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Category Archives: Young Adult / Teen

Geektastic edited by Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci

Geektastic

Geektastic: Stories from the Nerd Herd

Here’s the back story to this YA anthology: Editors Holly Black and Cecil Castellucci were at Comic-Con 2007 and got to talking about how many Jedi and Klingons were present at such conventions.  They thought it would be fun to write a story about a Klingon and Jedi who wake up together after a late night partying.  Awkward “morning after” meets forbidden geek love.  Except, who would publish such a story for them?  The obvious answer was to contact other geeky YA authors and create an anthology to be this story’s home.  Contributors include Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, John Green, David Levithan, Garth Nix, and Scott Westerfeld.

If the premise of said story sounds hilarious to you, buy/borrow/steal this book today.  If you are confused or bored, it’s probably not for you.

The stories and comics in this anthology cover a wide range of geeks: Sci fi / fantasy; theater and band; role playing, video playing, and cosplaying; comics and graphic novels; and my favorite, the literature geeks.  I only fall into a few of those categories, but I understood the culture more than enough to enjoy these stories.

I was disappointed to find that a lot of geek stereotypes were upheld, including geeks being less attractive and popular than their non-geek counterparts.  Who says someone who is a geek in one area also has to be less athletic and deficient in personal hygiene?  Why is there always one token girl geek?  I won’t even get into the nomenclature of geek vs. nerd.  (I generally identify more as a nerd, but in the end it doesn’t matter.)

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The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

The Grimm Legacy

The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman

The Grimm Legacy begins as a tale of an ordinary life: Elizabeth Rew is adjusting to her mother’s death, her father’s remarriage, and switching to public school so her father can help pay tuition for her two new stepsisters.  She has nobody to sit with at lunch time and feels lonely and virtually invisible.  After writing her term paper on the Grimm brothers, her friendly (if eccentric) history teacher offers her an after school job, which she accepts gratefully.

Elizabeth soon learns, however, that this is no ordinary job.  She has been hired as a page at the New-York Circulating Material Repository, a sort of library for objects.  The repository stores and lends out everything from china tea sets to Marie Antoinette’s wig.  But what really surprises our fair heroine is when she learns that the basement of the repository houses the Grimm Collection – magical objects bequeathed to the repository straight out of fairy tales and folklore.

I love this premise for a young adult title, because not only does it make the mundane magical (how many high school students wish their after school job was a bit more glamorous?), it also takes the enchanted and makes it ordinary.  Though apprehensive of these items at first, by the end of the book all the young repository pages have used magical objects in their everyday lives, with varying degrees of success and many unforeseen consequences.

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