As the 1970â€™s are coming to a close, Margaret is in a post-college slump, trying to figure out where she fits in as a female pop culture cartoonist between the aging hippies and the new punkers. Then she stumbles into the Imperial CafÃ©, a diner full of sardonic waitresses, surly cooks and outsider customers that suddenly feels like home. â€œâ€¦I can tell there is something about this place. It feels like I am in a movie, a very interesting and exciting movie, an independent feature in which I play a smack but key role. I have to stay to find out how itâ€™s going to end.â€ After telling a dirty joke that impresses the manager, Margaret scores a dishwashing job, new name (â€œMadgeâ€) and a front row seat to the dinerâ€™s never ending drama. Customers and employees break up and make up, take drugs, get sober and then start all over again. Throughout the pale, aqua blue watercolor washed pages, Madge figures out the rules of adulthood, first by watching, and then by taking part in the noisy, vital, flamboyant life of the Imperial CafÃ©. I love slice of life stories that investigate a cross section of society in great detail, and this graphic memoir about the crazy, sexy petri dish of a busy diner is a great example. If you like OVER EASY, try these other great foodie fictions that are about way more than chopping and sauteeing: Last Night at the Lobster and Â Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafeÂ And for more on Mimi Pond, head over to this great interview at School Library Journal.
When Piddy Sanchez hears that â€œYaqui Delgado wants to kick your ass,â€ sheâ€™s stunned. What could she have possibly done at her new high school to anger a girl sheâ€™s never even met? Piddy doesnâ€™t really need this aggravation on top of keeping up her high grade point, working weekends at Salon Corazon and navigating a sexy but strange new relationship with her old neighbor and ex-nemesis Joey Halper. What is Yaquiâ€™s problem with her anyway? Piddy is never sure, but her motherâ€™s best friend Lila has a theory: â€œYouâ€™re going to be better than that, and thatâ€™s what kills her, Piddy. Thatâ€™s what makes her burn with hate. She can already see youâ€™re winning. Youâ€™re going to get an education and use your brainâ€¦Ay, Piddy, one day youâ€™ll be so far away from Parsons Boulevard, youâ€™ll think you dreamed this hellhole.â€ But as the situation escalates from a thrown milk carton in the cafeteria to an actual showdown on the street, Piddy realizes sheâ€™s going to have to do something drastic. But what? Does she dare narc on the meanest girl in school? And what will happen if she does? Friends, I have a new book crush and itâ€™s Piddy Sanchez. Piddyâ€™s heartbreakingly real struggles to extricate herself from Yaquiâ€™s senseless bullying will ring true to anyone whoâ€™s ever been a target, and inspire anyone whoâ€™s ever witnessed bullying to stand up and speak out. The infusion of Latino/a culture and the setting of Queens, New York were especially interesting to this New York reader as I never see enough books featuring characters of color in urban settings where their background isnâ€™t the main focus of the story. Â Get your a** in gear and check this one out of your local public or school library ASAP!
After Hankâ€™s mother is attacked at gunpoint by a bank robber in 1940â€™s California, she becomes obsessed with one thing, and one thing onlyâ€”that nineteen year old Hank become a superhero just like the Anchor of Justice who rescued her. Except Hank had been looking forward to taking over his fatherâ€™s small Chinatown grocery store and living â€œa happy life, a fortunate life, filled with friends and Mahjong and maybe even a little whiskey.â€ But Hankâ€™s bossy mother wonâ€™t relent, making him a green superhero suit, dubbing him The Golden Man of Bravery and setting him up with kung fu lessons with Uncle Wun Too. Soon Hank is getting into the swing of things, especially after his combat training starts to kick in. But when Mock Beak, the king of organized crime in Chinatown, threatens his father and Hank tries to intervene, the results are disastrous. Maybe heâ€™s not cut out to be a superhero after all. Itâ€™s only after heâ€™s visited by the kind and ancient spirit of Turtle that Hank discovers his true calling as Green Turtle, a Chinese superhero impervious to bullets and ready to take on the entire organized crime empire known as The Tong of Sticks. He just didnâ€™t count on falling for his archenemyâ€™s beautiful daughterâ€¦ I absolutely adored this funny, big-hearted GN that melds fact, fiction and folklore into a delectable Turtle soup! The Shadow Hero is an inspired origin story based on the actual Green Turtle from the 1940’s who failed to take off because supposedly publishers at that time didn’t think that “a Chinese superhero would sell,” and wouldn’t let his creator Chu Hing give him Asian features. Click here to listen to author Gene Luen Yang explain the fascinating backstory behind Green Turtle and The Shadow Hero. Coming to a library, bookstore or e-reader near you July 2014.