Books by Cecil Castellucci

DON'T COSPLAY WITH MY HEART by Cecil Castellucci
Released: Dec. 26, 2017

"This authentically geeky and feminist romance nails the con scene. (Fiction. 12-16)"
A teen copes with home-life troubles by cosplaying her favorite comic-book character. Read full book review >
SOUPY LEAVES HOME by Cecil Castellucci
Released: May 2, 2017

"A compelling graphic offering that explores relevant gender roles and self-identity through a historical lens. (Graphic historical fiction. 12 & up)"
Abused by her domineering father, Pearl reinvents herself as a boy and takes to the road. Read full book review >
STONE IN THE SKY by Cecil Castellucci
Released: Feb. 24, 2015

"Thoroughly original outer-space scenario wrapped around clunky prose. (Science fiction. 13 & up)"
After years trapped on a space station, seething with fury, a girl gets the chance to broaden her horizons. Read full book review >
TIN STAR by Cecil Castellucci
Released: Feb. 25, 2014

"The intriguing plot remains emotionally narrow until the ending, which promises a broader scope and interplanetary activism in the next installment. (Science fiction. 13 & up)"
Trapped for years on a remote space station, a girl brews revenge. Read full book review >
ODD DUCK by Cecil Castellucci
Released: May 14, 2013

"This clever celebration of individuality delights. (Graphic fiction. 6-10)"
A sublime tale of two strange ducks who overcome the odds—pun completely intended—and become friends. Read full book review >
THE YEAR OF THE BEASTS by Cecil Castellucci
Released: May 1, 2012

"It won't be for everyone, but sophisticated readers will eat this melancholy, appealingly disjointed novel right up. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 12-16)"
A tale of contemporary family and a comic that draws on Greek mythology unfold in alternating chapters, interweaving to tell of two sisters blighted by the sting of jealousy. Read full book review >
FIRST DAY ON EARTH by Cecil Castellucci
Released: Nov. 1, 2011

"A simple, tender work that speaks to the alien in all of us. (Fiction. 12 & up)"
A lonely teen claims to have been abducted by aliens in this heartfelt offering by the author of Rose Sees Red (2010). Read full book review >
GRANDMA'S GLOVES by Cecil Castellucci
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

This girl's grandma smells wonderful, cooks amazing doughnuts and knows how to make plants and flowers grow. Sometimes she repeats things, but her granddaughter doesn't mind. Replete with striking images, the soft and atmospheric digitally enhanced watercolors sensitively portray the girl and her family, the garden and Grandma's house. Tragedy quietly strikes when Grandma has to go into the hospital due to an unnamed medical event. She can't recognize her family anymore, and she doesn't even smell right. All too quickly, Grandma dies. Many people offer their memories as Grandma's house is being packed up, and Mama saves some treasures for her daughter, but it's Grandma's gardening gloves the girl wants. Can the girl show Mama what Grandma taught her about gardening so the two can create a garden together? The poetic, sensory and straightforward text strikes a nice balance, and the subtle, comforting ending finishes on a promise for the future. Affecting and realistic, with just the right amount of detail, this is a thoughtful, well-crafted description of a loved one's death, especially appropriate for children undergoing a similar loss. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
ROSE SEES RED by Cecil Castellucci
Released: Aug. 1, 2010

An '80s movie in novel form: A smart, painfully lonely teen finds an unlikely connection to the daughter of officials from the Soviet Union, and together they go on the all-night New York City adventure of a lifetime, finding love, friendship and laughter along the way. This spare, powerful story of friendship and art (both are ballerinas; American Rose struggles to succeed while Soviet Yrena dances beautifully but hates it) loses something by virtue of a setting that is historical but too recent to be the stuff of history classes (and is thus unfamiliar to the target audience); without a sense of the Cold War era, readers will find much here perplexing. Moreover, the journey concludes at a No Nukes rally, and the message (people are people, the rest is politics) briefly overwhelms the story. Rose's simple, occasionally staccato narration conveys a poetry and grace, and the respect for the struggle to say something—through art in particular—comes across on every page. Not for everyone, but artists will appreciate seeing themselves evoked so sympathetically. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2009

