Jessica shares this review:
Given the multiple starred reviews of this realistic fiction read, I had fairly high expectations. And it didn’t disappoint.
Eleanor is an outsider who dresses strangely and is a target for bullying with her curly red hair, curvy build and freckles. Her home life is nothing short of a nightmare, and with no friends to turn to, Eleanor is completely alone. Park is well adjusted, and though a bit different with his Korean heritage, accepted. His parents are as in love as the day they met, and outside of getting his driver’s license, Park wants for little.
Needless to say, it’s not love at first sight. But Park’s inner kindness comes through, and he gives Eleanor the empty seat on the bus next to him. While the two remain silent at first, Park begins to notice Eleanor reading his comics through sideways, downcast glances. To his own surprise, Park starts bringing Eleanor comics to take home and read on her own. From that point on, a fairly unpredicted relationship begins to emerge. The comics progress to mix tapes and even more heart-turning, conversation. And all of a sudden, Park wonders how he didn’t fall head over heels for Eleanor the day she stepped on the bus.
With more in common than most, Eleanor and Park develop a strong bond that keeps them together through all the high and lows in Eleanor’s life. Unknowingly, Park provides Eleanor with an escape from her terrifying stepfather and secret home life. For once, Eleanor begins to feel safe and loved and cared for. But with so many factors in the works throughout the novel, something is bound to test their commitment and pull them in opposite directions. For two sixteen year olds, they show a remarkable level of depth and emotion. Rowell has truly managed to craft an imperfect love story that will leave readers with both smiles and tears. Even romantic skeptics will enjoy the push and pull and leave cheering on the unlikely couple.
Check the WRL catalog for Eleanor and Park.
Lizzie shares this review:
This manga follows the life of twins Yukio and Rin, who happen to be sons of the demon lord, Satan. Of the two, only Rin was cursed with Satan’s powers.
The plot begins with Rin learning that he is half demon. After this occurs, he decides that he will become an exorcist and defeat Satan since Satan killed his foster father. He follows his brother Yukio to True Cross Academy, which is where he will learn to become an exorcist.
The characters in this graphic novel have interesting personalities. Yukio, for example, is smart and shy, but is confident when he’s teaching his class. Rin acts goofy, but is serious when needed. So, each character has a personality that changes and is well-rounded.
In conclusion, I enjoyed this graphic novel very much, and I am hoping to read more like it.
Check the WRL catalog for Blue Exorcist.
Lily shares this review:
A twist on the classic fairy tale, The Goose Girl is about an unusually gifted princess who takes a long journey to an unknown country to meet her betrothed. On the way, mutiny arises within her guard. Before she knows it, Ani is running for her life with no one to protect her. She makes her way to Bayern, the country of her betrothed, only to find the rebels within her guard making themselves at home. In order to lay low she finds work as a goose girl and discovers a family in her fellow workers. Suddenly, word spreads that Bayern is to be at war with her home kingdom. Ani must face her fear of discovery and death to stop the massacre of her people.
This romantic adventure is a beautifully crafted story of betrayal, trust, and finding your own strength.
Check the WRL catalog for The Goose Girl
Melissa shares this review:
Teenager Lex Bartleby has gotten in trouble, serious trouble, more times than her parents can handle. As hard as it is for them, they send her to her Uncle Mort’s for the summer, hoping he can help her work out a better release for her destructive behavior.
Lex doesn’t understand why she’s so angry all the time, but nevertheless dreads the trip to her uncle’s. She’s prepared to hate every minute she’s away from her twin sister, Cordy.
It turns out, though, that Uncle Mort has experience with angry teens–in fact, he seeks troubled kids out for a pretty special job. Mort is a Grim Reaper, and he finds that kids with Lex’s issues make great apprentices.
Lex is surprised to find that she has a natural ability to quickly free the soul from the deceased–and for once in her life she has lots of friends who seem to understand her. As an added bonus, those wild urges to act out start to fade as soon as she starts working as a reaper.
When the Junior Grims notice a series of suspicious deaths, Lex and her partner Driggs, try to figure out what’s going on. It looks like someone has gone rogue and is killing off people whom he or she thinks deserve to die–murderers, liars, cheaters, etc.–which is something Lex has struggled with ever since her first day on the job. Why shouldn’t these bad people get punished for their deeds?
The book answers some questions, but definitely leaves enough open that you’ll have to read the sequel, Scorch. Thankfully, that book, too, is in the library collection.
The world-building and explanation of how the Grims collect and deliver souls to the Afterlife is fascinating. And the wide assortment of characters in the town make for interesting reading. The author writes with a nice mix of humor and action. I couldn’t help but turn the page to see what would happen next.
Check the WRL catalog for Croak
Check the WRL catalog for Scorch
Lizzie shares this review:
“Humankind is down to just a few thousand people who live in a city surrounded by three concentric walls. The walls protect them from their enemies, the ravenous giants known as the Titans. The Titans appear to have only one purpose: to consume humanity.”
Attack on Titan is a bloody manga with an abundance of death. This manga is full of adventure, emotion, and lots of gore. It all starts when a certain titan kicks a hole in the outer wall.
The main character, Eren Yeager, is a relatable punk with a serious attitude. After enduring the worst moment of his life, Eren proclaims that he will kill every titan in existence. His drive is one quality everyone talks about throughout the book. Another great thing about this book is that the side characters are shown and explained. Unlike other books, they continue to use side characters instead of dropping them halfway through the book.
The theme of this manga is survival. Since titans have almost wiped out mankind, people have to learn how to protect themselves and what it means to truly live. Though survival is important, people still ruin relationships with others who could very well save their life. In this manga, everyone has their own bad quality.
