This Delicious Death by Kayla Cottingham, audio version narrated by Sophie Amoss
This girl power-centric YA story features a group of friends in a slightly post-apocalyptic future where a disease has turned a bunch of people into flesh-eating ghouls. Though society has returned to mostly normal with the invention of synthetic human flesh, things go badly for Zoey and her friends when they attend a music festival and something starts causing ghouls to rampage uncontrollably. I love the LGBTQ rep in this book (main character Zoey is bisexual, best friend/love interest Celeste is trans, and friend Jasmine reads as gay), but was frustrated by all the male characters being unlikeable jerks. Sophie Amoss’s narration on the audio version is quality though, including distinct voices for each major character as well as several of the supporting cast.
What Stalks Among Us by Sarah Hollowell, audio version narrated by Amielynn Abellera
In this mildly spooky mystery horror, best friends Sadie and Logan ditch a class field trip and explore a supernatural corn maze together. Things get weird when they start finding dead bodies, including their own… several times! Sadie and Logan try to understand what’s happening, protect each other, and search for a way out of the maze, while also keeping a look out for whoever or whatever is killing people in the maze. The friendship between the two main characters is amazingly portrayed, as is the way they help each other process past traumas. However, I didn’t find the maze itself as scary as it was meant to be, and I didn’t care for some things about how the story ends, but overall it’s still a mostly fun supernatural mystery.
Stars, Hide Your Fires by Jessica Mary Best, audio version narrated by Natalie Naudus
This sci-fi story is full of action, intrigue, and just a little bit of mystery and romance. Think of it as like a mix of Star Wars and Knives Out, in a solidly YA container. Main character Cass is a petty thief and con artist who makes her living conning and pickpocketing travelers on the backwater moon she calls home. When she learns that the emperor will announce his successor at a fancy ball on a nearby world, Cass hatches a plan to infiltrate the ball, rob the guests blind, and make enough money to retire on. In so doing, she stumbles headfirst into an assassination plot where she is quickly framed for murder, falls in with a group of rebels (and a bit of sapphic romance as well), and has to solve the murder to clear her name. The action moves a thousand miles an hour, and while parts of it hold up better than others it’s overall a pretty fun ride.
All three of these are available on Playaway from Galesburg Library. This Delicious Death is available in ebook and eaudiobook format through the Libby app. What Stalks Among Us is also available in ebook form through the Boundless app.
From the publisher: “Wear your heart on your sleeve.” That’s the saying. But in BONDING, people wear their anxiety on their chests – in the form of a parasite that shows everyone just what you’re feeling on the inside …
Bonding is a love story (or more accurately, two generations of love stories) set in a dystopian future – one in which humans are now forcibly bonded to slug-like alien creatures which feed on their blood plasma and hang off their chests like grotesque living neckties. The story begins a couple generations after the invasion, when humanity has adapted to (if not exactly accepted) the presence of these slugs. Teens Marcus and Laura go on a disastrous first date, in which Marcus nearly dies after his slug unbonds from him, but Marcus survives and he and Laura end up getting together. Eventually the story jumps a generation and follows Marus and Laura’s teenage son Ira, who is in a long-distance relationship with Elegant and is desperate to come visit her. His plans are thrown into disarray by a catastrophic event called the Blooming causes people’s slugs to die en masse.
While this graphic novel sports beautiful art and a really cool premise, it unfortunately doesn’t really deliver in terms of story or characters. The biggest problem is the disjointed nature of the story; the narrative skips around Marcus and Laura’s first date to several years into their relationship, to many years later when they’re adults and their son is suddenly the main character. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really spend enough time on either Marcus and Laura or on Ira and Elegant for the reader to get invested in either pairing. Neither does the story explore the circumstances that led to the entire human race becoming bonded to the slug parasites,. The only explanation is a few vague references to a past war that humanity didn’t win. As a result, neither the sci-fi premise nor the romantic relationships are developed enough to be really interesting.
That said, while this story wasn’t for me, it might appeal to other readers who like quick romance stories featuring characters coping with mental health issues.
Bonding: A Love Story About People and Their Parasites is available at Galesburg Public Library in the graphic novel collection.
From the publisher: If I Stay meets Your Name in Dustin Thao’s You’ve Reached Sam, a heartfelt novel about love and loss and what it means to say goodbye.
Seventeen-year-old Julie Clarke has her future all planned out―move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city; spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes.
From the publisher: From the creator of the popular rock ‘n’ roll true crime podcast, Disgraceland comes an off-kilter, hysterical, at times macabre book of stories from the highly entertaining underbelly of music history.
From the publisher: From the creator of Yes, I’m Hot In This, this cheeky, hilarious, and honest graphic novel asks the question everyone has to figure out for themselves: Who are you?
In this fictionalized autobiography, Huda Fahmy gives a charming, funny portrayal of what it was like growing up as a hijab-wearing Muslim girl in America and figuring out just who she is and wants to be. In case the punny title didn’t make it clear, the author is not afraid to crack jokes at her own expense (though according to the book’s dedication, her mom hates the title).
Huda was always “the hijab girl” growing up, but once her family moved to Dearborn…
From the publisher: Horror master Junji Ito explores a new frontier with a grand cosmic horror tale in which a mysterious woman has her way with the world!
A young woman named Kyoko is hiking alone in the woods when she finds a bunch of volcanic hair, thin, hairlike strands of lava that can sometimes be carried on the wind near volcanoes. Except rather than being black like the normal stuff, this hair is bright gold. A short time later, she meets a man who says he was expecting her and brings her to his village, which turns out to be absolutely coated in the stuff, which he calls the amagami, or “heavenly hair.” Even stranger, strands of amagami seem to stick to these people and give them limited mental powers. The village believes this hair is a blessing from Saint Miguel, a Christian missionary who was thrown into the volcano centuries before. The next day, the…
From the publisher: Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra. New York Times and USA Today bestselling author TJ Klune’s YA debut, The Extraordinaries, is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves.
The Extraordinaries carefully walks the line between cliché-filled cringefest and awkwardly adorable teen romance. And by “walks the line,” I mean it steps right up to the line, scoops it into a giant hug, and asks it to go dancing. This book gleefully embraces every tired cliché in the genre and milks them for as much awkward humor and drama as possible.
Nick is a gay teen with ADHD whose crush on local superhero Shadow Star is so strong…
From the publisher: Keanu Reeves makes his comic book writing debut alongside New York Times bestselling co-writer Matt Kindt and acclaimed artist Ron Garney in a brutally violent new series about one immortal warrior’s fight through the ages.
In this comic created by Keanu Reeves, the main character is an immortal killing machine who flies into an unstoppable blood rage and enacts graphic, gory violence on anyone in his path.
The story begins with Subject B, as he’s known, going on a covert mission for the US government with a team of operatives. It quickly becomes clear that the other operatives are unnecessary, as B is more than capable of taking out everything and everyone in his way. In between missions, teams of government scientists study and interview Subject B…