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Victory over violence? Stunning stories to read with your ears!

Our final pair of free audiobooks for 2020 take us back and back in history as young women of color fight the odds to live and move on.

Have the Sora app ready on your phone or tablet, then use the download links to grab these titles for your shelf.

Thanks again to the AudioSYNC program and all the publishers for sharing 26 professionally produced audiobooks this summer so we can read with our ears all year.

CD cover of Burn, Baby, Burn, by Meg Medina. Read by Marisol Ramirez.
Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Burn Baby Burn (download free 23-29 July 2020)

by Meg Medina.Read by Marisol Ramirez. Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

During the sweltering summer of 1977, a massive blackout, arson, and the Son of Sam’s murder spree put New York City on edge, especially in Nora’s neighborhood.

The Cuban-American teen wants to get away from her bullying brother, but their mother can’t navigate life without her help. As Hector’s violence grows, Nora wonders if she’ll make it to 18 or not.

CD cover of Kindred by Octavia Butler, read by Kim Staunton. Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Kindred (download free 23-29 July 2020)

by Octavia E. Butler. Read by Kim Staunton. Published by Recorded Books

Transported from 1976 California to antebellum Maryland, 26 year old Dana saves a white boy from drowning and suddenly is returned to the present before being shot.

As the young Black woman gets pulled back and forth in time, always encountering the same white man, she begins to realize that she must keep him alive so the family line continues down to her!

How can you stand strong against changes that threaten your very existence?
**kmm

Alien contact? AXIOM’S END, by Lindsay Ellis (book review)

book cover of Axiom's End, by Lindsay Ellis. Published by St Martin's Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Being watched,
conspiracy theory?
Alien! Monster! Friend?

Cora feels like a failure in 2007, dropping out of college, back home with her mom and brothers, all trying to avoid renewed public interest in her estranged father’s untraceable messages detailing government lies.

Then he reveals that aliens (from space!) are being detained at secret US bases, and federal agents hurry to question Cora about where her dad is hiding, so she escapes.

Someone else is trailing her, too – someone not-human…

With a language descrambler implanted in her ear, Cora considers the alien’s plea – help it rescue the imprisoned aliens before they perish!

Infiltrating a California computer research lab, speeding across the Nevada desert, Cora and the alien begin to understand each other bit by bit, knowing the agents are on their trail.

As her aunt shares her research into alien communication, they realize that there are no corresponding terms in human languages for complex alien relationships, but that concepts of genocide, treachery, and fear are all too understandable by all.

Will the agents believe that Cora hasn’t been in contact with her father?
How long has the government been hiding the aliens?
Why did the aliens allow themselves to be captured at all?

This wasn’t aliens accidentally landing on a strange planet – it’s much, much more complicated than that…

Just published on 21 July 2020, this debut novel of “first contact” and further alien encounters goes way beyond Roswell and flying saucers!

What bonds would connect you across space?
**kmm

Book info: Axiom’s End (Noumena, book 1) / Lindsay Ellis. St. Martin’s Press, 2020. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Fake fossil? Frightening future? Audiobooks tell the tales!

A famous fossil hoax revealed. A flooded future foretold. Escape from your everyday world with this week’s free audiobooks from AudioSYNC, courtesy of their publishers.

With the free Sora app on your phone or tablet, you can use the links below to download either or both books and keep them on your Sora shelf to read now or later.

CD cover of FAKE, by Eric Simonson | Read by Kate Arrington, Coburn Goss, Francis Guinan, Alan Wilder, Larry Yando. Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Fake (download free, 16-22 July 2020)

by Eric Simonson. Read by Kate Arrington, Coburn Goss, Francis Guinan, Alan Wilder, Larry Yando. Published by L.A. Theatre Works.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is involved in the mystery of the Piltdown Man, whose skull was hailed as the ‘missing link’ of human evolution when discovered in 1914.

This elaborate hoax was debunked in 1953 – but who planted the detailed fake fossil in England? Why did they try to hoodwink the scientific community?

CD cover of New York 2140,  by Kim Stanley Robinson | Read by Suzanne Toren, Robin Miles, Peter Ganim, Jay Snyder, Caitlin Kelly, Michael Crouch, Ryan Vincent Anderson, Christopher Ryan Grant, Robert Blumenfeld, Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

New York 2140 (download free, 16-22 July 2020)

by Kim Stanley Robinson. Read by Suzanne Toren, Robin Miles, Peter Ganim, Jay Snyder, Caitlin Kelly, Michael Crouch, Ryan Vincent Anderson, Christopher Ryan Grant, Robert Blumenfeld. Published by Hachette Audio

Rising sea levels have made NYC streets into canals, yet the Big Apple’s people survive in the 22nd century, the higher above the water, the better.

