Tag Archive | abandonment

Q is QUESTIONS I WANT TO ASK YOU when I find you, Mom, by Michelle Falkoff (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Questions I Want to Ask You, by Michelle Falkoff. Published by Harper Teen

What a great 18th birthday – Maddie with him at CrossFit, last day of senior year, getting ready for a beach party, then… a letter from his mom?!

She died when Pack was a baby, Dad always said. Now he updates the story: Mom just abandoned them and their small Massachusetts city, then died later of a drug overdose.

After watching true crime shows with his police detective dad for years, Pack is definitely going to dig into this mystery, asking Dad’s school buddies, checking old yearbooks, finding Mom’s sister who lives in Connecticut not far away!

Her letter says not to tell Dad she’s alive, and as Pack meets the family he never knew and hears their side of events, he begins to see why.

Kidnapping, drug raids – what really happened when Pack was a baby?

The more he investigates why Mom left, the more dangerous things get for her and for Pack! Is he ready for the consequences?

Senior year with Maddie made Pack want to stop time. But she’s going away to college; he’s iffy about more school. He’s completely committed to the Paleo diet that changed him from pudgy to fit; she says it’s okay to ease up after reaching major fitness goals. Can they survive a long-distance relationship?

Questions and more questions… check out Pack’s intriguing story at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s the biggest question you have about your family’s past?
**kmm

Book info: Questions I Want to Ask You / Michelle Falkoff. Harper Teen, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy won at Friends for Levine Querido auction; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

O is for OTHERWORLDLY source of sorrow and joy, by F.T. Lukens (YA Book Review) #A2Z

book cover of Otherworldly, by F.T. Lukens, published by Margaret K McElderry Books / S&S

Bargain made with the Other World,
elixir of life sought by one brings winter for all
… forever?

Supernatural familiar Knox knows he’ll be whisked away the moment that a human-initiated contract is completed, everything about his time in this world erased, as usual. Hmmm…still no response from the queen about his reports.

After spring quit coming to their area five years ago, Ellery stopped believing in the goddess of earth (or river nymphs or gnomes or fae).

Ellery now works in the city to help their family try to keep the farm going (so much for school…sigh). Thankfully, cousin Charley and her girlfriend have a place for the 17 year old to stay – work, shiver, sleep, repeat.

When a hot young guy comes into their diner, Charley dares Ellery to talk to him. Oh, no, too shy!

They literally run into each other that evening, as Knox is fleeing the unearthly Shades trying to return him to the Other World before he’s seen more of this one!

If Knox signs another contract, he’ll regain his magic to fight the Shades and can stay in the human realm, so Ellery agrees – he’ll investigate this perpetual winter’s cause, and they’ll help him experience human life that he’s only seen on TV.

Between local sightseeing and work at the diner, the pair investigates the mystery of ever-winter (with help from Charley and Zada), trying to keep ahead the Shades, requesting assistance from supernatural beings also affected by the unnatural weather, realizing that Knox cannot resist being pulled back to the Other World when the last item on the contract is completed.

Told in alternating chapters by Knox and Ellery as they encounter dryads and pixies in the city, escape a hockey match brawl, and begin falling for one another.

Then Knox is suddenly before the Queen – what can Ellery do?

By the author of Spell Bound (I recommended it here), So This Is Ever After (more here), and In Deeper Waters (here).

What otherworldly being might inhabit your area?
**kmm

Book info: Otherworldly / F.T. Lukens. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2024. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

H is for HEALER OF THE WATER MONSTER, a huge task for a Navajo preteen! by Brian Young (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Healer of the Water Monster, by Brian Young. Published by Heartdrum / Harper Collins.

No electricity, no cell service –
a boring summer at grandmother Nali’s place…
until Nathan encounters a Holy Being!

Nali doesn’t mind the hardships of living part-time on their Navajo ancestors’ land – chopping wood, hauling water – so Nathan tries to help her and shake off his divorced parents’ squabbles.

