Book Display//Stranger Reads

Waiting for season 2 of Stranger Things-

Hearing constant chatter about Eleven and the Upside Down? Have readers eagerly awaiting season 2 of Stranger Things or in the middle of a rewatch? It’s a perfect time for a Stranger Things display while fans are caught up in the Stranger Things buzz! When I heard a group of teen girls audibly squeal at the Stranger Things display and pick up Shadowshaper and Paper Girls, I knew I had a hit display!

Here’s some recommended Stranger Reads that are similar to the show, characters, or storylines:

  • Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
  • The Possible by Tara Altebrando
  • The Outliers by Kimberley McCreight
  • Parallel by Lauren Miller
  • Adaptation by Malinda Lo
  • Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
  • Beware the Wild by Natalie C. Parker
  • Birthright by Joshua Williamson
  • The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
  • Blight by Alexandra Duncan
  • Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz
  • Wayward by Jim Zub
  • The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson
  • Plutona by Jeff Lemire
  • Gotham Academy series
  • Lumberjanes series
  • Replica by Lauren Oliver
  • Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace

Download the season 2 version of the sign here and the non season 2 version here

What’s your favorite creepy read?

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Book Review//Like Water by Rebecca Podos

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Like Water is a sweeping summer story about figuring out who you are when you think your future has already been decided for you.

Vanni, a new high school graduate, is navigating life with a sick parent. Her father’s Huntington’s disease diagnosis has stopped her in her tracks. She loves her father and can’t imagine being far away from him. She puts everything on hold–her college dreams, her friendships, and her future.  Her father’s diagnosis could also mean that Vanni is carrying the disease. Throughout the book, Vanni struggles with the possibility that her strong swimmer’s body could betray her. She also has to decide if she wants to be tested to find out if she’ll get Huntington’s later in life. Vanni’s relationship to her body fluctuates throughout the book as she tries to accept herself no matter the outcome of her future.

To cope with her father’s illness and her potential diagnosis, she alienates herself from everything in her previous life. She drowns her feelings in meaningless hook-ups and extra shifts at work. She develops a routine that helps her get through each day but she feels empty all the time. When she meets Leigh, she starts to recognize some of her old self again. Vanni develops romantic feelings for Leigh and realizes she’s never cared about someone else this way before. Vanni and Leigh both have their own problems and aren’t always good for each other, but they develop a realistic relationship.

Among many other things, this book is also sex positive and sexuality and gender inclusive. Vanni is never ashamed of having sex or being sexual. She doesn’t apologize for her past hook-ups or feel regret for using sexuality as a coping method. Vanni realizes she is bisexual and accepts the part of her sexuality that she never realized was there. Leigh struggles throughout the book with identifying herself as genderqueer and Vanni helps her love herself. Podos also takes on mental health through Vanni’s anxiety. As if that wasn’t enough, Vanni also has to navigate the expectations of growing up poor in New Mexico. Like Water offers such a realistic depiction of poverty and the choices we have to make to survive. Podos has written a sweeping contemporary that manages to beautifully interweave so many topics, relationships, and personalities in 300 pages. No element of the story feels incomplete and each character is dynamic.

Like Water is an emotionally raw, queer love story that hits you where it hurts. Readers of Little & Lion and The Names They Gave Us will find a readalike here.

Add Like Water to your Goodreads TBR and follow Rebecca Podos on Twitter.

Book Review//Everything Must Go by Jenny Fran Davis

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This is a quintessential quirky, funny, thought-provoking, pleasure read! Told in emails, letters, journal entries, blog posts, and recorded conversations, Everything Must Go is a story told in ephemera that really works.

Flora is trying to hide her love and admiration for her former tutor. She follows him to Quare, the hippie school he was always talking about but he changes his plans at the last minute. She feels instantly out of place at a school for artistic, hippie types. Flora has to decide if she’ll make the most of her new school or run away.

