The Barnyard is Busy

by Marina

Spring is my favorite time of year.

Everything looks bright and fresh. Maybe from all the rain–it just makes the world glisten. Yeah, I know, it’s schmaltzy. I enjoy the spring weather. All of it.

In spring talk typically turns to the subject of gardening or cleaning. That’s all well and good but, been there, done that. I look forward to (and plan for and research beyond any sane person’s level) cultivating my barnyard. Mostly the birds. No, not the songbirds flying around, potentially stealing my blueberries and cherries. I’m talking about poultry and waterfowl. Ones that can contribute to my harvest. Specifically, chickens, ducks and geese. Not sure that I’ll ever try raising turkey. I understand they’re not the brightest of birds.

Now, this isn’t an every spring occurrence like you get with the garden. Most birds are productive for several years . . . if they survive (more on that later). When you get into the cycle of layers then after about three years you’re ready to expand again. I’ve found that adding a couple of new hens to your flock every other year is the best way to maintain consistent output of product. Layering, if you will. But how do you decide what is going to be best breed for you? How are you going to figure out how best to protect them? Where do you house them (especially if the number keeps growing)? What to feed them? How do you keep them healthy?

Look for a book!

There’s a lot of knowledge to be gained from your local feed store worker. And I’ve used some of that homespun and experiential know-how on various occasions. But there’s something to be said for having a lot of information in one place. And books are the obvious solution. I’ve gleaned knowledge from books specifically written about chickens, ducks, and geese. And, I’ve also found a lot of helpful advice in books that are general backyard homesteading references. That’s the nice thing about a library card–you can sift through a bunch of books and get what you need. Also, if you end up wanting to add to your personal library that’s a way to weed out the ones that are outdated or don’t cover what you need.

So, I mentioned above a pesky little thing about survival. Your flock is very susceptible to predators–coyotes, raccoons, birds of prey, wild cats (like bobcats), packs of neighborhood dogs–so to prolong their life you need to think about protection. That could come in the form of their house and fencing. Or it could come in the form of livestock guardian animals. Most homesteaders choose to use dogs. But donkeys and llamas are also known to be good protectors, especially if they are guarding something like birds that might be flighty around dogs. Plus, geese can alert to or warn off any manner of smaller predator.

Do you have a busy barnyard in your backyard? What do you keep?

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The Fiery Wings of Love: Dragon-Shifter Romance

by Jocelyn

Is there a creature more magnificent than a dragon? Powerful, deadly, and acquisitive, these beasts have long captured my imagination. Starting in childhood with the Enchanted Forest Chronicles, The Hobbit, and Dragon’s Blood, I read as many books featuring dragons as I could get my hands on. In middle school I discovered Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series (I started with Dragonsdawn) where dragons and humans share a mental connection…I must admit that if I could choose a fictional world to go to, Pern would be among my top choices since I’d have a chance to bond with a dragon!

During college I discovered paranormal romances, and was elated to find that some of these stories featured dragon-shifters. How could I resist? I couldn’t! Romance + dragons = squee! Does anyone else revel in the intersection of dragons and romances? If you do, I hope you enjoy this list of dragon-shifter romances.

Dragon Bound – Thea Harrison
Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races. This novel is a mix of paranormal romance and romantic suspense, with strong world-building.

Night of the Highland Dragon – Isabel Cooper
Led to a remote Highland village and the stunningly beautiful lady who rules MacAlasdair Castle, William Arundell, a detective working for a secret branch of the English government, discovers the true nature of this woman as they band together to save the British Islands from its deadliest foe. Readers who appreciate romances with mature protagonists will enjoy this story – the lady is in her mid-180s and William is in his mid-40s.

Playing with Fire – Katie MacAlister
When Gabriel Tauhou, the leader of the silver dragons, marks May, a fugitive who is bound to a demon, as his mate, he must choose between love and honor when he discovers that she is trying to steal one of his greatest treasures. This novel should appeal to those who enjoy humorous, banter-filled romances.

Dragon Actually – G. A. Aiken
While battling against her greatest enemies, a warrior princess is torn between her fierce desire for an arrogant knight and her feelings for a powerful dragon. This action-packed campy romp will appeal to readers who enjoy over-the-top humor.

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Space Farce: Humorous Fiction Set Among the Stars

by Emily Z.

Background image courtesy of NASA Image and Video Library.