The 11 year old starts his science project of comparing the growth of Nali’s traditional corn to the modern kernels he bought in the city and begins to learn more about this dry place where the usual summer rains haven’t arrived in years.

Uncle Jet shows up suddenly at Nali’s, still off-balance after his military service, still trying to heal his soul with alcohol.

One night in the desert, Nathan meets Water Monster from the Third World of the Navajo creation story, stranded here in the Fourth World and dreadfully ill!

Is Nathan the only one who can see and hear the Holy Beings?
Can he learn all the correct Navajo songs and travel the difficult path to heal Water Monster?
Will Uncle Jet ever listen to Nali and ask the elders to help him find peace?

An amazing journey to the Third World, frustration when adults don’t believe the Holy Beings are real, a summer that will shape Nathan forever.

Published in partnership with We Need Diverse Books, Healer of the Water Monster was named as Best Middle Grade Book: 2022 American Indian Youth Literature Awards.

The sequel, Heroes of the Water Monster, will be published on May 14, 2024 – more at https://www.harpercollins.com/products/heroes-of-the-water-monster-brian-young?variant=41096247541794.

Could you brave the unknown to save a friend?
**kmm

Book info: Healer of the Water Monster / Brian Young. Heartdrum/ Harper Collins, 2021 (hardcover), 2023 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

D is for a dog, determination, and OUR DIVINE MISCHIEF interfering! by Hanna C. Howard (YA book review) #A2Z

book cover of Our Divine Mischief, by  Hanna C. Howard. Published by Blink YA | recommended on BooksYALove.com

What will be her role in the village?
Mother must let her go try!
It’s time…

Aila sails to Yslet’s island to discover what skill the goddess will grant her. But instead of a golden disk with apprentice symbol inscribed, the 17 year old finds only a muddy puppy who insists on going home with her.

Hew waits with the other villagers, hoping that she didn’t receive a blank disk like he did, praying that she’s not cursed to be Unblessed as he is…

The priest is flummoxed, finds that a series of Ordeals might still reveal Yslet’s way for Aila’s lifework, and assigns Hew to watch over her as she prepares.

Orail, the puppy, is delighted to be with Aila and Hew as her mind expands, as the teens experience her mischief and magic growing rapidly, as she secretly helps Aila during the Ordeals.

When a scribe from the mainland intuits that Orail is a wish-granter, he decides that the dog’s gifts will help the Usurper overthrow the King and steals her away!

Aila and Hew follow, never mind the mainland’s dangers – they must rescue their friend!!

Reflecting Scottish history and folklore, this adventure is told in the three voices of Aila, Hew, and Orail, whose poetic mind-speak grows more lyrical as she quickly grows from rambunctious puppy to full-grown protector.

Would you want your future job to be locked-in by others?
**kmm

Book info: Our Divine Mischief / Hanna C. Howard. Blink, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Her talents rejected? ‘Tis A SEASON MOST UNFAIR! by J. Anderson Coats (Middle grade book review)

cover image of A Season Most Unfair / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Candlemaking is hot, stinky work, but Scholastica helps her father render the tallow and twist the wicks and dip the candles until they’re just right. Her loving stepmother can’t have children or bend down with her leg brace, so Tick has worked with Papa since she was tiny.

This year Tick is old enough to mold the Agnus Dei charms for travelers’ safety, using pricy beeswax and expensive paints. The charms sell well at the Stourbridge Fair, and Papa can’t see well enough now to paint their fine details.

So why does Papa think he needs an apprentice?!

Tick doesn’t care that Henry’s father and Papa are friends – how will an inexperienced boy help make enough candles to sell to get them through the bitter winter?

If only she can get some beeswax and make the charms…
If only she can find a way to Stourbridge Fair…
If only she can be sure that Papa still loves her enough…

There are joys among the hardships of living in medieval England, and Tick just wants to do the job that makes her happy!

