Tag Archive | abuse

Ignoring WOUNDED LITTLE GODS doesn’t mean they’re gone, by Eliza Victoria (book review)

book cover of Wounded Little Gods, by Eliza Victoria. Published in USA by Tuttle Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Gods of wind, of death,
spirits of dew and seedlings and soil –
unheeded, unneeded by modern life…

Regina was so glad to escape her hometown in the Philippine countryside, even if her first job out of college isn’t world-changing.

Hanging out in new co-worker Diane’s apartment, waiting for rush hour to subside, Regina notices many books on eugenics and terrible experiments on human beings – what a strange conversation they lead to!

Diane never returns to work, and Regina finds a hand-drawn map in her bag – a map of her hometown in detail, with notes in Diane’s writing, showing buildings that aren’t there and a big X and two persons’ names.

Regina makes a quick trip back to Heridos to ask her parents about it – they say a doctor at the hospital has a similar name, and aren’t there just trees on that part of Ka Edgar’s old farm? A phone call to her much older brother Luciano isn’t any help either. Hmmmm….

Trekking through the summer humidity to the abandoned farm, Regina finds hidden buildings (Center for Heredity and Genetics!?) – and a woman who says that Diane is late in returning. No, Florina can’t leave her little house to help Regina look for her…

Well, the young doctor says he doesn’t know anything about that Center, but a lady in the waiting room sees that map and exclaims that she was detained there as a child! Clara retells nightmarish stories of small bodies under white sheets, but now there are only woods where Regina found the Center recently….

As Luciano hurriedly drives to Heridos, two gods appear in his car, asking about his sister and offering their help – oh, he remembers how that went the last time…

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” said American writer William Faulkner – how very, very true for everyone connected to that Center for Heredity and Genetics!

With its storyline based on too-real human experimentation centers, this Finalist for the National Book Awards in the Philippines is available for the first time in the US now.

Where do you see the older ways amid the busyness of today?
**kmm

Book info: Wounded Little Gods / Eliza Victoria. Tuttle Publishing, 2022 (US), 2015 (Philippines). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

M is for THE MAN OF THE MOON AND OTHER STORIES FROM GREENLAND, retold by Gunvor Bjerre & Charlotte Barslund, art by Miki Jacobsen (book review) #A2Z

book cover of The Man of the Moon and Other Stories From Greenland / retold by Gunvor Bjerre; translated by Charlotte Barslund; illustrated by Miki Jacobsen. Published by Inhabit Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com

So many folktales, you’ve heard over and over, with slight variations and “happily ever after” to soothe modern listeners.

Not so with this collection introducing us to long-ago stories from Greenland that most folks nowadays have never encountered.

These stories told by elders and parents during the long, dark Arctic winters reflect the difficulties of living in brutally cold terrain where one mistake during a hunt can doom a whole village.

Many begin with “Once upon a time…” like “The Wild Geese Who Made the Blind Boy See” as they punished his greedy grandmother and “Manutooq, Whose Daughters Drifted to Akilineq on an Ice Floe” after their father abandons them on a hunting trip.

It was dangerous to ignore warnings – don’t shout at a harpoonist hunting in their qajaq (kayak) like “The Old Man Who Trapped Children Inside a Rock” and never be rude toward a shaman or else their helper spirits can’t help you find “The Witch Who Abducted Children in Her Amauti.”

Some stories give the history of why things are, like why the Sun and “The Man of the Moon” are never seen at the same time and “The Great Fire, or How the Mussel Came to Be” a coveted food source.

Hunger and death are frequent visitors, and stories of orphans are common – some grow up to be good hunters who provide for all (even after constant bullying), others don’t survive their childhood (even with the help of supernatural beings).

There’s an Inuktitut-English glossary in the back, and illustrations help us place these stories in their habitat of sea and ice, white bears and seals, rocks and snow.

Inhabit Media is based in Nunavut, the northernmost province of Canada, publishing books in English and languages of the First Peoples.

What’s the most unusual “once upon a time” story that you’ve heard?
**kmm

Book info: The Man of the Moon and Other Stories From Greenland / retold by Gunvor Bjerre; translated by Charlotte Barslund; illustrated by Miki Jacobsen. Inhabit Media, 2016. [artist info] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Lost daughter or just a HOMEWRECKER? by Deanna Cameron (book review)

book cover of Homewrecker, by Deanna Cameron. Published by Wattpad Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Stormy life,
grown up too fast,
Tornado! Where’s Mom?

