Tag Archive | belonging

Hard-hitting football CRACKING THE BELL, by Geoff Herbach (YA book review)

book cover of Cracking the Bell, by Geoff Herbach. Published by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Running plays, making big hits,
workouts, routines, football team captain…
now with agonizing brain distress.

Football saved Isaiah when the alternative was reform school. But it can’t bring back his dead sister or his easy relationship with Grace or his swagger on the field, knowing that any tackle could bring another concussion that puts him lights-out for good.

But if Isaiah stops playing football, what’s left for him?
If he doesn’t, will he have any future to work for?

His divorced parents are sure he’ll go to college in their small Minnesota town…but other college scouts have seen his hard-hitting defensive play and want to talk.

Odd-jobs guy Joey says journaling will help the high school senior process his past problems and present dilemmas…can it make the headaches and screeching sounds in his head go away?

Grandma Gin tells him to stay away from Grace who’s finally getting her act together…but how can he?

Happy book birthday to Cracking the Bell , as Isaiah tries to hide his symptoms from Coach even while he knows that the decision to keep playing is all on him.

One hit can knock out a player forever – youth football, yes or no?
**kmm

Book info: Cracking the Bell / Geoff Herbach. Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins), 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.

They rejoice in being STRANGE BIRDS together! by Celia C. Perez (MG book review)

book cover of Strange Birds, by Celia C. Perez. Published by Kokila Books PRH. | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Endangered bird feathers as a prop,
a social club with no social awareness,
time to stop this nonsense!

Waiting out her parents’ transatlantic divorce arguments, Lane decides to take summer at her wealthy grandmother’s palatial Florida estate from boring to bold by inviting other 12 year old girls to form a secret club.

Ofelia’s overprotective Cuban-American parents want the budding journalist to stay safe, quit being so inquisitive, and certainly not apply for news-writers’ camp in New York City.

Helping her grandfather research connections between their Bahamian roots and local citrus growers leaves Aster plenty of time to cook up new dishes while Mom’s overseas in the Army.

As youngest sister, Cat is her society-conscious mother’s final chance to have a Miss Flora in the family, but she’d rather watch living birds than sit in boring club meetings.

The new friends decide to challenge the tradition of Miss Flora wearing a ceremonial hat with feathers from endangered birds – it should be in a museum!

All their low-key protests – stickers, lawn flamingos at the Flora clubhouse – get taken over by the Flora leader for publicity! How can this eclectic crew make the townspeople understand the importance of protecting local birds in peril?

Happy book birthday to Strange Birds, now available at your local library or independent bookstore.

**kmm

Book info: Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers / Celia C. Perez. Kokila Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Love, food & stories = HUNGRY HEARTS anthology, edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond (YA book review)

book cover of Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love / edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sweets to tempt away a bitter spirit,
pastries that bring emotions to the surface,
family recipes and secrets to ignore or embrace…

Welcome to Hungry Heart Row, that multicultural neighborhood just across the Yarrow River from a bustling city – an eclectic collection of shops, apartments, and restaurants that reflect new tastes and old flavors, longstanding family traditions and recent changes, tales often-told and episodes never before shared.

I rarely re-read fiction because there’s so much in my to-be-read queue, but I found myself enjoying entire stories once again as I dipped back into Hungry Hearts to find morsels to tempt you with!

This yummy anthology includes interconnected stories by Elsie Chapman, Caroline Tung Richmond, Sandhya Menon, S. K. Ali, Rin Chupeco, Anna-Marie McLemore, Rebecca Roanhorse, Sara Farizan, Jay Coles, Adi Alsaid, Sangu Mandanna, Phoebe North and Karuna Riazi (meet all the authors here on the publisher’s webpage).

Cooking from the heart – what’s your favorite dish?
**kmm

Book info: Hungry Hearts: 13 Tales of Food & Love / edited by Elsie Chapman & Caroline Tung Richmond. Simon Pulse, 2019. [Elsie’s site] [Caroline’s IG] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Teen doctor diagnoses SYMPTOMS OF A HEARTBREAK, #YAlit by Sona Charaipotra

book cover of Symptoms of a Heartbreak by Sona Charaipotra, published by Imprint/Macmillan | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Graduated from med school at 16,
the youngest doctor in America!
(still no driver license…)

As “Genius Girl” Saira begins her internship in pediatric oncology, she expects to be challenged by medical situations – not a hostile hospital supervisor or or failing the driving test yet again or falling in love with a patient.

Link thought she was another ‘cancer kid’ and doesn’t react well when he finds out she’s actually a doctor on his ward. Maybe he’ll let her help with his music competition online anyway.

Chemo, radiation, bone marrow donation – the terms and realities and after-effects play out among the young patients in the three interns’ caseload. And there are only 2 spots in the residency to follow…

How can she reconcile how the accounting department and medical teams see patients’ cancer treatment options so differently?

