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Category: Real Problems Page 1 of 3

Your reading guide on how NOT to get murdered

This is a blog post NOT for the faint hearted. This is NOT a blog post full of hearts, flowers and romantic embellishments.  What you’re about to read is raw, gritty, deadly, but could very well save your life and may help you avoid getting murdered. This is a post for teens addicted to true crime stories/podcasts and interested in fiction, on ‘how NOT to get murdered,’  inspired by A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson.

Here are some basic tips on how NOT to get murdered?

  • Read the following books as cautionary tales that may prompt you to follow the advice above.

image courtesy of syndeticsA good girl’s guide to murder.

“The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it. But having grown up in the small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final-year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?” (Catalogue). Also available as an

image courtesy of syndeticsGood girl, bad blood.

“Pip Fitz-Amobi is not a detective anymore. Her true crime podcast about the murder case she solved last year has gone viral. Yet Pip insists her investigating days are behind her. But she will have to back on her word when some close to her goes missing and the police can’t do anything about it.” Also available as an eAudiobook.

image courtesy of syndeticsThey wish they were us.

The lives of Jill Newman and her friends look perfect, but nothing is as it seems. Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila, was killed by her boyfriend, but suddenly Jill starts getting texts proclaiming his innocence. But digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe murder game.

“Luke Chase’s roommate Oscar convinces him to sneak out of their boarding school dorm to meet up with a couple of girls in the forest, have a good time, and no one will ever know. When the wife of one of their teachers is found dead in the woods the next morning, the group decides to solve the murder on their own. Will they be able to catch the killer before the killer catches them? — adapted from back cover.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook.

image courtesy of syndeticsWhite rabbit, red wolf.

“A gripping and gloriously treacherous thriller without guide ropes or safety nets. Leave all certainties by the door.” Frances Hardinge A taut thriller about murder, maths and the mind. Peter Blankman is afraid of everything but must confront truly unimaginable terror when his mother is attacked. Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a maths prodigy. He also suffers from severe panic attacks. Afraid of everything, he finds solace in the orderly and logical world of mathematics and in the love of his family: his scientist mum and his tough twin sister Bel, as well as Ingrid, his only friend. However, when his mother is found stabbed before an award ceremony and his sister is nowhere to be found, Pete is dragged into a world of espionage and violence where state and family secrets intertwine. Armed only with his extraordinary analytical skills, Peter may just discover that his biggest weakness is his greatest strength.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsThe boyband murder mystery.

“When frontman Frankie is arrested on suspicion of murdering his oldest friend Evan, Harri feels like her world’s about to fall apart. But quickly she realises that she – and all the other Half Light superfans out there – know and understand much more about these boys than any detective ever could. Now she’s rallying a fangirl army to prove Frankie’s innocence – and to show the world that you should never underestimate a teenage girl with a passion.” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsPride and premeditation.

“Perfect for fans of the Lady Janies and Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first book in the Jane Austen Murder Mysteries series is a clever retelling of Pride and Prejudice that reimagines the iconic settings, characters, and romances in a thrilling and high-stakes whodunit. When a scandalous murder shocks London high society, seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seizes the opportunity to prove herself, despite the interference of Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious firm Pemberley Associates. Convinced the authorities have imprisoned the wrong person, Lizzie vows to solve the murder on her own. But as the case-and her feelings for Darcy-become more complicated, Lizzie discovers that her dream job could make her happy, but it might also get her killed.” (Catalogue). Also available as an eBook and an eAudiobook. 

image courtesy of syndetics#MurderTrending.

“In the near future, citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the prison island Alcatraz 2.0. Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, about to be the next victim of the app, found guilty of murdering her stepsister. But Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, needs to prove she’s innocent before she ends up murdered for the world to see. That’s if The Postman’s cast of executioners don’t kill them off one by one, first.” — Adapted from jacket. Available as an eBook.

image courtesy of syndetics#MurderFunding.

“WELCOME TO WHO WANTS TO BE A PAINIAC?, the latest reality TV show on the hunt for the next big-hit serial killer. But don’t worry-no one is actually going to murder anyone, as real as the fake gore and pretend murder may appear . . . uh, right? Seventeen-year-old Becca Martinello is about to find out. When her perfectly normal soccer mom dies in a car crash, a strange girl named Stef appears and lets Becca know that her deceased mom was none other than one of Alcatraz 2.0’s most popular serial killers-Molly Mauler. Soon, Becca ends up on Who Wants to Be a Painiac? to learn the truth about her mom’s connection to Molly Mauler, but things turn sinister when people are murdered IRL. Will Becca uncover dark secrets and make it out of the deadly reality show alive? Or will she get cut?” (Catalogue).

image courtesy of syndeticsTwo can keep a secret.

“The New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying is back with an all-new, page-turning mystery perfect for fans of Riverdale! Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows. The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone has declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing. Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.” (Catalogue).

For more reading guides on how NOT to get murdered, click here.

 

Marvellous Books to Make You Cry

Today we’re here to celebrate a truly undervalued batch of books. We librarians can spend days waxing poetic over our collections of thrilling mysteries, sublime fantasies and illuminative non-fiction, but today I am here to advocate the unique pleasures of a book-induced sob-fest.

Book Cry (noun):                                                                                         The cathartic experience of weeping, wailing, bawling, blubbering, sobbing and/or crying over a book.

