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The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… X-Men: The Krakoa Era

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character or series. This post is all about Marvel’s most recent reboot of their merry band of mutants, the Krakoa Era of the X-Men!

[Video via the Marvel Entertainment Youtube channel]


Who are the X-Men?

In the Marvel Universe, ‘mutants’ are people born with superhuman powers, granting them anything from control over electromagnetism to teleportation to growing wings. Dubbed ‘homo superior’, mutants have faced hostile prejudice from ordinary people, due to their abilities, appearance, and the fear that they are ‘replacing’ humankind in the evolutionary ladder. Factions of mutants have gathered together over the years to protect themselves, the most famous of which is a team lead by educator and mutant telepath Professor Charles Xavier, aka Professor X. Together, they use their extraordinary powers to fight for a world that hates and fears them…they are the X-Men!


What is The Krakoa Era?

In 2019, writer Johnathan Hickman relaunched the X-Men line of comics with the twin series House of X and Powers of X (that’s X as in the Roman numeral for the latter, so it’s ‘powers of ten’).

To protect themselves from a future threat to mutantkind, the X-Men and their enemies join together to form a nation for all mutants, run by a government of prominent mutants such as Magento, Professor X, and Apocalypse, and founded on the living island of Krakoa (which first appeared in the landmark issue Giant-Size X-Men #1, the book that similarly reinvigorated the X-Men back in the 1970s).

Newly created mutant technology allows Krakoa’s citizenry to be resurrected in the event of death, making all mutants living there functionally immortal. Professor X also brokers deals with the world’s governments to provide them with miraculous mutant-derived medicine in exchange for Krakoa’s recognition as a sovereign nation and the placement of portal gates around the globe that can teleport mutants to Krakoa’s shores.

However, the creation of Krakoa reinvigorates anti-mutant causes, beginning with the Sentinel-building black-ops organisation Orchis. Internally, Krakoa also faces the growing pains of any developing nation, such as creating laws, diplomacy, and national security, as well as the ambitions of its less scrupulous citizens wanting to use Krakoa for their own ends.

The Krakoan era lasted five years and helped revitalize the X-Men franchise with an exciting new status quo, spawning dozens of new comics that celebrated the decades-long history of the series, all created by superstar artists and writers from Marvel Comics.


How do I read The Krakoa Era?

The Krakoa era kicks off with House of X and Powers of X, which are collected together in one volume. After that, you can read the entire era in chronological publishing order with the Dawn/Reign/Trials of X collections, or read the individual team books listed below.

X-Men Krakoa Era Reading Order

House of X ; Powers of X / Hickman, Jonathan

Dawn of X

Dawn of X. Volume 01 / Hickman, Jonathan

Dawn of X. Volume 02 / Hickman, Jonathan

Dawn of X. Volume 03 / Hickman, Jonathan

Dawn of X. Volume 04 / Hickman, Jonathan

Dawn of X. Volume 05 / Hickman, Jonathan

Dawn of X. Volume 06 / Hickman, Jonathan

Dawn of X. Volume 07 / Hickman, Jonathan

Dawn of X. Volume 08 / Duggan, Gerry

Dawn of X. Volume 09 / Brisson, Ed

Dawn of X. Volume 10 / Percy, Benjamin

Dawn of X. Volume 11 / Brisson, Ed

Dawn of X. Volume 12 / Wells, Zeb

Dawn of X. Volume 13 / Duggan, Gerry

Dawn of X. Volume 14 / Ayala, Vita

Dawn of X. Volume 15 / Williams, Leah

Dawn of X. Volume 16 / Hickman, Jonathan

X of swords / Hickman, Jonathan

Reign of X

Reign of X. Volume 1 / Ewing, Al

Reign of X. Volume 2 / Ayala, Vita

Reign of X. Volume 3 / Duggan, Gerry

Reign of X. Volume 4 / Percy, Benjamin

Reign of X. Volume 5 / Howard, Tini

Reign of X. Volume 6 / Ewing, Al

Reign of X. Volume 7 / Percy, Benjamin

Reign of X. Volume 8 / Duggan, Gerry

Reign of X. Volume 9 / Wells, Zeb

Reign of X. Volume 10 / Williams, Leah

Reign of X. Volume 11 / Spurrier, Simon

Reign of X. Volume 12 / Duggan, Gerry

Reign of X. Volume 13 / Duggan, Gerry

Reign of X. Volume 14 / Williams, Leah

Trials of X

Trials of X. Volume 01 / Williams, Leah

Trials of X. Volume 02 / Ewing, Al

Trials of X. Volume 03 / Percy, Benjamin

Trials of X. Volume 04 / Wells, Zeb

Trials of X. Volume 05 / Spurrier, Simon

Trials of X. Volume 06 / Howard, Tini

Trials of X. Volume 07 / Duggan, Gerry

Trials of X. Volume 08 / Howard, Tini

Trials of X. Volume 09 / Ewing, Al

Trials of X. Volume 10 / Wells, Zeb

Trials of X. Vol. 11 / Duggan, Gerry

Trials of X. Volume 12 / Duggan, Gerry


Main Krakoa Era X-Men series

In the Krakoa era, classic X-Men teams get rebooted and recontextualized to fit the roles needed for their new nation.

X-Men

Handpicked by Cyclops, these X-Men are Krakoa’s public-facing super-team that defend mutantkind from a world that hates and fears them. A new team is elected annually and announced at the Hellfire Gala, a yearly ball held on Krakoa’s shores.

Krakoa X-Men reading order

X-Men. Vol. 1 / Hickman, Jonathan

X-Men. Vol. 2 / Hickman, Jonathan

X-Men by Jonathan Hickman. Vol. 3 / Hickman, Jonathan

X-Men : Hellfire gala / Hickman, Jonathan

X-Men. Vol. 1 / Duggan, Gerry

X-Men by Gerry Duggan. Volume 2 / Duggan, Gerry

X-Men. Vol. 3 / Duggan, Gerry

X-Men. Vol. 4 / Duggan, Gerry

X-Men : Hellfire Gala : immortal / Duggan, Gerry

X-Men : Hellfire Gala : fall of X

X-Force

X-Force is the national security and special operations group for Krakoa, a ‘mutant CIA’. Previous X-Force members like Domino, Colossus, and Wolverine return, as well as new members Marvel Girl, Kid Omega, and Beast, who slowly begins to repurpose the team for his own malicious ends.

X-Force. Vol. 1 / Percy, Benjamin

X-Force. Vol. 2 / Percy, Benjamin

X-Force. Vol. 3 / Percy, Benjamin

X-Force. Vol. 4 / Percy, Benjamin

X-Force. Vol. 5 / Percy, Benjamin

X-Force. Vol. 6 / Percy, Benjamin

X-Force. Vol. 7 / Percy, Benjamin

Excalibur/Knights of X

Lead by Betsy Braddock (the former Psylocke, now Captain Britain) and Apocalypse, Excalibur deals with the supernatural side of mutantkind and its ties with the magical dimension Otherworld.

Excalibur. Vol. 1 / Howard, Tini

Excalibur. Vol. 2 / Howard, Tini

Excalibur. Vol. 3 / Howard, Tini

Excalibur. Vol. 4 / Howard, Tini

Knights of X / Howard, Tini

New Mutants

The original team of New Mutants, including Sunspot, Cannonball, Cypher, Dani Moonstar, and Magik, team up once more for adventures in Krakoa and beyond.

Krakoa era New Mutants reading order

New Mutants. Vol. 1 / Hickman, Jonathan

New Mutants. Vol. 1 / Brisson, Ed

New Mutants. Vol. 1 / Ayala, Vita

New Mutants. Vol. 2 / Ayala, Vita

New mutants : lethal legion / Anders, Charlie Jane

Marauders

Led by Kitty Pryde, this pirate team of X-Men sail the seven seas to rescue mutants being held against their will in their native countries. Later, the team is retooled as a personal strike force for Emma Frost, the telepathic White Queen.

