Tag Archive | adoption

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.

THE JASMINE PROJECT – everyone’s finding her the perfect guy (secretly), by Meredith Ireland (YA book review)

book cover of The Jasmine Project, by Meredith Ireland. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

He dumped her?!
Future plans now murky,
her family wants to fix it… look out!

Jasmine had everything arranged, counting down to graduation, moving into an apartment with her longtime boyfriend Paul, starting nursing school (it’s a secure career… sigh).

Her family and enormous network of cousins and aunts know that Paul is cheating on her before the Korean adoptee does (not savvy about social media at all).

To help Jasmine get over Paul, her Filipino-white family decides to bring the best young bachelors in central Florida to her graduation party (big sister Cari’s podcast about The Bachelor is really popular).

All a secret from Jasmine, including the bets that Davey takes on which guy she’ll bring to the family Fourth of July party! (her adopted Dominican younger brother will surely grow up to be a bookie…)

Maybe it will be Justin, her junior high pal back from four years in Texas (so cute, so grown up).

Or Eugene, son of famous restaurant chefs (Jasmine dreams of cooking, not nursing).

Perhaps Aaron, the minor league pitcher from Nashville (that accent, those manners).

Everyone involved knows the rules, except Jasmine of course, but when some bachelors go rogue and Paul contacts her mid-summer (he never did treat her right), who knows what will happen by July!

Funniest inter-generational group texts ever punctuate this story of Jasmine discovering who she really is and what she wants for her own future.

Grab this debut novel at your local library or independent bookstore to find out who Jasmine chooses.

What’s your best “we met at a party” story?
**kmm

Book info: The Jasmine Project / Meredith Ireland. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

V is Verity & visions in EVENTIDE, by Sarah Goodman (YA book review)

book cover of Eventide, by Sarah Goodman. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

They say she’s a spirit,
went mad from her loss…
a bit of truth in every tall tale.

From studying medicine with her father and preparing for college in 1907 to hoeing corn in rural Arkansas – 17-year-old Verity’s world became so small when the local schoolteacher chose little sister Lilah from the orphan train, but rejected her.

Verity grows to like the Weatheringtons as she toils on their small farm with their teen nephew and fellow book-lover Abel, working hard so she can earn enough to get her and Lilah back home.

The tragic story of Rev. Mayhew’s daughter jilted in love and walking away from home in the snow, the eerie deep woods where no one goes, how swiftly Miss Maeve has Lilah calling her Mama – everyone knows everything about everyone else in this superstitious small town.

Why is there a body beside the well in the woods?
Papa’s in an asylum in New York – how could he get here?
Is Lilah truly safe in Miss Maeve’s stately home?

There’s magic hiding here, a secret seeking to escape, and Verity may have uncovered a dark truth that won’t leave her alone.

Can a family secret be a good thing?
**kmm

Book info: Eventide / Sarah Goodman. Tor Teen, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Heading home from school? LOOK BOTH WAYS, by Jason Reynolds (book review)

book cover of Look Both Ways, by Jason Reynolds. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Who’s smart or not,
friendly, sneaky, silly –
at school, you know who’s who…

Last class of the day, then off they go in all directions – friends and bullies, foster kids and only kids, thinking about homework, thinking of anything but school.

In your neighborhood, everybody knows whose mama is fighting cancer again and where the mean dog lives.

Things that folks don’t know: why Cynthia tells jokes on Cinder’s Stage every day at 3:33, how loud the anxiety roars in Ty’s head, what Pia is thinking as she skateboards everywhere.

This “tale told in ten blocks” by Black kids interweaves friendship, family histories, new attraction, and old memories.

Work on your own story with help from the author; Jason Reynolds has started the “Write, Right, Rite” project as National Ambassador for Children’s Literature.

What do you think about on the way home from school?
**kmm

Book info: Look Both Ways: a Tale Told in Ten Blocks / Jason Reynolds; illustrations by Alexander Nabaum. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

I for I CAN MAKE THIS PROMISE, by Christine Day (middle grade book review)

book cover of I Can Make This Promise, by Christine Day. Published by Harper Collins | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Waiting for seventh grade to begin,
sketching flowers and a found dog,
waiting for Mom to talk about those old photos.