There’s nothing like a good ol’ fashion book cry to ease some tension, which not only helps improve your overall mood, but actually helps detoxify the body! (After, of course, you have recovered from the literary trauma of seeing two beloved characters torn apart.)

via GIPHY

So if your eyeballs feel in need of a good cleaning, read on for a tear-inducing collection of marvellous books to make you cry:

The song of Achilles / Miller, Madeline
“Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. […] Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative connection gives way to a steadfast friendship. […] Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. “–Author website.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The fault in our stars / Green, John
“Sixteen-year-old Hazel, a stage IV thyroid cancer patient, has accepted her terminal diagnosis until a chance meeting with a boy at cancer support group forces her to reexamine her perspective on love, loss, and life.” (Catalogue)
Bridge to Terabithia / Paterson, Katherine
“[…] When Lesley’s family moves to a rural community, they are regarded with some curiosity – a family with so many books, and no television. Jess Aarons is disturbed by Lesley, who challenges his accepted order of things. Then tragedy strikes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
All the light we cannot see / Doerr, Anthony
“Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History […] When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast […] In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. […] Interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All the bright places / Niven, Jennifer
“Told in alternating voices, when Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school–both teetering on the edge–it’s the beginning of an unlikely relationship, a journey to discover the “natural wonders” of the state of Indiana, and two teens’ desperate desire to heal and save one another” Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

The memory book / Avery, Lara
“When a rare genetic disorder brings dementia, steals away her memories, and produces physical deterioration, a high school valedictorian with big plans to flee her small town records notes in a journal to her future self, documenting moments great and small.” (Catalogue)
If I stay / Forman, Gayle
“Life is wonderful for seventeen-year-old Mia, a talented cellist with family, friends and boyfriend. But life can change in an instant – a terrible car accident and everything is different.” (Catalogue)

Trigger Warning: Some of these books deal with difficult subjects, such as illness, sexual abuse, and suicide.

If you are struggling with mental health, then you can free call or text 1737 for support from a trained counsellor, or reach out to:

Lifeline
0800 543 354
Free text 4357 (HELP)

Youthline
0800 376 633
Free text 234

Activism to Keep the Summer Ennui at Bay!

It is impossible to fully extol the many wonders of the summer holidays. Water fights, ice cream, camping, being unable to beat Wellington on a good day, exploring the bush looking for cryptids (yes I will ram cryptids down the throats of you readers at every given opportunity), using strategically applied sunblock and patience to graffiti your friend’s back, more ice cream — I could go on for days.

However, if you are anything like me, it won’t take long to remember that you are unable to function without a schedule and will eventually succumb to a state of sunburnt ennui. And what better way to fight this gradual decline, than by fighting THE gradual decline (of society)?! That’s right, this blog post does have a point!

Hopefully, all you smart young whippersnappers were out marching in the School Strike 4 Climate Change (#doitfordavid #actionforattenborough) way back in the shining days pre-COVID, so you’ve already had a taste of how good it feels to stand up for what you believe in. Or you just wanted a day off school, but same premise – we’re battling summer ennui here folks! While organising a nation-wide series of protests over the holidays may be a little ambitious, that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways you can make your voice heard:

  1. Social Media. Your social media is an incredible platform to speak up for your beliefs, so make the most of it! Even if it’s just sharing someone else’s post, you have the tools to make your voice heard. USE THEM.


  2. Get involved. There’s a smorgasbord of charities, non-profits, and activist organisations out there. Pick one that you vibe with and go make the world a better place. A few of my favourites include ActionStation, SAFE, Greenpeace, and NOPE Sisters, or – if you’re feeling especially inspired – get involved with a local political party you agree with, or even the Youth Parliament.
  3. Speaking of parliament, get ready to VOTE! Your time is nigh! I don’t care who you’re voting for, so long as you are getting out there and using your unique opportunity to shape this country. If you’re not old enough to vote, then I give you permission to bully your older siblings, friends, and parents to get out there and make Orange Man proud.
  4. YOU ARE THE CHOSEN ONE. All those unique ideas that no-one else would ever think of? Find one that you care about, that can help people, and act on it. All you have to do it start.


  5. Educate yourself! I wanted to put this one first, but then there wouldn’t have been such a flawless transition into some local library inspiration. So, without further ado, here are a few suggestions for you budding activists out there:


How I resist : activism and hope for a new generation
“Now, more than ever, young people are motivated to make a difference in a world they’re bound to inherit. But with much to stand up and shout about, where do they begin? How I Resist is the way to start the conversation. An all-star collection of essays, songs, illustrations, and interviews about activism and hope […] This guide will remind you that you are not helpless, and that you can be the change you wish to see in the world, in the news, and for your future.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Resist : 35 profiles of ordinary people who rose up against tyranny and injustice / Chambers, Veronica
“Before they were activists, they were just like you and me. From Frederick Douglass to Malala Yousafzai, Joan of Arc to John Lewis, Susan B. Anthony to Janet Mock—these thirty-five profiles of remarkable figures show us what it means to take a stand and say no to injustice […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Art of Protest: What a Revolution Looks Like / Nichols, De
“From Keith Haring to Extinction Rebellion, the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter, what does a revolution look like? What does it take to make a collective visual impact? Discover the power of words, images and much more in this analytical and thought-provoking look at protest art, by highly acclaimed activist De Nichols.” (Catalogue)

Girls resist! : a guide to activism, leadership, and starting a revolution / Rich, KaeLyn
“An activism handbook for teen girls ready to fight for change, social justice, and equality. Take on the world and make some serious change with this handbook to everything activism, social justice, and resistance. With in-depth guides to everything from picking a cause, planning a protest, and raising money to running dispute-free meetings, promoting awareness on social media, and being an effective ally. Get this handbook to crush inequality, start a revolution, and resist!” (Catalogue)

Generation brave : the Gen Z kids who are changing the world / Alexander, Kate
“An illustrated celebration of Gen Z activists fighting to make our world a better place. Gen Z is populated–and defined–by activists. They are bold and original thinkers and not afraid to stand up to authority and conventional wisdom. From the March for Our Lives to the fight for human rights and climate change awareness, this generation is leading the way toward truth and hope like no generation before […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Hood feminism : notes from the women that white feminists forgot / Kendall, Mikki
“All too often the focus of mainstream feminism is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. Meeting basic needs is a feminist issue. Food insecurity, the living wage and access to education are feminist issues. The fight against racism, ableism and transmisogyny are all feminist issues. White feminists often fail to see how race, class, sexual orientation and disability intersect with gender. How can feminists stand in solidarity as a movement when there is a distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others? […]” (Catalogue)

