YA Superhuman Novels

There is a growing body of work for fans of YA novels dedicated to the superhuman – be they hero, villain or something in-between. This is a list of titles that I have read, enjoyed and can safely recommend as being some of the best of the genre.

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Katie Holmes, aged 17, lives with her adoptive mother, the housekeeper of a fabulous house in Camps Bay belonging to the gorgeous hunk Finn O’Reilly. Finn has the ability to stop time, to move into what is called “untime”. Katie can’t stop time but, uniquely, can function in “untime” and works as a partner, a sidekick, to Finn.
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SteeleartTen years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadow group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart – the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning – and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
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firefightThe sequel to Steelheart
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OTHERGIRL-cover-rgb-667x1024Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They’re closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica has superpowers.

When Erica isn’t doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero’s BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can’t win every fight by herself.

Life isn’t a comic book – it’s even crazier than that.

Othergirl is out soon
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herocomSurfing the net during a lightning storm has amazing consequences for a group of teenage friends. Superhero powers are theirs at the click of a mouse! Trouble is, they don’t know what the powers will be until they try them out …

But super powers carry super responsibilities. When a weather-altering, world-conquering supervillain kidnaps their mum, they have to decide: save her …or save the world!
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No Super Hero is complete without a Super Villain to rise against:

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When Jake, the school bully, deliberately infects the school’s IT system with a virus, he starts receiving strange emails. Somebody is inviting him to join them in ‘conquering the world’ and they send him a link to a website: VILLAIN.NET. It only takes a few clicks before Jake finds himself signed up to an entire world of supervillains.
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hivecoverOtto Malpense may only be thirteen years old, but so far he has managed to run the orphanage where he lives, and he has come up with a plan clever enough to trick the most powerful man in the country. He is the perfect candidate to become the world’s next supervillain.

That is why he ends up at H.I.V.E., handpicked to become a member of the incoming class. The students have been kidnapped and brought to a secluded island inside a seemingly active volcano, where the school has resided for decades. All the kids are elite; they are the most athletic, the most technically advanced, and the smartest in the country. Inside the cavernous marble rooms, floodlit hangars, and steel doors, the students are enrolled in Villainy Studies and Stealth and Evasion 101. But what Otto soon comes to realize is that this is a six-year program, and leaving is not an option.

Graphic Novels about the Holocaust (updated)

The term Holocaust, originally from the Greek word “holokauston” which means “sacrifice by fire,” refers to the Nazi’s persecution and planned slaughter of the Jewish people. The Hebrew word HaShoah, which means “calamity” or “devastation” is also used for this genocide.

The thought of what was wrought between 1933 & 1945, not just to the Jews but also to Gypsies, homosexuals, people with disabilities and many others is almost impossible to comprehend. It was inhumanity of a scale that dwarfs the imagination. I have known about what happened for years, it is taught in schools, many volumes have been written about what happened but until I visited the Holocaust exhibit at the Imperial War Museum several years ago, my knowledge was academic. Seeing the pile of shoes in the exhibit and the clothes worn by the inmates of the camps and everything else displayed there affected me so much that I am actually frightened by the thought of going back in to the exhibit.

In 2010 I was working for Brent Libraries and for Holocaust Memorial Day we were fortunate to have artist Maurice Blik a survivor of Belsen come in to Willesden Green Library to give a talk to a combined group from local secondary schools. I wept as I listened to him speak of his experiences as a child and the loss of his younger sister. He is a phenomenal artist and also a fantastic speaker.

That brings me on to graphic novels, it has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words and that is true of comic books. The belief that comics could be more than disposable entertainment had already begun to change when Art Spiegelman’s Maus: a Survivor’s Tale was published, but it was this book more than many of the other graphic novels published in the late 1980’s that helped change that supposition.


Maus is the tale of Art Spiegelman’s troubled relationship with his father Vladek, a Holocaust survivor, and, through his conversations with his father the story of his family’s experiences of Hitler’s Final Solution. In Maus the Jews were represented as mice, the Germans as cats (Katzies), the French as Frogs and so on. Maus has been described as ‘the most affective and successful narrative ever done about the Holocaust’ by the Wall Street Journal and after over 20 years of publication it is still a powerful and moving narrative of the Holocaust and the effect it had on the survivors. Art Spiegelman won the Pulitzer Prize in 1992 after the second volume had been published. A companion volume entitled MetaMaus was published in 2011.
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In the pages of METAMAUS, Art Spiegelman re-enters the Pulitzer prize-winning MAUS, the modern classic that has altered how we see literature, comics, and the Holocaust ever since it was first published twenty-five years ago.
He probes the questions that MAUS most often evokes – Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics? – and gives us a new and essential work about the creative process.
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Auschwitz by Pascal Croci begins and ends in a squalid room in former Yugoslavia in 1993, another graphic novel rendered beautifully in black & white, Auschwitz is a fictionalized story of an elderly couple trapped in the midst of the civil war that presaged the breakup of Yugoslavia. They relive their memories of being trapped in Auschwitz and what they had to endure to survive. Pascal Croci interviewed a number of survivors to make sure that his story was accurate, and based a number of incidences within the book on events that happened to his interviewees during the war. Auschwitz is relatively short – only 70 pages of story but it is no less harrowing for its brevity, it also contains background information to the creation of the book, including extracts from transcripts of the interviews and a glossary of terms used.

