Written by Julie Caudle
Here are some more summer reads for both you and your students’ reading pleasure!
Julie Caudle, librarian at Page Middle School in Franklin and lifelong fangirl of Wonder Woman, cannot recommend this book enough for both middle and high school libraries. The first of a series DC Comic superhero/YA novels, fantasy author of the Shadow and Bone series Leigh Bardugo introduces readers to Wonder Woman with two character perspectives: Diana, princess of Themyscira, and Alia, a lonely 17-year-old New Yorker who has connection to the superhero. The book opens with some backstory on Princess Diana and her life as an Amazonian on the isolated island. Her life changes when Diana rescues Alia from a shipwreck, forcing both of them into exile in order to prevent a pre-destined, potentially world-ending war. Rescued from disaster by this odd young woman who looks “like a supermodel who moonlighted as a cage fighter,” Alia learns her very existence might cause the deaths of millions as the legendary Warbringer. With the help of her brother and their two best friends, Alia accompanies Diana on a quest to end the cycle of death.
Wonder Woman: Warbringer does a good job of introducing and explaining the world of Wonder Woman to those who know nothing about her backstory. It’s also very timely with the recent success and popularity of the Wonder Woman movie, as well as the more recent Captain Marvel movie, also about an otherwordly superpowered female. It could also appeal to Rick Riordan and Greek mythology fans as the central story ties in with Helen of Troy, in addition to Wonder Woman’s own Greek mythology roots. There’s also lots of action and battle scenes while keeping female friendships and girl power front and center. All in all, a fun read that will be enjoyed by both males and females. While it’s on the VSBA high school list, it’s also a great addition for middle school libraries.
Julie also read a fun book recently from the middle school VSBA list for 2019-20. Tumble & Blue is a story about Blue Montgomery, a boy who’s been cursed to lose at everything from tiddlywinks to tic-tac-toe, who is left by his dad for the summer at his grandmother’s house in a swampy, small Florida town. Blue is not the only Montgomery relative staying at his grandmother’s this summer as it’s the rise of the red moon, a once-every-200 years event, where if a Montgomery wants to change his or her fate, he or she can do so if they find the legendary golden gator, who has the ability to lift a curse bestowed upon half the Montgomery family, while the other half of the relatives are given gifts. While waiting for the red moon to rise, Blue meets and befriends Tumble, a girl who wants more than anything to be a hero like her idol, the infomercial-famous Maximal Star, and who has her own family connection to the golden gator. They become fast friends and soon begin a journey that will eventually lead them into the Okefenokee Swamp to change their fates, passed through their families for decades.
I was uncertain about this book at first as it is a little weird. However, once I embraced the weirdness, I quickly grew to love the quirky characters and story. The friendship between Tumble and Blue is enchanting, as they both are self-sacrificing if it means things will be better for the other person. Their family members, while secondary-characters, are insanely fun and interesting, and are also supportive and loving of each other. There’s also a nice little “be careful what you wish for” twisty moral to the story that will probably go over most students’ heads, but can be used as a good tie-in with other similar themed stories. I highly recommend this book for upper elementary and younger middle school students.