Fractured Fairy Tales

The picture book that made the strongest impression on me during my elementary school years was The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka.

That, combined with several years of watching the “Fractured Fairy Tales” segment on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, helped established my long-lasting love of authors taking fairy tales, ancient myths, and popular folk tales and twisting them for the readers pleasure and amusement. Recently there has been an incredible resurgence in this particular subgenre of fantasy writing and that makes me one happy reader!

 

The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer

Starting with Cinder, this epic tale of a dystopian future society unfolds with the tale of Linh Cinder, a lowly cyborg mechanic in New Beijing trying to stay on her stepmother’s good side when she encounters the undercover prince in the marketplace and…I won’t give too much away here.

What you need to know is that there are three of us on staff that are obsessed with this series.

After you relish what Meyer does with the Cinderella story, you get to move on to Scarlet and the reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood!

Newly released is the third title in this (seriously epic) saga, Cress, where the titular character is the newest imagining of a satellite-bound Rapunzel.

(Rumor has it the fourth installment is all about Snow White and tentatively named Winter. Excited doesn’t even begin to cover our rabid fan squealing at the prospect).

 

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

My only complaint with this retelling of Beauty and the Beast is that it isn’t going to be a series! I need more Rosamund Hodge, and I need it now!

This tale of Nix Triskelion and her beast, the demon lord Ignifex, magically weaves together a certain well known fairy tale and greek mythology to create something new and shiny and quite unique. Nix has been betrothed to Ignifex for years. During this time, she’s been training to assassinate him after the marriage is official. Once inside the physics-defying tower the demon lord calls home, Nix finds her mission more complicated than she ever imagined. She finds some comfort in a blossoming friendship with Ignifex’s shadow/servant. This particular Beauty will find more at stake than just her Beast’s life…

Fables by Bill Willingham

This graphic novel series was the (never really acknowledged) inspiration for the TV series Once Upon a Time. The TV show lacks the delightful bite that Willingham’s stories have though. Don’t worry, though. There’s also no amnesia factor here. In Fables, the fairy tale creatures were forced to flee the Homeland by The Adversary and have set up shop in New York City…while the more noticeably unnatural creatures (i.e., anthropomorphized animals) reside on The Farm in upstate New York. Like any good comics series, there are soap opera-worthy flings and fights. Lots of drama and mysteries to resolve. Bigby (aka the Big Bad Wolf) features prominently as the sheriff for the Fabletown community. There are characters from several different fairy tale and folklore canons represented and Mark Buckingham’s art is a treat.

 

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

This book can make it into your hands in April, my pretties!

This is the first in a series and introduces us to Amy Gumm (derisively nicknamed “Salvation Amy” by her cruel classmates), a girl who would give anything to escape her trailer park existence and her pill-popping mother. A tornado whisking her off to Oz just wasn’t quite what she expected.

When Amy arrives in the world she thought was pure fantasy, she quickly discovers that the terms “wicked” and “good” have swapped meanings! She learns a power-hungry Dorothy (with the aid of her grotesquely transformed friends) is stripping Oz of its magic and demanding a compliant and servile populace. Amy is rescued from certain death by The Wicked, an alliance of witches and warlocks who train her in the use of magic and develop fighting skills so she, a fellow Outlander, can kill Dorothy and rid Oz of her abuse. Danielle Paige has crafted a continuation of Baum’s world that retains the dark magic feel of the original series.

And we love it.

Have a few fractured fairy tales close to your heart? Share your favs with us in the comments!

Brandi

A Pride Parade of Books!