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Eric Heuvel is the author and illustrator of A Family Secret, using the ligne claire style of drawing pioneered by Herge the creator of Tintin to illustrate the book, he tells the story of Jeroen, who, while searching in his grandmother’s attic for items to sell at a flea market finds a scrapbook created by his grandmother in 1936. On enquiring about what it was about, Helena starts telling her grandson about her youth in Amsterdam in the 1930’s and the arrival of Esther, a young Jewish girl, and her family.
A Family Secret is a wonderful example of a family split apart by politics and duty, viewed from the perspective of Helena who is telling the story. Using a child’s view for the narration gives the tale of the invasion of Holland and the indignities heaped on the citizens of Amsterdam and the Jews in particular. Helena’s father was a police officer and after the German occupation he had to become involved in clearing the Jews from Amsterdam and one evening he has to round up Esther’s family.

 

The Search, also by Eric Heuvel is a companion volume to A Family Secret and tells the story of Esther, and what happened to her before and during the war. Both volumes are told via flashbacks from contemporary Holland and America and focus more on what happened to Jewish families during and after the war and how some survived.
Out of all the graphic novels I read it was A family Secret and the Search that affected me the most, I found myself welling up whilst reading, this was in part due to my being a massive Tintin fan and seeing similar much-loved artwork being used to illustrate a heartbreaking story, these books are also the most positive, sad as they are.

A Family Secret and The Search are published by MacMillan, Teaching guides for both books are available from the US site.

 
 
Not all the graphic novels are black & white, Marvel Comics published a five issue mini series called Magneto: Testament, this is the backstory of Magneto, the greatest foe the X Men have ever faced. At first I questioned the idea of wedging a comic book villain into the story of Auschwitz and the events leading up to the final solution. It is not a super hero story, it is a story of the Holocaust and a boy who has to grow up quickly in the midst of the most inhumane conditions to not only survive but save the woman he loves and himself.
Writer Greg Pak and artist carmine Di Giandomenico bring you this heartbreaking and historically accurate look at one of the most popular characters in the X-Men canon.
Magneto: testament also contains extensive notes at the back of the book about the creation of the book and historical facts about Auschwitz as well as topics for group discussion.

 
 

Marvel Comics is not alone in publishing a Holocaust comic book, DC Comics published the amazing what if… story by Joe Kubert, titled Yossel April 19, 1943.

In 1926 Joe Kubert’s family tried to emigrate to America, but owing to the fact that his mother was pregnant with him at the time, their request was denied. Fortunately not willing to give up his family tried again shortly after his birth and they were successful with their second attempt.
With Yossel, Joe Kubert imagined what his life would have been like if his family had not made their second attempt.
As he wrote in his introduction:

If my parents had not come to America, we would have been caught in that maelstrom, sucked in and pulled down with the millions of others who were lost…
The usual procedure in cartooning is to do the initial drawings with pencil, then to apply ink over the pencils with brush and pen. The pencil drawings are then erased, leaving only the ink rendering.
The drawings in this book are pencil drawings…

As a concept the idea of a comic book composed of rough sketches does not sound too appealing, but when you open the book that does not matter anymore! You forget that these are only rough sketches; the sense of movement in them is amazing. I think that so much vitality would have been lost if they had been inked and coloured.
Again this is a fictionalised account of what might have happened to Joe (Yossel) and his family had they not left Poland. The date in the title is significant; the 19th April 1943 is the date of the beginning of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The Germans thought that they would be able to put down the revolt by the by then starving Jews in the ghetto in three days, but they were in for a shock, although poorly armed and hemmed in the Jews resisted until the 16th of May making the Nazi forces pay in blood for each foot of ground they took.

