Review: The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

Title: The Plain Janes
Author/Illustrator: Cecil Castellucci/Jim Rugg
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 496

Content Warnings: terrorist attacks (bombing, anthrax poisoning), PTSD, anxiety, paranoia, depression, agoraphobia, hospitals, homophobia, bullying, sexism

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Meet the Plain Janes–teenage artist activists on a mission to wake up their sleepy suburban town in this graphic novel bind up, perfect for fans of This One Summer and Awkward.

After getting caught in the midst of a terrorist attack on Metro City, artsy misfit Jane Beckles is forced to leave her beloved bustling metropolis for the boring suburb of Kent Waters. At first Jane thinks her life is over, but then she finds where she belongs: at the reject table in the cafeteria, along with Brain Jayne, Theater Jane, and sporty Polly Jane. United by only two things–a shared name and an all-too-relatable frustration with the adults around them–the girls form a secret club dedicated to waking up their fellow citizens with guerrilla works of art scattered around town.

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Review: Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz

Title: Jane Anonymous
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 320

Content Warnings: kidnapping, sexual assault, self-harm, negative therapy experiences, Stockholm syndrome, PTSD, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts drugging, talk of animal abuse, death of an animal, death of a grandmother, death of a sibling, mention of bulimia

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Bestselling author Laurie Faria Stolarz returns with Jane Anonymous, a gripping tale of a seventeen-year-old girl’s kidnapping and her struggle to fit back into her life after she escapes.

Then, “Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old in a typical New England suburb getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

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Review: The Fast and the Furriest by Deanna Kent

Title: The Fast and the Furriest
Series: Snazzy Cat Capers
Author/Illustrator: Deanna Kent/Neil Hooson
Release Date: September 17, 2019
Publisher: Imprint
Pages: 224

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Life is short. Save the world, live to tell the tail.

Ophelia von Hairball V of Burglaria, international kitty of mystery, is always fishing for a new mission im-paws-ible.

So when a thief steals a dangerous artifact from its vault, the Furry Feline Burglary Institute (FFBI) puts Ophelia in charge of stealing it back.

But when the cat’s away, the dogs will play. The Central Canine Intelligence Agency (CCIA) is hot on her tail—and they want the artifact for themselves!

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Review: Sisters of Shadow and Light by Sara B. Larson

Title: Sisters of Shadow and Light
Series: Sisters of Shadow and Light
Author: Sara B. Larson
Release Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 368

Content Warnings: self-harm, abuse, thoughts of suicide, death of parents, violence

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From the acclaimed author of Defy, Sara B. Larson, Sisters of Shadow and Light is a timeless and fantastical tale of sisterly love and powerful magic

The night my sister was born, the stars died and were reborn in her eyes….

Zuhra and Inara have grown up in the Citadel of the Paladins, an abandoned fortress where legendary, magical warriors once lived before disappearing from the world—including their Paladin father the night Inara was born.

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Review: Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon

Title: Ziggy, Stardust and Me
Author: James Brandon
Release Date: August 6, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368

Content Warnings: homophobia (internalized and externalized), bullying, racism (specifically towards Native Americans), derogatory language, abuse (parental, psychological, and physical), shock/conversion therapy, misgendering, suicide, suicidal thoughts, sexism, disassociation, self-harm, possible PTSD, anxiety, asthma attacks, physical violence, police brutality, death of a parent, attempted rape

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The year is 1973. The Watergate hearings are in full swing. The Vietnam War is still raging. And homosexuality is still officially considered a mental illness. In the midst of these trying times is sixteen-year-old Jonathan Collins, a bullied, anxious, asthmatic kid, who aside from an alcoholic father and his sympathetic neighbor and friend Starla, is completely alone. To cope, Jonathan escapes to the safe haven of his imagination, where his hero David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and dead relatives, including his mother, guide him through the rough terrain of his life. In his alternate reality, Jonathan can be anything: a superhero, an astronaut, Ziggy Stardust, himself, or completely “normal” and not a boy who likes other boys. When he completes his treatments, he will be normal—at least he hopes. But before that can happen, Web stumbles into his life. Web is everything Jonathan wishes he could be: fearless, fearsome and, most importantly, not ashamed of being gay.

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Review: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things by Jacqueline Firkins

Title: Hearts, Strings, and Other Breakable Things
Author: Jacqueline Firkins
Release Date: December 17, 2019
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 384

Content Warnings: parental abandonment, death of a parent, foster care, fatphobia, underage drinking

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In this charming debut about first love and second chances, a young girl gets caught between the boy next door and a playboy. Perfect for fans of To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before.

Mansfield, Massachusetts is the last place seventeen-year-old Edie Price wants to spend her final summer before college. It’s the home of wealthy suburbanites and prima donnas like Edie’s cousins, who are determined to distract her from her mother’s death with cute boys and Cinderella-style makeovers. Edie has her own plans, and they don’t include a prince charming.

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Review: As Many Nows as I Can Get by Shana Youngdahl

Title: As Many Nows as I Can Get
Author: Shana Youngdahl
Release Date: August 20, 2019
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 432

Content Warnings: underage drinking, sexism, cancer, hospitals, drug use, drug overdose, death of a parent, grief, ghosting a two year relationship, talk of suicide, anxiety, depression, talk of eating disorders, talk of gun violence, unplanned pregnancy, talk of abortion, talk of miscarriage, gaslighting, misgendering, car accident, animal death, fatphobia

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A timely, searing, and unconventional romance from an urgent new voice in young adult fiction

In one impulsive moment the summer before they leave for college, overachievers Scarlett and David plunge into an irresistible swirl of romance, particle physics, and questionable decisions. Told in non-linear, vivid first-person chapters, As Many Nows As I Can Get is the story of a grounded girl who’s pulled into a lightning-strike romance with an electric-charged boy, and the enormity of the aftermath. Cerebral, accessible, bold, and unconventionally romantic, this is a powerful debut about grief, guilt, and reconciling who you think you need to be with the person you’ve been all along.

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