The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reviewed by MJ (Library Patron)

The Hate U Give is a book by Angie Thomas follows a girl named Starr Carter in her fight against racism. She works to bring justice to her childhood friend, Khalil, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Garden Heights. In addition, she struggles with the feeling that there are two versions of herself, one at the white majority high school she attends, the other in the black neighborhood where she lives in. To win the justice Khalil deserved she must overcome her internal conflict and find her voice to speak out against the racism only she witnessed.

I enjoyed this book very much because of the meaningful storyline it has. Every event contributes to the plot, and the whole story really makes you think. I am not very familiar with this genre, however, this book really stuck out to me. I recommend it to people around the age of 13 or older.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC THOMAS)

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 1: Phantom Blood by Hirohiko Araki

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

In the late 1800s, a nobleman and his family suffer a carriage accident. A passerby intent on robbing them accidently becomes the nobleman’s savior. Years later, when the passerby’s son is a teen, he is sent to live with the nobleman, Lord Joestar, and his son. Little does the noble family know, the teen they welcome into their home is a conniving schemer looking to take the Joestar fortune for himself.

As someone who watches a lot of anime and reads a lot of manga, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure has become a staple among fans, and for good reason. At this point in time, I’ve only read the first part of the Phantom Blood arc. I enjoy the art; it definitely feels of it’s time, the late 1980s, but it’s very expressive and detailed. The story immediately hooks you in. I see why everyone loves this series so much, because now I do too.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA ARAKI VOL.1)

Blue Period by Tsubasa Yamaguchi

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Yatora gets good grades and has a lot of friends, but his life is pretty aimless. A painting done by a fellow classmate catches his eye and he feels a spark in his soul. Yatora becomes consumed with art and begins to understand just how cutthroat the art world can be.

Blue Period has a lot of heart, more than I was expecting. Alongside general art tips, the story is quick and is propelled forward by interesting characters and beautiful artwork. It’s one of the best manga I’ve read this year.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA YAMAGUCHI)

The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

Marnie takes up tea leaf reading as a way of embracing her family’s weirdness instead of pretending it isn’t there. However, what started out as a harmless statement of individuality takes a menacing turn when the symbols begin leading Marnie deep within the mystery of a classmate who disappeared one year prior.

The seedy mystery kept me guessing and the October atmosphere added a welcome chill. Pairs well with a steaming cup of tea, although your tea might go cold as you’re swept into the unraveling secrets.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN FIC ARSENAULT)

Poison for Breakfast by Lemony Snicket

Reviewed by Melissa Beck (Library Staff)

When I first flipped through this book, I had no idea who it was written for. Children? Adults? Mystery readers? Breakfast enthusiasts? Having a keen interest in breakfast myself and a history of enjoying Lemony Snicket’s writing, I thought it’d be worth taking a chance on.

Part mystery, part philosophy, this meandering little book follows the author through a one-day investigation prompted by a note he receives in the morning which reads “You had poison for breakfast.” Liberally sprinkled with humorous statements and sage observations, it is classic Snicket–he still tells you what words mean but also makes you think deeply about ordinary subjects.

I laughed out loud more than once and was delighted by the Notes section at the end where the author gives titles to books and movies he described (which I assumed were fictitious) and credits quotes he referenced throughout. Plus, the mystery is resolved in a clever and surprising manner (though I’m not sure why I would expect anything less).

After having read the whole book, I still have no idea who it was written for, except to say with certainty that it WAS written at least a little for me, as I enjoyed it very much.

Available through the Bridges Library System

The Secret Recipe for Moving On by Karen Bischer

Reviewed by Taylor H (Library Staff)

It’s the beginning of senior year and Ellie’s boyfriend, Hunter, has just dumped her. To make things even worse, he immediately starts dating someone else—and their relationship may have started before the breakup. Ellie has to watch the two of them be all lovey-dovey during their shared home economics class, and it becomes her goal to beat them in the home ec competition. However, her group consists of Luke, AJ, and Isaiah, people who many in the school would consider social misfits. What follows is a semester of shenanigans, surprises, and mishaps.

I loved this book. Ellie’s journey of figuring out who she is without Hunter was done very well. The characters felt like real people, and the romance is both sweet and believable. Ellie and her love interest have a lot of chemistry. If you are looking for a feel-good YA novel, I highly recommend this one!

Available through the Bridges Library System

Hakumei & Mikochi by Takuto Kashiki

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Take something like the Borrowers or The Secret World of Arrietty and you’ll get a pretty good sense of what Hakumei & Mikochi is like. The manga details the day to day lives of two small people, Hakumei, an adventurous tinkerer, and Mikochi, a reserved tradesperson. The two live together in a tree hollow where they share adventures and good food.

Hakumei & Mikochi is laidback and sweet. The characters are likable, the art is wonderfully rendered, and the world building is a treat. I highly recommend the series if you’re looking for a quick read to unwind with.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA KASHIKI)

Boys Run the Riot by Keito Gaku

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Boys Run the Riot revolves around three teenage boys: Jin, the scary-looking older kid who got held back a grade, Ryoko, a transman navigating his gender identity and school-life, and Itsuka, a painfully ordinary pushover. The three of them create a clothing brand as a way to express themselves and fight back against society and the assumptions other people put on them.

This manga is fast-paced, exciting, and heartwarming. The friendship between the three main characters is endearing and a nice change of pace from the typical shonen rivalries of manga. It’s an uplifting story about chasing one’s dreams and building self-confidence.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA GAKU)

Devil’s Candy by Bikkuri

Reviewed by Jess H (Library Staff)

Devil’s Candy takes place primarily at Hemlock Heart Academy, a high school for demons. The story follows Kazu Decker, a science-loving boy, his friends Nemo and Hitomi, and the girl Kazu created for a biology project, Pandora, as they navigate school, their feelings, and teaching Pandora how to live in society.

This slice-of-life manga has splashes of action and lots of comedy that complement the cutesy art style well. It’s a fun, quick read for teens.

Located in Teen Manga (TEEN MANGA BIKKURI)

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Reviewed by Stephanie Ramirez (Library Staff)

A beautiful, haunting story, Firekeeper’s Daughter is a story you won’t be able to put down. The story follows Daunis, a Native American teenager bound for college when tragedy strikes her family and community. Given the chance to help, Daunis takes the weight of the world on her shoulders when she agrees to help the FBI with an investigation into drug deaths in her community. Touching on topics like racism, homophobia and poverty, Boulley pulls no punches in her writing. The notable weak spot is, unfortunately, the ending, as the frenetic pace of events strains credulity. Still, heart wrenching and harrowing, Daunis’ journey will live with you long after you read the last page.

Located in Teen Fiction (TEEN BOULLEY)