Lily is not your average teenager – at sixteen years old, she’s already a first class computer hacker, and uses her skills to help her father, a lawyer, solve his toughest cases. But that still doesn’t prepare her for what she discovers one morning while out investigating a case: magic is real. Unfortunately, she finds this out in the worst way possible, by being attacked by a bandogge, a terrifying two-headed dog.
“The Lightning Queen” by Laura Resau is a story told in two times, the present day and what is known only as “Long, Long Ago,” but only one place — the Hill of Dust in Oaxaca, Mexico. Mateo and his mother visit their family in Oaxaca every summer, but this year, Mateo can tell there is something different about his grandfather as soon as he arrives. Before long, Mateo’s grandfather launches into a captivating tale, one he’s been longing to tell for years. He tells of a young boy whose family has been fractured by tragedy, and of the young gypsy girl and her caravan who change his life forever after they come to the Hill of Dust.
“Faceless” by Alyssa Sheinmel chronicles sixteen-year-old Maisie’s journey to recovery after part of her face is destroyed in an electrical fire. Maisie’s burns are so bad that the tissue in her cheeks, nose, and chin actually died. Luckily (although Maisie won’t like it if you call her that – lucky girls don’t get their faces burned off), Maisie qualifies for a face transplant. But recovery after the surgery is so much harder than Maisie predicted; not only does she have to deal with the physical healing of her body, she also has to take about twenty pills three times a day and go back to school, where everyone remembers how she used to be before her accident. She can’t help but ask herself…is it all worth it?
When 16-year-old Giselle Boyer, her twin sister Isabelle, and their parents dash out of their house, stressed and trying to make it to Isabelle’s orchestra concert on time, little do they know that these are the last few moments of normalcy they’ll ever have. A car accident puts all four members of the Boyer family in the hospital and ends the life of one of them forever.
“The Inker’s Shadow” is a companion to Allen Say’s 2011 graphic memoir “Drawing from Memory.” In “Drawing from Memory”, Say chronicled his childhood in Japan in WWII and his path to his mentor, cartoonist Noro Shinpei. In “The Inker’s Shadow”, Say continues his autobiography, telling of his life in America after he left Japan – and Shinpei – behind.
The first 400 pages of “The Marvels” are told through illustration, chronicling the exploits of sailing-turned-acting family the Marvels in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the last 200 pages told in prose, following the story of 13-year-old Joseph Jervis after he runs away from boarding school to stay with his eccentric uncle, Albert Nightingale. Selznick unfurls the relationship between these two stories gradually, in a way that both manages to build suspense in a maddening way and be totally satisfying once all is revealed.
When Kate Hood’s grandmother disappears, leaving behind several grotesque tapestries depicting children being tortured in horrible ways, no one in her village will help Kate look for her. In desperation, she turns to Jack, another village outcast after he had a nasty run-in with a giant a few years back. Before they can get far in their search, however, they’re taken to the king; it seems a princess has gone missing, and they’re the prime suspects.
It’s a day like any other before Cassie’s father, panicked, drags her into the car and tells her they’re leaving the country because a group known as the Hastati is after them. Before he has time to explain, he’s shot, and as he’s whisked away to the hospital, he tells Cassie to go to a mysterious monastery. Can she figure out what’s going on before it’s too late?
When a strange girl comes to sit beside Francis at lunch one day, he’s more surprised that anyone at his school wants to talk to him than he is that the girl, Jessica, turns out to be a ghost. With a shared interest in fashion design and the common problem of loneliness—Francis is the only one who’s been able to see Jessica in the year since she’s died—the two soon become inseparable.
“George,” by Alex Gino, is a middle-grade novel that tells the story of Melissa, a girl who desperately wants to play Charlotte in her classroom’s theatrical production of “Charlotte’s Web”. It sounds like it could be the plot of any charming school days book, with one noticeable difference—Melissa was born a boy. Her classmates, family, and teacher know her as George, and she wants to play Charlotte not only out of admiration for the book she loves but also as a way to tell the world who she really is: a girl.