Tag Archives: hipster

Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy

Written by: Noelle Stevenson & Grace EllisLumberjanes Beware the Kitten Holy

Illustrated by: Brooke Allen/Colored by :Maarta Laiho/Lettered by: Aubrey Aiese

Lumberjanes, vol. 1

My rating: 4.5 of 5

At Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hard-Core Lady Types (“Friendship to the Max!”), the counselors aim to inspire girls to gain new skills and face challenges boldly and resourcefully. But one cabin of girls seems to be experiencing more than their usual share of . . . well, strangeness and adventure this summer. Friends April, Molly, Jo, Mal, and Ripley have encountered sea monsters, hipster yetis, and even weird three-eyed foxes in the night that warn them to “beware the kitten holy.” But these brave, determined girls are more than ready to face whatever comes their way–which is good, because they’ve still got to placate their counselor Jen, and it looks like more trouble’s on the horizon.

This first volume of the Lumberjanes graphic novel, Beware the Kitten Holy, was quite the fun read! I didn’t really know what to expect coming into it, but after the fun I had reading Nimona, I was ready for pretty much anything Noelle Stevenson had to offer. Lumberjanes has much of the same offbeat humor and hipster whimsy that I found in Nimona, but with its own quirks, for sure. This graphic novel is set up as though it were a guide for those attending the camp, with each chapter beginning with a page describing a different badge–all rather stuffy in a funny sort of way. Then the rest of the chapter bursts into the crazy fun adventure in which the girls do something that would lead to their earning said badge–usually not in the ways originally intended by the camp leaders. The stories are fun–exciting, adventuresome, and quirky. There’s a noted penchant for each chapter requiring some particular skill to be used or some puzzle to be solved for the girls to proceed safely–and the way in which the girls are able to pull from their individual gifts to answer these challenges is very reminiscent of tales like The Mysterious Benedict Society, I must say. The characters are amazing; they have strong but believable and interesting characters that totally leapt off the page. Very fun. The art is dynamic and drew me in instantly as well. Surprisingly, although I found this in the young adult section of the bookstore (and I think it would be a blast for young adults to read), the contents of the story almost seem more geared for middle-schoolers. In any case, it’s age appropriate for younger readers, although I think older readers would greatly enjoy Beware the Kitten Holy as well. I’m delighted to see where the story goes from here.

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Emily the Strange: the Lost Days

Authors: Rob Reger & Jessica Gruneremily the strange the lost days

Illustrators: Rob Reger & Buzz Parker

Emily the Strange, vol. 1

My rating: 5 of 5

Emily Strange is definitely Emily Strange, even when she doesn’t know it. Which is a good thing when she finds herself alone in the tiny town of Blackrock without a clue what she’s doing there–or what her name is or how she got there or anything else about herself! This is where a genius mind, a maniacal dedication to writing down everything, and a cunning ability to win over cats and local cafe girls comes in very handy. Especially when it becomes clear that she’s in town for some purpose . . . if she could only figure it out!

I might have mentioned this before, but I love the Emily the Strange books. I admit, I’ve read them all out of order, but in this case, I almost prefer it that way. The way this (the first) volume is set up, you come into the journal right with Emily–having no idea who she is or anything about her. Granted, her character shines through even in those circumstances, and yes, it would be fun to get to know her that way . . . but I liked knowing a bit about what was going on. I think it let me focus more on what on earth’s going on (?!), you know? I really, really enjoyed the development of the story through the journalistic form–I mean, I always enjoy that in Emily’s stories, but it suits this particular volume especially well. The plot is one that would only work with a crazy, amazing girl like Emily, but here it’s absolutely brilliant. And the lists–this book is absolutely chock full of top-thirteen lists, and it’s great! And of course, the stunning, imaginative black-and-red sketches scattered throughout, here supplemented with photographic snapshots–a perfect complement to the story and writing style. Seriously, these books are underrated and I would highly recommend them, whether you start with Emily the Strange: the Lost Days or one of the later volumes in the series.