When her druggie mom is swept away from their trailer park by a tornado, Brownyn is taken in by the family of her long-estranged father, now a rich and powerful senator.

The 17 year old always knew that her birth after David’s short separation from his wife was an accident, hushed up as he rose from young lawyer to the Senate – only once as a kid did she meet his family.

She’s stunned now by their casual wealth, the summer home on the lake, and being accepted by her stepmom and four half-siblings. They’ve always known about her?

Mom’s body is finally found, but she was strangled before the tornado hit! David’s influence keeps the investigation going, even as the media blares out Bronwyn as his secret love-child.

So she’ll get out and meet people, she now works with half-sister Andi (one grade older, YouTube makeup guru deluxe) at the drive-in movie theater. Teenager Ethan next door takes care of their garden, and Bronwyn shares her plant knowledge with him.

But she misses her friends at home, doesn’t think the detectives are really trying to solve Mom’s murder, and decides it’s time to go do some sleuthing herself – Ethan’s more than willing to roadtrip with her.

Was Mom killed over drug money or something else?
How will Bronwyn fit in at a new rich-kid school?
Why is David’s family so nice to her…really?

Secrets old and new collide as the teen struggles to become part of a real family instead of the only responsible person at home.

What long-lost kid story is your favorite?
**kmm

Book Info: Homewrecker / Deanna Cameron. Wattpad Books, 2021. [author info] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is underground, out of sight, bare hands mining in BEARMOUTH, by Liz Hyder (YA book review)

book cover of Bearmouth, by Liz Hyder. Published by Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No daylight, no school,
few dreams, little hope,
working till they can’t no more…

Sent into the coal mine at age 4, the pittance that Newt earns keeps his mum and siblings from starving up above.

Newt’s crew takes care of their littlest miners, keeping them safe from wicked men, especially on payday when some have money for beer after paying for the candles and boots they need for working.

The new fellow Devlin joins Newt for lessons with Thomas on Maykers Day, hearing stories and learning how to spell words… all quiet-like.

Once a week, the miners hear how humanity’s rebellion against The Mayker condemned them to work in the Master’s coal mine, awaiting “a sine of forgivvness” so they may go back aboveground at last.

Devlin comes up with a plan to help them escape the heat and hellish conditions of Bearmouth’s lowest levels. “Suffokaytin in the dark cos of poyson gasses. Tis the worst way to go.” (pg. 26)

Thomas asks the Master to raise their pay – and one day disappears. Newt hears a shadowy man whispering dangerous words in the tunnel, sees Thomas and other lost friends in dreams and in the deep darkness.

Will the Mayker’s sign come soon?
How long can it stay secret that Nate isn’t a true boy?
Can Devlin and Newt get out of Bearmouth alive?

You can hear Newt’s observations ring true through this story built upon actual working conditions in England’s coal mines in the Victorian era.

Today is Independent Bookstore Day – a great time to find Bearmouth and other BooksYALove favorites at a bookshop near you!

Which muzzled voices should we be listening for?
**kmm

Book info: Bearmouth / Liz Hyder. Norton Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Q for a queer COMPLICATED LOVE STORY SET IN SPACE aboard Qriosity, by Shaun David Hutchinson (YA book review)

book cover of A Complicated Love Story Set in Space, by Shaun David Hutchinson. Published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A message he can trust,
new friends in this adventure,
why can’t they remember how they got here?

It’s disorienting to wake up in a spacesuit floating outside a spaceship amid flashing warnings of imminent explosion – and to have another 16 year old inside Qirosity trying to shut down the faulty reactor and help Noa get to the airlock at the same time!

Noa stumbles out of the resuscitator (first death is the hardest), meeting Jenny on his way to find DJ – who abducted them from all over the US?

Just the three teens on this spaceship… and a grown-up kid actor’s hologram with unhelpful messages, and a murdered girl, and the kid actor’s entire mystery series to watch, and more than a lifetime supply of Nutreesh bars in the galley.

DJ and Noa are falling for each other, Jenny is plotting revenge on the aliens/kidnappers, and strange events keep them hopping as one day seems to repeat itself, repeat itself.

