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Showing posts from 2016

Nowhere Near You - Leah Thomas

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Ollie and Moritz might never meet, but their friendship knows no bounds. Their letters carry on as Ollie embarks on his first road trip away from the woods--no easy feat for a boy allergic to electricity--and Moritz decides which new school would best suit an eyeless boy who prefers to be alone.

Along the way they meet other teens like them, other products of strange science who lead seemingly normal lives in ways Ollie and Moritz never imagined possible: A boy who jokes about his atypical skeleton; an aspiring actress who hides a strange deformity; a track star whose abnormal heart propels her to victory. Suddenly the future feels wide open for two former hermits. But even as Ollie and Moritz dare to enjoy life, they can't escape their past, which threatens to destroy any progress they've made. Can these boys ever find their place in a world that might never understand them?


Star-crossed lovers move over! You've got nothing on Ollie and Moritz! And they're not even act…

The Edge of Everything - Jeff Giles

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It's been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who's still reeling from her father's shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors' mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods--only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe's evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands' rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them.


Fans of Teen Wolf and similar narratives involving insta-love, bounty hunters from hell, and plenty of intrigue, danger, …

Flying Lessons & Other Stories - Ellen Oh (Editor)

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Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children’s authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.

In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children’s publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers.



I love short stories so much! And short stories by people that I know, respect, and appreciate the work of, is even more amazing! This collection, therefore, is just spectacular! Okay, enough exclamation points. Let's get to the review.
There are so many incredible authors involved in this collection, many of whom you will recognize from their brilliant (…

Life in a Fishbowl - Len Vlahos

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Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.

Gone is her mom's attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister's trust ever since she's been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family's dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on
Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.

This book is odd. A good kind of odd, but odd nonetheless. I should start by saying that the synopsis isn't really accurate. Th…

Tales of the Peculiar - Ransom Riggs

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Before Miss Peregrine gave them a home, the story of peculiars was written in the Tales.

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. The origins of the first ymbryne. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in
Tales of the Peculiar—known to hide information about the peculiar world—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Riggs now invites you to share his secrets of peculiar history, with a collection of original stories, as collected and annotated by Millard Nullings, ward of Miss Peregrine and scholar of all things peculiar.



I love a good short story collection. For fans of Miss Peregrine, this collection will not disappoint. The tales themselves are bizarre, sometimes hilarious, and at others disturbing. There are origin stories describing the history of the ymbrynes and the beginnings of the time loops that shelter peculiars. There are stories of shape shifting royalty, cannibals and …

We Are Okay - Nina LaCour

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"You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother."

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.


Short and sweet and gorgeously written, We Are Okay is a novel that I definitely recommend. 
Marin has lost her mother, moved away from everyone she knows to be alone at a boarding school, and has been avoiding Mabel's texts, phone calls, and emails for a very long time. When…

The Outside Circle: A Graphic Novel - Patti Laboucane-Benson & Kelly Mellings

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In this ... graphic novel, two Aboriginal brothers surrounded by poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence, try to overcome centuries of historic trauma in very different ways to bring about positive change in their lives.

Pete, a young Aboriginal man wrapped up in gang violence, lives with his younger brother, Joey, and his mother who is a heroin addict. One night, Pete and his mother’s boyfriend, Dennis, get into a big fight, which sends Dennis to the morgue and Pete to jail. Initially, Pete keeps up ties to his crew, until a jail brawl forces him to realize the negative influence he has become on Joey, which encourages him to begin a process of rehabilitation that includes traditional Aboriginal healing circles and ceremonies.

The Outside Circle is drawn from the author’s twenty years of work and research on healing and reconciliation of gang-affiliated or incarcerated Aboriginal men.
I don't really know where to begin with this graphic novel. There's so much to it, and it's …

Denton Little's Still Not Dead - Lance Rubin

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The good news: Denton Little has lived through his deathdate. Yay! The bad news: He’s being chased by the DIA (Death Investigation Agency), he can never see his family again, and he may now die any time. Huh. Cheating death isn’t quite as awesome as Denton would have thought…

[I]n this sequel, he takes on the big questions about life. How do we cope, knowing we could die at any time? Would you save someone from dying even if they were a horrible person? Is it wrong to kiss the girl your best friend is crushing on if she’s really into you instead? What if she’s wearing bacon lip gloss?

