Oh, WE CAN’T KEEP MEETING LIKE THIS (can we?) – by Rachel Lynn Solomon (YA book review)

book cover of We Can't Keep Meeting Like This, by Rachel Lynn Solomon. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Split seams on fancy dresses,
Bowties to tie, rescue collapsing cakes,
Behind-the-scenes magic at weddings!

As a harpist, Quinn fits neatly into her family’s Seattle wedding planning business. Not many weekends off for the recent high school grad whose late grandmother taught her to play… not much fun playing now.

Working on her sister’s late-summer wedding equals not enough time to hang out with her best friend who’s headed to college in New York, either.

And it means that Quinn will run into Tarek repeatedly as his family caters many of the same weddings. She bared her soul to him in an email last summer as he left for college, receiving no reply. Are they still friends? Just friends? Can it become more?

She’s skeptical of enduring love, scarred by Mom and Dad’s separation when she was a kid, working with every tool she’s got to keep her OCD manageable.

Quinn meets another harpist who offers her lessons and the chance to build a harp – now this is fun! Much more joyful than the thought of enrolling in business courses nearby this fall…

How does she tell her parents that she doesn’t want to join the family business?
Her big sister and fiance have started keeping kosher – what else has she missed about Asher’s life?
Will Tarek’s parents ever let him bake his amazing cakes instead of just being a cater-waiter?

Weekend after weekend all summer, Quinn and Tarek try to figure out what their relationship could be, should be…

By the author of Today Tonight Tomorrow (I recommend it here).

What story do you always tell about a memorable wedding?
**kmm

Book Info: We Can’t Keep Meeting Like This / Rachel Lynn Solomon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

WELCOME TO DWEEB CLUB & video of their future!? by Betsy Uhrig (MG book review)

book cover of Welcome to Dweeb Club, by Betsy Uhrig. Published by Margaret McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Youngest kids in the school now,
gotta find your place all over again,
“Join a club” they say, “it’ll be fun…”

Being the first to sign up for a new club means that Jason and other seventh graders get to choose how things go, right?

Hmmm… H.A.I.R. Club isn’t about hair care at all (half the kids leave the first meeting) – its members are the only ones allowed to view the new state-of-the art security system at Flounder Bay Upper School, Maine.

Their first task – find out who is stealing all the croutons from the school cafeteria.

So they watch the late night security recordings and see a skunk heading down the hall. Then, at exactly midnight, the cafeteria is filled with high school kids – how did they get in?

A few more viewings and the eight Club members discover that those teenagers are them, five years in the future – how is this possible?

And none of them really like how their future selves behave – what can they do about that?

After a liquid + security laptop accident, the Club seeks help from Jason’s techie uncle who’s mystified by the programs on the security system – really?!?

Are they really seeing recordings from their own futures?
Why would a skunk seek out croutons?
Who donated the security system anyway?

One humane skunk trap, midnight stakeout missions, the continuous mocking of Jason’s bratty little sister – upper school is definitely different than elementary school! (except that last part, of course)

If offered a chance to see into your own future, would you?
**kmm

Book Info: Welcome to Dweeb Club / Betsy Uhrig. Margaret McElderry Books / Simon & Schuster, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

ONCE UPON A QUINCEANERA, any magic leftover? by Monica Gomez-Hira (book review)

book cover of Once Upon a Quinceanera, by Monica Gomez-Hira. Published by HarperTeen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Weird summer internship,
dancing Disney party princess –
but no prince will rescue her!

Carmen must complete this internship to fill the final required credit for graduation, so she’s spending her summer dancing in a ballgown… at kids’ birthday parties… in Florida heat and humidity.

Of course, Mami made sure that she knew how to dance, even though Carmen didn’t get to have a quinceanera to celebrate turning 15 – not her fault, not at all! (Mami’s own quince plus papa equaled Carmen, and it’s just been the two of them for the longest time).

Strange that Mauro is back in Miami when his famous photographer dad has moved away; awkward that he and Carmen are dancing together after he dumped her before leaving for college.

Oh no, her snooty cousin Ariana’s parents have hired the party dance company as the ceremonial corte for her quinceanera! Extra coaching for Ariana’s special dance, too, with Carmen’s boyfriend as her escort… this summer may never end!

Performing for parties while practicing endlessly for Ariana’s quince puts Carmen and Mauro together a lot… time to talk through old times and college scenarios and…

Could Carmen really make a future with her video editing?
Does Mauro like her or is he falling for Ariana?
Can they both dance through the summer without a meltdown?

Family rivalry and fancy dresses, waltzing and wondering, cafe con leche and considering the future – Carmen searches for her own Happily Ever After.

Meet Carmen and crew as you read the first two chapters excerpt here free, courtesy of the publisher.

