Here’s a couple shorter takes on some more Cybils books, as I try desperately to keep up with my reading.
The Truth about Martians by Melissa Savage. Crown Books, 2018.
In 1947 Arizona, Mylo Affinito is still struggling to get over the death of his older brother, Obie. He and his best friend Dibs, crush Gracie, and two other boys together try to investigate the mysterious large objects that crashed in a nearby field. The adults and especially the Air Force are telling them to stay away, but a voice in Mylo’s head is asking for help. The author takes first-hand accounts of the Roswell crash, lots of gee-whiz 1940s culture, and kids dealing with serious issues like grief and depression on Mylo’s part, an alcoholic and abusive father on Dibs’ part, and restrictive gender expectations on Gracie’s part, weaving them together into a story that’s strong on community and kindness – and a fair bit of alien contact, too. Though there is adventure, it’s more thoughtful than I would have guessed based on the cover.
The Marvelous Adventures of Gwendolyn Gray by B.A. Williamson. Jolly Fish Press, 2018.
Gwendolyn’s curly red hair sticks out in the monochrome world of the Grey City where she lives. She’s also not able to look into Lambents the way everyone else does at home and at school. One day, she accidentally grows bunny ears on a bullied girl, who then vanishes. She finds herself on the run from a pair of men in bowler hats – but running leads her to the first fiction books she’s ever found, about the dashing pirate Kolonius Thrash. Just when the bowler-hatted men are about to nab her, she’s led by siblings Starling and Sparrow into another world. Here the story turns into a trippy world-hopping, reality bending experience, with them meeting Kolonius Thrash himself – a Black, teenaged pirate just the right age for sparks to fly between him and Starling. Gwendolyn is described as having great powers of the imagination, but it was never clear to me whether what was happening was in her imagination, made real by her imagination, or her imagination allowing her to travel to a pre-existing world. Despite this confusion, this was a very fun adventure.