Craftivism : the craft of craft and activism
“A provocative anthology of essays, interviews and photographs on the art-making phenomenon known as craftivism, the intersection where craft and activism meet. This book profiles craftivists from around the world (including Australia), and how they use their craft to create a greater good […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

You are mighty : a guide to changing the world / Paul, Caroline
“Being a good citizen means standing up for what’s right-and here’s just the way to start. […] This guide features change-maker tips, tons of DIY activities, and stories about the kids who have paved the way before, from famous activists like Malala Yousafzai and Claudette Colvin to the everyday young people whose habit changes triggered huge ripple effects. So make a sign, write a letter, volunteer, sit-in, or march! There are lots of tactics to choose from, and you’re never too young to change the world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

We are power : how nonviolent activism changes the world / Hasak-Lowy, Todd
“A stirring look at nonviolent activism, from American suffragists to Civil Rights to the Climate Change Movement We Are Power brings to light the incredible individuals who have used nonviolent activism to change the world. The book explores questions such as what is nonviolent resistance and how does it work? […] It answers the question “Why nonviolence?” by showing how nonviolent movements have succeeded again and again in a variety of ways, in all sorts of places, and always in the face of overwhelming odds […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Amazons, abolitionists, and activists : a graphic history of women’s fight for their rights / Kendall, Mikki
“[…] Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun and fascinating graphic novel-style primer that covers the key figures and events that have advanced women’s rights from antiquity to the modern era. In addition, this compelling book illuminates the stories of notable women throughout history–from queens and freedom fighters to warriors and spies–and the progressive movements led by women that have shaped history, including abolition, suffrage, labor, civil rights, LGBTQ liberation, reproductive rights, and more. […]” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Watch us rise / Watson, Renée
“[…] Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission. Sick of the way that young women are treated even at their ‘progressive’ New York City high school, they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. One problem – no one shows up. That hardly stops them. They start posting everything from videos of Chelsea performing her poetry to Jasmine’s response to being reduced to a racist and sexist stereotype in the school’s theatre department. And soon, they’ve gone viral, creating a platform they never could’ve predicted […] ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Study Hacks to Avoid NCEA Panic Attacks

It’s almost time for summer holidays, but first the dreaded NCEA season is approaching. Have you barricaded yourself in your room with an ungodly amount of snacks yet? Have you spent the required 2.5 hours debating aesthetic highlighter choices for your study notes? Do you know when your exams are? These, and the list below, are all equally important things to consider when preparing for your exams.

Image of a collection of NCEA study books at He Matapihi Library

Controversial librarian take: I wish we could shelve these study guides by colour instead of by call number. [Editor’s note: HOW VERY DARE YOU! (also, yes). -SC]


1: Use the official study guides.

No shade to the NCEA system, but when I was a teen you would literally see questions in the study books that would then turn up, ALMOST VERBATIM, in the exam. This is because, though it can be hard to believe, the people that write your tests want you to succeed.  Making your way through these guides is therefore something you do not want to miss out on. If you don’t have a copy of the study guides, no worries, we have copies at most of our libraries. Click here to find ’em all.


2: Practice with past exams.

Following the previous tip, you can go to the official NCEA website and take past exams. You can them come print them off at the library if you like!

Extra for experts: Practice completing your exams within the time limit that you will have on the day, with no looking things up! The closer you can get to practicing in actual test conditions, the less stressed you’ll hopefully get on the day.


3: Don’t leave it to the last minute.

Trying to revise a whole year of work in a day is impossible. Saying “today I will study for 4 hours” is vague. Try setting specific and manageable goals. Make a plan that breaks down exactly what you intend to revise, and what day you will do it on. This means that, when you sit down to study, you won’t have to waste brain energy figuring out where you should start. You could pair this with a cute to-do list or calendar to track your progress. You could even incorporate cute stamps or stickers. You are never too old or cool for stickers. I guess what I am trying to say is that if you can find an excuse to go get some cute stationery, you should do it. I am not sponsored by Big Stationery, but gosh I wish I was. Anyway, back to studying, this leads me to my next tip…


4: Take breaks!

The fact is that, although it sounds very impressive to say “I’m going to study for 5 hours today”, most people need to take breaks. Exactly how long/how many will depend on your brain! I have looked briefly around at various resources and a common suggestion is 45 mins of work, then 15 mins of downtime to recharge, so maybe try that and then change it up to find what works best for you.

On this note, although it may be tempting to use that break time to zone out with your phone, I challenge you to give yourself a proper rest from your screen. Try going for a walk outside, making yourself a hot drink, eating a snack or lying in the sun listening to music. Find an activity that you enjoy that lets your mind wander, but that isn’t a procrastination trap.


5: Have a study group/buddy.

This could take many different forms! Are you more likely to study if you sit with a group of friends who are hard at work? Do you prefer learning facts if there’s a chance to get competitive about it? Do you find it easier to understand concepts if you talk them out with someone? There’s heaps of reasons to add a social aspect to your studying! Sidenote: you could also incorporate some mild hijinks into your study day. For example, me and my friends once all met for a library study session in Where’s Wally outfits. We then took breaks to play real life Where’s Wally in the library. Yes, we were studying for a theatre class. Yes, we were fully grown adults at university. Yes, I am still extremely cool.


6: Make it a e s t h e t i c .

Here’s where you get to use those fancy new highlighters. After revising a concept, condense what you have learned into a mind map/flow chart/summary page. This will then be a helpful tool for when you want to briefly look over a topic. It’s also a nice safety blanket for exam day.


7: GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS.

Put your phone on silent, in a shoe box, and throw it into the ocean. Maybe not in the ocean, but keep that thing as far out of your study zone as possible.

Headphones can be really helpful if your study space isn’t very peaceful, os if you have annoying siblings you need help ignoring. I suggest playing ambient music or lo-fi hiphop beats, whatever helps you separate yourself from any distracting sounds. Related to this, the teen blog team here at WCL might be cooking up something very interesting for you. 