What big drama in your family has turned out okay in the end?
**kmm

Book Info: Once Upon a Quinceanera / Monica Gomez-Hira. HarperTeen, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

IN DEEPER WATERS, treachery & secrets! #YALit by F. T. Lukens (book review)

book cover of In Deeper Waters, by F. T. Lukens.Published by Margaret McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Alliances fray,
Loyalty must be earned,
Magic is always evil… or is it?

Prince Tal’s celebratory 16th birthday journey through the realm finally takes him away from the palace where he’s been hidden since his fire magic manifested – the same dread magic as his great-grandfather who wielded it to trying to conquer kingdoms that Harth is still paying reparations to.

But before the first port of call, the youngest royal son rescues a prisoner from a burning ship, sees the handsome young man lost overboard in rough seas, and discovers him days later in the port town! How?

Tal is drawn to Athlen who can sense the prince’s magic and has his own secrets – so that’s why he didn’t drown at sea! How right it feels when they’re together… each the last one with their special powers.

When attackers try to make the prince’s magic flare out in public, the young men flee and are kidnapped by pirates! Every hour away from the shore weakens Athlen, but they absolutely must reach the Queen before Tal’s sister weds the prince of Ossetia!

Who wants to destroy the Queen’s peace treaties?
What keeps Athlen tied to the sea?
Can they escape the pirates and stay together?

Secrets upon secrets in this fast-paced adventure / love story! Read an excerpt here for free.

How far would you travel to help someone you love?
**kmm

Book Info: In Deeper Waters / F. T. Lukens. Margaret McElderry Books/ Simon & Schuster, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Follow the PIPER, they must! Graphic novel by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; art by Jeff Stokely (book review)

book cover of Piper, by Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; illustrated by Jeff Stokely; inks by Gideon Kendall; colors by Triona Farrell; lettering by Ed Dukeshire. Published by Razorbill | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Overrun by rats!
Leaders at wits’ end!
Help, help!

Made deaf as a child by bullies, Maggie tries to avoid Hameln town. The young woman is content to stay in Agathe’s cottage and write far-fetched tales with the older woman for their own amusement.

But the leaders of Hameln aren’t smiling as the rat population thrives, eating their stored grain and biting people (especially after the ratcatcher’s poison kills all the cats instead).

Along comes a piper in mismatched clothes who promises to rid the town of rats… for a price.

Maggie is a bit enchanted by the piper, even if she cannot hear him playing. She shares with him the story of her family’s downfall at the hands of powerful locals whose evildoings are always hushed up.

Can the piper really save Hameln?
What if the town leaders renege on their deal?
Skilled this piper is, so very skilled…

A well-imagined and wonderfully drawn graphic novel retelling of the Pied Piper story! (yes, by that Jay Asher)

What other retellings of favorite tales do you recommend?
**kmm

Book info: Piper / Jay Asher & Jessica Freeburg; illustrated by Jeff Stokely; inks by Gideon Kendall; colors by Triona Farrell; lettering by Ed Dukeshire. Razorbill, 2017. [Jay’s site] [Jessica’s site] [Jeff’s site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Friendship, loneliness & THE CARE AND KEEPING OF FREDDY, by Susan Hill Long (MG book review)

book cover of The Care and Keeping of Freddy, by Susan Hill Long. Published by Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A hungry lizard amid a cricket shortage,
a sad dad trying to make it through,
a gone mom who made a new family without her…

In their small coastal Maine town, the red-haired boy stealing a cat collar from the pet store definitely stood out to best friends Georgia and Maria.

A new foster kid, Roland insists that his big brother will arrive on August 1st to take him away – the two middle-graders aren’t sure what to believe about that.

Of course, Freddy the bearded dragon is no substitute for her mother’s love, so Georgia is thrilled when her mom Blythe announces that she’s finally bringing baby Rosie to visit… and stay in town, new stepfather and all!

An abandoned glass house in the woods to explore, Maria writing her mystery novel, and the big town parade for July 4th – lots of excitement for the three friends, if Roland’s little foster brother would quit being such a pest.

Can Georgia balance friend-time with being-Rosie’s-big-sister-time?
What’s Blythe’s new big idea?
Why won’t Blythe let Georgia bring Freddy over?

By the author of Josie Bloom and the Emergency of Life (my recommendation here)

What’s the best thing about your town?
**kmm

Book Info: The Care and Keeping of Freddy / Susan Hill Long. Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

SERENDIPITY romance short stories, edited by Marissa Meyer (YA book review)

book cover of Serendipity: Ten Romantic Tropes, Transformed, ed. by Marissa Meyer. Published by Feiwel & Friends | recommended on BooksYALove.com

That grand romantic gesture!
Stranded together – oh my!
The Matchmaker’s magic!

Whether it’s a character suddenly realizing they’re In Love with their Best Friend or the Makeover that opens the eyes of an admirer, classic tropes (story patterns) lead readers of romance writing to a satisfying HEA – Happily Ever After.