 

Flora is a pretty unforgettable character with a unique voice. She loves fashion, vintage pieces, and the comforts of air conditioning. We get to know her through her emails and journal entries. Her voice reminds me of one of my favorite characters, Mia Thermopolis. Like Mia, Flora’s journal is her private place to write about her crush, the things she doesn’t want anyone else to know about, and her plans that don’t turn out quite like she hoped. It’s the only place that she writes the truth about why she went to Quare, while telling everyone else its because she’s bored with her current school and wants to challenge herself. Her journal becomes the place where she can record the truth.

Everything Must Go successfully uses the epistolary format to provide depth to Flora’s character. She writes her true feelings in her journal and writes a different version of herself in the emails to her friends and family. We even see her many failed attempts at writing emails to her tutor,  trying to capture what she’s feeling about him without sounding desperate. The letters, journal entries, and messages capture the experience of feeling out of your depth and eventually learning to swim. Flora captures her own growth and self evolution through her exchanges.

Flora goes on a self-discovery journey while at Quare and meets a lot of interesting people along the way. She records her funny first reactions to the quirky inhabitants of Quare and grows to love many of them by the end of the book. Davis provided a cast of dynamic characters for Flora to interact with and each of them helps her in her path of self-discovery. She starts the school year as the fish out of water, wearing the wrong clothes and thinking the wrong things. By the end of the book she has a whole gaggle of friends who support her. Flora goes to Quare for one purpose only and ends up finding so much more there.

This is a feminist story about expressing yourself, allowing yourself to change, and finding confidence within yourself. It’s easy to write off a girl like Flora as a vapid girl who just wants to impress an older guy, but this book invites the reader to question why a girl like that is so easy to judge.

Readers of Piper Perish, The Princess Diaries, and You’re Welcome, Universe will enjoy this book.

Add Everything Must Go to your Goodreads shelves.

 

 

Book Review//Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Starfish is a complex and dynamic coming of age story. While reading the summary of the book it’s easy to think it’s only a contemporary romance but Kiko’s story is so much more than that. While there is a romantic storyline, the core of the book is Kiko’s discovery of her own self-worth. This book is beautifully written with expressive imagery, exceptional characterization, and a powerful message.

Kiko is an artist who has always dreamed of getting away from her abusive family and going to art school. When her dreams are squashed, she knows she has to find another way out. Kiko, a half-Japanese teen, has suffered constant emotional abuse from her mother and has internalized the racism and hate that her mother spews. Her white mother makes her feel ashamed for being biracial and participating in any kind of Japanese culture. Kiko knows her mother is abusive but she still yearns for love and affection from her. Kiko’s struggle to find peace and comfort from her mother is heartbreaking to read. Her mother habitually grinds Kiko down and rids her of self-esteem. She also defends the uncle who sexually abused Kiko. Bowman writes a realistic and cathartic story for readers who have also been hurt by their families and must come to terms with that reality.

Kiko also has severe social anxiety. Bowman addresses mental illness and the detrimental effects it can have on a family when it’s not taken seriously or treated with compassion. Kiko is constantly trying to control and defeat her anxiety though her family never gives her any means of dealing with it. Where her mother fails at understanding the limits that anxiety place on Kiko, her childhood friend Jamie finally provides her with a sympathetic place to land.

Ultimately, Bowman writes a triumphant story about putting yourself first. This book gives readers permission to make your feelings and mental health a priority. Kiko, repeatedly hurt by her mother’s behavior and defense of her sexual abuser, finds the courage to create her own family and happiness. She finds a mentor, a Japanese painter named Hiroshi, and a place to paint when she runs away to California. Her poignant art reflecting her life, often ignored by her mother, is taken seriously in Hiroshi’s studio. Hiroshi and his welcoming family help Kiko begin to accept herself and support the artist she will become. With support from Jamie, Jamie’s parents, and Hiroshi she is able to fully confront her past and find value within standing up for herself. She even finds the strength to try and mend some pieces of her past. Kiko, who never felt deserving of love, is finally able to listen to the voice in her head telling her that she is capable and important.

