Woooow another tangentially surrealist adult fiction novel that makes you question your life and place in society (at least this one’s not blue). The Factory is easy to take in as you read along, and makes for good intro-level analysis and discussion once you’re done. I would argue that this is a great place to start if you are interested in Kafka or Murakami, but find that their texts can’t find purchase in your head.
If you liked The Mysterious Benedict Society, and want to try manga, start here. The story follows the orphans of Grace Field who are trying to escape their “mother” and the… beings she works for. Giving you more details won’t necessarily spoil the plot, because you learn early on what the situation is, but I think withholding that information will add a nice element of surprise. Just trust me on this one, it’s got action, drama, a dash of fantasy/sci-fi (yes, both) and it is GOOD.
Andre Cobb just received a liver transplant so he can now try to lead a semi-normal life. Or so he thought. Turns out his donor came from a family of time travelers, giving Andre the ability to jump between time. So now, normal is spending half his time with Blake, the brother of Andre’s donor, and Michael, the boy who lived in his house 50 years ago, while trying to figure out where and when he should keep his heart.
Don’t let the title scare you out of picking up this book. And keep reading until Mateo and Rufus meet. The book will leave you melancholic for sure, and sometimes the writing will release you from the hold of the story, but the relationship that grows between Mateo and Rufus makes it so worth the read.
Annihilation is a splendidly disconcerting novel. The writing almost feels like a hushed conversation with the narrator, with you trying to glean what you can while navigating what is real and what is not, nervous that someone else might be listening in… This book is perfect for anyone looking for an unsettling ending and affirmation that you cannot trust anyone or anything, not even yourself.
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Raku, son of a Yakuza boss, fakes a relationship with Chitoge, daughter of a rivaling gang, to keep the peace between the groups. It wouldn’t pose a problem if they hadn’t already gotten off on the wrong foot. And if Raku didn’t have a huge crush on his classmate, Onodera. And if he wasn’t looking for his childhood love with only a locket to find her with (which he repeatedly loses). It's not a story we haven't seen, but is cute, and laugh-out-loud (or at least smile-to-yourself) funny!
This story is a coming of age and romance all in one! It follows Ari in the summer after graduating high school, sharing with us his dilemma of choosing between his family’s bakery and pursuing a future with his band. With the introduction of Ari’s replacement, Hector, Ari starts to rethink what (and who) he wants in his life. It is also beautifully illustrated and the simple black, white, and blue panels will captivate you.
The themes of Ghost Wall are ones we’ve all seen, but they come in the form of a unique plot expressed through compelling language. We explore female oppression, abuse, class, (among other themes) through a 2-week excursion in which Sylvie, her family, and a few other volunteers must live as humans lived in the Iron Age. It’s a short read that will occupy your brain space even after you finish.
Set in a time where a disaster left the elderly practically immortal and the children extremely frail, The Emissary provokes wonder and reflection about what we consider normal and what we could consider normal by having Yoshiro share his thoughts and experiences as he and his great grandson navigate this post-apocalyptic life. The plot takes a turn that I think I would have preferred it didn’t take, but, in my opinion, this book is worth the read for the perspective that it gives you.
When You Reach Me is a story that at first glance seems basic, but as you dive deeper will find nuanced writing fit for all audiences. Seriously, pay attention to the details and you won’t regret it. It’s the perfect introduction to science fiction and mystery, yet also a great read to learn about ways to navigate complicated relationships between people, and even still valuable for insight on New York in the 70s.
This manga is quite the captivating slow-burn queer romance between a noblewoman with a distressing wish and her maid who is requested to fulfill it. Both characters have a way with words, as the maid is an aspiring writer and the noblewoman an expert in literature, so you will find yourself blushing, laughing, and even sulking at times, throughout the story.
Wintergirls shares the story of Lia, who has long been struggling with an eating disorder. She loses a lot at the hands of the disorder, and must find the resolve to finally let it go. In this book, Laurie Halse Anderson captures the rawness and intricacy of being a struggling teenage girl without being campy or condescending.
If you enjoy dystopian teen stories, you will enjoy the Delirium trilogy. In the first book of the series, Lauren Oliver introduces us to Lena, an 18 year old girl getting ready for her government-mandated procedure to cure her from the disease of love. Knowing what love did to her mother, she has been looking forward to her procedure for years. But when she meets someone from the Wilds - a jurisdiction thought to have been destroyed years prior, that is now home to those who refuse the government’s “treatment” - she is forced to rethink her stance on love.
This book is a favorite from my childhood. Anderson made spooky content appropriate for a child without sacrificing the thrill of a good spine shivering story. May Bird is perfect for readers looking for inspiration to be brave in a non-traditional fantasy setting.