Extra for expert: Turn your Wi-Fi off. Don’t be online at all until you are finished studying. As an ancient person who sat my NCEA exams before it was common to have wi-fi at home, I can assure you it’s possible to study without constantly being online.


8: …it’s like a reward.

End your study session with a treat. Have some Tiktok or video game time to reward yourself for a hard day of studying. You could also plan a fun hang-out with your friends later in the day, that way you have a set time where you have to be done studying by. Deadlines can be very helpful!

~Extra hard mode~: You can only text your crush back once you finish studying. Honestly, I would not be surprised if this helps a person learn a concept faster.


Helpful books!

Learning how to learn : how to succeed in school without spending all your time studying / Oakley, Barbara A.
“A surprisingly simple way for students to master any subject… “Learning How to Learn” have empowered more than two million learners of all ages from around the world to master subjects that they once struggled with. Now in this new book for kids and teens, the authors reveal how to make the most of time spent studying. — Provided by publisher.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

How to be a knowledge ninja : study smarter, focus better, achieve more / Allcott, Graham
“Paralysed by procrastination? Harness some Ninja Focus to get things started. Overwhelmed by exam nerves? You need some Zen-like Calm to turn those butterflies into steely focus. Surrounded by too many scrappy notes and unfinished to-do lists? Get Weapon-savvy with the latest organizational technology.” (Catalogue)

The study skills handbook / Cottrell, Stella
“Your essential companion for succeeding with your studies. Bestselling author Stella Cottrell equips you with the skills you need to improve your grades, build your confidence and plan for the future you want. Recognising that we each have a unique formula for success, her tried and trusted approach helps you find the key to unlock your potential.” (Catalogue)

How to study / Fry, Ronald W
“Best-selling HOW TO STUDY, SEVENTH EDITION reveals the study skills that all students need to know in order to be successful, whether the goal is landing a top scholarship or excelling in school. This edition includes information on how to create an effective work environment, stand out in class, use the library, conduct research online, and much more. Plus, author Ron Fry covers all the traditional elements of a winning study strategy, such as reading, writing, time-management, memory, and test-taking skills. HOW TO STUDY, SEVENTH EDITION introduces a revolutionary study system, along with examples, that gives students the edge in any learning environment.” (Catalogue)

Te Taiao Needs Our Help: Recycling Week 2021


Did you know that Aotearoa has a week dedicated to recycling? Of course we should be recycling all the time, but it’s good to have a reminder about what we can do to care for the taiao. Recycling Week runs from the 18th-24th of October, with each day being dedicated to challenges to encourage us to re-think our waste minimization and recycling behaviours. To get us inspired, here are some awesome recycling initiatives from around the world!

There are machines in Colombia where you can recycle your tin, glass and plastic bottles in exchange for public transit credits. Imagine paying for the bus with bottles! You could literally collect other people’s littering and profit from it. Then you’d be both a tidy kiwi, and a kiwi with a topped up Snapper card, Incredible!

Barcelona had a issues with cooking oil being poured down the drain and clogging the pipes (sound familiar?). City officials tackled this problem by giving away free “Olipots” for people to collect their used oil in, while also setting up collection spots for people to dispose of their oil around the city. The collected oils are then recycled into a biodiesel.

ReTuna Återbruksgalleria, in Sweden, is the world’s first recycling mall! Here, old items are given new life through repair and upcycling. Everything sold is recycled, reused or has been organically or sustainably produced. Visitors to the mall can also easily drop off donations, which are then sorted into what can be repaired and resold or donated to somewhere the item will be useful.

Scientists in South Korea have invented a t-shirt that could be used to charge your phone! Specifically, the fabric of the t-shirt generates electricity as it bends and flexes and “a person wearing a shirt tailored from the material only has to move around to power a small screen or other electronic devices” .  This process is possible through the utilising of Triboelectricity, electricity generated by friction. If you want to know more, click through to the article because this goes over my head very quickly. It has been a minute/decade since I did NCEA Physics. Most importantly, this invention would be very handy for long Pokémon GO missions (is Pokémon GO still relevant and cool? Please let it still be relevant and cool. I need this). 


Keen to take the next step in your recycling? Here’s a little book list to send you on your way. 🙂


My zero-waste kitchen : easy ways to eat waste free / O’Rourke-Jones, Ruth
“Looking to live sustainably without overhauling your life? My Zero-Waste Kitchen shows you how to put the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – into practice in the kitchen.  (Adapted from Catalogue)


Make & mend : a guide to recycling clothes and fabrics / Peacock, Rebecca
“Welcome to Make & Mend! This book shows how, with a little knowledge and a little creativity, you can make a wide range of fantastic items from those old clothes and fabrics you can’t bear to throw away. Full of projects, from aprons to curtains, bags to jewellery, we show you how to turn a bag of scraps into wearable, beautiful and personalised items.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Remade vintage jewelry : 35 step-by-step projects inspired by lost, found, and recycled treasures / Bush, *Co-Co Nichole
“Transform vintage finds and broken objects into pieces to treasure with Remade Vintage Jewelry.” (Catalogue)


A little bit crafty
“A little bit crafty is a nifty collection of 39 DIY ideas from creative types across Australia and New Zealand. With an emphasis on recycling, cheap and easy materials, and projects that can be done in an afternoon, it’s chock full of sweet, clever and slightly oddball crafts that’ll make you smile and keep your hands happy, too.” (Catalogue)


ReadyMade : how to make (almost) everything : a do-it-yourself primer / Berger, Shoshana
“For people who like to make stuff, who see the flicker of invention in everyday objects, this quirky ‘how-to’ volume contains design projects ranging from water-bottle lounge chairs and ladder shelving to shopping bag rugs and denim dog beds.” (Catalogue)


