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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Author: TackyCardigan

Pratchett, Patriarchy and the Past: New Teen Books in the Collection

If you’re looking for something fresh and new to read right now, we have got you covered.  From historical fiction, murder mysteries and romance to feminist comics, ghost stories and putting your best foot forward online, and many, many more, there is sure to be something to pique your interest.

Fiction

I’ll tell you no lies / McCrina, Amanda
“New York, 1955. Shelby Blaine and her father, an Air Force intelligence officer, are wrenched away from their life in West Germany to New York’s Griffiss Air Force Base, where he has been summoned to lead the interrogation of an escaped Soviet pilot. A chance meeting with Maksym, the would-be defector, spirals into a deadly entanglement. The more Shelby learns of Maksym’s secrets, including his detention at Auschwitz during the war, the more she becomes willing to help him. But as the stakes become more dangerous, Shelby begins to question everything she has been told.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Let’s play murder / Lupo, Kesia
“Veronica wakes up trapped with four strangers in a sprawling manor house in a snow storm with a dead body, a mystery right out of an Agatha Christie novel. It feels so real but it isn’t. This is VR and this is THE Game; a rumoured Easter Egg hidden in other VR games that draws you into a competition for a prize beyond your wildest dreams. And there’s no escaping the VR world until the Game is won. It may not be a game Veronica wanted to play, but it’s one that she has to win or die trying.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A thousand boy kisses : a novel / Cole, Tillie
“When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation? Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. But when he discovers the truth of her absence, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What happened on Hicks Road / Jayne, Hannah
“Lennox Oliver is loving her new life in California. For the first time, she feels normal. She has friends, and a maybe boyfriend and best of all no one knows the truth about her past and what happened to her mom. But everything changes the night after a party when a drive on the supposedly haunted Hicks Road turns deadly and Lennox hits something…or someone. Her friends say it was nothing, at worst, a deer in the road. But when a note saying FIND ME is slipped through her window, she fears that there was a girl she hit on Hicks Road that night …or she’s slipping deeper into the illness that took her mother.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Comics

Smash the patriarchy / Breen, Marta
“Patriarchy means ‘the rule of the father’ and describes a system where men are in control. At least since the time of Aristotle, loud-mouthed men have called women weak and inferior. The book is not afraid to examine some of the worst crimes – public shaming, medical examinations, and the widespread murder and jailing of feminists around the world – as it calls on readers to finally smash the patriarchy forever.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Festival of shadows : a Japanese ghost story / Atelier Sentō (Firm)
“Every summer, in an isolated Japanese village, a celebration known as the Festival of Shadows takes place. The villagers are entrusted to assist the troubled souls or “shadows” of those who died tragically, and to help them come to terms with their deaths and find eternal peace. Naoko, a young girl born in the village, is given a year to save the soul of a mysterious young man. Naoko puts her own life on the line to save the soul of this man she loves, in an exciting, moving and beautifully drawn story that takes the reader on a journey from the beautiful Japanese countryside to glamorous Tokyo art world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Courage to dream : tales of hope in the Holocaust / Shusterman, Neal
“Courage to Dream plunges readers into the darkest time of human history – the Holocaust. This graphic novel explores one of the greatest atrocities in modern memory, delving into the core of what it means to face the extinction of everything and everyone you hold dear. Woven from Jewish folklore and cultural history, five interlocking narratives explore one common story – the tradition of resistance and uplift.” (Catalogue)

One in a million / Lordon, Claire
“Something is wrong with Claire, but she doesn’t know what. Nobody does, not even her doctors. All she wants is to return to her happy and athletic teenage self. But her accumulating symptoms – chronic fatigue, pounding headaches, weight gain – hint that there’s something not right inside Claire’s body. But even in her most difficult moments battling chronic illness, Claire manages to find solace in her family, her closest friends, and her art. A deeply personal and visually arresting memoir that draws on the author’s high school diaries and drawings, One in a Million is also a sophisticated portrayal of pain, depression, and fear that any teen or adult can relate to.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Non-Fiction

Tiffany Aching’s guide to being a witch / Pratchett, Rhianna
“An illustrated and practical guide to being a witch in Discworld, covering everything you’ve ever wanted to know from telling the bees to magical cheese, from working with other witches to dealing with elves, from tending flocks to fending off forces from other worlds. This beautiful and practical guide has been compiled by Tiffany Aching herself, including snippets of remembered wisdom from Granny Aching alongside notes from Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Miss Tick, and Rob Anybody who offer their own unique perspectives on all things witchcraft.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Clicks : how to be your best self online / Devon, Natasha
“When young people step into the digital world and are bombarded with ‘hot takes’, calls to cancel ‘problematic’ individuals, trolls, fake news and celebrity sales pitches they’re likely to find it overwhelming and confusing. This book wants to change that. It will teach young people how to: – Understand the psychological effects of social media on their minds, including internet pornography – See and evaluate all sides of an argument – Spot fake news – Explain their ‘take’ persuasively – Use the internet to campaign for a fairer world – Get the most out of their online role models – Show allyship to marginalised groups.” (Catalogue)

For more new books in the collection, go to: What’s new / February 2024 (wcl.govt.nz)

Love, Libraries and Lives Lost – New Teen Books in the Collection

Do you need something fresh to read over the school holidays?  We’ve got a great selection of new books rolling into our collection this month as always.  We’ve selected a handful below to get you started!

Comics

Mall Goth / Leth, Kate
“Liv Holme is not exactly thrilled to be moving to a new town with her mother. After all, high school can be brutal, even more so when you’re a fifteen-year-old, bisexual goth. But Liv is determined to be who she is, bullies or not. Thankfully, she’s found the perfect escape: the mall. Under its fluorescent lights, Liv feels far away from her parents’ strained marriage and the peers who don’t understand her. Amid the bright storefronts, food court smell, and anonymous shoppers, Liv is safely one of the crowd and can enjoy the feeling of calling the shots in her own life for once.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The infinity particle / Xu, Wendy
“Clementine Chang moves from Earth to Mars for a new start and is lucky enough to land her dream job with Dr. Marcella Lin, an Artificial Intelligence pioneer. On her first day of work, Clem meets Dr. Lin’s assistant, a humanoid AI named Kye. Clem is no stranger to robots–she built herself a cute moth-shaped companion named SENA. Still, there’s something about Kye that feels almost too human. When Clem and Kye begin to collaborate, their chemistry sets off sparks. The only downside? Dr. Lin is enraged by Kye’s growing independence and won’t allow him more freedom. Plus, their relationship throws into question everything Clem thought she knew about AI. After all, if Kye is sentient enough to have feelings, shouldn’t he be able to control his own actions? Where is the line between AI and human?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Yaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass : the graphic novel / Vargas, Mel Valentine
“It’s the beginning of sophomore year, and Piedad “Piddy” Sanchez is having a hard time adjusting to her new high school. Things don’t get any easier when Piddy learns that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off from those who care about her – or running away? (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fiction

Divine rivals : a novel / Ross, Rebecca
“After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again… All eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow wants to do is hold her family together. With a brother on the frontline forced to fight on behalf of the Gods now missing from the frontline and a mother drowning her sorrows, Iris’s best bet is winning the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette. But when Iris’s letters to her brother fall into the wrong hands – that of the handsome but cold Roman Kitt, her rival at the paper – an unlikely magical connection forms. Expelled into the middle of a mystical war, magical typewriters in tow, can their bond withstand the fight for the fate of mankind and, most importantly, love?” (Catalogue)

Also available as an eAudiobook, and an eBook on both Libby and Borrowbox.

Ryan and Avery / Levithan, David
“When Ryan and Avery met at a queer prom, they felt an instant connection. This is the story of their first 10 dates: the tender hopes, the skittish fears, the difficulty of introducing someone into your pre-existing life. There is always the possibility of heartbreak– and the chance that maybe, just maybe, you’ve found the right person to love.” (Catalogue)

Where he can’t find you / Coates, Darcy
“Abby Ward lives in a town haunted by disappearances. People vanish, and when they’re found, their bodies have been dismembered and sewn back together in unnatural ways. But is it the work of a human killer . . . or something far darker? She and her younger sister live by a strict set of rules designed to keep them safe–which is why it’s such a shock when Hope is taken. With every hour precious, Abby and her friends are caught in a desperate game of cat and mouse. They have to get Hope back. Quickly. Before too much of her is cut away. And before everything they care about is swallowed up by the darkness waiting in the tunnels beneath the home they thought they knew.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What stalks among us / Hollowell, Sarah
“The last thing they expect to come across is a giant, abandoned corn maze. But with a whole day of playing hooky unspooling before them, they make their second mistake. Or perhaps their third? Maybe even their fourth. Because Sadie and Logan have definitely entered this maze before. And again before that. They quickly realize they’ve not only entered this maze before, they’ve died in it too. A lot…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The space between here & now / Suk, Sarah
“Seventeen-year-old Aimee Roh has Sensory Time Warp Syndrome, a rare condition that causes her to time travel to a moment in her life when she smells something linked to that memory. Her dad is convinced she’ll simply grow out of it if she tries hard enough, but Aimee’s fear of vanishing at random has kept her from living a normal life. Desperate for answers, Aimee travels to Korea, where she unravels the mystery of her memories, the truth about her mother, and the reason she keeps returning to certain moments in her life.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The library of broken worlds / Johnson, Alaya Dawn
“In the winding underground tunnels of the Library, the great celestial peacekeeper of the three systems, a terrible secret lies buried. The daughter of a Library god, Freida has spent her whole life exploring the Library’s ever-changing tunnels and communing with the gods. When she meets Joshua, a mortal boy desperate to save his people, and Nergüi, a Disciple from a persecuted religious minority, Freida is compelled to break ranks with the gods and help them. To do so she will have to venture deeper into the Library– and she discovers the atrocities of the past, the truth of her origins, and the impossibility of her future.” (Catalogue)

Non-Fiction

Lads : a guide to respect and consent – step up, speak out and create positive change / Bissett, Alan
“In a world full of negative influences, LADS is a toolkit for teenage boys on respect and consent, helping them call out bad behaviour and giving them the confidence to be their best selves. Have you ever been in a situation where there’s a loud guy making dodgy comments, cracking jokes that only he thinks are funny or leering at the girls in the room? You can feel the tension, right? That Guy is the worst, but no one is saying anything, because the whole situation is intimidating and awkward. This toolkit will help you call out bad behaviour and understand the serious issues facing girls today. And it will make you feel confident navigating relationships, so that everyone feels happy, heard and respected, while being the best version of yourself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more new books in the catalogue, go to: What’s new / December 2023 (wcl.govt.nz)

Memoirs, Mysteries, Memes and Murder: New Books for Teens in the Collection

Those summer holidays are going to be here soon, and it’s the perfect time to get stuck into some new books.  I mean, have you considered the Summer Reading Adventure yet?  We have a fresh crop of new books to add to your reading list, whether your into comics, fiction or non-fiction… or maybe all three?

