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Jennie's Picks (page 1)

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Jennie is a huge tech dork who has lived in Arizona for so long that 60ºF feels intolerably cold. She really enjoys explosions, giant spaceships, ghoulish monsters, and other common features of the "neat, something else blew up" genres. Although some would say otherwise, she would vociferously argue that graphic novels and genre fiction are totally littérature sérieuse. Sometimes she comes back from her first love — sci-fi and the Milky Way (to see the lights all faded, heaven is overrated, etc) — and reads books about economics, technology, LGBT interests, and philosophy.
ISBN: 9781596435735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - February 3rd, 2015

Talk about a book that hits you right in the feels. McCloud's latest is not only gorgeous, it's evocative and dramatic enough to physically hurt. In cinematic illustrations (I could almost hear the overwrought indie soundtrack), he deconstructs the stereotypical archetypes of the starving artist and the manic pixie dream girl in two incredibly flawed protagonists who are possibly worse together than they are alone... and they're pretty awful alone. Pretend you've got the bad-idea love story of Romeo and Juliet, add some art, and then set it in modern New York with a deceptively dark urban fantasy twist. That's The Sculptor. Pick this one up if you want to spend half a day marveling over McCloud's art, and the other half feeling sad.

ISBN: 9780765336286
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - February 3rd, 2015

Cambias tackles some of my very favorite topics in sci-fi: alien contact and the "hard" science behind realistic near-future space exploration. Here, he crafts a tale of three dueling cultures (two alien, one human) through several different points of view. Where he really shines is through the character of Broadtail -- a curious and scientifically-motivated being living beneath the massive pressure and icy crust of his dark homeworld ocean. Outcast from his home, he wanders through the depths in hope of finding an achievement to call his own. Through almost accidental contact with the intrepid and stubborn human explorers, and their isolationist foes, he finds his own destiny. I'd highly, highly recommend this to fans of Kim Stanley Robinson, Larry Niven, Arthur C. Clarke, or Andy Weir's The Martain, and the movies Interstellar and Gravity.

ISBN: 9781476746661
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - June 2nd, 2015

This fabulously scandalous retelling of a hapless history of hooking up in New York is blisteringly funny. Oliver pulls no punches, dishing out the nitty-gritty details, like exactly how much his admiration for his neighbor's terrace factored into his decision to sleep with him, also, what it feels like to have a disapproving Asian physician examine you for STDs. His humor is always extremely self-deprecating, to hilarious effect, such as when he waxes poetics about how pathetically addicted he is to social media, drinking, avoiding commitment, and his habits of hovering awkwardly in corners during parties. Although the laughs come fast and furious, there's a real undercurrent of genuine sentiment under the all the absurdity, making this a highly inappropriate, but nonetheless thoughtful, examination of sex, urban life, alienation, and being alone in a crowd.

ISBN: 9780062335319
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Published: Balzer & Bray/Harperteen - April 7th, 2015

Gregorio's newest book tackles a monstrously-important emerging issue: the question of gender identity and what it means to be a boy or a girl in a world that often does not understand ambiguity or respect self-determination. Kristin, a girl born with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), is a sympathetic protagonist and a compassionate introduction to intersex individuals. The author's willingness to tackle hate crimes, teenage sexuality, and high school bullying without melodramatics or coy aversion to the details gives Kristin's story a particularly realistic feel. Sensitive and informative, None of the Above is a valuable fictional resource.

ISBN: 9780345539816
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Published: Del Rey Books - January 6th, 2015

There are books you read to enrich yourself, to revel in the artistry of the English language. And then there's books that you read because they keep you up all night with giant freaking space battles. Golden Son the latter, and a paragon in the "neat, something else blew up" genre. Pretty much everything you could possibly want in a dystopian sci-fi novel is turned up to eleven, and then Brown adds even more explosions, betrayals, and gory duels. This book was exciting enough that I cried, couldn't eat, and then experienced a little chest pain. Highly recommended to people who enjoy juggling things on fire or wrestling alligators.

By Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra (Illustrator), Jose Marzan, Jr. (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781401251512
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Published: Vertigo - September 16th, 2014

My problem with Brian Vaughn is that everything he does is brilliant. I learned this troubling fact when I was first introduced to his work with this series. And hey -- if you missed this when it was new, don't worry, it's still just as good a decade later. Yorick Brown is the only surviving man when a plague wipes out every man on Earth. What sounds like the lurid plot for a sexploitation film becomes the vehicle for the most touching exploration of love, gender, and coming-of-age I've ever found in a graphic novel. I should confess that I'm a total evangelist for this series, and hopefully, after you read it, you will be too.

ISBN: 9780545522250
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Published: Scholastic Press - September 9th, 2014

You might be on the fence regarding this book, what with how similar it sounds to Harry Potter. Clare and Black do pull heavily from the "magical school" trope to draw in initial attention. But although I thought I'd find it derivative and boring, I never did. The two authors deftly introduce a likable and diverse cast of teenagers navigating the perils of friendship, loyalty, and encroaching war without coming across as cheesy or insincere. Where they really shine is the absolute doozy of a plot twist at the end. I thought I had this one's "big reveal" pinned down, only to be totally thwarted halfway through and then blindsided by the actual reveal. This series starter is sure to please the voracious middle-grade and teenage fantasy enthusiasts in your life.

ISBN: 9781620408124
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Published: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - August 26th, 2014

Where was this book when I was in high school economics? Chang's brilliant and timely hands-on guide to basic economics demystifies the financial headlines while unearthing all the ideological and historical context behind the op-ed articles. If textbooks were written like this, we'd have a world of the very "active economic citizens" that Chang beseeches his readers to become -- before more bad economic decisions go unquestioned. Pick this one up if you want to be the person in every Happy Hour conversation who finds herself or himself cringing at your friends' opinions.

ISBN: 9780393240764
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Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 29th, 2014

The best non-fiction books, in my opinion, shouldn't just entertain you, they should change you. Carr, like in The Shallows, expertly takes an ubiquitous convenience of modern life--previously the Internet and now, automation--and dismantles everyday idealistic assumption about the benefits of their increasing dominance of our lives. Using a mix of anecdotes, statistics, history, and even the theories of the Luddites and Marxists, Carr provides many convincing reasons why we should think twice before putting technological progress--self-driving cars, self-flying planes, self-trading stocks--before human beings who may not be best served by becoming mere shepherds or monitors of complex systems and algorithms. His chapter about how the brain processes spatial information, for instance, compelled me to turn off my GPS before I lose my sense of direction and become a slave to my smartphone. But Carr is not simply an alarmist. The Glass Cage is still a celebration of technology and progress, but one that asks us to consider the human consequences of its misuse.

