Winter Town by Stephen Emond
Evan and Lucy have always been good friends, creating imaginary worlds in their heads, putting them to paper and going on their own adventures. Evan’s life has stayed relatively the same he works hard gets, straight A’s, and spends lots of quality time with his family, but Lucy’s has been tumultuous. After her parents divorced she moved to Georgia, where she had to deal with her mother’s critical and often cruel boyfriends, make new friends and try to deal with all the pain in her life. Lucy returns back to her dad and Evan over winter break and she’s definitely not what Evan remembered. Instead of being her quirky somewhat plain Jane self, she now has black hair, piercings and a scowl. Evan doesn’t know if his old friend is even exists anymore and he doesn’t know how to react to this new version of Lucy. Can Evan see past the outside and take the time to figure out what’s going on inside Lucy? Can two friends who keep changing stay friends? With his engaging storytelling and insightful illustration Stephen Emond helps the reader find the answers is his latest book Winter Town.
Do you ever remember reading Imogene’s Antlers as a child? It’s about a girl who wakes up with an enormous pair of antlers on her head one morning? Well David Small the author and illustrator of that book, woke up one morning when he was fourteen and found that instead of antlers on his head – he couldn’t speak. Turns out that his parents had decided not to tell him he had cancer and could die, which is why he had to have surgery to remove one of his vocal cords.
In his graphic novel memoir, Stitches, David Small reflects on his childhood and how his parents’ unhappiness in their own lives was transferred on to his own, from how they approached his cancer – with his dad, who was a doctor, trying his very own treatments of radiation for David’s cancer, to his mother’s anger which was often released in rages at David. What’s a boy to do in a family like this? David Small shows how he survived his family, overcame all the craziness life brought him, and how a little artistic expression can work wonders.
Seth Baumgartner’s summer is off to a great start. First his girlfriend dumps him at Applebee’s and then as he’s leaving the restaurant feeling dejected he sees his dad eating lunch with a woman who’s definitely not his radio talk show host mom. To top it all, off he arrives at work late and gets fired- his forth firing in a year. So, maybe his summer isn’t off to best start after all.
Luckily, his best friend Dimitri is there to hook Seth up with a new summer job at the local country club, where Dimitri works too. But, Dimitri’s not the only one in his family who works there. His younger sister Audrey, who turned long and lean sophmore year, does too. Audrey recommends that Seth make a list of all the reasons he wants to get back with his ex, Veronica, which inspires him to start a anonymous podcast, the Love Manifesto. Thinking there’s no way his friends or classmates will ever find his podcast, Seth uses it to not only to pine over Veronica but to ponder love , vent about his dad’s escapades, and all the other adventures he encounters over the summer. Except, the podcast doesn’t stay undiscovered. Suddenly Seth is in way over his head. Can he set things right with not just Veronica but Dimitri and all the other people he managed to anger with his podcast ? And of course he still is trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on with his dad and that other woman. So tune in and see if Seth’s summer ends with disaster like it began or if he’s able to clean up the messes he managed to get himself into.
Gentry appears to be a nice, small town in the United States filled with loving families, friends, and community. Not quite, though. Gentry has something horrible dwelling underneath it, full of mayhem and misery.
Two feuding sisters lurk just beneath the nicely cut lawns. One sister, who wants nothing more than to be loved, rules the House of Mayhem. The other sister, who thrives on cruelty, torture, and blood, rules over House of Misery. The sisters rule a mash up of people, if you can even call them that, which live in between dead and undead–some with mouths full of maggots and others with horrible scars.
An unspoken agreement between Gentry and these two houses exists: every seven years one child of Gentry is taken and replaced with a child of the House of Misery. The Gentry child is sacrificed to please the House of Misery. If all goes as planned then both Gentry and the House of Misery live happy and content. These “replacement” children usually don’t live long in Gentry. The families they’re stuck with just can’t bring themselves to love the replacement children. Except for one: Mackie. Mackie is a replacement that has lived longer than almost any other, but now he finds himself in a weakening state. He’s dying, and after his sister strikes a deal with the House of Mayhem to get Mackie a cure for what ails him, Mackie must reunite with his real family in the depths of the House of Mayhem. As Mackie gets more and more involved with the House of Mayhem he begins to uncover secrets about his family, the town of Gentry, and how the houses of Mayhem and Misery really began. This very twisted and disturbing tale is reminiscent of a good horror movie and will keep you on edge as Mackie digs deeper and deeper in the creepiness of Gentry, Misery, and Mayhem.
If you’re not a big fan of blood and gore- then this is not the book for you. If you like blood, guts, gore, suspense and nightmare provoking monsters– then The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey is like winning the lottery for you!
It takes place back in 1800’s, where Will Henry is an assistant to Dr. Warthrop, a Monstrumologist who is someone who studies and sometimes kills monsters. The story begins with a knock at the door in late one night revealing a grave robber with a very special delivery…a dead monstrous beast, with its last meal still in its mouth. The beast is known as an Anthropophagi, a headless monster complete with a mouth in its chest full of skull crushing teeth. Soon the doctor and Will Henry begin to realize that this Anthropophagi appearance wasn’t random when more gruesome killings are discovered. Extra hands have to be called in to launch a great hunt for these blood thirsty creatures and Will Henry finds himself at the dangerous forefront of it all – either as the victor or perhaps just monster bait.