This book is an honest, own-voices depiction of anxiety and pain and it will ring true to readers. This book is a great readalike to Saints & Misfits, Girl in Pieces, and How to Make a Wish.

Add Starfish to your Goodreads and follow Akemi Dawn Bowman on Twitter. 

Book Review//Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

 

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Reading Moxie was like a religious experience. Seeing Vivian start a high school revolution and fight the patriarchy was a YA dream come true. I was instantly transported back to my own feminist beginning in high school when my friends and I started recognizing the misogyny and patriarchal bullshit of the public school system. Vivian was the friend I needed in high school and this book is going to be a feminist instruction manual for teen readers everywhere. Jennifer Mathieu wrote the story of so many high schools and teens.

Moxie addresses everything–internalized misogyny, competition between girls, intersectional feminism, racism, and how to start a revolution. This is a perfect primer for teens who are just getting interested in feminism and learning how it can influence every aspect of your life. A few instances like dress code checks and sexist t-shirts worn by football players inspire Vivian to create a zine that gives other girls a voice in the school. Vivian’s issues of Moxie, the zine she creates, become the vehicle for the revolution at East Rockport High. Vivian’s first zine asks for supporters of Moxie to draw hearts and stars on their hands to help other like minded students find each other. Each zine that follows helps students fight back. Vivian starts a leader-less revolution that allows anyone to get involved and contribute. Moxie becomes a student led revolution that empowers anyone who stands with them. Vivian openly recognizes her own limitations as a privileged white student and leaves Moxie open for anyone to create and lead events. She discusses the way her whiteness influences her feminism and her blind spots to the way that students of color face many different discriminations.

In addition to creating a kick ass revolutionary zine and an intersectional and open feminist primer, Mathieu somehow manages to work a swoony romance, friendship trouble, and complex family relationships into Moxie. The book addresses every aspect of Vivian’s life but it doesn’t feel crowded. Each aspect of her life is perfectly intertwined with the overall story.

Vivian starts an absolutely butterfly inducing romance with the new guy, Seth, and he’s the first one to find out that she’s behind Moxie. Seth and Vivian have one of the most realistic YA romances that I’ve ever read. He’s an unapologetic feminist and Moxie supporter but Vivian does have to explain the problematic reasoning behind the “not all men” line that he tries to use. They learn and grow together and have a supportive relationship.

Vivian also deals with changes in her family and friendships. Her single mother, once a riot grrl herself, has a serious boyfriend for the first time and Vivian is anything but happy about it. She has to confront her feelings and fear about her relationship changing with her mom. Vivian also has to navigate her best friend’s jealousy when Vivian gets a new friend. Vivian deals with many levels of conflicts throughout the book and Mathieu creates such a realistic portrayal of a high school girl.

I could go on and on about the intricate sub-plots, fantastic inserted zines, and complex characters but just trust me when I say that Moxie is the book you have been waiting for. May it inspire readers to make a change and other authors to write more stories about characters who are ready to fight back. This book should have a permanent place on all bookshelves.

Add Moxie to your Goodreads shelf and follow Jennifer Mathieu on Twitter. Check out the Moxie Girls Fight Back website for more inspiring bad-ass feminists!

Top 10 Tuesday//YA Books that Still Check Out

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hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I love seeing well-read and worn library books on the shelves. Here’s 10 YA Books that are 10 years or older that still get checked out at my library:

  1. Does My Head Look Big in This by Randa Abdel-Fattah (This one, published in 2005, always goes out as soon as I include it in a display. I even ordered a second copy of it after noticing how much it’s checked out and how many holds it still gets. This fabulous cover is so eye-catching!)

