Welcome to Read This Book, a newsletter where I recommend one book that I think you absolutely must read. The books will vary across genre and age category to include new releases, backlist titles, and classics. If you’re ready to explode your TBR, buckle up!
This week’s pick is a fun graphic novel if you need some light and easy reading. I love going to the library and picking up random new YA and middle grade graphic novels and just plowing through them on a weekend. They can usually be read in a single sitting, and it makes me feel like I read ALL THE THINGS! on a weekend. This is an excellent series starter that I loved.
Twelfth Grade Night by Molly Booth, Stephanie Strohm, and Jamie Green
The setting of this brand new graphic novel is Arden High. Vi has just transferred because her old boarding school requires a dress code and she was tired of skirts. But she’s facing the ultimate betrayal: Her beloved twin decided to stay at their old school. Now Vi is facing a new beginning on her own…but it’s not long before she meets a poet, Orsino, and develops a quick crush. The only problem? Because of how she dresses, everyone assumes Vi isn’t into guys. And things get complicated when Orsino asks Vi to help him woo Olivia for the Twelfth Grade Night dance…and then it turns out that Olivia has a crush on Vi! Add in some twin confusion, and it’s a drama no one will forget.
I loved this modern interpretation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and I am so pleased to find that we are in the era of YA where people are realizing that Shakespeare makes for some amazing gender-bent and queer YA retellings! Twelfth Night is the perfect play to queer up, and I loved that this story takes a look at a female protagonist who is assumed queer when she’s really crushing on a guy. There’s also a great supporting cast of characters, and one thing the creators do really well is make space in this story for everyone to have their own storylines that feel satisfying.
I would have been so on board for this book if it had been a contemporary retelling alone, but one thing that surprised and delighted me was the inclusion of fairy characters, who just exist in this book with no explanation, being the drama. It also clued me in that, oh hey, there will probably be MORE BOOKS in this series, and sure enough, King Cheer is out later this year. I think this is a really fun and clever way to bring Shakespeare to a modern teenage audience, and the illustrations are colorful and vibrant, and totally fun. I can’t recommend this one enough!
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