Monday, August 31, 2015

The Fall Is Falling!

Whew! We have been bustling this week! School is closing in on our students, and there's still time for some last-minute vacation reading on top of those assigned books (which, by the way, you can still find at the back of the kids' department). Meanwhile, in the book world, FALL is closing in. Fall is book season in the same way that fall is apple season--you can get new and delicious books all year around, but when fall arrives, the books come out in bushels. I have definitely caught the first hints of autumn air on my walks to work this week--and in the store, it's getting harder to pick which amazing new release to talk about first.

Aside from Percy Jackson's Greek Heroes and The Day the Crayons Came Home, here are a few more (okay, more than a few) titles that have come out in the last month or so that we are delighted to share with you.

Clarissa's Picks:

Baba Yaga's Assistant is a witchy, folk lore-ish graphic novel by Marika McCoola, with art by Emily Carroll of Into the Woods. In this graphic novel a girl named Masha does the unlikely--instead of keeping out of notorious witch Baba Yaga's way, she figures out how to become her apprentice. It's a great new take on Russian folklore if you've heard the stories before, and a great introduction if you haven't.
Court of Fives is fantasy writer Kate Elliott's first young adult novel. High-stakes sports in an otherworldly setting mix with the complex and inescapable forces of class and race in a dense but pacy fantasy with a heroine you will love.

Amy's Picks:

Moira Fowley-Doyle's The Accident Season is a YA novel about secrets, family, and one family in particular that, each October, suffers violently bad luck. If you like Holly Black, or Diana Wynne Jones's Time of the Ghost (unforgivably out of print), this book should be very much up your alley.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia is about Alex, a girl whose schizophrenia gives her delusions that she can't always separate from reality. It's manageable, until she meets a boy named Miles. Miles starts to change Alex's ideas about what kind of life she's allowed to live--the question is, did Alex make him up?

Alex's Picks:

I have been waiting MONTHS for Alex Gino's George. It's a middle grade novel, accessible, heartfelt, and with wonderfully real fourth-grade voices, about a transgender girl named George. She's still figuring herself out and hasn't come out to her family when the book begins, but George wants to live as the glorious girl that she is. It will just take a little planning. Great for fans of Wonder or Fish in a Tree.

The Sky Is Falling by Mark Teague is the story of Chicken Little, but with way more dancing. Can chickens outsmart a fox with their smooth moves? Well, if you have read James Marshall's wonderful Wings, you know a chicken can do anything she sets her mind to.

The last books up there are officially multi-bookseller picks: 

Amy has read Stephanie Tromly's Trouble Is a Friend of Mine THREE TIMES. I have read it once. (I haven't given Amy her book back. Yet. Yet!) Zoe has new girl problems--and then she has Digby, the obnoxious, obsessive, voracious food-thief who suddenly wants her to break all kinds of laws to solve one or two missing persons cases. It's a quick read that will happily blindside anyone who loves Sherlock Holmes, but also kind of wants to give him a punch in the nose.

Finally, a new and terrifying YA horror anthology: Slasher Girls and Monster Boys, edited by  April Genevieve Tucholke. We've all been passing around our staff advanced copy of this one, and I saw bookseller Kat taking her own copy home. If you're already preparing yourself emotionally for Halloween (and I assume you are), start here. Here is a very good place to start.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Alex Is Reading...LOIS LANE: FALLOUT

Lois Lane: Fallout is a YA novel about amazingly wonderful teenager Lois Lane moving to Metropolis, joining the Daily Planet's experimental student arm, and immediately putting it at jeopardy by threatening the big, the bad, the powerful, and their crafty weapon design program that uses zombiefied teenage virtual reality MMORPG players as guinea pigs.

It is kind of like reading the book distillation of Veronica Mars (or iZombie, maybe?)  plus Batman Beyond. There is peril, there is bravado, there is technologically questionable science, there is THIS MYSTERIOUS AND CHARMING PERSON ON THE INTERNET WHO ONLY GOES BY SMALLVILLEGUY. I really love these things, you guys. They make such a fun book together. SUCH a fun book.


But Lois is not the only mystery-solving girl in the world of kid/YA fiction. There are more, and they are so wonderful, and you should read about all of them.


Cam Jansen series by David A. Adler -- Even more than Nate the Great, Cam Jansen introduced me to mystery stories. She is one cool character. Also, she has a photographic memory, which I pretended I also had for about two years after my first Cam Jansen book. You can find her BOTH in our leveled readers and in First Chapter Books.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry -- I think I threw this at every gift-buying adult shopping for a 9-13 year old that I met in November and December. This is the completely delightful and very funny story of a Victorian girls' school after the headmistress and her brother die mysteriously one night at dinner. With these two buried in the back garden, the girls are free for the first time ever! But someone is going to find those bodies...and someone killed them to begin with.

Hawkeye by Matt Fraction et. al. -- Yessss, at last a Marvel comic gets onto one of my blog posts. Hawkeye is about two Hawkeyes: the sad Clint Barton man Hawkeye, and the exceptionally perfect, sublime, and superior Hawkeye Kate Bishop. The first two books are about both of them (and you should read them, because they completely rethink what superhero comics are allowed to do, and are beautiful), but in book three, Kate is all on her own. How does that go? We just got this series into the store, and I am so stoked about it.

Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene -- THE CLASSIC. We have the first couple books in stock in Intermediate fiction, as well as some volumes of three different spinoff series in our First Chapter Books section! You may also find some vintage books in our Used Book Cellar, in various states of expurgation.

Scarlet Undercover by Jennifer Latham -- What is this?! A black Muslim orphan girl detective? OH YES. If you like Gwenda Bond's Lois Lane, you will definitely love Scarlet, whose gradeschool client is absolutely right in thinking that her brother is up to something really, really not quite right.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin -- Okay, I've DEFINITELY written about this before, but come on! Halloween, dead millionaires, an underwhelming girl named Turtle who is secretly (not that secretly--how could you love any character more than Turtle?) the very, very best, and a delicious ending that is probably only one small part of what got this book its Newbery.

Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen -- I ate these up so fast in middle school. Sammy is just the coolest and best. Her adventures are always action-packed, the plots are quirky, and at least one of them involves nuns. You can sometimes find a few of the books used downstairs, sold only, I imagine, in a truly desperate moment by their former owners.

In conclusion: if you have other favorite girl detectives, please immediately tell me everything.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Silly Alarmed Bookseller

This happens not infrequently. I should be used to it.
If I am supposed to know you and I don't...I have no excuse.