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“When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth…

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs” -Goodreads synopsis

2. TTYL by Lauren Myracle (The Internet Girls series, first published in 2005, is still one of the most popular series at my library. Each well-read paperback copy is meticulously taped back together until it can’t be taped any more. I’ve recently purchased the reissued and updated version and it’s already checked out a lot! I read this as a 13 year old and thought I was so cool. I’m happy it still finds readers.)

blog2“ttyl and its sequels follow the ups and downs of high school for the winsome threesome, three very different but very close friends: wild Maddie (mad maddie), bubbly Angela (SnowAngel), and reserved Zoe (zoegirl). Through teacher crushes, cross-country moves, bossy Queen Bees, incriminating party pics, and other bumps along the way, author Lauren Myracle explores the many potholes of teenagedom with the unflinching honesty and pitch-perfect humor that made this series a staple of young adult literature.” -Amazon synopsis

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (Need I say more? The Book Thief, published in 2005, has become a YA classic. It shows up every year on student reading lists and adults still check it out too.)

blog3“It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau. This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.” -Goodreads synopsis

4. Monster by Walter Dean Myers (Another YA classic, published in 1999, continually finds readers. We have so many copies of this tattered and well-loved book at my library. I love when a teen reader mentions that they’ve read this book before so I can tell them about Myers many other books and authors like Jason Reynolds, Kwame Alexander, and Angie Thomas.)

blog4“Sixteen-year-old Steve Harmon is on trial for murder. A Harlem drugstore owner was shot and killed in his store, and the word is that Steve served as the lookout.

Guilty or innocent, Steve becomes a pawn in the hands of “the system,” cluttered with cynical authority figures and unscrupulous inmates, who will turn in anyone to shorten their own sentences. For the first time, Steve is forced to think about who he is as he faces prison, where he may spend all the tomorrows of his life.

As a way of coping with the horrific events that entangle him, Steve, an amateur filmmaker, decides to transcribe his trial into a script, just like in the movies. He writes it all down, scene by scene, the story of how his whole life was turned around in an instant. But despite his efforts, reality is blurred and his vision obscured until he can no longer tell who he is or what is the truth. This compelling novel is Walter Dean Myers’s writing at its best.” -Goodreads synopis

5. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares (This is one of my absolute favorite series of all time. The first book, published in 2001, remains a favorite of many readers today. It’s a really good beginning book for YA readers. Parents who loved this book request this book a lot to share with their own teen readers.)

blog5“Carmen got the jeans at a thrift shop. They didn’t look all that great: they were worn, dirty, and speckled with bleach. On the night before she and her friends part for the summer, Carmen decides to toss them. But Tibby says they’re great. She’d love to have them. Lena and Bridget also think they’re fabulous. Lena decides that they should all try them on. Whoever they fit best will get them. Nobody knows why, but the pants fit everyone perfectly. Even Carmen (who never thinks she looks good in anything) thinks she looks good in the pants. Over a few bags of cheese puffs, they decide to form a sisterhood and take the vow of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants . . . the next morning, they say good-bye. And then the journey of the pants — and the most memorable summer of their lives — begins.” -Goodreads synopsis

6. Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier (Published in 2002, this is another book that shows up on a lot of school reading lists. I use it in a lot of displays in the teen section and it’s always one of the first ones to check out.)

blog6“Dimple Lala doesn’t know what to think. Her parents are from India, and she’s spent her whole life resisting their traditions. Then suddenly she gets to high school and everything Indian is trendy. To make matters worse, her parents arrange for her to meet a “suitable boy.” Of course it doesn’t go well — until Dimple goes to a club and finds him spinning a magical web . Suddenly the suitable boy is suitable because of his sheer unsuitability. Complications ensue. This is a funny, thoughtful story about finding your heart, finding your culture, and finding your place in America.” -Goodreads synopsis

7. Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan (Levithan is an always popular author at my library and this is one of our most popular titles. Just last week a Teen Book Club member called this book published in 2003 their “favorite book for forever.”)

blog7“This is the story of Paul, a sophomore at a high school like no other: The cheerleaders ride Harleys, the homecoming queen used to be a guy named Daryl (she now prefers Infinite Darlene and is also the star quarterback), and the gay-straight alliance was formed to help the straight kids learn how to dance.

