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Teen Blog

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

The Plain Janes

by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

Jane was in the heart of Metro City when there was a terrorist attack.  Lucky to survive, Jane’s parents move to the suburbs for a more “safe” place to live.  In a new town and a new high school, Jane is not only alone, she is also bored by suburban life.  So, on her first day of school, Jane is surprised to find three other Janes who are all friends and eat lunch together.  Jane asks to join them and instantly finds friendship.  Each of the Janes has their own unique personalities and together they all just fit.  To fight the boredom of suburban life Jane rallies the other Janes to form P.L.A.I.N., or People Loving Art in Neighborhoods.  They create art installations all over their suburban town to challenge people’s everyday notions of what art can be.  Some residents like the art, however, there are those who are outraged and frightened of it and start calling the installations “art attacks”.   What does this mean for the Janes?  Do they continue their installations, risking arrest?  Or worse?

The Plain Janes is a great graphic novel for anyone who is interested in art and how it can challenge our everyday beliefs or thoughts.  It is also a good read for anyone who has felt like an outcast.  It really shows how you can take the things that make you unique, and instead of being negative about them, you embrace them and try and challenge people with your ideas.

Also, the art in The Plain Janes really matches the plot of the story.  The black and white drawings add to the drama of the of the terrorist attack, Jane’s first day of school, and the sneaking around when creating the art installations.  However, I do wish the art installations could have been in color!  The characters are portrayed very realistically, which helps to add the idea that this could be a true story. Check out a sample of the art below:

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on October 11, 2012 Categories: Art, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Realistic Fiction, Staff Pics

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

Astonishing X-Men: Gifted

by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

If you’re like me, then you can’t get enough of X-Men.  Instead of going back and watching all the movies again, I suggest picking up Astonishing X-Men: Gifted by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday.  Yes, Joss Whedon is the guy that brought you The Avengers movie earlier this year, and is most famous for his TV show Buffy, the Vampire Slayer.  

The story of the first volume, Gifted, is this:  Professor X is on sabbatical and Jean Grey is dead.  Cyclops and Emma Frost are acting as heads of Xavier’s School.  Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, and Beast are joining the faculty and make up the new X-Men team.  Most of the story in Gifted is told through Kitty Pryde’s point of view.  News breaks of a possible cure for the mutant strain, while at the same time the X-Men encounter a new enemy–Ord.  But, the new cure and new enemy may be one in the same…

Before reading Gifted, I had not known much about Kitty Pryde (only that she was from Deerfield, IL!).  As soon as I got into the story, though, she definitely became my new favorite X-Men character!  The way that Whedon and Cassaday portrayed her made her a really relatable character.  I also really got into the storyline that developed with her and Colossus (Peter Rasputin) .  Also, there’s Lockheed, Kitty Pryde’s pet X-Dragon, and for that alone you’ll want to pick this book up!

The story had me hooked from the beginning but Cassaday’s artwork in this comic is also really well done.  It conveys the emotion of the action.  A lot of strips are done in single colored tones that fits the mood of what’s happening on the page.  One of the best examples of this is where Kitty sees Colossus (Peter Rasputin) for the first time after she believes him dead. All the strips are done in all red tones and are interlaced with black and white memories. It is really visually appealing.  Check it out:

 

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on September 17, 2012 Categories: Action/Adventure, Fiction, Graphic Novel, Guys Reads, Staff Pics, Supernatural/Paranormal

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

Friends With Boys

by Faith Erin Hicks

If you like quirky graphic novels with a touch of supernatural, then you’ll love Friends With Boys.  Not only is the artwork of Friends With Boys really well done, the story is also really interesting and quietly captivating.  It centers on Maggie who is about to enter high school after being home-schooled by her mother.  She is the youngest in her family with three older brothers, and their mother has just left.  Maggie has always relied on her brothers, to be her friends and to do stuff with. However, now that she is in high school, her brothers cannot be there for her, and Maggie has to make new friends to survive.  Maggie is doing her best in trying to deal with her mom leaving, even with the huge adjustment of attending a public high school, and the ghost that has followed her throughout her life is not helping things… 

According to her website, Faith Erin Hicks says that she wrote this graphic novel with a little basis in her own life experiences.  I always find it cool when an author uses their own experiences to influence their work.  Read more about what real life experiences Faith Erin Hicks used in this graphic novel by clicking here.  This book is not all drama, though, it is also hilarious!  Especially the relationship between Maggie’s twin brothers Lloyd and Zander.   Check out some of the artwork from Friends With Boys below:

It is simple black and white drawings, but I really like the style.  The characters are realistic portrayals, and I love the styling of all the characters–I feel like I can picture what these characters would look like in real life and I also love that each character has a distinct style that stays consistent through the whole book.  Finally, I really love the drama that Faith Erin Hicks can create with simple black and white drawings, check out this example (one of my favorites):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to find Friends With Boys at the Library!

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on July 11, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, High School, Staff Pics

Saturn Apartments Vol 1 by Hisae Iwaoka

Saturan Apartments Book Cover

Saturn Apartments

by Hisae Iwaoka

If you want to dip your toe into the vast pool of Manga out there, then a good place to start is Saturn Apartments.  Many years in the future, Mitsu has just joined the window’s washers guild, which takes care of cleaning the multilevel glass ring 35 kilometers above the earth that everyone now lives in.  Everyone lives in this glass enclosed world because Earth has been deemed environmentally protected.  This new world status isn’t measured by how big your house is, it’s how high up in the ring structure your apartment is located.  Now Mitsu has taken over the window washing position after his father tragically died on the job under questionable circumstances.  As he begins his new job, Mitsu gains a new view of his world, which begins to unlock secrets not just in his life, but in others’ too.

By MPPL on February 27, 2012 Categories: Fiction, Graphic Novel, Science Fiction, Staff Pics

2011 Cybils announced yesterday!

Yesterday, the 2011 Cybils were announced.  The Cybils are the children’s and young adult bloggers literary awards.  According to their website, “instead of telling kids what we think they should be reading, we take a look at what they already are reading (or likely will read) — and then pick out the best of them.”  Check out the teen titles that won below and click on the cover or the title link to find them in the Library!

 

Young Adult Fiction Winner

Stupid Fast by Geoff Herbach

Just before his sixteenth birthday, Felton Reinstein has a sudden growth spurt that turns him from a small, jumpy, picked-on boy with the nickname of “Squirrel Nut” to a powerful athlete, leading to new friends, his first love, and the courage to confront his family’s problems.

 

 

 

 

Fantasy and Science Fiction Winner

Blood Red Road by Moira Young

In a distant future, eighteen-year-old Lugh is kidnapped, and while his twin sister Saba and nine-year-old Emmi are trailing him across bleak Sandsea they are captured, too, and taken to brutal Hopetown, where Saba is forced to be a cage fighter until new friends help plan an escape.

 

 

 

 

Graphic Novel Winner

Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol

Anya, embarrassed by her Russian immigrant family and self-conscious about her body, has given up on fitting in at school but falling down a well and making friends with the ghost there just may be worse.

 

 

 

 

Poetry Winner

Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto by Paul B. Janeczko

Presents a collection of poetry inspired by the history of the people in the Terezín concentration camp during the holocaust.

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on February 15, 2012 Categories: Award Winning, Fiction, Graphic Novel