Tag Archive | abandonment

F is Florida & friendship for ABBY, TRIED AND TRUE, through so many difficult life changes, by Donna Gephart (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Abby, Tried and True, by Donna Gephart. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Best friend moving away,
big brother so sick,
seventh grade ahead…sigh.

Honestly, shy Abby doesn’t know how she’ll get over her lifelong friend Cat moving from Florida all the way to Israel. She does know that she’ll write in the journal that Cat gave her, this summer when she’s turning twelve (Fudge is a very good pet turtle, but their conversations are very one-sided).

Her 16-year-old brother Paul will play Monopoly with her (when he’s not practicing basketball with his buddies), Mom Rachel will keep inviting Abby to make cooking videos with her and Paul (nope, too shy to get in front of the camera), and Mama Dee’s sweet treats from her bakery make everyone feel better (but not Abby, this time).

Hmmm… who’s this boy moving into Cat’s house? Maybe she can be brave and meet him… Conrad, whose mom is renting the house after her divorce. He’s in her grade, good at basketball and board games and listening.

Paul comes back from summer camp so sick. Oh no…. cancer! After the going-away party for his cancerous testicle (boys are so weird), he’ll have surgery and start chemo. That means he’ll miss lots of school; it doesn’t mean his friends should stay away.

Seventh grade begins, and Abby is glad that Conrad is there so she doesn’t have to walk home alone with her worries (will they celebrate the Jewish high holidays in the hospital or at home?).

Many difficult days ahead for Abby’s family – she’s really, really glad to have Conrad by her side… maybe more than glad.

Available in paperback this week – find Abby at your your local library or independent bookstore.

When have your friends supported you through tough times?
**kmm

Book info: Abby, Tried and True / Donna Gephart. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2021, paperback 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

E is exploring & enquiring & FINDING ESME, by Suzanne Crowley (MG book review) #AtoZ

book cover of Finding Esme, by Suzanne Crowley. Published by Greenwillow Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Peach trees and bees,
water-divining and watching,
finding what’s been lost – most times.

It’s not that Esme doesn’t love her prickly grandmother Bee, it’s that missing Paps takes up so much of her heart. And under his tractor on Solace Hill, there where her sweet grandfather died, is where the twelve year old finds bones after a rainstorm.

Bee is a finder of things and a water-witcher, sure that Esme will inherit that gift (if only it could help the tween find friends at the junior high school in their tiny Texas town).

Honey and peach pies won’t pay Bee’s mortgage in the 1970s, little brother Bo is truly a wild child, and their mother June Rain is just a quiet shadow since their artist father disappeared.

And now these big bones that Esme’s best pal Finch helps her dig around – has she found a dinosaur? They write to an expert over in Dallas for his opinion and wait.

Can Esme’s finding gift finally locate her father?
What should she decide about the amazing bones?
Are some family secrets too big to stay buried?

When yet another person goes missing, the townspeople turn to Bee… and Esme, if her gift is truly here.

If you had the gift to find one thing, what would you seek?
**kmm

Book info: Finding Esme / Suzanne Collins. Greenwillow Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is more adventure than THE ACCIDENTAL APPRENTICE expected, by Amanda Foody (MG book review) #AtoZchallenge

book cover of The Accidental Apprentice, by Amanda Foody. Published by Margaret McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No running, no dirt,
nothing exciting –
especially no magical beasts!

One of Dullshire’s many, many rules: stay away from the Woods after one of its Beasts attacked the village and killed Barclay’s parents.

Forced into the Woods, Barclay encounters Viola, a Lore Keeper whose trap summons a Beast that chases him… no, that runs with him! A wolfish Lufthund that chooses to bond with the 11-year-old orphan!

No place for him now in rules-restricted Dullshire, Barclay goes unhappily with Viola to the magical town of Sycomore, filled with all sizes of Beasts and all kinds of people.

Barclay hopes that a Master can remove his Mark, the golden tattoo where the Lufthund dwells when not out in the world, but it’s not so simple.

Only if he places first in the Exhibition testing new Lore Keepers will he have any chance of losing the Lufthund!

Most youth preparing to test are jealous that such a powerful Beast chose to bond with a boring outsider, but Viola and a few others decide to help him learn some Lore so he has a chance to pass.