What is it about outer space and its inhabitants that drives some to take it so seriously (or “Sirius-ly”)? The inherent lack of oxygen? The suffocating silence of its infinite expanse? That Ridley Scott film? That other Ridley Scott film? Space can be a happy place. Or, at the very least, there is enough room in the immensity of the galaxy for violent, amoral aliens and sassy robots. Once upon a time we had space nonsense in abundance: Spaceballs,  Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (book, film, and TV mini-series), FarscapeRed DwarfThe Fifth ElementFireflyMystery Science Theater 3000FuturamaGalaxy Quest, etc. Then, for a while, all outer space wanted to do was kill us on barren planets or on abandoned experimental space craft.

I believe we can find a balance between these two forces. For every Gravity we can also have a Guardians of the Galaxy. Speaking of which, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2  just came out in theaters last week. On top of that, Mystery Science Theater 3000 was enthusiastically raised from the grave by Kickstarter fans in April. Cosmos-based comedy is practically having a renaissance.

What about the books though? I’ll admit that the space farce genre is taking a bit longer to make itself known, partly because it lives in the shadow of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. Where do you go then if you feel like having an absurd space adventure but don’t necessarily feel like re-reading the H.G.to the G. books, Redshirts, or the Saga graphic novels for the 8th time?

You go to the library.

If You Liked Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Sheriff of Yrnameer by Michael Rubens
Jaded anti-hero and fantastic liar Cole is having the worst stretch of days known to Mankind. He owes a powerful alien creature an astonishing sum of credits and if he doesn’t pay up soon (like, in the next few seconds) something truly disgusting is going to happen to his head and then he’ll die. On top of that his crew is betraying him, the police are after him, and there’s some cannibalism shenanigans afoot. One might consider this book a Black Comedy in that it’s entirely goofy, but there’s also violence and mayhem. It still has a good-ish heart. Cole and an inexplicably motley group of space weirdos with completely incompatible goals end up together, fighting to save a bunch of orphans and a place called Yrnameer (which may or may not exist).

—–

Year Zero by Robert Reid
According to the vast majority of enlightened extraterrestrial life, Humans are terrible, bumbling throwbacks in all but one respect: our music. Apparently, incalculable alien species have been listening to our music for decades without our knowledge or permission. They’ve been pirating and illegally redistributing everything from Lady Gaga to the Welcome Back Kotter end credits tune and now they’re afraid we’ll use our second-best talent (litigation) to sue them for all eternity. Enter Nick Carter (no relation to the Backstreet Boys), a reasonably competent media copyright lawyer. He is inexplicably humanity’s last hope to broker intergalactic peace. If he fails, Earth and all it’s inhabitants might just have a little “accident”. You can’t sue anyone if you’re extinct, right?

While all are welcome to experience this book in any manner they wish, I highly recommend the digital audiobook which is pitch-perfectly narrated by comedian John Hodgeman.

If You Liked Redshirts

Mechanical Failure by Joe Zieja
Rogers has happily retired from his futuristic military career. Despite being stationed in space, his entire tour of duty was pretty uneventful given the 200+ years of interplanetary peace. Now he’s ready to settle into a nice, easy life of tricking space pirates out of their money. After a major scam goes majorly wrong, Rogers ends up not relegated to an intergalactic penal planet, but re-enlisted. The frat-house military-industrial complex he once enjoyed has changed though. Rules exist, the booze is gone, and there are a lot more infuriating, incompetent robots. On top of that there’s a …war coming? Rogers is going to have to find the underlying cause of all this if he wants to survive to re-retire. If he’s lucky, maybe he’ll also make it with the ferocious and gigantic female Marine Captain known as The Viking.

Zieja himself is a veteran of the US Air Force, so this send-up of the military is done with love. He’s also a voice-actor (and motion cap actor, parkour enthusiast, and all-around ninja) so you know he narrated his own audiobook. The sequel in this planned trilogy should be out in October of this year.