The upcycled T-shirt : 28 easy-to-make projects that save the planet – clothing, accessories, home decor & gifts / Montilone, Jenelle
“Did you know the average American throws away more than 68 pounds of clothing each year? Join the revolution to reduce your carbon footprint—one T-shirt at a time! Widely known for her recycling efforts, environmental crafter Jenelle Montilone will show you how to upcycle tees into fun and fanciful quilts, accessories, toys, and gifts for the whole family. (Adapted from Catalogue)


50 fantastic ideas for sustainability / O’Sullivan, June
“Teach children to reduce, reuse, recycle, repair and be respectful with 50 fun activities for encouraging environmental sustainability. From creating butterfly feeders with food scraps, to turning old kitchen equipment into beautiful planters or bringing broken crayons back to life, these original ideas encourage practitioners to see the potential for creativity and fun using and reusing everyday, easy-to-source items, some of which might have otherwise gone to waste. Enhance children’s creativity, cognitive development and motor skills through indoor and outdoor activities that are enjoyable, educational and environmentally friendly. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Te Taiao – The Environment and Your Future

In this age of global climate change, and amongst the deniers, te taiao – the environment, is ever-changing and ever-important. It has recently come to the fore in a hugely political movement, globalised since the first speech of Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg. This blog series will look at three aspects of climate change. Firstly, the scoop on global climate change issues, secondly on local or Aotearoa-based climate issues and thirdly, how yourselves as rangatahi can enact change against the climate crisis.

Firstly, the global picture

Acidification of our oceans

Drivers of hypoxia and acidification in our oceans

Factors showing the driving of acidification in our oceans.

Due to the vastly industrialised world, and the ever-increasing pollution from factories and car exhausts, our oceans are becoming acidified. This is because the oceans absorb 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide released from land use and emissions (Ocean Service, 2020). It means we have less organisms in the sea, and people’s livelihoods will be affected. The behaviour of non-calcifying creatures are also affected, leading to different catchments being available. It affects directly the coral reefs, which provide amazing habitats for many sea-going creatures, and the acidic waters are actually dissolving some sea creatures shells right now (Bennett, 2020).

Salinity of water bodies i.e. lakes

Due to the salination effects on waterways from climate change, the waterways have increased in temperature about 2-4 degrees since the 1960s (Cheng L. et al. 2020). This has meant an ever-increasing salination rate, causing widespread damage to local aquatic and marine populations. What this means is that areas will become drier than before, eliminating vital habitat for various creatures, and a lessening of resources for humans to consume.

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New Books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChecked, Cynthia Kadohata with illustrations by Maurizio Zorat

Hockey is Conor’s life. His whole life. He’ll say it himself, he’s a hockey beast. It’s his dad’s whole life too–and Conor is sure that’s why his stepmom, Jenny, left. There are very few things Conor and his dad love more than the game, and one of those things is their Doberman, Sinbad. When Sinbad is diagnosed with cancer, Conor chooses to put his hockey lessons and practices on hold so they can pay for Sinbad’s chemotherapy. But without hockey to distract him, Conor begins to notice more. Like his dad’s crying bouts, and his friend’s difficult family life. And then Conor notices one more thing: Without hockey, the one thing that makes him feel special, is he really special at all? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe weight of our sky, Hanna Alkaf

Melati Ahmad believes that she harbors a djinn inside her, one who threatens her with horrific images of her mother’s death unless she adheres to an elaborate ritual of counting and tapping to keep him satisfied. On the evening of May 13th, 1969, racial tensions in her home city of Kuala Lumpur boil over. The Chinese and Malays are at war, and Mel and her mother become separated. With the city in flames and a curfew in effect, it will take the help of a Chinese boy named Vincent and all of the courage and grit in Melati’s arsenal to overcome the violence on the streets, her own prejudices, and her djinn’s surging power, if she wants to make it back to the one person she can’t risk losing. (Book jacket)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe everlasting rose, Dhonielle Clayton

In this sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The Belles , Camellia Beaureguard, the former favorite Belle, must race against time to find the ailing Princess Charlotte, who has disappeared without a trace. The evil queen Sophia’s imperial forces will stop at nothing to keep Camille, her sister Edel, and her loyal guard, Rémy, from returning Charlotte to the palace and her rightful place as queen. With the help of an underground resistance movement called the Iron Ladies–a society that rejects beauty treatments entirely–and the backing of alternative newspaper the Spider’s Web , Camille uses her powers, her connections, and her cunning to outwit her greatest nemesis, Sophia, and attempt to restore peace to Orléans. But enemies lurk in the most unexpected places, forcing Camille to decide just how much she’s willing to sacrifice to save her people. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe dysasters, P.C Cast and Kristen Cast

Foster can control cloud formations and see airwaves. Tate “Nighthawk” Taylor, star quarterback and all around boy next door, has night vision but has never questioned his abilities. On the night of their first meeting a deadly tornado brings them together and awakens their true abilities: the power to control the element air. Tate and Foster discover they were genetically manipulated before birth to bond with the elements, and worse… they’re being hunted. Now, Foster and Tate must fight to control their abilities as they learn of their past, how they came to be, who’s following them, and what tomorrow will bring. (Book jacket)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFierce fragile hearts, Sara Barnard

Back in Brighton two years after a downward spiral sent her as low as you can possibly go, Suzanne is starting over. She’s back with her two best friends in the only place she felt she belonged. But they’re about to leave for university. When your friends have been your light in the darkness, what happens when you’re left behind? (Book jacket)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou can’t hide, Sarah Mussi

Lexi’s been in an accident. But she can’t remember it – or any of the events leading up to it. The only thing she knows for sure is that she’s still in danger. As fragments of her past start to return, Lexi thinks she knows what happened. But can Lexi trust her own memories? Because if she’s wrong… she’s in more danger now than ever before. Exactly what happened on that spring evening down by the railway tracks? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe complication, Suzanne Young

