(9th grade & up) When it comes to books that take place in high school, one is often faced with two distinct story types: you either get the idealized, everybody is friends and graduation is the great happily ever after, or you get the gritty realism where all the cliques are at war and people genuinely hate each other, pick on each other and do their best to humiliate each other… like people so often do. Every now and then, however, you get a book that falls between these two poles. Faith Erin Hicks’ webcomic-to-printed-piece Friends with Boys (First Second Books) is one of those kind of books. It’s a story that recognizes the bitter truth of high school: that people generally don’t get along and that there is a very real hierarchy in which everyone has their place. But it is also somewhat Continue reading
The third installment in this ongoing series about the fabled Olympians, Hera is probably the best yet. And that’s saying something: the others are Good.
When Zeus takes on Hera as his first (and only) wife, he gets a whole lot more than he bargained for. Unlike his previous queens (none of which he ever married), Hera refuses to tolerate his straying ways and exacts justice on Zeus and his mistresses in creative ways. She is particularly annoyed at one of Zeus’ most famous children: Heracles (or Hercules, as many of us know him). It is the relationship between these two characters that is the driving force behind the plot of this book.
In return for nursing him as a baby and saving his life, Hera requires that, as an adult, Heracles must suffer twelve labors in order to take his place on Olympus with the rest of the gods. And so the story of these labors unfolds and we, as readers, Continue reading