If You Just Like Snarky Robots

All Systems Red by Martha Wells
When the humans of this distant future reality want to plan an interplanetary trip for any reason, be it research, mining, or a corporate retreat, they must hire a company that specializes in space adventures to facilitate it. It’s mandatory and very expensive but the company provides all necessary transport, shelter, food, medical supplies, tools, communication equipment, dossiers on the destination, and security. The quality of the aforementioned accouterments depends heavily on how much your group can pay. Regrettably, the intrepid team of scientists in All Systems Red are on a tight budget. When some of their most vital equipment starts to malfunction, they’re tempted to assume it’s just the nature of their bargain-basement tech. But what if it were something or someone more sinister? Sabotage? The only “person” they can ask is their company-provided security droid a.k.a. the SecUnit. This humanoid organic/machine hybrid is programmed by the company to obey all commands and answer all questions. Unfortunately, this SecUnit went ahead and disabled the software that governs its actions and is no longer behaving entirely as it should. It’s developing a personality. It’s clandestinely watching soap operas instead of reading mission briefs. It’s even given itself a secret nickname: Murderbot.

How do we know all this? Murderbot is also this novella’s sole narrator.

If You Don’t Usually Read Science Fiction

Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
This book has a different breed of humor than the titles above. Where most of the other books in this list are either absurdist and slapstick or sarcastic and dry, L.W.S.A.P. is charming and sassy. There is cuddling. There is also some swearing and snark (especially at the expense of humans), but by and large it is a gentle read. There is plenty of space adventuring and some unique alien encounters, however the real action happens between the characters in the form of friendships, misunderstandings, and infatuations. A decent number of the characters are non-humanoid, sporting scales, feathers, fur, slime, and additional appendages, which always makes things more interesting. There’s also a sentient Artificial Intelligence system that may or may not have a crush on one of the main characters.

If your favorite part of Star Trek was learning about different alien cultures—the diplomacy, misunderstandings, and occasional intimacies—this book might be a good fit. If you prefer books about relationships and exploring differing values but don’t normally read science fiction, this could be your gateway to the genre. At its core, it is a road trip story that just happens to happen in space.

As always, if you have any other titles that fit this sub-genre I totally just made up, let me know in the comments you hoopy froods.

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Shared Movie Universes

By Grant

With yet another Marvel movie premiering last week, the King Kong Godzilla universe, and the revival of the Universal Monster movie universe there seems to be a new(ish) trend in Hollywood. Shared Movie Universes (from now on SMU) aren’t sequels as those are obviously in the same universe, rather they are movies that occur in the same universe and are connected in small (or large) ways to the other films in the universe.   Star Wars is a SMU now with Rogue One, which had tangential connections to the other films.  SMUs may be a terrible thing (they are), why can’t we just have regular stand alone films, or even just a sequel,  but … I started thinking about other “unofficial” SMUs.  It seems logical that all of Wes Anderson’s movies occur in a SMU, but then you run across the problem that he uses the same actors over and over and over again. Have you seen the amazing theory of the shared Pixar universe?  Here are some movies that I enjoy more thinking that they occur in the same universe.

Mad Max: Fury Road  and The Road.  I envision these two movies occurring during different time periods but after the same planet wide Apocalypse has ruined everything. I am pretty sure both of these movie have cannibalistic people and one of these movies occurs in Australia and the other in US so any differences can be explained by geography.  Also they both have “Road” in the title.

 

 

 

 

Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead.  In this SMU, zombies are around, but are much less problematic then in other fictional universes… also comedy high jinks! There are some major differences because in much more civilized England they learn how to live with their zombies much better than their counterparts across the water.

 

 

 

 

The Lego Movie, The Indian in the Cupboard, and Labyrinth. Toys are alive, which would seem to me to be more terrifying then thrilling for a child. Nevertheless in each of the movies, TOYS ARE ALIVE!

 

 

 

 

 

Battle Royale and The Hunger Games. So unlike in this world, where there are countless American remakes, re-imagining  and copying of amazing foreign films.  In this SMU the people in charge of district one found a documentary film detailing the events depicted in Battle Royale, and based their “children battle to the death” societal structure on it.

 

 

 

 

 

The Rock marked the apex of the the 90s action film.  It had Nicholas Cage playing a chemical weapons specialist, there are plastic balls of nerve gas … it really doesn’t matter.  But it also stars Sean Connery as an imprisoned SAS captain.  Or as I like to imagine JAMES BOND. Yes this movie is a sequel to all of the Connery Bond films.

Any other imagined SMUs out there?

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Urban Fantasy Spotlight: Bone Street Rumba

by KP

Big City Life with a Side of the Supernatural.