I really like Denton, even if he is a bit more impulsive that I'd like to think I would be in that situation. Oh who am I kidding, I'd be just as much of a mess! I mean, you're supposed to be dead, then you're not? Then you find out you might be able to save people? Then again, maybe not? I mean, everything is a complete clusterf**k for poor Denton. Thank goodness he has his best friends to…

History is All You Left Me - Adam Silvera

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OCD-afflicted Griffin has just lost his first love, Theo, in a drowning accident. In an attempt to hold onto every piece of the past, he forges a friendship with Theo's last boyfriend, Jackson. When Jackson begins to exhibit signs of guilt, Griffin suspects he's hiding something, and will stop at nothing to get to the truth about Theo's death. But as the grieving pair grows closer, readers will question Griffin's own version of the truth both in terms of what he's willing to hide and what true love means.

OH MY GOSH!! This book is just... I mean, it's just so... Wow!
Adam Silvera has done it again. More Happy Than Not, his brilliant debut, is raw, emotionally complex, and heartbreaking in the best possible ways. And History is All You Left Me kicks it up a notch.
I feel like Adam enjoys making people cry and become emotionally scarred by his books, because he gets me EVERY. FREAKING. TIME! This one starts out with a funeral and ends with... well, I won't spoil…

Learning to Swear in America - Katie Kennedy

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An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Maybe not kill-all-the-dinosaurs bad, but at least kill-everyone-in-California-and-wipe-out-Japan-with-a-tsunami bad. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been recruited to aid NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster.

The good news is Yuri knows how to stop the asteroid--his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize if there's ever another Nobel prize awarded. But the trouble is, even though NASA asked for his help, no one there will listen to him. He's seventeen, and they've been studying physics longer than he's been alive.

Then he meets (pretty, wild, unpredictable) Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he's not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and live a life worth saving.


I love a good quirky novel, and this is certainly on the quirky scale. Learning to Swear i…

Finding Perfect - Elly Swartz

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To Molly Nathans, perfect is:

• The number four
• The tip of a newly sharpened number two pencil
• A crisp, white pad of paper
• Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly knows that promises are often broken, so she hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Slam Poetry Contest. The winner is honored at a fancy banquet with table cloths. Molly’s sure her mother would never miss that. Right…?

But as time goes on, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep Molly’s world from spinning out of control.


There is so much to love here. An endearing protagonist who is trying so hard to control everything, even though we know she won't be able to, and yet we cheer for her and despair with her every step of the way. There …

Time Traveling with a Hamster - Ross Welford

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A story that crosses time and generations, for adventure-loving readers young and old.

“My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve.”

On Al Chaudhury’s twelfth birthday his beloved Grandpa Byron gives him a letter from Al’s late father. In it Al receives a mission: travel back to 1984 in a secret time machine and save his father’s life.

Al soon discovers that time travel requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, setting his school on fire and ignoring philosophical advice from Grandpa Byron. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…
If this title alone doesn't intrigue you, surely the synopsis with pique your curiosity. A young boy, a hamster, time travel, grief over a father's death, and exposure to a whole new way of understanding the world and the universe. After Al receives a letter from his father (on his twelfth birthday), he is suddenly involved in time travel, attempting to change the past to sa…

The Lost Property Office - James R. Hannibal

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Thirteen-year-old Jack Buckles is great at finding things. Not just a missing glove or the other sock, but things normal people have long given up on ever seeing again. If only he could find his father, who has disappeared in London without a trace.

But Jack’s father was not who he claimed to be. It turns out that he was a member of a secret society of detectives that has served the crown for centuries—and membership into the Lost Property Office is Jack’s inheritance.

Now the only way Jack will ever see his father again is if he finds what the nefarious Clockmaker is after: the Ember, which holds a secret that has been kept since the Great Fire of London. Will Jack be able to find the Ember and save his father, or will his talent for finding things fall short?


This book is super fun. It's a young reader's version of the TV series, Warehouse 13. There's action, adventure, sarcasm, and a grand conspiracy. Jack's ability to "commune" with certain minerals allows …

Scythe - Neal Shusterman

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A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery: humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now Scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

Scythe is the first novel of a thrilling new series by National Book Award–winning author Neal Shusterman in which Citra and Rowan learn that a perfect world comes only with a heavy price.

First of all, let me say that I just adore this cover. The tans and reds are beautiful and just the right combo to show the mood in the pages to follow (i.e. brilliant, violent, and captivating.)
I never know where Shusterman is going to go with a book, and this was no exception. Would this book focus on the deaths and the gore? Would it focus on t…

The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.


The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?
Serendipitous happenstance is the chain holding together the events of this beautifully written novel. I liked Everything, Everything quite a lot, but I think Nicola Yoon's style and and narrative skills have improved eve…

When the Sea Turned to Silver - Grace Lin

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Pinmei's gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei's grandmother--before it's too late.