I have recently come across two biographies involving the Holocaust, the first the story of Lily Renée who was fortunate enough to be evacuated to England but her story is no less interesting – her ordeal as a refugee in England was one shared by many who escaped. The second is the official graphic biography of Anne Frank, adapted from her diaries and other works documenting her families life in Germany and Holland.

lily-reneeIn 1938, Lily Renée Wilhelm is a 14-year-old Jewish girl living in Vienna.

Her days are filled with art and ballet. Then the Nazis march into Austria, and Lily’s life is shattered overnight. Suddenly, her own country is no longer safe for her or her family. To survive, Lily leaves her parents behind and travels to England.

Escaping the Nazis is only the start of Lily’s journey. She must escape many more times – from servitude, hardship, and danger. Will she find a way to have her own sort of revenge on the Nazis? Follow the story of a brave girl who becomes an artist of heroes, and a true pioneer in comic books.
 
 
 
 

Anne-Frank-graphic-biographyDrawing on the unique historical sites, archives, expertise and unquestioned authority of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, the New York Times bestselling authors Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colon have created teh first authorised graphic biography of Anne Frank. Their account is complete, covering the lives of Anne’s parents, Edith and Otto, Anne’s first years in Frankfurt; the rise of Nazism; the Frank’s immigration to Amsterdam; war and occupation; Anne’s years in the Secret Annex; betrayal and arrest; her deportation and tragic death in Bergen-Belsen; the survival of Anne’s father; and his recovery and publication of her astounding diary.

 
 
 
 

 
 
twilight-zone-deaths-head-jLocation: Dachau concentration camp years after World War II. A retired German SS captain returns to reminisce about his days in power. Until he finds himself at the mercy of those he tortured, and on trial by those who died at his hands. Justice will finally be served . . . in the Twilight Zone.

Death’s Head Revisited is a graphic reimagining of the classic Twilight Zone episode of the same name. It details the story of former SS captain Gunther Lutze who returns to Dachau from South America to relive his old glory days only to be confronted by the ghosts of those he had murdered decades before.

I had never seen the original episode so the graphic novel was my introduction to this classic story, I have since watched it (video below) and an mot sure which version of the story I find more chilling. It is a brilliantly told and illustrated story of vengeance from beyond the grave.

The horror of the concentration camp is shown in full colour and the charges laid against the captain are chilling to read. Lutze is unrepentant and at first unbelieving of what is happening to him and needless to say gets what he deserves.

An endnote to the story features similarities of the story with that of real-life Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who was tried for his crimes around the time the original story was written.

You can watch the original episode here:

Death’s-Head Revisited (Dir. Don Medford, 1961) from CAJ on Vimeo.

 

Not all graphic novels focus on the Holocaust through the eyes of the people that suffred through it, I have recently discovered two brilliant books set in the here and now but still affected by the what has gone before.

We Won’t See Auschwitz is a graphic memoir by Jérémie Dres about two brothers who visit Poland to see where their grandmother came from, their express mission is to not to visit Auschwitz.

Auschwitz: five years of annihilation for more than a thousand years of life and history of the Jewish people of Poland. A trauma still so real it threatens to make us forget everything else. It’s the everything else that I went looking for. – from the preface by Jean-Yves Potel.

The Property by Rutu Modan is another story about a woman and her grand-daughter’s return to Warsaw to reclaim family property lost during the war.

wewontsee
A journey through Poland to discover what it means to be Jewish

When his grandmother dies, Jérémie and his elder brother wanted to learn more about their family’s Polish roots. But Jérémie is less interested in finding out about how the Holocaust affected his family, and more interested in understanding what it means to be Jewish and Polish today. They decide not to do the Holocaust trail… they won’t see Auschwitz. Through their journey, they discover a country that is still affected by its past. The brothers talk to lots of people, including progressive rabbis and young Jewish Orthodox artists. Using their grandmother’s stories, they piece together the threads of their family history.
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propertyrutu
After the death of her son, Regina Segal takes her granddaughter Mica to Warsaw, hoping to reclaim a family property lost during World War II. As they get to know modern Warsaw, Regina is forced to recall difficult things about her past, and Mica begins to wonder if maybe their reasons for coming aren’t a little different than her grandmother led her to believe.

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The Holocaust was not the only attempt at genocide in the 20th century, but it is the most well-known and reviled. To learn more about this and the Armenian Genocide, Rwanda, Darfur, Cambodia and others visit http://www.hmd.org.uk/

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Young Romantics Prize

Young Romantics is a new prize for poems and short stories inspired by the Romantics. It gives young writers between the ages of 16 & 18 the opportunity to win a week-long Creative Writing Course with Arvon at one of their famous residential centres working with practising writers

Entrants can submit up to 2 poems and 2 short stories.
All entries must be on the theme of Lost Angels.
Poems must be no more than 20 lines
Short Stories must be no more than 1,000 words.