Comics

Mexikid : a graphic memoir / Martin, Pedro
“Pedro Martin’s grown up in the U.S. hearing stories about his legendary abuelito, but during a family road trip to Mexico, he connects with his grandfather and learns more about his own Mexican identity in this moving and hilarious graphic memoir.” (Catalogue)

The Calvin and Hobbes portable compendium. Book 1 / Watterson, Bill
“Calvin and Hobbes is unquestionably one of the most popular comic strips of all time. The imaginative world of a boy and his real-only-to-him tiger first appeared in 1985 and could be read in more than 2,400 newspapers when Bill Watterson retired on January 1, 1996.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All the lovely bad ones : a ghost story graphic novel / Peterson, Scott
“Travis and his sister, Corey, can’t resist a good trick. When they learn that their grandmother’s quiet Vermont inn, where they’re spending the summer, has a history of ghost sightings, they decide to do a little ‘haunting’ of their own. Before long, their supernatural pranks have tourists flocking to Fox Hill Inn, and business booms. But Travis and Corey soon find out that theirs aren’t the only ghosts at Fox Hill. Their thoughtless games have awakened something dangerous, something that should have stayed asleep. Can these siblings lay to rest the troubled spirits they’ve disturbed?” (Catalogue)

Fiction

Broken hearts and zombie parts / Hussey, William
“A savagely funny gay YA romance about body image, self-acceptance and falling in love. Jesse Spark has a broken heart and in a few short weeks he’ll require major surgery to repair it – which means he only has a month to accomplish two almost-impossible tasks. 1) Shoot his epic zombie movie on a shoestring budget if he has any hope of getting into film school. 2) Fall in love before this surgery lands him with a huge scar – because how will anyone ever fancy him after that?” (Catalogue)

How to find a missing girl / Wlosok, Victoria
“Seventeen-year-old amateur sleuth Iris and her sapphic detective agency investigate the disappearance of Iris’s cheerleader ex-girlfriend, who also happens to be the creator of a notorious true-crime podcast about Iris’s missing older sister.” (Catalogue)

The scarlet veil / Mahurin, Shelby
“Six months have passed since Célie took her sacred vows and joined the ranks of the Chasseurs as their first huntswoman. With her fiancé, Jean Luc, as captain, she is determined to find her foothold in her new role and help protect Belterra. But whispers from her past still haunt her, and a new evil is rising–one that Célie herself must vanquish, unless she falls prey to the darkness.” (Catalogue)

09If you tell anyone, you’re next / Heath, Jack
“Jayden Jones is missing. Everyone thinks he ran away. His best friend, Zoe Ross, knows they’re wrong. Zoe’s search leads her to the 17-a secret group chat, used by anonymous teens to blackmail the powerless. To join, you have to put on a mask and record yourself completing a challenge. The challenges are always illegal. Sometimes dangerous. Maybe deadly. Who are the 17? What have they done to Jayden? And what will they do to silence Zoe?” (Catalogue)

Non-Fiction

Accountable : the true story of a racist social media account and the teenagers whose lives it changed / Slater, Dashka
“When a high school student started a private Instagram account that used racist and sexist memes to make his friends laugh, he thought of it as “edgy” humor. Over time, the edge got sharper. Then a few other kids found out about the account. Pretty soon, everyone knew. Ultimately no one in the small town of Albany, California, was safe from the repercussions of the account’s discovery. Not the girls targeted by the posts. Not the boy who created the account. Not the group of kids who followed it. Not the adults–educators and parents–whose attempts to fix things too often made them worse. In the end, no one was laughing. And everyone was left asking: Where does accountability end for online speech that harms? And what does accountability even mean?” (Catalogue)

Video game of the year : a year-by-year guide to the best, boldest, and most bizarre games from every year since 1977 / Minor, Jordan
“For each of the 40 years of video game history, there is a defining game, a game that captured the zeitgeist and left a legacy for all games that followed. Through a series of entertaining, informative, and opinionated critical essays, author and tech journalist Jordan Minor investigates, in chronological order, the innovative, genre-bending, and earth-shattering games from 1977 through 2022. Minor explores development stories, critical reception, and legacy, and also looks at how gaming intersects with and eventually influences society at large while reveling in how uniquely and delightfully bizarre even the most famous games tend to be”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

For more new books for teens in the collection, go to: https://wcl.govt.nz/whatsnew/#teens

Stand Alone Graphic Novels for Teens with Busy Schedules

It’s that time of year, exams, assignments, school dances and proms, everything is happening and it’s really hard to find time to concentrate on reading anything too lengthy or complex.  Picking up a series right now could be just a bit much in a busy schedule.  But you need some down time, right?  Here’s a list of recent picks of standalone graphic novels for you to give yourself a break with.

Four-color heroes / Fairgray, Richard
“Written and illustrated by Aotearoa/New Zealand-born creator Richard Fairgray, the story is set in a New Zealand high school during the passing of the Civil Union Act 2004. As tensions rose nationwide over the basic equal rights of same-sex couples, two boys were fighting a battle on a smaller scale, against enemies from within and without, as they found love and self-discovery through the pages of a comic book.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Crumbs / Stirling, Danie
“In a very special town, there’s an even more unusual bakery with a selection of baked treats hand-crafted to help your dreams come true. For Ray, a quiet young woman with special powers of her own, the order is always the same: a hot tea with a delicious side of romance. When Ray meets Laurie, the kind barista who aspires to be a professional musician, she gets a real taste of love for the first time. But even with a spark of magic, romance isn’t so simple.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Family style : memories of an American from Vietnam / Pham, Thien
“Thien’s first memory isn’t a sight or a sound. It’s the sweetness of watermelon and the saltiness of fish. It’s the taste of the foods he ate while adrift at sea as his family fled Vietnam. After the Pham family arrives at a refugee camp in Thailand, they struggle to survive. Things don’t get much easier once they resettle in California. And through each chapter of their lives, food takes on a new meaning. And for Thien Pham, that story is about a search… for belonging, for happiness, for the American dream.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Every day : the graphic novel / Levithan, David
“Every morning A wakes in a different person’s body, in a different person’s life, learning over the years to never get too attached, until he wakes up in the body of Justin and falls in love with Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

 

Sunshine : how one camp taught me about life, death, and hope / Krosoczka, Jarrett
“When Jarrett J. Krosoczka was in high school, he was part of a program that sent students to be counselors at a camp for seriously ill kids and their families. Going into it, Jarrett was worried: Wouldn’t it be depressing, to be around kids facing such a serious struggle? Wouldn’t it be grim? But instead of the shadow of death, Jarrett found something else at Camp Sunshine: the hope and determination that gets people through the most troubled of times. He learned about the captivity of illness, for sure but he also learned about the freedom a safe space can bring.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

In limbo / Lee, Deborah
“Ever since Deborah (Jung-Jin) Lee emigrated from South Korea to the United States, she’s felt her otherness. For a while, her English wasn’t perfect. Her teachers can’t pronounce her Korean name. Her face and her eyes – especially her eyes – feel wrong. In high school, everything gets harder. Friendships change and end, she falls behind in classes, and fights with her mom escalate. But Deb is resilient and slowly heals with the help of art and self-care, guiding her to a deeper understanding of her heritage and herself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Breath of the giant / Aureille, Tom
“The Giants live in the Lost Territories of the North, atop the mountains. The Ones who find their way there will, by killing one of these beasts, collect his breath and pass it on to a lifeless body. Against the Gods’ will, the deceased will then come back to life. Sisters Iris and Sophia are determined to find one of these Giants. They lost their mother too soon and put all their hopes in this quest. But the journey ahead of them will bring way more than they were bargaining for.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Issunboshi : a graphic novel / Lang, Ryan
“In a feudal Japan where creatures of myth and folklore are real, a demon sets out to reforge an ancient weapon to take over the world. The only person who can stop him is a six-inch-tall would-be samurai, who also happens to be the final and most important piece of the weapon.” (Catalogue)

 

Over my dead body / Boo, Sweeney
“One day, everything was exactly as it was supposed to be. And the next, the closest thing Abby ever had to a sister, Noreen, was just… gone. Distracted by the annual preparations for the Samhain festival, Abby’s classmates are quick to put Noreen’s disappearance aside. The Coven will find her, Abby’s friends say. They have it under control. But Abby can’t let it go. Soon a search for answers leads her down a rabbit hole that uncovers more secrets than Abby can handle.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Look No Further: New Teen Books in the Collection

October’s crop of new books for teens is a bumper one!  There’s a little bit of something for everyone in these latest arrivals, mystery, romance, survival, families, murder, suspense… even Batman’s butler Alfred in his youth.  Take a look at just a few of the new titles available this month…

Look no further / Robinson, Rioghnach
“When Nico and Ali meet at Ogilvy Summer Art Institute, a selective camp for art students in New York City, they seem like complete opposites. When a teacher assigns them as pairs for a genealogy project, Ali and Niko are shocked to find they have a lot more in common than they bargained for. On a quest to uncover their shared history, Ali finds herself falling for her roommate, who may have already fallen for another girl at Ogilvy. Surfer-bro Niko struggles to find his footing in the glamorous NYC art scene. Only when they face real heartbreak can they accept the most transformative revelation of the best art is what you make, not just what you see.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Frontera / Anta, Julio
“As long as he remembers to stay smart and keep his eyes open, Mateo knows that he can survive the trek across the Sonoran Desert that will take him from Mexico to the United States. That is until he’s caught by the Border Patrol only moments after sneaking across the fence in the dead of night. If you’d asked him if ghosts were real before he found himself face-to-face with one, Mateo wouldn’t have even considered it. But now, confronted with the nearly undeniable presence of Guillermo, he’s having second thoughts. As his journey stretches on, Mateo will have to decide exactly what and who he’s willing to sacrifice to find home.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ride or die / Musikavanhu, Gail-Agnes
“From illegal snack swapping in kindergarten to reckless car surfing in high school, Loli Crawford and Ryan Pope have been causing trouble in their uptight California town forever. Everyone knows that the mischief starts with Loli. When Loli throws the wildest party Woolridge High has ever seen just to steal a necklace, she meets X, an unidentified boy in a coat closet, who challenges her to a game she can’t refuse. Loli and X and X exchange increasingly risky missions. As she attempts to one-up X’s every move, Loli risks losing everything– including her oldest friend.” (Catalogue)

Paper planes / Wood, Jennie
“After a life altering incident, Dylan and Leighton are sent to a summer camp for troubled youth. They both need a good evaluation at the camp. Otherwise, they’ll be sent away, unable to attend high school with their friends. While participating in camp activities and chores, Dylan and Leighton are pushed onto personal journeys of self-discovery and are forced to re-examine the events that led up to the incident that sent them to camp, the incident that threatens their futures and their friendship with each other. Can Dylan and Leighton save their friendship and protect their future while trying to survive camp?” (Catalogue)

Thirty to sixty days / Wood, Alikay
“A compulsive liar with a quick-witted response to everything, Hattie Larken is willing to do whatever it takes to just skate through the rest of high school and she can escape the mind-numbing monotony of this town. Then she finds out she is dying– exposed to a parasite because of a mistake her mom’s company made. Two other kids from her class also have been exposed: Carmen, the class president with a loving family, and a totally beautiful girlfriend; and Albie, a quiet kid who survived childhood cancer only to deal with this. With only thirty to sixty days to live, they decide to: Steal and sail a boat to Miami. Adopt a turtle. Sneak into a sold-out music festival. And maybe film all their misadventures….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Young Alfred : pain in the butler / Northrop, Michael
“Bruce Wayne wouldn’t be Batman without his righthand man, Alfred Pennyworth. But was Alfred born to be the greatest butler in the world? Not exactly… When Alfred attends the prestigious Gotham Servants School, he is a clumsy and nervous boy going to fulfill his father’s last wish–he will become…a butler! Pushed out of his comfort zone, Alfred must adjust to new surroundings and responsibilities while trying to ace his courses and get along with his classmates. But when he suspects that his school may be involved in a criminal plot, Alfred must look within himself to see if he has what it takes to be not only a butler, but a hero.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Four found dead / Richards, Natalie D.
“Tempest Theaters is closing: tonight is their last night. It’s the last remaining business in a defunct shopping mall. The moviegoers have left, and Jo and her six coworkers have the final shift, cleaning up popcorn and mopping floors for the last time. An unexpected altercation puts everyone on edge, the power goes out– and the manager disappears, along with the keys to the lobby doors and the theater safe, where the crew’s phones are locked each shift. When a body is discovered, their only escape is through the dark, shuttered mall. To survive the night, Jo and her coworkers must trust one another, navigate the ruins of the mall, and outwit a killer before he kills again.” (Catalogue)

Firebird / Sunmi
“Caroline Kim is feeling the weight of sophomore year. When she starts tutoring infamous senior Kimberly Park-Ocampo – a charismatic lesbian, friend to rich kids and punks alike – Caroline is flustered… but intrigued Their friendship kindles and before they know it, the two are sneaking out for late-night drives, bonding beneath the stars over music, dreams, and a shared desire of getting away from it all. A connection begins to smolder… but will feelings of guilt and the mounting pressure of life outside of these adventures extinguish their spark before it catches fire?” (Catalogue)

I am the Mau : & other stories / Glasheen, Chemutai
“This enticing collection of contemporary fiction is a celebration of our ubuntu- the invisible ties that bind us all together. From ancient forest guardians to modern cultural warriors, from grappling with age-old traditions to championing hair identity, these evocative stories explore the duality of Kenyan life and how to find a way between two cultures, both of which are yours.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Monstrous : a transracial adoption story / Myer, Sarah
“Sarah has always struggled to fit in. Born in South Korea and adopted at birth by a white couple, she grows up in a rural community with few Asian neighbours. People whisper in the supermarket. Classmates bully her. She has trouble containing her anger in these moments – but through it all, she has her art. She’s always been a compulsive drawer, and when she discovers anime, her hobby becomes an obsession. Though drawing and cosplay offer her an escape, she still struggles to connect with others. And in high school, the bullies are louder and meaner. Sarah’s bubbling rage is threatening to burst.” (Catalogue)

For more new books in the collection, go to: What’s new / October 2023 (wcl.govt.nz)

M is for Monster: New Young Adult Books in the Collection

August is here and with it yet another bunch of awesome new books in the collection.  We’ve got comics based on Frankenstein and from the perspective of a survivor of a school shooting; novels with dark mystery and swoon-worthy romance; and even a fantastic cookbook for teens, and so much more.  Take a look at the titles below and then click on through to the rest of the new items to explore more.