Have you ever been curious about urban fantasy? Exactly what is it? In general, urban fantasy novels are set in contemporary times, and contain supernatural elements. One Friday out of each month, I’ll highlight an urban fantasy book for the interested.

Welcome to another edition of Urban Fantasy Spotlight. We’re exchanging dark elves and sibling rivalries for zombies and lit Malagueñas in New York City’s teeming streets. The Big Apple is a popular setting for urban fantasy stories because of its mix of cultures. Consequently, that’s one of my favorite things about the genre: its propensity for diversity–and not just the fanged and furry kind.

Ngks only appear at times preceding global catastrophe.

So when the imp-like creatures, infest the streets of Brooklyn, The Council of the Dead wants to know why. Agent Carlos Delacruz soon discovers the ngks aren’t just appearing, they’re being summoned. And their master is intent on using them to open the entrada to the Underworld.

Stop a vengeful sorcerer before he destroys balance between the living and dead? Seems straightforward, but there’s just one problem. Carlos and this sorcerer have a history, and the sorcerer has a proposition that may be too good for Carlos to pass up . . .

Half Resurrection Blues by Daniel José Older offers a fresh break from the typical urban fantasy. It highlights New York immigrant culture, emphasizing Latin and African society. I love how much jazz colors this novel. I feel it in the rhythm of Older’s sentences. See it in the ghastly parades and parties of the dead. Hear its improvisation in Carlos’ colorful phrases. Its influence seeps into the plot, whisking me away on a dizzying, fantastical ride through the profane, outlandish, and insightful.

(Did I mention it’s fun?)

Think this quirky, paranormal noir could be the adventure for you? Read the first four chapters.

A fan? The Bone Street Rumba Series continues in Midnight Taxi Tango and Battle Hill Bolero.

                                             

As always, stay tuned for the next installment of U/F/S where we hop across the pond to fair Dublin, a city literally ripping apart at the seams as another world claws through. . . .
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Whidbey Reads: Interview with Ashley Ream

by Kaley

As The 100 Year Miracle continues to fly off the shelves of our libraries, we’re gearing up for a visit with Whidbey Reads author Ashley Ream​. Her visit is still roughly a month away (come on, June 7 and June 8!) but she graciously took some time out of her schedule to do an interview with me. 

We had a lot to talk about, and you’ll find it below cut into two parts. The first half, you’ll find cool stories about Ashley’s childhood love obsession with reading. I can’t believe it, but this eventually drove her to read at the tender age of three! She’s now a very recent mother to a little girl, and we talk about some of her childhood favorites (Madeline and Frances) and I can’t help but name drop mine (a Sendak girl through and through).

 

You can find the first part of the interview here.

​By the second half we dive into the complexity and evolution of Harry and Tilda’s relationship and how Whidbey Island in conjunction with Orcas Island inspired Olloo’et’. However, my favorite part is our discussion of her running injury, a stress fracture in her pelvis, which she acquired during an ultramarathon. This injury influenced the chronic pain that Rachel suffers through daily.

You can find the second part of the interview here.

I hope you enjoy our interview! I’d also like to thank Ashley Ream again who was a total joy to talk to. See you all in June! Below, you’ll find the books Ashley mentioned in her to-be-read stack that (dangerously) sits above her head.

Interviews have been edited for content.

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Experimenting in the Stereolab

by David

Stereolab formed in the early ’90s, and even though they’ve since been hugely influential, not many people know their music. And it doesn’t help that describing their music is difficult: they’ve absorbed elements of noise rock, Brazilian bossa nova, Burt Bacharach, the Beach Boys, Kraftwerk, and French pop of the ’60s. Oh, and when their lyrics aren’t in French, they usually flirt with Marxism.

 

Serene Velocity: A Stereolab Anthology” is a good start, but most of their ‘middle period’ albums are consistently excellent (“Emperor Tomato Ketchup“, “Mars Audiac Quintet“, “Dots and Loops“, and “Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night“).

 

 

 

 

Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements” was their first album proper, and while a song like the 18-minute “Jenny Ondioline” does have its charms (as long as you like one-chord noise drones), their later albums were more sophisticated, inventive and pop-oriented. Try “The Free Design” from “Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night“, or “Lo Boob Oscillator” from the soundtrack to “High Fidelity“.

 

 

 

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Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride

by Michelle C.

