Tag Archive | abuse

Can CHICKEN GIRL ever be herself again? #yalit by Heather Smith (book review)

book cover of Chicken Girl, by Heather Smith. Published by Penguin Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

When her Rosie the Riveter tribute photo is altered and mocked online, 1940s culture fan Poppy withdraws from her friends and family.

The Canadian teen’s twin brother is happily out, her roller derby team will just have to do without her.

At least she’s hidden from the world as she wears a chicken suit to advertise for a local restaurant.

Introduced to a group of homeless-by-choice friends by a lively little girl, Poppy looks forward to evenings with them under the bridge – Thumper with his Bible, Lewis saving money for transition surgery, Buck photographing absolutely everything.

Poppy’s now becomes bearable, but what of the future?
Will social services take little Miracle from her struggling mom?
Is her twin Cam really happy at his new summer job?

Chicken Girl is puns and poses, exploration and misunderstanding, community and much more. Read an excerpt here for free, courtesy of the publisher.

Who’s in your friend-family?
**kmm

Book info: Chicken Girl / Heather Smith. Penguin Teen, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Like all EXTRAORDINARY BIRDS, she must fly! by Sandy Stark-McGinnis (book review)

book cover of Extraordinary Birds, by Sandy Stark-McGinnis. Published by Bloomsbury Kids | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sure that she is truly a bird and that wings will soon burst out from the scars on her back, 11-year-old December is placed in yet another foster home, leaving everything behind except her secret journal.

She does find Eleanor nicer than most foster parents and is intrigued by her work rehabilitating injured birds (but not the taxidermy hobby…ew).

At her new school, she’s welcomed by Cheryllynn who loves the brightest dresses and snobby Jenny who says that’s really Charlie.

If December climbs a high enough tree, will she be able to fly away from unhappy memories?

Can she really help Eleanor teach a wounded hawk to fly free again?

Will Eleanor give up on December like everyone else has?

Her vast knowledge of birds hasn’t prepared December very well for dealing with humans, but Eleanor and Cheryllynn seem better than most people.

Who has given you hope when storms kept you from soaring?
**kmm

Book info: Extraordinary Birds / Sandy Stark McGinnis. Bloomsbury Kids, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Foster home safe for HOME GIRL Naomi? by Alex Wheatle (YA book review)

book cover of Home Girl, by Alex Wheatle. Published by Black Sheep/Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Not half-bad foster family, for once,
iccle bro and sis looking up to her –
why are they so nice?

After Mum died, Naomi took care of alcoholic Dad for years. Now the UK foster care system thinks the 14-year-old needs watching over…

Naomi’s hostility to foster families quickly exhausts her social worker’s options, and the white teen is placed temporarily with a black family.

Colleen and Tony are nice enough, their kids like Naomi, too – but Tony’s parents aren’t keen on a white girl taking space where a black foster kid could be safe.

Alternative school kids are quick with their fists and loud with slangy curses. The black girls there aren’t liking Naomi’s new cornrow braids…

When Colleen discovers Naomi’s love of urban dance, she arranges lessons at a real studio! Now isn’t the time for social services to place her with a suburban white family.

Just published in the US by Black Sheep/Akashic, Home Girl is the latest in Wheatle’s YA books set in working class British towns, examining personal identity, racial relations, and finding one’s place in the world.

When do we become ‘grown up enough’ to take on all of life’s responsibilities?
**kmm

Book info: Home Girl / Alex Wheatle. Black Sheep/Akashic Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

LEARNING TO BREATHE, to make her own destiny, by Janice Lynn Mather (YA book review)

book cover of Learning to Breathe, by Janice Lynn Mather. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

“Doubles, you just like your mamma!” – words that Indira never wants to hear in their small town with eyes everywhere and tongues wagging about easy Sharice.

Sent over to Nassau for school and sleeping on the couch at her ever-angry aunt’s house, Indy has to keep up with her popular cousin Smiley in class and keep well away from older cousin Gary – some things are easy, but Gary is persistent.

Indy is ashamed of being taken advantage of, worried that her beloved Granny always thought she’d wind up just like Mamma, terrified that she could be thrown out of Aunt Patrice’s house at any moment.

Granny’s long-time advice to cool her worries in the sea accidentally leads Indy to a tranquil place away from the busy city – a yoga retreat where she finds friends and a tiny measure of peace…for now.

How long can she keep her condition a secret?
Where has Mamma moved Granny?
When will classmate Churchy abandon Indy too?

Striving to rise above difficult circumstances, this strong young Bahamian woman wants to find her grandmother and find some peace and space to be her own self.