Tatum’s boyfriend, Wes, came back changed. The Adjustment came into her life just when she thought she needed it most, a promise for Wes to get back his forgotten memories. But when the procedure went wrong, a revelation shattered everything she thought she knew. Now, with no one left to trust, Tatum must find out what really happened last summer. With the help of the boyfriend she lost, she will dig into the past and future of The Program and its handlers and discover the true cost of a cure. (Publisher summary)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe art of losing, Lizzy Mason

On one terrible night, 17-year-old Harley’s life changes forever. At a party she discovers her younger sister, Audrey, hooking up with her boyfriend, Mike, who then drunkenly attempts to drive Audrey home, crashing and leaving Audrey in a coma. Now Harley is left with guilt, grief, pain and the undeniable truth that her ex-boyfriend has a drinking problem. She finds herself reconnecting with Raf, a neighbour and childhood friend. He starts to show Harley a path forward that she never would have believed possible – one guided by honesty, forgiveness, and redemption. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOnly a breath apart, Katie McGarry

Jesse dreams of working the land that’s been in his family forever. But he’s cursed to lose everything he loves most. Scarlett is desperate to escape her “charmed” life. But leaving a small town is easier said than done. Despite their history of heartbreak, when Jesse sees a way they can work together to each get what they want, Scarlett can’t say no. Each midnight meeting between Jesse and Scarlett will push them to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other.Katie McGarry is an expert at spinning tales of high school love, angst, and class boundaries. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA sky painted gold, Laura Wood

Growing up in a sleepy Cornish village, Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer, Lou is swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams. Will she find her feet before the summer ends… or lose her heart? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn Paris with you, Clementine Beauvais (translated by Sam Taylor)

Powerful, feisty, intelligent, set in a Parisian’s version of Paris, this is a love story that you’ll actually believe in! Eugene and Tatiana could have fallen in love. If things had gone differently. But time has found them far apart, leading separate lives. Until they meet once more in Paris…(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe dead queens club, Hannah Capin

If your school’s homecoming king had a little too much in common with Henry VIII, would you survive with your head still attached? You’d think being the new girl in a tiny town would equal one very boring senior year. But if you’re me–Annie Marck, alias Cleves–and you accidentally transform into teenage royalty by entering Lancaster High on the arm of the king himself? Life becomes the exact opposite of boring. Henry has it all: he’s the jock, the genius and the brooding bad boy all in one. Which sort of explains why he’s on his sixth girlfriend in two years. What it doesn’t explain is why two of them–two of us–are dead. My best friend thinks it’s Henry’s fault, which is obviously ridiculous. My nemesis says we shouldn’t talk about it, which is straight-up sketchy. But as the resident nosy new girl, I’m determined to find out what really happened to Lancaster’s dead queens…ideally before history repeats itself. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInk, Iron and Glass, Gwendolyn Clare

As a prodigy in the science of scriptology, Elsa can write new worlds into creation. She lives in one such world called Veldana. When her mother is abducted, Elsa follows her trail into the real world, where she must recruit the help of a secret society of fellow “mad” geniuses who are similarly gifted in powers of mechanics and alchemy. Here, she meets Leo, a mechanist with a smart mouth and a tragic past. With Leo’s help, she unveils a political conspiracy with her own family at the center. Her mother’s most valuable and secret creation, a scriptology book with the power to edit the real world, is also missing, and Elsa must find it and her mother before her enemies do. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe similars, Rebecca Hanover

The Similars are all anyone can talk about at the elite Darkwood Academy. Who are these six clones? What are the odds that all of them would be Darkwood students? Who is the madman who broke the law to create them? Emma couldn’t care less. Her best friend, Oliver, died over the summer and all she can think about is how to get through her junior year without him. Then she comes face-to-heartbreaking-face with Levi–Oliver’s exact DNA replica and one of the Similars. Emma wants nothing to do with the Similars, but she keeps getting pulled deeper and deeper into their clique, uncovering dark truths about the clones and her prestigious school along the way. But no one can be trusted, not even the boy she is falling for who has Oliver’s face. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEnchantée, Gita Trelease

Paris is a labyrinth of twisted streets filled with beggars and thieves, revolutionaries and magicians. Camille Durbonne is one of them. She wishes she weren’t… When smallpox kills her parents, Camille must find a way to provide for her younger sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on magic, Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille pursues a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Using dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into a baroness and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for magic. As she struggles to reconcile her resentment of the rich with the allure of glamour and excess, Camille meets a handsome young inventor, and begins to believe that love and liberty may both be possible. But magic has its costs, and soon Camille loses control of her secrets. And when revolution erupts, Camille must choose–love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, reality of magic–before Paris burns. (Publisher summary)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHalo: battle born, Cassandra Rose Clarke

The first original novel based on the mega-hit HALO video game series! The alien alliance known as the Covenant is laying siege to the colony world of Meridian… Can humanity survive? Saskia, Dorian, Evie and Victor aren’t exactly friends at their small high school on the middle-of-nowhere colony world of Meridian. Each has their own problems, from absent parents to supporting their family, getting into a good college to making the next hit holo-film. But those problems are nothing next to the threat now facing their world: the alien alliance known as the Covenant is laying siege to Meridian, for reasons that aren’t very easily explained. With their village in flames, the four teens find themselves stuck above ground, locked out of the town shelter where the rest of the survivors are gathered. Together, Saskia, Dorian, Evie and Victor are thrust into battle with nothing but a few scavenged weapons and an injured Spartan, one of the United Nations Space Command’s super-soldiers. What’s forged from the destruction will determine the fate of Meridian, and tilt the battle for humanity’s survival… (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHold me closer, Necromancer, Lish McBride

Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right–until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak. Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else. With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAll out: secret stories of queer teens, edited by Saundra Mitchell

Seventeen young adult authors across the queer spectrum have come together to create a collection of beautifully written diverse historical fiction for teens. From a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood set in war-torn 1870s Mexico featuring a transgender soldier, to two girls falling in love while mourning the death of Kurt Cobain, forbidden love in a sixteenth-century Spanish convent or an asexual girl discovering her identity amid the 1970s roller-disco scene, All Out tells a diverse range of stories across cultures, time periods and identities, shedding light on an area of history often ignored or forgotten. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKiss collector, Wendy Higgins

