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THE ADVENTURE IS NOW on island of wonders! by Jess Redman (MG book review)

book cover of The Adventure is Now, by Jess Redman. Published by Farrar Strauss Giroux BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

During a truly terrible year at middle school, the Isle of the Wild game on Milton’s HandHeld device is the only good thing left, as he becomes intrepid explorer Sea Hawk instead of the boy no one wants to be friends with anymore.

So Milton is okay with traveling to his uncle’s research station on remote Lone Island for the summer – better than being around as his parents finalize their divorce.

Far out in the Atlantic Ocean, Lone Island is filled with unbelievable tropical flora and fauna, like an elephant that burrows underground and the Incredible Symphonic Cicadas noted in Dr. Paridis’ field journals.

But after her death, the Truth-Will-Out Vine covered the whole island except the research station and researchers’ small houses, even shutting out aerial views of its wonders!

Other kids on the island? Interesting.
No way to recharge his game device? Egad!
A greedy corporation trying to claim the amazing island? No way!

Milton and his new friends must find a way through the Truth-Will-Out Vine so they can verify Lone Island’s uniquely wondrous creatures, plants, and trees before it’s too late!

Look for this May 2021 adventure at your local library or independent bookstore so you can join the search for the Earthworm Pachyderm, Beautimous Lemallaby, and Yes-No-Maybe-So Tree!

When have friends helped you find something wonderful and worth sharing?
**kmm

Book info: The Adventure is Now / Jess Redman. Farrar Strauss Giroux Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Gothic intrigue in DIRE DAYS OF WILLOWEEP MANOR graphic novel! by Shaenon K. Garrity & Christopher Baldwin – YA book review

book cover of The Dire Days of Willoweep Manor, by Shaenon K. Garrity (story) & Christopher Baldwin (art). Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A daring rescue,
a ghost in the manor,
a brooding hero with a dark secret…

Haley’s teacher insists that she must write a book report on anything but a gothic romance if the African American teen wants to pass English class… sigh.

When Haley rescues a man from drowning under the river bridge, they emerge from the water into a different world! But what world and when??

The manor house is “three centuries and four European architectural traditions smushed together” on the eerie moors, brooding older brother Laurence says they’re in “the year of our Lord none of your business,” and there’s a ghost that only Haley can see or hear – are they actually inside a book?

Perhaps so, because Haley is now “the Maiden” attired in a long dress, the sinister housekeeper lets a few secrets out, and youngest brother Cuthbert acts more zany by the hour.

But maybe not, because Montague (the brother that she rescued) insists that he was seeking help from her world because a devouring Penultimate Evil was encroaching on Willoweep Manor, a pocket universe that’s the final defense…and there are cracks in the barrier!

As the Bile seeps out, it infects every creature to join in its attack against all things good!

Will the three brothers finally band together instead of bickering?
Can Haley become the Gothic Heroine that Willoweep needs?
Is she trapped in this pocket universe forever?

This clever graphic novel uses every trope, tradition, and cliche of gothic romances to great effect as our intrepid heroine and the desperate caretakers of Willoweep fight to save… everything!

What what you learned from reading fiction that can help in real time?
**kmm

Book info: The Dire Days of Willoweep Manor / Shaenon K. Garrity (story) & Christopher Baldwin (art). Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021. (author site) (artist site) (publisher site) Book cover image and review copy courtesy of the publisher.

Feathers, wizard, corn fritters – HOW TO SAVE A QUEENDOM gets complicated! by Jessica Lawson (MG book review)

book cover of How to Save a Queendom, by Jessica Lawson. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mistreated at the inn, 12 year old Stub has years of apprenticeship ahead, until she finds a wizard in her apron pocket – tiny, unhappy, and magically bound to stay near her!

A plot to disrupt 100 years of peace? A journey across the entire queendom to the capital city? Only a week to get there!?

If the orphan girl can just get the maps hidden by Beaman’s mother, she and pet chicken Peck can escape the constant bullying…

If Beaman can brave the trip, he could cook his specialties for young Queen Sonora herself…

If wizard Orlan can guide them through perils while his magic is diminished, maybe they can stay alive long enough to save Sonora and the queendom!

Magical beasts, treacherous terrain, running low on spices – life in their coastal town hasn’t prepared Stub or Beaman for travel’s hazards, but they must get to Maradon Cross in time.

Can they stop the evil regent from shattering the Peace?
Will they get to meet Queen Sonora on her 13th birthday?
Is Orlan telling them everything about this mission?

Quick thinking, spells and transformations, a century of secrets – find out How to Save a Queendom at your local library or independent bookstore today!

How have your best friends helped you through difficult times?
**kmm

Book Info: How to Save a Queendom/ Jessica Lawson. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Can she stay safe from THE MEMORY THIEF? by Jody Lynn Anderson (MG book review)

book cover of The Memory Thief by Jodi Lynn Anderson, published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Lurking spirits,
Mom mourning loss,
stories hide secrets!

When 12 year old Rosie decides it’s time to burn the stories she’s written to fill the empty spaces in herself, the old seaside house that she shares with so-forgetful Mom is filled with ghosts!

