[personal profile] yolandekleinn
Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

Mattie is chosen to play Romeo opposite her crush in the eighth grade production of Shakespeare’s most beloved play in this Romeo and Juliet inspired novel.

Why you should read it: I don't read a whole lot of middle grade, but I saw the blurb for this one and needed it instantly. Sweet and charming and honest, it's a quick and wonderful read. Strongly recommend.

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Dreadnought by April Daniels

Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to keep people from finding out she’s transgender. But before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantle to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl.

It should be the happiest time of her life, but Danny’s first weeks finally living in a body that fits her are more difficult and complicated than she could have imagined. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in their ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head.

She doesn’t have much time to adjust. Dreadnought’s murderer—a cyborg named Utopia—still haunts the streets of New Port City, threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.

Why you should read it: This is such a satisfying superhero fantasy story, and I appreciated how complex a character Danny is. She's a teenager with a lot to contend with, including a complicated (not so great) family situation. All of these elements are given the space to really have an impact on the character, and the result is a fiercely believable teenager. Dreadnought is a first book in a longer series, and book two is already out if you finish and are craving more.

[Warnings for bigotry and transphobic language among those complicated things Danny is contending with.]

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The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:
Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend?

Why you should read it: This graphic novel is indescribably lovely. Sweet characters, gorgeous art, a wonderful conclusion. It reads like a fairy tale though there's no literal magical elements in it. Just superb.


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