Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction, art by David Aja and Javier Pulido

Clint Barton is Hawkeye, a self-made hero with no superpowers, but with his incredible skills with a bow and arrow, he was once an Avenger.  But not anymore.  Now Clint wants a little downtime from the superhero life.  But of course the superhero life won't leave him alone.

This was the trade paperback which collected issues 1-5.  It was awesome.  The two series I kept hearing people rave about were Saga and Hawkeye, and after waiting on a wait list at the library FOREVER, I finally was able to read Hawkeye.  It was just as good as everyone said it was.

First off, Hawkeye is a totally fascinating superhero in the fact there is nothing super about him.  He has no superpowers whatsoever.  He's an amazing sharp shooter with a bow and arrow.  And he's pretty good at punching people in the face.  But he's also a regular guy, and living the life he does often ends up in the hospital.  In traction.  I kind of loved that.  I mean, Batman supposedly doesn't have superpowers, but does he ever end up in the hospital like a regular person?  Surely not.  Well Hawkeye does.  And when he gets out, he does it all again.  His tag line seems to be, "This looks bad."

Second: Kate Bishop.  Kate Bishop is freaking fantastic and I love her and she is my new favorite.  Kate Bishop was ALSO Hawkeye for a time, with the New Avengers when Clint had retired.  Then he came back.  Now he and Kate are working together and it's excellent.  Don't worry if you don't know all the Avenger/New Avenger backstory stuff.  I did not either, and there was enough to understand what was happening that it makes a great jumping on point, but also won't bore those who are very familiar with the stories.  Kate is incredibly smart, confident and kickass.  She is just as competent with a bow and arrow as Clint is.  She's young, and kind of has a crush on him, but also doesn't put up with any of his crap.  Kate and Clint make a good team.  Also, she always wears purple.  I like that.  I wear a lot of purple too.

The story lines were a little hard to follow for me, as there's a lot of jumping back and forth in time, but once I figured out that's what was happening it wasn't a problem.  Often a story will open with Clint in some unfortunate situation, like falling out a window, and then we jump back and see how he got there.

The art style is gritty.  There is no bright happiness in this world.  Colors are dark and muted, and everyone looks a little rough.  There isn't a whole lot of detail, especially in the backgrounds.  Things are pretty flat and one-dimensional.  It has a 50s vibe to it, and it all works very well.

I will definitely be following this one as it continues.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Towering by Alex Flinn

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on Towering by Alex Flinn.

At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

Towering will be available May 14, 2013.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


What are "diverse" children's books?  From Mamiverse.

A children's book on space travel from 1953.  From Brainpickings.

The origins of Oz.  From NPR.

Gertrude C. Warner of The Boxcar Children is one of the "4 Gertrudes Who Changed the World."  From mental_floss.

10 great kids' books that have never been made into movies.  Kind of a weird list, I think.  From Flavorwire.

Little, Brown fall kid's books preview.  From SLJ.

The Matilda musical seems it is off to a good start.  From The New York Times.

New adult fiction is the publishing industry's new big thing.  From USA Today.

Neil Gaiman leaves guerrilla art on the street in New York and The Guardian finds it.

There is apparently a Harry Potter Quidditch Internet meme.  It's like Vadering, only on broomsticks so you look like you're mid flight.  From NY Daily News.

What's this?  A kid's comic making great sales?  And it's a girls comic?  I'm so surprised.  So surprised.  From PW.

Brooks Brothers has a Gatsby line.  WHERE IS THE FEMALE EQUIVALENT?

Most challenged books of 2012 has been released.  From ALA.org.

The BBC is adapting Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell for a mini-series.  Oh please let it be good!  From The New York Times.

Monday, April 22, 2013

E.L. Koinsburg, 1930-2013

We say farewell to the amazing E.L. Koinsburg, author of From the Mixed-Up Files of of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The View from Sunday.  How awesome was this woman?  She's the only person to ever win the Newbery AND the Newbery Honor in the same year.  She will be missed.

White Lines by Jennifer Banash

Cate is 17 and in the Lower East Side during the 1980s.  Having been removed from her mother's abusive home, Cate is under her father's guardianship, but he's put her up in an apartment of her own, and Cate lives alone and isolated during the day.  At night though, she is royalty, helping to throw the wildest party as part of the New York club scene.  Drugs and alcohol help Cate forget her problems for a time, and she can feel like she belongs.  But Cate is beginning to feel like things might be slipping out of her control, and there isn't anyone she can go to for help.

