Dirt Bike, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly, by Conrad Wesselhoeft (book review) – grief, honor & gaming

book cover of Dirt Bikes Drones and Other Ways to Fly by Conrad Wesselhoeft published by Houghton MifflinPlaying chicken with big trucks on the highway,
joysticking into the Drone Zone,
adrenaline removes Arlo’s grief…for a while.

Trying to cope with Mom’s murder, Siouxsie’s progressive neurological disease, Dad’s retreat into the bottle – Arlo keeps his dirt bike running, scrounges change to play Drone Fighter at his tiny town’s online cafe, but then what? One early morning phone call changes things (but not everything).

Traveling recently through bone-dry northern New Mexico where the author strands this small town, I can see why anyone there would want to find a way to get away, even if it means trading the make-believe of gaming for real drone piloting and its violent consequences.

Read this April 2014 book now – right now!
**kmm

Book info: Dirt Bikes, Drones, and Other Ways to Fly / Conrad Wesselhoeft. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014. [author blog]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Arlo’s gaming skills could pay his sister’s huge medical bills, his dirt bike prowess could salvage his reputation in their small New Mexico town, but it’ll take something more to rescue his family from their endless grieving for Mom.

When the US Air Force wants Arlo to fly real reconnaissance drones over Pakistan from their base at White Sands, based solely on his Drone Fighter video game world ranking, the 17-year-old’s journalist dad is skeptical – until the Colonel erases their debts for Siouxsie’s treatments.

When gorgeous Lee slides into dusty Orphan County to stay with her aunt until her dad returns from his Afghanistan deployment, Arlo thinks she’ll scorn scruffy dirt bikes after leaving her smooth Harley in Seattle – until she helps his Evel Kneivel-style jump go higher and farther.

Zooming down I-25 from the New Mexico-Colorado borderlands whenever the Colonel phones, Arlo has too much time to think on his way to White Sands. Even if he can discover the most-wanted terrorist’s whereabouts with his drone, how can he recover what his family lost when Mom was murdered?

Mountain vistas, Mom’s ashes spread atop the mesa, small-town football as seen from the snack bar, and a moto-stunt for the ages fill this don’t-miss novel about love, grief, and honor.

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Green Teen Cookbook Winner!

book cover of Green Teen Cookbook published by Zest BooksThanks to everyone who entered the drawing for a free autographed copy of The Green Teen Cookbook. Reading all the summer things that y’all like to cook with made me so hungry!

I numbered the comments (excluding my responses) from 1 to 17, entered 1-17 into the random sequence generator at random.org , and it gave me this list:

screenshot of random.org showing winner is number 16

 

 

So commenter #16 is our winner! Jenna, watch your email for my note from Katy@BooksYALove.com to get your mailing address so that Zest Books can send your Green Teen Cookbook directly to you.

Update: because Jenna lives out of the USA, the autographed copy will be sent to commenter #8 (next on the random list): Connie Burke!

Happy, healthy cooking to all – and watch BooksYALove for more YA books beyond bestsellers (with no spoilers)!
**kmm

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Giveaway deadline soon!

book cover of Green Teen Cookbook published by Zest BooksJust a quick reminder that Sunday is your last day to enter the giveaway for autographed copy of The Green Teen Cookbook by commenting over here on my recommendation for this yummy title.

After these chilly nights in Moscow for #IASL2014, my fellow school librarians and I are ready to warm up with some Chicken Noodle Soup with Cheese Muffins like Roscoe shows in the book. Does your weather have you longing for hot food or for cool treats?

See y’all Stateside soon, and I’ll rev up the Randomizer and see which comment number comes out as the winner!

**kmm

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One Death, Nine Stories (book review) – his last act triggered many firsts

book cover of One Death Nine Stories edited by Marc Aronson & Charles R Smith published by Candlewick Press “Kevin’s dead?”
“I can’t believe it!”

