We Are All Made of Molecules

Stewart and his dad move in with his new girlfriend and her daughter Ashley. Stewart’s mom died a year ago, and Ashley’s parents got divorced because her dad came out as gay. Stewart is thirteen and goes to a special school for gifted children. Ashley is fourteen and goes to the local high school. But when Stewart moves in to Ashley’s house, he decides he wants to go Ashley’s school, to improve his social skills. Though Ashley is mortified that her new step-brother is going to her school, she soon figures out that she needs him as much as he needs her. 

This book covers a wide range of problems that teenagers face. Stewart has to deal with the death of his mother. Ashley has to learn to accept her father for who he is, and not be ashamed of him. They both have to face teenage drinking and parties, and the negative consequences that can come from that. 

I really liked how the book addressed so many important issues but was still able to keep a light, humourous tone. There were both laugh-out-loud and heartbreaking parts. Most importantly, this book shows that we all have something in common, despite our differences: we are all made of molecules. 

Jonesy Vol. 1

Josephine aka Jonesy is a high school student. She lives with her father, who owns a donut shop. She also has a pet ferret. The story follows Jonesy through major parts of the school year: Valentine’s Day, a talent show, prom. She also has to face the idea of her father starting to date. Though these are fairly ordinary things that most teens face, Jonesy is unique. She has a special power: she can make people do anything she wants. Jonesy discovered this power when she made her two favourite characters on her anime show fall in love. The only problem is that the powers don’t work on Jonesy herself. She isn’t able to make her crush (a pop star named “Stuff”) fall in love with her. 

This graphic novels was so entertaining. It was very funny. There were many times that Jonesy spoke directly to the reader, especially at the beginning of the chapters. This breaking of the “fourth wall” set the scene and brought me into the book.  

This story also has a diverse cast. Jonesy is latina. Her best friend, Susan, is black and has a crush on a girl. It was refreshing to see these diverse characters in a YA/middle-grade graphic novel.

I definitely recommend this graphic novel and I can’t wait to see the next volume!

New Release: Definitions of Indefinable Things

One day, when Reggie is picking up her prescription for depression medication, she meets Snake. Snake has a tattoo on his neck and dark hair hanging in his eyes (to Reggie, he looks like an “emo” poster boy). But Reggie and Snake have something in common: depression. They see each other a couple of days later when Snake starts working at the same ice cream parlour where Reggie works. Though Reggie isn’t ready to let anyone in, she begins to “hate” Snake… in a good way. Her mixed feelings become even more complicated when she discovers that the popular girl at school, Carla, is pregnant with Snake’s child.

I loved this story because it has a unique plot. It deviates from a traditional love triangle, since two of the people are having a child together, though they aren’t necessarily “together.” Though most of the book deals with these serious issues, there is some comic relief with the caricatures of their parents. Reggie’s extremely religious mother and Snake’s lesbian moms provided some moments of relief between the dark discussions and therapy sessions.

This amazing debut novel explores what it means to be depressed, what it means to be lonely, and how to learn to love.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles series. It is a modern retelling of Cinderella, but with a twist.

Cinder is a cyborg, living in New Beijing. She was adopted by Linh Garan but he died soon after, so she lives with his wife and their two daughters. A plague is taking over the country which soon claims the life of their emperor. Cinder meets his son, Prince Kai, when he gets his personal android repaired by her at the market. This leads to her going to the palace where she finds Dr. Erland. After running some tests, he discovers that she is from Luna, the planet of their enemy. She is also immune to the plague since she is Lunar. Being Lunar is more dangerous than ever now, because the Queen of Luna is vying to become Prince Kai’s wife. The plague is brought close to Cinder’s heart when her favourite stepsister, Peony, becomes ill. Cinder has to decide how to use her secret of being Lunar to save the people of New Beijing and prevent Prince Kai from marrying Queen Levana.

This story and the following books in the series (Cress, Scarlet, Winter, Fairest, and Stars Above) are also very diverse, featuring characters from different backgrounds. The other books also have lead characters that are based on classic fairytales but they are all set in the same world.

This is one of my favourite new series! I hope you enjoy it too!