Unexpected Everything, by Morgan Matson (book review) – summer plans? poof, woof & wow!

book cover of The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson published by Simon Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.comShe’s got it all planned:
internship, great college, med school…
until step one is revoked!

Andie loves her checklists, her plans to become a doctor, her best friends – and sticks to short-term boyfriends.

Then her fancy internship gets yanked away, her politician father is suddenly home from DC, she lands in a summer job far outside her experience or comfort zone, and she meets Clark…

Happy book birthday week to The Unexpected Everything!  This is a great summer read, like Matson’s Since You’ve Been Gone  (my no-spoilers recommendation here) and Second Chance Summer  (more here) with less road trip, but just as much self-reflection and heart.

What do you do when a perfectly crafted plan falls apart?
**kmm

Book info: The Unexpected Everything / Morgan Matson. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When problems at her congressman father’s office cause her pre-med internship to vanish, Andie is forced out of her structured life of success checklists and into a summer job as a dog-walker (never had a dog), wanting to stay around new guy Clark (never mind her 3-weeks-only rule for boyfriends), and trying to keep her best friends in sync as an outside relationship threatens to dissolve their group.

A world-famous author in their midst?
Dad home in Connecticut all summer instead of away in Washington DC?
A long-time crush keeps his distance, or does he?

An epic scavenger hunt, bridging the father-daughter gap 5 years after Mom’s death, emojis-only text message challenge, a committed relationship (wait! this is Andie we’re talking about…) – such an unexpected summer before senior year!  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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That’s a wrap – another April AtoZ Challenge in the books!

logo of April AtoZ blog challenge 2016I did it!

26 posts – A to Z – in April, on schedule.

That’s 22 new, no-spoiler book recommendations, plus 3 library-celebration posts and a look ahead to free audiobooks all summer.

Thanks again to the April AtoZ Challenge organizers! This is all free, a labor of love to help bloggers build up their blogging muscles and gain readership.

Since I signed up so late (#1532 on the list), I didn’t get many new followers or comments, but it was certainly worth it for me to get back in my writing groove – so many great books from debut authors and smaller presses to tell y’all about! (not enough hours in the day for me to consider covering self-published works, as my policies state)

So if you want to find your voice in blogging or just have a super list of blogs to visit and follow, look into the April AtoZ Challenge – I’ll remind you next March!

Got a favorite, unheralded YA title to recommend?
**kmm

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Z is zeroing in on summer reading – with your ears!

photo of BooksYALove at TxLA conference 2016

BooksYALove at TxLA 2016

When the folks at the Publishers Spotlight booth asked last week at TxLA conference if I’d heard of AudioSYNC free audiobooks all summer, I told them that I’ve been promoting this free download program every summer since it began!

And yes, it’s back this summer – two free complete audiobooks that you can download each week and keep forever! One classic title pairs with a contemporary one thematically, so that’s 30 free audiobooks for you.

Every Thursday from May 5 to August 11, 2016, I will highlight each week’s two free titles with direct links to the SYNC website.

So this is a wrap – AtoZChallenge completed! (Thank you, challenge organizers – over 1,500 participants this year!)

From now on, I plan to recommend a couple of books weekly along with the Thursday AudioSYNC notes, saving this 6-posts-a-week pace for next April.

Which AprilAtoZ title was your favorite?
**kmm

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Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee is Y (book review) – perfect senior year turned upside down

book cover of The Kidney Hypothetical by Lisa Yee published by Arthur A. Levine Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com One big “what if?” question,
One not-so-smooth answer,
One life plan crumbling away…

Higgs is content to follow the detailed plan for his future – early admission to Harvard, becoming a dentist like his father and grandfather – but everything goes sour with that random question just before graduation.

Then he meets free-spirit Monarch and things take a different path utterly and entirely.

How do you bounce back when a slip-up derails your plans?
**kmm

Book info:  The Kidney Hypothetical, or How to Ruin Your Life in Seven Days / Lisa Yee. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For Higgs, his future as a Harvard-educated dentist like his dad (and as planned for his deceased older brother) is all set, until his answer to a hypothetical question starts a chain reaction of awful at his California high school and brings wild and wonderful Monarch into his life just before graduation.