So first of all, I think kids are going to have trouble with a sense of place.  It never explicitly says what year we're in.  There's lots of references to music I doubt most teens will have ever heard of, with the exception of Madonna, and movies they've never seen.  Will they know we're supposed to be in the 80s?  Clearly it's not present day, what with the lack of cell phones and Internet.  You know what tipped me off about the time period?  Paying for the subway with tokens.  I don't think we can make the assumption that a story about clubs and drug use immediately says "1980s" to a teen reader.  I think it would have been helpful to explicitly say that somewhere.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The trailer for Catching Fire is here!

If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch

15 year-old Carey didn't always live in the woods, but it's been her home for the last ten years.  She used to live with her mother and father in a house, but that was before her mother saved her from her father and took her to live in a trailer in the woods where no one could find them.  Now Carey cares for her little sister Jenessa during the long stretches when their mother is away.  Then one day, a man appears in the woods.  It's Carey's father, who never stopped looking for her and has come to take her and Jenessa home.  Everything Carey thought she knew is thrown into confusion, and she struggles to keep the many terrible things that happened to her and Nessa secret.

It turns out that Carey's mother sent a letter to child services, telling them where the children were, then vanished.  Despite all she knows about her mother, Carey still had a hard time believing that her mother would just give them up like that.  And now she's with her father, someone he hardly remembers, who she's always been told hit her and her mom and was so terrible they had to run away from.

Her father doesn't seem so terrible, but Carey does not feel she can trust him.  But she wants a better life for Nessa, who she loves with all her heart.  Nessa, much younger than Carey, has an easier time adapting into this new world of clean clothes, plentiful food, and people who love and care for her.  It is not so easy for Carey.  She cannot help missing the woods, where are least she felt like she fit in.  Her father has a new wife and a stepdaughter, Delaney, who is just a little older than Carey.  Delaney seems to have so much anger toward Carey and she doesn't know why.

Monday, April 15, 2013


9 new picture books that need to be rescued from obscurity.  From The Huffington Post.

Looking at the best selling books of 2012 through a diversity lens.  From diversityinya.tumblr.com.

The trailer for Catching Fire will be released this Sunday!  From E!

Can you guess these classic books from their phantom book covers? The only one I got was #8.  What does that say about me?  From PW.

Sylvia Plath and Mark Twain both wrote children's books?  I must read them.  Especially since some of mark Twain's advice is Good little girls always show marked deference for the aged. "You ought never to ‘sass’ old people unless they ‘sass’ you first."  From brain pickings.

So cool!  cheapflights.co.uk published some infographics of real-life locations from children's books.  From Galleycat.

Gay characters in YA.  From The Atlantic Wire.

25 books that should be on every child's bookshelf.  From Flavorwire.

Where are the normal boys in fiction?  From The Guardian.

Friday, April 12, 2013


If your child won't read, find another book.  From The Telegraph.

Five Millennial writers poised to take the literary world by storm.  From policymic.

Chicago board of education defends Persepolis ban.  From PW.

YA novels for adults.  From The Atlantic Wire.

Phantom Tollbooth documentary coming this summer!  From Galleycat.

The children's story of Pancho Rabbit is a tale much like that of real-life immigrants who enter the USA illegally.  Is it propaganda?  From USA Today.

Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, and Sarah Rees Brennan talk about their new e-series The Bane ChroniclesFrom EW.com.

Raina Telegemeier explains to us how a graphic novel is created.  From insideadog.com.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is going to be a graphic novel.  It could be a very cool one.  From PW.

Maureen Johnson tells us what she reads.  From The Atlantic Wire.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Program by Suzanne Young

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on The Program by Suzanne Young.

 In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

The Program come out April 30, 2013.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Different Girl by Gordon Dahlouist

Veronika has lived on an island for as long as she can remember, with three other girls, Caroline, Isobel and Eleanor.  Their teachers are Irene and Robbert.  They observe thing.  They are warned to never, ever go near the water.  One day, pieces of a shipwreck wash up on shore, and along with them a girl, May.  With May's coming, Veronika realizes just how different she and the other girls are, and how dangerous the outside world can be.

This was...whoa.  There is no way to talk about this without lots of spoilers, so just be aware that there are lots of spoilers.

It doesn't take very long to figure out that Veronika, Caroline, Isobel and Eleanor are not quite...normal.  They are not regular girls.  Their attention to detail is so focused.  The questions that Irene and Robbert ask them are so specific.  They take "naps," which seem to happen whenever Irene and Isobel and Robbert need to attend to other things.  They don't eat.

