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Written by Ava Lee and Amanda Kay
Love Hamilton, aka the most brilliant Broadway show in history? Read these eight novels with protagonist similar to Hamilton characters like Lafayette, Angelica, AND PEGGY!!!
*MSL stands for the Most Suitable Lyric from Hamilton that suits the characters.
1. Alexander Hamilton in THE FAULT IN OUR STARS
Hamilton and Hazel’s similarities lie not in their life stories, but in their cynical view of the world. Hazel’s (Hamilton in disguise) terminal cancer is set to ruin her life, but when she meets Augustus Waters, a fellow member of the Cancer Support Group, she realizes her limited days are about to be changed forever.
MSL: And there’s a million things I haven’t done/But just you wait - Alexander Hamilton
Author: John Greene
2. Aaron Burr in ONE OF US IS LYING
Simon is the creator of Bayview High’s gossip app and has the dirt on everybody, no matter their social standing. However someone - or not - has it out for Simon, and that person (Aaron Burr in disguise) thinks he should have talked less, and smiled more.
MSL: Fools who run their mouths off wind up dead - Aaron Burr, Sir
Author: Karen M. McManus
3. John Laurens in A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO VICE AND VIRTUE
A gentleman may seem well-versed in society’s norms, but all have shameless vices whether it’s a need to duel or fill their flasks every hour. Henry “Monty” Montague (John Laurens in disguise) embarks on his last Grand Tour of Europe to enjoy roguish pleasures before he is forced to commit to his family’s estate—that is until he discovers a plot that threatens the ones he loves.
MSL: Two pints o’ Sam Adams but I’m working on three! - Aaron Burr, Sir
Author: Mackenzie Lee
4. Lafayette in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
In ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, Godspeed is the ship which brings the people of Earth to a new planet, where Amy wakes up fifty years too early. Elder (Lafayette in disguise) fights against the controlling government while realizing that there are more secrets than he had ever thought possible.
MSL: I dream of life without a monarchy/The unrest in France will lead to ‘onarchy? - My Shot
Author: Beth Revis
5. Hercules Mulligan in AND I DARKEN
Hercules Mulligan is strong, brave, and risks his life as a tailor to get information, like how Lada risks everything to prove that she’s more to what comes to eye. AND I DARKEN is the story of the princess of Wallachia, Lada Dragwlya (Hercules in disguise) and how she fights for vengeance on the Ottoman empire.
MSL: Hercules Mulligan, I need no introduction/When you knock me down I get the f*** back up again!
Author: Kiersten White
6. Angelica in MOXIE
Just like Angelica, Vivian Carter in MOXIE stands for what she believes in and does not back down, no matter what the cynics say. Vivian’s plan to stop gender discrimination (Angelica in disguise) in her small Texas town by her comics makes MOXIE a definite must read.
MSL: I’m ‘a compel him to include women in the sequel! - The Schuyler Sisters
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
7. Eliza in UNDER A PAINTED SKY
UNDER A PAINTED SKY features a rebellious yet sweet heroine, unafraid to do what is necessary for their best of companions. Join Samantha Young (Eliza in disguise) and Annamae, a runaway slave, as they head down the 1849 Oregan Trail, on the run from the discriminatory law and heading towards a new life in California. (Psst! They both speak French!)
MSL: Run away with us for the summer - Take a Break
Author: Stacey Lee
8. And Peggy! in GEMINI
Hailey (Peggy in disguise) and Clara, two conjoined sisters, have lived in the same old town all their lives, but their relationship fissures as they grow older. Hailey wants to be the center of the party, but Clara is fine being a wallflower. As graduation approaches, they must learn how to be their own person while stuck to each other’s hip.
MSL: And Peggy! - The Schuyler Sisters
Author: Sonya Mukherjee
Teen Advisory Board Member Ava Reviews Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix
Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao
The sequel to Forest of a Thousand Lanterns switches to Jade’s perspective. The wicked but stunning Empress Xifeng is slowly poisoning the Emperor, seeking to control the Great Forest. But the rightful heir to the throne, Jade, is determined to put an end to her reign, especially after Xifeng tries killing Jade, the one prophesied to bring her downfall. Using the stories her nursemaid taught her, Jade must collect five relics to raise the Dragon Guard, the only way to dethrone the Empress.