In one apartment building, the detective greets the reality star heading for her airship, the day trader seeks market advantages, two orphan boys stay out of sight, and the coders on the rooftop are getting close to a big discovery… a dangerous discovery!

How do we know something is real and true? How can we help create the future we want?
**kmm

Life beyond the cult for AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD? by Kelly McWilliams (book review)

book cover of Agnes at the End of the World, by Kelly McWilliams. Published by Little Brown | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Keeping her brother healthy is sin.
Thinking for herself is sin.
Is saving their lives sinful, too?

Suffering is God’s will says the Prophet, but Agnes refused to let Ben die like so many children here, sneaking away to get her little brother’s insulin from an outside nurse who warns of the new plague affecting people, birds, and animals.

As the Prophet orders everyone into the mountain bunker to wait out the Apocalypse, the 16 year old knows it’s time to run, to escape the Arizona mountain settlement with her siblings, to risk the Outside world’s depravity and oncoming pandemic…

It’s Beth who always wanted to leave – does she truly want to take her big sister’s place as a sixth wife?
The nurse’s son Danny is smart and kind – can she trust an outsider with their lives and her heart?
Agnes heard God’s voice as a child – will it lead them now to safety?

Red Creek’s menfolk and their multiple wives believe that the outside world is all sin, but this Arizona mountain settlement hides much wickedness, too.

Told in alternating chapters by Agnes and Beth, this tale of apocalypse, pandemic, and faith was just released in June 2020. Read the Prologue here on the author’s website to meet Agnes before…

What hope are you finding during pandemic times?
**kmm

Book info: Agnes at the End of the World / Kelly McWilliams. Little Brown Books for Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [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.

May the Fourth be with you! TRAGEDY OF THE SITH’S REVENGE, by Ian Doescher (book review)

book cover of William Shakespeare's Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge, by Ian Doescher, published by Quirk Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Today is Free Comic Book Day, so find your nearest participating comics store here and get there fast, before the excellent selection of free comic books runs out!

It’s also Star Wars Day – a good opportunity to point you to another volume in Ian Doescher’s Shakespearean retellings of the Star Wars movies… read ye now the Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge (movie episode three).

Yes, our valiant Chewbacca appears in this volume (farewell too soon, actor Peter Mayhew), as do many characters good and evil from the episodes in this series before and after this one:

The Phantom of Menace (part 1), The Clone Army Attacketh (part 2), William Shakespeare’s Star Wars  (part 4), The Empire Striketh Back  (part 5), and The Jedi Doth Return (part 6).

Doescher has also penned part 7 The Force Doth Awaken and part 8 Jedi the Last, all Shakespearean and all faithful to the movies.

And as I wrote in 2015:
Why speak just now of this most-worthy tome,
Why note it not upon its natal day?
Mark well today’s harmonious date, kind one,
And may the Force be with us all, I pray!
**kmm

Book info: William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge (Star Wars Part the Third) / Ian Doescher. Quirk Books, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Emotions controlled by THE DARK INTERCEPT, by Julia Keller (YA book review)

book cover of The Dark Intercept, by Julia Keller. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Safe from crime and anger,
Far above the plagued world…
Protected or controlled?

The Intercept records all their emotions and keeps them in check, allowing the luckiest humans to live peacefully in the tight quarters of New Earth, away from the ravaged world below.

When Violet meets Danny, whose late brother invented the Intercept, she begins to wonder if her emotions should belong to her instead and why Danny keeps returning to Old Earth’s dangers.

First in series, followed by Dark Mind Rising.

How much of your freedom would you sacrifice for safety?
**kmm

Book info: The Dark Intercept (Dark Intercept, book 1) / Julia Keller. Tor Teen, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As the all-encompassing Intercept collects every emotion from each human, sixteen-year-old Violet uncovers a rebellion on New Earth and must decide which side is telling the truth about its powers.

Violet’s father founded New Earth a generation ago, ensuring that the best and brightest escaped there from the disease and destruction on Old Earth.

Now the Intercept can monitor everyone on both Earths, crime is down everywhere, yet policeman Danny (brother of the Intercept inventor) insists on returning often to patrol Old Earth – is he looking for something?

As cameras monitor the safety of people on missions down to Old Earth, Violet sees the dire poverty there – why does New Earth only allow a few immigrations up every year?

Rumors swirl about a way to bypass the Intercept, to keep thoughts and emotions out of the New Earth government computers – what are the Rebels of Light planning?