ISBN: 9780765376916
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Published: Tor Books - January 6th, 2015

Where California Bones really shines is the fantastic world-building. Urban fantasy is almost a dime-a-dozen today, but Eekhout's newest stands above a lot of the pack with an inventive (and gruesome) magic system and coherent dystopian setting inspired by the landmarks and history of Los Angeles. The familiar twists and turns of a heist plot seem more exciting and unique, cast in the light of Eekhout's dog-eat-dog (literally) Southern California. Yes, this book involves cannibalism. There's an awful lot of tension and horror to mine when your characters regularly face the existential crisis of being eaten alive by their foes. And this first installment of a trilogy very liberally exploits that feeding frenzy for a break-neck, never boring, thrill ride.

ISBN: 9780674430006
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Published: Belknap Press - April 15th, 2014

I found it prophetic that Piketty's treatise on 21st-century economic policy was titled exactly the same as Marx's 19th-century book on the very same topic. Like Marx, Piketty has written a game-changer--absolutely shattering myths about taxation and capitalism that both the left and the right have held for centuries. Capitalism, he argues, is no equalizer. The convergence of post-war incomes was a great anomaly. Instead, capitalism inherently preserves the great wealth of executives, wealthy heirs, and others who deliberately manipulate a system rigged in their favor. And, he shows, the game they rig will threaten democracy itself unless we preemptively combat it with more progressive taxation than even most leftists would dream of proposing. But Capital is no book of lofty academic ideas and ideals. Piketty (and his translator) are surprisingly readable, and he drives his points home with impressive amounts of historical and cross-country data--much of which he gathered himself. You'll read passages of this out loud to your politically-minded friends over coffee or wine, I guarantee it.

ISBN: 9781442458734
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Published: Atheneum Books for Young Readers - March 24th, 2015

Noggin is seriously touching YA fiction, and perfect for fans of John Green. Whaley's protagonist, Travis, is pitch-perfect all the way through. Not to mention his cast of memorable supporting characters, all of which have their own unique voice. Mostly, I loved Noggin because of its allegorical power and how expertly it touched on the universal themes of growing up with such an outlandish premise. Travis tackles, head on (SEE WHAT I DID THERE) his short-sighted teenage naiveté, the dangers of expecting people to be exactly what you want them to be, taking for granted your support system, and how to let go of people who've moved past you. Mostly, Noggin is about learning to live again after you've given up, and how to convince the people you lost to risk caring enough to lose you again. Don't hold it against me, but I might have teared up at some scenes.

ISBN: 9781631490224
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Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - March 30th, 2015

You'd think you're too smart to fall for a con—particularly a con involving a murderous German immigrant, who posed as a member of the high-profile Rockefeller family for nearly two decades. But that's exactly what happened to Ivy-educated author Walter Kirn—he fell for it. In Blood Will Out, Kirn reveals how he was duped by a real-life Mr. Ripley posing as "Clark Rockefeller," a man who preyed on Kirn's vulnerability, his willingness to politely collude in lies rather than create a scene, and his pride in keeping such distinguished company—to literally get away with murder. Blood Will Out is not just a good yarn, but an excellently written one as well. Kirn dissects his own deception with the regret of hindsight and the frustrated rage of a man betrayed by a fiend he thought a friend. You can't help but feel sorry for Kirn, and share the same manic creeping dread as he discovers just how much he aided in his own beguilement. If you loved In Cold Blood, this one is for you. Just don't read it with the lights off.

ISBN: 9780147511461
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Published: Speak - January 13th, 2015

Green's prose reminds me a lot of Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking Trilogy)—sparse, beautiful and haunting. Nathan lives in an England where witches reside alongside humans. There are White witches, who are good, and Black whites, who are evil—and then there's Nathan, the product of a White mother and a Black father. And not just any Black witch, but the most feared of them all. Nathan's childhood as a known "Half Code" is fraught with incredible discrimination, culminating in the Council of White witches separating him from his family and keeping him in a cage. Green weaves a much subtler magic than other teen fantasy authors, preferring to let the bleak cultural bigotry of the world she builds and the unforgettable characters speak for themselves. Books and authors like this are why you should be taking teen fiction seriously.

ISBN: 9780345539809
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Published: Del Rey Books - July 15th, 2014

Pierce's dystopian sci-fi jaunt will inevitably draw comparisons to The Hunger Games or Ender's Game with its themes of stratified class structures and twisted youth worship, but in tone it echoes the brutality of A Game of Thrones or Battle Royale. Darrow is sixteen and already a man, employed as a Helldiver, the deadliest job in his caste of short-lived "Reds," who toil in virtual slavery to terraform Mars for Earth's colonists. But that thin veneer of soothing propaganda is ripped wide open when the higher colors hang his wife. Recruited to a terrorist group and surgically transformed into the highest caste to take them down from inside, Darrow must discover how far he's willing to go for revenge—and if hate alone can sustain a man. Dark and fast-paced, I didn't put this one down until it was already light outside. This deserves the hype!

ISBN: 9780765364609
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Published: Tor Books - January 31st, 2012

After the Golden Age is a fun, nostalgic read, tailor-made for comic book nerds. Every major plot point was a treat—with plenty of references to things like doomsday devices, spandex and how evil goons are never very reliable. But behind the send-up to Golden Age comic book geekery, there is a cast of real characters. Through her protagonist Celia West, Vaughn explores the timeless theme of growing up in the shadows of your parents and their accomplishments—Celia's parents are the most famous superheroes of Commerce City, and she's just a normal accountant. Vaughn manages to both satirize and celebrate comic book tropes while crafting such a compulsively readable novel that I couldn't put down. Oh, and the sequel, Dreams of the Golden Age, just came out, and it's just as good.

