Huppen, Hermann & Yves. Station 16.

Milwaukie, OR: Dark Horse Books, 2014.

The Huppens are a French father and son team with a taste for the macabre, and this unsettling graphic novel may remind you in setting and flavor of the classic horror film, The Thing.

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Zappia, Francesca. Made You Up.

NY: HarperCollins, 2015.

Paranoid schizophrenia is a difficult subject to deal with in a YA novel. Too many teenagers who have no actual knowledge of the subject believe the folklore about schizophrenics being dangerous and uncontrollably violent — or even “witches,” as hard as that is to believe in the 21st century. Zappia meets the issue head-on with this story of Alex Ridgemont, who began showing symptoms at age seven — much younger than usual — when the lobsters in the tank at the grocery store begged her to set them free.

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Heltzel, Anne. Charlie Presumed Dead.

NY: Houghton, Mifflin, 2015.

Charlie Price, a twenty-year-old student at Oxford and the son of a wealthy diplomat, has apparently crashed his parents’ small plane into the North Sea, and his body hasn’t been found, only his bloody jacket. Aubrey Boroughs, his girlfriend who is still in high school in a Chicago suburb, has flown on her own to Paris for the memorial service — where she discovers Lena Whitney, a much more sophisticated, jet-setting Boston girl her own age, who was also Charlie girlfriend.

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Lockhart, E. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks.

NY: Hyperion, 2008.

I had read Lockhart’s The Boyfriend List and its several sequels and enjoyed them. They were well-written and very funny. But this one is far more mature for a YA novel, more serious in its subject matter, and also unusual in its method. There’s a reason it was a National Book Award finalist. And Frankie is one of the most fascinating characters I’ve met in some time.

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Kuang, R. F. The Poppy War.

NY: Harper, 2018.

I’ve read a number of really first-rate recently-published fantasy novels in the last couple of years — two-thirds of a trilogy by Patrick Rothfuss, two books by Naomi Novik, one by Seth Dickinson, and two whole trilogies by N. K. Jemisin. And now this carefully plotted and gorgeously written book joins that group. Rebecca Kuang is Chinese-American, with a specialty in the classical literature of her native land, and that basic fact informs the whole of the story.

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Gray, Justin, Jimmy Pamliotti & Jimmy Broxton. Hugh Howey’s Wool.

NY: Jet City Comics, 2014.

When Wool was originally published a few years ago, I made several attempts to read it. I really did. I just couldn’t get past Howey’s seriously inept writing, a combination of a Fourth Grade grasp of English with a badly untutored narrative style that had never heard of “show, don’t tell.” I had finally decided that I would just never know what the story was supposed to be about.

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Matson, Morgan. Since You’ve Been Gone.

NY: Simon & Schuster, 2014.

This was the author’s second book and I picked it up on spec, having enjoyed her first one, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour. And it doesn’t disappoint. Emily Hughes is a high school junior in Stanwich, Connecticut, an upscale community on Long Island Sound, and she and Sloan Williams have been the closest of best friends since Sloane moved there two years before. Emily has suffered all her life from almost debilitating shyness and Sloane’s effervescently outgoing personality is exactly what she’s been needing.

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Ghez, Didier. They Drew As They Pleased: The Hidden Art of Disney’s Golden Age, the 1930s.

San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2015.

I can’t draw a convincing stick figure, but I’ve always been interested in animation art. Ghez is probably today’s leading historian of the Disney Studios and the art it produced, and this is the latest volume in an ongoing series, this time about the first four concept artists Disney hired to come up with the basic ideas for feature film projects which the studio’s other artists then developed.

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Published in: on 3 April 2019 at 10:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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