Marauders. Vol. 1 / Duggan, Gerry

Marauders. Vol. 2 / Duggan, Gerry

Marauders. Vol. 3 / Duggan, Gerry

Marauders. Vol. 4 / Duggan, Gerry

Marauders. Vol. 1 / Orlando, Steve

Marauders. Vol. 2 / Orlando, Steve

Fallen Angels and Hellions

These series deal with the mutants who either oppose or have difficulty assimilating into Krakoa’s new society, led by frequent X-Men villain turned tenuous ally Mister Sinister.

Fallen Angels. Vol. 1 / Hill, Bryan Edward

Hellions. Vol. 1 / Wells, Zeb

Hellions. Vol. 2 / Wells, Zeb

Hellions. Vol. 3 / Wells, Zeb

Way of X and Legion of X

Believing that the blessing of immortality might change mutant nature for the worst, Nightcrawler tries to create a new system of justice and ethics for Krakoa.

Way of X. Vol. 1 / Spurrier, Simon

Legion of X. Vol. 1 / Spurrier, Simon

Legion of X. Vol. 2 / Spurrier, Simon

S.W.O.R.D and X-Men Red

S.W.O.R.D is the former extraterrestrial arm of S.H.I.E.L.D, now rebranded as the Krakoan space program. In the sequel series X-Men Red, the X-Men terraform the planet Mars with the aid of a newly discovered society of mutants from the living island of Arrako.

S.W.O.R.D. Vol. 1 / Ewing, Al

S.W.O.R.D. Vol. 2 / Ewing, Al

X-men : Red / Ewing, Al

X-Men red. Vol. 2 / Ewing, Al

X-Men red. Vol. 3 / Ewing, Al

Immortal X-Men

This series follows the Quiet Council of Krakoa, the island nation’s ruling body made up of prominent mutants such as Emma Frost, Apocalypse, Magneto, Jean Grey, Storm and Nightcrawler.

Immortal X-Men. Vol. 1 / Gillen, Kieron

Immortal X-Men. Vol. 2 / Gillen, Kieron

Immortal X-Men. Volume 3 / Gillen, Kieron

X-Cellent

‘The X-Statix’, a team of celebrity mutants from the 2000s, get resurrected for the Krakoa era and return to the Hollywood spotlight, struggling to adapt to the 2020s style of fame.

The X-Cellent. [Vol. 1], New blood, new world / Milligan, Peter

The X-Cellent. Vol. 2, Unsocial media / Milligan, Peter


Krakoa Era Miniseries

Giant-Size X-Men

An anthology series spotlighting specific mutant’s early adventures in Krakoa.

Giant-size X-Men. Volume 1 / Hickman, Jonathan (also on Libby)

Children of the Atom

A group of human high-schoolers try to pass themselves off as the X-Men’s sidekicks.

Children of the atom. Vol. 1 / Ayala, Vita

 

Children of the Vault

A group of human zealots artificially evolved into superhumans opposes Krakoa, offering their technology to the world to advance humankind to their level, whether people want it or not.

Children of the Vault / Camp, Deniz

X-Terminators

A comedy series that sees Dazzler, Boom Boom, Jubilee, and Wolverine (Laura Kinney, the former X-23) team up to get revenge on Dazzler’s vampire ex-boyfriend and his clan of bloodsuckers.

X-Terminators / Williams, Leah

 

X-Corp

Angel and Monet run the corporate side of Krakoa, applying their business acumen and mutant abilities to both the boardroom and the battlefield.

X-Corp. Vol. 1 / Howard, Tini

 

Bishop: War College

Time-travelling mutant Bishop trains a defense force of young mutants to protect Krakoa.

Bishop : war college / Holtham, Jason

 

 

X-Men ’92: House of XCII

This series imagines the Krakoa era if it happened during the time of the 1992 X-Men animated series (recently revived as X-Men ’97).

X-Men ’92 : House of XCII / Foxe, Steve


Krakoa Era Events

These series cover the major events in the Krakoa era.

X of swords / Hickman, Jonathan – The X-Men discover a rival mutant society on the living island of Arrako.

X-Men : Hellfire gala / Hickman, Jonathan – Come for the election of the new X-Men team, stay for the fashion!

X-Men : the trial of Magneto / Williams, Leah – A murder occurs on Krakoa, and all signs point to Magneto as the culprit. But what happens when the victim resurrects herself?

Inferno / Hickman, Jonathan – An unfulfilled promise to Mystique may spell the end of Krakoa.

X lives of Wolverine ; X deaths of Wolverine / Percy, Benjamin – Wolverine goes back to his past to stop a time-travelling assassin who could end the Krakoa era before it even began.


Crossovers

These are the X-Men centric series that tie into the yearly Marvel summer crossover events during the Krakoa era, or crossover with other Marvel characters like the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man.

X-Men/Fantastic Four. the world has changed / 4X / Zdarsky, Chip – Franklin Richards, the son of Mr Fantastic and the Invisible Woman, is invited to Krakoa due to his X-Gene, but his family have other ideas.

Empyre : X-Men / Hickman, Jonathan – The X-Men have to fight a zombie uprising on Krakoa at the same time that Earth is invaded by an empire of plant-like aliens.

Avengers / X-Men / Eternals : Judgment Day / Gillen, Kieron – The Eternals are tasked with destroying Krakoa, leading the Avengers to step in and stop a conflict between the two ‘chosen species’ of Earth.

Devil’s reign : X-Men / Duggan, Gerry – As Mayor Wilson Fisk (the Kingpin) launches his attack on New York’s superheroes, his secret ties to the X-Men are revealed.

Dark Web / Wells, Zeb – The X-Men team up with Spider-Man and Venom to stop their villains, the Goblin Queen and Chasm, from unleashing demons on New York.

Ghost Rider/Wolverine : weapons of vengeance / Percy, Benjamin – A mysterious string of killings crosses the Ghost Rider’s path with that of Wolverine.


Character-specific Krakoa Era series

Wolverine

What does mutantkind’s fiercest protector do when no mutant can die? Retire quietly? But Logan’s newfound peace on Krakoa can’t last forever, and soon enough, he’s back to doing what he does best.

Wolverine. Vol. 1 / Percy, Benjamin

Wolverine. Vol. 2 / Percy, Benjamin

Wolverine. Vol. 3 / Percy, Benjamin

Wolverine. Vol. 4 / Percy, Benjamin

Wolverine. Vol. 5 / Percy, Benjamin

Wolverine. Vol. 6 / Percy, Benjamin

Wolverine. Vol. 7 / Percy, Benjamin

X lives of Wolverine ; X deaths of Wolverine / Percy, Benjamin

Ghost Rider/Wolverine : weapons of vengeance / Percy, Benjamin

Deadpool

Everyone’s favourite Merc with a Mouth (and mutant on a technicality) joins Krakoa’s X-Force, while also auditioning to join a top assassin guild and dealing with an alien life form growing inside him.

Deadpool Vol. 1 / Wong, Alyssa

Deadpool. Vol. 2 / Wong, Alyssa

Cable

Cable, the time-travelling future son of Cyclops and Phoenix, returns as a fellow defender of Krakoa (albeit reborn as a teenage mutant rather than a grizzled elder veteran) tasked with investigating the disappearance of multiple mutant children.

Cable. Vol. 1 / Duggan, Gerry

Cable. Vol. 2 / Duggan, Gerry

More X-Men members

Beloved X-Men writers return to the classic characters for all new miniseries that celebrate the histories of Jean Grey, Storm, Rogue, Gambit and more.

Jean Grey : flames of fear / Simonson, Louise

Rogue & Gambit : power play / Phillips, Stephanie

Gambit : thick as thieves / Claremont, Chris

Magneto : Magneto was right / DeMatteis, J. M

Storm [1] : blowback / Nocenti, Ann

Juggernaut : no stopping now / Nicieza, Fabian

X-23 : deadly regenesis / Schultz, Erica

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Dragon Ball

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character or series. This post is all about the adventures and battles of the greatest martials arts warriors on Earth, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z!

Goku in the original Dragon Ball anime (GIF via GIPHY)


What is Dragon Ball?

Written and drawn by the late Akira Toriyama (1955-2024), Dragon Ball is one of the most popular and influential manga in the world. First serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump between 1984 and 1995, the story follows the adventures of Son Goku, a heroic monkey-tailed boy who goes an epic quest to collect the seven Dragon Balls, a set of artifacts that when gathered together summon a dragon that can grant wishes.