ISBN: 9781936608751
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Victory Belt Publishing - August 7th, 2012

With chronic migraines and enough allergies to write a book on digestive discomfort, I was looking for anything—a magic pill, hypnosis, standing on my head—to alleviate the daily flare-ups of this health problem or that one. One of my doctors suggested radically changing what I ate, and a friend with a similar problem (IBS) raved about the success she had on the Paleo diet. So I took the plunge—with Sanfilippo's help. Reading "Practical Paleo" is like having a nutritionist in your back pocket. You'll get charts of what sugars and fats to eat, which to avoid, and all the science (and it's pretty good science -- I'm a huge skeptic when it comes to cure-all diet voodoo science) behind why margarine and canola oil is bad and bacon fat and butter is good (and tastier, by the way). Plus, the recipes are delicious and EASY. I especially loved the chorizo meatballs, and I'm going to admit that I eat "baconnaise" on pretty much everything when I get around to making it. I love how "Practical Paleo" isn't really a diet—it's a holistic nutritional guide to making lifetime changes for your health. The crowning achievement of this dense book is Sanfilippo's 30-day meal plans—all tailored to what you want Paleo to do for you, whether it's fat-loss, super clean eating, managing a misbehaving thyroid, or eating for neurological health. I've since moved on to a more ketogenic diet—Paleo and Atkin's bastard bacon-obsessed child—for my migraines, but this book is still a touchstone of good advice and easily-modified recipes.

ISBN: 9781551525143
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Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - September 3rd, 2013

I like the Cannes. I like graphic novels. So when I heard an adaptation of a graphic novel had taken the Palme d'Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, I had to read it. Blue is the Warmest Color lives up to the hype and more. Maroh's art is emotive, but sparse, managing to convey the terrible burden of a life, and a love, in the margins. Veering between the raw operatic tragedy of teenage passion and the subtle, somber adversities of adulthood endings, Clementine's coming-out manages to be familiar, yet exotic–woven as it is with the many shades of blue Morah chooses to represent mercurial Emma. This is a timeless, beautiful graphic novel–one I'm sure to read again and again.

ISBN: 9781596439245
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Published: First Second - September 10th, 2013

Boxers and Saints, Gene Luen Yang's most ambitious project to date, tells the story of Bao and Four-Girl, two Chinese peasants from the same village who wind up on opposite sides of the Boxer Rebellion. In Boxers, Bao follows the hopes and desires he finds embodied in the Chinese pantheon to lead the Society of the Righteous and Harmonious Fist. Yang's art blends historical fact with Chinese mythology to depict the steep price Bao pays to become a hero. This theme is carried into Four-Girl's story, Saints, painted in more muted colors. Never given a name (being fourth-born is an omen of death), Four-Girl is mistreated by her family her entire life. She finds acceptance in the encroaching Christian missionaries, who baptize her Vibiana. Abandoning Chinese culture, she finds inspiration to defend her beliefs through the story of Joan of Arc. Boxers and Saints left me deeply affected; Vibiana and Bao will stay with me a long time. Just as American-Born Chinese, Yang's Boxers and Saints is a triumph of graphic novels.

ISBN: 9780316243926
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - April 1st, 2014

Burial Rites is gorgeous, the kind of book you both praise and jealously damn the author for masterfully writing. Melancholic and achingly claustrophobic, Kent's prose recreates the agony of waiting to die and the inevitable, impossible process of accepting one's harsh fate. Told in shifting points of view, Agnes' cynicism towards her impending death stay with you even after the axe falls. Kent also doesn't spare the reader from the heartless expanses of an Icelandic winter, faithfully detailing the minutia of a 19th-century peasant's rural life. What Kent has created is a beautiful speculative biography of a life half-lived, but hard-fought.

ISBN: 9781452113883
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Published: Chronicle Books (CA) - July 16th, 2013

Super Graphic combines two of my very favorite things: graphic design and unapologetic geekiness. Flipping through this book is like viewing a collection of the very best cutting-edge design pieces, except every single one references the parts of pop culture you like best. Here, there's almost 200 pages of clever, hilarious, and genuinely informative, scatterplots, bar graphs, pie charts, and more. Leong's use of color, scale and sparse text to convey massive amounts of information about the confusing, wonderful worlds (sorry, *universes*) of comics make this the kind of gift nerds of all stripes would be ecstatic to receive. This is the kind of coffee table book, without the coffee table price, that any comic aficionado should be proud to display alongside stacks upon fire-hazard stacks of Superman, X-Men or Avengers back issues. And if you're more of an indie comic fan, like me, then there's plenty in here on indie favorites like Persepolis, Y: The Last Man, and The Walking Dead. Super Graphic is seriously beautiful and serious about comics.

ISBN: 9780385743570
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Published: Ember - September 23rd, 2014

Think you've read enough about dystopian futures and superheroes? No, you haven't. Sanderson takes those two genres and hits the ground running, constructing a post-apocalyptic world ruled by ruthless, invulnerable superhumans called "epics." Even though Steelheart is packed with enough gritty action scenes to please any adrenaline-junkie, there's still plenty of meaty world building and meaningful character development. I was thrilled to be taken aback by no less than three major plot twists; two I didn't see coming, and one I *thought* I did, until the big reveal. I knew that Sanderson was a brilliant epic fantasy writer. His first foray into young adult science fiction proves that he's just a brilliant writer, period.

ISBN: 9781607066019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Image Comics - October 23rd, 2012

Vaughan is the kind of guy nerdlings like me should know – he produced LOST, wrote Runaways (an excellent X-Men spinoff) and is the genius behind Y: The Last Man, one of my favorite indie comic series. So when I heard he was working on another indie sci-fi comic, my response was "yes please," followed shortly by, "shut up and take my money." Saga is what happens when you combine Star Wars and Romeo and Juliet, and then add a dash of genre-savvy absurdism. Fiona Staples' artwork – a beautiful mix of extreme detail and abstract shading – fleshes out giant talking cats, space pirates, forests of spaceship trees, men with television sets for heads and lots of gritty battles. Here's the bottom line: Saga is just really nifty, and the reason why indie comics should be on your radar.

ISBN: 9781616204556
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Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - September 9th, 2014

In If You Could Be Mine, Farizan offers readers a heartbreaking glimpse into the life of a lesbian teenager living under the oppressive fundamentalist Islamist regime of modern Iran. Sahar's time is running out: she's in love with her best friend Nasrin, who is engaged to be married. The girls have faced the threat of brutality and death to be together in secret, but it may be the expectations of Nasrin's family that finally prove to be their undoing. In Sahar's quest to stop the nuptials, Farizan introduces her and the reader to the shadowy, little-glimpsed underground world of Iran's gay culture, populated by an affable cast of social and gender outlaws. With tense, densely-woven plotting, Farizan illustrates the injustices of a world hopelessly divided, in which love is a liability -- growing, withering, and dying undiscovered in the dark.