When Paul meets Noah, he thinks he’s found the one his heart is made for. Until he blows it. The school bookie says the odds are 12-to-1 against him getting Noah back, but Paul’s not giving up without playing his love really loud. His best friend Joni might be drifting away, his other best friend Tony might be dealing with ultra-religious parents, and his ex-boyfriend Kyle might not be going away anytime soon, but sometimes everything needs to fall apart before it can really fit together right.

This is a happy-meaningful romantic comedy about finding love, losing love, and doing what it takes to get love back in a crazy-wonderful world.” -Goodreads synopsis

8. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (All of Dessen’s books are popular at my library but Just Listen is the most requested. Published in 2006, Just Listen is still relatable and relevant. It’s also my favorite Dessen novel.)

blog8“Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything” — at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.

This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong.

Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.”     -Goodreads synopsis

9. Ball Don’t Lie by Matt de la Peña (I love booktalking this one at school visits and it always grabs some reluctant readers.)

blog9“Sticky is a beat-around-the-head foster kid with nowhere to call home but the street, and an outer shell so tough that no one will take him in. He started out life so far behind the pack that the finish line seems nearly unreachable. He’s a white boy living and playing in a world where he doesn’t seem to belong.

But Sticky can ball. And basketball might just be his ticket out . . . if he can only realize that he doesn’t have to be the person everyone else expects him to be.

Matt de la Peña’s breakout urban masterpiece, Ball Don’t Lietakes place where the street and the court meet and where a boy can be anything if he puts his mind to it.” -Goodreads synopsis

10. Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr (Zarr is a favorite YA author for so many readers and Story of a Girl, published in 2007, is still constantly on hold and passed between readers. I like to think that this book is passed around in friend groups before it makes its way back to the library.)

blog 10“I was thirteen when my dad caught me with Tommy Webber in the back of Tommy’s Buick, parked next to the old Chart House down in Montara at eleven o’clock on a Tuesday night. Tommy was seventeen and the supposed friend of my brother, Darren.
I didn’t love him.
I’m not sure I even liked him.

In a moment, Deanna Lambert’s teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of “school slut,” Deanna longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom, and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany, and redemption.” -Goodreads synopsis

What’s your favorite YA book that’s at least 10 years old?

 

Book Display//Immigration & Immigrant Experiences

American Dreamsbooks about the immigration experience (1)America is a nation made up of immigrants. Many of those immigrants are undocumented teens who feel isolated, invisible, and unimportant. I try to use my library displays to say “we see you, you are important and valuable at the library and your story deserves to be told.” Teens carry the burdens of worrying about their status, their family’s status, and their livelihood. I made this display to let readers know that we see them, we know the weight they carry, and they are not alone. I also hope these books inspire empathy in others who are not living the undocumented immigrant story.

Make your own display and download the display poster here.

This display could be used for adult, young adult, or juvenile titles. My display is in the teen section so my list is mostly YA titles but there are many adult and juvenile titles that address immigration experiences.

Recommended titles:

  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
  • The Shadow Hero by Gene Luen Yang
  • The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
  • How Dare the Sun Rise by Sandra Uwiringiyimana and Abigail Pesta
  • A Step from Heaven by An Na
  • Something In Between by Melissa De La Cruz
  • Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol
  • The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt
  • Vietnamerica by G. B. Tran
  • Almost a Woman by Esmeralda Santiago
  • Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • Taking Hold: From Migrant Childhood to Columbia Graduate by Francisco Jiménez
  • Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt
  • Good Enough by Paula Yoo
  • The Secret Side of Emtpy by Maria Andreu
  • Illegal by Bettina Restrepo
  • Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas

 

Been There, Read That//August 2017

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Been There, Read That is a monthly reading wrap up featuring everything I read last month.

What I read:

6 YA books

4 graphic novels/comic books

4 middle grade books

1 adult fiction book

August means that the Summer Reading Program is finally over and I finally have a little more time to read. I tried to focus on ARCs again for #ARCAugust but I ended up reading quite already published books as well.