Letter QThe Letter Q, by Sarah Moon (ed.)
In The Letter Q, award-winning queer authors share hope to their younger selves. They write a love letter of sorts about life…relationships, sex, exes, addiction, marriage, pain, crushes, self-harm, secrets, not fitting in, and being queer. A remarkable anthology that is honest and forthright about being queer and what to expect. The letters are funny, inspiring, tender, heartbreaking, and frank. – Seth

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On Being DifferentOn Being Different, by Merle Miller
In 1971, Merle Miller (biographer of Ike Eisenhower and hardly a radical) was fed up with keeping silent in the face of constant slights, slurs, discrimination, and violence…so he came out in The New York Times. If you wonder why we needed a gay rights movement or if you think nothing changes, read this. With a foreword by Dan Savage. Thank you! – Karen

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Queer and Pleasant DangerA Queer & Pleasant Danger, by Kate Bornstein
Despite more than a decade in dubious Scientology, Kate Bornstein musters a level of grace and compassion all but unimaginable to me. Her memoir bowled me over! It’s funny, surprising, sexy, and shocking. If there is any greater pioneer more deeply devoted to queer rights and solidarity, I don’t know who they are! – Dave

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Gender and Sexuality for Beginners

Gender & Sexuality for Beginners, by Jaimee Garbacik

A documentary resource guide meets comic book in this fantastic, engaging primer on gender and sexuality. Whether you are new to the topics or already well-versed, you’ll find yourself engrossed in this book as it takes you through history, current culture, theory, biology, neuroscience, and other elements of the sex-gender system. Challenging and thought-provoking, this is a book we’ve needed for a while! – Justus

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CrushBad IndiansBad Indians, by Deborah Miranda
Beloved poet, essayist, and writing teacher now has a most unconventional poetic, illustrated memoir! – Karen

Crush, by Richard Siken
Surreal yet tactile, dark yet playful. Long sustained lines in a belief that the right margin was “greatness,” and revolving images that charge shape and meaning within the poems and overall collection. A book alive on every line! – Amanda

End of San FranciscoThe End of San Francisco, by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
This memoir oozes devastation and glamour, twirling around the Nineties like it’s San Francisco, and San Francisco like it’s the Nineties! Back when queers and anarchists and vegans fueled the political momentum in the Mission District. But, honey, things are different now. The Nineties are over, and so is San Francisco. Maybe disillusionment and rejuvenation aren’t so different when you’re ready to go deeper still. – Dave

No Straight LinesTrevorTrevor: A Novella, by James Lescene
A most familiar story for many kids who struggle with being “different” from the supposed norm. Trevor struggles with his sexual identity and is bullied because of it. With a positive outcome, Trevor is a must-read!! – Seth

No Straight Lines, by Justin Hall (ed.)
Thank our glittering stars for the incomparable efforts that brought together forty ravishing years of camp, critique, drama, and wit! This anthology of queer comics has so much to offer: queens, dykes, transmen, transwomen, bisexuals — Oh my! It’s a thing of beauty. – Dave

AdaptationAdaptation, by Malinda Lo
Twenty-seven days after the world took a turn for the worse, Reese wakes up in a military hospital without any memories of the time she spent there. When she’s released a few days later, she’s told she can’t tell anyone what happened to her and that she’s fine. Except she’s not fine. She’s different and doesn’t know how or why. Adaptation kept me riveted from beginning to end! This is one sci-fi novel that will keep you in suspense to the very end. – Justus

Does Jesus Really Love Me

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Does Jesus Really Love Me?, by Jeff Chu
How do Christians feel about homosexuality–it’s not as cut and dried as you might think and even Evangelicals are shifting in their thinking. Many powerful stories here in a book well worth reading, regardless of your point of view or religious orientation. – Karen

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Why Be Happy When You Could Be NormalWhy Be Happy When You Can Be Normal?, by Jeanette Winterson
Winterson’s semi-autobiographical novel, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit, told the story of a young girl’s abusive childhood dominated by a fanatical, Pentecostal adoptive mother with a special fondness for the apocalypse. This memoir, written 27 years later, fleshes out the details of those harrowing early years and walks us through the breakdowns and breakthroughs of the second chapter of her life. In her boldest stroke, Winterson, determined to vanquish the ever-present shadow of her early abandonment, embarks on a quest to find her birth mother. This is a gripping, fierce, and deeply moving memoir of a woman in search of her own truth. – Laurie