As they did in Pick Up Game  (my review here), the editors asked one YA author to write the first story on the collection’s theme of initiation. Then eight other writers took strands from “Down Below” as they introduced teens whose lives were impacted by Kevin’s life and death, each tale one of a pivotal line crossed, a change that can’t be undone.

Like a kaleidoscope’s image changes when it’s passed from one viewer to the next, these nine interlocked stories show many different images of the 19-year-old New Yorker, darkness with glints of hope, questions of racial identity, parental affection, and the bonds of friendship.

Just published today – come over to Kevin’s neighborhood, meet his sister, his running buddies, the funeral home cosmetologist, the dead ends and new beginnings.
**kmm

Book info: One Death, Nine Stories / edited by Marc Aronson & Charles R. Smith. Candlewick Press, 2014.  [Marc Aronson's website] [Charles R. Smith Jr.'s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Initiations in teen life – joyous, bitter, tragic – weave together this short story collection of the many firsts experienced after Kevin’s death by teens who knew him and some who’d never even met the 19 year old.

The anthology begins as Rita Garcia-Williams takes us to a teen’s first day of work at his uncle’s funeral home as drifting-along Morris suddenly realizes that he went to high school with the guy in that body bag.

Mick first meets Kevin as an altar boy in “Initiation” by Ellen Hopkins, but won’t play along to “The Next Next Level” of dangerous deeds in Torrey Maldanado’s story.

Kevin’s track teammate “Running Man” must outrace a bullet, tells Charles R. Smith, while Jackson starts football “Two-a-Days” down in Chris Barton’s Texas wondering about this Kevin guy whose death caused so many messages online.

“Just Once” Candy would have liked Kevin to give his affection without the bleak insults, chronicles A.S. King, while Kevin’s little sister reclaims his personal effects and finds herself saying “I Have a Gun” in Will Weaver’s tale.

Nadira’s “Making Up the Dead” (by Nora Raleigh Baskin) and making something of herself, while the college “Connections” described by Marina Budhos aren’t enough to keep Kevin in this world.

A strong collection of short stories about a life cut short and the choices made by those left behind.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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Looking back at crazy school days

Did you read every BooksYALove recommendation this summer? No?

Well, be sure to check out these two very different books about school that you might have missed (click on the title link to open its page in a new tab/window):

book cover of Target Practice: Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack published by Graphixbook cover of Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer published by Knopf Books for Young ReadersTarget Practice,  by Mike Maihack – Great combo in this graphic novel with talking cats, aliens, and the Queen of the Nile as a curious teen.

Kate Hattemer’s Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy pits those who think “For Art’s Sake” reality show is their path to success against the kids who think it’s ruining their school.

Remember that you still have time to enter the free giveaway for an autographed copy of The Green Teen Cookbook from Zest Books. Go to my original recommendation here and comment by 11:59 pm Central Daylight Time on Sunday, 31 August 2014 to be entered. I’ll toss all the comments into Randomizer when I get back from #IASL2014 in Moscow, and we’ll see who the lucky winner is!

p.s. Do either of these schools resemble yours?
**kmm

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OCD Love Story, by Corey Ann Haydu (book review) – counseling, compulsions, Cupid?

book cover of OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu published by Simon PulseObsessions and compulsions.
An unsought-for chance at love.
5, 6, 7, 8…

What are the odds that the sweet guy that Bea met during a blackout would be in her new therapy group? That they’ll make it past date #8? That Bea can control her obsession with the fabulous couple she overhears at the therapist’s office?

If Bea keeps denying that her OCD is spiraling out of control again, she might lose Beck (everything in 8s – taps, handwashing, daily gym workouts), her best (and only) friend Lisha, and her own sanity.

Find this 2013 paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore (these are both search tools – no affiliate links ever on BooksYALove).

**kmm

Book info: OCD Love Story / Corey Ann Haydu. Simon Pulse, 2013.    [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When familiar compulsive behaviors won’t keep her most recent obsession at bay, Bea struggles to stay close to her new boyfriend whose own OCD may end their relationship after Date 8.

