demonstrates how the lives of ordinary, imperfect people become dazzling, entrancing myths -- and the high price that is paid to create them. In this version, Arthur is no gentle Christian king but rather is the brutish leader of a pack of mercernaries roaming the British countryside, meting out swift and severe punishment to all who refuse to pay proper tribute. Merlin is Myrddin, a silver-tongued bard who creates the Arthur we know today through his captivating tales. The narrator, Gwyna, is a unlucky young girl who stumbles across their path during one of Arthur's raids, and is transformed multiple times -- from Lady of the Lake to boy servant to handmaiden spy and back again.
Reeve is one of my favorite fantasy authors writing today and this book is just as stellar as his outstanding Hungry City Chronicles. Highly recommended for anyone who's deeply skeptical about chivalry but still loves a good story. ...more
Also read for work. A funny, informative & non-preachy guide to sexuality and sexual health for teens of all ages and sexual orientations. Short bAlso read for work. A funny, informative & non-preachy guide to sexuality and sexual health for teens of all ages and sexual orientations. Short but chock-full of great information delivered in a humorous, non-judgmental voice that teens will appreciate. The best sex guide for teens I've seen since good ole Changing Bodies, Changing Lives (which in my mind is still the gold standard, but sadly hasn't been updated since 1998). If I was a parent, I would make sure my kids got a copy of this book before they hit puberty. For more info, check out my professional review on the Teen Services Goodreads account. ...more
So good, I could not put this one down. It was a refreshing change to read a story of post-apocalyptic survival that was not utterly soul-crushingly dSo good, I could not put this one down. It was a refreshing change to read a story of post-apocalyptic survival that was not utterly soul-crushingly depressing. And well-written to boot! The narrator's voice is clear and realistic in a situation that is pretty far-fetched. You can't help but empathize and wonder how you would fare if you were in Miranda's shoes. . . .definitely made me want to start stocking up on the canned goods, batteries & bottled water....more
A brilliant follow-up to The Pox Party. Anderson does a majestic job portraying the horrors and tedium of war, and the truly heartbreaking plight of tA brilliant follow-up to The Pox Party. Anderson does a majestic job portraying the horrors and tedium of war, and the truly heartbreaking plight of the black soldiers who fought for the British against the rebels. Most readers will have no idea that General Dunmore's Regiment of Ethiopian Soldiers existed (I sure didn't), and Anderson illuminates this fascinating chapter in American history with sensitivity and thoroughly captivating prose. A spectacular and much-needed corrective to the traditional Whig history of the Revolution. ...more
Completely devastating, but in a good way. I had been putting off reading this one for a while, but then I watched Season 4 of The Wire and it just seCompletely devastating, but in a good way. I had been putting off reading this one for a while, but then I watched Season 4 of The Wire and it just seemed like a natural follow-up -- so many of the themes are the same. Strangely enough, however, Push left me with more hope for its characters than The Wire. Which is saying something. There is a LOT of super-intense stuff (incest, rape, abuse, abject poverty, and more) that Precious, the 16-year-old main character, has to contend with and Sapphire doesn't spare the reader any of the awful details. This book is definitely not for everyone but adult readers and older teens who don't flinch from Precious' reality will be riveted. ...more
In the not-so-distant dystopian future, abortion is illegal, but parents can choose to have their unwanted children "unwound" (organs and body parts dIn the not-so-distant dystopian future, abortion is illegal, but parents can choose to have their unwanted children "unwound" (organs and body parts divided and donated to needy patients) when they are teenagers. When he discovered that his parents have decided to have him unwound, teenage Connor runs away from home and encounters Rita and Liam, two teens from completely different backgrounds who share his fate. Risa grew up in an orphanage and has just learned she isn't a talented enough musician to justify continued state support. Lev, on the other hand, comes from a large Christian family and has known since birth that he will be unwound as a "tithe" to the Church and society. Together, these unlikely compatriots travel across the country, meeting other Unwinds and trying to stay a step ahead of the police.