History of a Pleasure SeekerHistory of a Pleasure Seeker, by Richard Mason
This book isn’t just sexy; it’s decadent! Pleasure comes in all forms for one wealthy Dutch family and their rakish new tutor, Piet Barol, whose trysts are not always constrained by gender or privilege. The line between house staff and patricians is soon left beneath a surreptitious pile of pettycoats. Like Downton Abbey with a delightfully sultry twist! A perfect book for summer. – Dave

Holiday Recommendations from Our Staff – Children’s & Young Adult

I’m Bored
By Michael Ian Black 
Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi 
Funny! So, so, so, so funny!
I said “I’m bored” so often as a kid. SO often. My mother should have handed me a potato. Or a flamingo. –dave 

 

 
I Need My Monster 
By Amanda Noll 
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam 
When a boy’s monster goes on a fishing vacation, he’s left without a monster under his bed. The boy does what any child would do and starts to interview replacement monsters…but will any monster fit his needs? So much fun! –Justus 

 
A Hole Is to Dig 
By Ruth Krauss 
Holidays are to stay home from work. Families are to give your extra hugs to. Gifts are for making everybody feel good. Books are for making feelings inside you. A Classic is when you, your mom, and your grandpa all love it.
This book is like a hug… You’re never too young or old to give or get one! –Jamil 

 

Bear Has a Story to Tell 
By Philip C. Stead 
Illustrated by Erin Stead
Winter is coming and the animals are all getting ready. Beat wants to share his story, but they are all too busy and soon Bear must sleep, too. However, everyone is soon eager to hear the story as soon as winter passes.
A beautiful, simple story about friendship and storytelling. I love this bear! –Tracy
Little Owl Lost 
By Chris Haughton
So there’s this little owl, and this little owl is a wee bit clumsy and falls out of his nest and gets lost. A squirrel sees the whole thing and does his very best to help the owl find his mommy. The squirrel, is, as befits his name, a wee bit squirrely and has a little trouble with the whole endeavour. The first book by Oh No, George author Chris Haughton is an adorable and silly tale for little humans or little animals everywhere. –Casey S. 

 
This Moose Belongs to Me 
By Oliver Jeffers 
In this utterly charming new book by Oliver Jeffers we meet Wilfred, a young boy who meets a moose. He names the moose Marcel and begins following his new friend to teach him the rules of being a good pet. Marcel leads Wilfred into the wild, but imagine the boy’s reaction when he learns the moose may not be his pet after all. This is an amusing, fun, and beautifully illustrated adventure. –David 

 

 

Cheerful 
By Palmer Brown
It’s finally back in print! Cheerful is a little church mouse who lives in the city with his parents, his brother Solemnity,and his sisters Faith and Hope. While his siblings are happy frolicking in the big city, Cheerful’s dream is to live in the country. This is the enchanting story of Cheerful’s journey to his place in the countryside. –Leah

 

People
By Blexbolex 
Looking for the perfect gift for your friend’s young child? Here you go! This book  contains beautiful illustrations of people doing ordinary things. It is fascinating! It is also fun. Pick it up and take a look! –Jillian

 

 

Pirates at the Plate 

By AAron Frisch

Illustrated by Mark Summers 

Any fan of baseball, pirates, or cowboys is sure to love this imaginative new picture book. What happens when the likes of Captain Hook, Blackbeard, and Long John Silver play baseball against Hopalong Cassidy, Wild Bill Hickok, and the Cisco Kid? Find out as this unusual showdown takes place in the ball yard. And don’t miss tomorrow’s game between the Vikings and the Tigers! –David

 

This Is Not My Hat 
By Jon Klassen 
We’ve all been there. We’re out and about in the world, we see a hat that we really like, and for just a moment we think about taking it. Then we see that maybe the owner of the hat is rather…gigantic, and we chicken out. But little fish doesn’t. He sees a hat, he just takes it and swims away. He doesn’t worry about consequences. I, for one, can’t see a flaw in little fish’s plans. – Rich 

 