 

Thanks to the Mansfield/Richland County Public Library staff in Ohio for their great book trailer videos, including this one. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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X on the map, any map for Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig (book review)

book cover of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig published by Greenwillow | recommended on BooksYALove.comTime traveling,
On a pirate ship,
If there’s a map, she can go there!

Just imagine a Gifted young woman navigating the Temptation and her interesting crew to any port present or past, nations long-swallowed by history, mythic lands – all so that her father the captain can find a way to undo her mother’s death… and perhaps undo Nix herself!

I listened to Heidi speak on a debut YA authors’ panel last week at TxLA, and she was just as funny in person as in this offbeat author interview video.

Sail into your local library or independent bookstore for the February 2016-published first adventure in this two-part sea saga (Heidi is indeed working on the second book now, she assured us!).

If you could travel to any place at any time, where would you come ashore?
**kmm

Book info: The Girl From Everywhere / Heidi Heilig. Greenwillow Books, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [video author interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her father seeks to undo her mother’s death, 16 year old half-Chinese Nix guides their time-traveling pirate ship to ports real and imagined, encountering mythic creatures and real robber barons, wondering if his quest will undo her as well.

She can guide the Temptation to any port on any map, fictional or factual, so onward goes the ship, seeking every possible cure that could keep Nix’s mother from dying in childbirth – if Slate could only find the map for the exact 1886 Honolulu where they lived.

A crowded 1774 Calcutta market where just-a-friend Kashmir rescues her, sugar barons who want to depose the king of Hawaii, today’s Coast Guard with questions for the grand wooden sailing ship in New York harbor – Nix, Slate, Kash, Rotgut, Bee and her ghost-wife Ayen travel through time and oceans on the captain’s quest.

If her mother survives childbirth in her timeline, what happens to Nix?
Is there room for love when a pirate ship can’t put down roots?
What treacherous waters must Nix cross to fulfill her own dreams?

First of a two-part adventure that spans time, tides, and every human emotion, The Girl From Everywhere wants to remain in existence, despite her father’s longing to undo her past. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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W is We Are All Made of Molecules, by Susin Nielsen (book review) – stepfamily is big step for him

book cover of We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Neilsen published by Wendy Lamb Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comFinally having a sister will be nice, Stewart thinks.
No, getting a nerdy stepbrother is awful, Ashley thinks.
How is this blended family thing going to work?

A genius with digestive issues and a so-so student who’s a social climber now have to share a house and a high school – not easy.  Add in the new guy on the basketball team with a mysterious past (Ashley’s secret crush!) who attacks Stewart in phys ed, plus Ashley trying to keep the truth about her parents’ divorce a secret – not easy at all.

This laugh-aloud look at serious issues will be released in paperback on May 10, 2016 – if you can wait that long to read it!

Must moving forward mean leaving the best of your past behind?
**kmm

Book info: We Are All Made of Molecules / Susin Nielsen. Wendy Lamb Books, 2015 (hardcover); 2016, Ember (paperback).  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Stewart understands why his dad wants to remarry after Mom’s death, but the gifted 13-year-old is uncertain about his new stepsister’s popularity and academic problems when he transfers to her Vancouver high school, despite her wishes.

Adding Stewart’s favorite quirky possessions to his 14 year old stepsister’s sleek modern house is a balancing act, as is his nerdy presence at Ashley’s school where she’d rather study celebrity gossip than her textbooks.

A handsome new guy on the basketball team, the chance to become school mascot and a Mathlete, not-so-subtle mean girl comments – so much change in high school!

Can Stewart hold onto some of his mom’s molecules among so many new things?
Can Ashley keep the whole school from knowing that her dad is gay?
Why do parents have silly rules about no parties while they’re gone?

