I am almost a year into my new role as Children and Teen Librarian! I’ve been visiting classes, running program after program, zipping out to conferences, buying piles of books, deleting piles of other books, and singing If You’re Happy and You Know It.
— Karissa Fast (@karissadawna) February 1, 2017
Being a Children’s Librarian is as hectic as it is fun – and I already love it.
One of the major perks to being the one who buys all the new Children and Teen books is that I know what’s coming, and try to read as many of them as I can. Here are some of my favourites from the past year:
What I’ve Read
Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten: This Canadian YA novel is best described as Gone Girl meets Gossip Girl meets the DSM-5. It’s a true Psychological Thriller that teens will love. It switches between the perspectives of Kate (scholarship orphan with a giant secret to protect and a lying problem) and Olivia (uber rich daddy’s girl who is highly medicated for some mysterious reason). The girls go to the same high-end all girls prep school in NYC and become fast friends. This book has the thrill of the rich and famous party scene, with the juicy twists of the suspense genre. To say anymore may ruin it, so if you liked Gone Girl, Girl on a Train, We Were Liars, or The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, give it a try.
Flannery by Lisa Moore: One of my favourite authors made her first dive into the teen fiction world and she did so magnificently. Lisa Moore’s trademark depth and darkness works so well in this story of teenage Newfoundland love. There are love potions, graffiti, artsy and questionable moms, unrequited love, and difficult friendships. It’s empowering and hilarious and harsh and tender. Highly highly recommend.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston: Well I guess 2016 Canadian YA novels by female authors are having a moment in my world. Here’s another 5 star read that I can’t put into the hands of enough teens. While a story featuring a cheerleader attending cheer camp with her best friend would not usually be my go to, this is so much more than that. Hermoine Winters is the co-captain of her cheerleading camp. She’s a truly dedicated athlete and an amazing friend who’s getting ready for the next steps of her life after highschool. During a party she has a drink, and everything goes black. Hermione won’t let her rape define her – she won’t be anyone’s cautionary tale. This book is beautifully, poetically written, and full of twists. I couldn’t stop reading and I couldn’t stop thinking about the character. Immediately after I read Asking For It by Irish author Louise O’Neill, and would highly recommend that pairing.
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler: I will forever cherish this book as the book I read on my honeymoon in Barcelona. When this book first came out in June 2016 I read the first chapter and wanted to binge the rest immediately – it’s a Hogarth Shakespeare retelling of The Taming of the Shrew featuring a young sarcastic woman who works with small children. BUT I decided to wait until the end of August to read the book on the plane to Barcelona and I’m so glad I did. Above it is pictured with flowers and fresh bread from a market on La Rambla, and a sketch my husband did from the window of our airbnb.
We’re All in this Together by Amy Jones: Since it’s Can Lit, I can’t help but hope the title is an homage to one of my favourite Sam Roberts songs. This was the other book I read on our Barcelona honeymoon. It was perfect for the coastal train ride we took from Barcelona to Tarragona, and it was perfect for the plane ride home. Witty, surprising domestic fiction set in Thunder Bay. Had me laughing out loud and rushing to get to the last page.
Giant Days by John Allison: The more high quality comics out there about real female friendships, the better. Giant Days follows the daily lives of 3 first year university students. It’s funny, real, uplifting, and full of girl power moments that won’t make you cringe. Its greatest strength is its characters. You’ll get to know them like you would a friend and you’ll care about them.
Batgirl of Burnside: It’s like Giant Days meets the superhero genre. Barbra Gordon is revamped as a 20something college student, trying to balance incoming romance, new friendships, her thesis proposal, her secret identity, and all the bad guys. It’s fresh and modern (she’s a genius computer coder who gets criticized for taking selfies) and totally gripping. Can’t wait for the next volume.
Other graphic novels that I couldn’t put down recently:
- In Real Life by Cory Doctorow
- ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean
- Black Panther: Who Is The Black Panther by Reginald Hudlin & John Romita, Jr.
- I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young
- Over the Garden Wall: Tome of the Unknown by Pat McHale
- Paper Girls by Brian K Vaughn
- Bera the One-Headed Troll by Eric Orchard
- Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
What I Listened To
Since I now spend 30 minutes driving to and from work each day, I decided to invest in some new CDs. Yes I still buy CDs. My favourite new driving albums are: On Blonde by Yukon Blonde, iii by Miike Snow, Light the Sky by Radio Radio, Trash by M83, Touch by July Talk, & Wild World by Bastille.
We got a record player for Christmas and have really been enjoying July Talk, Beirut, Daft Punk, David Bowie, Tame Impala, and Foals.
What I Did
I got married! Danny and I got married on August 27th 2016 in the Rose Garden at Pillar and Post in Niagara on the Lake. It was a wonderful day full of so much love and fun, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Then we went to Barcelona for our honeymoon! It was the perfect trip for us – views, food, wine, history, art, culture, and ocean. Oh and rollercoasters. We highly recommend Park Guell, day trip to Girona (Game of Thrones has scenes filmed there!) or anywhere in the Costa Bravas area, the Barcelona Chocolate Museum, staying in the Gothic Quarter, and the amusement park Port Aventura.
Phew! That was a lot to catch up on. Now that I’m more in the swing of things, living back in St. Catharines and settled into my new role, I will post more regularly about my favourite reads. What were some of your favourite books lately?