Steered automatically to a high school on an asteroid, they find cliques and yucky PE class and teachers who stop all the fun and the murdered girl from Qriosity who doesn’t remember being on the spaceship at all…

Why is there a high school in space?
Why does Jenny prefer Nutreesh to what Noa cooks?
Is DJ and Noa’s love real?

The three teens must rely on each other to survive months in space, a monster or two, crisis after crisis, and a school dance as they keep trying hack into Qriosity’s navigation system and get back to Earth.

Another tale of strange happenings and learning to love from the author of The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza (I recommended here) and At the Edge of the Universe (more here).

Aliens – yes or no?
**kmm

Book Info: A Complicated Love Story Set in Space / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site]

Secrets abound at A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS! by Kathleen Baldwin (book review)

Book cover of A School for Unusual Girls, by Kathleen Baldwin. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Torture or merely draconian discipline?
Surely her parents won’t make her stay…

High society frowns on girls who prefer chemistry to needlepoint or whose frequent migraines are really visions of disaster – shutting them far, far away from the cotillions and balls of Regency London.

Yet the science experiment that burned down Father’s stable may be a blessing in disguise for Georgiana as the teen finds herself not in a reform school for rebellious girls, but a secret spy school!

Under the direction of Miss Stranje and Madame Cho, several young ladies with highly unusual talents are honing their skills in self-defense and espionage in the fight against Napoleon.

Georgie’s secret ink may give England the upper hand, if she can perfect its formula, if she can keep her heart safe from young Lord Wyatt, if they can keep French agents from stealing it!

Set in an alternate 1814 where Napoleon successfully returns from exile, this first book in the Stranje House series is followed by the equally adventurous and properly romantic Exile for Dreamers (centered on Tess), Refuge for Masterminds (Jane’s story), and Harbor for the Nightingale (Maya’s tale).

Where might your unusual talents take you?
**kmm

Book info: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House, book 1) / Kathleen Baldwin. Tor Teen, hardcover 2015, paperback 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Personal purchase; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Life beyond the cult for AGNES AT THE END OF THE WORLD? by Kelly McWilliams (book review)

book cover of Agnes at the End of the World, by Kelly McWilliams. Published by Little Brown | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Keeping her brother healthy is sin.
Thinking for herself is sin.
Is saving their lives sinful, too?

Suffering is God’s will says the Prophet, but Agnes refused to let Ben die like so many children here, sneaking away to get her little brother’s insulin from an outside nurse who warns of the new plague affecting people, birds, and animals.

As the Prophet orders everyone into the mountain bunker to wait out the Apocalypse, the 16 year old knows it’s time to run, to escape the Arizona mountain settlement with her siblings, to risk the Outside world’s depravity and oncoming pandemic…

It’s Beth who always wanted to leave – does she truly want to take her big sister’s place as a sixth wife?
The nurse’s son Danny is smart and kind – can she trust an outsider with their lives and her heart?
Agnes heard God’s voice as a child – will it lead them now to safety?

Red Creek’s menfolk and their multiple wives believe that the outside world is all sin, but this Arizona mountain settlement hides much wickedness, too.

Told in alternating chapters by Agnes and Beth, this tale of apocalypse, pandemic, and faith was just released in June 2020. Read the Prologue here on the author’s website to meet Agnes before…

What hope are you finding during pandemic times?
**kmm

Book info: Agnes at the End of the World / Kelly McWilliams. Little Brown 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.

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.

Q for KINGS, QUEENS, AND IN-BETWEENS, by Tanya Boteju (book review)

book cover of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, by Tanya Boteju. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Nima’s boring summer takes a twist when the 17 year old visits a drag show at the local arts festival and meets the incomparable diva Deidre and drag king Winnow.

Her white dad moves through life in slow motion since Mom left last year, best friend Charles keeps her from total despair, but when surprisingly straight Ginny crushes her heart, awkward Nima feels completely adrift.

Discovering an amazing drag scene in the next town – that welcomes teens – Nima decides to let her true self shine, with Deidre helping her debut as a drag prince.

Will Mom ever drift back into their lives?
Can Nima and Winnow truly connect?
Why is bully Gordon hanging around the edges of Nima’s new circle?

Love, acceptance, risk, friendship – Nima wants to find her self and her place as a person in this debut novel of change and discovery. Read the first chapter here free, courtesy of the publisher.

How much do we let outside adornments interfere with true personal connections?
**kmm

Book info: Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens / Tanya Boteju. Simon Pulse, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.