Comics

M is for monster / Dutton, Talia
“When Doctor Frances Ai’s younger sister Maura died in a tragic accident six months ago, Frances swore she would bring her back to life. However, the creature that rises from the slab is clearly not Maura. This girl, who chooses the name M, doesn’t remember anything about Maura’s life and just wants to be her own person. However, Frances expects M to pursue the same path that Maura had been on – applying to college to become a scientist – and continue the plans she and Maura shared. In order to face the future, both Frances and M need to learn to listen and let go of Maura once and for all.” (Adapted fromCatalogue)

Welcome to St. Hell : my trans teen misadventure / Hancox, Lewis
“Lewis has a few things to say to his younger teen self. He knows she hates her body. He knows she’s confused about who to snog. He knows she’s really a he and will ultimately realize this. But she’s going to go through a whole lot of mess (some of it funny, some of it not funny at all) to get to that point. Lewis is trying to tell her this … but she can’t quite hear him yet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Knee deep. Book one / Flood, Joe
“Two hundred years in the future, refugees from an environmental cataclysm have fled underground. They are sewerfolk, their home, the bowels of a utopian city that was never completed. Life is hard enough, but an overzealous mining company, PERCH wants to get their claws on this new underground frontier and they don’t mind bulldozing any sewerfolk that get in their way. Caught in the middle is a young girl, Cricket. She’s in a desperate search to find her family that fled underground.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Numb to this : memoir of a mass shooting / Neely, Kindra
“Kindra Neely never expected it to happen to her. No one does. Over the span of a few minutes, on October 1, 2015, eight students and a professor lost their lives. And suddenly, Kindra became a survivor. This empathetic and ultimately hopeful graphic memoir recounts Kindra’s journey forward from those few minutes that changed everything. It wasn’t easy. Every time Kindra took a step toward peace and wholeness, a new mass shooting devastated her again. Las Vegas. Parkland. She was hopeless at times, feeling as if no one was listening. Not even at the worldwide demonstration March for Our Lives. But finally, Kindra learned that – for her – the path toward hope wound through art, helping others, and sharing her story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Family style : memories of an American from Vietnam / Pham, Thien
“Thien’s first memory isn’t a sight or a sound. It’s the sweetness of watermelon and the saltiness of fish. It’s the taste of the foods he ate while adrift at sea as his family fled Vietnam. After the Pham family arrives at a refugee camp in Thailand, they struggle to survive. Things don’t get much easier once they resettle in California. And through each chapter of their lives, food takes on a new meaning. And for Thien Pham, that story is about a search… for belonging, for happiness, for the American dream.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Fiction

Someone is always watching / Armstrong, Kelley
“When their friend Gabrielle is found covered in blood in front of their dead principal, with no recollection of what happened, Blythe, Tucker, and Tanya soon discover their lives are a lie as the walls built around their real memories come crashing down.” (Catalogue)

Girl, goddess, queen / Fitzgerald, Bea
“Thousands of years ago, the gods told a lie: how Persephone was a pawn in the politics of other gods. How Hades kidnapped Persephone to be his bride. How her mother, Demeter, was so distraught she caused the Earth to start dying. The real story is much more interesting. Persephone wasn’t taken to hell: she jumped. There was no way she was going to be married off to some smug god more in love with himself than her. Now all she has to do is convince the Underworld’s annoyingly sexy, arrogant and frankly rude ruler, Hades, to fall in line with her plan. A plan that will shake Mount Olympus to its very core. But consequences can be deadly, especially when you’re already in hell . . .” (Catalogue)

We Didn’t Think It Through / Lonesborough, Gary
“The justice system characterises Jamie Langton as a ‘danger to society’, but he’s just an Aboriginal kid, trying to find his way through adolescence. He spends his downtime hanging out with his mates, Dally and Lenny. Mark Cassidy and his white mates – the Footy Heads – take every opportunity they can to bully Jamie and his friends. On Lenny’s last night in town before moving to Sydney, after another episode of racist harassment, Jamie, Dally and Lenny decide to retaliate by vandalising Mark Cassidy’s car. And when they discover the keys are in the ignition… Dally changes the plan. But it’s a bad plan. And as a consequence, Jamie ends up in the youth justice system where he must find a way to mend his relationships with himself, his friends, his family and his future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Painted devils / Owen, Margaret
“When misfortune strikes, the ‘reformed’ jewel thief Vanja manipulates a remote village for help and in turn, accidentally starts a cult around a Low God, the Scarlet Maiden. Soon after, her nemesis-turned-suitor Emeric and a supervising prefect arrive to investigate the claim of godhood, and she realizes how in over her head she must be. But the Scarlet Maiden does reveal herself…only to claim Emeric as her virgin sacrifice. With vengeful apparitions, supernatural fraud, and ravenous hellhounds, readers will not be able to put down this Bavarian-themed YA fantasy, the thrilling sequel to Little Thieves.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lose you to find me / Brown, Erik J
“Tommy Dees is in the weeds–restaurant speak for beyond overwhelmed. He’s been working as a server at Sunset Estates retirement community to get the experience he needs to attend one of the best culinary schools in the world. And to make his application shine, he also needs a letter of recommendation from his sadistic manager. But in exchange for the letter, Tommy has to meet three conditions–including training the new hire. What he doesn’t expect is for the newbie to be an old crush: Gabe, with the dimples and kind heart, who Tommy fell for during summer camp at age ten and then never saw again.  The training proves distracting as old feelings resurface, and the universe seems to be conspiring against them. With the application deadline looming and Gabe on his mind, Tommy is determined to keep it all together–but what if life isn’t meant to follow a recipe?” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Non-Fiction

Fantastic vegan recipes for the teen cook : 60 incredible recipes you need to try for good health and a better planet / Skiadas, Elaine
“Elaine’s recipes help the modern teen cook be more environmentally-conscious and develop healthy habits while also proving that easy vegan cooking doesn’t need to be bland or boring. With just a few simple techniques and a handful of quality ingredients, it’s easy as can be to whip up a restaurant-quality meal for your family and friends.” (Catalogue)


For more new YA books in the collection, go to:  What’s new / August 2023 (wcl.govt.nz)

Books with that Barbie Vibe

Barbie is everywhere right now.  I’ve never seen as much pink as I have over the past few months and the new film starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling is the hottest thing in cinema.

via GIPHY

There is a real vibe shift happening thanks to the Barbie movie, probably because we’re all looking for some froth and fun to give us a break from the stress and anxiety of reality.  Colour palettes have gone bubblegum, from candy pink to bright neons, retro prints like baby pink gingham and nautical stripes, and lots of glitzy silver sparkle.  We’re almost playing dress ups like we did when we were little.  And let’s not forget the girl power that comes from the Barbie universe.

Whether you’ve seen the film yet or not, it’s easy to get that Barbie vibe going, or continuing, with just the right books, and I’ve selected some to get you started.  Try these on for size:

Be dazzled / La Sala, Ryan
“Raffy has a passion for bedazzling– and sewing, stitching, draping, pattern making. He is determined to make his mark at this year’s biggest cosplay competition. If he can wow there, it could lead to sponsorship, then art school, and finally earning real respect for his work. One small problem: Raffy’s ex-boyfriend, Luca, is his main competition. Luca’s insecurities and Raffy’s insistence on crafting perfection caused their relationship to crash and burn. When Raffy is forced to partner with Luca on his most ambitious build yet, he will have to juggle unresolved feelings for the boy who broke his heart, and his own intense self-doubt, to get everything he has ever wanted: choosing his art, his way.” (Catalogue)

The cute thesaurus / Jenkins, Ethan
“Have you hit ‘cute’ overload? has your addiction to using the C-word reached a point where you literally can’t even? If you need help to kick your adorable habit, this hilarious book will tickle you pink with so many winsome, precious, and … cute … alternatives!” (Catalogue)

Happily ever afters / Bryant, Elise
“Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing–in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader. When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A phở love story / Le, Loan
“Bảo would describe himself as steady and strong: his grades are average, his social status unremarkable. He works at his parents’ phở restaurant – as his parents’ fifth favorite employee. Linh Mai would describe herself as a firecracker: stable when unlit, but full of potential for joy and fire. She dreams of pursuing a career in art, while working practically full-time at her family’s phở restaurant. Bao and Linh have never even had a class together – but after a chance encounter, sparks fly. Can this relationship survive their families’ feud?” (Catalogue)

I’ll be the one / Lee, Lyla
“Skye Shin has heard it all. Fat girls shouldn’t dance. Wear bright colors. Shouldn’t call attention to themselves. But Skye dreams of joining the glittering world of K-Pop, and to do that, she’s about to break all the rules that society, the media, and even her own mother, have set for girls like her. She’ll challenge thousands of other performers in an internationally televised competition looking for the next K-pop star, and she’ll do it better than anyone else. But Skye has her sights on becoming the world’s first plus-sized K-pop star, and that means winning the competition, without losing herself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Miss Meteor / Mejia, Tehlor Kay
“Everyone knows Meteor, New Mexico got its name from the space rock that crashed into the desert nearby. Nobody knows that Lita Perez came with it– or that she’s starting to turn back into stardust. Her life might depend on winning the Miss Meteor beauty pageant. Chick Quintanilla knows Lita has no chance of winning– pageant queens are always skinny, poised, and white. To pull off the unlikeliest underdog story in pageant history, the two will have to imagine a future where girls like them are more than enough– they are everything.” (Catalogue)

Shoetopia : contemporary footwear / Huey, Sue
“Shoetopia is the ultimate book on designer shoes, exploring the ever-evolving world of footwear and the creative designers in it. Footwear design continues to be one of the most important and interesting areas of the fashion industry. This stunning book showcases the most exciting and innovative contemporary footwear designers from across the globe, from established, world-recognized brands like Jimmy Choo and Prada to the stars of the future. From traditional skills to extraordinary new developments in the industry, the book features original design sketches and beautiful photography, bringing together a rich array of desirable footwear.” (Catalogue)

Dumplin’ / Murphy, Julie
“Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin'” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked… until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back. Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant — along with several other unlikely candidates — to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City — and maybe herself most of all.” (Catalogue)

You wish / Hubbard, Amanda
“Kayla McHenry’s sweet sixteen sucks Her dad left, her grades dropped, and her BFF is dating the boy Kayla’s secretly loved for years. Blowing out her candles, Kayla thinks: I wish my birthday wishes actually came true. Because they never freakin? do. Kayla wakes the next day to a life-sized, bright pink My Little Pony outside her window. Then a year’s supply of gumballs arrives. A boy named Ken with a disturbing resemblance to the doll of the same name stalks her. As the ghosts of Kayla’s wishes-past appear, they take her on a wild ride . . . but they MUST STOP. Because when she was fifteen? She wished Ben Mackenzie would kiss her. And Ben is her best friend’s boyfriend.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Have you read anything that gives off definite Barbie vibes lately?  Let us know in the comments so we can add them to our list!