Her best friend Germ (really Gemma) starts liking makeup and boys, but Rosie has other things to worry about, like bringing her widowed mom back to the present long enough to sign progress reports so no one suspects her lack of attention to the sixth grader and her obsession with watching the sea.

The ghosts she can now see lead Rosie to an ancient book, The Witch Hunter’s Guide, that reveals much about her family history and perhaps why Mom can’t remember Rosie from day to day.

Somehow Germ also begins to see the ghosts (when not practicing with mean girl Bibi for the talent show!) who lead them to hidden buildings and warn that the 13 witches controlling the world know Rosie is coming into her powers!

What’s keeping the ghosts tethered to her New England town?
Can Rosie and Germ escape the Memory Thief’s cursing touch?
Could they rescue “him floating out there” that Mom is longing for?

First in a new trilogy by the author of My Diary From the Edge of the World (recommended here).

What family story do you want more details about?
**kmm

Book Info: The Memory Thief (Thirteen Witches, book 1) / Jodi Lynn Anderson. Aladdin, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Y is for Yay, it’s finally time for AudioSYNC Summer!

Yes, yes, yes! AudioSYNC summer starts today! Every Thursday, we’ll have a one-week opportunity to download – free – 2 complete professionally-produced audiobooks with a theme in common.

With the free Sora app on your device, you’ll be able to “read with your ears” for as long as you keep the downloaded audiobooks! The FAQs here tell you how to set up Sora and connect it to the AudioSYNC library.

Sign up here for reminders of each week’s new selections or just stay tuned to BooksYALove.com where I’ll introduce each book pair with links every Thursday through July 29.

CD cover of Come On In, anthology edited by Ali Alsaid. Published by Recorded Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Come On In: 15 stories about immigration and finding home (free download on Sora 4/29-5/5/2021)

by Adi Alsaid [Ed.] | Read by Amielynn Abellera, Jonathan Todd Ross, Katherine Littrell, Leila Buck, Maria Liatis, Sneha Mathan

Yes! I recommended this collection of short stories writing by YA authors who are immigrants or children of immigrants during April 2021 here on BooksYALove – don’t miss the audio version with narrations in many voices and accents.

CD cover of Illegal: Disappeared, book 2, by Francisco X. Stork. Published by Scholastic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Illegal: Disappeared, book 2 (free download on Sora 4/29-5/5/2021)

by Francisco X. Stork | Read by Roxana Ortega, Christian Barillas

The siblings seeking to escape Mexico in Disappeared are now across the US border – Sara waits in a detention facility to hear if her application for asylum has been approved while Emiliano is still on the run from both US authorities and the cartel members trying to stop him from exposing their trafficking activities.

This week’s AudioSYNC theme is “After Crossing the Border” – what happens next?
**kmm

X is excitement & mystery of THE INKBERG ENIGMA, by Jonathan King (Graphic novel review)

book cover of The Inkberg Enigma, by Jonathan King. Published by Gecko Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Strange activity in the bay,
the Castle looms above town,
so many secrets and so much danger!

In a new town for dad’s museum job, Miro satisfies his old book habit by selling old diving gear and things that he finds in the attic.

Glimpsing a deep-sea fisherman wrapped by a giant tentacle puts Miro and schoolmate Zia at odds with the Works fish-processing plant manager who threatens to tell Miss Danforth, owner of their town… and employer of their parents.

Digging into the town’s history reveals a tragic last-century Antarctic expedition, eerie creatures discovered on that voyage, and enduring links that may endanger their New Zealand coastal town even now!

What really happens inside the Works?
Will Zia’s photos expose dire secrets?
Would reclusive Miss Danforth help the teens?

A pitch-black iceberg and a perilous journey – the expedition journal is a book of secrets within this graphic novel of mystery and discovery!

What local historical fact has taken you by surprise?
**kmm

Book info: The Inkberg Enigma / Jonathan King. Gecko Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is underground, out of sight, bare hands mining in BEARMOUTH, by Liz Hyder (YA book review)

book cover of Bearmouth, by Liz Hyder. Published by Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No daylight, no school,
few dreams, little hope,
working till they can’t no more…

Sent into the coal mine at age 4, the pittance that Newt earns keeps his mum and siblings from starving up above.

Newt’s crew takes care of their littlest miners, keeping them safe from wicked men, especially on payday when some have money for beer after paying for the candles and boots they need for working.

The new fellow Devlin joins Newt for lessons with Thomas on Maykers Day, hearing stories and learning how to spell words… all quiet-like.

Once a week, the miners hear how humanity’s rebellion against The Mayker condemned them to work in the Master’s coal mine, awaiting “a sine of forgivvness” so they may go back aboveground at last.

Devlin comes up with a plan to help them escape the heat and hellish conditions of Bearmouth’s lowest levels. “Suffokaytin in the dark cos of poyson gasses. Tis the worst way to go.” (pg. 26)

Thomas asks the Master to raise their pay – and one day disappears. Newt hears a shadowy man whispering dangerous words in the tunnel, sees Thomas and other lost friends in dreams and in the deep darkness.

