B is BRAVE ENOUGH to beat the odds? by Kati Gardner (book review)

book cover of Brave Enough, by Kati Gardner. Published by Flux Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Dancing through pain is part of ballet,
Managing pain is part of cancer treatment,
Emotional pain makes both so much harder to handle.

Of course, Davis won’t get addicted to pain medications after chemo is done…

Of course, Cason will ace the national ballet audition and escape her mother’s perfectionism…

But the human body can only do so much, and the teen psyche copes as best it can.

The “minor strain” in Cason’s strong, perfect ballerina’s leg is instead life-threatening.

The need to escape back into drugs after months of rehab is so much stronger than Davis could ever imagine.

She’s in the Atlanta pediatric oncology ward for treatment, he’s there for community service, they get along well enough… maybe.

Is Cason brave enough to even walk again?
Can Davis walk away from the pills and pain he’s caused others?
Maybe time at Camp Chemo will help them both see a future…

+++++
The author is an actor, cancer survivor, and amputee. Her next #ownvoice book, Finding Balance , starts at Camp Chemo and will be published in May 2020.

When did an outside event make you change big plans?
**kmm

Book info: Brave Enough / Kati Gardner. Flux / NorthStar, 2018. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is for Ash, saving the world again: OTAKU, by Chris Kluwe (book review)

book cover of Otaku, by Chris Kluwe. Published by Tor Forge | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Saving the world is easy for Ash and her team,
they do it in-game with ease and flair…
Now, can they save the real world?

After the Water Wars, CCA’s iron religious fist forces unbelievers into overcrowded Ditchtown, stilted above drowned Miami, and the Game is their best escape.

To pay for Mom’s care, Ashley courier runs at double-speed, hoping her brother can stay out of trouble, saving just enough to rent in-Game hapticwear.

As Ashura the Terrible, her team dominates the Game leaderboard by skill and sword and rocket maneuvers, ignoring racial and sexual threats posted on the ‘Net, staying a jump ahead of those who want their secrets.

Suddenly, they are caught in a real war between theocrats who believe their own prophecies and technocrats who worship their devices and data.

Now, it’s up to this team of young women stop a humanity-ending chain reaction in real time, outside the Game, with just one life left.

+++++
Read an excerpt of Otaku at the publisher’s website here.

How do you decide what’s really worth fighting for?
**kmm

Book info: Otaku / Chris Kluwe. Tor Forge Books, 2020. [author Twitter] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

It’s almost A2Z time!

2020 logo for a-to-zchallenge.com

Every year, I wonder…
Should I push myself to post 26 times in April?

Every year, I waver… And yet again, I am saying yes.

For the NINTH year in a row, I am participating in the April A2Z Blog Challenge, starting tomorrow.

So every day of April (except Sundays), I will post short recommendations for a couple dozen great young adult and middle grade books that I’ve read recently (no spoilers), using the Challenge’s alphabetical format.

You can do the A2Z Challenge too! Sign-ups are open here – let me know what you’re blogging about!

See y’all tomorrow to kickstart your stay-at-home-stay-safe reading list!
**kmm

Not him for her Matrimony! THE VIRTUE OF SIN, by Shannon Schuren (book review)

book cover of Virtue of Sin, by Shannon Schuren, published by Penguin Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Their prophet Daniel leads them all,
keeps them safe from the evil world Outside,
…if only what he said were true.

Imagine growing up in an isolated religious community, self-reliant, protected, safe in the desert away from an entire world of unbelievers.

Finally old enough to be paired in Matrimony by the leader who knows everything, absolutely everything, about you.

Except this prophet is a conman and every youth in the community is in grave danger.

How far will we follow those who promise safety from everyone not like us?
**kmm

Book info: The Virtue of Sin / Shannon Schuren. Penguin Teen, hardcover 2019, paperback June 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Safe in New Jerusalem from the outside world’s sins, Miriam and other teens are excited for the first marriage ceremonies of their generation.

But it’s not Caleb who chooses her, despite the dreams she reported to leader Daniel for years.

New husband Aaron isn’t who she thought, and neither is Daniel.

Who knows the truth here?

Cult or community in the California desert, its secrets are deep… told alternately by Miriam and Caleb.

Demon-fed magics & the SORCERY OF THORNS! by Margaret Rogerson (book review)

book cover of Sorcery of Thorns, by Margaret Rogerson. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Can a book be evil or good if no one reads it?

Elisabeth knows only life in the Great Library where the most evil grimoires are caged and triple-locked, hoping to someday earn the rank of Warden and ever keep these sorcerous books from harming her land.

Now someone begins releasing the demons from these dread tomes to wreak havoc – but who and why?

Fantasy, horror, mystery… could you resist the whispers of promised power and keep the grimoires locked up?
**kmm

Book info: Sorcery of Thorns / Margaret Rogerson. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Deeply dangerous Grimoires imprisoned in the Great Libraries are being set loose upon the land of Austermeer – the Wardens suspect high sorcerers, the sorcerers know better.

Raised in a Great Library, Elisabeth hears the beings trapped within the bindings and pages of every grimoire.

Unable to prove that someone else freed the horror at Summershall, the teen is taken by sorcerer Thorn to the capital for trial.

Demon-fed magics, paper-whispered madnesses, treachery, loyalty, love, and the fate of the world!

REVENGE OF THE RED CLUB! #PeriodPower in middle school! by Kim Harrington

book cover of Revenge of the Red Club, by Kim Harrington. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Riley is so glad that girls started the Red Club at her Massachusetts middle school before she got her first period and is happy to help lead the group supporting one another through menstruation’s ups and downs.

