Tag Archive | abuse

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.

Her life torn apart when THE PROPHET CALLS, by Melanie Sumrow (YA book review)

book cover of The Prophet Calls, by Melanie Sumrow. Published by Yellow Jacket/Bonnier | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A house full of children,
being second or twelfth wife…
not her dream, not her future!

Gentry’s mother is Father’s second wife, her love of music blooming in her children – an unhealthy practice from the outside say the other wives who also sniff that food is wasted on her sister Amy because the Prophet will never allow a disabled person to be a wife.

If Gentry could only play the violin instead of worrying about outsiders attacking the polygamist compound or becoming a wife as a young teen or hearing the Prophet calling out punishments…

When do you say that your elders don’t know what’s best?
**kmm

Book info: The Prophet Calls / Melanie Sumrow. Yellow Jacket/ Bonnier Publishing USA, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Playing the violin is Gentry’s dream, not becoming a wife and mother, but how far will the young teen go to make music in defiance of their polygamist cult’s Prophet?

Bad luck for Gentry that her 13th birthday comes just as the Prophet declares in a phone call from prison that no women may leave the Watchful compound, days before she and Tanner are due to play at the folk music festival in Santa Fe!

Father’s other wives have long said that her Mother’s love for music is too worldly, but surely Gentry’s talent is a blessing…

Can Tanner find a way for them to perform at the festival?
Can Gentry stay clear of the Prophet’s eldest nephew and his grabby hands?
Can she keep little Amy safe from those who can’t see past her disabilities?

Every call from the Prophet brings new fears and restrictions as he decides what is taught at their school, which devout men get to marry more wives, and who is banished to the outside where crazy people think men walked on the moon.

Growing up female in USA: Our Stories, Our Voices – edited by Amy Reed (book review)

book cover of Our Stories, Our Voices. Edited by Amy Reed, published by Simon Pulse. | recommended on BooksYALove.comGirls have been marginalized,
belittled, abused, attacked, ignored –
time to tell the stories and fight injustice!

Strong personal essays by Martha Brockenbrough, Jaye Robin Brown, Sona Charaipotra, Brandy Colbert, Somaiya Daud, Christine Day, Alexandra Duncan, I.W. Gregorio, Maurene Goo, Ellen Hopkins, Stephanie Kuehnert, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, Hannah Moskowitz, Julie Murphy, Aisha Saeed, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Amber Smith, and Tracy Walker bring a wide range of young female experiences together in this book, begun in the wake of 2016 election.

You’ll recognize some names from my recent recommendations of their fiction – like Amy Reed – The Nowhere Girls,
Julie Murphy – Dumplin’,
Maureen Goo – I Believe in a Thing Called Love,
Sandhya Menon – When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle With Love
and others from books you’ve encountered in libraries, bookshops, and friends’ collections.

Meet them, hear their voices, find your voice, vote whenever you can!
**kmm

Book info: Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America / edited by Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2018. [editor site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Growing up female in the US became even less safe after the 2016 elections, but personal essays by 21 YA authors can bring readers empathy, empowering messages, and a measure of hope mixed with sparks toward moving forward.

Intersectionality – being female and (non-white, immigrant, LGBQT, disabled, fat, bullied) – is the reality for many of these authors who may or may not have transformed their shame, anger, or sorrow into wide-open political activism.

Essays can cover subjects which are very difficult for some readers, so the Editor’s Note specifies which titles discuss abuse, sexual assault, and racist violence.

Read these experiences and seek out others, consult the resources given, be aware of the powers each of us has to steer the future, make your voice heard.

Rapists called to justice by The Nowhere Girls, by Amy Reed (book review)

book cover of The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGang-raped her and made sure no one believed her.
Bragging online and planning their next moves…
Popularity won’t save these guys any more!

Moving to a new town during high school is no fun, but when Grace discovers that the girl who lived in this house was forced to move away because her rapists were popular guys and that the same guys are targeting other girls, she’s determined to find a way to stop them.

Read chapter one on the publisher’s website (free) as this story begins in the middle, after Lucy is assaulted and before The Nowhere Girls take action to stop sexual attackers from ruining lives in their school and community.

Relevant, so very relevant now…

Your standing up for a vital issue moment?
**kmm

Book info: The Nowhere Girls / Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Grace learns that the popular guys who gang-raped Lucy are still preying on girls and bragging about it online, she wants justice for the girl they shamed out of their small Oregon town and safety for the girls still here, but how?

With new friends Rosina (loves girls and punk music, not her uncle’s Mexican restaurant) and Erin (loves marine biology and Star Trek, feels like an android), they form the “Nowhere Girls” and anonymously invite every girl at Prescott High to resist the toxic sexist culture that has no consequences for the guys.

Can they warn girls in surrounding towns about these guys?
How can they convince adults that these assaults are real crimes?
What if no one comes to the secret meeting?

Breaking the dangerous status quo, creating solidarity among teen girls for safety – it’s time that The Nowhere Girls were everywhere!

H for hoarder mom + hateful mom= no more home in Behind Closed Doors, by Miriam Halahmy (book review)

UK book cover of Behind Closed Doors, by Miriam Halahmy, published by Firefly Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

UK cover

US book cover of Behind Closed Doors by Miriam Halahmy, published by Holiday House Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

US cover

One mom chooses stuff, stuff, stuff over her own daughter (and goes to jail for tax evasion).

One mom chooses her boyfriend over her own daughter (and he tries to have them both).

Then Mum’s so-called friends arrive to find valuables among the masses of stuff at Josie’s house (and won’t leave!)

How can almost-friends Josie and Tasha stay safe when neither home is a safe place to be?

Read the first chapters here free, courtesy of the US publisher, to meet Josie and Tasha as their home lives fall apart and the British teens have to fend for themselves together.