Will the Mayker’s sign come soon?
How long can it stay secret that Nate isn’t a true boy?
Can Devlin and Newt get out of Bearmouth alive?

You can hear Newt’s observations ring true through this story built upon actual working conditions in England’s coal mines in the Victorian era.

Today is Independent Bookstore Day – a great time to find Bearmouth and other BooksYALove favorites at a bookshop near you!

Which muzzled voices should we be listening for?
**kmm

Book info: Bearmouth / Liz Hyder. Norton Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

S is princess Sophie POISONED by her stepmother, saved by 7 small men, by Jennifer Donnelly (YA book review)

book cover of Poisoned, by Jennifer Donnelly. Published by Scholastic | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Tomorrow is her 17th birthday –
old enough to inherit her father’s kingdom,
but her evil stepmother has other ideas…

Outwardly, Sophie is haughty and brave, as any princess of Konigsburg must be, but she has a merciful heart like the late much-beloved king and shows mercy to scared hunting dog Zara.

The queen’s mirror whispers secrets and plots – Sophie must have a strong husband to help her rule, but if the princess were attacked by Darkwood beasts, then no need to risk alliance with another country…

The Huntsman brings back only Sophie’s heart from their ride through the Darkwood, but her body is saved by seven short men who heal her with kindness and a clockwork heart.

Rumors of the queen’s war declarations reach even into the woods, and Sophie knows she must get to the prince who courted her so they can stop her land from becoming a bloody battlefield.

As they travel the backroads, Sophie, Zara, and clever young man Will hear how her people have been taxed to death for the Queen’s luxuries and spied on by her Crows.

Can Sophie save the kingdom before her heart winds down?
Will the Queen’s guard find them first?
Who is speaking through the mirror?

This retelling of classic fairy tale Snow White asks readers to reclaim the power of their inner voice.

What future are you running toward?
**kmm

Book info: Poisoned / Jennifer Donnelly. Scholastic Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Q for a queer COMPLICATED LOVE STORY SET IN SPACE aboard Qriosity, by Shaun David Hutchinson (YA book review)

book cover of A Complicated Love Story Set in Space, by Shaun David Hutchinson. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A message he can trust,
new friends in this adventure,
why can’t they remember how they got here?

It’s disorienting to wake up in a spacesuit floating outside a spaceship amid flashing warnings of imminent explosion – and to have another 16 year old inside Qirosity trying to shut down the faulty reactor and help Noa get to the airlock at the same time!

Noa stumbles out of the resuscitator (first death is the hardest), meeting Jenny on his way to find DJ – who abducted them from all over the US?

Just the three teens on this spaceship… and a grown-up kid actor’s hologram with unhelpful messages, and a murdered girl, and the kid actor’s entire mystery series to watch, and more than a lifetime supply of Nutreesh bars in the galley.

DJ and Noa are falling for each other, Jenny is plotting revenge on the aliens/kidnappers, and strange events keep them hopping as one day seems to repeat itself, repeat itself.

Steered automatically to a high school on an asteroid, they find cliques and yucky PE class and teachers who stop all the fun and the murdered girl from Qriosity who doesn’t remember being on the spaceship at all…

Why is there a high school in space?
Why does Jenny prefer Nutreesh to what Noa cooks?
Is DJ and Noa’s love real?

The three teens must rely on each other to survive months in space, a monster or two, crisis after crisis, and a school dance as they keep trying hack into Qriosity’s navigation system and get back to Earth.

Another tale of strange happenings and learning to love from the author of The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza (I recommended here) and At the Edge of the Universe (more here).

Aliens – yes or no?
**kmm

Book Info: A Complicated Love Story Set in Space / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site]

P is PREPPED to survive any disaster…almost, by Bethany Mangle (YA book review)

book cover of Prepped, by Bethany Mangle. Published by Margaret K. McElderry/Simon Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Ready for fire, falling into icy waters,
nuclear fallout, kidnap attempts,
but not real-life like other families…

Growing up with doomsday preppers means constant vigilance and training – high school senior Becca has the scars to prove it. Both sets of grandparents established this Ohio neighborhood of survivalists, hidden bunkers in their backyards and all.

Everyone else in town thinks they’re an end-times cult, but there’s no religion here, just paranoia and preparation and more paranoid preparation.

When Roy Kang’s family joined the group, “genetic diversity” was her parents’ first thought, so he and Becca are paired for marriage soon and will learn trades that’ll benefit the group, no matter what they want.

Becca believes in science, her physics teacher believes she can get a full scholarship far away from here, and somehow dumb-as-a-rock Roy turns out to be much smarter than their parents think.

“Always be ready for the worst day of your life,” but improbably her Dad wasn’t, so now Mom’s in charge and pushing younger kids into hazardous training early.

How can she and Roy leave without tripping the perimeter alarms?
Could their new non-prepper friend really help them escape?
How can Becca leave her 10-year-old sister Katie here?

Love could make them a family, but bone-deep fear of everything makes life unbearable in this debut novel of surviving more than just improbable disasters.

Where would a full-ride scholarship take you?
**kmm

Book info: Prepped / Bethany Mangle. Margaret K. McElderry Books/ Simon Schuster, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.