These ten stories about teens (including a graphic novel chapter) give familiar patterns a fresh look in every color of the rainbow, from the social Class Warfare to Just One Bed on a school trip to Trapped Together in a small space to the Fake Relationship that becomes oh-so real.

Technology plays a part in some stories, while school dance jitters loom large in others. Trying to fit in is a common theme, but fear not – being true to oneself triumphs in the end.

And just look at the stellar crew of YALit contributors to this collection!
Elise Bryant,
Elizabeth Eulberg (Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality! ),
Leah Johnson,
Anna-Marie McLemore ( in Hungry Hearts anthology),
Sandhya Menon (remember When Dimple Met Rishi ),
Marissa Meyer (gotta love Cinder )
Julie Murphy (Dumplin’ forever),
Caleb Roehrig,
Sarah Winifred Searle,
and Abigail Hing Wen.

Enjoy this January 2022 release, then see how many romantic tropes you can identify in the books you read in the future.

Which story pattern leads to your favorite HEA?
**kmm

Book Info: Serendipity: Ten Romantic Tropes, Transformed / Marissa Meyer, editor. Fiewel & Friends, 2022. (editor site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher, via NetGalley

BLOOD LIKE MAGIC, by Liselle Sambury – her witch test will destroy love or family! (YA book review)

book cover of Blood Like Magic, by Liselle Sambury. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Safety is staying in her family home,
facing the forces outside is her fate…
how can she balance the magic required?

Oh yes, her extended family is exasperating on a day-to-day basis, but 16-year-old Voya knows they love her and that she’d do anything to keep them safe in mid-21st century Toronto.

Now the Trinidadian-Canadian teen pleads for a second chance to claim her Calling as a witch, through a task to be set by her ancestor.

But this task is brutal, far beyond what anyone in her extended family experienced in their Calling – ‘destroy her first love.’

Time is of the essence as Voya must fall in love with someone and then eliminate them…or her little sister will die, and her entire family will lose its long-held magic!

Love match via genetic blood test?
Cozying up to a rival magic family?
Surely there must be another way…

Find this great YA debut at your local library or independent bookstore now. The series continues with Blood Like Fate in August 2022.

What would you sacrifice to keep your family safe?
**kmm

Book Info: Blood Like Magic (Blood Like Magic, book 1) / Liselle Sambury. Margaret K. McElderry Books (S&S), 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

MIND GAMES, by Shana Silver – Remember forever or every memory erased? (YA book review)

book cover of Mind Games, by Shana Silver. Published by Swoon Reads/Macmillan | recommended on BooksYALove.com

If you could remember every moment,
or experience someone’s memory as if it were your own –
would you?

Her brilliant parents’ invention of HiveMind means that you never have to forget cherished memories.

Everyone at their school for extraordinary talents is connected to HiveMind, and Arden has figured out how to override security and access memories to share…for a price.

But then she wakes up with a vital chunk of her own memory gone and no backups of it on HiveMind! Even worse for Bash, who’s forgotten everything about the past several weeks of his life – with no backups – how?

The classmates’ important final tech project must be presented soon… if only they could remember what it was.

Who wants Arden and Bash to forget?
Why are just their memories gone?
Can they stop the literal brain drain before it’s too late?

It’s a race against the clock, because without HiveMind backups, when a memory is gone, it’s like it never happened at all.

What favorite memory would you like to preserve everything about – forever?
**kmm

Book info: Mind Games / Shana Silver. Swoon Reads/Macmillan, 2019. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

NINE! a Book of Nonet Poems, by Irene Latham & Amy Huntington (picture book review)

book cover of Nine: a Book of Nonet Poems / Irene Latham; art by Amy Huntington. Published by Charlesbridge | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Rhymes or none,
poems are fun –
you know haiku,
so try something new!

Expressing yourself in verse or song can make everyday life more interesting. That’s what a birthday girl and her little brother and their armadillo pal do, using the nonet form as they celebrate many nines – nine players in baseball, a nonagon-shaped nest, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, being on Cloud Nine.

What’s a nonet? She answers readers in the very first poem, “Nonet”:

Grand
poem
with nine lines –
one syllable
first line builds toward
nine-syllable ninth line
(or the reverse). A staircase
for poets and readers alike!
(Any subject, rhyming optional.)
-page 1

Did you count the syllables as you read down the nonet-staircase?

Some of her nonets start with the nine-syllable line and get shorter line by line, like “Nine-Banded Armadillo” and “Dressed to the Nines” for her big birthday bash!

Flip to the back of the book to learn more about all the nines in the poems and even the dimensions of the book itself.

Celebrate Poetry Break Day today or any day by writing your own nonet!

What’s your favorite nine fact?
**kmm

Book Info: Nine: a Book of Nonet Poems / Irene Latham; art by Amy Huntington. Charlesbridge, 2020. (author site) (artist site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.