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Paper Girls by Brian Vaughan

If you liked Stranger Things, read Paper Girls by Brian Vaughan. Vaughan, author of Saga, utilizes many of the same elements as Stranger Things: independent children, other worlds, absent parents (seriously, where are the parents?), and otherworldly monsters. The story begins as several twelve year-old paper girls bike their evening route on Halloween, 1988. What starts as a normal shift grows stranger and more supernatural by the hour. The main character, Erin, is delivering papers, when she is accosted by strange boys in Halloween costumes. Another group of paper girls rescues her and they agree to travel together for safety, but along the way they realize that people in town have started to disappear.

Darth Vader Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen

Star Wars Darth Vader: Vol. 1 by Kieron Gillen fills in a necessary gap in the Star Wars canon, and could help fill the time before Star Wars: Rogue One arrives in theaters. Gillen’s Vader is trying to learn the identity of the young pilot who destroyed the Death Star, as well as regain the favor of Emperor Palpatine after failing to stop the Rebel Alliance. As Vader goes on these dual missions, he is forced to hire agents who can act as his public face. Navigating all of these situations and relationships, as well as his personal quest for vengeance against the Rebellion and suspicions about secrets in the Empire, create a world of intrigue and violence for this story to play out. Gillen balances all of these elements superbly and also unleashes Vader, using battle sequences and displays of the Force to remind readers why Vader is one of the most feared individuals in the galaxy.

The Six: the Lives of the Mitford Sisters

Having grown up in a family of six sisters (and two brothers), I understand the influences, cooperation and competition that six sisters often have for each other. The similar interests, wildly divergent ones, pet names shared, and shifting alliances.

The Mitford sisters:  Nancy, Pamela, Diana, Unity, Jessica, and Deborah were born between 1904 and 1920, so their youth encompassed the roaring and irreverent 1920s as well as the anxious, and violent pre-war period before WW II. The last of the Mitford sisters, Deborah, died only two years ago.

They had an idyllic childhood on a country estate, and were left mainly to themselves, a nanny and a tutor. They were almost totally home-schooled. They read deeply books from their parent’s library and were fascinated by the world of ideas. All except Pamela, who loved farming and developed close connections with animals and the land. Just before dying she sighed and said she wished only for one more hunt.

Heartless, Marissa Meyer

Heartless is set before the events of Alice in Wonderland and tells the story of Cath, daughter of a Marquess who has caught the eye of the King of Hearts, but really just wants to open a bakery. Cath is an unconventional lady already, but when the new Joker catches her eye and her heart, she finds herself moving away from quirky and unconventional to all out rebel. She is determined to make her own way in the world, but her need to please her parents and her King may hold her back.

Many characters and places throughout this story will be familiar to fans of Alice in Wonderland. However, since Alice is an outsider who finds herself falling into Wonderland and Cath is a member of the gentry who has always lived there readers are given a more inside view of this topsy turvey world. Nothing is as it seems in Wonderland and now that the legendary jabberwocky is roaming the land again, no one is safe.

VOYA Teen Poetry Contest

Two winners were chosen to go on to the VOYA (Voices of Youth Advocates) Teen Poetry Contest from MCPL. Congratulations to Melanie Muniz and Huangzewen Qian!

Happily Ever Afters and Toys

Melanie Muniz

Age 17

We have reached the time between adulthood and innocence

We are expected to trade our

Dolls for dollars

Trains and Teddy Bears for time-keeps

Sand Castles for Swords

We still do Halloween except now it’s every day that we go around saying lies about who and what we are

We still steal cookies from the cookie jar, despite the swelling sickness

As a boy runs away, for he doesn’t want to play a girl comes up and tags him anyway, even though he told her “No means No.”

We play quiet as a mouse but even a mouse squeaks when it can't take the silence

Things will get better they say but they never do, for with every good that comes along, a bad comes along too

Commonwealth

Fifty per cent of all North American children experience the divorce of their parents. Talented author Ann Patchett explores her own family’s divorce in this novel, altered, of course, as all fiction is.

A chance meeting at a 1960s christening causes two families to divide and then merge in new ways.  The novel jumps around in the lives of the Cousinses and Keatings. Fix Keating is a Los Angeles cop, and Bert Cousins, an attorney who moves to Virginia. When Cousins falls hard for Keating’s wife, Beverly, at the christening, two families are forever tied though they end up living across the continent from each other.

The novel proceeds from the perfectly realized christening—where many of the guests are cops and the families of cops, and many of the partiers get drunk including some of the children, to one lakeside vacation where the blended children of the two families seek their own adventures while their parent and step-parent laze away in bed until mid-afternoon.

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