Beginning as an adventure story inspired by martial arts films and the Chinese epic novel Journey to the West, Dragon Ball initially followed Goku on his quest alongside explorer Bulma, former bandit Yamcha, rival martial artist Krillin, and the aged but powerful martial arts sensei Master Roshi.

Goku and his allies in Dragon Ball Z (GIF via GIPHY)

The series then skips ahead to Goku’s adult years (which the anime would rename Dragon Ball Z), where he learned of his alien heritage as a member of the Saiyan race. Here, Dragon Ball pivots to being a science-fiction action series, based around epic battles between powerful villains, such as the Saiyan prince Vegeta, the alien tyrant Frieza, and the child-like magical being Majin Buu.

(Note: The Dragon Ball manga series is split into Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z to be more familiar to anime viewers; the manga in its original form is considered one continuous series named Dragon Ball. As such, our Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z volumes overlap slightly between these two halves, which I will note below).


Dragon Ball

We have the entirety of the Dragon Ball series in 3-in-1 editions, covering chapters 1 to 194 of the original manga.

The first five volumes of Dragon Ball Z are also in these editions, beginning halfway through the sixth one.

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 1 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 2 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 3 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 4 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 6 / Toriyama, Akira (Dragon Ball Z begins here)

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 7 / Toriyama, Akira


Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z comprises chapters 195 to 519 of the Dragon Ball manga, beginning with the volume The World’s Greatest Team.

(If you read all of the above Dragonball volumes first, skip to Dragon Ball Z volume 2).

Dragon Ball Z [1] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [2] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [3] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [4] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [5] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [6] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [7] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [8] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [9] / Toriyama, Akira


Dragon Ball Super

Published 20 years after the end of Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super picks up six months after the series’ climactic battle with Majin Buu. Here, Goku and his allies take part in the Tournament of Power, a contest between the most powerful warriors of eight universes.

Dragon Ball super. 1, Warriors from Universe 6 / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 2, The winning universe is decided / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 3, Zero mortal project / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 4, Last chance for hope / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 5, The decisive battle! Farewell, trunks / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 6, The super warriors gather / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 7, Universe survival! Tournament of Power begins! / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 8, Sign of son Goku’s awakening / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 9, Battle’s end and aftermath / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 10, Moro’s wish / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 11, Great escape / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 12, Merus’s true identity / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 13, Battles abound / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 14, Son Goku, galactic patrol officer / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 15, Moro, consumer of worlds / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 16, The universe’s greatest warrior / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon ball super. 17, God of destruction power / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 18, Bardock, father of Goku / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 19, A people’s pride / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 20, All-out bout / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Super 21 / Toriyama, Akira

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Astro Boy and PLUTO

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is all about Japan’s first manga sensation, the super-powered robot Astro Boy, and his recent adaptation, the science-fiction crime comic PLUTO.

Astro Boy Anime GIF - Astro Boy Anime Robot - Discover & Share GIFs

(Astro as seen in the 2003 anime – GIF via Tenor)

image

(Atom from the 2023 adaptation of PLUTO – GIF via Tumblr)


Who is Astro Boy?

Astro Boy (‘Tetsuwan Atomu‘ in Japanese) was created by Osamu Tezuka, one of Japan’s most prolific cartoonists, and published from 1952 to 1968 in his original run (then adapted into several anime and a feature film). While the series was drawn in a light-hearted style inspired by old Disney cartoons, Tezuka used Astro Boy to explore heady themes about environmentalism, war, prejudice, and the cost of technological advancement.

In a futuristic world where humans and robots co-exist, Astro was built by roboticist Dr Tenma as a replacement for his deceased son, Tobio. When Astro failed to live up to Tenma’s expectations, he sold Astro to a circus, where he was rescued by the kindly Dr Ochanomizu. Designed with ‘100K horsepower’ and an array of gadgets like jet boots and finger lasers, Astro’s greatest strength is his emotional intelligence, as he often finds himself acting as a mediator between robots and humans when they come into conflict.


How to read Astro Boy

We have the first eight collections of the original Astro Boy run by Tezuka on our eLibrary Libby, plus a graphic novel of the first collection.

Graphic novel

Astro Boy. 1 / Tezuka, Osamu

On eLibrary (Libby)

Astro Boy Volumes 1-2

Astro Boy Volume 3

Astro Boy Volume 4

Astro Boy Volume 5

Astro Boy Volume 6

Astro Boy Volume 7

Astro Boy Volume 8

We also have a spin-off of the original Astro Boy series by Tezuka, A-tomcat, in which a young boy becomes friends with a cat who has all of Astro Boy’s abilities.

A-tomcat / Tezuka, Osamu


What is PLUTO?

Astro Boy‘s most famous story arc is ‘The Greatest Robot on Earth’, in which a colossal, powerful robot named Pluto begins hunting down and destroying the seven most advanced robots in the world, including Astro (you can read it in Astro Boy Volume 3). It was one of Astro’s biggest challenges, requiring him not only to increase his power to match his new rival, but also learn to reason with Pluto, who turned out to be more sympathetic than initially believed. This storyline was adapted by artist Naoki Urasawa into PLUTO, a manga for mature readers (seinen) between 2003 and 2009, and later turned into an anime for Netflix in 2023.

In PLUTO, the seven most advanced robots are destroyed and have their bodies left with objects resembling horns sticking out of their heads. Not only that, each robot’s human creator is hunted down as well, with the crime scenes left in a way that indicates only a robot could have done the deed. There’s just one problem: it’s impossible for a robot to kill a human. Or is it?

While Astro (here called Atom) is still in the story, the main character of PLUTO is the detective robot Gesicht (pronounced GEH-sicked), who is tasked with investigating the case. As the plot unfolds, he learns the deaths of the robots and their inventor are tied to a vast conspiracy involving a recent controversial war, a secretive anti-robot hate group, and Atom’s original creator, Tenma.

Urasawa’s PLUTO is the ‘gritty adult version of a childhood property’ done right. It expands on Astro Boy‘s themes and setting to tell a new story with classic characters, who gain a far greater amount of depth than they were allowed in the original Tezuka story. PLUTO’s themes about prejudice being the likely human response to living with robots and the psychological harm from conflict has never been more relevant in an era of ongoing wars, political extremism, and the pressing fear of AI replacing human labour. Yet, due to the presence of Atom/Astro Boy, it contains an element of irrepressible hope for a better, kinder world where we can overcome hatred and difference.

With its recent pitch-perfect adaptation to anime, it’s never been a better time to read PLUTO, and it may only grow more prescient with time.


How to read PLUTO

The complete story of PLUTO is collected in eight tankoban volumes.

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 001 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 002 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 003 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 004 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka, 005 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 006 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 007 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 008 / Urasawa, Naoki

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)

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)

Introducing the Young Adult Kete!

You! Yes you, random internet stranger! Specifically you, not the prior person to read this, but you. Do you like making decisions? No? Of course you don’t, it requires brain power and that’s hard. Especially not with books, there’s just so many of them, at least more than 9. That’s more than you can count with your fingers! But of course you actually want to read books, why else would you be on a library’s blog? So what’s the solution?

Tada! Young Adult Kete, available at a library near you* (if you happen to live in Johnsonville)!

So what is a YA Kete (as the kool kids say it)? Well, it is a collection of three books, a mix of novels, graphic novels and very occasionally non-fiction, with a theme that ties it all together. This means that you can be lured in by the pretty pictures and fancy theme and get a unique reading experience catered to you by none other than I, the great J’shuall of Jackanapery! Just pick a theme and run with it, finding new books similar to the ones you love and maybe just something that you wouldn’t have read otherwise.

Now you may be asking “deific and mighty J’shuall, wherever can I get my hands on one of these Kete of YA?” Well my good fellow, it is quite simple. At any one time we have eight different Kete available in the Young Adult section of Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Hub. They are in black bags with these fancy little pamphlet/tag thingies that tell you what the theme is, what books are inside, and how to issue them. Speaking of, once you have grabbed the appropriate goody bag of your choosing, you issue it like you would any other book, the main difference being you have to issue it all at once and return it the same way.


