‘All My Rage’ Mends Heartbreak with Hope

I loved all four of Sabaa Tahir’s volumes in her Ember in the Ashes series, a YA fantasy following a pair of unlikely teens to an eventual revolution against the cruel and oppressive regime inspired by the Roman Empire. But I was also always fascinated by her bio at the back and the fact thatContinue reading “‘All My Rage’ Mends Heartbreak with Hope”

‘LaserWriter II’ Probably Perfect for Someone Else

Growing up, my grandparents’ basement was a wonderland of old Macintosh computers. My grandpa taught computers at the junior high school, which meant he had to be up on the best and latest tech. In his opinion, this meant Macintoshes. He retired in the early 90s, though, so the computers stopped at the Macintosh SE.Continue reading “‘LaserWriter II’ Probably Perfect for Someone Else”

A Different Kind of Chosen One in ‘Grace’

The Chosen One is a staple of the fantasy genre, especially in YA, but it’s the attempts to contort or subvert it that I tend to find the most compelling. Emily Thiede stretches the trope like silly putty in her debut, This Vicious Grace. Alessa was chosen by Dea to be this generation’s bearer ofContinue reading “A Different Kind of Chosen One in ‘Grace’”

‘Harvest’ Gives Bumper Crop of Chills

Rural towns and wide-open fields have proved fertile material for horror stories for decades. What moves in the corn? Nothing good, probably. But in Ann Fraistat’s What We Harvest, it’s what’s underground—what’s in the very soil—that you have to watch out for.  The farmland that 16-year-old Wren’s family has worked for the last six generationsContinue reading “‘Harvest’ Gives Bumper Crop of Chills”

‘Little Eyes’ Not Looking to be Liked

Growing up, my little sisters had a Furby. It was one of the first-gen ones, not these smarter, freakier modern things, but it would still say things that seemed way too canny for being a hunk of plastic and fake fur. In Samanta Schweblin’s Little Eyes, the Furby-like creatures in question can’t speak, but theyContinue reading “‘Little Eyes’ Not Looking to be Liked”

‘Sennen’ More than Meets the Eye

It can be tough to pull off a good “world you thought you knew is actually walled off from the ‘real world’” story, and even tougher to make it feel fresh and new and thought-provoking. Sennen, the debut graphic novel by illustrator Shanti Rai, does all this alongside nailing a strong coming-of-age story in anContinue reading “‘Sennen’ More than Meets the Eye”

‘Dirty Work’ is a Sobering Reminder of What Lurks in the Economic Shadows

Commercial butchering, oil drilling, being a guard at a prison—they’re tough jobs but someone’s got to do them. But in the case of Dirty Work, author Eyal Press argues that the social stigma against these types of work means we collectively don’t have to consider the cost or the moral weight that gets placed on theContinue reading “‘Dirty Work’ is a Sobering Reminder of What Lurks in the Economic Shadows”

‘Dragons’ A Poignant Commentary on Sexism, Self

My day job right now has me looking through lots of records—many primary sources—on the ways heteronormative gender roles were constructed and enforced during the midcentury decades. Looking back at the rigid structure our collective grandmothers were expected to squeeze into, and the lack of rights they had within it, is both sobering and enragingContinue reading “‘Dragons’ A Poignant Commentary on Sexism, Self”