Andrew Henry’s Meadow 
By Doris Burn
Andrew Henry loves building contraptions and inventing is his passion, but his messy creations exasperate his family. Andrew decides that the only solution is to find a place where he can build a house of his own. One by one his friends find him and he puts his talents to good use by building custom “homes” for each of his friends.
Originally published in 1965 and newly brought back into print by San Juan Publishing (hurray!) – this book is a celebration of the joy of imagination and will inspire some first-rate fort building! Kudos to one time Waldron Island resident for writing and illustrating such an enduring classic! –Laurie 

 

Safari
By Dan Kainen 
Have you ever been captivasted by the powerful movement of a wild cheetah? Ever wish you could slow it down and see every detail? Now you can with amazing new Photicular technology from Dan Kainen. ON the heels of his Scanimation hit Gallop, Kainene brings us Safari–a breathtaking moving gallery of Africa’s most stunning species. The physical act of turning pages sets a lion charging or a cheetah running. And when you’ve satisfied your curiousity with pictures, Safari includes informative essays on what you’ve witnessed. Enjoy!! –Seth

 

The Boxcar Children
By Gertrude Chandler Warner
Absolutely one of my favourite books from childhood! I loved the way the four siblings moved into the abandoned boxcar and outfitted themselves with all the comforts of home–cups & bowls, hammer & nails; even a dog! The original silhouette art is included in this special edition and truly adds to this cherished book! –Holly 

 

I Have a Dream
By Martin Luther King Jr.
Illustrated by Kadir Nelson
The grandly inspiring words of one of the greatest Americans–gorgeously illustrated to deliver the freeing, soaring impact of Martin Luther King’s vision.
This is a book for all time–and for the entire family. –Peter

 

The Little Island
By Margaret Wise Brown 
The seasons change on this little island and with them so does the island. Flowers bloom, lobsters shed their shells, pears fall from the tree, and snow falls. One summer a curious kitten visits and discovers that even a tiny little island cut off from the land is part of this big world. –Pamela 

 

Rookie Yearbook One

Edited by Tavi Gevinson 
Need a book for a teenaged girl? Look no further! Rookie Yearbook One is a comprehensive guide to the fashion world, music, women’s topics, the strange, and the super-rad. It contains interesting interviews (e.g., Joss Whedon, John Waters), handy DIYs, and does not, in anyway, shortchange the reader. Intelligently written and playfullly designed, it is the obvious choice this Christmas season. –Jillian

 

birdingA Kid’s Guide to Birding
By Lorenzo Rohani
Photos by Michael Rohani
In this terrific introduction to the birding way of life, a Seattle area father and son team introduce all the basics of good birding, from proper etiquette (don’t get too close, don’t try to touch), to identification techniques (plumage, camouflage, beaks), and tips on how to build feeders and attract birds to your own backyard. Birding is inexpensive, it can be shared with people of all ages, and it can be done anywhere. Filled with practical advice and spectacular photographs of avian beauties, this gem of a book squawks to be shared with loved ones—young and old alike! –Holly 

 

The Impossible Rescue 
By Martin W. Sandler
This truly amazing story is ideal for those who prefer their adventure tales pulled from history. Whaling was once a vital industry, but it was also rife with peril, and in September of 1897, eight whaling vessels became trapped in the ice of Point Barrow, Alaska. With more than 250 lives at stake, President McKinley ordered a rescue, and the cutter ship Bear left Seattle. This rescue would be accomplished by intrepid individuals without helicopters, GPS, or cell phones. Recounted from the diaries, letters, and historic photographs of those involved, this is a story of the impossible made possible. –Holly 

 

Moominvalley Turns Jungle 
By Tove Jansson
No they are not hippopotamuses!
The Moomins have enchanted children and grownups around the world since 1945. Until now, they have only been available in large, expensive hardbacks. No they have released on of the best stories in an affordable, kid-proof version. A highly-recommended stocking stuffer. –Leah

The Hobbit
By J.R.R. Tolkien 
Just in time for the holidays and the December 14th release of the first installment of Peter Jackson’s trilogy of films comes this delightful and inexpensive hardcover version of the timeless tale of Bilbo Baggins and his fantastic adventures in Middle Earth. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the publication of the book that would launch the career of the father of modern fantasy literature. Tolkien’s epic story of Bilbo, Gandalf, the dwarves, a dragon named Smaug, and all the rest will live on in the hearts and minds of generations of readers, and now filmgoers. This is the perfect gift for the Tolkien or avid fantasy reader in your life. Plus, it fits in your pocket! –Casey S.