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Emily the Strange: Stranger & Stranger

Authors: Rob Reger & Jessica GrunerStranger and Stranger

Illustrators: Rob Reger & Buzz Parker

Emily the Strange, vol. 2

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Emily and her feline companions are not thrilled to be moving yet again. Never mind that they’re a large part (okay, the whole part) of why the family has to move so frequently, what with Emily’s pranks, midnight prowls, unusual golem, and general, well, strangeness. Life in their new town of Silifordville doesn’t seem like it will be all bad though, and Emily quickly settles in to work on her most recent scientific experiment, a Duplicator. Things get very interesting when she gets a bit too reckless with said experiment and . . . duplicates herself. The possibilities are endless! But is this other Emily a new BFF and co-prankster/scientist/crazy cat-lover, or will she turn out to be a dangerous evil twin possessing a genius equal to the original?

I really, really enjoy the Emily the Strange series. They are not your average “always do the right thing, empathize with others, etc.” sort of story, for sure. What they are is quirky, funny, smart, dark, and full of self-confident girl power. Not right for everyone, I’m sure, but loads of fun in my opinion. The entire story is told in journal entries, and Emily’s unusual (extremely brainy and non-at-all socially inclined) personality shines through brilliantly throughout. This was sort of weird, but effective, in Stranger & Stranger because of some of the weirdness that occurred with the Duplicator. If you pay attention, you can definitely see differences in Emily’s personality throughout . . . very interesting indeed. I also love all the mad/brilliant science, art, rock, and feline love that permeates the story throughout. And don’t get me started on how cool all the actual art in the book is: sketches (many in red) of the most bizarre nature, diagrams, mock-photographs, etc. Plus, this particular volume has a fun band-names motif going throughout. I guess what I’m trying to say is that for those who enjoy a fun, darkly humorous, and definitely strange story with excellent art and a strong female lead (at only 13, no less!), Stranger & Stranger is definitely for you–so check it out!

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Geektastic

Editors: Holly Black & Cecil Castellucci

Contributing Authors & Illustrators: M. T. Anderson, Holly Black, Libba Bray, Cecil Castellucci, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Hope Larson, David Levithan, Kelly Link, Barry Lyga, Tracy Lynn, Wendy Mass, Garth Nix, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Greg Leitich Smith, Scott Westerfeld, Lisa Yee, & Sara Zarr

Admit it: you’ve always wanted to know what that super-cute, smart-talking avatar online is actually like in real life–would you actually consider meeting up to see? Or have you ever come back from a convention with a new boyfriend you can’t ever admit to your clan? Had a huge argument about whether a favorite character is actually chaotic good or chaotic neutral? Or maybe you’re the type who finds your truest self in the secret identity you’ve built for LARPing. Hey, maybe you’re the poor cheerleader who’s trying to figure out what all this geeky weirdness is all about. Whatever.

Geektastic. I was drawn by the title, and the pixellated superhero avatar on the spine cinched the deal. And I was absolutely not disappointed by this collection of eccentric short stories that feature, well, the more unusually passionate side of life. Or something. I admit to being something of a geek (well, maybe more than something . . . ), and I’m assuming most of my readers are (or why on earth are you reading my blog?!)–and for a geeky audience, this collection is perfect. Regardless of what sort of geek you are (and let’s face it, there are a million variations), there’s likely something here for you . . . and maybe something to help you understand other varieties of geeks a little better as well. If you are the non-geeky cheerleader . . . you might do better to ask your local population for the crash course, if only because this book is a pretty big plunge all at once. But really, Geektastic is an amazing collection by great authors about some super-fun topics (just do be warned of sex, alcohol, etc.)–definitely recommended!

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Attachments

Author: Rainbow Rowell

When Lincoln O’Neill took the Internet security job for the local paper, he really had in mind something a bit more glamorous than reading inter-office e-mails and supervising college kids while they prepare for the Y2K disaster . . . or play Doom on company time, more like. Lincoln’s attention is piqued though when the Internet filter starts catching e-mails back and forth between two friends, Beth and Jennifer. The two (particularly Beth) are funny and kind, and before he knows it, Lincoln finds himself falling in love with a girl he’s never even seen! But is it possible to go from there into a real relationship, or is he fated the remain the creepy stalker (that, let’s face it, he already is)?