What was interesting about the framing of the book is that as the reader, you never know more than Veronika does.  Ever.  Not even at the end.  It is completely through Veronika's perspective, which is, of course, a very analytical one, devoid of unnecessary emotion.  The term "robot" is never used.  Neither is "artificial intelligence" or anything like that.  It's not clear if Veronika is completely mechanical.  I think so?  We don't know how the girls were made, because Veronika does not know.  We don't know how they function, because Veronika doesn't know.  It was frustrating at times, not knowing.  I wished for an omnipotent narrator who could answer my questions, but I never got one, and a lot of my questions didn't get answered at all.

The pace of the book is very slow.  Veronika and the other girl's lives revolve around observing and telling others what they have observed.  And that's what much of the book is.  May shows up, and is frustrated with the slow pace of life.  She doesn't have the patience to sit and observe and then explain in detail what she's seen for hours.  The plot very, very slowly unfolds, and while there is a dramatic, and in many ways, unsatisfying conclusion, even that part felt slow, deliberate, like the lives of the girls.

Toward the end, Veronika is able to learn more about where she came from than she ever has known before, but even that information is sketchy and full of holes.  And by the end of the book, there is no one to ask, and the girls must figure out how to carry on and care for themselves.  And then it ends.

In many ways, totally unsatisfying.  In other ways, totally fascinating.  Give it to your kids who like to think about things and ponder life's many questions.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


Leading writers publish bad reviews of themselves.  From The Guardian.

What fictional teen character do you relate to most?  From The Huffington Post.

An 11 year-old uses Kickstarter to raise funds to publish her picture book.  Awesome.

Movie news.  Shilene Woodley is going to star in the movie adaptation in The Fault in Our Stars, and casting is out for Divergent.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone has a director.  From The Hollywood Reporter.

After The Washington Post expresses its horror over Jeanette Winter's The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq becoming part of the third grade curriculum, a defense from seattlepi.com.

Ummm, amazing.  Sweet Valley High nail decals.  

Why did C.S. Lewis write Narnia From PW.

An exclusive from David Lavithan on the cover of his new book, Two Boys Kissing.  From EW.

The origin of "nerdfighter."  From The New Yorker.

New awards to promote multicultural children's books.  From The New York Times.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine to spotlight an upcoming release that we're excited about. This week I'm waiting on The Symptoms of My Insanity by Mindy Raf.

 A laugh-out-loud, bittersweet debut full of wit, wisdom, heart, and a hilarious, unforgettable heroine.

When you’re a hypochondriac, there are a million different things that could be wrong with you, but for Izzy, focusing on what could be wrong might be keeping her from dealing with what’s really wrong.

I almost raised my hand, but what would I say? “Mr. Bayer, may I please be excused? I’m not totally positive, but I think I might have cancer.” No way. Then everyone at school would know, and they would treat me differently, and I would be known as “Izzy, that poor girl who diagnosed herself with breast cancer during biology.”

But Izzy’s sense of humor can only get her so far when suddenly her best friend appears to have undergone a personality transplant, her mother’s health takes a turn for the worse, and her beautiful maybe-boyfriend is going all hot and cold. Izzy thinks she’s preparing for the worst-case scenario, but when the worst-case scenario actually hits, it’s a different story altogether—and there’s no tidy list of symptoms to help her through the insanity.

The Symptoms of My Insanity will be available April 18, 2013.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Jane Goodall's book Seeds of Hope has borrowed passages with no attribution.  Jane.  How could you?  So depressing.  From The Washington Post.

Holy crap.  The Pigeon's been around for 10 years?  That is crazy. 

SLJ's Battle of the Kids books has a winner!  It's No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. I am devastated that Seraphina was knocked out. Because of a coin flip, no less!

An array of book lists from PW.

Can books solve the bullying problem?  From The Atlantic Wire.

What makes a good YA coming out novel?  From The Horn Book.

PW conducted a Great American Novel poll.  The winner: To Kill a MockingbirdThey also learned some interesting things.

Whhaaaa?  Amazon still featuring porn as "teen books for girls."  From today.com.

Happy 70th birthday, Little Prince.  From The Atlantic Wire.

The ban on Persepolis in the Chicago school system carries on.  From PW.

Five characters that would make terrible real life boyfriends.  From Quirk books.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...