Sixteen-year-old Judy Lohden attends a performing arts high school where her big, beautiful voice should make her a star, but instead she’s hiding out from the national news media in a motel on the edge of town having been marked by a school controversy that has something (but not everything) to do with her 3 foot 9 nine inch frame. A fabulous heroine, painfully accurate depiction of high school, and engaging story make this a book you don’t want to miss.
Looking for more hopeful but heartbreaking books featuring teen protagonists? Here are 3 of my favorites:
Tell the Wolves I’m Home: A Novel by Carol Rifka Brunt
The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
Heft: A Novel by Liz Moore
Portland detective, Archie Sheridan, spent years chasing the notorious serial killer Gretchen Lowell until the day she caught him. For reasons still not clear to Archie, Gretchen let him go and then turned herself in–in an effort to find out why, Archie visits his former captor on a weekly basis in prison. Now she may be the key to solving a new series of murders rocking the city.
Looking for more dark and thrilling reads from women authors? You might want to check out these terrific/terrifying writers:
I love short stories. At this point I have read hundreds of them–every collection I can get my hands on. The most memorable of all has been “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury. I won’t bother with a synopsis, those of you who have read it will immediately know the story I’m referring to and for those who haven’t–at barely 7 pages in length you have no excuse. Run to the library right now and pick it up. The name of the collection is Twice Twenty-Two. You’re welcome.
Looking for more Ray Bradbury? Here are 3 of my favorites:
Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Halloween Tree
Death is a Lonely Business
An epic novel that tells the story of the Trueba family, and by extension the history of Chile, using Isabel Allende’s hallmarks of exquisite language and highly developed characters. Allende is a magician expertly weaving romance, politics, history, and family together in this evocative and stunning example of magical realism.
Looking for more? Here are 3 more examples of magical realism just waiting for you in the stacks:
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
Set during Prohibition and Depression-era NYC, Saint Mazie by Jami Attenberg is the story of Mazie–by day an East Village movie theater ticket-taker and by night a friend to the city’s homeless population. Told through Mazie’s diary entries and interviews with people on the periphery of her life, this novel paints a fascinating picture of a remarkable woman. Attenberg also creates an incredible sense of time and place. Recommended to anyone who enjoys a great story.
If you are familiar with comedian Jim Gaffigan’s stand-up specials, you know that a big part of his repertoire centers around food. This hilarious book, aptly named Food: A Love Story, contains dozens of essays on junk food, regional food, and “why does this even exist?” food. A fun book to browse through or read cover-to-cover. The author-read audiobook is also available to download on Overdrive.
A perfect summer read, Meg Cabot’s newest offering for adults is Royal Wedding. Starring Princess Mia, the protagonist of Cabot’s Princess Diaries series as a now twentysomething dealing with the usual post-college issues of work, dating, and family while also navigating the insanity of being a young royal in the public eye. A light read that will be most appreciated by fans of the YA series, but also a quick, fun title for anyone looking for a sweet, funny, and romantic story.
The Blondes by Emily Schultz is the bitingly clever story of what happens when a rabies-like disease becomes catching and causes certain blonde women to become killers. Occurring over the same time-line of main character Hazel Hayes’ pregnancy we see the repercussions as this deadly disease as it spreads through the United States and Canada. A fascinating look at the nature of hysteria paired with a quick and engaging narrative makes for a highly readable and smart summer title.
I am back on a comic book kick thanks to the amazing Ms. Marvel–a graphic novel written by G. Willow Wilson and drawn by Adrian Alphona. Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm. With its young protagonist, Ms. Marvel is perfect for teens, but it is also a good read for anyone looking for a great story, an interesting and likable heroine, and fun, fresh artwork. Highly recommended.
Although autumn may be the obvious time of year to watch scary movies, I find myself looking for things that are frightfully fun in the summer months as well. Necessary titles in any horror collection (including the OWL’s) are the Scream films directed by Wes Craven. All four movies in this series are clever, darkly funny, and very scary. Described as “meta-horror” because they are scary movies that poke fun and expound upon the tropes and “rules” found within the genre, the Scream films are a must-see for any horror fan.