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Thu, May. 11th, 2017, 02:54 pm
Graphic Discovery of Dinosaur Fossils (26)

SCIENCE COMICS: DINOSAURS FOSSILS AND FEATHERS Written by M.K. Reed & Illustrated by Joe Flood
When the Industrial Revolution began and Mesozoic fossils were unearthed, a great race occurred between British scientists to identify and explain dinosaurs. Spanning from the 1800s to present day, this graphic non-fiction volume in the "Get to Know Your Universe -- Science Comics" series is a fantastic spread of facts and blips of humor when the dinosaurs add their own quips. About the early paleontologists as much as the fossils, dinosaur fans will appreciate the new angle this book offers. (First Second, 2016)

Thu, May. 11th, 2017, 02:47 pm
Wilderness Adventure Volume 6 (25)

LUMBERJANES VOLUME 6: SINK OR SWIM Written by Shannon Watters & Kat Leyh and Illustrated by Carey Pietsch
The five girls take on their latest paranormal foes -- selkies and a werebear -- while trying to work as a team for their knot-tying merit badge among portals and whirlpools around their camp. The main characters are expressive and fun,
the premise is funny, and the chapter openings that incorporate pieces of the "Lumberjanes Field Manual" are clever.
A good choice for upper middle grade readers looking for a graphic novel adventure. This volume will mean more if readers start at number one. (Boom! Box, 2017)

Thu, May. 11th, 2017, 02:40 pm
Graphic Zombie Action (24)

HANSEL & GRETEL & ZOMBIES Written by Benjamin Harper & Illustrated by Fernando Cano
Hansel and Gretel's zombie parents need fresh brains, so they send out their children to lure people into their cemetery, but instead they are captured by a witch and the tables may be turned. This installment of the Far Our Fairy Tales series has some dark humor but isn't that much more twisted than the original fairy tale. Cartoony illustrations and an explanation of how to interpret the comic format make this a good choice for young readers starting out on their graphic novel journeys. (Stone Arch Books, 2016)

Tue, May. 9th, 2017, 04:17 pm
Stories Collide (25)

THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN by Ellen Hopkins
Ariel and her dad have moved around since she was two and her mother left them, and now she found the place she wants to stay until high school is over because of her budding feelings for her best friend; Maya is pregnant and living on a military base with her husband, wondering if she should stay because of his drinking and abusive tendencies; as past secrets are revealed and the stories collide, a scary truth about Ariel's history and her father surfaces. Ariel's chapters are in free verse, sometimes revealing two poems in one. Maya's chapters are in journal format in prose.
Both work well for their stories and help differentiate them. The reveal of Ariel's past is easy to guess about halfway through the book, but is still angering and emotional, and the reader learns it is based on an actual experience the author had with her daughter. A moving book with honest look at love and sex. (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2017)

Tue, May. 9th, 2017, 03:59 pm
Australian Drought (24)

THE DRY by Jane Harper
Agent Falk returns to his hometown to attend a funeral after hearing that his childhood best friend Luke murdered his wife, son, and then shot himself, but when Luke's parents ask Falk to investigate further, he finds that the case may not be so cut and dry, and an old missing girl case resurfaces. The Australian setting and its severe drought are a great backdrop for this intense adult mystery novel, where tensions run higher in the heat. The ending to the missing girl case is not my favorite type of info-dump resolution, but the overall story lives up to the hype of the genre. Not for those who cannot stomach reading about the murder of a child. (Flatiron, 2017)

Wed, Apr. 26th, 2017, 11:24 am
Nature Wins (23)

DAN VERSUS NATURE by Don Calame
Dan is mad when his mother announces her engagement to Hank, a burly man who hunts his own game, and even more annoyed when she sends Dan and Hank on a wilderness "vacation" so they can bond, but Dan and his best friend use the opportunity to sabotage Hank's involvement with their family even though disaster after disaster strikes through the trip. With situations that will be laugh-out-loud funny to those with a stereotypical adolescent boy's sense of humor, this YA novel is also peppered with swear words and comedic language and timing that add to its appeal. The cast is fantastic, especially Dan's hypochondriac best friend and the erudite girl they encounter on the trip. As a survival story that doesn't take itself to seriously, this book is a true winner. (Candlewick, 2016)

Wed, Apr. 26th, 2017, 11:17 am
Sports v. Song (22)

GARVEY'S CHOICE by Nikki Grimes
Garvey is overweight and tired of being teased about it by his classmates, and he wants his father to accept him as a non-athletic son, and when he has the opportunity to audition for the school chorus, he may find his calling and something to love about himself. Written in poetic form, this middle-grade novel touches on friendships and family dynamics, and finding your niche. Garvey's relationship with his father changes nicely over time, and his interest in his physical health grows, though his eventual weight loss may contradict the concept of self-acceptance. A sweet story that shows the power of being true to ones self. (WordSong, 2016)

Wed, Apr. 26th, 2017, 11:03 am
Graced with Magic? (21)

THE GRACES by Laure Eve
River is new to town and wants to befriend the Grace siblings who are rumored to be witches who can really cast spells,
but when she is brought into the fold and someone gets hurt, River must come to terms with the truths about their so-called magic and curses. River's personality is kind of all over the place, and she isn't an entirely likable character.
There is also little said about her mother and home life, so she feels somewhat incomplete. But the twists in the story are fun, and anyone wanting to believe in magic spells will appreciate the charms of this YA novel. The conclusion feels pat, though a sequel may be in the works. (Amulet, 2016)

Mon, Apr. 17th, 2017, 09:02 am
BBQ Haze (20)

TRULY MADLY GUILTY by Liane Moriarty
Erika and Oliver take Clementine and Sam to Tiffany and Vid's house for a barbecue with the kids, but something goes wrong and no one wants to talk about it though that day has changed all of their lives. Told in nonlinear chapters from present day and "Day of the Barbecue," revelations are made about the families, their friendships, safety, and guilt. Told in multiple points of view, this novel may not has been as suspenseful if not for the order of the revealed events, but the characters are compelling, the narrative can be bitingly funny, and the insight into "regular suburban families" is well done. (Flatiron, 2016)

Mon, Apr. 17th, 2017, 08:50 am
Who Is Our President? (19)

TRUMP: A GRAPHIC BIOGRAPHY by Ted Rall
From high school to college to NYC real estate mogul to presidential candidate, a concise biography of Donald Trump that relates his success to the current economic climate and his powers of persuasion. Illustrations with a rough style, direct quotes, photographs, and interviews pepper this somewhat evenly presented short book on Trump's life, which also includes brief analysis by the author. Recommended for those who want to know more about where he came from in abbreviated form. (Seven Stories Press, 2016)

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