Edie’s mom was adopted by a white family in Seattle so her Native American ancestry is a mystery. This growing distance between the 12 year old and best friend Amelia is mysterious, too… will she help Edie and Serenity make their movie for the student festival or not?

Wow, Edie looks just like the Edith whose journals she found in their attic, who headed down to Hollywood in 1973 to be in the movies… why haven’t her parents ever mentioned her? Who was Theo and why did he go to Wounded Knee?

New braces, old worries… how can Amelia insist that Edie star in their film instead of being the animator like she promised? What if Mom and Dad won’t talk about Edith at all?

One summer week… so much can happen in one week! Will Edie’s life ever be the same?

The author is Upper Skagit of the Coast Salish people and lives in the Pacific Northwest, like Edie and her family.

What stories does your family tell when you remember those who came before you?
**kmm

Book info: I Can Make This Promise / Christine Day. Harper Collins, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Her luck foretold by Three Pennies? by Melanie Crowder (book review)

book cover of Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comAsk the pennies, get the answer.
Always 3 pennies, always Mom’s pocket book of I Ching,
Mom should be her answer, but where?

So-quiet Marin has bounced around the foster care system so long.
Young owl’s injury has kept him in city, away from big trees for so long.
Earth beneath their city has stayed in tension for so long… too long.

All children need loving homes – too much to ask?
**kmm

Book info: Three Pennies / Melanie Crowder. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Foggy San Francisco – where any moment can bring an earthquake or the right home or a loving family – young Marin searches for her birth mother, and a wounded owl feels the faraway forest calling him…small beings trying to find their right place in the big city.

From foster home to foster home, quiet 11-year-old Marin seeks answers daily from the I Ching book of changes left behind by her mother seven years ago.

Silently gliding in the night sky, a young owl feels his wounded wing become stronger and soon may leave this not-forest place.

How can Dr. Lucy become her parent when Marin knows she must find her birth mother?
Will young owl go to the giant trees of his ancestors or stay here to watch the small girl?
When will the slowly moving rocks under the city finally slide too far?

Many voices – Marin, the owl, lonely Dr. Lucy, social worker Gilda, the earth beneath the city – tell this story of loss, love, and hope.

Who is spying on her & The Watcher in wartime? by Joan Hiatt Harlow (book review)

book cover of The Watcher by Joan Hiatt Harlow published by McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com From Maine to Berlin,
from suspected to suspicious,
and someone is watching her…

Nothing that this young American teen thought she knew about her family is true – Mom and Dad aren’t her parents, glamorous Aunt Adrie is her mother… and a German spy! And what a terrible truth she discovers about the Lebensborn nursery where she is required to volunteer.

Find this 2015 paperback (or 2014 hardcover) at your local library or independent bookstore.  Be sure to also grab the companion book Shadows on the Sea (my no-spoiler review here) to discover how Wendy finds herself in this perilous situation in the first place.

How far would you go to stand up for your beliefs?
**kmm

Book info: The Watcher / Joan Hiatt Harlow. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014 (paperback, 2015).  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kidnapped from America by her German spy ‘aunt’ and taken to Berlin, Wendy learns of her real parentage, encounters the people spying on her, and must decide which path to follow during World War II.

After rescuing a puppy who failed SS police dog school, Wendy walks in the park near Adrie’s house, where she and Watcher meet Barret and his seeing-eye dog – at last, someone who speaks English and doesn’t scorn her for living in America!

The young man’s grandfather says Wendy’s father wasn’t a German officer, as Adrie claims…
Frau Messner says the children at the Lebensborn nursery are orphans; Johanna says they were stolen from parents in occupied countries because they look so Aryan…
Oh, no! Was that White Rose anti-Nazi pamphlet still in Wendy’s coat pocket when she fell terribly ill??

Wendy becomes convinced that she must escape from Nazi Germany in this suspenseful tale which follows the events in Shadows on the Sea.

F for fear in France with a Drop of Night and deadly peril, by Stefan Bachman (book review)

book cover of A Drop of Night by Stefan Bachman published by Greenwillow Books | BooksYALove.comEscape the adoptive family,
Tap into unusual skill set,
Die in an underground palace of terrors?

Anouk hates so much about her sophisticated adoptive parents, perfect little sister, and their polished life. The chance to join an exclusive teen research team in France is too good to pass up… and definitely too good to be true.

