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Away to Mars, maybe – Love, Ish, by Karen Rivers (book review)

book cover of Love, Ish,  by Karen Rivers, published by Workman | recommended on BooksYALove.comPreparations for Mars mission – ongoing.
Hoping for rain – always.
Missing her best friend – must cut that memory off. Entirely.

Everything was easier before Tig moved away! Now Ish has to cope with a brain tumor and seventh grade without him…

Find this March 2017 release at your local library or favorite independent bookstore to see how Ish’s applications to the Mars Now program are received.

When your best friend moves away, what next?
**kmm

Book info: Love, Ish / Karen Rivers. Algonquin Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Certain that she will someday be selected for a Mars mission, 12 year old Ish lists everything that she’ll miss about Earth, like former best friend Tig and the island on their drying-up California lake, and what she won’t miss, like how Tig never calls from Oregon and the cancer that started hurting her brain and how her sister hates her.

No denying that starting seventh grade is terrible without Tig here, or that Ish was surely adopted with cute older sister Elliott because they were a package deal.

No good reason that Mars Now has rejected Mischa Love’s application 47 times, or that new friend Gavriel can’t be a girl if he wants to be.

A brain tumor the size of a brussels sprout – not Ish’s favorite vegetable.
Radiation treatments – Ish doesn’t like her red hair, but she doesn’t like it falling out either.
Dreams of Mars, all the dreams – never let them stop!

Maybe it will finally rain here in Lake Ochoa again, and maybe Ish can squash that tumor, and maybe she can get to Mars with Tig…

Chaos of Standing Still, grief-numbed as life moves on, by Jessica Brody (book review)

book cover of The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comSurvivor’s guilt
Constantly seeking answers on her phone –
Will Ryn stay stuck on what happened last year forever?

A year ago, a month ago, even a day ago, Ryn couldn’t have imagined that she’d be smiling (okay, be made to smile by guy who’s also hiding pain) on the anniversary of such trauma.

How do two teens stranded in an airport by New Year’s Eve blizzard make one another’s lives better in such a short time? Read the first chapter here free (courtesy of publisher) as Ryn and Xander meet, very much by accident.

Advice on moving on after stunning events?
**kmm

Book info: The Chaos of Standing Still / Jessica Brody. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Stranded in an airport on New Year’s Eve, she worries for the millionth time about that unread text message from her best friend, but Ryn can’t open it, can’t move past losing Lottie 364 days ago, doesn’t want to be alone or with anyone for that terrible anniversary. Xander would rather be blizzard-bound in the Denver airport than be with his famous child-expert parents or stay at the faraway school where they sent him.

Maybe not so random that Ryn and Xander get their identical Dr. Who phones mixed up. Or that he’s the first person she really begins to tell about how lovely, zany Lottie made Ryn’s boring, predictable life so much more. Or that she is the one person who might see Xander for himself instead of as a biracial extension of his celebrity parents.

That flight attendant looks just like Lottie, grown-up… the last career wish of her ever-changing list.

Ryn’s parents moved to different cities after the divorce…like leaving Portland would erase tragedy.

When the runways are cleared for departure, what future will Ryn and Xander be flying toward?

Geology trek with Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, by Raul the Third & Cathy Camper (book review)

book cover of Lowriders to the Center of the Earth by Cathy Camper, art by Raul the Third, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comEarthquake! ¡Terremoto!
It’s all shaking!
…and their cat is missing!

Time to travel again with Lupe, Elirio, Flappy, as the Lowriders follow their friend Genie deep into the earth, down into the realm of Mictlantehcutli, Lord of the Dead.

The same author-artist team brought us Lowriders in Space, which I recommended here. Check out the book trailer videos for both books, too!

How far have you traveled to help a friend?
**kmm

Book info: Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Lowriders, book 2) / Cathy Camper; illustrated by Raul the Third. Chronicle Books, 2016. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When an earthquake frightens Genie cat away from the garage, the Lowriders race to find him, right into a volcano filled with mythic creatures of Central America!

Trickster Coyote tries to keep the friends trapped in a corn maze with his outrageous puns, but they follow Genie’s terrified meows toward territory of legends.

Can impala master mechanic Lupe steer the lowrider safely through Earth’s Outer Core?
How can octopus Flappy distract La Llorona so they can sneak into the Realm of the Dead?
Will Mictlan’s love of bones keep them there forever?

This graphic novel is the Southwest itself, with Spanish words jumping into every sentence like Elirio the mosquito zings around every danger, footnotes and endnotes explaining all like Lupe keeps the Lowriders team working together, and Raul the Third’s art bringing details from the oldest of stories to today’s wrestling and dip-drop lowrider cars.

K/drama-inspired, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, by Maurene Goo (book review)

book cover of I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo, published by Margaret Ferguson Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrades = stellar!
Extracurriculars = outstanding!
Romance = zero, zip, zilch.