By the author of The Night Ride, recommended here: https://booksyalove.com/?p=13684

What task did you like to help your family with when you were younger?
**kmm

Book info: A Season Most Unfair / J. Anderson Coats. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Oh, no! She has the WORST BROOMMATE EVER at witch school! by Wanda Coven & Anna Abramskaya (MG book review)

book cover of Worst Broommate Ever! by Wanda Coven; illustrated by Anna Abramskaya. Published by Simon Spotlight | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Learning to be a better witch! Eek!
Leaving friends and family…sad.
No more bully Melanie – yay!

Heidi knows that her mom and aunt loved going to Broomsfield Academy – regular boarding school with secret witch classes.

But what if no one at Broomsfield likes her? How can she start middle school without her best friends, Lucy and Bruce?

Her broommate’s side of their dorm room is all pink, pink, pink – oh, no! It’s snarky Melanie, and she’s a witch, too?!

Heidi uses magic to prank Melanie into moving to another room, but gets busted for doing spells outside their amazing hidden Magic School.

Forced together during getting-acquainted games and activities, the tweens find some common ground, still wish for other broommates.

Why has Melanie always picked on Heidi?
How does the Academy keep the School of Magic secret from the regular students?
Will Heidi ever discover her secret witch gift?

Her first crush, new ways of looking at familiar things – definitely a growing-up year for Heidi!

Brimming with illustrations and Heidi’s words getting bigger for emphasis, this first book in the Middle School and Other Disasters series is a fun read.

What’s your best starting-school memory?
**kmm

Book info: Worst Broommate Ever! (Middle School and Other Disasters, book 1) / Wanda Coven; illustrated by Anna Abramskaya. Simon Spotlight, 2023. [author video] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

They’re seeking SPELLS FOR LOST THINGS, like hearts… by Jenna Evans Welch (YA book review)

book cover of Spells for Lost Things, by Jenna Evans Welch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

How can Willow’s aunt be dead? Mom doesn’t even have a sister!

Willow’s parents divorced two years ago, Mom took her from Brooklyn to LA, Dad remarried and had triplets. Only being in Paris with best friend Bea feels like home, but Mom won’t let her go there to finish high school…

Now Mom has inherited a witch’s beautifully renovated house from her twin sister, so they’re in Salem to sell it. Bur Mom won’t even go in the front door! Willow adores Bell House – can’t they just stay here?

Mason bounced through foster care for years as his mom’s addiction worsened. Now he’s in Salem, with her high school best friend Emma, her husband, and their blended family – they became foster parents just for him?

After an awkward meeting on the Bell House roof (telescope, Mason, stars, of course), the teens try to unravel the mystery of Lily Bell retold in the spell book kept by Mom and Aunt Sage as teens.

Why didn’t Willow know she had great-aunts who are witches?
Does Emma know where Mason’s mom is?
What is this feeling growing between Willow and Mason?

Told in alternating chapters by Willow and Mason during the summer before their senior year as they try to find a solid place to land in their lives’ uncertainty.

Available in paperback today, 8/29/23! By the author of Love & Gelato (I recommended it here), Love & Luck (more here), and Love & Olives (here).

What family tale was most surprising to you?
**kmm

Book info: Spells for Lost Things / Jenna Evans Welch. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2022, paperback 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

It’s not fair! Teens incite THE PEACH REBELLION post-WWII, by Wendelin Van Draanen (YA book review)

book cover of The Peach Rebellion, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Over a decade since coming to California during the Dust Bowl days, her tiny brothers dying of sickness and buried under a creekside tree north of here, and folks are still calling Ginny Rose’s family “Okies” after World War II, despite all their hard work.

After her first day working at the peach cannery, a flat bike tire detours the 17 year old to Peggy’s peach farm where she meets banker’s daughter Lisette.

Wow, Papa and Mama tell Ginny Rose to keep half her wages for new school clothes and her future! Her sister Anna Mae is aghast at the idea of being left behind with their deeply depressed mother

Peggy’s big sister opens the teen’s eyes to truths about the family peach farm, very unwelcome facts that explain why Doris hasn’t brought her baby back to visit.