Read the first chapters of A Drop of Night here courtesy of the publisher, and get hooked on this diverse crew of teens assembled for a supposed archaeology exploration… into a death trap.

Can you ever really outrun the past?
**kmm

Book info: A Drop of Night / Stefan Bachman. Greenwillow Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Lured to the French countryside by the promise of a unique historical exploration, 17-year-old Anouk gladly escapes her posh New York City family and finds herself in a subterranean chateau filled with mysteries and death traps.

Maybe the five teens were picked for their various skill sets, but Anouk, Will, Jules, Hayden, and Lilly start wondering about Project Papillon’s true motives soon after they arrive at the remote French chateau with armed guards (and no cellphone service).

Why is Sapani Corporation relying on these kids to explore a historical site that’s been sealed for over 200 years?
Who is controlling the fighters they encounter underground and the hideously deadly puzzle rooms they must get past?
What if Professor Dorf isn’t the only one watching them down here?

The story alternates between the viewpoints of Anouk in the present day and Aurelie during the French Revolution as more secrets about Palais du Papillon and its frightening purpose are revealed. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Girl in Reverse, by Barbara Stuber (book review) – adopted, bullied, seeking, found?

book cover of Girl in Reverse by Barbara Stuber published by Margaret K McElderry BooksPrejudice at school,
polite silence at home,
Who am i? Who am I?

Shunned by the in-crowd, bullied as if she were a Commie spy, Lily would just like a few friends who don’t care that she’s Chinese, some answers about her past from her adoptive parents, and a door lock that can keep pesky little brother out of her room!

A box of Chinese sculptures, a new exhibit at the art museum, and a nun nearing retirement change Lily’s priorities – can she finally learn more about her birth mother?

Girl in Reverse was published as a paperback just this week and is available in hardcover and ebook, so choose your favorite way to hold this well-told tale in your hands, as Lily held the objects that connected her with Gone Mom.

What keepsake tells a family story for you?
**kmm

Book info: Girl in Reverse / Barbara Stuber. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014 (paperback, May 2015).  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The new Chinese art exhibit may hold clues about Lily’s long-gone birth mother and is a welcome distraction from the bullying she experiences at her Kansas City high school during the Korean War.

Shortly after Lily’s adoption, Ralph was born to her new parents, who cannot understand the prejudice that Lily faces daily, labeled a ‘Commie’ as the war in Korea rages, even though she is Chinese.

Ralph finds a box in the attic, left with Lily at the orphanage by her gone-mom, and together the siblings decide to find out all they can.  Trips to Chinatown, the old orphanage, and the art museum bring more clues, as artistic Elliot tries to get Lily to embrace her heritage.

Where did Gone Mom go?
Why did she leave Lily behind?
Why was Lily’s mom in Missouri anyway?

Searching for her identity in 1950s American heartland, Lily discovers which bonds of family and culture can bend and which are too fragile to even breathe upon.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Opposite of Love, by Sarah Scheerger (book review) – goodbye letter, forever? help!

book cover of The Opposite of Love by Sarah Lynn Scheerger published by Albert WhitmanGone. Just… gone.
No forewarning, phone disconnected,
How can the love of your life disappear so completely?

Chase and Rose are very imperfect people, but they are so right together – until Rose vanishes, and her adoptive parents have no clue where she went.

The author provides an excerpt of this bittersweet story’s first chapter here for free. Check your local library or independent bookstore so you can read it all.

When you can’t keep the only thing keeping you sane in the face of abuse and indifference, what next?
**kmm

Book info: The Opposite of Love / Sarah Lynn Scheerger. Albert Whitman, 2014.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Meeting through mutual friends, artistic Rose and kid-magnet Chase fall in love, but struggle to keep parents and their pasts from tearing apart their future together.

When Chase’s long-gone abusive dad demands visitation rights and Rose’s adoptive parents lock her in the house to keep the Native American teen out of trouble, the high school couple’s plans to leave behind their California town go up in smoke.

How will Rose locate her real mother now?
How can Chase protect his little sister when he’s away at Walter’s?
Why does Rose stop answering texts and calls from Chase and her friends?

Flashing back and forth between Chase’s frantic quest to Rose now before it’s too late and their earlier days of meeting, teasing, and learning to love, this story of choices and possible redemption follows two flawed people as they try to rewrite the dismal future that others predict for them.