So! I’ve got you sold, but you’re wondering just what type of themes do these collections have. So! Let us have a gander at the current eight Kete we have available! If one piques your interest, and you’re quick on the draw, you know the deal, head to Johnsonville library and snatch it up! Elsewise just look at the cool books I’ve selected.

Read More

From the Vaults VIII: The Stack

Well, folks, it’s been a little while since the venerable From the Vaults series has been updated — and it’s high time we did something about it!

For those of you who are new around these parts, From the Vaults is the programme where we show you some of the cool, weird and different stuff that finds its home on our shelves that you might not have known about. So far, we’ve covered the Archives of Sexuality and Gender, manga gems from the ’80s and ’90s (twice!), books in languages other than English and te reo, printed music, and much more.

The topic of today’s episode? Basically, it’s old stuff. Welcome to The Stack.

via GIPHY

Let’s rewind a little — what even is The Stack? In short, it’s a collection of (mostly*) old books that we think are super cool and important, and won’t be getting rid of. (*Of course, not everything in the Stack is super old, as we still add books to it now — and everything’s new at some point in its life!).

Books get added to the Stack if they are:

  • out of print and significant in the history of New Zealand literature (How do we know if they are ‘significant in the history of New Zealand literature? Our librarians, located deep within the book-mines of Te Pātaka, use their uncanny powers of analysis and scientific deduction to make those determinations!)
  • classic, or modern classic international titles that cannot be replaced (What is a ‘classic?’ What is a ‘modern classic?’ Visit our Classic Novels in Haiku page to find out.)

If you’re keen on borrowing items from the Stack, they are all to be found in Te Pātaka, our storage warehouse that contains all the books from the currently-closed Central Library. You can browse them on the catalogue by:

  • Doing a Call Number search for “young adult
  • Under ‘Available Now’ on the left hand side of the screen, select “Off-site collections” from the list of locations
  • Use the ‘Place Reserve’ button to have the book sent to the library of your choice to be picked up!
A screenshot of WCL's online catalogue. In the search bar, the words "Young adult" have been entered, and there is a red arrow pointing towards "Off-site collections" in the locations list on the left-hand side of the screen.

Follow these instructions, and within moments you, too, can be browsing the wonders of our Stack!


To get you started, here are some of our librarians’ favourite reads from the Stack:

Dream-bite / Catran, Ken (published 1995)
“One by one people are dying as they play with virtual reality. The enigmatic Rhoda, travelling around on an antique Harley, decides to find out what is behind the killing. She draws Preben into a dangerous world of technology, intrigue and mind games.” (Catalogue)

I’ll get there, it better be worth the trip / Donovan, John (published 1969)
“While trying to cope with his alcoholic mother and absent father, a lonely New York City teenager develops a confusing crush on another boy.” (Catalogue)

Tanith / Jordan, Sherryl (published 1994)
“When she is three years old, Tanith is taken from a den of wolves to live with the chief of a war-like clan, until, after many years, circumstances force her to choose between wolves and men.” (Catalogue)

Read this ‘review of the week’ on our blog from 15-year-old Ana in 2008! A veritable piece of blog history 🙂


Shadow of the mountain / Mackenzie, Anna (published 2008)
“Geneva’s world has been blown apart by loss. Maybe that’s why her decisions are not always the sharpest. One thing she knows, there’s no way back to the person she once was. When Angus appears in her orbit it seems an omen that things are changing, but life is never that simple. Suggested level: secondary.” (Catalogue)

Kura Toa : warrior school / Tipene, Tim (published 2004)
“Haki’s pounamu is taken from him by a strange old man as he lies in the road after a car accident. His search to find the old man brings him into conflict with his family and friends but forces him to confront his fears, re-connect with his family and Māori heritage and, ultimately, become a warrior.” (Catalogue)

David and Jonathan / Voigt, Cynthia (published 1992)
“The relationship between two close friends, Henry and Jonathan, changes when Jonathan’s cousin David, a victim of the Holocaust, comes to live with David’s family.” (Catalogue)

The faery flag : stories and poems of fantasy and the supernatural / Yolen, Jane (published 1989)
“A collection of stories and poems on various fairy tale, ghost, or supernatural themes.” (Catalogue)

Star Wars Day: A New Hope for us all?

Attention all Jedi, Bounty Hunters and Rebels! Star Wars Day is happening again on May the Fourth, which is observed and celebrated by fans of the Star Wars franchise.  
image courtesy of starwarsnewsnet
This year, you can celebrate by visiting your local library, relive and check out fiction, (as well as non fictioncomics and movies) all related to anything and everything from the Star Wars universe!

Read the following fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsForce collector.

“In this Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker young adult novel set just before The Force Awakens, a restless teenager sets out to discover what connection his mysterious Force powers have to the fabled Jedi and what the Force has in store for him.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsLeia, Princess of Alderaan.

“The story of how Leia Organa comes to join the Rebellion. Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia has been taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control so that she becomes formally named heir to the throne of Alderaan. When her parents begin acting strange, sixteen-year-old Princes Leia sets out to uncover their secrets, putting her in the path of the watchful Empire. She finds herself facing the choice of dedicating herself to the people of Alderaan, including the man she loves, or to the galaxy at large which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsAhsoka.

“Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance.” (Catalogue)


Read the following non fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsHow Star Wars conquered the universe : the past, present, and future of a multibillion dollar franchise.

“Why do most people know what an Ewok is, even if they haven’t seen Return of the Jedi? How have Star Wars action figures come to outnumber human beings? How did ‘Jedi’ become an officially recognised religion? When did the films’ merchandising revenue manage to rival the GDP of a small country? Tracing the birth, death and rebirth of the epic universe built by George Lucas and hundreds of writers, artists, producers, and marketers, Chris Taylor jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how STAR WARS has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.” (Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe making of Star Wars : the definitive story behind the original film : based on the lost interviews from the official Lucasfilm archives.

“After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling science fiction saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials of the thirties, classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original title: The Star Wars. The rest is history, and how it was made is a story as entertaining and exciting as the movie that has enthralled millions for thirty years – a story that has never been told as it was meant to be. Until now.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

image courtesy of syndeticsStar Wars encyclopedia.

“This comprehensive guide to the Star Wars series of films follows on from the re-release of the first three films. Everything from the smugglers’ spaceport on Abregado-Rae and technical explanations of the Millennium Falcon’s acceleration compensator is covered.” (Catalogue).

Watch the films: The nine-part Skywalker saga!

Original trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.com.image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com

Star Wars [original trilogy]

Relive the exhilarating action, spectacular battles and ultimate triumph of good over evil that make Star Wars the greatest space fantasy adventure of all time – and the ultimate entertainment experience for every family. The Star Wars original trilogy episodes continue the saga with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo leading the rebel Alliance to claim victory over the Empire and win freedom for the galaxy.

A New Hope: “In a galaxy far, far away, a psychopathic emperor and his most trusted servant – a former Jedi Knight known as Darth Vader – are ruling a universe with fear. They have built a horrifying weapon known as the Death Star, a giant battle station capable of annihilating a world in less than a second. When the Death Star’s master plans are captured by the fledgling Rebel Alliance, Vader starts a pursuit of the ship carrying them…”

The Empire Strikes Back: “Darth Vader is helping the Empire crush the rebellion determined to end the Empire’s domination of the universe. The rebels are based on Hoth, and when troops arrive to wipe them out, Han Solo and Princess Leia flee to Cloud City. Luke Skywalker, in a bid to strengthen his knowledge of the force, finds Yoda, one of the finest Jedis ever. Will they be able to get back together and halt the Empires progress?”

Return of the Jedi: “As the Emperor himself oversees the construction of the new Death Star by Lord Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire, smuggler Han Solo is rescued from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt by his friends, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. Leaving Skywalker Jedi training with Yoda, Solo returns to the Rebel Fleet to prepare for to complete his battle with the Empire itself. During the ensuing fighting the newly returned Skywalker is captured by Vader. Can the Rebels, and their new found friends, the Ewoks, help restore freedom to the Galaxy?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Prequel trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.com

Star Wars [prequel trilogy].

