Friday, June 14, 2013

Flag Day

Today is Flag Day, the a day to celebrate the fact that on June 14, 1777, John Adams said Resolved, that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.

Today we're going a bit high concept with our celebrations. See if you can spot the theme.


Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi. It's something that all new crew members on the Universal Union's flagship ship learn-- never go on an away mission. Away missions on this ship have unusually high death rates. When things go wrong, the captain gets a far-off look in his eye and will suddenly wax poetic, you'll find yourself saying things you never would say normally, and random black boxes of science suddenly work, but only at the very last moment. Meta-fiction and loving satire, you don't have to be a fan of cheesy sci-fi to enjoy this title.

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin. This retelling of a Poe story is set in a dystopian/post-apocalyptic deeply atmospheric steam punk universe where rich teens wear masques to ward off the plague that's killing everyone. Araby is one of those teens and she spends all her time in clubs, drugged off her mind, until she realizes she can help change the world. The first in a series, follow it with Dance of the Red Death.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young. In this post-apocalyptic landscape, the only thing Saba has is her twin brother Lugh. But then he's kidnapped, and Saba has to leave the home she's known, enter the wild and crazy world outside, and try to find him. The first in a series, follow it with Rebel Heart.


A Corner of White by Jaclyn Moriarty. On the day Elliot's uncle died, his father ran away (rumor has it, with the physics teacher) but Elliot fears the he was murdered by the same purple that got his uncle. Then he discovers a gap between worlds and gets to know Madeleine, who lives in our world and has issues of her own.

The White Bicycle by Beverly Brennan. Taylor Jane is spending the summer in France with her mother, her mother's boyfriend, and his two children. She's being payed to be a personal care assistant for one of the boys, who has cerebral palsy. Taylor Jane is on the autism spectrum and sees this job, and this summer, as crucial in gaining independence from her mother, who Taylor thinks it too over-protective.

White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Archie and Samal are friends from WWII with much younger wives and teenage children. Following everyone's stories, this should be a sprawling multi-ethnic epic about modern London, but it moves at a good clip and features many young characters. It's an enjoyable modern classic.


Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz. These vampires aren't just the rich children of New York's elite, but they actually embody fallen angels-- those that left Heaven with Lucifer, but changed their minds before entering Hell. Plenty of mean girl politics, entangled romances, and an alternate explanation for large portions of history make this long-running series smart and fun. The second is Masquerade.

Silhouetted by the Blue by Traci L. Jones. Serena's father is severely depressed, leaving Serena to care for herself and her younger brother, while still trying to balance her regular teen life including starring in the spring musical and love.

13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson. When Ginny's Aunt Peg passes away, she leaves Ginny 13 blue envelopes, each decorated and numbered. In it she finds money and instructions that will send her on a whirlwind journey across Europe. Follow it with The Last Little Blue Envelope.

What would you add?

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