ISBN: 9781476730592
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Published: Simon & Schuster - August 12th, 2014

I loved The Radleys, and Haig's ability to comment on ordinary British suburban life through absurd premises (self-loathing vampires, previously, now body-snatching aliens) shines again in The Humans. Cambridge Professor Andrew Martin has solved the the most important unresolved problem in mathematics: the Riemann hypothesis. Too bad that an immortal alien from a utopian society has now killed him and taken his place, tasked with eliminating everyone that knows that he solved it, in order to prevent humanity's advancement. But the new Andrew soon finds that the old Andrew was bit of a jerk, honestly, and that his jilted wife and depressed son have suffered from his inattention. Packed with hilarious "fish out of water" scenarios — such as naked escapades, canine communication, and musings on the ugliness of the human nose — Haig still manages to weave an important tale of the power of free will, the purpose of humanity, and the intrinsic longing for family.

ISBN: 9780385741477
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Published: Ember - October 14th, 2014

There's just something about bohemian Paris that enthralls the imagination: the aristocratic indulgence, pitiless class divides, and soaring industrial heights of turn-of-the-century France. Ross captures that period detail, and its certain je ne sais quoi in Belle Epoque. Sixteen-year-old Maude is a runaway and a repoussoir, a plain girl hired to make beautiful socialites look better in comparison. Her client, the Countess Dubern, orders her to befriend her daughter Isabelle under false pretenses and accompany her to social outings. Once threatened with starvation on the street of Paris, Maude now finds herself embroiled in the aristocracy's petty squabbles and bewitched by their decadent balls. But soon, her loyalty to the Countess is tested by Isabelle's genuine friendship, and the unquenchable desire they both share to break free of their expectations. In this provocative exploration of class, beauty, and gender roles, Ross expertly illustrates the power of female friendship and how it can help you find the strength to follow your heart.

ISBN: 9780765365439
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - November 3rd, 2009

Sanderson is perhaps best known for recently completing the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. But before he even took up that legacy, he completed his own fantasy tour de force in the Mistborn Trilogy. All 1800+ pages of the series are full of the best hallmarks of fantasy: a wholly unique magic system, a complex cast of unforgettable characters, and heavy themes like politics, peace, war, power, and finding yourself in a world shaped (literally) by an immortal tyrant. Vin is a protagonist with universal appeal: she grows from a girl to a woman in a society seeped in incredible oppression and turmoil, and must learn that trust, not power, is the key to save a planet on the brink of apocalypse. There's nothing here that isn't truly epic, that won't keep you flipping pages late into the night. The Mistborn Trilogy is great read for fantasy fans of all ages. 

ISBN: 9781250007216
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Published: Square Fish - February 4th, 2014

Meyer continues to deliver heart-pounding thrills in her followup to Cinder. Her new female protagonist, Scarlet, is Cinder's more headstrong counterpart: quick to speak her mind, good with guns and ships, and willing to turn France upside down in search of her missing grandmother. Her love interest, Wolf, is a nod to the Big Bad Wolf in ways that Meyer reveals in some meaty plot twists. Cinder and others from the last book also return, while Meyer takes masterful care to expand both the personalities of her menagerie of characters and the genre-busting world building she started in the last book in New Beijing. Meyer does the almost unthinkable in teen fiction and simultaneously develops two complete female characters in a shifting point of view, who both have more connections with the plot and each other than the oft-recycled love triangle troupe used in less original books. Scarlet is teen fiction for smart, independent women and girls tired of useless female protagonists only relevant because of the flawless, empty men they fall in love with.

ISBN: 9781594631955
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Published: Riverhead Books - October 1st, 2013

Ronson is that rare journalist who transcends his usual medium (The Guardian) to become something greater: a fantastic narrative non-fiction writer. In this book, he departs from his usual format of longer investigative pieces to present a collection of his best satirical and self-deprecating works. Each of his subjects may live crazy lives, but Ronson is a master at finding the humanity in every uncanny circumstance. Highlights include an interview of the rap duo known as the Insane Clown Posse, who claim that they've been inserting Christian subtext into their ultra-violent cult music for years, and Ronson's hilariously awful attempt to live like James Bond -- in which he discovers that fine dining and hard drinking result in not-so-suave stomach woes.

ISBN: 9780316198585
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Published: Mulholland Books - September 10th, 2013

Chase Novak, the pseudonym of prolific novelist Scott Spencer (Endless Love), masterfully straddles the careful line between horror and literary fiction in (Breed). Here, Novak slowly, savagely peels up the pretense of the Upper East side of Manhattan with unkempt claws and bloody teeth, gruesomely satirizing a wealthy couple's selfish quest to preserve their privileged legacy through any means necessary. With an impressive body count, lyrical descriptions of gore and mayhem, bestial children, and a basement macabre enough to give Silence of the Lambs a run for its money, here is a novel for anyone looking to take the Urban and Romance out of Horror. 

ISBN: 9781616201937
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Published: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill - September 18th, 2012

Jordan’s sophomore novel is a work of stunning authenticity and sheer chutzpah. When She Woke is one of the best books of the year and everything the dystopian genre was made for — a hugely politically-relevant gauntlet of human misery caused by state and culture. Hannah ends her pregnancy in a near-future United States that considers abortion murder. Her punishment and escape triggers her transformation — with the help from a cadre of underground pro-choice “terrorists” — from a chaste, meek girl into an adult women fully in control of her destiny, sexuality, and agency. Jordan touches on hot-button issues like abortion, electronic surveillance, privacy, sexism, and the eroding separation of church and state in unflinchingly lurid and enthralling prose. This is The Handmaid’s Tale for the 21st century, an instant classic, and sure to spark not a small bit of controversy.

ISBN: 9780545284141
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - February 2013

Sage -- a thief and orphan -- finds himself unwillingly entered into a deadly contest: prove to a cutthroat nobleman that he can convincingly pose as the missing and presumed-dead Prince Jaron, or else. Nielsen's protagonist is an irrepressible and endearingly defiant voice amongst the machinations of foes beyond his years. This is a great novel for reluctant readers -- the political tension and action will keep them flipping pages well into the night. There's some seriously twisty plot surprises near the end that really ramp up the excitement of the climax too. Kids and adults jonesing for some sword and sorcery fantasy will definitely find their fix here.