I truly enjoyed reading Fangirl, my first Rainbow Rowell novel, but I think I actually appreciated Attachments even more. I found myself really relating to the characters . . . and even better, really liking them as people. As strange and ethically unsound as their paths might have been, I wanted them to be happy–together if possible, but just happy would have been enough. I also enjoyed the way the story is told–you get Lincoln’s perspective mixed with a series of e-mail exchanges between Beth and Jennifer . . . and that’s it. The e-mails are really interesting (intimate conversations between best friends), plus only getting what Lincoln knows increases the suspense, somehow. I’d recommend Attachments to anyone who likes a sweet, slightly geeky romance.

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Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Upon entering college, it seems everything in Cath’s life is changing. Her twin sister and built-in best friend, Wren, has decided not to room with her (a first in a lifetime for them) and is busy with friends and partying–so much so that she hardly seems herself. Cath’s own roommate, Reagan, is brusque and difficult to deal with; fortunately she’s not around that much. Worse, Reagan’s smooth and overly-nice boyfriend(?) Levi seems to be around the room more that Reagan is, parking in the hall outside to wait for Reagan and generally making Cath feel super uncomfortable. While being as super-nice as possible. Not to mention the social awkwardness of dining halls, the challenges of new classes, worrying over her manic dad, etc. Fortunately, Cath always has the world of fanfiction to escape to–a world where she is actually a well-respected and much-followed writer. Now if she can only meet the real world with the same ease that she does the written one.

Rainbow Rowell’s books seem to be taking the realm of young adult literature by storm, and having read Fangirl, I can understand why. The story deals with a huge variety of complex issues facing young adults today in an authentic manner that is also very fun to read. The emotions, the thoughts, the characters, and the situations all feel very real. I can relate to Cath easily. And neither the struggles nor the resolutions feel forced; nor is there a clean resolution to everything, which is nice as a reminder that in real life issues aren’t always just wrapped up that easily. There are a lot of relationships dealt with here–good family relationships, broken family relationships, users-who-parade-as-comrades, friendships, romance–and I appreciated Rowell’s treatment of all of them. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of fanfiction–both as an idea and as written clips included in the book. I feel like it fleshed out the characters, showed facets of their relationships that would have otherwise been hidden, and was just generally fun to read. I would read Magicath. Basically, Fangirl is a solid all-around young adult novel with a slightly geeky (okay, probably more than slightly) that I would highly recommend reading.

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Little Brother

Author: Cory Doctorow

Intelligent and always eager to figure things out, Marcus sees beating the system as just another way to test himself–and prove that the adults around him aren’t as smart as they think they are. So finding ways to sneak out of school to play Harajuku Fun Madness isn’t an unusual thing for him. Still, on the day the Bay Bridge was bombed, sneaking out of school may just have changed his life forever as he and his friends found themselves picked up by National Security as potential suspects! After seeing how he and other citizens were treated in the name of “fighting terrorism,” Marcus declared a war of his own . . . a war of youth against stiff adulthood, of technological smarts against those who think their technology is secure, and most of all a fight of those who love freedom against those who would trade their freedom for a false sense of safety.

First of all, may I just say that in so many ways I am not qualified to write about Little Brother; my political expertise is practically nonexistent, and while I am a competent computer user, I am in no way a programmer, hacker, or security expert. But that’s one of the things I love about Doctorow’s writing here: he explains exactly what you need to understand the plot without being overly complicated or didactic. And truly, the information provided about computer security and such is really interesting and useful. Even more than that though, this book is a timely, raw, moving tale about youth, passion, freedom, and how fragile our freedoms can truly be if we aren’t willing to fight to defend them. The writing style, the characters, the plot, everything worked together wonderfully to support this end, and I found myself moved and challenged to an impressive extent upon finishing this book. I will admit, it’s probably not for everyone–there’s sex, politics, technology, language, LARPing, and all kinds of other controversial stuff in it–but for those who are willing to challenge their set patterns of thinking, I think Little Brother is a wonderful, illuminating story. I really loved it, myself.

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