Tag Archive | abandonment

Soul calls to soul, WILLA AND THE WHALE, by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown (middle grade book review)

book cover of Willa and the Whale, by Chad Morris & Shelly Brown. Published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.com

She observes and learns,
listens and writes,
are her own answers in the sea?

Same island town in Washington that Willa left as a nine year old when she and Mom moved to Japan after the divorce, but now her horizons are wider and her grief is deep.

On a whale-watching trip with Dad just a month after Mom’s death, Willa films a gigantic female humpback whale breaching and calls out to her and the whale Meg talks back!

Too much can change in three years – best friend in a different house, too many people in Willa’s old house (step-siblings, half-sibling, too much noise!), no Mom to help her study the creatures of the ocean.

When Willa calls to Meg from the island beach, the whale answers from the distant deeps.

When friend Marc is secretive, Meg gives Willa good advice. When something dreadful happens on the beach, Willa tells Meg about it first.

Missing her Mom – will it ever get easier?
Being herself – will her island classmates ever understand?

In this tale of grief and loss and love, Willa’s journal entries from then and now reveal her deep appreciation of the sea’s inhabitants and her struggle toward living less-alone on the land.

When have you heard a call from afar?
**kmm

Book info: Willa and the Whale / Chad Morris and Shelly Brown. Shadow Mountain, 2020. [Chad’s site] [Shelly’s site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

If only he could meet her… SHE WORE RED TRAINERS, by Na’ima B. Robert (book review)

book cover of She Wore Red Trainers, by Na'ima B. Robert, published by Kube Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Family life is funny and frustrating,
community expectations can be a heavy burden,
how to stay true to your faith, yet find your own path?

Her stepfather is especially mean to Amirah’s younger brother who is deaf – hopefully getting all three younger siblings out of the house to the Islamic Center’s summer program will help Mom’s depression (another divorce coming?) sigh…

Mum’s death sent Dad’s business into freefall, brought Ali back to their faith – now the house is sold and they’ll be in London for his summer before college…

Playing basketball with the guys in their city Muslim neighborhood, Ali sees a young woman in hijab over there…who is she of the red shoes?

Will the right circumstances allow these new neighbors to meet properly, correctly, soon?
Can Amirah find a way to attend art school before her older brother arranges her marriage?
Can Ali convince his dad that law school was Mum’s dream, not his own?

Meet these Muslim families in south London and know more about their lives and worries and dreams. Find this 2014 book at your local library (worldcat.org/libraries) or independent bookstore (indiebound.org/indie-store-finder or https://bookshop.org/).

What happy ending are you willing to work for and wait for?
**kmm

Book info: She Wore Red Trainers / Na’ima B. Robert. Kube Publishing, 2014. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Grief froze her family like a TURTLE UNDER ICE, by Juleah del Rosario (book review)

book cover of Turtle Under Ice, by Juleah del Rosario. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Death pauses the living,
time restarts the clock,
except when it doesn’t.

Waking up to find that big sister is gone, no footprints in the swirling blizzard – how can Row think about going to school? Yet how can the high school freshman stay in this house of new grief laid over old sorrow? Oh, to be on the soccer field where she has a chance of controlling what happens!

Ariana slogs through the snow, carrying important things like her painting and uncertainty about the future and things that other seniors think about. But if the pain of losing Mom ever lessens, is there anything left inside her?

California to Colorado, a new house, a new stepmom…the Filipino-American sisters have chances to move on, to make friends – so much harder for Ariana.

Ariana says “I should know that there is no point in playing grief Olympics,” (p. 9) yet sees a kindred soul in musician Alex who lost her brother.

This novel in verse alternates between Row and Ariana who still feel as frozen in their loss as a turtle under the pond ice. Will their springtime ever come?

How do we respond when friends stay sad?
**kmm

Book info: Turtle Under Ice / Juleah del Rosario. Simon Pulse, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

She’ll make him regret it! OF CURSES AND KISSES, by Sandhya Menon (book review)

book cover - Of Curses and Kisses, by Sandhya Menon. Published by Simon Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His family stole it,
her ancestor cursed it,
a ruby’s home controls their destinies…

As eldest, Jaya does what’s best for her royal family – moving from south India to the US her senior year to keep her younger sister safe, agreeing to a politically arranged marriage soon. Their new exclusive school in the Colorado mountains is a fitting place to wait out the scandal that young Lord Emerson embroiled Isha in from afar.

Banished by his father after Grey’s mother died when he was a baby, the young British lord tries not to care – about this exclusive school, about his classmates, about anyone – since the Emerson family is cursed to die out when he reaches 18.

