S is elegant Sinclair’s, site of Mystery of the Jeweled Moth, by Katherine Woodfine (book review)

book cover of Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine, published by Kane Miller (USA) | recommended on BooksYALove.comJewel thief on the loose,
Gangs terrorizing 1909 London’s Chinatown,
A young woman’s body in the river!
Has crime boss the Baron returned?

At Sinclair’s department store, Sophie sells ladies’ hats, Lil models elegant dresses, and both young women keep their eyes open for strange events, like the disappearance of a valuable moth-shaped brooch during an engagement party.

Time for disguises and etiquette review as they drop in on debutantes, check over clues with buddies Billy and Joe, and research the Moonbeam Diamond’s curse!

My no-spoiler recommendation of book 1, Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, introduces Sophie and Lil as Sinclair’s Department Store opens amid rumor and mystery. Watch for book 3, Mystery of the Painted Dragon.

What disguise would you choose when sleuthing about?
**kmm

Book info: The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (Sinclair’s Mysteries, book 2) / Katherine Woodfine. Kane Miller Publishing, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

R = Riot School – we won’t let it be closed! by Robert Rayner (book review)

book cover of Riot School by Robert Rayner, published by Lorimer | recommended on BooksYALove.comTrying to close our small town’s school?
Why should we spend hours on a bus to another school?
Why won’t adults listen to what the students have to say?

Bilan, Arn, Lettie, Grant, and Barlow each have their own reasons for wanting St. Isaac’s School to stay open.

But the Gang of Five can’t agree on what to do – a sit-in? messages to the media? more “extreme” actions?

Sidestreets is one of Canadian publisher Lorimer’s quick-read series with diverse characters and relatable situations and current topics like immigration and sexual identity in small towns and big cities.

How to decide which injustice to fight against?
**kmm

Book info: Riot School (Sidestreets series) / Robert Rayner. Lorimer, 2017. [author bio] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Q = Quiet Kind of Thunder, no need to hear or speak, by Sara Barnard (book review)

US book cover of A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comNot-speaking was her choice (sort of).
Not-hearing wasn’t his (at all).
Not-communicating with each other isn’t an option.

Steffi’s anxiety keeps her from talking most times, but speaking British Sign Language with new student Rhys or texting him is easy.

But is being with Rhys keeping her from communicating with her best friend away at school or standing up to her families about future plans?

I’m apprehensive when the novel premise is “she can’t this, he can’t that, together they are perfectly something” but this one goes beyond the simplistic formula to ask tough questions, like “would we have this relationship at all without this (or that) as vital component?”

Find this story in texts, signs, and sighs at your local library or independent bookstore.

How much must you say before it’s enough?
**kmm

Book info: A Quiet Kind of Thunder / Sara Barnard. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author Facebook]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

P for Penny & Sam, linked as Emergency Contact & maybe more, by Mary H.K. Choi (book review)

book cover of Emergency Contact, by Mary H.K. Choi, published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comCollege will be better than high school, of course.
Learning fiction writing from an amazing author!
Connecting with Sam is…um …just text, okay?

Her mom still acts and dresses like a teen, her new roommate Jude is vibrantly alive, so Penny is grateful for the quiet text life she has with Sam (who is 21, but somehow Jude’s former step-uncle).

But can the Korean-American teen become brave enough to write like she should, go out with Jude and Mallory, actually visit Sam in person at the coffeehouse?

And P is also for “plans busted to smithereens” as this debut novel told in alternating chapters by Penny and Sam (lots of texts) moved onto the New York Times Bestsellers list last week before our A-to-Z got to P!!

Yes, Mary will be at the North Texas Teen Book Festival on Saturday, 20 April 2018, and you should be there, too!

Real life or by text?
**kmm

Book info: Emergency Contact / Mary H.K. Choi. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

O = Outside In with self-taught sculptor, hidden treasures, by Jennifer Bradbury (book review)

book cover of Outside In, by Jennifer Bradbury, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comSecret sculpture garden
filled with Ramayana stories,
art threatened by destruction!

Ram lives by his wits and quick feet, as many orphans do in cities and towns of India.

Discovering an immense garden of sculptures hidden in the forest leads him to work and food and thrilling tales from the Ramayana.

But will his repeated journeys into another sector of the city lead the authorities to this art paradise on ‘unused land’?