Wedding season is starting. A great way to learn the dos and don’ts of wedding etiquette is to watch the horrific, but hilarious, outcomes of the wedding gone wrong in movies. Some of my favorite tropes in the wedding genre are the bride and switch, childhood marriage promise, crazy in-laws, and the bridesmaid’s turn at love.

In the bride and switch, the bride is a master manipulator and the groom is being deceived about who she really is. But not to worry, there is usually a girl in the background who is just waiting to show the groom what true love really means.

Try: Decoy Bride, The Wedding Planner, The Parent Trap, Made of Honor

In the childhood marriage promise, two friends promise to get married when they are older. Fast forward a dozen or so years and the friends may have lost touch or been divided by distance. All we need are these two to get back together for the promise to be fulfilled.

Try: Sweet Home Alabama, My Best Friend’s Wedding, 13 Going on 30

In the crazy in-laws trope, the couple is the least of our worries. The father-in-law or the dreaded mother-in-law are the focus of the story. How will they cope with their little girl or boy getting married. You can expect lots of shenanigans and plenty of sabotage.

Try: Father of the Bride, Meet the Fockers, Monster-in-Law

In the bridesmaid’s turn at love, the old adage “always the bridesmaid, never the bride” seems true. Our heroine is usually wonderful in every way, but has been unable to find Mr. Right. She might even have given up on finding love. Maybe there’s someone out there that will ensure the next dress she wears at a wedding will be white?

Try: When in Rome, 27 Dresses, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Bridesmaids

What are some of your favorite wedding movie tropes?

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Odyssey-ize your Travel Planning at the Library

by Denise

Extend your vacation for free!

Spring break fades in the rear view mirror. Summer appears on the horizon. Maybe your thoughts turn to travel… Dreaming of escaping to Glacier National Park or the Galapagos Islands?

For me, planning travel is part of the adventure. Once the travel bug has bitten, I turn to the library. Why wait when I can begin to read about my destination? Now my long weekend or week’s vacation can be a months-long odyssey.

Lonely Planet

Maybe it’s the whimsical title (rumoredly a mishearing of the line “lovely planet” in Joe Cocker and Leon Russell’s Space Captain) but my first stop is usually Lonely Planet guides. Lonely Planet guides have the heft of a novel, which this reader girl loves. Their format is an attention-holding mix of detail-rich text and maps interspersed with photos, notes, tips and lists. When I pick up a Lonely Planet guidebook, I know that I’m going to get history, context, helpful tips, essential foreign phrases, and a whole section devoted to local food and drink (yum).

Lonely Planet is the largest travel guidebook company in the world. They offer a magazine, website, app, Best in Travel compilations, and children’s books. Lonely Planet’s global popularity means that nothing in it is truly secret. You’ll have lots of company wherever you travel. But, if you want to take the time to richly explore a destination before you leave your front door, these guides are an excellent bet.

Rough Guides

My next stop is usually Rough Guides, with its comparably pleasing format and rich context.  Lonely Planet and Rough Guides have similar origins in the 1970s-1980s: Young, adventurous British backpackers setting off to explore the world. Can’t find a guide that meets their needs. Write their own.

Like Lonely Planet, Rough Guides has expanded its offerings and been bought out by a larger corporation. But something about the vagabond roots still remains. I like to carry both guides, but that consumes valuable luggage space.

It’s worth exploring our eBook options of travel guides since they add no weight.

Rick Steves

If Europe is in my travels, then I definitely check out Edmonds’ own Rick Steves. Behind the familiar blue and yellow cover, I know that I will find essential, targeted, and practical advice.  (Think toilet etiquette.) Rick Steves started his company in 1976 and the company still reflects the notion that travel is for everyone. Steves brings a familiar American perspective that can be helpful for travelers hitting Europe for the first time or visiting a destination that stretches their comfort level. Several years ago, my family went to Dubrovnik, Croatia. We wanted to explore the surrounding countries (of the former Yugoslavia), but I was a bit unsure about driving into Bosnia with our young sons. “Rick Steves recommends it,” my husband assured me. That clinched it for us and we ventured to Mostar, one of the day trips in Steves’ Dubrovnik guidebook. Still one of our best travel memories!