Seventeen-year-old Zae Monroe is over relationships. Between getting cheated on by the only guy she’s ever loved and watching her parents’ marriage crumble, she decides to turn the tables and go after what she wants, and what she wants are kisses. Athletes, musicians, poets, bad boys–their lips are all on her agenda, and it’s time to collect. Zae proposes a contest with her friends to see who can kiss the most boys during spring break. But what starts as a harmless competition leads to a downward spiral of drama. Zae is forced to face the reasons behind her boy angst and starts to wonder if she was wrong about the male race…or at least some of them. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe summer of Jordi Perez, Amy Spalding

Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby’s been happy to focus on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a great internship at her favorite boutique, she’s thrilled to take the first step toward her dream career. Then she falls for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Hard. And now she’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win the coveted paid job at the end of the internship. But really, nothing this summer is going as planned. She also unwittingly becomes friends with Jax, a lacrosseplaying bro-type who wants her help finding the best burger in Los Angeles, and she’s struggling to prove to her mother–the city’s celebrity health nut–that she’s perfectly content with who she is. Just as Abby starts to feel like she’s no longer the sidekick in her own life, Jordi’s photography surprisingly puts her in the spotlight. Instead of feeling like she’s landed a starring role, Abby feels betrayed. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image others have of her? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe bright siders, Jen Wilde

As a rock star drummer in the hit band The Brightsiders, Emmy King’s life should be perfect. But there’s nothing the paparazzi love more than watching a celebrity crash and burn. When a night of partying lands Emmy in hospital, she’s branded the latest tabloid train wreck. Luckily, Emmy has her friends and bandmates, including the super-swoonworthy Alfie, to help her pick up the pieces of her life. She knows hooking up with a band member is exactly the kind of trouble she should be avoiding, and yet Emmy and Alfie Just. Keep. Kissing. Will the inevitable fallout turn her into a clickbait scandal (again)? Or will she find the strength to stand on her own? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBuried beneath the Baobab Tree, Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Based on interviews with young women who were kidnapped by Boko Haram, this poignant novel by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani tells the timely story of one girl who was taken from her home in Nigeria and her harrowing fight for survival. Includes an afterword by award-winning journalist Viviana Mazza. A new pair of shoes, a university degree, a husband–these are the things that a girl dreams of in a Nigerian village. And with a government scholarship right around the corner, everyone can see that these dreams aren’t too far out of reach. But the girl’s dreams turn to nightmares when her village is attacked by Boko Haram, a terrorist group, in the middle of the night. Kidnapped, she is taken with other girls and women into the forest where she is forced to follow her captors’ radical beliefs and watch as her best friend slowly accepts everything she’s been told. Still, the girl defends her existence. As impossible as escape may seem, her life–her future–is hers to fight for. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe girl king, Mimi Yu

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: assertive Lu will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Until their father names their male cousin Set his heir instead, sending ripples through the realm and throwing both girls’ lives into utter chaos. Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu has no choice but to go on the run, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu soon crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of the Ashina, a clan of nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift–or to trust the empire that killed his family–but working with the princess might be the only way to unlock his true power. As Lu and Nok form a shaky alliance, Min’s own hidden power awakens, a forbidden, deadly magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well turn out to be each other. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDear Rachel Maddow, Adrienne Kisner

Brynn Haper’s life has one steadying force–Rachel Maddow. She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project–and actually getting a response–Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick’s death, about her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she’s stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out. Then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. One student representative will be allowed to have a voice among the administration in the selection of a new school superintendent. Brynn’s archnemesis, Adam, and ex-girlfriend, Sarah, believe only Honors students are worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position, the knives are out. So she begins to ask herself: What Would Rachel Maddow Do? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLove, hate, and other filters, Samira Ahmed

Maya Aziz is caught between her India-born parents’ world of college and marrying a suitable Muslim boy, and her dream world of film school and dating her classmate, Phil. In the aftermath of a terrorist attack hundreds of miles away, the community she’s known since birth is transformed by fear, bigotry, and hatred. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLegacy of Light, Sarah Raughley

The Effigies must uncover the connection between Saul, Blackwell, and the Phantoms before it’s too late in this epic conclusion to the Effigies trilogy. The world is in chaos. After Saul’s strike on Oslo–one seemingly led by Maia herself–the Effigies’ reputation is in shambles. Now they’re being hunted by nations across the globe, grouped in with the very terrorists they’ve been trying to stop. With Maia’s resurrected twin, June, carrying out vicious attacks across the world, everyone believes Maia is a killer. Belle has gone rogue, Chae Rin and Lake have disappeared, and the Sect is being dismantled and replaced by a terrifying new world order helmed by Blackwell. As for Saul, his ultimate plan still remains a mystery. And Maia? No one has seen or heard from her in weeks. It’s all somehow connected–Saul, Phantoms, the Effigies, everything. But if the Effigies can’t put the pieces together soon, there may not be much left of the world they’ve fought so desperately to save. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsUnclaimed baggage, Jen Doll

Doris–a lone liberal in a conservative small town–has mostly kept to herself since the terrible waterslide incident a few years ago. Nell had to leave behind her best friends, perfect life, and too-good-to-be-true boyfriend in Chicago to move to Alabama. Grant was the star quarterback and epitome of “Mr. Popular” whose drinking problem has all but destroyed his life. What do these three have in common? A summer job working in a store called Unclaimed Baggage cataloging and selling other people’s lost luggage. Together they find that through friendship, they can unpack some of their own emotional baggage and move on into the future. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe silence, Mark Alpert

