You know you’re in for a sharp satire when the graphic novel you’ve picked up is bookended by a character defending Illuminati conspiracy theories and a white woman claiming the accolades of a traumatic experience from her black friend. Darla just moved into a newly-renovated building in an area of Chicago’s south side affectionately dubbed the Bottomyards. Hoping to advance her career in fashion and somehow survive financially in the meantime, Darla ends up having to defend herself against not only the desperate attacks of a symbiotic monstrosity feeding off her apartment building, but the equally horrifying racial and class abuses of her friends, neighbors, and potential employers. Full of the wit expected of this incredible duo, BTTM FDRS is the perfect comic horror for our times. My recommendation, though? Don’t read this on your lunch break.
A facsimile retelling of C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, this novel gives us a glimpse of how the Pevensies must have struggled once they resumed their mundane lives in the “real world.” In Weymouth’s story, the Hapwell siblings have returned to a barely post-World War II England from a magical realm called the Woodland. Youngest sibling Evelyn can’t find home in the world to which she was born, while her older sister Philippa dives headfirst into her old life to escape the world she left behind. Told from both sisters’ perspectives, The Light Between Worlds is a lyrical exploration of one’s true place – in the people we love, in ourselves, or in woodland realms beyond our ken – and the lengths we take to chase it.
I doubt I need to give Neil Gaiman much introduction, or to expend any energy convincing you to read his comic series The Sandman. But, in case you are the rare person that hasn't heard of the series or has been neglecting picking it up for whatever reason, allow me tell you that there's a new, exciting reason to start. Legendary local author Nalo Hopkinson is one of several writers coming out with their own comic series set in the Sandman universe, and hers (titled The House of Whispers) is releasing September 12th! So, brush up on your comic knowledge before diving in to even more goodness from the world of Dream, Death, diabolical reality-perverting villains, and more.
Looking for a book with a niche perspective, a la Reading Without Walls? Darius the Great may be the perfect fit: Darius is from a mixed Persian family, constantly put out by his father’s scrutiny, even though they both take medication for depression, his sister’s ability (and his inability) to speak Farsi with his mother at home, and the bullying from other kids at school. Then his family travels to Iran to visit his grandparents, and suddenly Darius is thrust into a whole other side of himself through his family’s culture. With help from a new friend named Sohrab, Darius learns that it’s okay to not be okay, and to find the courage to be authentic, whatever that may mean. Perfect for advanced middle grade readers and new YA readers!
For those disillusioned with the frenzy that is modern social media, this book is not to be missed. Each argument is carefully annotated with up-to-the-minute, real-world examples, and Lanier's Silicon Valley perspective is a refreshing voice (especially after the recent wake of Zuckerberg memes). You may not end up actually deleting all of your social media accounts, but you will walk away more mindful of how these technologies are using and abusing you.