Relive the nonstop excitement, thrilling discoveries and ultimate triumph of good over evil that make Star Wars the greatest space fantasy adventure of all time – and the ultimate entertainment experience for every family. The Star Wars prequel trilogy episodes begin the saga with young Anakin Skywalker’s descent to the dark side as he transforms from child slave to Jedi apprentice to Darth Vader, the most feared villian in the galaxy!

Phantom Menace: “Set thirty years before the original Star Wars film, Episode I introduces Anakin Skywalker, a boy with special powers, unaware that the journey he is beginning will transform him into the evil Darth Vader.”

Attack of the Clones: “Set 10 years after the events of The phantom menace and the galaxy has undergone significant change, as have Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padme.”

Revenge of the Sith: “Torn between loyalty to his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the seductive powers of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker ultimately turns his back on the Jedi, thus completing his journey to the dark side and his transformation into Darth Vader.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Sequel trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.comThe Force Awakens:

“As Kylo Ren and the sinister First Order rise from the ashes of the Empire, Luke Skywalker is missing when the galaxy needs him most. It’s up to Rey, a desert scavenger, and Finn, a defecting stormtrooper, to join forces with Han Solo and Chewbacca in a desperate search for the one hope of restoring peace to the galaxy.” (Catalogue)


image courtesy of amazon.comThe Last Jedi.

“The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure. Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.” (Catalogue)


image courtesy of amazon.comThe Rise of Skywalker.

“When it’s discovered that the evil Emperor Palpatine did not die at the hands of Darth Vader, the rebels must race against the clock to find out his whereabouts. Finn and Poe lead the Resistance to put a stop to the First Order’s plans to form a new Empire, while Rey anticipates her inevitable confrontation with Kylo Ren.” (Catalogue)


Check out the official trailer for Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which arrives on the Disney channel on May 4th, as well as the trailer for popular Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, which  follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.



Enjoy!… and May the Fourth be with you!

Rick Riordan Presents… Some Seriously Good Stories

If you’re a fan of the Percy Jackson universe, or any one of Rick Riordan’s intertwining demi-god fantasy worlds, you’ll know that what he specialises in is taking a mythology (Greek, Roman, Norse, Egyptian…) and putting it in the contemporary world. Cue heroes, gods, teens with powers and some excellent action sequences. He’s a well known writer and he’s written a lot. A whole lot, I just Googled it and it’s over 40 books at least, yikes.

Here’s something I just found out about him: he is also involved in Rick Riordan Presents which is a publishing project under the Disney-Hyperion umbrella. These books involve the mythologies (in a broad sense) of a range of underrepresented cultures and backgrounds and are written by authors with the cultures and backgrounds they are writing about. It is an amazing way for Riordan to use his platform to get voices, who might otherwise be unheard, into the mainstream.  As his website says: it’s about letting people tell their own stories. Riordan acts as an editor for these works but they are entirely the property of and ideas of each individual author. How cool would it be to be a young/up-and-coming author and have your work picked up by Riordan?!

In fact the Korean NZ author Graci Kim is having a book published through Rick Riordan Presents next year that centres on a clan of Korean-American witches living in LA!  This will be Kim’s debut novel (first book). It sounds amazing, read the blurb here so you can get all hyped about it before it comes out next year in May.

A few things about the Rick Riordan Presents books: NO they are not set in the Percy Jackson world. YES they feature mythology and action in the same way that Riordan’s books do!

Rick Riordan reckons you’ll like them and so do I. The library has many of these books available in hard copy and also some online from one of our book borrowing apps called OverDrive.

Dragon Pearl / Lee, Yoon Ha
“A sci-fi adventure about a girl who stows away on a battle cruiser to solve the mystery of her missing brother. Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents Yoon Ha Lee’s space opera about thirteen-year-old Min, who comes from a long line of fox spirits.
But you’d never know it by looking at her. To keep the family safe, Min’s mother insists that none of them use any fox-magic, such as Charm or shape-shifting. They must appear human at all times.
Min feels hemmed in by the household rules and resents the endless chores, the cousins who crowd her, and the aunties who judge her. She would like nothing more than to escape Jinju, her neglected, dust-ridden, and impoverished planet. She’s counting the days until she can follow her older brother, Jun, into the Space Forces and see more of the Thousand Worlds.
When word arrives that Jun is suspected of leaving his post to go in search of the Dragon Pearl, Min knows that something is wrong. Jun would never desert his battle cruiser, even for a mystical object rumored to have tremendous power. She decides to run away to find him and clear his name.
Min’s quest will have her meeting gamblers, pirates, and vengeful ghosts. It will involve deception, lies, and sabotage. She will be forced to use more fox-magic than ever before, and to rely on all of her cleverness and bravery. The outcome may not be what she had hoped, but it has the potential to exceed her wildest dreams.
This sci-fi adventure with the underpinnings of Korean mythology will transport you to a world far beyond your imagination.” (Catalogue)

The storm runner / Cervantes, Jennifer
“A contemporary adventure based on Maya mythology from Rick Riordan Presents! Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents J.C. Cervantes’ contemporary adventure based on Maya mythology.
Zane has always enjoyed exploring the dormant volcano near his home in New Mexico, even though hiking it is challenging. He’d much rather hang out there with his dog, Rosie, than go to middle school, where kids call him Sir Limps a Lot, McGimpster, or Uno–for his one good leg.
What Zane doesn’t know is that the volcano is a gateway to another world and he is at the center of a powerful prophecy. A new girl at school, Brooks, informs him that he’s destined to release an evil god from the ancient Maya relic he is imprisoned in–unless she can find and remove it first.
Together they return to the volcano, where all kinds of crazy happens. Brooks turns into a hawk, a demon attacks them in a cave, and Rosie gives her all while trying to protect Zane.
When Zane decides to save his dog no matter the cost, he is thrust into an adventure full of surprising discoveries, dangerous secrets, and an all-out war between the gods, one of whom happens to be his father. To survive, Zane will have to become the Storm Runner. But how can he run when he can’t even walk well without a cane?” (Catalogue)

Aru Shah and the song of death / Chokshi, Roshani
Best-selling author Rick Riordan presents best-selling author Roshani Chokshi and her sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time.
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies.
If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.
But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.” (Catalogue)

New Simultaneous Collections on OverDrive!

We heard a rumour that you guys might quite like books. We also like books. So, we’ve created a new collection of always-available eBooks and audiobooks for you to enjoy any time, anywhere. Check out the Teen Book Club Reads section on OverDrive or Libby for the full list, but for now, here are some of our faves:

Overdrive cover Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan (ebook)
{LGBTQ+, romance, slice-of-life}
Two Boys Kissing is a cornerstone work of queer YA literature. Told from the perspectives of four boys “under the watchful eyes of a Greek chorus of a generation of men lost to AIDS,” this book explores questions of identity and emotion, and the often intimate connections between history and the personal. While you’re drying your eyes and restoring your breathing patterns to normal following this essential book, check out our LGBTQIA+ Fiction booklist for your next literary fix.

Overdrive cover Aspiring, Damien Wilkins (ebook)
{NZ author, small town, coming-of-age}
We’ve already talked about our enduring love for this book, which is a finalist in the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, on a previous post on this very blog. Trust us when we say that you will not regret immersing yourself in the unforgettably wry and observational voice of 15-year-old Ricky, crafted and shaped by Damien Wilkins’ bold and beguiling prose.

Overdrive cover Monster, Michael Grant (ebook)
{dystopian, science fiction, action}
From the author of the crazily popular Gone series comes this new trilogy, available for the first time on OverDrive as a Book Club read. In the aftermath of the Perdido Beach meteorite and the deadly wave of mutations that followed, Earth is once again being struck by meteorites bearing an even more deadly virus. This time, the whole world is exposed, and humans are beginning to change, again, some gaining unfathomable power. Sound like your kind of thing? We have the follow-ups Hero and Villain available for your delectation as well.

Overdrive cover You Can Do a Graphic Novel, Barbara Slate (ebook)
{non fiction, art, creative writing, comics}
If you’ve ever been interested in the art of creating graphic novels and comics, this nifty guide is meant for you! It starts at the start — with the story — and shows you the ropes as you move through the whole creative process, from drawing techniques and layout/structure tips, to how to deal with creative block and building strong and recognisable characters. Who knows, we may just see your work on our shelves in the zine collections at Arapaki, He Matapihi, and Newtown Libraries!