 

Every Day 
By David Levithan 
For A, life has never been straightforward, but how could it be when he’s never had a body to call his own? Every day he wakes up in a different body, and after sixteen years he’s learned to live as normally as he can, never trying to change the life he’s borrowing. And that’s fine until Rhiannon walks into his life, and he falls in love. Now A is kidnapping the bodies he wakes up in, dragging them any distance across the country to spend just a few more moments with the girl who stole his heart. –Justus 

The Modern Teen’s (and Adult’s!) American Library

Industrious, precocious teens once had to raid their parents’ bookshelves to find stories that satisfied their need for complex characters, challenging ideas, and riveting plot lines. That was, of course, back in the days before this amazing teen-lit breakthrough. Now, my friends, it is quite the opposite. Not only are Young Adult dystopian books like The Hunger Games, Cinder, and Divergent shooting up to the top of the bestseller lists, but there are even MFA writing programs now geared toward writing for teens and children. First teachers and parents, and now the rest of us have gotten our hands on this burgeoning genre and we won’t give it back! Well, lucky for us all, there’s plenty to go around. The following are some of my favorite new crossovers you might have missed.

Where Things Come Back, by John Corey Whaley
Even before it won the Printz Award, I’d been hearing a quiet, excited buzz about this book, and for good reason, too. A story about grief and second chances, Where Things Come Back is as powerful as it is surprisingly hilarious. In Cullen Witter’s small Arkansas hometown, the summer before his senior year, strange things are happening. The town has become obsessed by the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker, while a missionary has lost his faith and Cullen’s cousin has overdosed. But it seems to Cullen that nobody cares or really notices that his gifted brother has disappeared.

Grave Mercy, by Robin LaFevers
In the 1400s, Brittany was still its own country, constantly fighting off France’s relentless advances. In Robin LaFevers’s historical fantasy, all that stands between Brittany’s freedom and its subjugation is a bunch of nuns at a very strange convent. The God of Death’s sworn handmaidens, these women are highly trained assassins. On her first mission, seventeen-year-old Ismae is sent to bring a traitor to justice, but what seems a simple kill is just the first snowfall of an avalanche of betrayal, treachery, and unexpected love.

Jasper Jones, by Craig Silvey
I can safely say that Jasper Jones was my favorite YA book of 2011, and now that it’s just come out in paperback, I can raise it up over my head and crow about it some more. It’s a creepy whodunit reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, a witty homage to Harper Lee with some Mark Twain for humor, a sweet and wise first-love story…and it all begins with a stone’s throw and a desperate favor from the town’s favorite scapegoat, Jasper Jones.

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly
Andi hasn’t been able to cope with her little brother’s death and, truth be told, neither can her parents. Her mom has zoned out; her dad has thrown himself into his work; but when Andi is on the verge of failing out of school, her father, as a last resort, drags her along on his business trip to Paris. There, Andi discovers a diary from the days of the French Revolution written by a young woman named Alexandrine. The diary begins just before the revolution when actress Alex performs for the royal family for the first time and becomes tied to the fate of the doomed dauphin. Switching back and forth between these two perspectives, this beautiful historical novel has enough thrills and romance to keep you breathlessly flipping pages, but is so well-researched that you end up accidentally learning all about the French Revolution.