Told in alternating chapters by Stewart and Ashley, this Canadian family story brings humor to the often-tricky worlds of high school, stepfamilies, and identity. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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V is Vengeance Road, by Erin Bowman (book review) – revenge is a dangerous path

book cover of Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comJust her and Pa on the homestead,
till the Rose Gang came a-killin’ –
now it’s time for revenge…

Kate will track down the killers in the unforgiving Arizona deserts and mountains to avenge her father’s death, but when the 18 year old discovers that the gang is after the gold that her father hid, look out!

Read chapter one here (courtesy of the publisher), then hunt down this wild Western tale at your local library or independent bookstore!

We need girls with grit in westerns and all kinds of books – Kate is as gritty and tenacious as they come.

Family secrets… shared any lately?
**kmm

Book info: Vengeance Road / Erin Bowman. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kate’s riding hell-bent for leather on the Arizona frontier to avenge her father’s murder, as she follows the treasure map that he hid for her, ready to kill every member of the Rose Gang… as long as they don’t get her first!

Apaches and dust storms, the Superstition Mountains and a secretive old miner, Pa’s mysterious and cryptic map… Kate’s trail is perilous and bloody.

If Kate’s heart is consumed by vengeance, will there ever be room for anything else?

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U is uncertainty & Rules for 50/50 Chances, by Kate McGovern (book review)

book cover of Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern published by Farrar Straus Giroux | recommended on BooksYALove.com Hereditary disease.
Test to find out
or live till it grabs you?

Rose’s mother has Huntington’s Disease and is losing control of herself and her abilities bit by bit.  At 18, Rose can take the genetic test that tells whether she inherited the fatal disease or not. Then she meets Caleb…

Would you want to know how you’re going to die?
**kmm

p.s. May is Huntington’s Disease Awareness Month, so look for a Team Hope HD Walk near you.

Book info: Rules for 50/50 Chances / Kate McGovern. Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers , 2015 [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As her mother’s condition worsens, 18-year-old Rose wonders whether taking the genetic test to see if she also has Huntington’s Disease would stop her from dancing ballet or planning for college or letting new friend Caleb have her heart.

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T for 2016 Teens’ Top Ten books!

logo of Teens' Top Ten books at www.ala.org/YALSAExcited to point y’all to the newest Teens’ Top Ten booklist as compiled by YALSA at the American Library Association!

Some BooksYALove favorites (click link for my full recommendation) on this year’s list include

I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest and Kali Ciesemier

Every Last Word, by Tamara Ireland Stone (I heard her discuss writing this book during TxLA last week – amazing!)

Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon

And have you found YALSA’s TeenBookFinder app yet? Available free for iOs and Android – more here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/products/teenbookfinder

Enjoy the 2016 Teens’ Top Ten books list in this video and join the conversation using #TTT16.

Which new books will you nominate for next year’s TTT list?
**kmm

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S is Stone Rider, racing for better future, by David Hofmeyr (book review)

book cover of Stone Rider published by Delacorte | recommended on BooksYALove.comRide out of town or die there.
You and the byke as one being,
the desert ready to eat you both…

If Adam can win the treacherous Blackwater race for a one-way ticket to Sky-Base and luxury, without being attacked by gangs trying to race their way to freedom too, or ambushed by bandits, or captured by the mythical Nakoda…

Love, death, and motorcycles that contain the essence of every owner who’s ever ridden them in this futuristic desert world.

Could you gamble it all for one chance to be free?
**kmm

Book info: Stone Rider / David Hofmeyr. Delacorte Press, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Only way to Sky-base and the good life from the grubby town where the Colonel owns everything and controls everybody? Gotta win the Blackwater Trail race through unforgiving desert with bandits, cannibals that might not be myths, and a hundred other riders on their motorcycles that are part living things.

Adam has lost his father and his brother, all reasons to play it safe gone now. When the stranger Kane keeps the Scorpion gang from stealing Adam’s entry fee for the race, maybe the teen has a ally…

Will Adam survive long enough to tell Sadie how he feels?
Can he remember all race lore that his brother told him?
Who is Kane, really?

In this future world, there is no future as long as the Colonel has control of the mines and the people – unless Adam can ride his way to freedom.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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