I finished 4 YA ARCs (and started several others that I just couldn’t get into or finish.) They Both Die at the End is classic Silvera meaning it will rip your heart out and make you feel every emotion. I really loved Long Way Down and it’s going to be an instant classic. Jason Reynolds is an absolute master storyteller. Long Way Down will be one of the biggest books of the year. Moxie blew me away and is my favorite book of the month. It’s also my current favorite book that I’ve read this year. It’s unapologetic, fierce, and exactly what so many teen readers need right now. I will reread this again and again.

I read 2 more installments in the Runaways series though I really didn’t care for the fourth volume at all. But still looking forward to reading Rainbow Rowell’s issues! I also read an ARC of Dawn and the Impossible Three and it was kind of a dream come true to read an advance copy of a BSC book. I’m a bit of a BSC fanatic.

I read one Baby-Sitters Club chapter book this month in my quest to read them all in order (did I already mention I’m a BSC fanatic?) BSC books are a perfect reset in between other books. Dawn and Mary Anne are my favorite characters so I particularly enjoyed this book where they’re finally stepsisters. Dawn and Mary Anne have trouble adjusting and for some reason their parents never made any post-wedding plans for how they would all merge together as a family. Poor Mary Anne gets called wicked just because she doesn’t want to clean up after adult humans. I’m very Team Mary Anne on this one.

I also read 3 other middle grade books that I adored! The First Rule of Punk might be my new favorite middle grade–ever! I read this right after reading Moxie and I’m so inspired to make zines now. They would be the perfect readalikes for a teen/tween book club. I also met Meg Cabot this month (a lifelong dream come true) so I had to read the first book in her Olivia Grace series.

Little Fires Everywhere was my only adult fiction selection for the month but it was a great one. Fans of Ng’s first book will not be disappointed with this family drama. I also reread P.S. I Still Love You because it’s time to finally read Always and Forever, Lara Jean. I’m a huge Jenny Han fan but I’ve been putting off reading the third Lara Jean book because I don’t want the series to end. I also finally crossed Outrun the Moon off my TBR list and I hope to use it for a future teen book club selection.

What was your favorite read of the month?

Book Review//Spinning by Tillie Walden

 

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I was drawn to this graphic novel because of the skating element. I’ve always loved books, movies, and media about ice skating. It’s a pretty unique topic in YA collections. This book delivered with glimpses of practices, skating moves, and competitions. But it also focused on so much more than skating. It’s not a fluffy graphic novel about costumes, frills, and a love of skating. It explores sexuality, loneliness, and rejection.

Walden perfectly captures the feeling of being trapped. She’s stuck skating because it’s what her parents expect of her. She’s also only ever known herself as a skater and doesn’t know how to move on. She’s in a relentless cycle of early morning practices, skating teams, and competitions. Walden uses much of the 400 page graphic novel to explain to the reader how defeated she felt. Many readers will connect with this feeling that there’s no way to escape something that has defined you for so long.

Spinning covers many years of Tillie’s life and includes coming out, her first girlfriend, her difficult relationship with her parents, school problems, and bullying. This 400 page graphic novel tackles a lot. It touches on some issues and periods of Tillie’s life very briefly and it feels like those parts of the story aren’t complete. However, the shorter vignettes about Tillie’s life feel intentional. It feels like when you look back on your own memories and can’t remember every detail. It seemed like Walden was reminding the reader about the way we remember certain events and details, but not others. Not every portion of a person’s life is significant but each part contributes to your overall story.

Readers of Honor Girl and Lucy Knisley will enjoy this graphic novel. I’ll give this book to teens who are looking for sports related books with female characters. This representation of a feminine lesbian character will also resonate with many readers. Teen and adult readers will both relate to Tillie’s coming of age story.

This is a great addition to a personal or library graphic novel collection.

Add Spinning to your Goodreads shelf and pre-order it. Spinning releases on September 12.

Gen Con 50 Wrap Up//Librarian edition

Thinking about attending Gen Con as a teacher or librarian?