Chime, by Franny Billingsley
Briony feels responsible for the terrible things that have happened to her family and as a penance, and to protect those around her, she has vowed to keep her powers secret and to hate herself always. When change comes to her small village in the form of an engineer who wants to drain the marsh, the ancient ones send an illness out to the children of the village. When her sister succumbs, Briony knows she will do whatever it takes to make her sister well again. “Exploring the powers of guilt and redemption, Billingsley has crafted a dark, chilling yet stunning world. Exquisite to the final word,” said Booklist.

Pink Smog, by Francesca Lia Block
The Weetzie Bat series are some the strangest and most vividly written books I’ve read, but while Block is whimsy incarnate, her bubblegum style belies the intensity of her stories. This is the original urban fantasy where the characters themselves, by sheer personality alone, create whirls of magic in their own lives. Pink Smog is a prequel to the entire series, so if you don’t know who Weetzie Bat is, get in on Block’s unique mythology at the very beginning of it all.

The Modern Teen’s American Library: Dare You Not To Fall In Love

In honor of Pride this week, we’re proud to highlight some standout books about LGBT young adults. Here are eight books woven with excitement, bravery, honesty, love, and even a little magic in the search for identity, authenticity, and acceptance.

We the Animals, by Justin Torres
We the Animals had me at the first line, with its stunning lyrical simplicity. The efficiency of Torres’s writing just works to contrast the emotional depth of this slim book. This is the story of three Anglo-Puerto Rican brothers, coming of age in upstate New York. Straddling the line between races, loving and hating their dysfunctional parents, the boys grow up a fierce and loyal pack of three. The crux of the book comes as our narrator, the youngest of the three, begins to realize how very different he has always been from the rest of his family and that he might have to break away to finally become himself. Disclaimer: this book was written for an adult audience  and sports some pretty graphic scenes, so I would recommend this as “high YA”, ages 14 and up.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
I know this book came out back when Kurt Cobain was still rockin’, but it wasn’t until recently that I had the chance to read it. Only a few chapters in, I knew Perks of Being a Wallflower was going to be one of those rare books which would have a profound effect on me…and did it ever! Charlie has always kept to the fringes of life, content to observe, but not really engage in the enigma of social interactions. But early in his freshman year his English teacher gives him tricky assignment: to participate in life. Charlie’s voice is perfect: bewildered by high school mores, innocent and wise without making you want to roll your eyes, and completely ignorant of his own talents. Throughout this book Charlie struggles to come to terms with the darkness of his past as well as the shining potential of his future. I dare you not to fall in love with him, not to feel precisely what he feels as he stumbles through his daunting adolescence.

Luna, by Julie Anne Peters
High school sophomore Regan O’Neill has a secret, but it’s not exactly hers to keep. Her older brother, Liam, might seem like the good-looking senior boy at her high school, but only Regan knows that it’s only at night that Liam transforms into the beautiful young woman Luna. When Liam eventually decides to transition fully to become Luna, Regan’s loyalty to her sister comes with new challenges and adds new depth to her own senses of family and identity. Peters’s groundbreaking novel about a transgender teen and the sister who loves her is sure to keep you reaching for the tissues and cheering them on and on.

Going Bovine, by Libba Bray
This is one hell of a wacked-out adventure! Imagine Don Quixote as an apathetic teenage kid who contracts Mad Cow disease and has to go on the road trip of a lifetime to save the entire universe! What, can’t imagine such a thing? Well, thank goodness we have the fabulous Libba Bray to make all our dreams (and bizarre hallucinations) come true. Not only is Going Bovine terribly funny, it is also really, really smart; Bray throws in all sorts of literary allusions, some music theory, and a few really cool scientific thought experiments which layer her book with awesome.