Whatever triggered Bea’s OCD a few years ago has been firmly locked away by the Boston teen, and she doesn’t agree with Dr. Pat that group therapy will help. But there she finds Beck, the boy she kissed at a dance after the power went out, a guy with his own secrets, sorrows, obsessions, and compulsions.

Suddenly obsessed with the safety of a couple she overheard at Dr. Pat’s office, Bea finds compulsions once again overtaking her daily life, despite the welcome distraction of time with Beck. Can her sanity withstand the strain? Can her relationship with Beck last beyond his obsession with the number 8? (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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When Mr. Dog Bites, by Brian Conaghan (book review) – Tourette’s & a bucket list of wow

book cover of When Mr Dog Bites by Brian Conaghan published by BloomsburyTics. Swearing.
Bucket list at 16?

Dylan would rather be a normal teenager than have Tourette’s, would rather have Dad home than away with the Army, and would rather live past March than get intimate with Michelle – scratch that last item: he wants to live and be Michelle’s boyfriend.

Filled with involuntary creative swearing from Dylan and racial slurs by his special school classmates, When Mr. Dog Bites has raised eyebrows for its strong language, but is also raising awareness of living with Tourette Syndrome like its author does.

This funny and profane book was published in the US in June – will Dylan fulfill his bucket list before it’s too late?
**kmm

Book info: When Mr. Dog Bites / Brian Conaghan. Bloomsbury, 2014.  [author's Twitter]  [publisher site]  [video interview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When he misunderstands a doctor’s comment, 16-year-old Dylan lists things to do quickly before he dies – and he’s not letting his Tourette’s or the crazies at his special school or that taxi driver stop him!

Inside Dylan is “Mr. Dog” the uncontrollable side of his Tourette Syndrome which causes the Scots teen to bark and swear. Special school, meds, and counseling help a bit, but Dad being away on special Army duty and Mum getting all weepy with the taxi driver don’t.

His best friend Amir doesn’t believe that the doctor said Dylan would die soon, but soon enough is on board with his plan to hook up with Michelle before it’s too late. Get Dad back home, find Amir a new BFF – lots to do before March, if Dylan can keep Mr. Dog quiet…

The tics, swearing, and blackouts permeating every moment of Dylan’s life despite his deep desire to behave normally reflect the author’s own struggle with Tourette’s in this forthright novel.

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Green Teen Cookbook – book review & giveaway!

book cover of Green Teen Cookbook published by Zest BooksOrganic? Fair trade?
Bechamel? Vinaigrette?
Food! Fabulous! Yum!

The People’s Book Prize winner Green Teen Cookbook: Recipes for All Seasons has finally arrived in the USA, filled with luscious food photography and refreshed with measurements in tablespoons, cups, and quarts.

Also named the Best Sustainable Food Book in the UK, this cookbook features over 70 teen-created recipes, plus articles about key issues from eating seasonally to maintaining a vegetarian lifestyle.

GIVEAWAY! Zest Books will send one lucky BooksYALove reader (US addresses only, please) an autographed copy of The Green Teen Cookbook  since I joined their blog tour for this title. Of course, y’all know that I wouldn’t post a recommendation here if I didn’t love the book!

The Giveaway is closed. Super easy to enter – just comment below with your favorite summer ingredient to cook with by 11:59 pm Central Daylight Time on Sunday, 31 August 2014. Please include your email address (you can format like katy at BooksYALove dot com) so I can contact the winner for your mailing address.

I’ll number the entries sequentially and use Random.org to pick the winner. The nice folks at Zest hinted that a little extra something might appear in the winner’s package!

Ready, set, enter! Pass the Rose Petal Sweets, please.
**kmm

Book info: The Green Teen Cookbook: Recipes for All Seasons — Written by Teens, For Teens / edited by Laurane Marchive & Pam McElroy. Zest Books, 2014.  [about the editors]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Travel the globe by bowl and plate with fresh and clever recipes celebrating seasonal food, sustainable farming, and happy taste buds. These teen-crafted recipes will please vegetarians, carnivores, eat-local champions, and fans of tastes from around the world.

