The first few chapters in the series introduce us to the people Mitsu encounters in his work. Window washing is expensive so Mitsu often finds himself working in the upper levels, interacting with the quirky inhabitants. Most in the ring donít get to wander beyond their own level, so Mitsu has a unique look at life throughout the ring. Often his viewpoint is from outside the ring as he cleans windows, looking into apartments as if theyíre dioramas.
Most science fiction series lean toward action, so I enjoy that Iwaoka allows us to explore the Saturn Apartments and meet its characters, without a sense of impending doom. I adore Iwaokaís exterior landscapes outside the ring as well as the wide views of the interior levels. The contrast between the crowded lower level and the sparseness of the exterior ring make me feel both claustrophobic and weightless; a sensation I imagine one would encounter living in space. As the series progresses, Iwaoka hints at some exciting narrative possibilities and questions about what is left of planet Earth. Perhaps weíll soon get to visit our old home world and see what the future holds for humanity. In the meantime, I have enjoyed learning about day to day life in the Ring.
This series is not just for hardcore manga fans. If anything, it may be more appealing to those who enjoy indie comics and offers an easy introduction into reading Japanese style comics.
To find a copy near you: Click here
-Ruth Houston, Teen Services, Teen Underground, Main Library
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At first glance cooking can be a bit scary, especially if you havenít done much of it. One of the best things about teen friendly cookbooks is that they assume you havenít done much cooking, and so they tend to cover some pretty basic skills. A good book to start with is a lovely little book called How to Cook . If youíve only ever made food in the microwave, this is the book for you.
For more experienced teen chefs, I would recommend Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio or Eat Fresh Food by Rozanne Gold. Both of these books feature recipes for more adventurous cooks.
And vegetarian teens, I havenít forgotten about you. Check out The Teenís Vegetarian Cookbook for quick and easy recipes, as well as A Teenís Guide to Going Vegetarian.
The blog Teens Can Cook Too! is also a great place to find new recipes to try, and of course there is always Pinterest .
So, no more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Get out there and get cooking!
-Stephani, Teen Services, St. Matthews Branch
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Once you have, you can even work your way up the tree, and youíll never run out of entertainment.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians Family
Rick Riordanís Percy Jackson & the Olympians books represent the latest in a long line Ė stretching back over 2500 years Ė of adaptations of Greek Mythology. Although Riordan wasnít around to hear the Greek Myths told, himself, he certainly read adaptations, going back to Greek and Roman sources.
It doesnít have to be complicated, though. A direct adaptation is a relatively faithful re-telling of another work. A book being remade as a movie is an example of a direct adaptation: the movie might leave some things out, or make some changes, but it will pretty much follow the original plot. An example of a direct adaptation is Grant Morrisonís 18 Days series by Graphic India. (Published on YouTube.) 18 Days is a retelling of the Mahabharata Ė one of the epic myth cycles of Hinduism, along with the Ramayana. Although both Percy Jackson and 18 Days are based on a source, the Percy Jackson series isnít a straight re-telling of the Greek myths, but rather uses them as an artistic inspiration. 18 Days, however, follows the same plot as the Mahabharata, even though it chooses to tell the story in a different style (kind of like a sci-fi shadow puppet show).
You can do this with authors, artists, or directors, as well as books or movies! If you went to see a horror movie this Halloween season, it could probably trace its roots back to Charlotte BrontŽ or Edgar Allan Poe.
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Playground by 50 Cent is all about Butterball, a husky bully who thinks that name is much cooler than what is printed on his birth certificate. His teachers even call him Butterball. Heís the new kid at school and to keep kids from messing with him, he gets to them first. Heís a smart kid; he just does dumb stuff. Butterball's antics have gotten him into some serious trouble: suspension and required regular visits with a therapist. At home, things are just as disastrous.
His parents are not together. His father is not nearly as concerned with his son as he should be, and Butterball has completely lost the trust of his mother. Somehow, Butterball manages to weasel the trust of his mother once more, and she allows him to attend a party. Of course, he messes up. Thatís what Butterball does. He wouldnít be Butterball if he didnít. A plan did not work out, the joke is on him, and the tables have turned: he is now the victim of bullying, and thereís nothing he can do about it.
-Alexis Austin, Teen Services, Okolona Branch
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Right now, the master of surrealism for teens is Nova Ren Suma. For those unfamiliar with surrealism, it can be an acquired taste. Itís not quite realistic fiction and itís not quite fantasy or paranormal. Her books leave you with more questions than answers, and you may feel the story was dreamed rather than read. Suma says she was inspired by magical realism, which is a genre that introduces magical elements into an otherwise normal world. This isnít the magic of Harry Potter, but magic that exists at the edges of things. These books arenít fully paranormal, but as a reader you canít shake the feeling that something is amiss. If youíre the kind of reader that likes a solid ending that answers all of your questions, these may not be right for you. If you like open endings and enjoy the psychological heebie-jeebies, then you are in for a treat.
Nova Ren Sumaís YA debut, Imaginary Girls, was released in the summer of 2011. At its surface, this book is about the relationship between two sisters, our narrator Chloe and her enigmatic sister Ruby. There are parties by a reservoir, cute boys, and interesting new friends; but readers will quickly discover that things are not what they appear. The first oddity is the reappearance of a girl who drowned two years prior, but Chloe is the only one who seems to remember. There are also the stories Ruby tells about the former residents of Olive, a town flooded when the reservoir was built. Are the former residents still living beneath the water? This book isnít a traditional paranormal thriller, but it is certainly unsettling. There is a dreamy quality to Sumaís writing and this novel is unlike anything I have encountered in YA.
ďRubyís stories didnít have morals. They meant one thing in the light and one thing in the dark and another thing entirely when she was wearing sunglasses.Ē
Sumaís most recent novel is 17 & Gone . The narrator, Lauren, is haunted by girls who disappeared the year they turned 17. Police never fully investigated the disappearances because it was believed the girls ran away willingly, but Lauren knows better. The missing girls keep appearing in her car, in her room, on the side of the road; and they want her to find out what really happened to them. The book is a mix of mystery, ghost story, and psychological thriller. There is a bit more action than in Imaginary Girls, but the same unsettling atmosphere remains. Determining what is real and what is just in Laurenís head may be the focus, but the real horror of the novel is why no one cared to investigate after the girls went missing.
ďI was 17. I was a girl. Didn't we matter?Ē
ďHow heartless it was for a girl to be forgotten and buried before there was even anything of her to put in the ground."
-Ruth Houston, Youth Services, Teen Underground, Main Library
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