Barclay must quickly discover how he and his Beast can work together, avoid the bullies who will sabotage his Exhibition matches, and decide how much he’ll risk to go home.

So many fantastical Beasts, so many Lore Keepers with different abilities, so many chances to fail – or to win!

First in the Wilderlore series, followed by The Weeping Tide .

Which of your personal skills would you want your Beast to amplify?
**kmm

Book info: The Accidental Apprentice (Wilderlore, book 1) / Amanda Foody. Margaret McElderry Books, hardcover 2021, paperback 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

SECRET OF THE STORM is… a tiny kitten? by Beth McMullen (MG book review)

book cover of Secret of the Storm, by Beth McMullen.  Published by Aladdin Books S&S | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sad without Dad,
best friend ghosting her,
does she hear meows in the storm?

In this foggy coastal California town, Cassie just trudges through her days at middle school, avoiding the Popular Posse that took away her best friend, ignoring comments about her non-fashion sense.

Volunteering at the public library is the only bright spot in Cassie’s life, as Mom is still not-all-here after Dad’s death, even when cool Ms. Asher partners her with geeky Joe, whose tech skills have finally made the bullies leave the Black boy alone.

When the tweens rescue a tiny black kitten during a wild storm, life gets more interesting. How did Albert survive when lightning struck that dumpster? Cassie takes him home and is amazed at how fast and strong he is!

More unusual weather events in town, Albert’s water bowl steaming when he plays in it, and a strange symbol appearing on Cassie’s closet door – the same symbol that’s on the notebook that Ms. Asher hides when anyone comes near!

Scorch marks on her bedroom carpet, an old college friend ranting to Ms. Asher about storms and dragons, mysterious events in their town’s history – Joe and Cassie (and Albert) need more information so they visit the library… after hours.

When little kitten Albert comes to Cassie’s defense during a slumber party (best friend’s mom said she had to be invited), there are suddenly flames, screaming popular girls, and a viral video…of a dragon!

The police start asking questions, Ms. Asher’s friend is threatening them, and they have to leave town with Albert – now!

When have you and your friends stood up for someone who needs help?
**kmm

Book info: Secret of the Storm (Secret of the Storm, book 1) / Beth McMullen. Aladdin Books/Simon & Schuster, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

You need to love someone or even like them for ALL THE RIGHT REASONS, by Bethany Mangle (YA book review)

book cover of All the Right Reasons, by Bethany Mangle. Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books / S&S. | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Venting about her dad’s terrible behavior,
privately on her video diary –
oops, on the public channel = goes viral!

It’s a long way from Ohio to Key West, but here they are – fitness expert Mom and 17-year-old Cara, as stars in the new reality show “Second Chance Romance,” here to choose a guy and his kid as a possible instant family!

This gigantic mansion with luxury everything is a far cry from generic oatmeal and overdue bills that made up their everyday life after Dad dumped Mom on their 20th anniversary for a client at the boutique gym that they both still own (and Dad won’t buy Mom’s share).

Together Mom and Cara navigate this new world of filming lingo (another take? really?!) and makeup stylists and designer clothes around the clock and enough to eat, trying to imagine each dad and child as their new family, thankful for their “handler” Sam who tries to keep things rolling smoothly for them.

Cara and Mom have to agree on which pairs to eliminate, which is easy at the beginning, but gets more difficult as they go along.

Brad works hard to woo Mom, but his teen daughter (the shampoo model, as she keeps reminding everyone) is charming to the adults, utterly awful to the other kids.

Connor catches Cara’s attention on the very first evening, but she can’t have a crush on a contestant’s son when they could become siblings, right? He’s so real, so matter-of-fact about how Ehlers-Danlos affects his daily life.

Of course, the show’s producers magnify every conflict or sign of interest for maximum drama! Too bad they aren’t funny and mellow and human like Sam.

Why can’t Mom see past the facades of some contestants?
Which of these kids could Cara live with as a step-sibling?
How can they possibly choose by the show’s filming deadline?

By the author of Prepped (recommended here), who lives with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and is a Korean adoptee with white parents like Cara.

Would you ever appear on a reality show?
**kmm

Book info: All the Right Reasons / Bethany Mangle. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Only THE MIDNIGHT UNICORN can save their kingdom! by Alice Hemming (MG book review)

book cover of The Midnight Unicorn, by Alice Hemming. Published in USA by Kane Miller/ EDC | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A kingdom at peace,
protected by the Midnight Unicorn.
Now danger approaches!