When Adam joined the Pioneer program, he became one of six teens to forfeit their bodies for a new, digital existence. Together, the Six were unstoppable, protecting the world from artificial-intelligence systems that threatened the human race. But they were more than a team–they were family. Until now. Adam has a complex power within his circuitry that defies the very laws of physics. He wasn’t programmed to have this power, and he can barely control it or its consequences. Adam’s never felt more alone. Amber, the newest Pioneer, knows what it is like to be an outsider. She gets him in a way the others don’t. Except Amber’s software has been corrupted, and until Adam figures out exactly what she’s become, the Pioneers–and the world–are in mortal danger. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLove and war, Melissa De La Cruz

As the war for American Independence carries on, newlyweds Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler are settling into their new adventure- marriage. But Alex is still General George Washington’s right-hand man, sent to the front lines at Yorktown, and his attention these days is nothing if not divided-much like the colonies’ interests as the end of the Revolution draws near. Alex & Eliza’s relationship is tested further by lingering jealousies and family drama. The battles are just beginning in the follow-up to Melissa de la Cruz’s New York Times bestselling Alex & Eliza- A Love Story . (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe curses, Laure Eve

Picking up the pieces after the chilling events of the previous year isn’t easy, but the Grace siblings are determined to try and get things back to normal – and if that means papering over the cracks, so be it. Summer has had enough of secrets, but sharing a house with someone who’s been resurrected from the dead isn’t something you want the neighbours to know about. As ex-best friend River wreaks havoc with her twisted spells, can the Graces ever escape the curses that have been tearing their family apart for generations? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of Syndetics29 dates, Melissa De La Cruz

Jisu’s traditional South Korean parents are concerned by what they see as her lack of attention to her schoolwork and her future. Working with Seoul’s premiere matchmaker to find the right boyfriend is one step toward ensuring Jisu’s success, and going on the recommended dates is Jisu’s compromise to please her parents while finding space to figure out her own dreams. But when she flubs a test then skips out on a date to spend time with friends, her fed-up parents shock her by shipping her off to a private school in San Francisco. Where she’ll have the opportunity to shine academically–and be set up on more dates! Navigating her host family, her new city and school, and more dates, Jisu finds comfort in taking the photographs that populate her ever-growing social media account. Soon attention from two very different boys sends Jisu into a tailspin of soul-searching. As her passion for photography lights her on fire, does she even want to find The One? And what if her One isn’t parent and matchmaker approved? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe gilded wolves, Roshani Chokshi

From New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi comes a novel set in Paris during a time of extraordinary change–one that is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous desires…No one believes in them. But soon no one will forget them. It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOutside, Sarah Ann Juckes

Here’s the thing about being Inside. Ain’t no one believes that they are.Ele is kept captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. She has never been Outside but she knows it’s there and she’s determined to prove it. When Ele eventually escapes, she is forced to question everything she has ever known.An extraordinary and powerful debut in the style of ROOM by Emma Donoghue.(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsStain, A.G Howard

After Lyra–a princess incapable of speech or sound–is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest . . . disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight–for she is his true equal. As Lyra finds her way back to her identity, an imposter princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests–ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not. (Publisher summary)

Beyond Marvel and DC!

There are a real flood of comic book adaptions coming out at the moment. Aquaman, Teen Titans, Spiderman, Captain Marvel…and of course, the conclusion to the Infinity War. We have plenty of those titles in our collection! But smaller publishers and lesser-known titles deserve some love too.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSheets, Brenna Thummler

In four words: love, grief, laundry, and ghosts. Marjorie is thirteen and struggling to deal with the death of her mother, the (failing) family dry cleaning business, and the pressures of school. Luckily – or unluckily – she comes into contact with Wendell, a ghost trying to deal with the very particular struggles of his afterlife. The two worlds collide with dramatic results for everyone.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn a sunbeam, Tillie Walden

This only came across my desk in the last weeks of December but I’ve already decided it’s one of my top picks for the year’s best graphic novels. Set in a far-distant future, it depicts two teenage girls falling in love, while studying at an exclusive boarding school. But another plot thread enters the narrative; one of those girls, many years later, joins a crew who do restoration work on abandoned buildings. Did I mention this was all set in space? It’s one of the most intriguing and more importantly heart-felt narratives about loss and found family I’ve seen in a long time. The art – purely black and white- manages to be stark and lush at the same time. It’s a striking, original work.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHelen and the Go-Go ninjas, Ant Sang And Michael Bennet

Ant Sang’s one of New Zealand’s premier comic artists and Michael Bennett is a likewise acclaimed writer and director. This powerful team-up brings us this fascinating view of a New Zealand after an environmental catastrophe and strange spheres that use mind control on the few remaining human survivors. We don’t get a lot of Aotearoa-centric science fiction and a graphic novel is even rarer. But its rarity isn’t its main selling point (although worth mentioning) – this has clever sharp writing and amazing art work (check out those action scenes) so please pick it up.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBad Machinery, John Allison

I wasn’t quite sure what I was picking up when I first looked at Bad Machinery. It’s got British weirdness and teen angst in equal measure, along with a hefty dose of dark, strange humour. There are five volumes – plenty to chew through and enjoy.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBarefoot gen: a cartoon story of Hiroshima, Keiji Nakazawa

This is a classic of the graphic novel genre. The author was a Hiroshima survivor and depicts the aftermath of the nuclear bomb being dropped on that city in 1945. There is no glorification of war here; just the agony of people caught up in historical events and living through the ensuing devastation. The art despite being in the familiar ‘toon style, pulls no punches in conveying the horrors of the bombing and the years afterwards. This will stay with you a long time.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSleepless, Sarah Vaughn, writer ; Leila del Duca, artist.

The art is lush and gorgeous, the writing is excellent – I highly recommend this fantasy graphic novel which depicts the difficult life of Lady ‘Poppy’ Pyppenia – the illegitimate daughter of the deceased king – as intrigue seizes the court as her uncle takes the throne. Then there’s her bodyguard, Cyneric – a “Sleepless Knight” – who has taken a vow to protect her. Courtly intrigue, romance, assassination attempts – a must-read for fantasy fans.

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