Overdrive cover Feminism, Nadia Abushanab Higgins (ebook)
{non fiction, feminism, social sciences, women}
This book is a concise and well-written introduction to the concepts and movements embodied by the word ‘feminism,’ which author Nadia Abushanab Higgins describes as “America’s new F-word.” Although it does have an undeniable focus on the history and contemporary definitions of feminism in the United States, it still provides a useful international perspective on the movement through really interesting profiles of pioneers including Gloria Steinem, Rebecca Walker, Elizabeth Stanton, and more. If you’re interested in the intersectionality between feminism and the Black Lives Matter and #GiveNothingToRacism movements, we have a great introduction for you here.

We Need These eManga in Our Lives (and so do you)

We understand it’s been a dark time for many manga fans. The books you were able to borrow before our libraries closed are long finished, their covers growing thick with the dust of disappointment. Your days are growing heavy with the weight of unresolved cliffhangers. Thankfully, our eLibrary is absolutely stuffed full of manga series to keep you going until you can get your hands on printed material once again. Below are some of our faves, but be sure to check out the Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga section on OverDrive/Libby for more gold.

Overdrive cover Assassination Classroom, Volume 1, Yusei Matsui (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
One of the most popular manga series currently publishing outside Japan, in Assassination Classroom we join Nagisa, Sugino, Karma, Okuda, and the other would-be assassins of Class 3E as they navigate life, death, and education under their moon-killing, pseudo-octopoid, super-organism teacher, Koro-sensei. Sound weird? Well, strap in. This is shōnen sci-fi manga at its best we’re talking about here — pretty much anything goes.

Overdrive cover Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus, Volume 1, CLAMP (ebook)
Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 available on OverDrive.
I love Cardcaptor Sakura unreservedly, and once you read it, you will too — and not just for its super awesome anime adaptation that aired in the late ’90s. This series has everything you’re looking for in a shōjo ‘magical girl’ manga — namely, an awesomely strong and compellingly-rendered magical girl to lead the cast, vicious beasts to fight, mythological dreamscapes to explore, complex characters that grow into their roles, and of course it can all be pulled together into a largely unknown trading card game from the year 2001 that I wish I owned. Some day, some day.

Overdrive cover Haikyu!!, Volume 1, Haruichi Furudate (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Okay, I admit it. I was skeptical about Haikyu!! at first. I mean, I’m not really one for the whole sportsball thing, so a manga about one boy’s drive to become the greatest volleyball player in Japan didn’t really sound like my cup of tea. With that out of the way, if you read one thing from this list, read this. The characters are expertly-drawn, both in terms of line and in terms of personality. The whole gamut of human experience is explored and poignantly rendered: hubris, ambition, disappointment, determination, loss, commitment, betrayal, hurt, unity — but ultimately it is this series’ big-heartedness that will win you over. Do yourself a favour and read it now.

Overdrive cover One-Punch Man, Volume 1, ONE (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
I still remember the first time my friend showed me the One-Punch Man webcomic. Even then, in the summer of 2010, it seemed legendary, destined for greater things. And so it was — the manga remake is full of the charm, the absurdity, the inexplicable baldness, and the manic, supercharged energy of the original webcomic, but distilled, whisked, blended, and baked into the extended manga form. It’s a superhero story like no other, and we couldn’t recommend it more highly.

Overdrive cover Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1, Sui Ishida (ebook)
Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul may just be one of the greatest tales in contemporary fantasy. The premise is simple — in the shadow of our regular human world there dwell mysterious, powerful, and cannibalistic demi-humans known as ghouls, kept at bay by the powerful but shadowy government-controlled CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), who will go to any length to exterminate ghouls from the face of the planet. The morals of each party? Grey. The storytelling? Immersive, dark, and intense. The characters? Deeply human and beautifully flawed, with motivations that gradually unwind as we get to know them. The result? A series you must read. Not for the faint of heart.

This is just the barest sliver of excellent manga you can find on OverDrive and Libby. If we don’t have what you’re after, you can always use the handy-dandy ‘Recommend to Library’ tool to suggest we purchase what you’re after. At the moment you can only recommend one title every 30 days, to make sure our librarians aren’t overwhelmed, so choose wisely!

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOpposite of always, Justin A. Reynolds

When Jack and Kate meet at a party, bonding until sunrise over their mutual love of Froot Loops and their favorite flicks, Jack knows he’s falling–hard. Soon she’s meeting his best friends, Jillian and Franny, and Kate wins them over as easily as she did Jack. But then Kate dies. And their story should end there. Yet Kate’s death sends Jack back to the beginning, the moment they first meet, and Kate’s there again. Healthy, happy, and charming as ever. Jack isn’t sure if he’s losing his mind. Still, if he has a chance to prevent Kate’s death, he’ll take it. Even if that means believing in time travel. However, Jack will learn that his actions are not without consequences. And when one choice turns deadly for someone else close to him, he has to figure out what he’s willing to do to save the people he loves. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSiege, Chris Ryan

Tough enough? Smart enough? Max will require all his skills just to stay alive as a Special Forces Cadet…A top-secret government programme needs a crack team of undercover military operators. They must have awesome levels of determination, endurance and fitness. They must be able to think on their feet. The recruits undergo the most rigorous and testing selection process the modern military can devise. And in order to operate in circumstances where adult forces would be compromised, the recruits must be under sixteen. Only a few are tough enough and smart enough to make it…And once out in the field, they will require all their skills just to stay alive. Which is what happens when Max Silver, Abby Asher, Lukas Channing and Sami Hakim are sent into an armed siege in an inner-city school…(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsCourting darkness, Robin LaFevers

When Sybella accompanies the Duchess to France, she expects trouble, but she isn’t expecting a deadly trap. Surrounded by enemies both known and unknown, Sybella searches for the undercover assassins from the convent of St. Mortain who were placed in the French court years ago. Genevieve has been undercover for so many years, she no longer knows who she is or what she’s supposed to be fighting for. When she discovers a hidden prisoner who may be of importance, she takes matters into her own hands. As these two worlds collide, the fate of the Duchess, Brittany, and everything Sybella and Genevieve have come to love hangs in the balance. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInvisibly breathing, Eileen Merriman

‘I wish I wasn’t the weirdest sixteen-year-old guy in the universe.’ Felix would love to have been a number. Numbers have superpowers and they’re safe, any problem they might throw up can be solved. ‘If I were a five, I’d be shaped like a pentagon…there’d be magic in my walls, safety in my angles.’ People are so much harder to cope with. At least that’s how it seems until Bailey Hunter arrives at school. Bailey has a stutter, but he can make friends and he’s good at judo. And Bailey seems to have noticed Felix: ‘Felix keeps to himself mostly, but there’s something about him that keeps drawing me in.’ Both boys find they’re living in a world where they can’t trust anyone, but might they be able to trust each other, with their secrets, their differences, themselves? (Publisher Summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLies you never told me, Jennifer Donaldson

Quiet, shy Elyse is cast as the lead in her Portland high school’s production of Romeo and Juliet– and is having an affair with a teacher twice her age. Gabe broke up with Sasha, his headstrong, popular girlfriend– and now she’s stalking him, spreading rumors… and worse. Both students fell for the wrong person. Now they’re finding out how one bad choice can lead to a spiral of unforeseen consequences– and sometimes not everyone will survive. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBlack enough : stories of being young & black in America, edited by Ibi Zoboi

A collection of short stories explore what it is like to be young and black, centering on the experiences of black teenagers and emphasizing that one person’s experiences, reality, and personal identity are different than someone else. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSorcery of thorns, Margaret Rogerson

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery–magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power. Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them. As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught–about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsVoyages in the underworld of Orpheus Black, Marcus Sedgwick

A lyrical and dreamlike story of two brothers in conflict amidst the devastation of WWII London. Harry Black wakes in hospital to learn that his brother Ellis has almost certainly been killed by a V2 rocket falling during a German air raid on London. In a state of wounded delirium, Harry’s mind begins to blur the distinctions between the reality of the war-torn city, the fiction of his unpublished sci-fi novel and the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Driven by visions of Ellis still alive and a sense of poetic inevitability, Harry discharges himself from hospital and begins a search for his brother that will lead him deep into the city’s Underworld…(Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsI hold your heart, Karen Gregory

‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’ When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about. But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control? Told in both Gemma’s and Aaron’s words, this is a raw, moving exploration of gaslighting in teenage relationships that skewers our ideas of what love looks like. (Publisher summary)

New books

Hello! Things have been a bit disrupted with the closure of the library, but here’s a new post! A short one but just to remind you all that we’re still around. More new books posts (and others) will be put up as time allows.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChrysalis, Brendan Reichs

The stunning finale of the Project Nemesis trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Brendan Reichs.