Enchanted raven Corvus relays a message to the Queen as her newborn twin daughters sleep nearby – her evil brother has escaped his banishment and is bringing an army to Essendor!

Away from the castle they flee – one baby with court wizard Maneo to the west, the other with their Nanny to the east, the queen and king to the south.

Thirteen years later, Alette and her sorcerer father leave their chilly, isolated home and begin searching for the sister she never knew about. How could he keep this secret so long?

In her mind, Audrey has told Shadow for years how she longs to escape the small dusty town where she works in her mother’s bakery. She’s shocked when Shadow sends a visual message in return one night – she is coming to Audrey!

Finally together, the twin sisters feel whole, just like their necklaces join to make a picture of a unicorn. Evil King Zelos told the kingdoms that the princesses died when the castle was taken, but they are alive – and they have more right to the throne than he does!

When will Audrey be able to transform into a unicorn as Alette can?
Who can they trust with their secrets?
Can they reach the city without alerting the king?

Danger and secrets are everywhere, even in a drowsy apple orchard, as Maneo accompanies the sisters on their quest.

First in the Dark Unicorns series, followed by The Darkest Unicorn (information here).

Can you envision a unicorn in your neighborhood?
**kmm

Book info: The Midnight Unicorn (Dark Unicorns, book 1) / Alice Hemming. Kane Miller/ EDC, 2022 (US), 2019 (UK). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Hurry along on HENRIE’S HERO HUNT for all the clues! by Petra James (MG book review)

book cover of Henrie's Hero Hunt, by Petra James, art by A. Yi. Published by Kane Miller Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The Hero Hotline phone rings!
Who needs help?
Is the newest Hero ready?

Being the first girl born into the House of Melchoir (HoMe) in 200 years won’t keep young Henrie from her destiny as a Hero!

With her brave Aunt Ellie, Henrie is continuing to search for her parents who aren’t dead at all, despite what the Melchior men told them for so long.

The HoMe Hero Hotline calls Henrie and friend Alex to help Marley uncover the truth about a beloved great-aunt whose golden reputation as an Egyptologist on the King Tut discovery team was tarnished by scandal.

In a wheelchair with a broken leg, Marley found a 1946 ad for HoMe among Great-Aunt Agnes’ things – that’s why she called the Heroes!

Hieroglyphics on Aunt Agnes’ tombstone and unique embroidery stitches lead the trio to an old bookstore and a museum… but they’re not alone!

Who’s been skulking outside Marley’s house?
Who’s following the tweens through the city?
Can they uncover the secret that restores Agnes’ reputation?

Filled with Tips from the Hero’s Handbook, quizzes, and codes to decipher, this book is a race between heroes and villains to find the truth!

If you’ve missed book 1, Hapless Hero Henrie, never fear! Our determined hero will catch you up on its thrilling events as she and Alex and Marley race to find the clues – before it’s too late! Brought to the US from Australia by Kane Miller Books.

What heroic qualities are strong in you?
**kmm

Book info: Henrie’s Hero Hunt (House of Heroes, book 2) / Petra James, art by A. Yi. Kane Miller Books, 2021. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

BEYOND ME, the earth shakes and trembles, by Annie Donworth-Chikamatsu (MG book review)

book cover of Beyond Me, by Annie Donworth-Chikamatsu. Published by Caitlyn Dlouhy Books /Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Fifth grade almost done,
cramming for junior high entrance exams,
wait… what’s happening under our feet?!

Buildings and trains and children in Japan are well-prepared for earthquakes because small tremors happen all the time.

But on March 11, 2010, the earth shook and shook, halting choir practice for 11-year-old Maya and her classmates, sending them home with worried parents and grandparents.

Maya’s American mother works from home, her great-grandparents are next door, best friend Yuka lives just down the lane.

The epicenter was far away in Japan’s north, followed by a massive tsunami that struck a nuclear electricity plant – oh, the devastation! Maya is heart-sick, feeling dizzy even when the earth isn’t moving – what can she do to help the people of the northeast?

There are aftershocks even down here and continuing worries about losing electricity, damage to railroads, having enough drinking water. Father finally reaches them after walking 20 miles from his office in Tokyo!