Finding Lord Emerson at St. Rosetta’s, Jaya won’t pass up the chance to break his heart in retaliation for his great-great’s refusal to return the stolen ruby to her family!

First, she must make him fall in love with her. After she gets him to actually talk to her, that is. Her new friends help her, treat her like a real person instead of a political pawn.

How odd that Jaya and Grey can even stand to be in the same place, in light of their families’ generations-long feud.

How quickly time is ticking toward the announcement of Jaya’s engagement, toward Grey’s 18th birthday…toward the end of their beginning together?

Not unusual that Kiran knows people at her school (the world of the ultra-rich is rather small), but is her future fiance spying on Jaya through ice-queen Caterina?

How strange that small rubies keep falling from Jaya’s rose pendant…

This retelling of Beauty and the Beast in two voices echoes across the hidden spaces of their hearts and the vast halls of their school in the first book of the St. Rosetta’s Academy series. From the author of When Dimple Met Rishi (recommended here), From Twinkle With Love (here), and There’s Something About Sweetie (here).

When is it worth fighting against fate?
**kmm

Book info: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy, book 1) / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

What gift given this time? FOREVER GLIMMER CREEK, by Stacy Hackney (middle grade book review)

book cover of Forever Glimmer Creek, by Stacy Hackney. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Miracles are unpredictable,
a gift that’s useful or not,
in her town, Miracles are real.

Every year a Glimmer Creek resident gets a trace of magic after surviving a danger, and no one knows why a particular person gets their Miracle.

Rosie knows Miracles aren’t a legend, so the seventh grader is going to interview them all for her Festival movie instead of investigating the Lost Train Treasure, like Henry wants.

But not every Miracle holder wants to talk about their experience, Henry and Cam can’t help with every filming session like they used to, and time to finish her documentary is running short.

Mama and Rosie are the perfect pair – why won’t the Sheriff stay away?
Her long-gone dad is filming nearby – why won’t Mama ever let him visit?
Cam is so busy with the soccer team – what if she doesn’t have time for Rosie anymore?

If Rosie could just have her own Miracle – she would bring home her movie actor father, become a noted film director, keep her two best friends forever…

Read chapter one here for free, thanks to the publisher.

What’s your happily-ever-after movie ending?
**kmm

Book info: Forever Glimmer Creek / Stacy Hackney. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Intertwined these three, THE MERMAID, THE WITCH AND THE SEA, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall (book review)

book cover of The Mermaid, the Witch and the Sea, by Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

To stay alive, to stay together,
to realize that there’s more to life…
to risk everything?

Killing a man ensures their place on the pirate ship, as dark-skinned Alfie’s little sister Flora becomes Florian in the Nameless Captain’s crew of cutthroats who enslave passengers and harvest mermaids in spite of the Pirate Supreme’s decree.

Daughter of Imperials, Evelyn has never pleased her haughty parents, only wishes to stay with her adored young maid, is sent away in arranged marriage to an officer far across the seas. The teen’s possessions are packed into her coffin, for she will never return to the capital.

Aboard the Dove, Florian is set as Evelyn’s guard against the rapacious crew, gradually becoming fond of the rich young lady (whose heart is captured too), hoping that the Captain’s command to imprison all passengers never comes, marveling at her rapport with the new-caught mermaid.

The Sea will punish those who steal her mermaids, the Witch will draw the tales from Florian’s blood, the Pirate Supreme will stop the Nameless Captain – but will Evelyn and Florian be alive to know?

Japanese names, clothing, and traditions strand through this newly-published debut novel of conquests, colonies, love beyond expectations, and undercover history-changers.

When do you know that your ‘you’ is right?
**kmm

Book info: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea / Maggie Tokuda-Hall. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

X is where we aren’t, in SPEED OF FALLING OBJECTS, by Nancy Richardson Fischer (YA book review)

book cover of The Speed of Falling Objects, by Nancy Richardson Fischer. Published by Inkyard Press/Harlequin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

One eye, one focus,
One week, time to finally be with Dad,
One downed plane, any chance to survive?

It was easier to cope with losing one eye at age 7 than with her dad’s leaving a few months later. Now Cougar’s adventure survival show takes him all over the world, rarely to Seattle where he left Mom and Dannielle.

Big surprise that he’s taking her to Peru for her 17th birthday, filming episodes with teen superstar Guy (bigger surprise that Cougar remembered Danny’s birthday at all).

But their small plane crashes far off-course in the remote Amazon rainforest, with minimal supplies. Of course, Cougar knows everything about survival…right?