This fictionalized account of the amazing Rock Garden created from cast-off materials by self-taught artist Nek Chand over 20 years was inspired by the author’s time in Chandigarh, India.

What’s your favorite “people’s art” installation?
**kmm

Book info: Outside In / Jennifer Bradbury. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum BFYR, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

N is Name of the Blade calling Mio to danger & love, by Zoe Marriott (book review)

US book cover of Name of the Blade, by Zoe Marriott, published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrandfather said she would become guardian of this katana at age 16, as Yamatos have done for over 500 years.

Surely it’s okay if Mio takes the ancient sword from its hiding place a little early, while Mom and Dad are away…

Monsters and gods, worlds of humans and spirits, from Japan to London to the depths of despair to first love – the katana connects them all to Mio as she struggles to master herself and the legendary blade’s powers.

Glide into Mio’s no longer boring life by reading the first chapter here free (courtesy of the publisher). Yes, all 3 books of the trilogy are available in the US!

Family secrets – what to share?
**kmm

Book info: Name of the Blade (Name of the Blade trilogy, book 1) / Zoe Marriott. Candlewick Press, 2014. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

M is Messenger with psychic gift she doesn’t want! by Carol Lynch Williams (book review)

book cover of Messenger by Carol Lynch Williams, published by Simon & Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comHer Gift arrives at age 15!
For cookery or fixing any hair, like her aunts?
Oh no! Not talking to ghosts?!

Maybe Evie will be the one Messenger in her family line who doesn’t have a psychic gift…nope! The Florida teen can see and hear and communicate with dead people!

How can that girl Tommie get into their house without Evie’s momma and stepdad hearing her?

Should Evie really kiss cute Buddy from across the street?

Wild thunderstorms, seeing dead people, and going to a new high school – what a birthday week!

Yes or no for seeing dead people yourself?
**kmm

Book info: Messenger / Carol Lynch Williams. Paula Wiseman Books (Simon Schuster), 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

L = The Leaving Season and love and loss, after graduation, by Cat Jordan (book review)

book cover of The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan, published by Harper Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.comSo many leave for college at this time,
but leaving for another country?
What if something goes wrong?

When Middie’s perfect (really, he is the best ever!) boyfriend is kidnapped while on a humanitarian gap year project abroad, she is utterly devastated – and only Nate’s best friend understands how she feels.

If only she and Lee had anything in common besides Nate – or do they?

Read the first chapter here for free, courtesy of the publisher, to meet Middie and Nate as he leaves for Honduras and she tries to start navigating her life without him by her side daily.

How do you cope with folks leaving?
**kmm

Book info: The Leaving Season / Cat Jordan. Harper Teen, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

K = Kim, with another Changers body-switch! Book 3 by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper (book review)

book cover of Changers Book 3: Kim, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper, published by Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWoke up as a girl for grade 9,
as an African-American guy for grade 10,
what’s in store for Drew on the first morning of grade 11?

In the third Changers book (my notes on Book 1 here and Book 2 here), our hero/ine is now an Asian-American girl who has to deal with fat-shaming by peers and adults, body image, former friends not being able to know who s/he is now, and the long-standing conflict between Changers and Abiders boiling over.

Thankful for her drama pal Kris (so very, very dramatic), especially when her grandmother falls ill – oh, this third transformation is not the best one!

The authors say that Book 4 – where our teen must choose which body and identity to keep for life – is due for 2018 publication!

What lessons learned by fictional characters have you taken to heart?
**kmm

Book info: Changers: Book 3 – Kim / T Cooper & Allison Glock Cooper. Black Sheep/Akashic Books, 2016. [T Cooper author site] [Allison Glock author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

J is Japan in Last Leaves Falling, by Sarah Benwell (book review)

Knows he is dying,
losing body control, bit by bit –
and finally finding friends who don’t care?

Have a hankie at hand when you read Abe’s determination to get the last word over the ALS that’s attacking his 17 year old body and his almost-too-late joy in meeting peers who look past his condition to help him when he needs it most.

Read the first chapter free at the publisher’s website here (scroll down to Excerpt), then discover the rest of this Japanese teen’s story at your local library or favorite independent bookstore in hardcover or paperback.

What would you do to help a friend?
**kmm

Book info: The Last Leaves Falling / Sarah Benwell (or Fox Benwell). Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback) [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.