By Vera Brosgol, Vera Brosgol (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250040015
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Published: Square Fish - March 25th, 2014

Anya -- teenage Russian immigrant, self-conscious about her body, and on the outs with her only friend -- is not fitting in very well at school. She's going to need a new BFF to help her cope. The one she finds, however, just happens to be dead and haunting the bottom of a well. Vera Brosgol captures all the teenage angst and paranormal murder-mystery misadventures of her protagonist in a strong, unique style that even hardcore graphic novel readers will appreciate. There's a strong message here too: it's best to embrace what makes us different, even if sometimes all you want to do is turn invisible and assimilate. Even Neil Gaiman loves it, calling it a “masterpiece of YA literature and of comics.”

ISBN: 9780062060624
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - August 28th, 2012

When I read that the Orange Prize was awarded to a retelling of my favorite epic poem and the greatest war story ever told, I was filled with both unabashed glee and not a small amount of trepidation. There's nothing quite like Homer's Iliad, and Madeline Miller sure had some epic, ancient shoes to fill. But -- praise Zeus! -- she pulled it off marvelously in The Song of Achilles. Here, she lovingly and expertly crafts every theme of the timeless Greek tragedy: heart-wrenching melodrama, pitiless fate and self-defeating hubris, unfathomable divinities, decadent empires, and deep and immortal love. Miller's choice to narrate the rise and fall of Achilles through the eyes of his lover Patroclus was incredibly intense, moving me to such highs and lows of emotion that I finished the novel breathless and weary, filled with nothing but the desire to read it again. This is an amazing, triumphant book, sure to be a well-loved addition to any library.

ISBN: 9780802121448
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Published: Grove Press - July 9th, 2013

In 2006, Kunstler predicted that the global economy was about to enter a period of long decline, which he dubbed "The Long Emergency." In 2008, the stock market crashed, precipitating a global financial crisis that shows no sign of improving. Now, in Too Much Magic, Kunstler warns that our faith in technology -- solar power, super-efficient cars, vertical farming, and more -- is leading us head-long into ruin. He pragmatically argues for walking-scale urban planning, mass transport, and other traditional, time-tested methods to solve our financial crisis, put people back to work, and dismantle our unsustainable suburban car culture before it's too late. With insightful commentary on American politics, the Euro Crisis, rotting urban zones like Detroit, and more, Kunstler shows how depending on technology in an era that will be defined by rising energy costs is foolhardy. We ignore him at our own peril.

ISBN: 9780062093004
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Published: Katherine Tegen Books - June 4th, 2013

I found it--the next Hunger Games. Insignia is everything that the dystopian genre was made for. Kincaid cribbed right from the headlines: countries run by dirty corporate money, wars fought with public funds for private wealth, and a world nearing ecological collapse, where food and even water itself is copyright protected. The plot dragged me at a breakneck pace towards the triumphant finish: a high-stakes battle fought by teenagers piloting spaceships with computers implanted in their brains. Ender's Game meets Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games -- Insignia is a crowd-pleaser, and should be one of the summer's hottest releases.

ISBN: 9780307742100
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Published: Anchor Books - January 29th, 2013

She's back! The virtuoso horror/supernatural author who made vampires broody and sexy decades before Twilight returns to form with her take on the century-old werewolf myth. Her protagonist, Reuben, goes through the usual gruesome shenanigans you'd expect from a man-eating super-strong werewolf -- but with a philosophical twist. He is man, wolf, neither, or both? While horror fans will love the fast-paced action and dark mood, fans of Anne's signature supernatural/spiritual twists will stay for the existential crisis. Even literary snobs should be impressed by Rice's sweeping metaphors and lush imagery. This one is sure to be a hit with both adults and older teens!  --Jennie

ISBN: 9781250004673
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Published: Square Fish - January 31st, 2012

A Wrinkle in Time was the first book I ever read that deserved to be called ‘epic.’ To this day, it’s still one of the best science-fiction books I’ve had the distinctive pleasure of reading. Meg Murry, L’Engle’s plucky protagonist, was a constant companion of my childhood— reminding me to be brave and resist conformity, no matter how much I hated my hair and my bookish, nerdy nature. Rediscover the magic of the tesseract in this commemorate edition with plenty of new content, or give the gift of resiliency and tenacity to a new generation of young readers!

ISBN: 9780312641894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Feiwel & Friends - January 3rd, 2012

Meyer's debut novel may be inspired by Cinderella -- and it may involve a prince and a ball -- but that's about where the similarity ends. Cinder, our cyborg heroine, is a mechanic in post-World War IV New Beijing. Technology may be advanced enough to give her artificial limbs and a robot for a best friend, but it can't cure the victims of a deadly pandemic sweeping the globe, nor can it save the world from the Moon Queen's tyrannical ambitions. Drawing themes from the classic fairytale, Blade Runner-esque cyberpunk, and Sailor Moon (yes, really), Cinder is a satisfying entry to the YA sci-fi genre, and a promising start to a quartet of novels.

ISBN: 9780062072047
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperCollins Publishers - December 4th, 2012

Even though it’s been favorably compared to Hunger Games and Divergent, Veronica Rossi’s debut novel Under the Never Sky stands out from the pack. Her world-building — eerie, high-tech and animalistic, bleak and somehow beautiful — invokes the feeling of famously detailed epic video games (like the Final Fantasy series) rather than cookie-cutter apocalyptic sci-fi. Fast-paced and exciting without being melodramatic, this is an exciting start to a unique trilogy — and a book so readable it’ll be hard to not finish it in one sitting. —Jennie

ISBN: 9781442426412
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Published: Atheneum Books - December 7th, 2010

Tamora Pierce was the first fantasy author whose name I learned by heart. A pre-teen, I learned how to navigate the labyrinth stacks of the library partly so that I could find more of her wonderful heart-pounding adventures. The Song of the Lioness series, which begins with this book, was the first of her series I ever picked up, and it’s still one of the best. Alanna is absolutely everything you could want in a protagonist and more—resilient, intelligent, and easy to relate to with Pierce’s brilliantly written accounts of her human flaws and character growth. Here’s a great gift for anyone looking to fill the hole that the end of Harry Potter left in his or her imagination! —Jennie

By Patrick Carman, Patrick Arrasmith (Illustrator), Patrick Carman (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9780062009715
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Published: Katherine Tegen Books - April 24th, 2012

Dark Eden brings me back to those days when, as a pre-teen and teenager, my literary diet consisted solely of gruesome horror, creepy fantasy, or anything lacking a happy ending. Carman's newest YA novel nostalgically invokes the readability, mystery, and fright of R. L. Stine's Goosebumps series for a slightly older set. Read the book, download the immersive app at, and face your deepest, darkest fears! —Jennie

ISBN: 9781595825049
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Published: Dark Horse Books - October 20th, 2010

This artbook is a fantastic endcap to Avatar: The Last Airbender, (in my opinion) the most epic American cartoon series ever made. DiMartino and Konietzko include hundreds of sketches that really make you appreciate the effort, artistry, and research chops was put into, of all things, a children's cartoon. I definitely don't regret splurging on this one — the huge art spreads that detail the world building behind the show are worth the price of the book ten times over. It might be massively dorky to own, but hey, you gotta give respect where respect is due. There aren't a lot of television shows, let alone cartoons for children that are as finely crafted as Avatar, and this book proves it. —Jennie

ISBN: 9780425247785
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Published: Berkley Books - August 7th, 2012

The characters in Wetta’s debut novel are unbelievably raw and real—Jack Witcher, his 12 year-old protagonist, is the most unforgettable child narrator since Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird. Likewise, the people populating his family and neighborhood are equally compelling and complex, shown muddling through the author’s masterful construction of small-town angst in the upheaval of the ‘60s. With subplots such as a murder mystery or hilariously awkward first (and forbidden!) love, and timeless themes such as racism, poverty, and self-discovery, there’s plenty of meaty substance in If Jack’s In Love to please any reader. This is an exemplar of high-thinking literary fiction with a compulsively readable satirical twist. —Jennie

ISBN: 9780062191496
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow & Company - May 15th, 2012

Neal Stephenson has his fingers on the pulse of the thriving geek subculture, offering up another sprawling and absolutely engrossing brick of a novel. REAMDE is equal parts techno-thriller, geeky philosophic navel-gazing, and serious littérature, invoking both Crichton and Vonnegut with the author’s acute skill for writing the thrilling and the absurd. A large, compelling and wholly unique cast of characters—including former spetsnaz hired guns, terrorists, San Francisco hackers, insane Russian gangsters, MI6 agents, Chinese gold farmers, and billionare man-child virtual architects—get caught up in the crossfire of a hacking scheme gone bad. But underneath the slapstick plot, there’s some seriously high-minded world building and techy speculation. REAMDE is a meaty, complicated tour-de-force of “idea porn” wrapped in a satirical page-turner, and sure to please sci-fi and espionage fiction fans equally. —JENNIE

ISBN: 9781592407460
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Published: Gotham Books - September 4th, 2012

From the immensely silly IKEA Font War to President Obama's iconic 2008 campaign posters, Simon Garfield expertly reveals the wonderful, nerdy power of typefaces in Just My Type. I found this book both completely fascinating and intensely gratifying -- especially since it justified my shameful, sordid love for Gills Sans and passionate hatred of both Papyrus and Comic Sans. Most of all, I'm happy to know that there are people out there that spend just as much time thinking about typeface as I do. —Jennie

ISBN: 9780307476890
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Published: Vintage Books - August 9th, 2011

Barry expertly captures the voice of Charlie, his single-minded, anti-social, obsessively left-brained protagonist in his newest, highly readable, speculative novel. Although it’s a quick, action-packed read, Machine Man explores meaty issues such as the metaphysical definition of the self and the philosophical mind-body duality (or lack thereof). Through characters with vastly different, and sometimes morally abhorrent, viewpoints, Barry leaves the reader with more questions than answers—a hallmark of satisfying speculative fiction. Highly recommended to sci-fi fans looking for a fun summer read, or anyone looking for a novel that revels in the gray areas of ethics and leaves you not a small bit disconcerted. —Jennie

ISBN: 9781594485756
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 1st, 2012

Are ruthless CEOs and politicians more likely to be psychopaths? Are the mechanisms of power tuned and constructed by the 1% of the population unable to feel empathy or remorse? If, like me, you're a pessimist about the state of the world, then the idea of sociopaths calling the shots explains an awful lot. So when I discovered that Jon Ronson (Them: Adventures with Extremists and The Men Who Stare at Goats)—no stranger to the insane—was working on another book on his favorite well trod but darkly fascinating subject, it shot to the top of my reading list. When I finally got my hands on his deranged and utterly absorbing odyssey through the madness industry, it was absolutely everything I hoped it would be. Ronson provides a heady combination of his signature self-deprecating wit and unsettling interviews with psychopaths and the people (not much saner themselves) who diagnose, condemn, or advocate for them. In his travels, he discovers a lot more about himself, the "science" of psychology, and the hidden structures of our society. Peppered with disquieting insight and riveting moral dilemmas, The Psychopath Test is insanely (pun intended) good, and extremely hard to put down. —Jennie

ISBN: 9781439192320
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - November 1st, 2011

Isaac Marion’s debut novel sparkles with effervescent prose and compelling, heartrendingly human characters—whether they are alive or the undead. R, the undead protagonist, is a homage to classic Night of the Living Dead zombies with a twist—his pensive and brilliantly verbose inner life contradicts his shuffling, moaning personage. He remembers nothing of his own past, but experiences the addictive pleasures of live by snacking on the brains of the living. One of these brains belonged to Perry, the melancholy artiste boyfriend of one Julie—the very girl he finds himself starting to fall for. As R struggles with his feelings for Julie and whether they are real, or the shadows of the love he glimpsed in mouthfuls of Perry’s brain, Warm Bodies asks: is life merely the daily motions of our cells, or a state of being fueled by love, hope, and the human connection? A must-read for zombie fans aching for something new, or anyone with a taste for brains and gore, action scenes begging for a film adaptation, and a little bit of transformative romance. —Jennie

ISBN: 9781580052658
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Published: Seal Press (CA) - October 19th, 2010

If reality television is a disaster, Jennifer Pozner (founder of Women In Media & News) is its forensic investigator: making sense out of seemingly harmless shows like American Idol, The Bachelor, America’s Next Top Model, Flavor of Love, and others. With stellar, absorbing insight, she teases apart the decade-long history of reality television, examining its impact on our culture, its toxic messages, and how and why it has come to dominate the airwaves. Startlingly progressive, Pozner leaves no stereotype untouched: from blacks, to women, to gays, and to less-talked about (but no less important) minorities like transgendered people and Asian-Americans, she argues that reality television thrives and persists on the ugliest, most bigoted stories unscrupulous television producers have to sell. Funny, poignant, and seriously educational, Reality Bites Back is required reading for everyone living in the era of “reality” television.  —Jennie