The plot of humanity being close to extinction is a very overused topic, but this manga is a little different. Instead of starvation or alien-like creatures coming to kill humanity for some reason, they have human-like creatures attacking them.
Altogether, this first volume really stuck out to me. It has its fantastic main and side characters, each with their own unique qualities, along with a thriving plot that keeps the reader wanting more. I rate it 5 stars.
Check the WRL catalog for Attack on Titan
Never fall in love with someone who has chosen to die.
Palmares Três is a futuristic Brazilian pyramid city, a vivid backdrop for this young adult novel. After global catastrophe in the distant past, humanity has rebuilt pockets of civilization, but with a lingering mistrust of new technology and a twisted political system born out of the times of chaos. Genetic modification has extended lifespans, creating a culture and a political system that doesn’t begin to take you seriously as a mature adult until you’re in your thirties.
And every few years the youth elect, in a spectacle reminiscent of early seasons of American Idol, a Summer King who holds the title for one year before the reigning queen slits his throat in televised public sacrifice. Yes, if you can imagine Ryan Seacrest hosting an Aztec ceremony—and really, it’s not so hard—you’ve got a good handle on politics, Palmares Três style.
The king’s death reinforces his choice of the next queen, but he doesn’t really have a choice. It’s all bloody political theater that plays to the young crowd and reinforces the ruling matriarchs. Until Enki, who is gorgeous and talented, a candidate from the lowest class of Palmares Três society. His wild popularity is probably the first sign that the city’s government might be massively out of touch with its citizens.
June Costas, the narrator, is a young, ambitious artist who is just graduating from street graffiti to installation art that challenges the city rulers. (One of her projects is the body-mod shown on the gorgeous book cover: patterned lights embedded under her skin.) She starts out just another young woman screaming with the crowd, but her art catapults her into the public eye, a complicated relationship with the Summer King, and a whole world of things she did not want to know about how her city is governed and about what it’s like to love someone who plans to die. Even June can’t figure out whether Enki is in this game for a few months of privilege, access to limited-edition body-modifying tech, and fans lining up to be his lovers; whether he truly has a death wish; or whether he’s figured out some new way to serve the city they both love.
This is a serious-minded take on art and politics, acts of rebellion, and using your own life (and) death as a canvas. Johnson writes vivid, sensual prose steeped in Brazilian phrases, dance, and song. Palmares Três culture, at its best and worst, comes to life in lots of little details. The worldbuilding reminded me of Nnedi Okorafor’s alternate Nigeria in The Shadow Speaker, but this book is aimed at older teens and young adults. Although most of the words eventually make sense from context, I admit, I could have used a glossary. But what this book could really use is a playlist—after reading about the ways Palmares Três kids blend music and art and political protest and dance, you’ll really want to queue up a samba.
Check the WRL catalog for The Summer Prince.
Jessica shares this review:
Get ready for a fast paced, post-apocalyptic thrill ride. Author Aguirre appeals to a wide range of readers in this first of a planned trilogy, which has ample amounts of action, suspense and adventure.
The world now isn’t a place we would easily recognize. The ruins are all that remain, along with the violent gangs who inhabit them and the underground subcultures living in communities known as “Enclaves.” However, roaming the underground tunnels is another set of creatures as well. Known by members of the Enclaves as “Freaks,” these creatures are absolutely zombie-like, with a lust for human flesh. In this frightening view of the future we meet Deuce. She exists within the Enclave, a strong and dedicated member who lives for her coveted position as Huntress.
The Enclave has assigned the role of Hunter/Huntress to members of the community who will defend them against the “Freaks.” On her naming day, after fifteen years of training and waiting, Deuce is assigned the role of Huntress. Ever diligent and never questioning, she takes on the role with fervor. But everything begins to slowly change when she is partnered with another hunter, Fade. Fade is an outcast who arrived at the Enclave after surviving for years on his own topside. Never fully accepted and a self-made loner, Fade still possesses a unique skill set that is highly valued—fighting and killing. Together, Deuce and Fade begin to make notable discoveries about their leaders and start to get a glimpse of the dystopian society they have called home for years. After a devastating event forces Deuce and Fade to be banished from the Enclave, they must learn to survive not only the topside gangs, but the “Freaks” who have found their way up as well. An ideal read for fans of The Hunger Games and Graceling.
Check the WRL catalog for Enclave.
Melissa shares this review:
This debut novel by Carrie Harris is fun—if, like me, you enjoy the occasional zombie book!
High school junior Kate Grable is the football team’s student trainer. She is hoping that the experience will help her get into a good medical school, but up until now she’s pretty much just been in charge of the Gatorade cart.
One afternoon she notices a bunch of unlabeled bottles in the coach’s cabinet. She suspects they are steroids until one of the players collapses at a party. Kate swears the boy is dead, until he lurches to his feet and walks away. He can’t be dead if he walked away, right?
After a few more players show the same grayish skin and dead-like symptoms (like trying to munch on other students), Kate is ready to think the unthinkable. Something has turned these players into zombies.
Before the whole town comes down with the zombie infection, Kate has to find a cure. And if she manages to get a date to the homecoming dance in the meantime—so much the better!
The books are fast-paced and easy to get into. It isn’t particularly scary reading about zombies running loose in school. And while there is a certain “ew, gross” factor, even that is handled with humor. Add that to the usual high school angst, and friendships, and crushes…. it makes a great introduction to a series of books about geeky Kate and her high school adventures. I wonder what will happen next to this aspiring medical student!
Check the WRL catalog for Bad Taste in Boys.