MS & YA – Patron St. for Jr. Bridesmaids; Tetris

Tougas, Shelley. A Patron Saint for Junior Bridesmaids. New York: Roaring Brook Press, 2016. Print.  978-1626724037. 272 p. $16.99. Gr. 7-12.

Author Shelley Tougas has written a sweet, engaging, and fun novel about one girl’s experience with religion and her family’s influence in her life. Mary Margaret Miller has always been a good Catholic girl, attending church and praying to her favorite patron saints – until Brent Helzinski gets on her last nerve, and she impulsively punches him. Worried about the reaction of her mother, she is soon distracted by the fact that her shy, quiet, and socially awkward cousin Eden is engaged. Mary is designated as junior bridesmaid (but really the only bridesmaid since Eden does not have any friends, besides their grandmother). Mary’s family is also in the process of moving to a new state for her father’s job working at oil company, since their family hardware store was put out of business by the new local big box store. Mary and her brother stay with their grandmother over the summer and assist with planning a “spectacular” wedding that Eden may or may not really want. The characters are well-drawn and true to life, with the adults exhibiting as many flaws as the children. Mary’s relationship with a non denominational boy next-door adds a level of intellectual engagement not usually seen in books written for middle schoolers. THOUGHTS: This is a great novel to give to young girls, and should be in all middle school collections.

Realistic Fiction    Lindsey Myers, Shady Side Academy Senior School

I am so used to reading angsty teen novels that this novel for younger readers was a breath of fresh air. I loved Mary’s character and feel that my middle school self could truly relate to her and her engagement with religion. My father is a minister, and growing up in an intensely religious family can be taxing, as Mary experiences in the story. I hope to read more by this author soon!

Box, Brown. Tetris: The Games People Play. New York: First Second, 2016. Print. 978-1626723153. 256 p. $19.99. Gr. 9 and up.

This graphic novel presents an immersive history of one of the most famous video games of all time. The story begins with Russian scientist and computer programer Alexey Patjitnov discussing with his friend the importance of gaming. Then, the story moves to tell the origins of the Nintendo company and the evolution of the gaming world. Alexey creates Tetris to share with his friends, but others soon realize the immense monetary potential of selling such a game all over the world. The story moves quickly, as we hear how the major companies of the day- Nintendo, Atari, and Sega- fought over various rights and with the Russian government to have access to Tetris. It is interesting for the reader to see Alexey’s experience in all of this back and forth. Box Brown’s graphics quickly engage the reader and merge seamlessly with the text. The tale is not simple, but Brown does his best to share all that happened throughout the history of the game. THOUGHTS: This is an excellent title to give to gamers and lovers of classic games. Highly recommended for high school libraries.

Graphic Novel (Nonfiction, 794.8)    Lindsey Myers, Shady Side Academy Senior School

As an owner of the original Game Boy, I was eager to read this novel and learn more about the history of a game I loved as a child. I ended up reading the book in one sitting- it was so interesting and engaging!  But, as a history buff, I also appreciated the fact that Box Brown spent time giving the reader context by providing a history of the gaming industry in general. I cannot wait to share this title with my brothers, who recently became excited when my mother unearthed their original Nintendo system. Tetris lives on!