Thursday, September 16, 2010

New September fiction for teens: mystery, suspense and fat vampires

Cooler weather is finally here and there's lots of new fall fiction to read, as well as graphic tales and a funny vampire story from illustrator Adam Rex. Find them here on BookBag using the World Catalog and Amazon links, and find reading that's worth sinking your teeth into.

Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection, edited by Matt Dembicki (Fulcrum Publishing) Graphic Novel. Many Native American folktales feature a trickster, a mischievous character who often tries to fool others and generally causes trouble. This highly entertaining collection of trickster tales from many different nations (Diné, Yup'ik, Ojibwe, and many more) is a collaboration between Native storytellers and comics artists, and Trickster is the first book ever to present Native American folktales in graphic form. There's a great variety of tales here (many of them quite funny) and an equal variety of art styles; this is a book that no one with an interest in Native cultures, comics, folklore, or just great stories should miss.

Flash, by Michael Cadnum (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Fiction. This tense novel relates 24 momentous hours in the lives of five desperately broke people who are tied together by circumstance. Brothers Milton and Bruce Borchard royally flub a bank robbery that was supposed to fix everything for them; the Borchards' neighbor, legally blind Terrence, overhears them hiding the evidence; and Terrence's girlfriend's brother, a veteran of the Iraq war, takes off after the thieves carrying his handgun. When these characters' stories converge, the details fit together like the workings of a fine watch. If you like books that balance a fast-paced, thrilling plot with beautiful writing and great characters, be sure to check out Flash.

Fat Vampire: A Never-Coming-of-Age Story, by Adam Rex (Balzer + Bray) Humorous Horror. Doug Lee isn't just undead, he's also decidedly uncool. Bitten while attending Comic Con in San Diego, geeky Doug now finds himself "cursed with being fat and fifteen forever." His plan to find a goth girl who'll let him drink her blood fails, and he's forced to drink from animals (cows, mostly) in order to survive. And now the host of the cable-TV show Vampire Hunters is on his trail. If you tend to pass over melodramatic teen vampire novels in favor of funny ones, such as Jessica Abel's graphic novel Life Sucks or Brian Meehl's hilarious Suck It Up, you'll want to surrender yourself to Fat Vampire.

Bruiser, by Neal Shusterman (HarperTeen) Fiction. Sixteen-year-old Tennyson is outraged when he learns that his twin sister, Brontë, is going on a date with Brewster "the Bruiser" Rawlins, a big, brawny loner who was voted "Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty" back in eighth grade (and hasn't made much social progress since). But as Brontë and Tennyson soon discover, there's a very good reason why Brewster keeps to himself: when he cares about someone, he literally takes on their pain. Like Rachel Ward's gripping book Numbers, Bruiser is a mostly realistic novel with a supernatural twist, and its thought-provoking story, narrated in turn by each of the twins and Brewster, explores relationships and sacrifice.

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