I'm exhausted. In a "my bones feel like they are made of cement, perhaps I should consult Web MD" kind of way. Lately, my go-to answer whenever anyone asks, "How are you?" is "TIRED." Caps Lock on, emphasis on how sleepy I am.
Because of that, my brain is mostly focused on when I can next take a nap, and less on what is on my "to be read" list. That is somewhat of a Big Deal in the world I live and work in, considering I am literally paid to connect people with books. Even library staff - lovers of reading, champions of free programming, huge nerds - can get too distracted to sit down with a book.
So what happens when I'm in that mood, but I don't want to abandon reading altogether? I connect with my old pal, Graphic Novels, and their slightly less demanding sibling, Comics. Here are the best stories I have encountered this year, all equally wonderful and worth the expenditure of mental energy.
So, grab one of these lovely books, find a comfortable spot in the sun, and enjoy!
Speaking of sunshine, reading this book is like drinking a glass of freshly made sweet tea while lounging outside, weather somehow perfect. I don't think I've ever fallen in love with a character as fast as I did when I first encountered Bitty. He's a Southern gentlemen whose main activities include generally being adorable, playing on his college hockey team, hanging with his team members, vlogging about his life, singing pop music, tweeting about literally everything, and using any excuse to bake pies. Y'all, he bakes a lot of pies.
Ari is having A MOMENT. He's graduated high school and now all he wants to do is move to the city with his band, only his parents want him to stay home and work in the family bakery. All he wants to do is play music, not bake traditional Greek recipes; and then he meets the newest hire, Hector. Hector is a culinary arts student only in town to deal with a family member's old house; he's not planning on sticking around for long, and he's certainly not planning on falling for the boy in the bakery. Oh no, definitely not that. This is a sweet and pure and charming story that is, just, sigh.
Okay, so I just wouldn't be me without including a bit of an angst-fest option. Nicholas is a scholarship student at a prestigious boarding school who wants to prove he's just as good of a fencer as his half-brother and father. He's the underdog, the one no one expects to make it. Seiji is practically a celebrity at the school, one of the biggest names in the fencing world, and also just happened to humiliate Nicholas the last time they had a match together. They hate each other. Oh, and did I mention that they're also roommates?!!
Liv is a highly organized, competitive, pint-sized ball of energy who comes up with the idea to form a basketball team at her all-girls school, even though she's never really played sports before? Doesn't matter! She can do anything she puts her mind to! She wrangles her friends to join her in her new adventures, but it's not until transfer student, Charlie, arrives that gives The Avant-Guards an actual shot to be a real basketball team. This series is full of adorable characters, precious plot lines, and is guaranteed to make anyone smile (even Charlie, who is kind of a grump sometimes).
I haven't read this one yet! Oops! However, I'm still going to recommend it, because it's the #1 book I'm most excited to read from my Holds list. Heartstopper is a slice-of-life webcomic series that has been given new life in print form. It follows Charlie and Nick, who seemingly have nothing in common, until they meet and realize, oh hey, maybe they do. Like how maybe they both like each other and you can guess where the story goes from there. I have only heard wonderful things about this series (queen Rainbow Rowell has even talked about it), and I seriously can't wait to get my hands on it!
-Kimberly Lopez is a Readers' Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.