Start the day with Pumpkin Pancakes or Huevos Rancheros. Offer Flower Prawn Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup with Cheese Muffins for lunch, then plan Hummus or Scallion Pancakes as a snack.

Family and friends will enjoy Green Pesto Tagliatelle or traditional Sancocho from the Dominican Republic for the evening meal, followed by scrumptious Crepes with Orange Sauce or Oreo Cupcakes for dessert.

The Green Teen Cookbook is a one-stop resource for information on many issues of interest to thoughtful consumers, from eating locally to fair trade. Especially useful are the instructions for seasonal variations of tasty favorites like lasagna, fruit salad, and mini-fritattas.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality, by Elizabeth Eulberg (book review) – pageant big sis breaks loose

book cover of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg published by PointPageant fees week after week, check.
Hair falls for a seven year old, check.
Reality check for Mom… nope.

Oh, yes, Lexi realistically could be tagging along after her little sister to beauty pageants every weekend of the year – thank goodness for her supportive friends, especially when her mom’s obsession with Mackenzie’s pageant appearances gets out of hand.

Check out this video interview to find out where the title came from (she told this story at TLA2014, too), then find this 2013 release in hardback or paperback now at your own local library or favorite independent bookstore.

Where’s the line between looking good and living for your looks?
**kmm

Book info: Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality / Elizabeth Eulberg. Point, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Her little sister is a Texas beauty pageant princess, so if 16-year-old Lexi wants more from life, she’ll have to overcome the “great personality” label and make her own way (despite their mom).

Downsized into a doublewide trailer because child support won’t cover house rent and Mackenzie’s pageant costs, Lexi feels unappreciated as she saves up for the fashion internship in New York City.

Cam thinks Lexi’s crush on Logan (boyfriend of beauty queen Alyssa) is ridiculous, Benny challenges her to a makeover in teeny steps, and she dares him to let cute guy Chris know his feelings.

Will she really stop hiding behind baggy clothes and messy hair?
Will Lexi and Benny ever escape their judgmental small town?
Will these pageants never ever end?

An average gal in the land of the gorgeous, Lexi decides that she must craft the ultimate Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality if she ever wants to be herself. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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Forget Me, by K.A. Harrington (book review) – not his twin! who is he?

book cover of Forget Me by KA Harrington published by GP Putnam's SonsFacial recognition software,
social media, hidden identities,
why did it tag her late boyfriend as another guy?
Maybe Morgan didn’t know Flynn as well as she thought…

Just released on Thursday (that’s really odd; most books are Tuesday releases) August 7, 2014, Forget Me is a slight departure from Kim’s paranormal books like her Clarity series (my no-spoiler recommendation of book 1 here) with an eerieness all its own. See for yourself with this free excerpt of the first two chapters.

Could you forget someone that you truly loved?
**kmm

Book info: Forget Me / K.A. Harrington. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When a social media site tags her late boyfriend’s photo as the face of a teen in a nearby town, Morgan is stunned. When Evan says he got an anonymous warning to stay away from her, they’re puzzled. When accidents start targeting them both, they race to solve the unfolding mystery before they’re the next victims!

Morgan’s Massachusetts home town is withering away after a deadly scandal shut down major employer Stell Pharmaceuticals. Her best friend is suffering from her parents’ unemployment, their favorite amusement park is abandoned, and time with her loner boyfriend Flynn is her only comfort – until he’s killed in a hit-and-run.

Weeks later, she uploads her only photo of Flynn onto FriendShare, which tries to tag it with another guy’s name! Finding out about Evan is simple, discovering that he’s received a photo of her with a warning to avoid her at all costs is weird, learning that his family is part of Stell is disconcerting.

Sneaking into the amusement park to retrace Flynn’s last steps, they uncover more secrets and more threats. A page-turning mystery in the fog. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

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