Once she sees Luca, Desi is ready to make him fall in love with her – and she has the perfect step-by-step plan in her dad’s extensive K Drama series video collection!

Read the first chapter here (thanks to publisher!), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for this 2017 novel and its many, many kinds of drama.

Any dating ‘flailures’ on your love-life list?
**kmm

Book info: I Believe in a Thing Called Love / Maurene Goo. Margaret Ferguson Books, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: With a plan, she can do anything – so Desi decides that cute new guy Luca will become her first-ever boyfriend, through the tried-and-true steps from the Korean dramas that her father loves so much – what could possibly go wrong?

Super-student, soccer star Desi is determined to get into Stanford, honoring her late mother and making her dad proud. But in the romance department, she’s had zero success.

Moody artist Luca’s arrival at her California high school makes Desi willing to risk yet another possibly humiliating try at flirting and relationships.

But wait! What if she simply used the steps that every Korean drama romance follows?

Despite warnings from her best friends (who’ve seen too many of her flirting ‘flailures’), Desi outlines her “K Drama Steps to True Love” and goes after Luca!

Flat tire blowout, romantic boat ride turned rescue, graffiti-enhancement missions… what?!

First kiss, yes! First boyfriend, likely! (as long as Luca doesn’t find out that Desi is directing their every move toward love…)

Her luck foretold by Three Pennies? by Melanie Crowder (book review)

book cover of Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comAsk the pennies, get the answer.
Always 3 pennies, always Mom’s pocket book of I Ching,
Mom should be her answer, but where?

So-quiet Marin has bounced around the foster care system so long.
Young owl’s injury has kept him in city, away from big trees for so long.
Earth beneath their city has stayed in tension for so long… too long.

All children need loving homes – too much to ask?
**kmm

Book info: Three Pennies / Melanie Crowder. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Foggy San Francisco – where any moment can bring an earthquake or the right home or a loving family – young Marin searches for her birth mother, and a wounded owl feels the faraway forest calling him…small beings trying to find their right place in the big city.

From foster home to foster home, quiet 11-year-old Marin seeks answers daily from the I Ching book of changes left behind by her mother seven years ago.

Silently gliding in the night sky, a young owl feels his wounded wing become stronger and soon may leave this not-forest place.

How can Dr. Lucy become her parent when Marin knows she must find her birth mother?
Will young owl go to the giant trees of his ancestors or stay here to watch the small girl?
When will the slowly moving rocks under the city finally slide too far?

Many voices – Marin, the owl, lonely Dr. Lucy, social worker Gilda, the earth beneath the city – tell this story of loss, love, and hope.

Hurricane Boy, separated from family after Katrina! by Laura Roach Dragon (book review)

book cover of Hurricane Boy by Laura Roach Dragon, published by Pelican Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.comGrandma scoffs at weather warnings,
Hurricane Katrina proves her unwise!
Rescue! Safety? Separated!!

This fictional account of one family’s struggles to survive Katrina’s fury, then be reunited after their rescue has been heralded as true-to-life and as frightening as reality by people in the Ninth Ward who were also there during the devastating hurricane.

Recent Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria spread similar destruction and disruption – be ready for more hurricanes hitting unusual locations.

But have we really learned from these disasters?
**kmm

Book info: Hurricane Boy / Laura Roach Dragon. Pelican Publishing, 2014. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When their Ninth Ward home is swept away by Hurricane Katrina, Hollis and his younger siblings are separated from big brother Jonas and grandma Gee during the evacuation – will they be able to find each other and get back to New Orleans?

Good thing that Gee had an axe in the attic so they could escape through the roof when the levee broke and flooded the house.

Lucky that rescuers could read ‘insulin’ painted on the roof and save her after the long first days with no drinking water.

Most unfortunate that Jonas had swum over to help others when Hollis, Leta, and Augie are finally taken to safety – far, far from home!

As Augie refuses unfamiliar food at the shelter, Hollis deals with people trying to take advantage of the three siblings and other kids separated from their parents, all the while wondering why his dad abandoned the family as mom died of cancer and whether he even survived the hurricane.

Mystery wind again for Pablo and Birdy, by Alison McGhee & Ana Juan (book review)

book cover of Pablo and Birdy, by Alison McGhee, illustrated by Ana Juan. Published by Atheneum  | recommended on BooksYALove.comA boy who arrived from nowhere,
a parrot who won’t talk or fly,
a shadow lurking in their town.

An unusual tropical wind brought baby Pablo to Isla, securely netted into an inflatable swimming pool and accompanied by Birdy who took care of him.

Ten years later, the wind is predicted again, but Pablo wants only to know where he came from – and why his parents abandoned him to the sea.

Ask for this August 2017 release at your local library or independent bookstore to find out how the “winds of change” affect Isla and its residents.

Is knowing the past more important than living in the present?
**kmm

Book info: Pablo and Birdy / Alison McGhee; illustrated by Ana Juan. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [illustrator site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Washed onto the island as a baby, Pablo wonders where he came from, wonders why parrot Birdy never talks, wonders why this flightless friend arrived on the raft with him in the storm ten years ago (well, an inflated kiddie pool, not a real raft).

