Monday, March 31, 2014

Ha Ha Ha-larious Teen Reads!

Want to read something ha ha ha-larious? We have a new bibliography of YA comedy gems that are guaranteed to split sides and bust guts, or your money back!  Okay, it is FREE to check out books, so the money back thing might not be THAT enticing but these books truly are cream of the crop of comedy!  Click here to see our full list of book lists for teens and check out some of my TOP of the Top comedy picks below:

Bad Machinery: The Case of the Team Spiritby John Allison YP FIC ALLISON Six kids navigate the treacherous waters of school and adolescence while whole-heartedly diving into the whirlpool of mysteries that swirls around the peculiar English town of Tackleford.

Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator by Josh Berk YP FIC BERK Guy Langman, his best friend Anoop, and other members of the school Forensics Club investigate a break-in and a possible murder, which could be connected to the mysterious past of Guy's recently-deceased father.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray YP FIC BRAY  When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.

Mangaman by Barry Lyga and Colleen Doran YP FIC LYGA Ryoko Kiyama, a character from a Japanese comic book, or manga, falls through a rip into the real world--the western world--and tries to survive as the ultimate outsider at a typical American high school.

Crap Kingdom by D. C. Pierson YP FIC PIERSON Tenth-grader Tom Parking's dream of being swept away to a fantasy land where he becomes a hero nearly comes true when he finds himself the Chosen One of a nameless world, the most annoying, least "cool" place in the universe.  

Dodger by Terry Pratchet YP FIC PRATCHET In an alternative version of Victorian London, a seventeen-year-old Dodger, a cunning and cheeky street urchin, unexpectedly rises in life when he saves a mysterious girl, meets Charles Dickens, and unintentionally puts a stop to the murders of Sweeny Todd

 Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex YP FIC REX After being bitten by a vampire, not only is Doug doomed eternally to be fat, but now he must also save himself from the desperate host of a public-access-cable vampire-hunting television show that is on the verge of cancellation.

There is no Dog by Meg Rosoff YP FIC ROSOFF When the beautiful Lucy prays to fall in love, God, an irresponsible youth named Bob, chooses to answer her prayer personally, to the dismay of this assistant, Mr. B who must try to clean up the resulting

Winger by Andrew Smith YP FIC SMITH Two years younger than his classmates at a prestigious boarding school, Ryan Dean West grapples with living in the dorm for troublemakers, falling for his female best friend who thinks of him as just a kid, and playing wing on the Varsity rugby team with some of his frightening new dorm-mates.

Bandette: Presto by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover YP FIC TOBIN The world's greatest thief is a costumed teen burglar in swinging Paris by the nome d'arte of Bandette! Gleefully plying her skills on either side of the law, Bandette is a thorn in the sides of both police inspector Belgique and the criminal underworld.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dogs of War by Sheila Keenan & Nathan Fox YP FIC KEENAN

Boots, Loki, Sheba.  Three dogs in three wars that wagged their take in the face of death.  Boots braves the dangers and rats of trench warfare of WW I, Loki pulls a sled in a forgotten front of WW II, and Sheba sniffs out snipers and booby traps in the jungles of Vietnam. A harrowing but hopeful look at the ravages of war and the humanity and canine-ity  that comes from unlikely heroes.

This is a gorgeously illustrated and very well measured look at war.  It has all the rousing adventure and excitement that is common of classic war movies and stories, but looks at the all-too-high human cost of war. It never turns The Enemy into an evil monolithic force, and invites the reader to both feel the fear of being fired upon and the sadness of having to fire back to survive. Best of all is it has dogs!  Great, beautiful, heroic dogs that absolutely leap off the page and into your heart!  I felt as much (if not more) tension worrying what would happen to the dogs as I did for the human characters. the book does occasionally stray very close to cliche, but the unique and detailed artwork keeps it from every feeling cheesy or stagnant. Fox uses a slew of clever artistic devices to bring the reader into the action: tight, cramped panels to press the claustrophobia of trench warfare, the use of bright color against expanses of white and light blues to play off the feeling of being all too visible against an invisible enemy, dreams and reality fading into each other for a vet that is still in the jungle even when he make sit home, and more. The only gripe I have is that it perpetuates the long discredited myth of Vietnam veterans being spat upon when returning home. This is a commonly told myth, so it doesn't distract too much from the overall story. If you are a fan of comics, then you have a great beautiful book to read, and if you like war stories at all this could be a great way to break into graphic novels.

You can find Dogs of War in our catalog here.