She is beyond mad when the school administration shuts down the club due to “parent complaints,” removes the emergency supplies from the Red Club’s locker, and suddenly starts enforcing an antiquated dress code that only impacts girls.

Time for the eighth grader to use her school newspaper investigative reporting skills to find out who complained about the Red Club and how to update that dress code!

Co-leader Cee puts together an action plan, and the “Revenge of the Red Club” begins – normalizing period talk, boys wearing clothes out of dress code as allies, and more.

But can the Red Club control the way that the rest of the school reacts?

Is Cole interested in Riley or in the developing news story?

Why is Riley’s best friend Ava acting so weird?

The world would be a better place if every school had a Red Club support group, and the Hawking Middle School girls are determined to get theirs back!

Want more information about menstruation issues? Check out Period Power, by Nadya Okamoto here.

How is your school supporting this part of adolescence and everyday life?
**kmm

Book info: Revenge of the Red Club / Kim Harrington. Aladdin, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can CHICKEN GIRL ever be herself again? #yalit by Heather Smith (book review)

book cover of Chicken Girl, by Heather Smith. Published by Penguin Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

When her Rosie the Riveter tribute photo is altered and mocked online, 1940s culture fan Poppy withdraws from her friends and family.

The Canadian teen’s twin brother is happily out, her roller derby team will just have to do without her.

At least she’s hidden from the world as she wears a chicken suit to advertise for a local restaurant.

Introduced to a group of homeless-by-choice friends by a lively little girl, Poppy looks forward to evenings with them under the bridge – Thumper with his Bible, Lewis saving money for transition surgery, Buck photographing absolutely everything.

Poppy’s now becomes bearable, but what of the future?
Will social services take little Miracle from her struggling mom?
Is her twin Cam really happy at his new summer job?

Chicken Girl is puns and poses, exploration and misunderstanding, community and much more. Read an excerpt here for free, courtesy of the publisher.

Who’s in your friend-family?
**kmm

Book info: Chicken Girl / Heather Smith. Penguin Teen, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Like all EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS, she must fly! by Sandy Stark-McGinnis (book review)

book cover of Extraordinary Birds, by Sandy Stark-McGinnis. Published by Bloomsbury Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sure that she is truly a bird and that wings will soon burst out from the scars on her back, 11-year-old December is placed in yet another foster home, leaving everything behind except her secret journal.

She does find Eleanor nicer than most foster parents and is intrigued by her work rehabilitating injured birds (but not the taxidermy hobby…ew).

At her new school, she’s welcomed by Cheryllynn who loves the brightest dresses and snobby Jenny who says that’s really Charlie.

If December climbs a high enough tree, will she be able to fly away from unhappy memories?

Can she really help Eleanor teach a wounded hawk to fly free again?

Will Eleanor give up on December like everyone else has?

Her vast knowledge of birds hasn’t prepared December very well for dealing with humans, but Eleanor and Cheryllynn seem better than most people.

Who has given you hope when storms kept you from soaring?
**kmm

Book info: Extraordinary Birds / Sandy Stark McGinnis. Bloomsbury Kids, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Will QUEEN OF THE SEA watch over them all? #GraphicNovel by Dylan Meconis (book review)

book cover of Queen of the Sea, by Dylan Meconis, Published by Walker Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Taken to a remote island as a baby, Margaret lives with the exiled nuns whose life-work is praying for travelers on the treacherous seas.

When Albion’s king dies years later, one of his daughters reigns and one is sent to the island convent as prisoner for life.

Margaret is the only witness to a shipwreck after royal Eleanor’s arrival on the island and finds a survivor in the sea cave – someone who wants to rescue the would-be-queen!

Secrets thread through this full-color graphic novel based on the youth of Elizabeth I. Check out sample pages here free, courtesy of the publisher.

I read and wrote about Queen of the Sea some months ago, but didn’t publish the post till now.

Happy to learn that others love it as much as I do – shortlisted for the 2020 Pacific Northwest Book Awards and appearing on several Best Graphic Novels of 2019 lists!!

Secrets and not-so-secrets – what’s your favorite recent graphic novel?
**kmm

Book info: Queen of the Sea / story & art by Dylan Meconis. Walker Books US (Candlewick), 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

SEA SIRENS in epic underwater battle! by Amy Chu & Janet K. Lee (book review)

book cover of Sea Sirens, by Amy Chu, art by Janet K. Lee. Published by Viking | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Surf’s up, so paddle out now.
Great wave – wipe out!
Uh-oh…where are we?

Usually Vietnamese-American middle grader Trot and her talking cat Cap’n Bill just bob to the surface when surfing, but this time they’re flung into deeper California waters – right into a battle between sea serpents and sirens!

Bill’s claws end the fight quickly, and they return to the sirens’ city for a celebration.

But how can Trot & Bill breathe underwater?

Why did the serpents leave their home territory?

Can Trot & Cap’n Bill return to land where Mom and Grandpa must be worrying?

This graphic novel delight is based on L. Frank Baum’s Sea Fairies and is the first volume in the Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure series. Watch for Sky Island in mid-2020!

Which legendary creatures from your grandparents’ bedtime stories would you like to encounter?
**kmm

Book info: Sea Sirens: a Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure / Amy Chu; art by Janet K. Lee; lettering by Jimmy Gownley. Viking, 2019. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.