With storm season coming soon, his adoptive dad Emmanuel and the town of Isla prepare to celebrate Pablo’s tenth birthday (well, his tenth arrival-here-day), the many wondrous birds of the tropical island continue to show off for tourists, and the annual rumors about a Seafaring Parrot who flies thousands of miles begin again.

Why is lavender-feathered Birdy suddenly fluttering about?
Who is stealing food from Pierre’s bakery and other shops?
Will the television reporter stop at Isla to search for the Seafaring Parrot?

As he hears a loud voice repeating conversations in the night and sees a shadow lurking on the streets, Pablo worries about the predicted “winds of change” and the future for constant companion Birdy and their past clouded in mystery.

Peril for refugees on The Journey, by Francesca Sanna (book review)

book cover of The Journey by Francesca Sanna published by Flying Eye Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWar arrives,
we must flee –
Where is safety?

This powerful picture book by an Italian illustrator and author uses black and sunset-hued colors to chronicle the escape of a young girl, her younger brother, and their mother from the war-torn land “by the sea” where their father disappeared.

Ask for The Journey at your local library or independent bookstore.

How do we help others find safety?
**kmm

Book info: The Journey / Francesca Sanna. Flying Eye Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As war takes her father, then makes home dangerous, a girl escapes with her mother and brother by night, seeking safety in a faraway place.

By car, on foot, by bicycle, boat, and train – the small family crosses borders as they travel onward and onward, their luggage growing smaller, their money dwindling, yet their hope growing as they get nearer and nearer their destination.

The girl sees her mother’s strength (but not her nightly hidden tears), tells her brother stories about imagined monsters beneath the rough seas and dreamed-of fairies in their new land who “give us magic spells to end the war” as their journey continues.

From dark forests where angry guards loom large to the bright shore where freedom beckons across the sea, The Journey picture book is artist/author Francesca Sanna’s tribute to all refugees and migrants.

Hijacked in 1970! teen Girl on a Plane, by Miriam Moss (book review)

book cover of Girl on a Plane by Miriam Moss Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt  | recommended on BooksYALove.comFirst-time solo air trip,
not her first time on this flight route.
First airline hijackings by terrorists!

The author was aboard this hijacked flight as a teenager in 1970, when no one knew just how far the Palestinian fighters would go with their threats to blow up the planes and passengers.

Read an excerpt here as the age of terrorism begins with the first plane hijackings as political statement.

Girl on a Plane is being released in paperback today, or find it in hardcover at your local library or independent bookstore.

Cooperate or fight back?
**kmm

Book info: Girl on a Plane / Miriam Moss. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Flying back to boarding school from her father’s Army posting in Bahrain, Anna’s 1970 journey becomes a death watch as Palestinians hijack the BOAC plane headed for England!

At 15, Anna is old enough to fly on her own passport, young enough to be seated with other kids returning to school, routine travel for them all.

Suddenly, men in the cabin flourish guns, forcing the captain to fly far into the Jordanian desert where the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine guerillas await.

Explosives are loaded onto the plane, food is not. With the engines off, their plane becomes a sweltering prison – Anna wonders if she, David, and young Tim with his pet turtle will ever get to school, will live to see another day…

Based on the author’s experiences as a teen, this gripping story is a glimpse into the tension-filled history of the Middle East and the passion of those who’d risk anything and everything for their cause.

Isn’t family The Whole Thing Together, really? by Ann Brashares (book review)

book cover of The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares published by Delacorte  | recommended on BooksYALove.comHis mom, her dad,
Once a couple, now a feud,
Sharing their divisions…

Imagine knowing (about) someone for your entire childhood and never meeting, ever! “Shared custody” of a beloved vacation home means that Ray (Mom’s kid) and Sasha (Dad’s kid) often see their half-sisters (kids of Mom & Dad), but have never laid eyes on one another till this summer, this fateful summer…

Ask for The Whole Thing Together at your local library or independent bookstore – hardcover or audiobook – and see how Sasha and Ray learn to interact with each other during dire family troubles.

Stepfamily and shared sibling stories?
**kmm

Book info: The Whole Thing Together / Ann Brashares. Delacorte Press, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As later-born children of divorced and remarried parents with joint ownership of a Long Island beach house, Sasha and Ray have never met one another, despite years of alternately sharing a bedroom there, until the summer before their senior year when a crisis with their half-sisters brings their family together.

Why does Ray dream at the beach house and have nightmares back in the city?
Can he and Sasha really hold the same job on alternating weeks of summer (half-sister Mattie’s idea)?
What secret has Emma unearthed about her ever-feuding parents, Ray’s mom and Sasha’s dad?

This band of siblings must work out how love can keep going when family stories collide with facts, parental bonds are stretched again, and their futures are no longer boringly predictable.