Chibi Usagi: Attack of the Heebie Chibis, by Stan Sakai, Julie Sakai
This is such a fun graphic novel. Stan Sakai is a near legendary comic creator who spent decades writing/illustrating comics about Usagi Yojimbo—a rabbit ronin samurai. This is a Usagi comic but chibi-fied—with chibi versions of all his characters. It’s a great introduction for kids to his work. So cute!
Aetherbound, by E.K. Johnston
I was really looking forward to this book as Johnston wrote the book Ahsoka, about one of my favorite Star Wars characters. This is a space story that is intimate and character focused. It’s about a woman whose whole life is dictated by the needs of her family. Just before she turns 18, and becomes old enough to sell, she escapes their space ship to a space station where she meets two brothers who need her special talents and who welcome her to their small family. This is a warm hug of a book.
Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge
A reread. I really like this Hardinge. It might be my second favorite of her books, after Fly by Night. Set during the English Civil War, Makepiece finds that her father’s family has the ability to host ghosts inside their body, and she has the unfortunate gift too. Before she can be used as a shell to host the family ghosts, she and her half-brother must escape. Action-packed, but very thoughtful.
The Insiders, by Mark Oshiro
You know the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter? Well, this book has a room of safety and comfort for kids who need it. Gay, theater kid, Hector, is the target of a terrible bully at his new school. Once confident, he now finds that he doubts himself. In his misery, he finds the Room that appears when and where he most needs it. There he meets kids from schools across the country who also need the special help the room can offer. Together they figure out how to fix their problems. A lovely story that is an emotional rollercoaster, with a satisfying ending.
The Secret Garden on 81st Street, by Ivy Noelle Weir
A modern retelling of The Secret Garden, this is a wonderful version of the original story. It follows the original, except that it’s set in Manhattan and the garden is on a rooftop. Making a graphic novel out of it really helps the story along.
The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story, by Charis Cotter
I read Cotter’s previous novel, The Ghost Road, in August and loved it, so I snapped up her new book almost as soon as it came out. And it is another really good campfire scary story. In many ways it is more uncanny than scary, but you’ll still gets some thrills. Alice has to spend her summer at a remote mansion while her mother works there as a caretaker. She has an immediate connection to the old house and is visited at night by a mysterious sleeping ghost. Things start to come together when she discovers an exact replica dollhouse version of the mansion, along with dolls that seem to live a life of their own. A fun read.