Influential: New Young Adult Titles in the Collection

Right now the nights are long and the temperatures are chilly, perfect weather for curling up with a good book and getting cosy.  If you’re looking for something new to settle in and escape into, try some of these new books in the collection:

Influential / Sage, Amara
“Almond Brown has no friends in real life but 3.5 million followers online. A heart-felt, whip-smart deep dive into what it would really be like to be internet famous at 17: a cautionary tale for our time from a writer who has grown up with social media. Almond is forced into the spotlight when she was just a perfectly filtered bump: her mum has been documenting their family through social media since before she was born. When the darkest side of the internet begins to haunt her, Almond feels like she’s going to lose everything.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Belle of the ball / Costa, Mari
“High-school senior and notorious wallflower Hawkins finally works up the courage to remove her mascot mask and ask out her longtime crush: Regina Moreno, head cheerleader, academic overachiever, and all-around popular girl. There’s only one teensy little problem: Regina is already dating Chloe Kitagawa, athletic all-star… and middling English student.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood debts / Benton-Walker, Terry J
“Thirty years ago, a young woman was murdered, a family was lynched, and New Orleans saw the greatest magical massacre in its history. In the days that followed, a throne was stolen from a queen. On the anniversary of these brutal events, Clement and Cristina Trudeau–the sixteen-year-old twin heirs to the powerful, magical, dethroned family–are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until, by chance, they discover their mother isn’t sick–she’s cursed…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fighting in a world on fire : the next generation’s guide to protecting the climate and saving our future / Malm, Andreas
“An argument for bold action to stop climate change and a guide to successful activism, adapted for young people from climate expert Andreas Malm’s best-selling book How to Blow Up a Pipeline.” (Catalogue)

Lally’s game / Cawthon, Scott
“A forbidden artifact from her fiancé’s past beckons to Selena. Jessica leads a double-life from her friends and coworkers in the children’s wing of a hospital. Maya can’t resist the temptation to explore an off-limits area of Freddy Fazbear’s Mega Pizzaplex. But in the world of Five Nights at Freddy’s, everything comes with a price to pay.” (Catalogue)

Blue Lock. 1 / Kaneshiro, Muneyuki
“After a disastrous defeat at the World Cup, Japan’s team struggles to regroup. But what’s missing? An absolute ace striker. The Football Union is hell-bent on creating a striker who hungers for goals and thirsts for victory, so Blue Lock – a rigorous training ground for 300 of Japan’s best and brightest youth players – is created. To survive this battle royale, the last striker standing will have to out-muscle and out-ego everyone who stands in his way!” (Catalogue)

Monochrome / Costello, Jamie
“… the whole of society is in the grip of the Monochrome Effect, or ‘greyout’, which eliminates the ability of humans and animals to see colour. The greyout moves from person to person, but it isn’t a transmissible disease: the effect on the optic nerve can be traced from microplastics in the ocean, the result of unchecked pollution, now in all water systems. When Grace starts to experience intermittent ‘colour episodes’, she is asked to join a government-run study with other teens who have seen flashes of colour since the Monochrome Effect began. But the reality is much more sinister, complex and dangerous than she could ever have imagined – colour vision is now currency, and to those in power, worth the ultimate price…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Queen bee : an anti-historical Regency romp / Howard, Amalie
“Lady Ela Dalvi knows the exact moment her life was forever changed–when her best friend, Poppy, betrayed her without qualm over a boy, the son of a duke. She was sent away in disgrace, her reputation ruined. Nearly three years later, eighteen-year-old Ela is consumed with bitterness and a desire for . . . revenge. But when Ela reunites with the only boy she’s ever loved, she begins to question whether vengeance is still her greatest desire. In this complicated game of real-life chess, Ela must choose her next move: Finally bring down the queen or capture the king’s heart?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Nova : Sam Alexander / Loeb, Jeph
“Sam Alexander is a kid bound by the gravity of a small town – and a father whose ridiculous fairy tales about a ‘Nova Corps’ are just another heavy burden. But lucky for Sam, his troubles will soon be a billion miles away! A hand-me-down helmet has unlocked Sam Alexander’s heroic legacy – and even as the Guardians of the Galaxy try to train him, the helmet will soon lead the newest Nova into a massive intergalactic conflict!” (Catalogue)

All my rage / Tahir, Sabaa
“A family extending from Pakistan to California, deals with generations of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness.  From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness–one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The quiet and the loud / Fox, Helena
“On the water, with everything hushed above and below, George is steady, silent. Then her estranged dad says he needs to talk, and George’s past begins to wake up, looping around her ankles, trying to drag her under. George’s best friend, Tess, is about to become a teen mom; her friend Laz is in despair about the climate crisis; her gramps would literally misplace his teeth if not for her, and her moms fill the house with fuss and chatter. When her father tells her his news, George turns to Calliope. Here she would stay, if she could. But the past just will not stay put.” (Catalogue)

Danger and other unknown risks / North, Ryan
“Follows Marguerite de Pruitt and her canine pal, Daisy, as they embark on a journey to save the world. Here’s the deal – on midnight of January 1st, 2000, the world ended. But it wasn’t technology that killed it: It was magic. Now, years later, the Earth has transformed. Magic works (sort of). People are happy (sort of). But this new world isn’t stable, and unless Marguerite de Pruitt and her canine pal, Daisy, do something about it, it’ll tilt into deadly chaos. Good thing they’ve been training their whole lives for this and are destined to succeed. Or so they think.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more new titles in the collection, go to: What’s new & Popular / June 2023 (wcl.govt.nz)

That’s Hot! New YA Books in the Collection

Are you looking for something fresh and new to read?  A whole new series, or just something you’ve not seen before?  Take a look at these new YA books and comics in our collection for May.

Last chance dance / Wilson, Lakita
“A high school tradition, the Last Chance Dance gives all the students one last opportunity to find love before they graduate. All Leila has to do is submit three unrequited crushes to the dance committee and if any of her crushes list her too, they’ll get matched. Presto: new relationship, just like that. To her utter amazement, Leila is matched with all three of her choices–and with someone she never expected, Tre Hillman, her chemistry partner and low-key nemesis. But as graduation and the dance approaches, and each date seems to change her mind (and her heart)–Leila must figure out what–and who–she really wants. It’s her last chance, right?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Different for boys / Ness, Patrick
“Anthony “Ant” Stevenson isn’t sure when he stopped being a virgin. Or even if he has. The rules aren’t always very clear when it comes to boys who like boys. In fact, relationships of all kinds feel complicated, even with Ant’s oldest friends. There’s Charlie, who’s both virulently homophobic and in a secret physical relationship with Ant. Then there’s drama kid Jack, who may be gay and has become the target of Charlie’s rage. And, of course, there’s big, beautiful Freddie, who wants Ant to ditch soccer, Charlie’s sport, and try out for the rugby team instead.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

As long as the lemon trees grow / Katouh, Zoulfa
“Eighteen-year-old Salama Kassab, a pharmacy student volunteering at the hospital in Homs, is desperate to find passage on a refugee boat for herself and her pregnant best friend, but first she must learn to see the events around her for what they are–not a war, but a revolution.” (Catalogue)

I’m kinda chubby and I’m your hero. Volume 1 / Nore
“Ponjirou is a rookie actor trying his best to land a breakout role. He fears that his weight stands in the way of his dreams. One day, he gets some unexpected fan mail full of sweets. The package came from Konnosuke, a local pastry chef. Ponjirou has his first fan! Someone is supporting his work and giving him new confidence to face the stage with!” (Catalogue)

Chance & Lacey / Delany, Sarah
“A boy, a girl, a boatload of nineties crazes, mayhem ensues and you end up with an unforgettable tale. You know those moments in your life, the ones you know are going to change your life in some way? Well the day I met Lacey was one of those moments for me. I knew deep in my bones my life had been changed forever. Life is a journey not a destination and meeting Lacey was definitely an experience. It was the start of an epic journey full of love, laughter, tears, sadness and all life has to offer. Inside these pages is our love story. It may not always be pretty and at times the moments may seem inconsequential but they shaped us and the world around us. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Imposter syndrome and other confessions of Alejandra Kim / Park, Patricia
“Alejandra Kim doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere. At her wealthy Manhattan high school, her super Spanish name and super Korean face do not compute to her mostly white “woke” classmates and teachers. In her Jackson Heights neighborhood, she’s not Latinx enough. Even at home, Ale feels unwelcome. And things at home have only gotten worse since Papi’s body was discovered on the subway tracks. Ale wants nothing more than to escape the city for the wide-open spaces of the prestigious Wyder University. But when a microaggression at school thrusts Ale into the spotlight–and into a discussion she didn’t ask for–Ale must discover what is means to carve out a space for yourself to belong.”(Catalogue)

Divine rivals : a novel / Ross, Rebecca
“After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again… All eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow wants to do is hold her family together. With a brother forced to fight on behalf of the Gods now missing from the frontline and a mother drowning her sorrows, Iris’s best bet is winning the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette. But when Iris’s letters to her brother fall into the wrong hands – that of the handsome but cold Roman Kitt, her rival at the paper – an unlikely magical connection forms. Expelled into the middle of a mystical war, magical typewriters in tow, can their bond withstand the fight for the fate of mankind and, most importantly, love?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Silver in the bone / Bracken, Alexandra
“Tamsin Lark didn’t ask to be a Hollower. As a mortal with no magical talent, she was never meant to break into ancient crypts, or compete with sorceresses and Cunningfolk for the treasures inside. But after her thieving foster father disappeared without so much as a goodbye, it was the only way to keep herself–and her brother, Cabell–alive. Ten years later, rumors are swirling that her guardian vanished with a powerful ring from Arthurian legend. A run-in with her rival Emrys ignites Tamsin’s hope that the ring could free Cabell from a curse that threatens both of them. Together, they dive headfirst into a vipers’ nest of dark magic, exposing a deadly secret with the power to awaken ghosts of the past and shatter her last hope of saving her brother….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A venom dark and sweet / Lin, Judy I
“A great evil has come to the kingdom of Dàxi. The Banished Prince has returned to seize power, his rise to the dragon throne aided by the mass poisonings that have kept the people bound in fear and distrust. Ning, a young but powerful shénnóng-shi–a wielder of magic using the ancient and delicate art of tea-making–has escorted Princess Zhen into exile. Joining them is the princess’ loyal bodyguard, Ruyi, and Ning’s newly healed sister, Shu. Together the four young women travel throughout the kingdom in search of allies to help oust the invaders and take back Zhen’s rightful throne. But the golden serpent still haunts Ning’s nightmares with visions of war and bloodshed. An evil far more ancient than the petty conflicts of men has awoken, and all the magic in the land may not be enough to stop it from consuming the world…” (Catalogue)

The do-over / Painter, Lynn
“Sixteen-year-old Emilie, stuck in a cosmic Groundhog/Valentine’s Day nightmare where she discovers her family is splitting up and her boyfriend is cheating on her, decides to embark upon The Day of No Consequences, but when her repetitive day suddenly ends, she must face the consequences of her actions.” (Catalogue)

For more new titles in the collection, go to: What’s new & Popular / May 2023 (wcl.govt.nz)

From India to Poland, to Strange New Worlds and Back Home Again: New YA Titles in the Collection

Let’s face it, there’s nothing like a new book.  That shiny new cover, those crisp pages, they’re wonderful.  Or maybe you’re just looking for something new and interesting that you haven’t come across before.  Well, we got you, have a look at this selection of new YA titles in our collection…