The 64 members of Fire Lake’s sophomore class have managed to survive the first two phases of the Program–and each other. Now, they alone have emerged into the dawn of a new era on Earth, into a Fire Lake valley that’s full of otherworldly dangers and challenges. Although staying alive in this broken world should force Min, Noah, Tack, and the others to form new alliances, old feuds die hard, and the brutality of the earlier Program phases cannot be forgotten. But being a team isn’t easy for the sophomores, and when they discover that they may not be alone on the planet after all, they’ll have to decide if they’re going to work together…or die together. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLovely war, Julie Berry

In the perilous days of World Wars I and II, the gods hold the fates — and the hearts — of four mortals in their hands. They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect-turned-soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe queen’s resistance, Rebecca Ross

Brienna is a mistress of knowledge and is beginning to settle into her role as the daughter of the once disgraced lord, Davin MacQuinn. Though she’d just survived a revolution that will return a queen to the throne, she faces yet another challenge: acceptance by the MacQuinns. But as Queen Isolde Kavanagh’s closest confidant, she’ll have to balance serving her father’s House as well as her country. Then there’s Aodhan Morgan, formerly known as Cartier Évariste, who is adjusting to the stark contrast between his pre-rebellion life in Valenia and his current one as lord of a fallen House. As he attempts to restore the Morgane name, he let his mind wander–what if he doesn’t have to raise his House alone? What if Brienna could stand by his side? But Brienna and Cartier must put their feelings aside, as there are more vital tasks at hand–the Lannons’ trial, forging alliances, and ensuring that no one halts the queen’s coronation. Resistance is rumbling among the old regime’s supporters, who are desperate to find a weakness in the rebels’ forces. And what makes one more vulnerable than love? (Publisher summary)

Hugo Award Nominees – Young Adult

Here are all of the Young Adult nominees from the Hugo Awards that we have in our collection (and are accessible) at the moment. It’s an amazing list and I thoroughly recommend checking them out.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Belles, Dhonielle Clayton

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orleans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orleans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful. But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite, the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orleans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie, that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision. With the future of Orleans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide: save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles, or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever. (Publisher summary)

(There’s also a sequel, Everlasting Rose.)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsChildren of blood and bone, Tomi Adeyemi

Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.

But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe cruel prince, Holly Black

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King. To win a place at the Court, she must defy him– and in doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. As civil war threatens, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself (Publisher summary)

Also has a sequel: The wicked king.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDread nation, Justina Ireland

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania– derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever. Now laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. But it’s not a life Jane wants. When families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy… and the restless dead are the least of her problems. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe invasion, Peadar Ó Guilin

In a world where teenagers are trained for the most horrific 3 minutes of their lives, Nessa and Anto have both survived their Call, but fate has a cruel way of rewarding them. Nessa is branded a traitor as no one believes that someone like her could survive the experience. She’s thrown in prison and eventually sent where all traitors are sent – back to the horrifying Greylands, but this time there’s no way home. Anto is packed off out of the way to join the militia. Ireland is being invaded and the enemy are building their army from the very people defending it. However, Anto can’t get Nessa off his mind, he knows in his heart that she’s innocent and he’ll go to any length to rescue her. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTess of the road, Rachel Hartman (e-audiobook)

In the medieval kingdom of Goredd, women are expected to be ladies, men are their protectors, and dragons can be whomever they choose. Tess is none of these things. Tess is. . . different. She speaks out of turn, has wild ideas, and can’t seem to keep out of trouble. Then Tess goes too far. What she’s done is so disgraceful, she can’t even allow herself to think of it. Unfortunately, the past cannot be ignored. So Tess’s family decide the only path for her is a nunnery.

But on the day she is to join the nuns, Tess chooses a different path for herself. She cuts her hair, pulls on her boots, and sets out on a journey. She’s not running away, she’s running towards something. What that something is, she doesn’t know. Tess just knows that the open road is a map to somewhere else–a life where she might belong. (Publisher summary)

Webcomic collections

Webcomics are one of the best (although this may be controversial) things to come out of the internet. Creators has a direct path to new and diverse audiences, without meddling from publishers and often a better understanding of the current social climate than more mainstream titles. It seems that there’s a webcomic for any interest! WCL has to be a bit more…selective in the webcomic collections we acquire, but if the thought of clicking through hundreds of pages doesn’t appeal, we’ve got a decent selection.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHomestuck has been called the internet’s “Ulysses.” Possibly due to its length, possibly due to its devoted fanbase and its equally vocal detractors. It’s also incredibly hard to describe its plot. It’s also very hard to translate to a book format, as the author notes but he helpfully provides links to the actual pages where the plot is conveyed in gifs and flash animations. And it was created in MS paint, which is quite something. You’ll never read anything like it.

“A young man stands in his bedroom. It just so happens that today, the 13th of April, 2009, is this young man’s birthday. Though it was thirteen years ago he was given life, it is only today he will be given a name! What will the name of this young man be?”
-Homestuck, first lines.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirl Genius has been running since 2005. It’s still going, and updates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. That’s a lot of material. It is based around the adventures of Agatha Clay, who discovers that she has an ancient and mysterious birthright, as well as having the “spark” – a strange group of personality traits, which predisposes the person to acts of mad…genius. It’s one of the preeminent Steampunk works, although the author prefers the term “gaslamp fantasy.” At any rate, it’s a great webcomic but works so well in a printed format – it’s much easier to catch up! Here’s book one.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou probably never thought of seeking out a comic written by a five year old and professionally illustrated and you never thought you’d need it in your life but Axe Cop is really something else. It’s silly, anarchic, and really nice to look at; the comedy webcomic holy trinity. It’s really funny as well. The plot is basically the title. An axe-wielding cop fights crime, which consists of whatever a five year old deems as criminal (hint: dinosaurs are heavily involved). As a side note, the writer and the illustrator are brothers, which is adorable.

Other webcomics we have in printed format include Gunnerkrigg Court and Hark: a vagrant.

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.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe ruinous sweep, Tim Wynne-Jones

On the night Donovan Turner is thrown out of a car on a highway in the middle of nowhere, he can barely remember his own name, let alone the past twenty-four hours. Where is he? Where is his girlfriend, Bee? In an attempt to flag down the next passing car, he startles the driver, causing a fatal accident. With sirens in the distance and the lingering feeling that he’s running from something–or someone–Donovan grabs the dead driver’s briefcase and flees. Meanwhile, Bee is fighting for Dono’s life every bit as much as he is. But when the police show up and hint that he is the prime suspect in a murder, Bee is determined to put together the pieces of what happened and clear his name. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTime Bomb, Joelle Charbonneau

A congressman’s daughter who has to be perfect. A star quarterback with a secret. A guy who’s tired of being ignored. A clarinet player who’s done trying to fit in. An orphaned rebel who wants to teach someone a lesson. A guy who wants people to see him, not his religion. They couldn’t be more different, but before the morning’s over, they’ll all be trapped in a school that’s been rocked by a bombing. When they hear that someone inside is the bomber, they’ll also be looking to one another for answers. Told from multiple perspectives, Time Bomb will keep readers guessing about who the bomber could be–and what motivated such drastic action. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe war outside, Monica Hesse

1944. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado– until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan. At the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy, the teens discover that the camp is changing them, day by day, and piece by piece. Haruko becomes consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father’s secrets. Margot’s watches her mother’s health deteriorate and her rational father become a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis. In a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone– even each other? (Goodreads)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe cursed queen, Sarah Fine