Though YA fairytale-retellings were my go-to for quite some time, I eventually lost interest. Well, at least until I read and reread Julie C. Dao’s Snow White spinoffs. Not to mention, it’s about time we have an all-Asian cast in an Asian-based fantasy world! While it’s fantastic that the number of Asian in entertainment is rising, most of the time those sources (E.g. novels, movies, etc) feature the struggle in being an outcast in society as a result of not being white. But this novel takes a whole new turn, casting the characters in a fun plot where they don’t have to struggle with their heritage, as being Asian is the norm.
Also, I love how the love interest defies stereotypes. Almost 100% of the time, the male love interest is this dark, brooding, handsome figure. But there are two stereotypes Dao defeats:
The love interest is Asian. Asian men have a history of been viewed as unmasculine, just as Asian women have a history of being overly-sexualized. Although this factor is sort of a given, as Dao’s cast is entirely Asian anyway.
He has the height of a dwarf. Many men struggle with the idea of dating a woman who’s taller than them, but this defies that expectation.
Love this fresh, diverse retelling of Snow White! It’s filled with more plot twists than I can count on both hands. Recommended to fans of the Lunar Chronicles, Caraval, and people who want more diversity in literature.
-Review written by Ava, Age 14
Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix hit stores November 6th. Haven't read Forest of a Thousand Lanterns yet? Find it here!
One of the first questions people ask me when they learn I’m a Children’s Book Buyer is do you really read all of the books you buy? Sadly the answer is NO. It’s impossible but I’m excited to introduce you to a group of people who give me a first look at everything being published each season, our publisher sales reps! I rely on them to help me discover debut gems, identify new trends and tell me what I should put on top of my never ending need to read pile. Each month a publisher rep will share one of their personal favorites with us. Happy Reading!
Books Inc. Co-Owner &
Senior Children’s Buyer
Readers, meet Kevin!
When I was a kid, one of the ways my mom would encourage me to read was by telling me that, through a book, I could travel anywhere in the world at any time, without ever leaving home. Books then became portals to other worlds and places. Few books capture this feeling for me as much as The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for The World’s Most Adventurous Kid (Workman Publishing), written by Atlas Obscura co-founder Dylan Thuras (and co-author of the bestselling book Atlas Obscura) and science writer and graphic novelist Rosemary Mosco, and illustrated by Joy Ang (who just so happens to also be a character designer for Adventure Time). Readers are taken on a remarkable cross-continent journey around the world to 47 countries and 100 of the strangest and most amazing places ever visited by humans. Explore the Giant Crystals of Naica, found in a recently-discovered cave complex in Mexico, which are seven time taller than a person and are heavier than an elephant, then go to the next page to learn of the world’s largest cave complex, the Han Son Doong cave in Vietnam, which is so big, you could fly a 747 jet airliner through it! From a spacecraft cemetery off the coast of New Zealand, to a lake of skeletons in India (where a freak hailstorm killed 200 people 1200 years ago), to Blood Falls in Antarctica (where a melting glacier is colored by iron to turn the water red), to an island of snakes in Brazil, readers are treated to one extraordinary adventure after another. For every kid who dreams of travel and adventure, and for every adult who feels the same, many wonders await in this fantastic book. (Available now.)
About Kevin:I have worked in the book business in Northern California for over 30 years, in many guises, including over a decade as a bookseller (at Books Inc., in fact), as a distributor book buyer, as a media guide for authors, and as a publisher sales rep, both for a big house (Macmillan) and now as an independent sales rep with Book Travelers West, representing Workman Publishing, among others. I enjoy reading (of course), music of all sorts, culinary wonders, travel, great beaches, and spending time with my lovely wife. I am also an enthusiastic practitioner of both Yoga and Budo (Japanese martial arts).
Friday Black, from Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, is a fiercely satiric collection where racism and unbridled capitalism are firmly under the author’s sway, but there are moments of tender magic here, too. Not much drinking happens in these chimerical tales, but one of the stories has a character craving “Good” that make his head feel “the way an orange tastes,” so I started there and ended on the final story, “Through the Flash,” for the drink’s name.
1 oz. Genever
1 oz. Orange Juice
.5 oz Triple Sec
2 dashes Orange Bitters
Charred orange slice for garnish
Shake all (except orange slice) with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Garnish with orange.