By Lorraine Massey, Gabrielle Revere (Photographer), Michele Bender (With)
ISBN: 9780761156789
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Published: Workman Publishing - January 2011

If you told me that not to touch my hair with shampoo, brush, or comb for a month, I’d look at you funny. If you told that and that my hair would look fabulous too, I’d ask if you were crazy. But Lorraine Massey proposes “curly girls” do exactly that—and it works. I haven’t brushed, combed, or shampooed my hair in weeks. I’ve worn my hair down more this month than I ever had in my life. Total strangers compliment me on my full-bodied, glossy, frizz-free curls, even on those high-humidity days where everyone else has their hair up! Massey’s routines for curly or wavy hair might seem bizarre, but they really work—I feel like I’ve wasted years of my life with over-processed, dry, unruly hair that I hated when I could have amazing, beautiful hair that I love. Plus, her tips and recipes are far healthier and more environmentally-friendly than your old regimens and products. Going natural and finally having low-maintenance fantastic hair… what’s not to like? Give Curly Girl a try and you’ll see what I mean!   —Jennie

ISBN: 9781451610338
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Published: Free Press - September 20th, 2011

Matt Haig is known for his dark takes on “ordinary” family life. The Radleys—literary fiction about the modern nuclear family with an oddly metaphoric vampiric twist—is Haig at his best. Peter—limping towards a midlife crisis—and Helen—plagued by secrets and regrets—have lied to their unpopular, awkward children Rowan and Clara since they were born. They’re all “abstainers”—vampires who refuse to drink blood. Their practiced lies and feigned suburban banality fall apart when shy Clara gives in to her violent nature and Uncle Will, a practicing vampire, visits to unearth the secrets and habits of a sordid, bloody past they thought they could forget. Haig’s dark humor and wit pulled me in to the Radley’s dramas; teenagers and adults alike will also find it easy to relate to the characters. Through domestic derangement and vampire lore, Haig crafts a satisfying, well-paced novel that explores denial, hard bargains, the bonds of family, and what sin can cost—or win—us. –Jennie

ISBN: 9780143118619
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Published: Penguin Books - January 25th, 2011

Even with disturbing tales of student suicides evoked by ruthless bullying screaming from recent headlines, few of us are willing to delve into the unremarkable daily tortures behind the spectacle. Lelic brings the issue of bullying—in the school and in workplace, by children and adults—home with his unsettling, penetrating debut novel. Through his protagonist, police investigator Lucia, he asks, “Why was the onus always on the weak when it was the strong who had a liberty to act? Why were the weak obliged to be so brave when the strong had license to behave like such cowards?” His characters are unremarkable and average—which makes their inaction, their cruelty, all the more chilling. Through cutting prose, he masterfully evokes the gut-wrenching betrayal that bullying victims feel when their cries for help go unanswered, and authority tacitly endorse, or even encourage, unspeakable barbarism. A Thousand Cuts leaves you with the disquieting question: what do we cause when we scorn the weak and plea ignorance in the face of cruelty? —Jennie

ISBN: 9781439171226
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Published: Free Press - September 13th, 2011

The Moral Landscape is the most optimistic book I've read all year. Harris starts with the common-sense proposition that science (any rational study of reality) can tell us what is morally right or wrong. From there, he offers the reader a machete to cut through the thorny proposition that only religious demagogues have anything universal to say about morality, and that science and liberal cultural relativists must remain forever silent—and never turn "is" propositions into "oughts". Pithy enough to quote around the dinner table, but academic enough to reference in an academic essay (especially if you tackle the 100+ pages of notes and cross-references), The Moral Landscape makes a great gift for anyone looking to think critically about moral truths. Now readers can offer no apology when they say that the worst things humanity has to offer—genocide, bigotry, and other jingoism—are wrong in principle, not opinion. As for me, I'm definitely putting Harris's masterwork up next to John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism in the philosophy section of my bookshelf.  —Jennie

ISBN: 9780061726941
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Harper Paperbacks - July 19th, 2011

Cullen combines climatology with sociology to present a glimpse into the future for seven areas sure to be impacted by the all-but-inevitable climate change in The Weather of the Future. Using compelling data we see how varied and extreme the results of climate change will be in different areas—Bangladesh flooded, California's agricultural industries in ruin, a melted Greenland transformed into a cornucopia of minerals ripe for the picking, and New York City battered by hurricanes. But Cullen's book is more than just 300 pages of doom-and-gloom, she also offers optimistic views of what certain communities—like the Inuit in the Arctic circle and New York's Climate Change Adaptation Task Force—have done to prepare for an intimidating future. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to connect apocalyptic headlines about melting ice to the weather patterns we might see just outside our front doors. —Jennie

ISBN: 9780765333841
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Published: Tor Books - September 4th, 2012

Doctorow isn't afraid to write long, meaty books with complex political and economic themes. As someone not enamored of dumbing-down literature for teens, I loved For The Win. Although it's set in the present, Doctorow's novel about virtual economies has enough sci-fi flair and steam-punk-esque vibes to appeal to fans of apocalyptic futures such as Hunger Games or the Uglies Trilogy. Doctorow writes superb characters: driven, ambitious kids with revolutionary spirits and a good heads on their shoulders. I especially liked 15-year-old Mala ("General Robotwalla") whose leadership and vision carried her virtual troops to victory. For the Win has a lot to teach readers about how serious, and deadly, any economic system—even the virtual ones—can become. Doctorow has intense zeal for the new political crises of the virtual age—privacy, gaming, intellectual freedom, and social justice—and it shows through the passion he channels to craft this masterful thriller. Highly recommended to adults, teens, and anyone who knows that it's never just a game. —Jennie

ISBN: 9781592405619
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Published: Gotham Books - February 2nd, 2010

Instead of urging unlucky-in-love readers to "settle" for Mr. Right There, Klausner penned a scathing and hilarious anti-Marry Him manifesto about the "Nice Guys"—faux-sensitive "take care of me" guys—that every woman has dated—and later discovered that they weren't so nice. I thought that Klausner's message was like a breath of fresh (and sane!) air in a sea of dating books telling women to "settle" for immature needy guys. Her point that some Nice Guys that are intimidated by pretty women aren't cute and shy, they're "reacting to the intimidating female as an intruder, an alien, and somebody they can't relate to," was totally spot-on. This isn't a "woe is me" fest though! Reading I Don't Care About Your Band was like talking to a really cool friend who was always ready to tell you that you're so awesome that even a long lonely dry spell or a spectacularly bad relationship can't destroy you. On the other hand are the dating books tell women to "not feel so good about yourself" so that you pass up too many dudes and "end up alone"... guess which message I prefer? I really recommend this book to anyone that wants a little company in the shared misery of bad relationships, or just wants to laugh at the bad behavior we put up with in the search for love. -Jennie