This disastrous collection of stories sets out to show the depth and coolness of unpopular geeks and nerds, but instead it presents tired stereotypes in writing that fulfills an audience of authors and librarians rather than teens. There are a few standouts, like the stories by Kelly Link and Cassandra Clare, which have sympathetic characters who just happen to engage in geek activities. A few others, like those by Wendy Mass and David Levithan, show that the term "geek" extends beyond Star Trek to various academic disciplines. More than one story requires knowledge of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a show that went off the air when most of this book's target audience was ten years old. Teens who are not already entrenched in geek culture, which in most of these stories means obsession with science-fiction and fantasy worlds, will have a hard time following, much less understanding most of these stories. Even with the authors' name recognition, this collection's appeal is limited at best. (Short stories. 14 & up)Read full book review >
JANES IN LOVE by Cecil Castellucci
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

Jane Beckles and her crew of like-named conspirators return in this sequel to The Plain Janes (2007). This time around, they are plagued by all manner of heartache—and plenty of other woes, too. Their guerilla-art group, People Loving Art in Neighborhoods (PLAIN), is hotly pursued by a glowering police officer. They have no money for art supplies, and they can't seem to stop bickering among themselves. Meanwhile, Jane's already-troubled mother withdraws further after learning of the anthrax-related death of a friend. At times disheartened, Jane struggles to find a solution that will keep the group going. Rugg's detailed, shaded drawings effectively bring Castellucci's realistic, thoughtful characters to life. The novelty of its premise made the first in this series remarkable, and happily, the overarching spirit of art triumphing over fear in this second offering expands on it and still rings true. (Graphic fiction. 12 & up) Read full book review >
BEIGE by Cecil Castellucci
Released: June 1, 2007

What's a decidedly non-hip girl to do when she's suddenly plunged into the punk-rock scene in L.A.? Fourteen-year-old Katy desperately doesn't want to leave her mother and her nice life in Montreal to spend two whole weeks with her almost-famous drummer father, nicknamed "The Rat." Katy doesn't even like music and tries to bury herself in books, but can't escape Lake, the rocker girl assigned to keep an eye on her. Chronically angry Lake takes to calling Katy "Beige," a seemingly perfect label until Katy at last begins to find a side of herself she didn't even know existed. Castellucci shows wonderful insight as she slowly opens Katy's mind to new ideas and conflicting feelings. A cast of quirky characters keeps the book interesting, both for readers interested in the emotional drama and in the L.A. music scene, without getting into anything too gritty. (Fiction. YA) Read full book review >
THE QUEEN OF COOL by Cecil Castellucci
Released: March 1, 2006

Albert Camus meets Mariah Fredericks in this smart, edgy take on one adolescent's search for identity and meaning in life. The mastermind behind Pajama Day, the lone streaker at the high-school dance and IT girl, Libby suddenly finds that her cluster of reality-show wannabes, shallow friends and casual hookups leave her bored and empty inside. On a whim, she signs up for an internship at the Los Angeles Zoo. Among her socially and fashion-challenged zoo team, she meets Tina (aka Tiny), a Little Person with big confidence and dreams of being an actress. As Libby eventually becomes the last to hear the latest cool plan of the day, she wonders how Tina and her nerdy companions create passion in their everyday lives. When Libby's "friends" jeopardize Tina's intern position, she unexpectedly takes the heat and discovers that life among the common folk is actually quite extraordinary. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >
BOY PROOF by Cecil Castellucci
Released: March 1, 2005

This character study of a rebellious Los Angeles teen has enough quirky features taken from sci-fi fantasy to keep reluctant readers interested. Victoria Jurgen devotes herself to science fiction and has retreated from society. She refuses to answer to her name, instead calling herself "Egg," after a character in her favorite sci-fi movie. Her major goals are to become valedictorian of her high school and to be eccentric. Egg reluctantly finds herself attracted to Max, a new boy in her school, but she's so devoted to her own separateness that, although she befriends him, she refuses to respond to his approaches. When Max gets involved with a girl she dislikes, however, Egg becomes jealous. Then her grades slip, and she meets and dislikes her favorite actress, which helps to repel her from her former obsessions and solitude. It's an unusual, successful, appealing effort from first-time novelist Castellucci. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >