The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
(Grade recommendation: 7-10)
Young adolescent named Junior who lives a hard life on his Indian Reservation with his abusive best friend and a tough social life at school, decides to move to an all-white school with an Indian as their mascot. He enjoys his new life, making the school basketball team and getting a girlfriend, but still having to deal with people back home referring to him as a traitor
Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons
This is by far my favorite alternate history novel, and my favorite graphic novel of all time, not to mention one of my favorite novels in general. Like many recent comics in the superhero genre (recent being only generously given, considering it was written in the 80s), Watchmen seeks to both celebrate and subvert its genre. It takes place in an alternate history where shortly after the rise of superhero comics, many people started taking to the idea of masked vigilantism themselves. It also takes on several tropes of the genre through its characters. Dr. Manhattan is an all powerful superhero being who, unlike superman, finds himself alienated from the human world after gaining godlike supersentience, and near omnipresence. The stereotypically conservative undertones of the genre that have so often been the subject of debate are reflected in the extremely right-wing Rorschach, who lives life with a near psychopathic disregard for the shades of grey in the world. Far from a humorous satire, Watchmen not only tackles historically rooted issues like the mutually assured destruction of the cold war, but also ponders universal issues, connecting the importance of the individual, with the importance of the majority, and finding no contradiction in the process.
Stars Above by Marisa Meyer
Even though for the most part, Winter wrapped up the Lunar Chronicles pretty well, there were still some things that were unfinished. This collection of stories, explains any last questions that fans of the series might have, as well as providing an epilogue that takes us beyond the end of Winter. There are nine stories total, all of which are well written, but some of my personal favorites were:
The Keeper: An explanation as to how Cinder ended up living with Michelle and Scarlet. But there’s more to it than that, the reader also learns a little bit more about Scarlet and how she came to live with her grandmother.
The Little Android: Technically this story is irrelevant to the rest of the series, as characters that we already know make a fairly brief appearance. But even so it’s a really good retelling of the Little Mermaid, keeping with the theme of fairytales being reimagined.
Glitches: The story of how Cinder came to live with Adri, Garan, Pearl and Peony. It’s sad but it gives the reader a little bit more insight into why Adri and Pearl disliked Cinder so much.
Something Old Something New: Set sometime after the end of Winter, all of the characters have returned to France, for Scarlet’s and Wolf’s wedding. It’s a very happy story that perfectly wraps up the series.
At the end of the book there’s also a slight preview for Heartless, a reimagining of Alice in Wonderland.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Even if you haven’t read the Grisha trilogy, you can still read Six of Crows. It’s set in the same world but rather than in the Russian counterpart in this book we travel to what in our world would be Holland. Kaz Brekker, a gifted thief is offered more money than he could possibly dream of, if he’ll agree to pull off a near impossible heist. He knows he can’t do it on his own, so he puts together a team. They’re a ragtag group, that doesn’t particularly trust each other, yet the world may depend on their success for survival.
Six of Crows is told from multiple perspectives, although some are much more frequent than others. The third person narration works well for this because it allows the reader to still be surprised by what the characters do or say, as well making it easier to distinguish who’s narrating.
Each character was very different and all of them were well developed. Although I felt that by the end the ones I knew the most were Kaz and Inej, I thought that at all of them had been written so well.
The plot of this story is outwardly simple-just steal the jurda parem, and by extension possibly save the world. Yet because each character has their own story and motivations, there’s so much going on throughout the book.
There are also so many things that you don’t see coming.
Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: If you’re looking for a light, fun read with some depth, this is the book for you, especially if you’re a Harry Potter, The Bachelor, or Oreo enthusiast. A brilliant, witty, and hilarious coming-of-age, coming-out story which defies all stereotypes. Pitched by the author as a “updated You’ve Got Mail starring gay teenage boys with good grammar”. The teen voice is incredibly authentic.