Parrotfish, by Ellen Wittlinger
A lot of things are tough in high school, right? Finding the right clique, playing the right sport, wearing the right brand, having the right look, but what happens when you already know who you are? And for Angela Katz-McNair, who she is is actually a boy named Grady. There is a tremendous amount of tenacity, compassion, and confidence in Wittlinger’s book that makes Grady, his shifting circle of friends, and that universal desire for those picturesque high school moments one of the most compelling, good-humored, and satisfying reads.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post, by Emily Danforth
When Cameron’s parents are killed in a car crash, the first thing she feels is relief that they will never discover she’d just been kissing a girl before the accident. On the trail of the tragedy, Cameron is sent to live with her conservative aunt and grandmother in Miles City, Montana. To fit in, Cam is forced to ignore her attraction to girls and fly below the radar. But all that changes when she develops an intense friendship with the gorgeous Coley, and Cam’s aunt decides to “fix her.”  Author Curtis Sittenfeld (American Wife) says of Miseducation, “If Holden Caulfield had been a gay girl from Montana, this is the story he might have told—it’s funny, heartbreaking, and beautifully rendered. Emily Danforth remembers exactly what it’s like to be a teenager, and she has written a new classic.”

Totally Joe, by James Howe
Not unlike David Levithan’s Lover’s Dictionary, this is a story told in alphabetical entries. Joe’s seventh-grade teacher gives the assignment of an alphabiography and so naturally, Joe begins with his best friend, Addie. By the time we reach Zachary, we’ve learned about Joe’s struggles with his sexuality, his family’s reaction to his coming out, and a how he’s handled a homophobic school bully. A very fun, optimistic, and clever story about discovering who you are.

Ash, by Malinda Lo
A beautiful retelling of Cinderella, Ash follows a young woman who’s left in the clutches of her wicked step-mother. To connect with the memories of her own mother, Ash pores over the fairy tales that they used to read together. These stories infuse her dreams with haunting images of the fairies who vow to steal her away, and when Ash meets Sidhean, an enthralling and dangerous fairy, she believes that her misery is about to end. But she didn’t reckon on meeting Kaisa, the King’s royal huntress, or that she would have to choose between fairy tale dreams and true love.

The Modern Teen’s American Library: Young Outlaws

Have you been outside lately? It feels more like summer than the actual summer does! I’ve been out in Cal Anderson park these past few afternoons and have seen—to my delight—dozens of eager readers with books cracked open under the sun. Ah, it warms my heart. But if you love young adult lit and have already decimated your steady supply, this blog post goes out to you.

I’ve read them—you’ve read them—c’mon, I bet some of your grandparents have even read the Hunger Games Trilogy and loved them just as much as you did. Now you’re itching for something that’ll cure your reading blues, fix that Hunger Games itch, and keep you reading until the sun comes up! Here are some seriously killer books that will get you back in the game.

Cinder, by Marissa Myers
If the cover itself doesn’t lure you in, try this: in this wildly imaginative retelling of the old story, Cinderella is a bad-ass cyborg mechanic living in futuristic New Bejing. She meets the Prince when he brings his busted robot in for repairs.

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Legend, by Marie Lu
Our nation is torn apart by civil war, and now it’s the Republic versus the Colonies. In Los Angeles, June—a military prodigy—shoots up the ranks just behind her hero of a brother. When he’s murdered, all her passion and intelligence turn toward avenging his death, and she begins the hunt for a young outlaw named Day. But Day isn’t what he seems and has a mission of his own.

Revived, by Cat Patrick
The first time Daisy died, she was five years old. Growing up as a government test subject certainly has perks: each time Daisy dies, she’s brought back by the drug Revive. The flip side is, every death means relocation and a new identity.  When moved to a small, Midwest town, Daisy meets her first real friend—and her ridiculously hot brother—and finally wants to keep this life.

Starters, by Lissa Price
In this suspenseful series, a plague kills off everyone but the youth and the elderly. The Body Bank rents teenagers’ bodies to senior citizens who want to be young again. But when sixteen-year-old Callie’s neurochip malfunctions, she wakes up in her rich renter’s mansion, with a senator’s grandson on her arm. It’s a fairy-tale new life, until she discovers her renter’s deadly plan.

I Hunt Killers, by Barry Lyga
Have you heard of a series called Dexter? Sure you have. If you’re into dark, creepy, and totally engaging thrillers, then I Hunt Killers is for you. Jazz’s dad is one of the world’s most notorious serial killers and as a child, Jazz was exposed to the worst of his dad’s crime scenes. But when the clues start to point to Jazz, he decides to join the police to clear his own name.