The karma map : a novel / Sharma, Nisha
“Born and raised in the US, Tara Bajaj hides her family secrets. With beautiful clothes, a popular social media presence, and a spot on the Rutgers High Bollywood dance team, she does it well–until her carefully cultivated image shatters. Silas D’Souza-Gupta is an aspiring photojournalist retracing the journey his two mothers took when they fell in love. As Tara and Silas embark on remote pilgrimage sites from Punjab through the Himalayas, they discover what it means to be a child in the Indian diaspora, the significance of karma, and the healing power of love.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Nightbirds / Armstrong, Kate J
“The Nightbirds are Simta’s best kept secret. Magic–especially the magic of women–is outlawed and the city’s religious sects would see them burned if discovered. But protected by the Great Houses, the Nightbirds are safe well-guarded treasures. As this Season’s Nightbirds, Matilde, Aesa, and Sayer spend their nights bestowing their unique brands of magic to well-paying clients. They know their lives as Nightbirds aren’t just temporary, but a complete lie and yearn for something more. When they discover that there are other girls like them and that their magic is more than they were ever told, they see the carefully crafted Nightbird system for what it is: a way to keep them in their place, first as daughters and then as wives. Now they must make a choice–to stay in their gilded cage or to remake the city that put them there in the first place.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The stranded / Daniels, Sarah
“Welcome to the Arcadia. Once a luxurious cruise ship, it became a refugee camp after being driven from Europe by an apocalyptic war. For forty years, residents of the Arcadia have been prohibited from making landfall. Esther is a loyal citizen, working flat-out to have the rare chance to live a normal life as a medic on dry land. Nik is a rebel, planning something big to liberate the Arcadia once and for all. When events throw them both together, their lives, and the lives of everyone on the ship, will change forever.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Protest! : shaping Aotearoa / Hager, Mandy
“A look at protest in New Zealand: what was it about, who did it and were they successful? Starting with Hone Heke and encompassing Parehaka to the land march, votes for women and the nuclear test ban. Culminating in the climate change marches. Mandy Hager looks at the background, the structure of the protest and how it affected attitudes. Includes a brief look at the Pacific Islands claims for independence.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A tale of two princes / Geron, Eric
“Edward Dinnissen leads a charmed life. He’s the Crown Prince of Canada, gets the royal treatment at his exclusive private school, and resides in a ritzy mansion. But this closeted Crown Prince has just one tiny problem: he’s unsure how to tell his parents, his beloved country, and his adoring fans that he’s gay. Billy Boone should be happy with the simple life. His family’s ranch is his favorite place in the world, he loves his small town, and his boyfriend is the cutest guy at Little Timber High. So why does it feel like something’s still missing? When Edward and Billy meet by chance in New York City, they discover that they are long-lost twins, and their lives are forever changed.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Project Nought / Furedi, Chelsey
“Ren Mittal’s last memory in the year 1996 is getting on a bus to visit his mystery pen pal Georgia. When he wakes up in 2122, he thinks he might be hallucinating… he’s not! Tech conglomerate Chronotech sponsors a time-travel program to help students in 2122 learn what history was really like…from real-life subjects who’ve been transported into the future… and Ren is one of them. On top of it all, he learns that his memory will be wiped of all things 2122 before he’s sent back to the ’90s.  And when he crosses paths with the absolute last person he expected to see in the future, he has a bigger problem on his hands: What if Chronotech isn’t the benevolent organization they claim to be, and he and his fellow subjects are in great danger?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Spice road / Ibrahim, Maiya
“In the hidden desert city of Qalia, there is secret spice magic that awakens the affinities of those who drink the misra tea. Sixteen-year-old Imani has the affinity for iron and is able to wield a dagger like no other warrior. Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother, who tarnished the family name after it was revealed that he was stealing his nation’s coveted spice–a telltale sign of magical obsession. Soon after that, he disappeared, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes. Accompanied by other Shields, including Taha, a powerful beastseer who can control the minds of falcons, she sets out on her mission. Imani will soon find that many secrets lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes–and in her own heart–but will she find her brother?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The awesome autistic guide for trans teens / Purkis, Yenn
“Calling all awesome autistic trans teens! Yenn Purkis and Sam Rose want you to live your best authentic life – and this handy book will show you how! With helpful explanations, tips and activities, plus examples of famous trans and gender divergent people on the autism spectrum, this user-friendly guide will help you to navigate the world as an awesome autistic trans teen. Covering a huge range of topics including coming out, masking, different gender identities, changing your name, common issues trans and gender divergent people face and ways to help overcome them, building a sense of pride and much, much more, it will empower you to value yourself and thrive exactly as you are.” (Catalogue)

28 days : a novel of resistance in the Warsaw Ghetto / Safier, David
“In Warsaw, Poland, in 1942, Mira faces impossible decisions after learning that the Warsaw ghetto is to be “liquidated,” but a group of young people are planning an uprising against their Nazi captors. Sixteen-year old Mira smuggles food into the Ghetto to keep herself and her family alive. When she discovers that the entire Ghetto is to be “liquidated”–killed or “resettled” to concentration camps–she desperately tries to find a way to save her family. She meets a group of young people who are planning the unthinkable: an uprising against the occupying forces. Mira joins the resistance fighters who, with minimal supplies and weapons, end up holding out for twenty-eight days, longer than anyone had thought possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Six times we almost kissed (and one time we did) / Sharpe, Tess
“Six fun facts about PENNY and TATE: 1. They’ve known each other their whole lives; 2. Their moms are best friends; 3. They are DEFINITELY NOT friends; 4. They keep almost kissing; 5. They don’t talk about it; 6. Thanks to their moms, they’re moving in together … But when an almost-kiss goes from almost to I am now wearing your lip gloss, Penny and Tate have no choice but to finally face the music … right?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

She is a haunting / Tran, Trang Thanh
“When Jade Nguyen arrives in Vietnam to visit her estranged father, she has one goal: survive five weeks pretending to be a happy family in the French colonial house Ba is restoring. She’s always lied to fit in, so if she’s straight enough, Vietnamese enough, American enough, she can get out with the college money he promised. But the house has other plans. Night after night, Jade wakes up paralyzed. The walls exude a thrumming sound while bugs leave their legs and feelers in places they don’t belong. She finds curious traces of her ancestors in the gardens they once tended. And at night Jade can’t ignore the ghost of the beautiful bride who leaves cryptic warnings: Don’t eat. Neither Ba nor her sweet sister, Lily, believe anything strange is happening. With help from a delinquent girl, Jade tries to expose the house’s rotten appetite. A home, after all, is only as powerful as those who breathe new life into its bones. And this one is determined never to be abandoned again…” (Catalogue)

For more new books in the collection, go to: What’s new & Popular / April 2023 (wcl.govt.nz)

Halloween Reads to Give You the Creeps

It’s nearly that time of year again – time to plan your costume, stock up on treats and crack open a good creepy read for Halloween.  No matter what your favourite monster or cryptid, or whether you’re into something a little creepy or downright terrifying, there’s something for everyone in our collection to have you checking under the bed before you turn out the light on Halloween.  Here are a few recent ones we like the look of…

Three kisses, one midnight : a novel / Chokshi, Roshani

“Told in interconnected stories, three witchy best friends brew a love potion on Halloween that is said to produce a love that will last forever as long as it is sealed by true love’s kiss before the stroke of midnight. The town of Moon Ridge was founded 400 years ago and everyone born and raised there knows the legend of the young woman who perished at the stroke of twelve that very same night, losing the life she was set to embark on with her dearest love. Every century since, one day a year, the Lady of Moon Ridge descends from the stars to walk among the townsfolk, conjuring an aura upon those willing to follow their hearts’ desires. This year at Moon Ridge High, a group of friends known as The Coven will weave art, science, and magic during a masquerade ball unlike any other. Onny, True, and Ash believe everything is in alignment to bring them the affection, acceptance, and healing that can only come from romance–with a little help from Onny’s grandmother’s love potion. But nothing is as simple as it first seems. And as midnight approaches, The Coven learn that it will take more than a spell to recognize those who offer their love and to embrace all the magic that follows.” (Catalogue)

Long live the Pumpkin Queen / Ernshaw, Shea

“Saddled with queenly duties after marrying her one true love, Sally Skellington wonders if she traded one captivity for another until she finds a long-hidden doorway to an ancient realm putting everything into perspective. Sally Skellington is the official, newly-minted Pumpkin Queen after a whirlwind courtship with her true love, Jack, who Sally adores with every inch of her fabric seams — if only she could say the same for her new role as Queen of Halloween Town. Cast into the spotlight and tasked with all sorts of queenly duties, Sally can’t help but wonder if all she’s done is trade her captivity under Dr. Finkelstein for a different cage. But when Sally and Zero accidentally uncover a long-hidden doorway to an ancient realm called Dream Town in the forest Hinterlands, she’ll unknowingly set into motion a chain of sinister events that put her future as Pumpkin Queen, and the future of Halloween Town itself, into jeopardy. Can Sally discover what it means to be true to herself and save the town she’s learned to call home, or will her future turn into her worst… well, nightmare?” (Catalogue)

In the night wood / Bailey, Dale

“American Charles Hayden came to England to forget the past. Failed father, failed husband, and failed scholar, Charles hopes to put his life back together with a biography of Caedmon Hollow, the long-dead author of a legendary Victorian children’s book, In the Night Wood. But soon after settling into Hollow’s remote Yorkshire home, Charles learns that the past isn’t dead. And every morning the fringe of darkling trees presses closer …” (Catalogue)

The deathless girls / Hargrave, Kiran Millwood

“They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin. On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community. Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts. They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate.” (Catalogue)

The Rarkyn’s Familiar / Lee, Nikky

“An orphan bent on revenge. A monster searching for freedom. A forbidden pact that binds their fate. Lyss had heard her father’s screams, smelled the iron-tang of his blood. She witnessed his execution. And plotted her revenge. Then a violent encounter traps Lyss in a blood-pact with a rarkyn from the otherworld, imbuing her with the monster’s forbidden magic – a magic that will her erode her sanity. To break the pact, she and the rarkyn must journey to the heart of the Empire. All that stands in their way are the mountains, the Empire’s soldiers, and Lyss’ uneasy alliance with the rarkyn. But horrors await them on the road – horrors even rarkyns fear. The most terrifying monster isn’t the one Lyss travels with. It’s the one that’s awoken inside her. Monsters of a feather flock together.” (Catalogue)

Horror hotel / Fulton, Victoria

“Chrissy has always been able to see ghosts, and when her friend Chase realized it he turned her affliction into an internet sensation, with the help of Emmaline, the technology expert and Kiki, the presenter; now they are planning to film an episode in an infamously haunted hotel in Los Angeles, but they may be tackling something really dangerous because Chrissy is seeing the terrifying shadow man who started appearing to her when her mother was dying of cancer–and there is an internet troll who keeps sending death threats to the group.” (Catalogue)

Direwood / Yu, Catherine

“In this velvet-clad 1990s gothic horror, Aja encounters a charming vampire who wants to lure her into the woods-just like her missing sister. No one ever pays attention to sixteen-year-old Aja until her perfect older sister Fiona goes missing. In the days leading up to Fiona’s disappearance, Aja notices some extraordinary things: a strange fog rolling through their idyllic suburban town, a brief moment when the sky seems to rain blood, and a host of parasitic caterpillars burrowing their way through the trees. Aja’s father, the neighbours, and even her ex-friend Mary all play down this strange string of occurrences, claiming there must be some natural explanation. It seems everyone is willing to keep living in denial until other teens start to go missing too.” (Catalogue)

The initial insult / McGinnis, Mindy

“Tress Montor’s parents disappeared seven years ago while driving her best friend home. The entire town shuns her now that she lives with her drunken, one-eyed grandfather at what locals refer to as the ‘White Trash Zoo,’ a wild animal attraction featuring a zebra, a chimpanzee, and a panther, among other things. Felicity Turnado has worked hard to make everyone forget that she was with the Montors the night they disappeared. She buried what she knows so deeply that she can’t even remember what it is– only that she can’t look at Tress without having a panic attack. At a Halloween costume party at an abandoned house, Tress wants either the truth– or revenge. She tries to pry the truth from Felicity by slowly sealing her former best friend into a coal chute… with a drunken party above them, and a loose panther on the prowl.” (Catalogue)

Faraway girl / Beale, Fleur

“A contemporary novel for teenagers with mysterious goings on, time travel, a curse and a strange painting. Etta is worried about her brother Jamie. The doctors can find nothing wrong with him, but he is getting weaker by the day. At breakfast one morning, he seems to have lost it completely- In a voice as pale as his face, he said, ‘I think I can see a ghost.’ However, when they all turn to look, sure enough, materialising on the window seat is a girl about Etta’s age, wearing a beautiful Victorian wedding dress. Etta has to get off to school, she has no time for this, but she is about to discover that time has a whole new significance. She and her ghost companion have no choice but to work out what is going on before Jamie is lost for ever . . .” (Catalogue)

Only a monster / Len, Vanessa

“Every family has its secrets, but the summer Joan Chang-Hunt goes to stay with her Gran in London, she learns hers is bigger than most. The Hunts are one of twelve families in London with terrifying, hidden powers. Joan is half-monster. And what’s more, her summer crush Nick isn’t just a cute boy, he’s hiding a secret as well; a secret that places Joan in terrible danger. When the monsters of London are attacked, Joan is forced on the run with the ruthless Aaron Oliver, heir to a monster family who are sworn enemies of her own. Joan is drawn deeper into a world that simmers with hostilities, alliances and secrets. And her rare and dangerous power means she’s being hunted. She’ll have to embrace her own monstrousness if she is to save herself, and her family. Because in this story, she is not the hero.” (Catalogue)

Coping with Bullies

If there’s one topic that has been hot in the news lately, it’s bullying in schools.  School is tough enough already, without having to deal with being bullied.  But if you are being bullied, you are not alone.  Unfortunately all too many young people have been through it, or are going through it still.  But many former targets for bullies have put what they have learned into working on helping others.  From non-fiction books that discuss bullying prevention, to stories about being bullied that remind us that we’re not alone and give us hope for the future, there are some really good books you can read on the topic.  Here are a few from our collection that may help.

