Graphic Novels for the Younger Crowd

Graphic novels are a ton of fun to read, even if you’re an accomplished reader, and they can make some stories accessible and appealing to struggling readers.  These are my top recommendations for graphic novels for folks reading in the classic young adult range. These have a level of on screen violence and physical relationships that you’d see on the television or in a PG film. I only list the first book in a series, because it’s a good idea to make sure you like book one before picking up all of them.

Author’s name is at the top. 
Book title (only the first in a series will be listed)
– Notes or description preceded by a hyphen

Vera Brogsol
Be Prepared
– Autobiography of a Russian-American summer camp experience.  The main character is the daughter of a Russian immigrant, and she has heard about the wonders of camp for years.  When she finally gets to go to Russian summer camp, it’s not quite as she expected. How will she survive? How will she make friends

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It was quiet in the big woods these days. From atop her great pine, Zenza could see over most of her neighboring trees. Holding two branches for support, she leaned out, closed her eyes, and took a deep breath. She smiled as fallen leaves, wet from a recent rain, filled her senses.

“Don’t do it!”

The horrified shout broke her out of her reverie and she looked around for the source.

“For the love of maple sugar, don’t do it!”

She knew that voice. She looked down into a young maple that had barely begun to change color despite the season. Darja stood on one of the uppermost branches and, even from the distance, Zenza could see fear on the girl’s face.

“Oh Zenza, it’s only autumn.”

“What are you talking about?” she demanded. Why did she always have to get the nervous neophytes?

“It’s not worth killing yourself,” she said gently. “You’d be missed far too much.”

Continue reading Autumn

Book Categories Marketed to Younger Readers

I’ve prepared some book recommendation lists (finally), and I think it would be handy for folks to have this information for reference.  These are the rough definitions used in the marketing and packaging of books intended for a younger audience.  Keep in mind, some publishers and book stores may be more liberal with these definitions, and these do change over time; some folks splinter these groups even further, and that these designations are subjective as heck.

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Transgenesis Meeses

It’s not easy being a mouse. It’s even harder for one of us. We’re not like other mice. But we often wish we were.

I’m Pushkin, keeper of the chronicles. I will teach you young ones just as I remind the older ones. It’s my responsibility to keep the records accurate, untainted by fear, unclear memory, or nostalgia. I recount the saga as it was taught to me, and add to it in my turn.

Our distant ancestors, those who lived eight and nine generations ago, were regular lab mice. There was nothing spectacular about them. They were chosen at random for research on a terrible brain sickness afflicting human elders. Our meek predecessors underwent frightening procedures, and many didn’t survive. But mouse deaths are not mourned. Our mortality rate has always been high compared with other mammals. This is the natural order of things. In the wild, mice have a number of predators to evade. Food is scarce. Winter is brutal. But we are no longer natural. Order has been disturbed.

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Speed Writing #1 – Stop Flirting With Me

Vampires, I could deal with.  Werewolves, no problem.  A couple of demons, right up my alley.  But this… none of my training had prepared me for this.

“You’re really hot,” he mumbled.  It was the fifth or sixth time he’d said something of the sort.

“Uh… thanks.”  I would’ve given anything to have a bit more distance between us, but that wasn’t happening anytime soon.  If we went at the pace he could manage, clumsy and unbalanced, it’d be dawn before we got him the medical attention he needed.  I was mostly dragging him, his arm flopped over my shoulder and mine around his waist.  Ugh.  I reminded myself that saving people was a noble calling, and it was sometimes bound to be uncomfortable.  Being hip-to-hip with a seventeen year old misogynist was pretty uncomfortable. 

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