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Seifvater
Ok, so the review in The Horn Book was so great, that I really can’t add anything:

Stiefvater’s novel […] begins rivetingly and gets better and better…all the way, in fact, to best. Stiefvater masterfully combines an intimate voice with a fully evoked island setting with sensory-rich language with a wealth of horse detail with a plot full of danger, intrigue, and romance […]. Stiefvater sets not one foot wrong as she takes readers on an intoxicating ride of their own. (Martha V. Parravano, Nov/Dec ’11)

Spring Booknotes from Our Staff – Children’s & YA

Oh No, George!

by Chris Haughton (Candlewick)

When the young boy goes out, he leaves his dog George home alone and asks him to be good. But when George sees his favorite food is he able to resist? When George spots the cat will he give him chase? Will George dig in the dirt? When the boy comes home and finds George has not been good he takes George for a walk, and George is again faced with the same temptations. Can he be good this time? The bright, child-like art of this funny picture book will have kids smiling as George tries his best to meet the challenge to be good. –Holly

Magritte’s Marvelous Hat

by D.B. Johnson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

For those who love the paintings of René Magritte this lovely and surreal new picture book is certain to please. “Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see,” the famous artist is quoted as saying, and that is certainly true for this imaginative tale of a painting dog who buys a wondrous new bowler hat. Two sets of special see-through pages create simple magic, and the major art of the main character’s celebrated namesake figures prominently throughout with a humorous canine twist. Take a look! –David

The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math

by Sean Connolly (Workman)

Can you survive Pizza Peril and not lose your new job? Or death by Zombies on The Rope Bridge? You can with a bit of thinking and some advice from your old pal Euclid. This collection of math word problems will entertain and engage as adventurers use math skills to escape dire situations. Plenty of space is provided to work out the problem (and hints on what skills are needed too). The solution isn’t merely laid out at the end of the chapter but worked out in a math lab that translates the principles involved into a hands-on experiment. Fun math tips and tricks are peppered throughout the book too. Make friends with your inner math nerd! –Holly

A Greyhound of a Girl

by Roddy Doyle (Amulet)

Roddy Doyle is a writer who never disappoints me. Doyle’s story is of twelve-year-old Mary O’Hara, her mother Scarlett, her Granny, and a mysterious woman Mary meets named Tansey. Tansey, in fact, turns out to be the ghost of Mary’s Great Grandmother. The story is full of humor and sentiment that touches one’s heart. Doyle writes dialogue like no other, sharp and humorous. His characters grab life and embrace it with all their being. I loved this book and you will too. Read it to the family. -Greg

Grave Mercy

by Robin LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

In the 1400s, Brittany was still its own country, constantly fighting off France’s relentless advances. In Robin LaFevers’s fearless new fantasy, all that stands between Brittany’s freedom and its subjugation is a gaggle of nuns at a convent. But these women are not what they seem; sworn handmaidens of the god of death, they are highly trained assassins. On her first mission, seventeen-year-old Ismae is sent to bring a traitor to justice, but what seems a simple kill is just the first snowfall of an avalanche of betrayal and treachery. Fans of Graceling and The Hunger Games will lose themselves in LaFevers’s gorgeous mythology. –Leighanne

The Great Cake Mystery

by Alexander McCall Smith (Anchor)

Great detectives are born, as is the case with Precious Ramotswe, founder of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, the highly popular adult mystery series. In her very first case, after a piece of cake and other food goes missing at her school one of Precious’s classmates is accused of thievery. But Precious is not convinced of who the thief is and vows to uncover the true culprit. Young readers will be introduced to the clever mind and good heart of this beloved character while being introduced to the landscape and culture of Africa. –Holly

Booknotes, the newsletter of The Elliott Bay Book Company, is written entirely by bookstore staff. It represents a sampling of recently published books that we have enjoyed reading. We appreciate every opportunity to assist in finding books to meet your interests.