How have you helped friends in tough situations?
**kmm

Book info: Learning to Breathe / Janice Lynn Mather. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2018, paperback Aug 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Getting schooled? #YAlit to read with your ears!

For some kids, high school will be the best years of their lives – but only for some kids.

Being bullied for being different is the reality for too many kids, and this week’s free AudioSYNC audiobooks bring us some of their stories.

Remember, after you click the title (FREE now through Wednesday, 3 July 2019) and download the professionally produced audiobook, you can keep it as long as you like.

CD cover of Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass,  by Meg Medina | Read by Roxanne Hernandez Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, by Meg Medina

Read by Roxanne Hernandez

Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Audio

Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, but her relentless bullying erodes the teen’s self-confidence bit by bit, affecting her schoolwork and her relationships.

CD cover of Heretics Anonymous,  by Katie Henry | Read by Michael Crouch Published by HarperAudio  | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Heretics Anonymous, by Katie Henry

Read by Michael Crouch

Published by HarperAudio.

An atheist teen is less than thrilled to move (again) and attend Catholic school. Feminist Lucy (aspiring priest) introduces him to others who don’t fit in at St. Clare’s – maybe Heretics Anonymous is his safe place, too?

What can you do to keep people safe?
**kmm

FOUR THREE TWO ONE…survivor’s guilt may explode, by Courtney Stevens (YA book review)

book cover of Four Three Two One, by Courtney Stevens. Published by Harper Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

An art installation,
recreating the NYC bus bombing
where they almost died with the others…
almost.
Is almost enough or too much?

A year after an angry white boy explodes himself on a sightseeing bus, the four teen survivors are still trying to piece their lives together:

Golden and Chan – young sweethearts from the same Kentucky commune,
Caroline – from New York wine country, unable to escape vicious Simon,
Rudy – former athlete, now wheelchair-bound in Florida.

A medic who helped them away from the burning bus has spent the past year honoring the victims online and will soon unveil the rebuilt bus with their families’ memories – on the very street where it happened.

He asks people who can’t attend to donate scholarship money for the survivors and invites Golden, Chan, Caroline, and Rudy to be there.

Can they really face that bus where 19 others died?
Can they undo their connections to the bomber’s choice to bomb that bus at that moment?
Can they move forward, alone or together, ever?

Golden’s tennis partner Becky arranges the road trip that will get them all to NYC for the ceremony…ready to remember or not.

How have you worked through being a survivor?
**kmm

Book info: Four Three Two One / Courtney Stevens. Harper Teen, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

X marks pivotal 1968: TODAY’S AUTHORS EXPLORE A YEAR OF REBELLION, REVOLUTION & CHANGE, edited by Marc Aronson & Susan Campbell Bartoletti (YA book review)

book cover of 1968: Today's Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution & Change / edited by Marc Aronson & Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Assassinations – dreams denied.
Protests and retaliation – hope swings forward, then back.
War in our living rooms – who can look away?

This collection of non-fiction essays and memoirs by stellar YA and middle grade authors does go chronologically through 1968, but is vivid and nuanced and anguished – no dry parade of factoids on a timeline!

In “The Death of the Dream,” Kekla Magoon recounts the assasinations of Dr. King and RFK, while Laban Carrick Hill remembers those same days as a young child in a very racist Southern family “On the Wrong Side of History.”

What do you know about the 1968 student riots in Paris and Mexico City?
– the small freedoms gained in Czechoslovakia during “Prague Spring” before the USSR Communist leaders cracked down?
– the protests against Columbia University’s attempt to build a gym by razing a black neighborhood?
– the Red Guard in China during the Cultural Revolution?

Police brutality against protesters in Chicago was viewed by 90 million people on live television in 1968, research on genetics and computing raced forward in laboratories, while the Olympics and Presidential election and space race dominated the headlines.

The authors relay their personal connection or outlook to the event they chronicle, with each quarter of the year headed by Elizabeth Partridge’s recap of the Nightly News including Vietnam war fatalities – military and civilian – night after night after night.

Be sure to read the contributors’ biographies at the end: Jennifer Anthony, Marc Aronson, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Loree Griffin Burns, Omar Figueroas, Paul Fleischman, Laban Carrick Hill, Mark Kurlansky, Lenore Look, David Lubar, Kate MacMillan, Kekla Magoon, Jim Murphy, Elizabeth Partridge.

Get it today at your favorite indie bookstore for Independent Bookstore Day!