Violet and Danny find themselves together more and more, but what the Intercept can record, the Intercept can repeat…

Your clone, at your school?! THE SIMILARS, by Rebecca Hanover (book review)

book cover of The Similars, by Rebecca Hanover. Published by Sourcebooks Fire | recommended on BooksYALove.com

New school year, new students,
old faces…
cloned teens in their first public appearance!

Darkwood Academy’s generations-strong tradition of academic excellence gets a huge shock as Emma’s junior year begins, worse for her as Levi is the clone of her best friend Eli who committed suicide during the summer.

But why did someone invest a true fortune to get these six from the “misguided lab technician” who cloned them from the umbilical cord blood of Emma’s classmates, then give them the best-possible homeschooling on his island-nation estate until just this moment to reveal them to the world?

The near-future of Darkwood’s cloned teens may be nearer than we think.

Clones are genetically the same as their originals, so what makes each human unique?
**kmm

Book info: The Similars / Rebecca Hanover. Sourcebooks Fire, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk:

Every day at Darkwood reminds Emma of her best friend’s recent suicide – because his clone is one of the new students at their exclusive school. Sixteen years after being illegally cloned, the other “Similars” are in classes with their genetic twins, competing for grades, honors, and status.

While some families embrace the chance to welcome another member into their family, virulent anti-clone rhetoric invades classes and club meetings, especially after Emma’s roommate (an Original) is brutally attacked.

Who is the mysterious man who acquired and raised the Similars in secrecy till now?
Why were the clones allowed to apply to the same exclusive school as their Originals?
How can Emma endure seeing Levi when Eli is gone forever?

As some Similars edge out their Originals in academic rank and status, Darkwood Academy is on edge. What Emma learns from Levi may push them over the brink!

Mutant space-cat? Oh, Sanity & Tallulah, what have you done?! by Molly Brooks (book review)

book cover of Sanity & Tallulah, by Molly Brooks. Published by Disney/Hyperion | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A pet would be nice,
especially a soft one that purrs…
even if it does have three heads!

Life aboard an old space station alternates between boring and emergency, even for its kids. (Please say that school won’t be same old routine in the future!)

With something loose in the maintenance tunnels disrupting power and other essential services, our genius middle-schoolers are on the search team, trying to locate Princess Sparkle before anyone else finds their three-headed kitten – or anything else goes wrong!

What’s your favorite cute/oops pet story?
**kmm

Book info: Sanity & Tallulah / written & illustrated by Molly Brooks. Disney/Hyperion, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: When her lab-engineered (cute, but very illegal) pet escapes, preteen genius Sanity and best friend Tallulah must find the three-headed kitten before it causes any more critical outages in the space station!

Sanity used only outdated (very unstable) tech and her own energy allowance to create Princess Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds, but the Wilnick’s lab director (Tallulah’s mom) still confiscates the cute carnivore. Three heads are smarter than one – Princess quickly gets out of confinement and into the station’s maintenance tunnels.

Sudden power disruptions all over Wilnick! Something has been chewing on the coolant lines.

Weird noises on the supply shuttle! Tallulah’s dad and little brother can track that down.

Power outage locks their class in the chemistry lab! Sanity can find a way to get them out safely.

Everyone’s on alert so they can eliminate the “huge beast” threatening this old space station’s life support systems – Sanity and Tallulah must find the kitten first in this futuristic graphic novel!

Body double or weapon for justice? Impostors, by Scott Westerfeld (book review)

book cover of Impostors by Scott Westerfeld, published by Scholastic | recommended on BooksYALove.comOne daughter loved by all, one never seen,
the ruthless dictator created them as his tools,
but the twins may have other ideas…

First of four promised books set in the Uglies future world, Impostors should be available at your local library or independent bookstore…unless the twins’ father suppresses them all!

Hoverboards, nanotech everywhere, the chance to not repeat the past’s destructive selfishness – what rebellions are you planning?
**kmm

Book info: Impostors / Scott Westerfeld. Scholastic Press, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Frey lives only as body double and protector for her twin sister Rafi, just as their dictator father decrees.

When he agrees to an alliance with another state, it’s warrior-trained Frey who is sent to the Palafox family, masquerading as elegant Rafi – but why?

Open conversations, art, and laughter – no spy dust in Victoria sending every word and gesture to the government, as in Shreve?

Col Palafox is a First Family son with hidden talents – would he stay near Frey if he knew she wasn’t really Rafi?

Tally shattered the broken Uglies/Pretties system years ago, but “she isn’t coming to save us.” It’s up to rebels and rebellious youth like Frey and Col to stop their world from descending into war!