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Showing posts from September, 2016

When the Moon Was Ours - Anna-Marie McLemore

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To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees, and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town.

But as odd as everyone considers Miel and Sam, even they stay away from the Bonner girls, four beautiful sisters rumored to be witches. Now they want the roses that grow from Miel’s skin, convinced that their scent can make anyone fall in love. And they’re willing to use every secret Miel has fought to protect to make sure she gives them up.


When the Moon Was Ours is a gorgeous exploration of gender, sexuality, familial relations, magic, friendship and the power of telling the truth. Meredith Russo recommended this novel to me, and I wouldn't dare go against such wisdom, so I picked this book up at ALA Annual in Orlando this summer. Now that …

Hippopotamister - John Patrick Green

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The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

I remember the first time I saw a book by John Patrick Green, except "Patrick" wasn't on the front cover, so I was all, "Um, when did John Green get into graphic novels?" I know now that it's not that John Green. I don't know what this little diatribe has to do with anything, but I know when I started it, I thought I had a trajectory in mind. Oh well, on to the review!
Hippopotamister is just plain fun! This is a quest story in many respects, and one that contains some great life lessons …

Replica - Lauren Oliver

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Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...


This ARC came to me in quite the fancy pa…

Tattoo Atlas - Tim Floreen

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A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime. Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over. Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?

Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends. But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists t…

Bera the One-Headed Troll - Eric Orchard

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Bera doesn't ask for much in life. She's a solitary, humble troll, tending her island pumpkin patch in cheerful isolation. She isn't looking for any trouble.

But when trouble comes to find her, it comes in spades. A human baby has arrived in the realm of the trolls, and nobody knows where it came from, but Bera seems to be the only person who doesn't want it dead. There's nothing to it but to return the adorable little thing to its parents.

Like it or not, Bera's gone and found herself a quest.


I had no expectations going into this quirky graphic novel. I haven't read anything of Orchard's before, but I trust First Second books, so when Bera showed up in the mail, I picked it up ASAP.


The entire graphic novel is illustrated with muted colours and warm tones and has an overall light but slightly creepy quality. I believe I read one review that called it melancholic, and I can see that for sure! But at its heart is a very cute story of a troll going on a relu…

The Singing Bones - Shaun Tan

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A unique and alluring art book showcasing Shaun Tan's extraordinary sculptures based on the timeless and compelling fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.

In this beautifully presented volume, the essence of seventy-five fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm is wonderfully evoked by Shaun Tan's extraordinary sculptures.

Nameless princes, wicked stepsisters, greedy kings, honourable peasants and ruthless witches, tales of love, betrayal, adventure and magical transformation: all inspiration for this stunning gallery of sculptural works. Introduced by Grimm Tales author Philip Pullman and leading fairy tale scholar Jack Zipes, The Singing Bones breathes new life into some of the world's most beloved fairy tales.


For those who love Fairy Tales, this is a fabulous volume. For those who are fans of sculpture and any art by Shaun Tan, this is a book to remember! For newcomers, this is a lovely primer. The foreword by Neil Gaiman is a delightful and informative introduction to the Fairy Tal…

Mighty Jack - Ben Hatke

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Jack might be the only kid in the world who's dreading summer. But he's got a good reason: summer is when his single mom takes a second job and leaves him at home to watch his autistic kid sister, Maddy. It's a lot of responsibility, and it's boring, too, because Maddy doesn't talk. Ever. But then, one day at the flea market, Maddy does talk—to tell Jack to trade their mom's car for a box of mysterious seeds. It's the best mistake Jack has ever made.

What starts as a normal little garden out back behind the house quickly grows up into a wild, magical jungle with tiny onion babies running amok, huge, pink pumpkins that bite, and, on one moonlit night that changes everything…a dragon.


I love Hatke's work. Each one has its own charm, it's own power. Mighty Jack is a fabulous new take on the Jack and the Beanstalk tale, with strong characters, intriguing new dynamics and new and more menacing evils than even the original versions of the story. Jack is not…

Clancy of the Undertow - Christopher Currie

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We’re sitting there with matching milkshakes, Sasha and me, and somehow, things aren’t going like I always thought they would. We’re face to face under 24-hour fluorescents with the thoroughly unromantic buzz of aircon in our ears and endless flabby wedges of seated trucker’s arsecrack as our only visual stimulus.

In a dead-end town like Barwen a girl has only got to be a little different to feel like a freak. And Clancy, a typical sixteen-year-old misfit with a moderately dysfunctional family, a genuine interest in Nature Club and a major crush on the local hot girl, is packing a capital F.

As the summer begins, Clancy’s dad is involved in a road smash that kills two local teenagers. While the family is dealing with the reaction of a hostile town, Clancy meets someone who could possibly—at last—become a friend. Not only that, the unattainable Sasha starts to show what may be a romantic interest.


Currie's novel is a good one. It's solid, has strong characters, and contains realis…

Boy Robot - Simon Curtis

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In a single night, Isaak’s life changed forever. His adoptive parents were killed, a mysterious girl saved him from a team of soldiers, and he learned of his own dark and destructive origin. An origin he doesn’t want to believe, but one he cannot deny.

Isaak is a Robot: a government-made synthetic human, produced as a weapon and now hunted, marked for termination. He and the Robots can only find asylum with the Underground—a secret network of Robots and humans working together to ensure a coexistent future.

To be protected by the Underground, Isaak will have to make it there first. But with a deadly military force tasked to find him at any cost, his odds are less than favorable. Now Isaak must decide whether to hold on to his humanity and face possible death…or to embrace his true nature in order to survive, at the risk of becoming the weapon he was made to be.


I love a good, solidly written action thriller that actually contains fully constructed characters and solid narration. I had no…