The competition closes on the 13th March.

For full details and to enter the competition follow this link:
http://www.keats-shelley.co.uk/young-romantics-prize

Holocaust Memorial Day Pack

I got back to my library today to find that the Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) Pack that I ordered from the HMD Trust had arrived while I was away.

The theme for this years memorial is Keep the Memory Alive

As with the 2014 pack it contains a lapel pin, posters commemorating the Holocaust, the Genocides in Darfur, Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia, Nazi persecution of minority groups, a sticker set, a leaflet detailing the importance of remembering what has happened and ideas and tips on organising activities centred around HMD as well as how to publicise them.

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the 20th anniversary of the Genocide in Srebrenica, Bosnia

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Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on the 27th January, there is still time to order or download a pack here http://hmd.org.uk/campaign-pack

GCHQ launches new code-making app

Cryptoy is a fun, free, educational app about cryptography, designed by GCHQ for use by secondary school students and their teachers.

The app enables users to understand basic encryption techniques, learn about their history and then have a go at creating their own encoded messages. These can then be shared with friends via social media or more traditional means and the recipients can use the app to try to decipher the messages.

For full details and to download the app go here:  Cryptoy App

It is up to you whether or not you trust GCHQ enough to install it but it could be great for teens interested in cryptography.

Teen Librarian Monthly December 2014

Download (PDF, Unknown)

Literature Wales and Welsh Government announce new international ‘Dylan Day’

As part of an event to mark the conclusion of the successful year-long Dylan Thomas 100 Festival, Dylan Thomas’ granddaughter Hannah Ellis today announced the creation of Dylan Day, a new annual day of celebration in the name of Wales’ most famous literary son.

The announcement was made at the National Library of Wales and will build upon the legacy of the Dylan Thomas 100 Festival. In response to requests to establish a public day, Dylan Day will be held each year on 14 May, the date Under Milk Wood was first read on stage at The Poetry Centre in New York in 1953.

Starting in 2015, and part of a three year package of funding announced by Welsh Government, Dylan Day will celebrate and raise the profile of Thomas’ work in Wales and abroad through a variety of activities to include launch events, educational resources and social media activity.

The first year’s activity will centre on the publication of A Dylan Odyssey, a beautiful, fully illustrated book featuring fifteen unique Dylan Thomas trails across Wales, London, Oxford and New York. Edited by Literature Wales and published by south Welsh publisher Graffeg, A Dylan Odyssey is based on Literature Wales’ 2014 Dylan Thomas-inspired literary tourism programme of the same name. Further details will be released by Literature Wales in the New Year.

Guests at the event in Aberystwyth were entertained by actor Adrian Metcalfe playing the part of the great poet, leading guests around the ‘Dylan’ exhibition. National Poet of Wales, Gillian Clarke, recited her favourite Dylan Thomas poem ‘Poem in October’ and Young People’s Laureate Wales, Martin Daws and Bardd Plant Cymru, Aneirin Karadog, performed a short extract from their Dylan Live show. Speaking at the event Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council spoke about Dylan Thomas’ links to Ceredigion and the positive impact the centenary had had on the county.

Hannah Ellis said: ‘It is so important that we make the most of the amazing legacy the Dylan Thomas 100 festival has offered and continue to celebrate the achievements of Dylan Thomas. An international day devoted to my grandfather will also be a way to bring attention to literature and arts in Wales and the places that inspired him so much. Let’s embrace the day, dress up, read a poem or two and have fun exploring the magic of words.’

Chief Executive of Literature Wales, Lleucu Siencyn said: ‘Dylan Thomas fans across the UK and beyond have long been calling for a special day to celebrate the great poet and it seemed fitting that we should build on this year’s extraordinary achievements in Wales and abroad to celebrate Dylan Thomas by formally creating such a day. We look forward to working with partners and the public to spread the word of this great Welsh poet through fun and engaging activity for people of all ages.’

Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: ‘The announcement of Dylan Day gives the year long celebration of Dylan Thomas’ life and work a fitting conclusion. I’m delighted that this day will become a legacy for the festival and that the interest which has been shown in Dylan Thomas and Wales during the centenary celebrations will keep its momentum through this annual focal point.’

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of Ceredigion County Council: ‘Ceredigion is a place where Dylan Thomas clearly found inspiration – being by the sea, and with real people he could relax with, listen to their tales of life and adventure, and have fun with words with other poets and artists on his visits to farms in the Aeron Valley and coastal villages like Llangrannog. He set off ‘quite early one morning’ along what has now become the Wales Coast Path, and found the template for his best known work, Under Milk Wood, in New Quay. Ceredigion is proud of its long literary tradition, which is very much alive today – we probably have more poets in Ceredigion per head of population than anywhere in the world! We look forward to building on the success of the Dylan Thomas 100 festival and a continued partnership approach in celebration of our shared culture.’

