Earthgirl

August 13, 2009

earthgirl

Earthgirl by Jennifer Cowan

Everyone should want to protect the environment and save the world, right?

That’s the outlook of budding activist Sabine “Bean” Solomon. While riding her bike, Sabine is hit with a leftover McDonald’s meal tossed from an SUV that is idling in the bike lane. After a slight altercation with the driver that ends up being posted on You Tube, Sabine begins to realize that there is something seriously wrong with the world, and maybe it’s time that she did something about it.

However, not everyone is willing to embrace Sabine’s newfound environmental and consumer consciousness. Her parents won’t buy organic food from the local co-op (where Sabine now works after having quit her job at the corporate hole that is The Gap). Her friends scoff at carrying resuable bags. Her sister even joins the Girls Intelligence Agency, a marketing group that gathers polls teens in order to find the next big consumer trend. Sabine finds herself frustrated as she slowly alienates everyone around her.

Until she meets Vray. Vray is smart, gorgeous and is completely dedicated to “the cause”. The seem perfect for each other, with Vray teaching and guiding Sabine about what it means to be an activist. But where is the line between being dedicated and being a radical? Does the end justify the means, so long as it benefits and draws attention to “the cause”? What kind of activist is Sabine?

This is a timely and eye opening book, focusing heavily on issues that are not often found in teen literature, making for a great read for anyone who wants to get involved in responsible living.

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Cicada Summer

August 13, 2009

cicada

Cicada Summer by Andrea Beatty

Twelve year old Lily hasn’t talked in years. Not to her father. Not to her classmates. Not even to Fern, the grandmotherly owner of the small town’s general store. Most people assume that she has brain damage, a resulting from the events of “that night”, an assumtion that Lily doesn’t bother to correct. In truth, she just wants to be invisible, vowing to silently keep guard over the dark and tragic secret of what really happened “that night” .

Lily’s invisibility is challenged when Fern’s grandniece Tinny comes to town. Tinny quickly discovers that Lily is not as slow as everyone thinks and spends her time plotting ways to get Lily in trouble. But when a strange man shows up in town, Lily learns that Tinny may be in serious trouble. Will she be able break her vow of silence in order to keep Tinny safe?

This book should appeal to kids who like thoughtful stories mixed with a little bit of mystery (such as Patricia Reilly Giff’s Pictures of Hollis Woods


Joker

July 31, 2009

joker

Joker by Brian Azzarello

While the story in this was pretty good (there’s no denying that Brian Azzarello is a great writer), I was completely blown away by the art. I think that Lee Bermejo has just earned a special place in my list of favorite comic book artists (which would be second, of course….I kind of have a long running thing for Ben Templesmith—as you can see my tastes kind of run on the dark side of things). I can’t wait to read more things in which Bermejo has taken part!


Lio: Happiness is a Squishy Cephalopod

July 26, 2009

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Lio: Happiness is a Squishy Cephalopod by Mark Tatulli

Other than a comic strip here and there, I’d never really read a lot of Lio. I can’t believe how much I’ve been missing out!!! A mischievous litte kid with a penchant for mayhem, monsters and robots???? What more could I ask for?!?!

Here is just a wonderful sample:

lio_sample


The Eternal Smile

June 23, 2009

eternal smile cover

The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim

I have to say, one great thing about Gene Luen Yang is that I’m always caught off guard by his books. As in American Born Chinese, you never really know which direction the stories in The Eternal Smile are going. Co-written with Derek Kirk Kim, this trio of short graphic novel stories combine human nature and fantasy in a way that really makes you have to stop and think, especially when you realize that in each story, not everything is what it initially appears to be.

There is Duncan, who harbors princely aspirations; Gran’pa Greenbax, a frog who thinks money is the key to the world; and Janet, a 9-5 sales representative who longs for an African prince to come save her. Each one learns a life lesson is a most unexpected way.


Forever

June 17, 2009

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Forever by Pete Hamill

I’ve put off writing about this book for a while now. I loved it so much, I’m not sure I can really do it justice without giving away the magic of the book.

Forever begins Ireland during the 1740s. Cormac O’Connor is a boy who learns that he is half Irish, half Jewish in a time and place where the only acceptable heritage is to be an English Protestant. After the death of his family, he accepts the Irish vow to avenge his father’s death by ending the familial line of his father’s killer, the Earl of Warren.

This vow takes him on an adventure, crossing the Atlantic to the bustling port city of New York. Through a series of events and encounters, Cormac is granted immortality (this is where I don’t really want to ruin the plot). His immortality comes at a price though….he may never again leave the island of Manhattan. Doing so would be considered suicide, a death that would prevent him from ever joining his family in the afterlife of the Otherworld. The story then follows Cormac through the ages as he tries not only to really live, but also stay true to his original vow of avenging his father’s death.

It’s been a really long time since I’ve loved a book as much as I loved this one. It weaved a wonderful story, combining history together with a bit of magic. I’m kind of sad that it had to end.


The Girl Who Could Fly

June 17, 2009

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The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester

Piper McCloud knows that she is a little different than the other people in Lowland County…mainly because, well, she can fly. And flying makes someone different, which in Lowland County is not a good thing. For eleven years, Piper’s parents have kept her questionable gift a secret by homeschooling her, keeping her busy with chores and forbidding her to fly.

However all the years of secrecy are broken at a town picnic when Piper, in a desperate attempt to win friends, uses her gift to catch a fly ball in a baseball game. Between the frenzied newspaper and TV reporters, and the whispering townspeople, the quiet life that the McClouds’ had built for themselves seems destroyed.

Until Dr. Hellion arrives.

Dr. Hellion works for a government agency that seeks out “extraordinary” children, inviting them to attend an institute where they will learn to control their gifts. Piper makes the decision to go with the doctor, thinking that this will be best not only for her, but for her family as well. At the institute (which is really a thirteen level, state of the art, underground facility hidden in the Arctic), Piper meets children who are also different, among them the electrical Kimber, super-intelligent Conrad, size shifting Violet and the weather controlling twins, Nalin and Ahmed Mustafa. The institute seems too good to be true, and soon Piper learns they are all in danger….but is it too late to do anything?

When I first read about this book, I couldn’t help but feel it was a total rip-off of the X-men (which happens to be one of my favorite comics). However, this was also the same thing that attracted me to the book so much. After reading it, I realized my initial impression was kind of right…but I liked the characters and the story so much, I just didn’t care. This is a great book for boys and girls who are superhero fans, but need something more substantial to read.