The survival guide to bullying : written by a teen / Mayrock, Aija

“Written by a teenager who was bullied throughout middle school and high school, this kid-friendly book offers a fresh and relatable perspective on bullying. Along the way, the author offers guidance as well as different strategies that helped her get through even the toughest of days. The Survival Guide to Bullying covers everything from cyber bullying to how to deal with fear and how to create the life you dream of having. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Be bully free : a hands-on guide to how you can take control / Panckridge, Michael

“Seeking to empower children who are bullied, this book presents a wide range of common bullying scenarios, before giving practical suggestions on how the recipient can take control in these situations. Written in a young adult fiction style, this is an essential resource for children who are experiencing bullying.” (Catalogue)

UnSlut : a diary and a memoir / Lindin, Emily

“The author revisits her middle school diary, commenting on her experiences with bullying, crushes, popular culture, and what it means to be labelled a ‘slut.'” (Catalogue)

Heaven / Kawakami, Mieko

“Hailed as a bold foray into new literary territory, Kawakami’s novel is told in the voice of a 14-year-old student subjected to relentless torment for having a lazy eye. Instead of resisting, the boy chooses to suffer in complete resignation. The only person who understands what he is going through is a female classmate who suffers similar treatment at the hands of her tormenters.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The pōrangi boy / Kino, Shilo

“Twelve-year-old Niko lives in Pohe Bay, a small, rural town with a sacred hot spring and a taniwha named Taukere. The government plan to build a prison here and destroy the home of the taniwha has divided the community. Some are against it, but others see it as an opportunity. Niko is worried about the land and Taukere, but who will listen to him? He’s an ordinary boy who’s laughed at, bullied, and called pōrangi, crazy, for believing in the taniwha. But it’s Niko who has to convince the community that Taukere is real, unite whānau in protest against the prison and stand up to the bullies” (Catalogue)

Symptoms of being human / Garvin, Jeff

“Some days Riley Cavanaugh identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. But Riley isn’t exactly out yet: between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for re-election in über-conservative Orange County, the pressure is building. On the advice of a therapist Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s really like to be a gender fluid teenager. But when the blog goes viral, Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created– or stand up, come out, and risk everything.” (Catalogue)

The art of being normal / Williamson, Lisa

“David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he is gay. The school bully think he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl.” (Catalogue)

Bullied : what every parent, teacher, and kid needs to know about ending the cycle of fear / Goldman, Carrie

“Carrie Goldman became an unexpected voice for the antibullying movement after her blog post about her daughter Katie’s bullying experience went viral and an online community of support generated international attention. In Bullied, Goldman brings together the expertise of leading authorities with the candid accounts of families dealing firsthand with peer victimization to present proven strategies and concrete tools for teaching children how to speak up and carry themselves with confidence; call each other out on cruelty; resolve conflict; cope with teasing, taunting, physical abuse, and cyberbullying; and be smart consumers of technology and media.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Remember: if you are being bullied, it is not your fault.  Talk to a trusted adult and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Resources for parents and teachers can be found here.

Let’s Get Kawaii!

It is said that we all have an aesthetic, and while I would name my own personal aesthetic as “obnoxious toddler in an adult’s body” (rainbow tights, glitter shoes, anything a four year old would stamp their foot and demand), I am a HUGE fan of all things kawaii.  Kawaii is the Japanese culture of cuteness – it refers to items of all types that are cute, charming, vulnerable, shy and childlike.  Think creatures with big eyes, rainbow pastels, unicorns, glitter, adorable food, etc.

One of the things I love best about kawaii culture is that there is a strong element of creativity.  From styling your hair, outfits and make-up kawaii, to making food look kawaii and making your own art and crafts, there is something in kawaii culture for all skill levels and interests.

I’ve put together some books to guide you along the way and maybe teach you a new skill.

Kawaii resin & clay workshop : crafting super-cute charms, miniatures, figures, & more / Lee, Alex

“From Alex Lee of popular YouTube channel and Instagram account PolymomoTea, Kawaii Resin and Clay Workshop presents tutorials for creating adorable jewelry and gifts with resin and polymer clay.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pure invention : how Japan’s pop culture conquered the world / Alt, Matt

“Through the stories of an indelible group of artists, geniuses, and oddballs, Pure Invention reveals how Japanese ingenuity remade global culture and may have created modern life as we know it. It’s Japan’s world; we’re just gaming, texting, singing, and dreaming in it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Kawaii crochet : 40 super cute crochet patterns for adorable amigurumi / Bradley, Melissa

“Hook up a rainbow kawaii goodness with this super-cute collection of 40 amigurumi patterns from modern crochet designer Yarn Blossom Boutique. From three adorable peas in a pod, to a winking fortune cookie, these 40 fun and easy amigurumi makes will bring the Japanese culture of cuteness into your hands and your heart.” (Catalogue)

The power of cute / May, Simon

“An exploration of cuteness and its immense hold on us, from emojis and fluffy puppies to its more uncanny, subversive expressions Cuteness has taken the planet by storm. Global sensations Hello Kitty and Pok mon, the works of artists Takashi Murakami and Jeff Koons, Heidi the cross-eyed opossum and E.T.–all reflect its gathering power. But what does “cute” mean, as a sensibility and style? Why is it so pervasive? Is it all infantile fluff, or is there something more uncanny and even menacing going on–in a lighthearted way? In The Power of Cute, Simon May provides nuanced and surprising answers.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The super cute book of kawaii / Smith, Marceline

“The Japanese word kawaii means lovable or adorable. Welcoming a little kawaii into your life is like opening the window and letting a sparkling sunbeam in. Whenever you feel a little low turn to this squishy, padded-covered book. Find fun ideas to: make a cozy kawaii home; playful, confidence boosting styling and beauty tips; and recipes that will make your smile. This book includes 10 easy how-to projects to bring kawaii into your life. Here, you’ll also find a host of very special kawaii mascots that will always be ready to give you a hug when you need one: The Octonauts, Smiling Bear, Hello Kitty, Gudetama, Molang, Ricemonsters, Miffy the Rabbit, the Moomins, Donutella, Unicorno, Moofia and Pusheen. Escape into the magical world of kawaii.” (Catalogue)

Kawaii cakes : adorable & cute Japanese-inspired cakes & treats / Sear, Juliet

“Over 30 cute Japanese-inspired cakes, cookies, cupcakes, doughnuts, cake pops and more.

Kawaii Cakes is a baking and decorating book containing 30 recipes for cute Japanese-inspired cakes, cookies, cupcakes, donuts, cake pops, and more. Each design is super-quick, very cute, and really easy to make. Try a troll cookie, a unicorn cupcake, cute kitten donuts, bunny rabbit macaroons, and more. With easy step-by-step instructions on how to ice and decorate your creations to perfection, these are the perfect gift or dessert. From larger cakes to small cookies and cupcakes, there’s something to suit every occasion. And, best of all, these saccharine-sweet treats not only look amazing, they also taste delicious Fun, tasty, and super-kawaii, it’s time to get your bake on” (Catalogue)

Kawaii! : Japan’s culture of cute / Okazaki, Manami

“Showcasing Japan’s astonishingly varied culture of cute, this volume takes the reader on a dazzling and adorable visual journey through all things kawaii. Although some trace the phenomenon of kawaii as far back as Japan’s Taisho era, it emerged most visibly in the 1970s when schoolgirls began writing in big, bubbly letters complete with tiny hearts and stars. From cute handwriting came manga, Hello Kitty, and Harajuku, and the kawaii aesthetic now affects every aspect of Japanese life. As colorful as its subject matter, this book contains numerous interviews with illustrators, artists, fashion designers, and scholars. It traces the roots of the movement from sociological and anthropological perspectives and looks at kawaii’s darker side as it morphs into gothic and gloomy iterations. Best of all, it includes hundreds of colorful photographs that capture kawaii’s ubiquity: on the streets and inside homes, on lunchboxes and airplanes, in haute couture and street fashion, in caf s, museums, and hotels.” (Catalogue)

The little book of kawaii

“Introducing The Little Book of Kawaii, dedicated to all things kawaii. This new title will explain the Japanese subculture that has found its way into the designs and hearts of artists and people all over the globe. The book will cover “kawaii noir” the dark and sexy side of this existing subject, as well as food, fashion, toys, characters and pixel art. Through illustration, graphic design and photography, this book shows how this culture has made its impact on our lives.” (via Google Books)

Also, if you want to wander down the road of kawaii films, there’s no better place to start than Studio Ghibli.  My favourites include:

International Women’s Month: #ChooseToChallenge

Well it’s March again, already and that means it’s International Women’s Month, with International Women’s Day specifically celebrated on March 8th.  This year the official theme for International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge.  Challenge comes in many forms – you can challenge the status quo, challenge yourself, challenge others and of course, challenge gender bias and inequality.  So I’ve put together a list of biographies about women who have chosen to challenge in many forms.

Bad girls & wicked women : the most powerful, shocking, amazing, thrilling and dangerous women of all time / Stradling, Jan

“An historic survey of 22 of the most ruthless and ambitious women in history.” (Catalogue)

Yassmin’s story : who do you think I am? / Abdel-Magied, Yassmin

“At 21, Yassmin found herself working on a remote Australian oil and gas rig; she was the only woman and certainly the only Sudanese-Egyptian-Australian-with-some-Turkish-and-Moroccan-background Muslim woman. With her hijab quickly christened a “tea cosy” there could not be a more unlikely place on earth for a young Muslim woman to want to be. This is the story of how she got there, where she is going, and how she wants the world to change. Born in the Sudan, Yassmin and her parents moved to Brisbane when she was two, and she has been tackling barriers ever since. At 16 she founded Youth Without Borders, an organization focused on helping young people to work for positive change in their communities. In 2007 she was named Young Australian Muslim of the Year and in 2010 Young Queenslander of the Year. In 2011 Yassmin graduated with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering (First Class Honours), and in 2012 she was named Young Leader of the Year in the Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s inaugural 100 Women of Influence Awards as well as an InStyle cultural leader and a Marie Claire woman of the future.” (Catalogue)

Fattily ever after / Yeboah, Stephanie

“Twenty-nine year-old plus-size blogger Stephanie Yeboah has experienced racism and fat-phobia throughout her life. From being bullied at school to being objectified and humiliated in her dating life, Stephanie’s response to discrimination has always been to change the narrative around body-image and what we see as beautiful. In her debut book, Fattily Ever After, Stephanie Yeboah speaks openly and courageously about her own experience on navigating life as a black, plus-sized woman – telling it how it really is – and how she has managed to find self-acceptance in a world where judgement and discrimination are rife. Featuring stories of every day misogynoir and being fetishized, to navigating the cesspit of online dating and experiencing loneliness, Stephanie shares her thoughts on the treatment of black women throughout history, the marginalisation of black, plus-sized women in the media (even within the body-positivity movement) whilst drawing on wisdom from other black fat liberation champions along the way. Peppered with insightful tips and honest advice and boldly illustrated throughout, this inspiring and powerful book is essential reading for a generation of black, plus-sized women, helping them to live their life openly, unapologetically and with confidence.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

AOC : the fearless rise and powerful resonance of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“From the moment Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez beat a ten-term incumbent in the primary election for New York’s 14th, her journey to the national, if not world, stage, was fast-tracked. Six months later, as the youngest Congresswoman ever elected, AOC became one of a handful of Latina politicians in Washington, D.C. Just thirty, she represents her generation, the millennials, in many groundbreaking ways: proudly working class, Democratic Socialist, of Puerto Rican descent, master of social media, not to mention of the Bronx, feminist–and a great dancer. AOC investigates her symbolic and personal significance for so many, from her willingness to use her imperfect bi-lingualism, to why men are so threatened by her power, to the long history of Puerto Rican activism that she joins. (Adapted from Catalogue)

In her footsteps : where trailblazing women changed the world / Averbuck, Alexis

“Discover the lives and locations of trailblazing women who changed the course of history. From the temple of Queen Hatshepsut in Egypt and Empress Dowager Cixi’s summer palace in Beijing, to the homes and meeting sites of suffragette heroes Sylvia Pankhurst and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the creative workrooms of Frida Kahlo and Virginia Woolf, and the tennis courts where the Williams sisters first learned to play – we showcase female pioneers whose lives and actions continue to inspire today. In Her Footsteps is not only a celebration of incredible women, but a travel guide to the places where they studied, lived, worked, reigned and explored. We’ll tell you where to find the secret feminist history of sites around the world. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fight like a girl : 50 feminists who changed the world / Barcella, Laura

Fight Like a Girl profiles fifty iconic women who have worked to further women’s rights in a wide variety of ways.