What historic moment during your lifetime would you write about?
**kmm

Book info: 1968: Today’s Authors Explore a Year of Rebellion, Revolution & Change / edited by Marc Aronson & Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Candlewick Press, 2018. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

W = Will, walking, wondering WHAT I LEAVE BEHIND, by Alison McGhee (YA book review)

book cover of What I Leave Behind, by Alison McGhee. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Memories, conflicts, problems –
walking away lets him avoid the pain,
but sometimes easier isn’t better.

Three years since Dad jumped off the bridge, leaving behind Will and Mom and his Bowie t-shirts, but not his famed cornbread recipe.

Three years of walking to school, dollar store job, then home – past the butterfly-watching little boy, homeless Superman, dog-of-insanity forever chained.

Can 100-cent gifts help them, give best friend Playa strength to stand up in court, reveal the cornbread secret to Will?

His LA neighborhood grows larger, sharper as the Black teen walks and walks and walks his memories out and wonders about the future.

One hundred chapters of 100 words (like the blessings store Dad loved) move the story along as Will walks and thinks and weaves David Bowie lyrics into everyday life – in paperback May 2019.

What song is the soundtrack of your days?
**kmm

K is for Kiki, overwhelmed in STARFISH, by Akemi Bowman (YA book review)

book cover of Starfish, by Akemi Dawn Bowman, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Divorced parents,
everything is always about Mom-
where do Kiko and her brothers fit in?

Not accepted by art school, constantly belittled by her white mother for having her Japanese father’s appearance, and now her creepy uncle is moving in?

Thankful for Jamie coming back into her life and taking her far, far away from the chaos…Kiko has to find her place and make her art.

Family drama sent you on a new path?
**kmm

Book info: Starfish / Akemi Dawn Bowman. Simon Pulse, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Starting her life anew at Prism will take Kiko far from disdainful Mom and abusive Uncle Max in Nebraska, but the New York art school’s rejection shatters her plans.

When long-lost childhood friend Jamie offers to take her to California to tour art schools, she jumps at the chance to be with her brother’s friend whom she’s adored for years…and to get away from Uncle Max.

Half-Japanese and all confused.
Self-absorbed Mom sucks all the joy out of life for Kiko and her brothers.
Away, away, just get away and make her art…

“We all start at the same place, but you’re completely in charge of where you finish,” says noted artist Hiroshi when Kiko visits his art gallery with Jamie (p. 191) – and he wants to see her portfolio, maybe write a recommendation for someday-art-school!

Erase his deceit, with LOVE & LUCK, by Jenna Evans Welch (YA book review)

book cover of Love & Luck, by Jenna Evans Welch. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Beautiful green Ireland,
terrible dark mood,
heal the heartbreak, that’s all she wants.

Addie’s used to being the quiet one, between her real estate agent mom, HGTV star aunt, and three older football superstar brothers, so keeping her new relationship with Cubby secret was easy, until it wasn’t.

He betrayed her in front of the whole football team with that photo, so she’s following the Ireland for the Heartbroken tour book’s advice to heal her heart – if local guy Rowan can keep Addie and Ian from pushing each other off another cliff!

From the author of Love and Gelato (my recommendation here) which tells how Addie’s best friend Lina got to Italy, where Addie and Ian are going – if she can convince her brother to get moving before Mom discovers they didn’t leave as scheduled!

Which wonderful places in your area can bring solace to the downhearted?
**kmm

Book info: Love and Luck / Jenna Evans Welch. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author IG] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After the private photo debacle with her ex-boyfriend, sixteen-year-old Addie can’t wait to escape Seattle and visit her best friend now in Italy, following a stopover in Ireland for a family wedding.

Suddenly on a clandestine Irish roadtrip with brother Ian (football star and… international music journalist?) and Rowan (local guy and Ian’s biggest fan) to chronicle an influential rock band’s roots, Addie realizes that her problem won’t disappear with distance.

As long as they visit the places recommended by Ireland for the Heartbroken guidebook, Addie is okay with going along before she and Ian head to Italy, but cute Rowan’s tiny rickety car has other ideas…

Ian’s indie music blog has nearly ten thousand followers – would he really give up a football scholarship for journalism?
Not sure if what happened with Cubby is her fault – why can’t Addie tell Mom, as Ian keeps nagging?
Social media is great for Ian, went terribly wrong for Addie – maybe she can stay in Ireland or Italy forever?

If Addie can just tell Lina everything about Cubby, if Lina can convince Mom that Addie and Ian are in Italy with her while they rumble around Ireland with charming Rowan, maybe she can figure out how to endure next year at school.