Guy isn’t an airhead celebrity after all, even as Cassandra keeps filming the small group’s efforts to get edible plants and find their way in the pathless forest.

Injuries, lethal creatures, rain and rain and rain…how are they going to make it to a river that could take them to civilization?

Danny is a city kid with a true blind side… she’ll just follow Dad’s lead and everything will turn out fine, just like his TV shows…

When someone you idolize turns out to be very human, then what?
**kmm

Book info: The Speed of Falling Objects / Nancy Richardson Fischer. Inkyard Press/Harlequin, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

W for HOW WE BECAME WICKED, by Alexander Yates (YA book review)

book cover of How We Became Wicked, by Alexander Yates. Published by Caitlyn Dloughy/Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Safe in their domed towns,
from the zing-sting of plague-bringer Singers,
but not from the secrets, deadly secrets!

Turned into a Wicked cannibal by an insect’s sting! No wonder rich investors fled to this remote resort on the rocky Atlantic coast, fortified it with domes and tunnels and walls and supplies aplenty.

Those turned Wicked by sting or breath or blood look human and are so polite, asking first if they may rip off your arm to eat it – only their inability to answer a certain question unmasks them as no longer True.

Natalie’s grandfather is Wicked, and there are only so many places to lock up a clever cannibal on small Puffin Island – how long can she and her parents keep him at bay?

Years pass and children become few in Goldsport, as the radio voice reminds True families that on a certain night a youngster may be stung by Singers and become immune to the Vex, but no guarantees…

The island lighthouse starts working after years of darkness, a Wicked woman at the Goldsport gate knows Astrid’s father, and the town archives reveal things that teens Astrid and Hank aren’t supposed to see.

Can anyone really become Vexed, infected yet remaining True?
What happened in the little town near Goldsport as the Wickedness advanced?
What happens when the blue spray doesn’t chase the Singers away anymore?

Trying to wall out what you don’t want…has that ever worked?
**kmm

Book info: How We Became Wicked / Alexander Yates. Caitlyn Dloughy Books/ Atheneum, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

S is for SALTY, BITTER, SWEET flavors and emotions, by Mayra Cuevas (book review)

book cover of Salty, Bitter, Sweet, by Mayra Cuevas. Published by Blink YA Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Food is Isa’s love language – this debut #ownvoices novel could fit anywhere in the April A to Z blog challenge calendar!

Like D, E, F for divorce, that took Papi from the 17 year old and her mom in Chicago to a new, now-expectant wife in southern France.

G for chef Grattard’s cooking school nearby, Isa’s chance to win a place working at his world-famous restaurant.

S for her stepmom’s college-age Spanish stepson who flirts with Isa’s classmates and is staying the summer too.

Or P for peeling potatoes, perfection, problems at the school – 13 teens from around the world competing for a single apprenticeship.

T is taste, trial and error, tradition, and Chef Troissant demanding total concentration from her students.

A,B,C for her late Abuela, beloved Cuban grandmother whose magical touch in the kitchen spread love through a small Kansas town, whose handwritten cookbook Isa still can’t open.

L is the charming city of Lyon and learning and legacies and… love?

How do you psyche yourself up for big opportunities?
**kmm

Book info: Salty, Bitter, Sweet / Mayra Cuevas. Blink YA Books, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

R is for Red and ALL THE IMPOSSIBLE THINGS, by Lindsay Lackey (middle grade book review)

book cover of All the Impossible Things, by Lindsay Lackey, published by Roaring Brook Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Her life is a storm,
mom blown off course,
counting days till she’s home…

Red swirls through the foster care system after drugs send Mom to prison and Gamma can’t take care of the middle-schooler anymore.

So hard to control the wind whispering under her skin when she gets upset, the storm clouds that gather above when she is angry!

Maybe it’ll be okay at the Grooves’ place in the Colorado countryside with their petting zoo and giant tortoise and goats who can climb trees.

Her new neighbor Marvin’s online ‘Kitchen Kahuna’ show features his Hawaia’an heritage, but their small-town classmates aren’t adventurous eaters.

Can Red dare to hope this might be a safe place?
How many more letters before Mom writes back?
What if the magical wind inside them both roars out?

Red keeps researching bumblebees and other “impossible things” on the list that she began with her grandmother, trying to find out how to make “live with Mom forever” come true.

Meet Red in the first two chapters of this debut novel of magical realism, free from the publisher here.

How do you work past things that seem impossible on the surface?
**kmm

Book info: All the Impossible Things / Lindsay Lackey. Roaring Brook Press, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.