This National Book Award Finalist is an incredible book, weaving together stories told by various characters and creating a narrative of incredible depth and complexity. Lin's text is magical from start to finish, examining the ways that storytelling informs, entertains, and also contains grains of truth. As Pinmei and Yishan…

Blood for Blood - Ryan Graudin

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There would be blood.
Blood for blood.
Blood to pay.
An entire world of it.

For the resistance in 1950s Germany, the war may be over, but the fight has just begun.

Death camp survivor Yael, who has the power to skinshift, is on the run: the world has just seen her shoot and kill Hitler. But the truth of what happened is far more complicated, and its consequences are deadly. Yael and her unlikely comrades dive into enemy territory to try to turn the tide against the New Order, and there is no alternative but to see their mission through to the end, whatever the cost.

But dark secrets reveal dark truths, and one question hangs over them all: how far can you go for the ones you love?


So much energy. So much awesomeness. So much action and fantastic twisty goodness. It is rare that a sequel holds up so well to a first book, but Blood for Blood stands up spectacularly. I had no idea what to expect, but I certainly wasn't disappointed. I've been a fan of Ryan Graudin's for years, since…

The Diabolic - S.J. Kincaid

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A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a humanoid teenager created to protect a galactic senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The two have grown up side by side, but are in no way sisters. Nemesis is expected to give her life for Sidonia, and she would do so gladly. She would also take as many lives as necessary to keep Sidonia safe.

When the power-mad Emperor learns Sidonia’s father is participating in a rebellion, he summons Sidonia to the Galactic court. She is to serve as a hostage. Now, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Nemesis travels to the court disguised as Sidonia—a killing machine masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced senators’ children. It’s a nest of vipers with threats on every side, but Nemesis must keep her true abilities a secret or risk everything.

As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion…

Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit - Jaye Robin Brown

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Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees.

Although it is (mostly) much easier for Jo to fit in as a straight girl, things get complicated when she meets Mary Carlson, the oh-so-tempting sister of her new friend at school. But Jo couldn’t possibly think of breaking her promise to her dad. Even if she’s starting to fall for the girl. Even if there’s a chance Mary Carlson might be interested in her, too. Right?


There is a lot I liked about this novel. There are parts I also didn't like. Overall, however, I think it's a book that needs to be read, especially by those who are in need of a book about spirituality and sexuality that actually has a relatively positive and even happy direction!
There is a lot of tension and drama in this…

My Sister Rosa - Justine Larbalestier

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Che Taylor has four items on his list:
1. He wants to spar, not just train in the boxing gym.
2. He wants a girlfriend.
3. He wants to go home.
4. He wants to keep Rosa under control.
Che's little sister Rosa is smart, talented, pretty, and so good at deception that Che's convinced she must be a psychopath. She hasn't hurt anyone yet, but he's certain it's just a matter of time. And when their parents move them to New York City, Che longs to return to Sydney and his three best friends. But his first duty is to his sister Rosa, who is playing increasingly complex and disturbing games. Can he protect Rosa from the world - and the world from Rosa?



This is a creepy ass book! The horrifying little sister is enough to make your skin crawl, and the fact that her parents never seem to see her as anything but an innocent child is so frustrating, and yet entirely believable. The exploration of trust, lies, and the blurred boundaries of believability. Che's parents are ign…

Projekt 1065: A Novel of World War II - Alan Gratz

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World War II is raging. Michael O'Shaunessey, originally from Ireland, now lives in Nazi Germany with his parents. Like the other boys in his school, Michael is a member of the Hitler Youth.

But Michael has a secret. He and his parents are spies.

Michael despises everything the Nazis stand for. But he joins in the Hitler Youth's horrific games and book burnings, playing the part so he can gain insider knowledge.

When Michael learns about Projekt 1065, a secret Nazi war mission, things get even more complicated. He must prove his loyalty to the Hitler Youth at all costs -- even if it means risking everything he cares about.

Including... his own life.

This is an incredibly taut thriller, made even more engrossing and gut-wrenching due to the fact that so many of the events are real. Michael is a young boy in Germany, the son of Irish spies (and a spy in his own right), trying to do all that he possibly can to help defeat the Nazis and end the war. While a number of instances in the b…

Gemina: The Illuminae Files_02 - Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station’s wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They’ve totally got this. They hope.



I am usually wary of trilogies. Perhaps I always will be. But in this particular instance at least, I was pleasantly surprised. While I know this format can be intimidating…

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…