Friday, March 16, 2018

She Myself and I by Emma Young

After months of recovery, Rosa wakes up to a face she doesn't recognize and a body not entirely her own. Rosa was paralyzed from the neck down, but now she can move freely after her brain was transplanted into the body of another young woman named Sylvia who drowned.

Up until now, Rosa has lived a mostly solitary life with her parents, loving older brother and a few online friends. Before being confined to her wheelchair, she went to school and had friends, but that slowly all went away.

Rosa's mother, a doctor, found hope in a new, radical operation that takes the family from their home in England to Boston. Rosa will be the first person ever to have her brain transplanted. But during her time confined in the hospital, Rosa begins to wonder who Sylvia was. What was she like? Did she have friends? What were her hobbies? Even though both families signed a confidentiality agreement, Rosa must know more about Sylvia.

For the first time in a long time, Rosa is able to move but does not have the freedom to go anywhere outside the hospital. When she secretly takes those steps, she meets someone who might be able to help her discover who Sylvia was.

Rosa's story is not a gruesome tale of horror, but about a girl trying to find her identity. Rosa can't decide if she is still herself or the girl whose body she inhabits. Is she a fraud, a freak? Only she can find the answers in this fascinating story about tragedy and hope (and a bit of romance).

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eliza has created a monster - actually several of them. She is the writer/artist of a hugely popular online fantasy graphic novel called Monstrous Sea. But only a small group of people know she is the creator.

Eliza's two younger brothers know, but (annoying as they are to her) don't tell anyone. Her parents think Monstrous Sea is just a hobby, and have no idea how popular it is or that Eliza makes tons of money from it. Eliza has two online friends (who she has never actually met) who moderate her message boards, run the online store, etc. That's all the people who know.

Having no interest in physical activities like sports (much to her parents' frustration) or friends from school (her parents aren't too happy about that either), Eliza devotes most of her time to Monstrous Sea. She knows there are many fans even in her school, but she keeps to herself so she never interacts with them. That ends the day she steps in to help a new student, Wallace.

Wallace is the size of a football player and never says anything. It is only through passing notes that Eliza finds out that he writes Monstrous Sea fan fiction. His friends are huge fans, too. But Eliza can't reveal who she is to them. She wants to tell Wallace but how will he react?

The secrets, the expectations of fans, her parent's lack of understanding all put much pressure on Eliza. She truly has created a monster that could consume her if she lets it.

It is a interesting story about dealing with online fame and privacy. Who does an artist create for - herself or the public? Explore this question with Eliza as she deals with the regular stress of being a teenager - it's worth it.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This is sadly a book for our time. A young African American man is shot and killed by a white police officer. The man did nothing to provoke the shooting. Protests and riots follow. The police officer is held up to the community as a fine man with a family, while the victim is called a thug and drug dealer.

We see this all through Starr's eyes. She is with Khalil when he is shot. They were close as children and ended up leaving a party together when the police officer pulled up to their car.

Starr walks in two worlds: her home life in Garden Heights and her school life at a nearly all white private school she attends. She and her brother were sent there to get them away from the dangers and temptations of the neighborhood. Starr's dad used to be a gang member. He worked hard to get out and doesn't want his children getting involved.

What is so compelling about this story is it gives a view of the victim's life. Without getting too involved in the unfortunate politics of real life shootings, it seems the victims rarely get their perspective fully explained. Starr is the witness: to the shooting, to Khalil's life, to the subsequent reaction of her white classmates, to the neighborhood gang members, to the police. She is our eyes.

This a powerful story that should cause all who read it think about where we are as a society and how we treat each other.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Protected by Claire Zorn

Hannah's sister, Katie, died in an accident, and Hannah was there. Almost a year later, her family is still suffering. Her father was injured in the accident and will never be physically the same again. Her mother has checked out of life spending hours laying in bed and hardly eating. With the pending trial of her father (did he cause the accident?), her parents relationship becomes more tense.

Katie was beautiful and confident. She was stylish and hung without whoever she wanted to. Hannah is quiet and likes to read. When Hannah started getting bullied at school, Katie told Hannah to stick up for herself. Hannah just wanted Katie to defend her.

At the beginning of freshman year, Hannah's best friend, Charlotte, was accepted by the popular girls. Hannah tried to be accepted but instead became their target. After awhile, Hannah and Charlotte were no longer friends.

So even though the bullying stopped after Katie died, Hannah is still very much alone. When a transfer student starts paying attention to Hannah, she is skeptical about what he really wants.

Hannah's story is heartbreaking, but hopeful. Even though she will never get her sister back, she might be able to find her own path and have a life of her own.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.