By Rieko Matsuura, Michael Emmerich (Translator)
ISBN: 9784770031167
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Kodansha - January 1st, 2010

As a connoisseur of weird novels, I have to say that this one is definitely one of the weirdest. Kazumi Mano—a young woman formerly content to passively let life happen to her—wakes up one day with the wrong genitalia... on her toe! Soon, Kazumi is forced to reevaluate her life, her sexuality, and everything she ever took for granted. Along the way, she finds love and friendship with a cast of "sexual freaks" just like herself. I thought this novel was hilarious and thought-provoking. A classic coming-of-age story masquerading as a bizarre fairy-tale, Matsuura's novel is really hard to put down. Even as I identified with Kazumi, I was totally unprepared for where this novel took me. This is a great novel for anyone searching for a conversation piece and just downright good story-telling! —Jennie

ISBN: 9780316040105
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Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - October 5th, 2010

I usually dislike YA fantasy romance novels, as they all feel like cheap spin-offs of Twilight. Ash, Malinda Lo’s subversive debut novel, decidedly stands out from the pack. Even though it’s a retelling of Cinderella, it’s more a coming-of-age story than a sappy romance. Torn between the memories of her dead parents and the reality of her cruel stepmother, Aisling finds her escape in the woods she loves and the dangerous fairies that live there. Until she meets Kaisa, the King’s huntress, Ash lives as an abused servant by day and a bewitched victim of fairy magic by night. The atmospheric and eerie plot leads to a surprising conclusion—much different than the classic fairy tale—but ultimately much more convincing! The romance in Ash is less purple prose or a storm of clichés and more poignant and touching—based on friendship more than an unhealthy attraction to danger. I couldn’t put this one down, and I’m glad I didn’t: the ending is utterly satisfying and sweet. I recommend this novel to anyone with a penchant for romance, fantasy, and strong female protagonists. —Jennie

ISBN: 9780195372083
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Oxford University Press, USA - September 2009

If Hollywood, the television, and any other media came with an instruction manual, this would be it. Dill's How Fantasy Becomes Reality is a invaluable resource for understanding the impact that media has on both individuals and society—for better or for worse. Instead of taking a reactionary or dismissive tone, Dill backs up all of her points with tons of research and psychological studies, which I found both extremely enlightening and interesting. Not only does Dill contest that fantasy has the power to shape our reality, she also presents really compelling reasons why we resist acknowledging just how much power media has over us. This book is extremely empowering: now I feel that I can made educated choices about the media I consume and preempt the ways it can affect me by recognizing the psychological tactics that used to slip under my radar. Highly highly recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in the impact of media and conscious consumption! -Jennie

ISBN: 9780452296299
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume Books - May 25th, 2010

Lev Grossman’s fantasy novel is filled with so much more than satisfyingly complex magic and mystery; it’s also tribute to favorites like Rowling, Lewis, and Tolkien. The Magicians is character-driven in a way that many fantasy novels are not. Quentin, the protagonist, invokes shades of The Catcher in the Rye’s gifted but disaffected Holden, while Alice, his foil, mirrors a more traditional hero. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever once wished to be whisked away from a life of normalcy to Middle-Earth or Hogwarts, especially misfits like me who sometimes wish their drama was a bit more fantastic. —Jennie

ISBN: 9780399534973
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Published: Perigee Books - May 5th, 2009

Common sense: self-acceptance and health is more important than any number on a scale. But with the constant bombardment of fad diets and feel-bad marketing, most of us are hard-pressed to admit it. With the tongue-in-cheek wit of their blog writing, Harding and Kirby use this common sense proposition to present twenty-seven ways to reframe everything you know about dieting and weight. Isn’t it time that someone said that being unshakably happy and healthy is more important than waiting to enjoy life until you’re acceptably thin? I recommend this book to anyone, because everyone should feel fabulous at any weight! —Jennie

ISBN: 9780385481960
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Published: Broadway Books - March 15th, 1996

The inspiration for the same-named movie starring Michael Sera (2009), Youth In Revolt is even funnier (and dirtier) in print. Nick Twisp can't get a break: after unsuccessful schemes to lose his virginity and the increasingly dangerous (and illegal) hijinks of his alter-ego, Francois, he finds himself a homeless fugitive. What’s a 14-year old boy in search of sex and rebellion to do? Youth in Revolt chronicles the raunchy slapstick misadventures of an honors-student turned oversexed revolutionary. This is the subversive coming-of-age story for children of the 90s—and a daringly naughty book that you'll read again and again. If riotous laugh-out-loud novels are your thing, this isn’t one to miss! -Jennie

By Stephen Crane, Alfred Kazin (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780553210118
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam Classics - March 1981

Poignant, moving, and evocative, Stephen Crane's coming-of-age Civil War novel is just as relevant today as the day it was first published. The Red Badge of Courage is told from the view of the nameless "youth", a naïve teenager drawn into the horrors of warfare. With stunning imagery and unsettling ethical dilemmas, this is one classic that will satisfy any literary connoisseur, young or old. More than that though, it is the titular example of "show, not tell" when it comes to setting and characterization. How Crane illustrates the turbulence of the protagonist's emotions as his worldview is traumatically uprooted is sublime and almost unmatched, even over a century after the initial publication. -Jennie

By Plato, Christopher Rowe (Translator)
ISBN: 9780141442433
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Published: Penguin Books - December 24th, 2012

Plato’s Republic probably one of the titular titles anyone thinks of when they contemplate ancient philosophy—and for good reason. Unlike contemporaries such as Zeno and Aristotle, Plato’s theories of forms and intense commitment to a political meritocracy still have meaning and application, even over two thousand years after they were written. And unlike even more “modern” philosophers like Kant or Mill, Plato’s political and ethical theories are startlingly modern and mostly devoid of unsavory biases like apologetics for colonialism or musings on the inherent inferiority of the female sex. Plato’s Republic is a masterwork of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, and political philosophy. Any inspiring philosopher really ought to have this title under his or her belt—not only for posterity, but also because it truly is good enough to stand the test of the millennia solely on its own merits. —Jennie

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