I attended my first Gen Con last week and played, bought, and learned so many new games! Gen Con is supposed to be the best 4 days in gaming and this was the 50th year of the con! I run a monthly adult tabletop game program and we’re always planning games at my teen events. Game events are some of my library’s most popular programs.  I wanted to learn more about how to partner with game stores and schools to make more events even more successful. I also had my eye on some new games that I wanted to demo and get for the library!

First, I attended Trade Day on Wednesday which was for librarians, educators, or retailers. This day happens before the exhibit hall and other events start. It offers sessions and panels presented by other librarians, educators, game publishers, and game stores. I attended sessions about running and managing longer games at the library, partnering with game stores, and pairing books with games. These panels were a great chance to get ideas of what other libraries were doing. The Trade Day registration also gave me a complimentary 4 day pass for the rest of the convention.

The convention is Thursday through Sunday and it’s completely PACKED with people, games, and events! There was so much to do. I attended more sessions about autism and gaming, recommended games for libraries, gaming and teens, and more. I demoed games in the exhibit hall while talking to other gamers and publishers. I stood in lines for highly anticipated games. I also got to participate in a puzzle-oriented True Dungeon event which was a mix of a role-playing game and an escape room! This could be an entire post in itself. I did my own DIY Escape Room this summer at the library and got so many ideas from True Dungeon. My favorite part was demoing games to find the next big thing for my library. Here’s what I got:

gencon1 Dream Home- This game is all about building your perfect house. It will be great for family game day. I used to cut up department store catalogs as a kid and design my dream home. I made this a top priority to play and buy at Gen Con. Honestly, I can’t wait to play this at our next game day!

 

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The Refuge: A Race for Survival- I demoed this one as soon as I heard that it’s a “15 minute game.” I’m always searching for a quick game to kick off Teen Advisory Board or get game days started. This one was super easy to learn and fun! You’re trying to escape zombies and be the first player to make it to safety.

 

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 Go Nuts for Donuts- Sushi Go is a favorite of teens and adults at the library so I knew this would be popular. This is a game all about getting all the best donuts. I see a future game day with a giant box of donuts in my future.

 

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Ice Cool- I’ve been wanting this game for a while! You flick little penguins through the game to collect fish and avoid the hall monitor penguin. The box, about the size of a Monopoly box, has all the pieces of the school hallway nestled inside of it.

gencon5Junk Art-  I am so excited to finally have my own copy of this game. One of the library’s regular gamers has been bringing it to play recently. It’s a perfect quick game that doesn’t require any gaming knowledge, skill, or understanding of complicated rules. You use different pieces of “junk” to create sculptures. There are 10 mini games within the game. This is a huge hit at the library.

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Flip City– I didn’t know anything about this game or play it but it was on super clearance! It seems easy enough and sounds like a good starter game for game day. We have a lot of gamers who love being the first to open up a game and learn how to play it. I’ll probably save this one for a future event so we can learn to play it together.

gencon7Zany Penguins– This was another game that I didn’t actually get a chance to play but who can resist a group of penguins who want to take over the world? This is a pick and pass card game where you collect the cards you need to take over different regions of the Earth.

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Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game- This was the game I stood in a 2 hour line for. I’ve heard so much buzz about this game. I wanted the library to be one of the first places to play this game and I look forward to bringing this out at our next game day. (My significant other is also VERY into this game and played in 2 L5R tournaments at Gen Con).

gencon9Rick and Morty: Total Rickall Card Game- This was another “why not” purchase because Rick and Morty is super popular at the library and I’m a fan. This can be a fun pop culture addition to our board game collection. I’ve found that pop culture related games can help people get conversations started at game days.

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Werewords- One Night Ultimate Werewolf is probably the most popular game at the library. Just about every game day ends with a game of Werewolf. A gamer recently started bringing Werewords and it’s quickly becoming another favorite so I had to get my own copy. In this game there’s still a werewolf and a seer but you’re trying to guess a word. The werewolf is trying to lead you astray while the seer is trying to help you figure it out. Super fun with teens or adults!

These are just a fraction of the games that I wanted to buy! But I had to be mindful of the room in my suitcase. I can’t wait to play all of these!