Nearly every day there’s another news story or pop cultural anecdote related to feminism and women’s rights. #YesAllWomen, conversations around consent, equal pay, access to contraception, and a host of other issues are foremost topics of conversation in American (and worldwide) media right now. Today’s teens are encountering these issues from a different perspective than any generation has had before, but what’s often missing from the current discussion is an understanding of how we’ve gotten to this place. Fight Like a Girl will familiarize readers with the history of feminist activism, in an effort to celebrate those who paved the way and draw attention to those who are working hard to further the cause of women’s rights. Profiles of both famous and lesser-known feminists will be featured alongside descriptions of how their actions affected the overall feminist cause, and unique portraits (artist’s renderings) of the feminists themselves. This artistic addition will take the book beyond simply an informational text, and make it a treasure of a book.” (Catalogue)

Jacinda Ardern : a new kind of leader / Chapman, Madeleine

“New Zealand’s prime minister has been hailed as a leader for a new generation, tired of inaction in the face of issues such as climate change and far-right terrorism.

Her grace and compassion following the Christchurch mosque shooting captured the world’s attention. Oprah Winfrey invited us to ‘channel our inner Jacindas’ as praise for Ardern flooded headlines and social media. The ruler of this remote country even made the cover of Time.

In this revealing biography, journalist Madeleine Chapman discovers the woman behind the headlines. Always politically engaged and passionate, Ardern is uncompromising and astute. She has encountered her fair share of sexism, but rather than let that harden her, she advocates ‘rising above’ disparagers. In her first press conference, she announced an election campaign of ‘relentless positivity’. The tactic was a resounding success- donations poured in and Labour rebounded in the polls.

But has Ardern lived up to her promise? What political concessions has she had to make? And beyond the hype, what does her new style of leadership look like in practice?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Know your place / Ghahraman, Golriz

“The story of a child refugee who faced her fears, found her home and accidentally made history

When she was just nine, Golriz Ghahraman and her parents were forced to flee their home in Iran. After a terrifying and uncertain journey, they landed in Auckland where they were able to seek asylum and – ultimately – create a new life. In this open and intimate account, Ghahraman talks about making a home in Aotearoa New Zealand, her work as a human rights lawyer, her United Nations missions, and how she became the first refugee to be elected to the New Zealand Parliament. Passionate and unflinching, Know Your Place is a story about breaking barriers, and the daily challenges of prejudice that shape the lives of women and minorities. At its heart, it’s about overcoming fear, about family, and about finding a place to belong. The story of a child refugee who faced her fears, found her home and accidentally made history When she was just nine, Golriz Ghahraman and her parents were forced to flee their home in Iran. After a terrifying and uncertain journey, they landed in Auckland where they were able to seek asylum and – ultimately – create a new life. In this open and intimate account, Ghahraman talks about making a home in Aotearoa New Zealand, her work as a human rights lawyer, her United Nations missions, and how she became the first refugee to be elected to the New Zealand Parliament. Passionate and unflinching, Know Your Place is a story about breaking barriers, and the daily challenges of prejudice that shape the lives of women and minorities. At its heart, it’s about overcoming fear, about family, and about finding a place to belong.” (Catalogue)

Not that I’d kiss a girl : a Kiwi girl’s tale of coming out and coming of age / O’Brien, Lil

“‘Not That I’d Kiss a Girl triumphantly joins the select few New Zealand examples of the autobiographical coming-out genre. Compulsively readable and very much aware of the world, O’Brien’s memoir is suspenseful and engaging.’ David Herkt, New Zealand Herald.

A heartbreaking and hilarious true story of coming out as gay in New Zealand.” (Catalogue)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg : a life / De Hart, Jane Sherron

“The definitive account of an icon who shaped gender equality for all women. In this comprehensive, revelatory biography — fifteen years of interviews and research in the making — historian Jane Sherron De Hart explores the central experiences that crucially shaped Ginsburg’s passion for justice, her advocacy for gender equality, and her meticulous jurisprudence. At the heart of her story and abiding beliefs was her Jewish background, specifically the concept of tikkun olam, the Hebrew injunction to ‘repair the world’, with its profound meaning for a young girl who grew up during the Holocaust and World War II. Ruth’s journey began with her mother, who died tragically young but  whose intellect inspired her daughter’s feminism. It stretches from Ruth’s days as a baton twirler at Brooklyn’s James Madison High School to Cornell University to Harvard and Columbia Law Schools; to becoming one of the first female law professors in the country and having to fight for equal pay and hide her second pregnancy to avoid losing her job; to becoming the director of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project and arguing momentous anti-sex-discrimination cases before the US Supreme Court. All this, even before being nominated in 1993 to become the second woman on the Court, where her crucial decisions and dissents are still making history. Intimately, personably told, this biography offers unprecedented insight into a pioneering life and legal career whose profound impact will reverberate deep into the twenty-first century and beyond.” (Catalogue)

Sitting pretty : the view from my ordinary resilient disabled body / Taussig, Rebekah

“A memoir-in-essays from disability advocate and creator of the Instagram account @sitting-pretty Rebekah Taussig, processing a lifetime of memories to paint a beautiful, nuanced portrait of a body that looks and moves differently than most. Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right; and as she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling. Writing about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit, Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life. Disability affects all of us, directly or indirectly, at one point or another. By exploring this truth in poignant and lyrical essays, Taussig illustrates the need for more stories and more voices to understand the diversity of humanity. Sitting Pretty challenges us as a society to be patient and vigilant, practical and imaginative, kind and relentless, as we set to work to write an entirely different story.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Want to explore more biographies about women?  Click here to begin.

Swoon!

Ok, now that  I’ve got your attention, it’s Valentine’s Day and the hottest romance around at the moment is of course, Bridgerton.  Everybody is talking about it and the series of books by Julia Quinn are flying off the shelves of the libraries quicker than you can say “Your Grace”.

That said, historical romance is so not a new thing, so you can still slake your thirst for handsome, roguish Dukes and feisty society ladies, while thrilling over the latest scandal amongst the ton.  Some of the heroes of which are as appealing as the Duke of Hastings!

Here are some to set your pulses racing:

A spy in the house / Lee, Y. S.
“At a young age, Mary is rescued from the gallows by a woman masquerading as a prison warden. She is taken to Miss Scrimshaw’s Academy for Girls. The school, Mary learns, is a front for a private investigation agency and, at 17, she is taken on as an agent.” (Catalogue)

 

Lady Helen and the Dark Days pact / Goodman, Alison
“Summer, 1812. After the scandalous events at her presentation ball in London, Lady Helen is training to be a Reclaimer with the covert Dark Days Club. As she struggles to put aside her genteel upbringing and take up the weapons of a warrior, Helen realizes that her mentor, Lord Carlston, is fighting his own inner battle. Has the foul Deceiver energy poisoned his soul, or is something else driving him towards violent bouts of madness? Either way, Helen is desperate to help the man with whom she shares a deep but forbidden connection. When Mr Pike, the hard bureaucratic heart of the Dark Days Club, arrives in Brighton, no one is prepared for the ordinary evil he brings in his wake. He has a secret task for Helen and Mr Hammond, and the authority of the Prince Regent. They have no choice but to do as he orders, knowing that the mission will betray everyone around them and possibly bring about Lord Carlston’s annihilation.” (Catalogue)

A breath of frost / Harvey, Alyxandra
“A breathtaking new series from Alyxandra Harvey about three cousins discovering a secret family legacy, now in paperback. Emma Day and her two cousins, Gretchen and Penelope, are uninterested in their debutante lives. All the boring balls, tiresome curtsying and polite conversation leave much to be desired. Then a girl is found dead, frost clinging to her lifeless body, and the murder is traced to Emma. As their world is turned upside down, Emma discovers more about herself and her cousins, from her connection to the murders to the secrets of her family legacy. Now the girls must embrace their true Lovegrove inheritance in order to stop the chaos, even if that means risking their lives.” (Catalogue)

One fine duke / Bell, Lenora
“Ready: Raised in the countryside by her overprotective uncle, Miss Mina Penny’s dream of a triumphant London season is finally here. She determined her perfect match long ago: Rafe Bentley, the wickedest rake of them all. There’s only one very large, very unyielding obstacle: Rafe’s brother Andrew, the reclusive Duke of Thorndon. Aim: This was supposed to be simple. Duke goes to London. Duke selects suitable bride. Love match Not a chance. But when Andrew meets Mina, she complicates everything. How can a lady armed with such beauty and brains fall for his irresponsible degenerate of a brother Andrew vows to save her from heartbreak and ruin, no matter the cost. Desire: But Mina is no damsel in distress. She’s daring, intuitive, passionate…and halfway to melting Andrew’s cold heart. And although Mina thought she knew exactly what she wanted, one breathtakingly seductive kiss from Andrew changes everything. Now Mina must decide between long-held dreams and dangerous new desires. Could her true destiny lie in the arms of a duke?” (Catalogue)

The luxe / Godbersen, Anna
“Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattans social scene, but are soon caught up in a whirlwind of scandal when a family secret threatens their position. This delicious novel is the first of an exciting new trilogy about five compelling teens in 1899 Manhattan, where appearance matters over everything. In Manhattan in 1899, five teens of different social classes lead dangerously scandalous lives, despite the strict rules of society and the best-laid plans of parents and others.” (Catalogue)

And finally, if you loved Bridgerton, I can promise you that you will adore Jane Austen.  Yes I know her books are often set as school reading, I know they’re classics and your Mum probably loves them, but there’s definitely a reason they’ve been so enduring.  They’re brilliantly funny!  They’re exciting!  They’re sexy!  They’re full of feisty heroines, dashing heroes and devious rakes who ruin reputations!  My advice is to start with the OG of Regency fiction, Pride and Prejudice and then maybe move on to Sense and Sensibility   Then you can watch the Ang Lee directed movie with Alan Rickman as the best Colonel Brandon to ever grace the screen.  And when you’re ready to watch Pride and Prejudice, make sure you opt for the BBC series staring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

Go on, have a go at Jane Austen.  I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.

Making Sense of the World Around Us

Well, we’re a fortnight into 2021 and hoo mama what a time it has been.  It’s full on for anybody right now looking around at what is going on in the world, particularly in America, and trying to just understand what on earth it all means.  In times like these, I turn books to get answers, but I know there are so many dry and dull books out there that just make the whole topic all that more confusing!  So I thought I’d put together a bit of a list of some that are interesting and topical to help you get some answers and perspective on the events of the world around us.

Eyes wide open : going behind the environmental headlines / Fleischman, Paul

This book is an excellent explainer for the position we find our world in environmentally.  It takes a deep dive into capitalism, world politics, consumerism and our everyday lives to look at just how we got here, and how we can think about moving forward.

Hope was here / Bauer, Joan

A powerful story about a young woman finding her place in a new society and how her everyday choices draw her further into local politics.