Fodor’s and Frommer’s

In my younger days, I shied away from Frommer’s and Fodor’s guidebooks. Worse, I lumped the two older companies together in my mind. In my uninformed mind, these guidebooks were written for the well-to-do traveler accustomed to luxury. Boy was I wrong. Eugene Fodor and Arthur Frommer were as revolutionary as Lonely Planet’s Tony and Maureen Wheeler,  Rough Guides’ Mark Ellingham and Rick Steves.

After working on ocean liners during their “golden age” of the 1930s, Hungarian Eugene Fodor decided existing travel books were “old-fashioned.” He wrote his own practical and informative guide. As Europe neared war, he emigrated to America, joined the wartime intelligence agency, OSS, liberated Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, wrote guidebooks for American GIs stationed in Europe, and provided cover to counterintelligence agents during the Cold War. Fodor was a spy, not a frumpy man of luxury!

In the 1950s, the Army stationed Arthur Frommer, a Yale Law School graduate, in Germany in the 1950s. What did he do while there? Wrote a guidebook for GIs, the original American tourists in Europe. He followed up with a guide for civilians titled “Europe on 5 Dollars a Day.” The notion of travel being for everyone, regardless of budget, was born. At the age of 87, Frommer continues to share travel advice in his blog. Travel must keep you young!

Now that I know these intriguing back stories, I regularly consult Frommer’s and Fodor’s guidebooks. Frommer’s limits its focus more than Lonely Planet, making it easier for those who want to read less. Adding Frommer’s and Fodor’s into the mix broadens my research base… and buying options.

Committing (aka, Buying)

Yes, I eventually buy a travel guide (or two, or three…)!  When it comes time to the final planning (and packing) I want a printed book I can write in, highlight, dog-ear, and throw around. Rick Steves recommends cutting guidebooks apart to save space. None of these actions are compatible with library books. Which guide do I buy? Usually the one published most recently. On the ground, travel information needs to be recent, no more than two years old. The fresher, the better. By consulting a variety of guidebooks, I ensure a broader range of publication dates. If the dates are similar, then I choose the one I liked the best. Or you can follow the suggestions of an expert like Rick Steves.

Of course, buying means that this little mini-extension of your vacation is not free. But, as a poster in our last hotel noted, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”

How do you plan your travels? What guidebook(s) are a must in your luggage? Do you have a favorite guidebook story?

 

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Growing Up Girl: Coming of Age Stories

by Lindsey

One of my favorite fiction genres is the coming of age story. These books focus on the growth of the main character(s) from youth to adulthood. Along the way, the characters often lose their innocence, gain wisdom, and develop a stronger sense of self. Being a woman, I feel an affinity for stories that explore girlhood. These are not your typical coming of age novels, but every one of these female protagonists struck me deeply.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

A quiet, creeping novel set in an alternate future England. Narrated by the reflective Kathy, it follows three characters – Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy – from their childhood at a special boarding school to their harrowing young adulthood. If you know nothing about this book, I won’t give away the mystery. It broke me to pieces. I also recommend the film adaptation starring Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield.

My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

The 80s nostalgia is strong in this one, starting with an E.T.-themed birthday party at a roller rink in 1982. The horror element adds a twist to this coming of age story but it never overshadows the close friendship between Abby and Gretchen, or the palpable agony of being a teenage girl. As a forewarning, it’s darkly humorous but it does get grisly at times (there’s a nasty chapter with a massive tapeworm), so this book is not for the faint of heart!

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

While this graphic memoir is unavoidably political, covering Satrapi’s childhood in Tehran after the Iranian Revolution, it is also a deeply personal coming-of-age story. Young Marjane’s strength shines as she thrives during some of Iran’s most tumultuous years. She blasts illegally obtained Kim Wilde cassette tapes and wears Michael Jackson buttons – forbidden under the new regime. It is a wickedly funny but incredibly powerful memoir. Persepolis 2 covers Satrapi’s young adulthood, and both volumes were adapted into an Oscar-nominated film.

Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg

Green lives in a commune. Her “family” share a crumbling English mansion called Foxlowe. She doesn’t go to school, she doesn’t talk to outsiders, and she has been raised to believe that the Outside is filled with the Bad. We eventually see Green as a troubled young adult, navigating a world she knows nothing about. Her dysfunctional family brings to mind Room, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and V.C. Andrews novels.

I created a list of other coming of age stories featuring girls. More importantly, I would love to hear about your favorites. There is so much in this genre on my TBR (to be read) list, but I am happy to add more!

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