Publishing in the UK this summer – which cover speaks to you?
**kmm

Book info: Behind Closed Doors / Miriam Halahmy. Holiday House, 2017 (US); Firefly Books, 2018 (UK). [author site] [US publisher site] [UK publisher site] Review copy and US cover image courtesy of Holiday House; UK cover image courtesy of Firefly Press.

F is The Thing With Feathers, by McCall Hoyle (book review)

book cover of The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle, published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.com Managing her epilepsy while homeschooling is simple, with seizure-sensing dog Hitch always there.

Suddenly sent to public high school, Emilie refuses to tell anyone about her condition (hard enough to fit in when you’re the only teen on the Outer Banks who can’t swim).

Not even English project partner Chatham as they delve into Emily Dickinson or visit the lighthouse or worry about family complications.

Find this Sept. 2017 release at your local library or independent bookstore.

When is playing it safe the least-safe choice?
**kmm

Book info: The Thing With Feathers / McCall Hoyle. Blink, 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Names They Gave Us – enough against chaos? by Emery Lord (book review)

book cover of Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com She did everything properly,
all promises kept on her side of the bargain,
but evidently God has other plans for her mom…

Asked by her own parents to be counselor at a different camp, while Mom recovers at their family’s church camp just around the lakeshore – Lucy is angry at God for letting the cancer come back and at her boyfriend for ‘pausing’ their relationship for summer.

If she can salvage even a scrap of comfort from working with little kids who spend the summer at Daybreak to escape terrible situations…

This mid-May 2017 novel is stirring, honest, and powerful – faith isn’t always strong, past history is often murky, and the future is never promised to anyone.

(personally, I think the title has no relevance to the story at all. Wonder why @EmeryLord agreed to it – but authors don’t have total control over titles and rarely have a say about the cover art).

Have you ever bargained with God?
**kmm

Book info: The Names They Gave Us / Emery Lord. Bloomsbury Teens, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: All Lucy wants is summer at her parents’ church camp so she can get over Mom’s cancer returning and her boyfriend ‘pausing’ their perfect relationship, but the midwest teen finds herself at another camp nearby, where worry and hope (and Jones) wrestle for her attention.

The counselors and the campers at Daybreak all carry heavy burdens of past circumstances – Mom thinks this is better for Lucy than being with her between chemo sessions?

Just a mile between both camps so Lucy can still hear Dad’s sermons every Sunday – why does that distance seem to change constantly all summer?

Deepening friendships with fellow counselors during their summer together, especially with Henry Jones – can she have a crush on him, so soon after Lukas?

Big concerns affecting her littlest campers, fretting over chemo effects, wondering if she can remember every tiny detail about Mom, huge secrets revealed and memories made. God didn’t keep his side of Lucy’s bargain to keep Mom healthy, but perhaps Lucy doesn’t have to stay mad at him forever.

Ozzie’s world is shrinking At the Edge of the Universe (fiction) by Shaun David Hutchinson

book cover of At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com First Tommy is gone,
then the memory of him is gone from every mind,
except one…

Why can’t anyone remember Tommy? His best friend since 2nd grade, boyfriend since 8th grade, love of his life – by his side on July 3rd, gone on July 4th, and no one remembers him but Ozzie!

Just published this week, you can find Ozzie’s story – with each chapter title showing a smaller and smaller diameter of the universe from science websites – at your local library or independent bookstore now.

What do you do when a friend leaves?
**kmm

Book info: At the Edge of the Universe / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: If Ozzie can just find where his boyfriend Tommy has gone, then the high school senior can stop his family from disintegrating, celebrate gender-fluid best friend Lua’s musical success, and prove to everyone that Tommy does exist!

And discover why lab partner Calvin started cutting himself after quitting the wrestling team.

And stop the universe from shrinking, shrinking, with his little Florida town at the center.

Still Life With Tornado, by A.S. King (book review) – artist’s block, memory overload

book cover of Still Life With Tornado by AS King, published by Dutton Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comAn artist who can no longer draw,
A fractured household that never heals,
Memories buried and unearthed.

All Sarah wants to do is make art, until something stays her hand, blocks her power to create, and keeps the 16 year old wandering Philadelphia on a hunt for something (anything!) original instead of finishing school.

Then her 10-year-old self arrives, followed by her 23-year-old self…

Fall into the middle of Sarah’s existential crisis with this free excerpt of chapter one here on the publisher’s site.

Happy book birthday to Still Life With Tornado ! Mighty stoked that I get to hear author A.S. King as keynote speaker at KidLitCon 2016 (aka paradise for kids’ and young adult book bloggers) in Wichita, Kansas, this weekend.

Family stories dis-remembered? Share, please.
**kmm

Book info: Still Life With Tornado / A.S. King. Dutton Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When a teen artist stops going to school because she suddenly can’t create, her 10 year old self appears in her Philadelphia neighborhood, prompting Sarah to relocate memories that she’s hidden and consider if anything is original in the world.

As she wanders familiar and distant parts of town, Sarah wonders why big brother Bruce transferred to college in Oregon right after their not-so-good family vacation in Mexico six years ago and has never contacted her.

Ten-year-old Sarah goes with her to the museum, 23-year-old Sarah tells her that 16 is a popular age for existential crisis (even this isn’t original?!), and Dad is still yelling at night nurse Mom all the time.

Is Sarah going crazy?
Why can’t she remember what happened in Mexico?
What is truly original in life?

Whatever happened at school might be the reason Sarah won’t return, but she will have to bring back some memories – old and new – if she wants to be able to draw and create again. Chapters from Mom’s viewpoint and 10-year-old Sarah’s memories of Mexico sketch out the fragile framework of their family life, together yet distant.