 

 

Legacy / Hereaka, Whiti

“Seventeen-year-old Riki is worried about school and the future, but mostly about his girlfriend, Gemma, who has suddenly stopped seeing or texting him. But on his way to see her, hes hit by a bus and his life radically changes. Riki wakes up one hundred years earlier in Egypt, in 1915, and finds hes living through his great-great-grandfathers experiences in the Maori Contingent. At the same time that Riki tries to make sense of whats happening and find a way home, we go back in time and read transcripts of interviews Rikis great-great-grandfather gave in 1975 about his experiences in this war and its impact on their family. Gradually we realise the fates of Riki and his great-great-grandfather are intertwined.” (Catalogue)

Saints and misfits : a novel / Ali, S. K

Janna divides the world around her into three categories – saints, misfits and monsters, to try to make sense of the events happening in her life.  She is trying to fit into her community and deal with a recent traumatic event that she has been through.

 

The tyrant’s daughter / Carleson, J. C.

“When her father is killed in a coup, Laila and her mother and brother leave their war-torn homeland for a fresh start in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. At her new high school, Laila makes mistakes, makes friends, and even meets a boy who catches her eye. But this new life brings unsettling facts to light. The American newspapers call her father a brutal dictator and suggest that her family’s privilege came at the expense of innocent lives. Meanwhile, her mother would like nothing more than to avenge his death, and she’ll go to great lengths to regain their position of power. As an international crisis takes shape around her, Laila is pulled in one direction, then another, but there’s no time to sort out her feelings. She has to pick a side now, and her decision will affect not just her own life, but countless others. . . . Inspired by the author’s experience as a CIA officer in Iraq and Syria, this book is as timely as it is relevant.” (Catalogue)

The dharma punks / Sang, Anthony

“Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. A group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multi-national fast-food restaurant by blowing it sky-high come opening day. Chopstick has been given the unenviable task of setting the bomb in the restaurant the night before the opening, but when he is separated from his accomplice, Tracy, the night takes the first of many unexpected turns. Chance encounters and events from his past conspire against him, forcing Chopstick to deal with more than just the mission at hand. Still reeling after the death of a close friend, and struggling to reconcile his spiritual path with his political actions, Chopstick’s journey is a meditation on life, love, friendship and blowing things up!” (Catalogue)

Bernie Sanders guide to political revolution / Sanders, Bernard

“Adapted for young readers from Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, from political revolutionary and cultural icon Bernie Sanders comes an inspiring teen guide to engaging with and shaping the world–a perfect gift and an important read. Adapted for young readers from “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, ” this inspiring teen guide to engaging with and shaping the world is from political revolutionary and cultural icon Senator Sanders.” (Catalogue)

She takes a stand : 16 fearless activists who have changed the world / Ross, Michael Elsohn

“She Takes a Stand offers a realistic look at the game-changing decisions, high stakes, and bold actions of women and girls around the world working to improve their personal situations and the lives of others.

This inspiring collection of short biographies features the stories of extraordinary figures past and present who have dedicated their lives to fighting for human rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, reproductive rights, and world peace. Budding activists will be inspired by antilynching crusader and writerIda B. Wells, birth control educator and activist Margaret Sanger, girls-education activist Malala Yousafzai, Gulabi Gang founder Sampat Pal Devi, who fights violence against Indian women, Dana Edell, who works against the sexualization of women and girls in the media, and many others.” (Catalogue)

Dawn Raid / Smith, Pauline

“Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia’s main worries are how to get some groovy go-go boots, and how not to die of embarrassment giving a speech at school! But when her older brother Lenny starts talking about marches and protests and overstayers, and how Pacific Islanders are being bullied by the police for their passports and papers, a shadow is cast over Sofia’s sunny teenage days. Through her heartfelt diary entries, we witness the terror of being dawn-raided and gain an insight into the courageous and tireless work of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights.” (Catalogue)

The rise of the Nazis / Tonge, Neil

Learn about the Nazi occupation through visually stimulating primary sources taken from the War era; readers will be engaged as they discover authentic newspapers, broadcasts, propaganda, letters, and diary entries.

 

Persepolis / Satrapi, Marjane

“The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Amidst the tragedy, Marjane’s child’s eye view adds immediacy and humour, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable and yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family, is immensely moving. It is also very beautiful; Satrapi’s drawings have the power of the very best woodcuts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hindsight : pivotal moments in New Zealand history / Hager, Mandy

Hindsight is a good look at four key moments in New Zealand history and how they affected our society as a nation.

 

Books with Bodies Like Mine

When I was a kid and then a teenager, I never read about anyone in books that looked like me.  I have always loved to read, and have always found solace in stories, but never truly identified with any of the protagonists, because none of them ever looked like me.

The heroes and heroines of the books that were around when I was growing up were all thin.  Rarely were they ever described as being thin, occasionally the word skinny was used for a particularly thin character,  but  they were generally called average, or normal.  Which is something I, a kid in a fat* body, had been led to believe I was definitely not.

* Note: I use the word fat as a weight neutral term and simple descriptor, like tall or blonde.  Personally I prefer it to other euphemisms, but I acknowledge not everyone is comfortable with referring to themselves in that way.

Most of the books I grew up reading were about pretty, thin, blonde, American girls named Stacey or Jessica.  They had bouncy ponytails and couldn’t decide which boy they liked the most.  I was a fat, pimply Australian teenager with an old lady name and a mop of fluffy, mousy brown hair who was used to boys ignoring me.  Stacey and Jessica’s lives weren’t very relevant to me.

If there were fat characters, they were subjects of derision, sassy friends (who never got the guy) or had to have lost weight by the end of the book.  Not exactly relevant to most fat teenager’s lives to be honest.

It wasn’t until I was an adult, and stumbled across Kerry Greenwood’s Earthly Delight series, where the heroine was described as voluptuous, or at most, curvy, that I finally had a character that bore any relevance to me.  And while they’re great stories and Corinna Chapman is a badass heroine, they really skirted around her body size and shape, like actually saying she wasn’t thin was something shameful or wrong.

Thankfully, times have changed.  We now actually have books that are about more than just pretty, thin, blonde, American girls named Stacey or Jessica.  We are hearing stories about people in bodies that have long been ignored.  I can tell you, I’ve spent a lot of the past few years catching up!

Here are few of my favourite so far…

Dumplin’ / Murphy, Julie

Dumplin’ is a gorgeous story about Willowdean Dickson, aka Dumplin’ to her beauty queen Mom Rosie, who meets a hot boy named Bo, joins the local beauty pageant as a protest and has a fight with her best friend.  All to a soundtrack of Dolly Parton and supported by some fabulous drag queens.  My favourite quote from Dumplin’ is the way to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on your body.  Bonus Netflix TV series for this one, starring Jennifer Aniston as Rosie (perfectly cast).

Puddin’ / Murphy, Julie
If you like Dumplin’, you’ll love Puddin’.  Technically a sequel, Puddin’ is the story of Millie Michalchuck, one of Willowdean’s classmates and fellow beauty pageant constestant.  I loved Willowdean as a character, but I **ADORE** Millie.  She’s just so genuinely kind and open.  Millie is forced to spend time with the prettiest girl in school and over time, they realise they have a lot more in common than is obvious.

Heads up, a third book in the series is due out in 2021, called Pumpkin and all I know is that the tagline is “This year, prom’s a drag.”  Looks like we’re getting a queer character in the series.

Eleanor & Park / Rowell, Rainbow

This is the book I always wanted when I was a teenager.  Set in 1986 (confession, I was a teenager in 1986) it’s a first love story about two misfits from very different families.  Touching on themes of race, domestic violence, poverty and bullying, Eleanor & Park is the perfect story about two young people with very imperfect lives.  You may have read some other books by Rainbow Rowell, but this is her debut novel and she landed a #1 New York Times Best Seller on her first book!

Shrill : notes from a loud woman / West, Lindy

Another debut book that became a New York Times bestseller (fat gals got talent), Shrill is a memoir by brilliant writer Lindy West.  Yep, this one got made into a series too.  I followed Lindy right from her first big article about living in a fat body in The Stranger and it has been a delight to see her career just keep moving onwards and upwards.

Huge : a novel / Paley, Sasha

This is one I found through watching the TV series first.  Wilhelmina and April meet at Wellness Springs, a posh fat camp in California.  They have very different attitudes to being there and hate each other from the start.  It features a whole cast of fat characters and there is lots of nuance and depth to the story, which is unfortunately a rare thing.

Faith / Houser, Jody

An actual fat superhero in an actual comic.  I mean, it’s something I never thought would happen in my lifetime and I’m thrilled that I was wrong.  The artwork by Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage is gorgeous.

 

Happy fat : taking up space in a world that wants to shrink you / Hagen, Sofie

This one is a non-fiction book by the hilarious Danish comedian Sofie Hagen.  It has a little bit of memoir, but a lot more social commentary, Sofie writes about the reality and politics of living in a fat body, and how to liberate yourself in a world that is so often unwelcoming to those of us who live in fat bodies.

These are just a few of my favourites, I’m still working my way through a lot of other titles that have come along in recent years.  Have you read any that you can recommend?  Please share in the comments below.

 

 

From Shelves to Screen

If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing like an announcement that a beloved graphic novel is going to be made into a movie or TV series to fill you with a combination of hope and dread.  Are they going to do it justice?  Will they find actors that fit the characters?  Is it going to have an ending that doesn’t match the book?  Please tell me that Tom Cruise has nothing to do with the project!

Of course, sometimes it just works and we get the hero we always dreamed of…

Ok maybe maybe that’s just the hero I’ve always dreamed of.

I’m always keeping an eye out for upcoming adaptations and there are a few in the pipelines (or at least rumoured to be happening) that are well worth reading before they hit our screens if you haven’t got to them already.

Paper Girls. 1 / Vaughan, Brian K

One of my favourite graphic novel series, Paper Girls, written by Brian K Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang (amazing colour work) has a bit of a Stranger Things vibe, mixed with some time travel.  This one has been greenlit for production by Amazon for a TV series.  No word on release date yet.

Lumberjanes. [1], Beware the kitten holy / Stevenson, Noelle

Word is that Lumberjanes has been picked up by HBO Max for an animated TV series with author Noelle Stevenson as project showrunner and I’m thrilled.  The action packed storylines are perfect for an animated series, and Noelle has proved her skill at animated series with the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboot as well as the Big Hero Six series.  I just want to see Ripley animated really.

Sweet Tooth [1] : out of the deep woods / Lemire, Jeff

This is the one I’m really nervous about.  I adored this series and I had all of the cast mapped out in my head for it while I was reading it.  I was sure that Jepperd absolutely HAD to be played by Daniel Craig, even though he’s not as big a guy as the character is.  But the IMDB listing has relative unknown Nonso Anozie down as playing Jepperd… and from what little I’ve seen of him, it could work.  I cannot wait to see what Netflix will do with the hybrid children characters and the post-apocalyptic setting.

Y : the last man [1] : unmanned / Vaughan, Brian K

This one is another Brian K Vaughan series (he really is a writer of quality – worth reading any of his work) and is currently in production.  Another series perfect for adaptation for the screen, the unlikely Yorick is the literal last man on earth (and his pet monkey Ampersand the last male animal) they are in hiding trying to find answers as to what happened to all of their fellow males on the planet.  It’s a good mix of mystery and humour with some fantastic characters.  With the right cast it could be one to keep an eye out for.

The Sandman. Volume 1, Preludes & nocturnes / Gaiman, Neil

Look, it’s Neil Gaiman, you usually can’t go wrong with adaptations of his work.  He’s apparently involved with the project as executive producer.  He’s really good at what he does, he’s super committed to quality in any of the projects that come from his work, and The Sandman is iconic.  The original comic series came out in the early ’90’s and was part of a massive shift in comic book culture at the time.  Gaiman’s work ages well, and Netflix are behind this new series. The real question is who are they going to get to play The Sandman (aka Morpheus/Dream)?

Special mention…

Grasshopper jungle : a history / Smith, Andrew

Ok I know this is not a graphic novel/comic book.  And there has been no recent news of a movie project for a few years.  But this is my favourite YA book of all time and I am desperate to see it made into a movie.  When I read it, back in 2014 when it was newly published, I finished the last page, put down the book and sat down at my laptop to email the author to tell him how much I loved it.  He emailed me back within 24 hours, which I still think is amazing.  Director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead) was slated to be taking on this one but there has been nothing happening for a couple of years.  Even if it’s not going to happen as a movie, you should read it, I’m sure you’ll thank me for it later!

So… what would you like to see adapted from shelf to screen?  Is there an upcoming project that you’re keen to watch when it comes out?  I want to know what’s on your radar.