Maya’s mother begins organizing relief efforts for the northeast, working on her computer at home under the big table during tremors.

She shows Maya the paper crane project started by American students who are sending messages of support. Together, Maya and Yuka decide to fold 1000 paper cranes for hope, like Sadako.

As end-of-school events are postponed again and again, Maya and Father work with Great-grandfather in the vegetable field, glad to be outdoors as summer begins, to grow food for their neighbors, to be together as tremors continue.

Will her sixth-grade year begin on time?
What if the Big Earthquake hits here?
Why is this strange cat coming into her house?

This novel in verse uses unique typesetting patterns to show Maya’s fright and confusion during the quake and its many aftershocks, large and small.

Today marks 12 years since this event – have you ever experienced an earthquake?
**kmm

Book info: Beyond Me / Annie Donworth-Chikamatsu. Caitlyn Dlouhy/ Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020, paperback 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

This summer could be the best ever for THE ISLANDERS! by Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May (MG book review)

Book cover of The Islanders, by Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May. Published by Aladdin/ Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No videogames or wi-fi?
Driving a golf cart! Or a boat?!
Maybe summer will be okay…

As a military kid, twelve-year-old Jake knows that staying with his grandma Honey will help Mom as she’s at the Army hospital with Dad, but having no internet or cellphone (don’t ask) will be terrible.

Luckily, two kids his age are on Dewees Island for the summer: Macon, a facts-spouting Black guy from Atlanta, whose mom is on bed rest waiting for her baby to arrive, and nature-fanatic Lovie, who drives her own boat over from Isle of Palms every day to stay with her aunt.

Honey doesn’t seem herself after Jake’s granddad died a while ago, and her house on stilts needs lots of care. Dad grew up here, roaming these woods and beaches, learning to drive a boat, leaving his nature journal and favorite books in the loft bedroom where Jake is staying.

Doing chores for Honey still leaves Jake plenty of time to explore the South Carolina coastal island with Lovie and Macon. Lots of lessons too – driving the golf cart, learning his way around a boat, recognizing loggerhead turtle tracks, avoiding alligators.

An incident gets the three friends assigned to Dawn Patrol, checking the beaches early, early every morning for new turtle nests that the licensed specialists verify and encircle with warning tape.

Jake sketches in his own nature journal, writes illustrated letters to Dad, and listens to the worries that Lovie and Macon confide.

Can Jake earn his boating license before summer ends?
How can they keep predators away from the turtle nests?
How fast can Dad recover from the IED explosion?

Sometimes the island seems like paradise, other times it’s not. For these three friends, this will be a summer to remember! First in a new series, followed by Search for Treasure in June 2022.

What’s your favorite summer-with-friends memory?
**kmm

Book info: The Islanders (Islanders, book 1) / Mary Alice Monroe & Angela May. Aladdin/ Simon & Schuster, 2021. [author site] [co-author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Best friends vs. sorcery! BEETLE & THE HOLLOWBONES. by Aliza Layne (Graphic novel review)

book cover of Beetle & the Hollowbones, words & art by Aliza Layne; coloring by Natalie Riess & Kristen Acampora. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Boring little town,
everything’s the same –
until it’s not!!

As a young goblin-witch, Beetle is apprenticed to her Gran, learning potions and trying to master that dratted flying broom… ho-hum, not real magic like sorcery, is it?

At least the 12 year old sometimes can escape those boring lessons and meet her best friend Blob Ghost, who’s cursed to live forever in the mall. She’s tried so many ways to get them out, of course, but the mall basement always pulls them back.

Oh, great – her former best friend Kat is back from the exclusive Academy, apprenticing to witch Marla Hollowbone who controls so much of their town. Kat has already earned her sorcery stone and is eager to learn more spells and secrets from her powerful aunt.

Ack! Blob Ghost tells her that they’ve learned the mall will soon be torn down – on Marla Hollowbone’s orders!

Can a ghost die twice?
How can Beetle free them from their curse?
Will Kat defy her aunt and help?

Into the depths and into the sky, Beetle will try her goblin-witch best to help her friend, even as Marla threatens her Gran! (Yes, sequels to this strongly colored graphic novel are in the works!)

What’s the scariest adventure that you and your best friend ever had?
**kmm

Book info: Beetle & the Hollowbones / words & art by Aliza Layne; coloring by Natalie Riess & Kristen Acampora. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.