The Adventures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks

It’s hard work fighting evil. Just ask Superhero Girl, the under-appreciated  star of Faith Erin Hick‘s tongue-in-cheek graphic novel. Superhero Girl has grown up in the caped shadow of her older brother Kevin, also a crusader for good. But needing to establish her own brand, Superhero Girl moves to a new city, finds a laid back roommate who takes her superheroing in stride and proceeds to get her crime fighting on. No job is too large or too small–Superhero Girl beats up baddies from outer space AND rescues little kitties from trees. But although her calling is fulfilling, being a super hero isn’t always rewarding. Vigilantism doesn’t pay the rent, and so like every other twenty something on her own, Superhero Girl must look for a REAL job. She also finds her dating life hindered by her secret identity. And when a wave of peace comes over the nighborhood she is sworn to defend, Superhero Girl finds herself taking up knitting (with disastrous results.) This snort-out-loud GN is charm on a stick. Hicks takes the superhero mythology we know so well from multiplex hours spent in the company of bat and spider men and turns it on its ear, to hugely hilarious affect. I couldn’t stop chuckling to myself, especially when Superhero Girl is accused of beating up an innocent looking hipster and no one will come to his defense because they “hate his stupid little weather-inappropriate scarf.” Hee hee! (Oh, hipster-bashing. I just can’t quit you.) Superhero Girl started life as a webcomic, which you can read here, but I heartily recommend getting the gorgeous full color GN from your local library, bookstore or comic book shop.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Who’s afraid of vampires, werewolves or zombies anymore? These former baddies have totally lost their fear factor by becoming sparkly, hunky and objects of our affection. Luckily for those of us who still like to get our scare on, there’s a new fright in town. And it’s coming from the sky. Famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said, “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.” Cassie should know. She’s barely survived the first four waves of the alien invasion of Earth. First, the worldwide loss of electricity, then the massive tsunamis, followed by a fatal plague and finally the outright assassinations by roving drones of any humans left alive after all that. She’s lost everyone but her little brother, lost everything but her iron will to live. When men claiming to be American military separate her from her brother Sammy, Cassie decides she will do anything to get him back, even if it means sacrificing the only thing she had left—her life. But her mission is compromised when she joins forces with a mysterious stranger who has a secret agenda that could derail Cassie’s journey before it’s even begun.  And the 5th Wave is silently rolling out, even more deadly than the the first four. This tense, high wire, sci-fi thriller could only come from the terrifying mind of Rick Yancey, author of my deeply beloved Monstrumologist series. While this new series opener is not quite as ooey gooey gory as The Monstrumologist, Yancey doesn’t shy away from the visceral violence of an unfriendly alien invasion and the nearly nonstop action is super intense. I could barely sit still while reading this juggernaut of a book, surely annoying everyone around me with my tapping toes, jiggling feet and chattering teeth. Cinematic, epic and downright addictive, The 5th Wave reminded me of one of my fav Stephen King stories, The Stand. Get ready to be swept away when The 5th Wave crashes into a library, bookstore or e-reader near you!

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Amelia is a fifteen-year-old high school student and part time grocery store cashier. Chris is a twenty-one-year old part time college student and grocery store trainer. The overlap in their potential mutual interests is minimal. And yet…Chris is the only one who really gets Amelia’s earnest disappointment with feminism. And Amelia, despite her tender age, is honestly the only one in Chris’s circle of stoners and dropouts who he can have a real conversation with about philosophy or the failed love lives of famous fictional characters.  Together, they make the long boring shifts at the store bearable for each other. Chris helps Amelia forget about her cold home life and Amelia helps Chris believe in himself again. “I really like talking to her. I like how she turns everything over in her mind and she doesn’t censor herself. Being with her is easy. I seem to laugh.” There’s just one problem. Amelia is in love with Chris. “I’m not even sure what ‘getting’ Chris would involve, all I know is I want him…To have unfettered and exclusive access to him all the time…To know that he loves being around me too.” And Chris, besides being way too old for Amelia, is still deeply, unhappily in love with his ex, Michaela. I know what you’re thinking—but this isn’t that book about an Inappropriate Hook Up. Instead it is a nuanced and sweet portrayal of an unusual friendship and how two people with busted up backgrounds help each other through two of life’s hardest transitions: first broken heart and first time leaving home. The easy banter and witty conversation in LOVE reminded me of two other titles you might like that employ similarly droll intellectual stylings.  And debut author Laura Buzo nailed the setting and feelings of The First Job, with a howlingly funny set of slacker employees that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who ever clerked a 7-11 or worked a big box store register. I just wish I had picked it up sooner as there is a strong possibility that it may have wandered onto my 2012 Top Ten.