For more information please contact:

Literature Wales
Chief Executive: Lleucu Siencyn,
Fourth Floor, Cambrian Buildings, Cardiff, CF10 5FL
029 2047 2266 / post@literaturewales.org
www.literaturewales.org

The BBC Young Writers’ Award with Booktrust launches to find the best young writers in the UK

In 2015, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award, Booktrust will be extending their partnership with the BBC by launching the brand new BBC Young Writers’ Award with Booktrust to inspire and encourage the next generation of writers.

Young people aged 14 to 18, who live in the UK, are invited from today to submit short stories of up to 1,000 words on any topic. A panel of three judges will select a shortlist of the top five stories, which will be announced in September 2015. The judges will be looking for high-quality writing, stories that demonstrate originality, imagination and creativity, and writers who can capture the reader and hold their attention.

Further details are available here

Little White Lies by Katie Dale

A few thoughts on Zoella, Ghost-writers & Getting Teens to Read

aaZoe Sugg (Zoella) and Penguin seem to have taken a lot of flak over the weekend as rumours (now confirmed) abounded about the use of a ghost-writer to produce Girl Online, the fastest selling début novel ever. I have seen a number of sub-tweets about this in my twitter network, and thought that the furore would die down, but if anything it has grown larger and more frenzied.

I am not totally sure why people seem to be getting more upset than usual; it is not as if ghost-writing is a new phenomenon, even in the YA and Children’s book market; series like Sweet Valley High, the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew spring to mind.

The thought of celebrities getting publishing deals because of who they are upsets a lot of people, some of whom may feel that authors should be published on the merits of their manuscripts rather than because of who they are. Publishing is a business much like any other and books are published to make money, authors that do well are groomed and promoted to sell more.

Superstars get publishing deals because publishers know they come with a built-in fan-base, a percentage of whom are almost guaranteed to buy the book, even if they have not purchased (or read many) books before.

As someone who knows absolutely nothing about fashion, beauty and the difficulties of being a young woman I am pretty sure that Zoella is doing something right with her Youtube channel – she has over six million followers that listen to her for a reason.

As a librarian I am less concerned with the perceived iniquities of ghost-writing and more interested in how celebrity books can be used to get young people hooked on reading. Around 78 thousand copies of Girl Online were sold last week – I am sure that a percentage of those went to teenagers who do not often pick up a book through choice. As many librarians, teachers and anyone that works with young people may know, getting teenagers that view reading as a pointless waste of time to read is one of the more Sisyphean tasks that we can face. So when someone that young people look up to attaches their name to a book I will not question its provenance too deeply.

I will celebrate anyone who will get young people enthusiastic about books & reading so I am a BIG fan of Zoe Suggs – more power to her!

So if you had a student or child that read and loved Girl Online by Zoe Suggs and would like to encourage them in their reading pursuits then they may also enjoy:

adorkable
Adorkable by Sara Manning

Jeane Smith’s a blogger, a dreamer, a dare-to-dreamer, a jumble sale queen, CEO of her own lifestyle brand and has half a million followers on twitter.

Michael Lee’s a star of school, stage and playing field. A golden boy in a Jack Wills hoodie.

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can’t they stop snogging?
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adEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she’s never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn’t stick out more if she tried.

Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and – in Eleanor’s eyes – impossibly cool, Park’s worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you’re 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose.
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addGuitar Girl Sara Manning

Seventeen-year-old Molly Montgomery never planned on becoming famous. Molly’s band, The Hormones, was just supposed to be about mucking around with her best mates, Jane and Tara, and having fun. But when the deliciously dangerous Dean and his friend T join the band, things start happening fast. Soon The Hormones are front-page news, and their debut album is rocketing up the charts. Molly is the force behind the band, but the hazards of fame, first love, screaming fans, and sleazy managers are forcing the newly crowned teen queen of grrl angst close to the edge. Fame never comes for free, and Molly’s about to find out what it costs.
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adddGeek Girl by Holly Smale

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

abFan Girl by Rainbow Rowell

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

acCode Red Lipstick by Sarah Sky

Models, spies and lipstick gadgets… When Jessica’s father, a former spy, vanishes mysteriously, Jessica takes matters into her own hands. She’s not just a daddy’s girl who’s good at striking a pose; she’s a trained spook who knows how to take on MI6 and beat them at their own game.