Lisette’s fancy new house? Her father’s bank foreclosed on his good friend’s house, then the banker bought it instead of stopping the seizure?!

Ginny Rose discovers Babyland in the cemetery, where the tiniest children are buried – could she bring her little brothers here, for good?

The three teens from very different parts of society find a common purpose as Peggy and Lisette decide to help Ginny Rose on her quest!

Told in alternating chapters by Ginny Rose and Peggy during the sweltering summer of 1947.

Which friends would help you with a challenge?
**kmm

Book info: The Peach Rebellion / Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf /PRH, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Get THE JUMP on invading oil company! by Brittney Morris (YA book review)

book cover of The Jump, by Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

They know Seattle, street by street, edge to edge, even belowground. No one is better at digital scavenger-hunting than Team JERICHO.

Jax, cryptologist, Black vegan – why should the community garden his parents founded be replaced by an Roundworld oil refinery?

Yas, parkourist, gay hijabi – her father’s Pakistani-American convenience store is losing business to Roundworld’s HQ cafeteria.

Spider, tech-whiz, social justice warrior – thankful that Mom and her Korean restaurant staff support his transitioning.

Han, cartographer, autistic – brother working for Roundworld, Dad’s livelihood threatened by its pipeline.

When “The Order” posts a puzzle whose prize is “power” during protests against Roundworld, JERICHO decides to accept the challenge!

Can they solve The Order’s puzzle before Team Royal?
Will it allow the teens to stop Roundworld from placing an oil refinery in their neighborhood?
What does “the game is anarchy” in The Order’s first clue really mean?

The four long-time friends take turns telling this complex tale of clues, loyalties, greed, and consequences.

By the author of The Cost of Knowing, recommended here.

How are you reacting against injustice near you?
**kmm

Book info: The Jump / Brittney Morris. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

ONCE THERE WAS…some magic, a monster, a miracle? by Kiyash Monsef (YA book review)

book cover of Once There Was, by Kiyash Monsef. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Her best friends try to help, but Marjan is sleepwalking through life since Dad was killed by who-knows-what recently in their California home. She’s trying to juggle sophomore classes and Dad’s struggling vet practice and her anger and grief.

Wait, her Pakistani father didn’t just treat dogs, cats, and birds – he was a veterinarian for creatures out of myth and legend?! And “the work” is Marjan’s now, because she’s inherited his gift of knowing precisely how to care for them, wherever in the world they are.

People who live with these amazing creatures contact Marjan through the secretive Tea Shop group. Off she goes to see a griffon in England reaching the end of its very long life, an incontinent house gnome a few hours from home.

Into Dad’s vet office comes a young woman named Malloryn, a self-taught witch whose grey fox is ill. She’ll stay with Marjan for the mythic nine-tailed fox‘s lengthy treatment, maybe disperse the house’s gloom and bad aura.

Um, this ultra-rich Horatio guy isn’t collecting mythic creatures to appreciate them, like Malloryn loves Zorro or cute Sebastian’s family loves the griffon who chose his family generations ago. There’s something dark about Horatio, and Marjan wants to stay far away from his underground menagerie of faerie and stone giant and deadly manticore – every Persian tale her father told her, come to life.

Tea Shop believes that magical creatures’ contentment influences the overall good for humanity. As many creatures have disappeared lately, things are worsening in the world – and they want to find the missing.

Horatio keeps requesting her help with his creatures – can she safely stay away?
Dad was preparing for a trip to Ithaca, New York, when he was killed – will Marjan find any answers there about his death?
Sebastian wants to help her – what can two teenagers do against age-old problems?

“Once there was, once there was not…” Tales told by her father punctuate the action and peril – read the first chapter here free on the publisher’s website.

What’s your favorite mythic creature?
**kmm

Book info: Once There Was / Kiyash Monsef. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.