Ansa has always been a fighter. As a child, she fought the invaders who murdered her parents and snatched her as a raid prize. She fought for her place next to Thyra, the daughter of the Krigere Chieftain. She fought for her status as a warrior in her tribe: blood and victory are her way of life. But the day the Krigere cross the great lake and threaten the witch queen of the Kupari, everything changes. Cursed by the queen with fire and ice, Ansa is forced to fight against an invisible enemy–the dark magic that has embedded itself deep in her bones. The more she tries to hide it, the more dangerous it becomes. And with the Krigere numbers decimated and the tribe under threat from the traitorous brother of the dead Chieftain, Ansa is torn between her loyalty to the Krigere, her love for Thyra, and her own survival instincts. With her world in chaos and each side wanting to claim her for their own, only one thing is certain: unless Ansa can control the terrible magic inside her, everything she’s fought for will be destroyed. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe infinite pieces of us, Rebekah Crane

Pondering math problems is Esther Ainsworth’s obsession. If only life’s puzzles required logic. Her stepfather’s solution? Avoidance. He’s exiled the family to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, to erase a big secret from Esther’s past. So much for the truth. Now for the consequences: an empty swimming pool, a water-sucking cactus outside her window, a goldfish rescued from a church festival, and Esther’s thirst for something real. Step one: forget about her first love. Step two: make allies. Esther finds them in Jesús from the local coffee bar; a girl named Color who finds beauty in an abandoned video store; Beth, the church choir outcast; and Moss, a boy with alluring possibilities. Step three: confess her secret to those she hopes she can trust. Esther’s new friends do more than just listen. They’re taking Esther one step further. Together, they hit the road to face Esther’s past head-on. It’s a journey that will lead her to embrace her own truth in all its glory, pain, and awesomeness. (Amazon)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis is what it feels like, Rebecca Barrow

Who cares that the prize for the Sun City Originals contest is fifteen grand? Not Dia, that’s for sure. Because Dia knows that without a band, she hasn’t got a shot at winning. Because ever since Hanna’s drinking took over her life, Dia and Jules haven’t been in her life. And because ever since Hanna left–well, there hasn’t been a band. It used to be the three of them, Dia, Jules, and Hanna, messing around and making music and planning for the future. But that was then, and this is now–and now means a baby, a failed relationship, a stint in rehab, all kinds of off beats that have interrupted the rhythm of their friendship. But like the lyrics of a song you used to play on repeat, there’s no forgetting a best friend. And for Dia, Jules, and Hanna, this impossible challenge–to ignore the past, in order to jump start the future–will only become possible if they finally make peace with the girls they once were, and the girls they are finally letting themselves be. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTwo can keep a secret, Karen M. McManus

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. (Publisher summary)

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOtherearth, Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

After discovering terrifying information about Otherworld, the Company’s high-tech VR gaming experience, Simon and his friends are on the run, searching for Simon’s old roommate. He may just be the key to shutting the Company down, although if they don’t find him in time, it may be too late for not only them, but for all of humanity. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn another time, Caroline Leech

It’s 1942 and Maisie McCall is in the Scottish Highlands doing her bit for the war effort in the Women’s Timber Corps. As Maisie fells trees alongside the enigmatic John Lindsay, she can’t help but feel their friendship has the spark of something more to it. But it’s not until Maisie rescues John from a terrible logging accident that he begins to open up to her about the truth of his past – and the pain he’s been hiding. Suddenly everything is more complicated than Maisie expected. As she helps John untangle his shattered history, she must decide if she’s willing to risk her heart to help heal his. But, in a world devastated by war, love might be the only thing left that can begin to fix what’s broken. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDistortion, Victor Dixen

Six girls, six boys: looking for glory and romance on Mars. They thought they were masters of their destiny.They are the twelve pioneers of the Genesis program.They thought they were taking part in the most extraordinary of missions.In fact, they are the victims of the cruelest of plots.Leonor was looking for glory – and love – on Mars.She thought she would be able to open her heart there.But what she has done is open up a Pandora’s box of her past… (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsWhite rabbit, red wolf, Tom Pollock

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. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDogchild, Kevin Brooks

Jeet was raised by a pack of wild dogs. Recaptured and ‘rehumanised’, Jeet now lives with the last of his people in an ancient walled town in the vast expanse of the Deathlands, besieged by a much larger enemy clan. They are preparing for the final battle and it’s Jeet’s task to record the events. But Jeet is struggling to come to terms with his half-human, half-dog identity. Can the impending conflict, and his relationship with another rehumanised dogchild, shed any light on what it takes to be a survivor? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis cruel design, Emily Suvada

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben. Desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity, Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns. When a new case of the Hydra virus is found, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert, could also hold the answers about Cat’s past. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis splintered silence, Kayla Olson

Lindley Hamilton has been the leader of the space station Lusca since every first generation crew member on board, including her mother, the commander, was killed by a deadly virus. Lindley always assumed she’d captain the Lusca one day, but she never thought that day would come so soon. And she never thought it would be like this–struggling to survive every day, learning how to keep the Lusca running, figuring out how to communicate with Earth, making sure they don’t run out of food. When a member of the surviving second generation dies from symptoms that look just like the deadly virus, though, Lindley feels her world shrinking even smaller. And as more people die, Lindley must face the terrifying reality–that either the virus has mutated, or one of their own is a killer”. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPulp, Robin Talley

In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet. As she juggles a romance she must keep hidden and a newfound ambition to write and publish her own story, she risks exposing herself–and Marie–to a danger all too real. Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject: classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity. The story of two young women connected across generations through the power of words. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsToxic, Lydia Kang

Hana isn’t supposed to exist. She’s grown up hidden by her mother in a secret room of the bioship Cyclo until the day her mother is simply gone–along with the entire crew. Cyclo tells her she was abandoned, but she’s certain her mother wouldn’t leave her there to die. And Hana isn’t ready to die yet. She’s never really had a chance to live. Fenn is supposed to die. He and a crew of hired mercenaries are there to monitor Cyclo as she expires, and the payment for the suicide mission will mean Fenn’s sister is able to live. But when he meets Hana, he’s not sure how to save them both. As Cyclo grows sicker by the day, they unearth more secrets about the ship and the crew. But the more time they spend together, the more Hana and Fenn realize that falling for each other is what could ultimately kill them both. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTiger’s dream, Colleen Houck

A tiger left behind. A goddess in need of an ally. Stranded in a time and place he never wished for, Kishan Rajaram struggles to forget the girl he loves and the brother who stole her away as he fulfills his divine role-that of assisting the beautiful, yet extremely irritable, goddess Durga. When the wily shaman Phet appears and tells Kishan that Kelsey needs him, he jumps at the chance to see her again, but in saving Kelsey, he discovers that the curse he thought was over, is just beginning. As time unravels around him, Kishan realizes that the fates of all those he holds dear, lie in hands. With the power of the goddess hanging in the balance, Kishan must sacrifice the unthinkable to fight the dark forces swirling around the woman he’s charged to defend. As he does, he discovers that love and loyalty create their own magic and accepts that he must decide his destiny once and for all. Tiger’s Dream is the conclusion to the epic Tiger’s Curse fantasy romance series that left you breathless. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThis lie will kill you, Chelsea Pitcher

One year ago, there was a party. At the party, someone died. Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth. But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late. Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago. Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free? Or will their lies destroy them all? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsPacifica, Kirsten Simmons

Blue skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water. An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt. A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream. The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the First Five Hundred really going? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou may now kill the bride, R.L Stine

Two Fear family weddings, decades apart. Each bride will find that the ancient curse that haunts the Fears lives on. It feeds off the evil that courses through their blood. It takes its toll in unexpected ways, and allows dark history to repeat itself. In 1923, Ruth-Ann is planning to marry Peter–until Rebecca stepped in. And the two sisters plunged off the cliff on the day of the wedding. In the present, Marissa disappears on the day of her wedding to Doug. As her sister Harmony searches for her, will saving her mean finding a way to stop a disaster almost one-hundred-years old? (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe darkest star, Jennifer L. Armentrout

Seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher knows firsthand the devastating consequences of humanity’s war with the aliens. When she’s caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen…but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she’d only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head… (Publisher summary)

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