The premise of this book seemed completely far-fetched to me at first -- what parent would deliberately condemn their child to death, no matter how aggravating they might be? But then I thought about the rates of child abuse in this country, and how even well-meaning parents who love their teenagers send them to boot camps, electroshock therapy, gay "rehabilitation" centers, and other scary places because they are "difficult." With this in mind, the events in the book seemed more plausible. And I quickly become so engrossed in the story that I didn't really care. There are also some brilliant imaginative details in here -- unwanted newborns are left on doorsteps (and become the legal responsibility of the homeowners) in a practice known as "storking," terrorists known as Clappers are human IEDs, and so on. There are two scenes in particular that will stay with me for a very, very long time: one where Liam and a boy who has received part of an Unwind's brain as a transplant travel to the Unwind's hometown to confront his parents, and when one of the main characters is Unwound -- it is not explicitly violent, but it is truly one of most horrifying things I have ever read.
Throughout the narrative, Shusterman raises some very tricky, complicated questions about the sanctity of life, the balance between individual rights and societal needs, and the meaning of forgiveness. His subtle and sensitive treatment of these complex issues make Unwind a thought-provoking novel that will have readers rethinking their beliefs about human life. A great discussion book for teens and adults alike. ...more
Yes, Greg is my cousin but even if he weren't I would still be singing the praises of this comic -- Magneto has always been my favorite "bad guy" in tYes, Greg is my cousin but even if he weren't I would still be singing the praises of this comic -- Magneto has always been my favorite "bad guy" in the X-Men universe, and I love how Greg constructs a detailed, historically accurate, and compelling back story for him in this comic, which describes how Magneto (born Max Eisenhardt, a German Jew), comes of age during the brutal repression of the Third Reich. In some ways I think that this comic is a better choice for teens learning about the Holocaust than Maus, which I have always felt speaks more to older readers -- especially in the way Spiegelman depicts his relationship with his elderly father. I never understood why Maus is usually cataloged as a teen graphic novel in most libraries. In Magneto Testament, the main character is a Jewish teenager struggling to survive in a horrifying situation (and starting to figure out who he is in the process) -- and I think he's a much more sympathetic character to most teens than Vladek Spiegelman.
My only beef with this comic was the way that Giandomenico drew people -- too wide-eyed and overly muscled to my liking, but that's a problem I have with most superhero comics in general. ...more
The perfect antidote to Libba Bray's ponderous, dunder-headed heroines. A smart snappy blend of Austen and Heyer with just a touch of JK Rowling to maThe perfect antidote to Libba Bray's ponderous, dunder-headed heroines. A smart snappy blend of Austen and Heyer with just a touch of JK Rowling to make it a bit more interesting. I'm not usually a fan of the epistolary format but I think it worked pretty well here. I want to read the follow-up but I am a wee bit apprehensive because we all know that once wedding vows are made, the story becomes BORING. We'll see if they can pull it off. . .
I'd recommend this one for folks who couldn't make it through Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (which I personally LOVED, but I know it's too long-winded for some folks) but are intrigued by the idea of Magic in Napoleonic-era England. And love Jane Austen. ...more
A graphic adaptation of Canada's memoir of the education in urban violence he received growing up on the mean streets of the South Bronx in 1960s &A graphic adaptation of Canada's memoir of the education in urban violence he received growing up on the mean streets of the South Bronx in 1960s & 70s. A gripping and sobering account how urban youth, especially boys, are inculcated in codes of violence from an early age, and the devastating impact this behavior has on their lives & their communities. I haven't read the original prose memoir so I can't comment on how the graphic adaptation stacks up, but I thought the words & pictures worked well together in this comic. Recommended. ...more
Dark, funny autobio comic about White's teenage years and what happened when she checked herself into a mental hospital at age 17. Really effective siDark, funny autobio comic about White's teenage years and what happened when she checked herself into a mental hospital at age 17. Really effective simple line drawings reminiscent of John Porcellino's King-Cat Comix. One technique I really appreciated was how she drew conversations between herself & her psychiatrist or other people -- she divided the page in half with herself drawn in panels on the left side and the other conversant on the right with the gutter going down straight down the page. When the psychiatrist speaks to Tracy (Stacy in the book), his word balloon travels across the gutter into her panel attached by a long thin string. Really smart and effective use of cartoon conventions to illustrate the difficulties of communication and how we try to protect ourselves from others with verbal barriers. Highly recommend this comic to anyone who has ever suffered from depression or has loved someone who has. ...more