Saturday, March 23, 2013

A graphic novel for those who like Faith Erin Hicks

If you like Faith Erin Hicks (and who doesn't) or The Plain Janes, The Cute Girl Network by MK Reed and Greg Means may be just what you're looking for.

When Jane, a cute skater girl new to the city, falls off her skateboard in front of Jack's soup stand, Jack helps her up, and asks her out. Jane and Jack have a few fun dates and while it quickly become clear that Jack is clumsy and forgetful, Jane likes being around him. When Jane's roommate hears about Jack, she puts out a call on the Cute Girls' Network, a phone tree of young women in the city who warn others about "undateable" guys. She brings Jane to talk ot a few of Jack's exes. Some of the stories they tell are horrifying. Despite pressure from her roommate to dump Jack, it's ulimately up to Jane to decide what to do. In the end, Jane and Jack make a reasonable, and very adult decision one would be happy to put into any teenager's hands. 

Though I love the illustrations and find the message of the book to be wonderful, I found myself asking a few questions about the Cute Girls Network. What about girls who date girls? What are the qualifications for the network, especially as there are references to "cute" and "quality" girls? Though there are a few holes in this book, it's ultimately a fun, fast read. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Crossover Gem

The Summer Prince

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
June Costa lives in a pyramid in Palmares Tres. Her society is a matriarchy and has been since most of the Earth was ravaged. While a Queen rules, each year their is a Summer King, a young man chose to co-rule for one year. After this year of power, the Summer King is killed. But June falls in love with the Summer King as does her best friend. Their relationships over turn the way June views the world and her art-- and June lives for her art. This book has it all: romance, art, science-fiction, coming-of-age, and Johnson has created something truly original in her story. Let me just say, there are no bad guys in this book, only people who see the world in a different (yet still justified way). Forget about the dystopian vs. utopian; this book will steal your heart.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New from Patricia MacLachlan

White Fur Flying

White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan
Zoe's mother rescues Great Pyrenees dogs, caring for them until a new home can be found. Across the street, Philip is moving in with his aunt and uncle. Philip is doesn't speak and no one knows why. Up until now, Zoe's family has been rescuing dogs. This time, it may be the dogs who do the rescuing. This simple, poetic story of trust and friendship will steal your heart. A line from the book perfectly describes Patricia's writing: "[she] always tells the truth...even if it is fiction."

Friday, March 1, 2013

From Sarah Stewart & David Small

The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart, illustrated by David Small
We all remember our first refrigerator box. The one that become a space ship, house, or train. In The Quiet Place, Isabel uses the boxes left over from birthday presents to build a quiet place all her own, one that provides security and a way to capture her old home in Mexico. The text is comprised of Isabel's letters to her Aunt Lupita back in Mexico. She uses these letters to practice her English and share the interesting new words she collects. David Small's illustrations add much to the text and his colors and energetic lines capture movement and emotion. As Isabel learns English and gains friends, growing more secure in her new environment, her quiet place mirrors the change, accepting friends and neighbors and their joyous singing. Young children will recognize Isabel's need to create her own space while older children will glimpse the larger implications of being a new immigrant in the 1950s. Like many of Sarah Stewart & David Small's books, The Quiet Place is sure to garner attention and awards.