Johnson, Maureen. The Bermudez Triangle.

NY: Penguin, 2004.

Most YA novels aimed at teenage girls seem to be about friendship and romance, which are obviously themes of continual interest to the more thoughtful among that segment of the population. This one falls into that subcategory but it’s considerably better than most. It’s not cutesy and it doesn’t talk down to the reader, and there’s also some very funny writing.


Published in: on 12 December 2018 at 5:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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Wells, Martha. Rogue Protocol.

NY: Tor, 2018.

This is the third of Wells’s four-novel hard-SF cycle featuring the artificially constructed sort-of-android security unit that thinks of himself — itself — as “Murderbot.” They only run around 150 pages each, but there’s a lot of action so each of them feels more like a full-size novel.


Published in: on 9 November 2018 at 2:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Green, John. Paper Towns.

NY: Dutton, 2008.

Green is one of the more “serious” authors of Young Adult novels. He doesn’t do frothy romances, but rather in-depth explorations of the teenage psyche and the often harrowing process of trying to become an adult, and this is an excellent example of that. It’s not a long story, only 120 pages, but the complexity of the thinking behind it and the density of the narrative make it feel like three or four times that length.


Macgregor, Joanne. The Law of Tall Girls.

np: Amazon Digital Services, 2017.

I have a 15-year-old granddaughter who has been a book junky — and a quite sophisticated one — since before she could read for herself. Now, I read a fair number of straight-to-Kindle books — and the average quality is higher than you might think — but I don’t ordinarily review them. The same is true of YA novels: I review only a small number of those I actually read. This highly engaging teenage love story, however, is an exception in both ways.


Published in: on 3 November 2018 at 6:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Edmondson, Elizabeth. Finding Philippe.

London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2001.

This late author produced a series of very enjoyable romance-mystery-thriller novels, all set in the immediate post-World War II period in Britain — though it somewhat pains me to think of a story set in my own lifetime as “historical fiction” — and this was one of the few I hadn’t previously read.


Feiffer, Jules. Kill My Mother: A Graphic Novel.

NY: Liveright, 2014.

Feiffer is an amazing cartoonist with amazing longevity. He started drawing for publication shortly after World War II, became Will Eisner’s assistant at the age of seventeen, and his work was showing up in New Yorker, Esquire, and Playboy while Eisenhower was still in the White House. He won every artistic award there is, including an Academy Award, and then branched out into novels, stage plays, and screenplays.


Wells, Martha. Artificial Condition.

NY: Macmillan/Tom Doherty, 2018.

I got hooked on All Systems Red, the first volume of the “Murderbot Diaries,” and I’ve been looking forward to this one, but it’s somehow less satisfying than I had expected. Perhaps it’s because we already know a lot about the protagonist now, and the strange circumstances that govern his life, but this second adventure just doesn’t seem to have quite the same kick.


Prince, Liz. Tomboy.

San Francisco: Zest Books, 2014.

The author calls herself “an autobiographical cartoonist,” and this is the story of her struggle to get through childhood — but from a very particular perspective. Liz was always a “tomboy.” Meaning, actually, that she always wanted to somehow BE a boy.


Niimura, Ken. Henshin.

Berkeley, CA: Image Comics, 2015.

The title means “transformation” in Japanese, and that’s supposed to be the theme of the thirteen short graphic stories in this collection, but it’s sometimes difficult to see how it’s supposed to apply. Most of the stories themselves are not bad, though.


Published in: on 28 September 2018 at 1:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Knisley, Lucy. Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride.

NY: First Second, 2016.

I’ve been a fan of Lucy’s graphic memoirs since French Milk, and this nearly 300-page volume is sort of the culmination, her graduation into what she thinks of as “real” adulthood. She’s been relatively successful, too, with four books out before her 30th birthday, strong praise for all of them, and undoubtedly more to come. If you’ve read all her books over the past decade, you know that she and a guy named John were happily together in Chicago for five years while she attended the Art Institute and he made his first assault on the tech world. (They both revel in being self-declared nerds.)


Published in: on 26 September 2018 at 8:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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