If Link’s treatment doesn’t work, how can she deal with being his last love when he is her first?

How will her extended Indian-American family react when they discover that Vish has been her ‘boyfriend’ so long because he’s not ready to come out?

Cancer has touched us all – what are you doing to help?
**kmm

Book info: Symptoms of a Heartbreak / Sona Charaipotra. Imprint (Macmillan), 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Making friends or Papa’s best cakes – PIE IN THE SKY dreams? by Remy Lai (book review)

book cover of Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Everything is different,
no one understands –
moving to a new country is so hard!

Jingwen feels like like an alien when Mom moves him and little brother to Australia, especially when Yanghao picks up English so much faster than he can. Or maybe a ghost, since his classmates hardly include him in anything because he’s so quiet.

Only remembering Papa’s special cakes makes him happy (and sad), so he decides to bake each one, just as Papa taught him back in the family bakery after all the plain, inexpensive ones were done.

Why did Mama decide to emigrate, even after Papa died?
Why can’t Jingwen understand English better? Why?
Will he be held back at school to be in little brother’s class next year!?

Illustrated middle grade novel with so much heart! (and fantastically yummy descriptions of Papa’s cakes)

How can we understand others when words don’t connect us?
**kmm

Book info: Pie in the Sky, by Remy Lai. Henry Holt and Company Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Our freedoms secured by INVISIBLE HEROES OF WORLD WAR II #YAlit by Jerry Borrowman (book review)

book cover of Invisible Heroes of World War II, by Jerry Borrowman. Published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Battling uphill against relentless gunfire,
Surviving tropical torture camps,
Building a bridge today & blowing it up tomorrow…

So many World War II stories concentrate on the big-name heroes we saw in our history textbooks, but thousands upon thousands of people with their own talents, strengths, and courage helped the Allies win.

Meet individuals like photojournalist Dickey Chapelle who made a name for herself as one of the first ’embedded journalists’ during the War and socialite Nancy Wake who worked for the French Resistance, taking escaped Allied prisoners to safety by train, right under the noses of the Nazis in Vichy France.

This book also notes the heroism of groups such as the Nisei Japanese-American Purple Heart Battalion fighting in Europe while their families were interned in concentration camps in the US, the Navajo Code Talkers whose top-secret service went unrecognized for decades, and the combat engineers keeping the US Army moving over land, marshes, and rivers.

The author of Compassionate Soldier (I recommended it here) brings us another good balance of personal stories and collective histories, rarely discussed and well-known, all worth discovering.

What under-told stories of heroism might be found in your family’s old letters, photo albums, and tales shared at family gatherings?
**kmm

Book info: Invisible Heroes of World War II: Extraordinary Wartime Stories of Ordinary People , by Jerry Borrowman. Shadow Mountain, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

The link between WILD AND CROOKED surprises everyone, #YAlit by Leah Thomas (book review)

book cover of Wild and Crooked, by Leah Thomas. Published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Old scandals have their own life span,
roles of tragic hero and heartless villain already set –
but what if there’s more to the story?

Son of a murdered man, Gus tries to push past cerebral palsy‘s effects on his body and small-town gossip about his moms, but high school is still brutal.

Called back to dad’s hometown after Grandma’s stroke, Kalyn enrolls in school using another name, her dad being a murderer in prison and all that.

Of course, Gus and Kalyn meet and become friendly before they figure out the connection… and that’s just the start of this wild ride of secrets, outright lies, tangled friendships, and squinting at the truth.

Ever befriended someone whose past needs forgetting?
**kmm

Book info: Wild and Crooked / Leah Thomas. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2019. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Also by this author: Because You’ll Never Meet Me – no-spoiler recommendation here

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

Tales a-wandering – to read with your ears!

Another summer Thursday, another pair of great FREE audiobooks to download at AudioSYNC!

Click on a title below and follow the easy instructions to get your own copy to keep (yes, you can have both) by Wednesday, 26 June 2019.

Thanks to all the publishers who provide us 28 professionally produced audiobooks during this summer program.

CD cover of Astray,  by Emma Donoghue | Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Astray, by Emma Donoghue

Read by Khristine Hvam, James Langton, Robert Petkoff, Suzanne Toren, Dion Graham. Published by Hachette Audio

Four centuries of wanderers – drifters, lovers, refugees, emigrants, runaways, criminals – tell their stories all over North America, from puritan times to now.

What do their tales tell us about ourselves today?

CD cover of Olivia Twist,  by Lorie Langdon | Read by Pearl Hewitt Published by Black Hills Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Olivia Twist, by Lorie Langdon Read by Pearl Hewitt. Published by Black Hills Audiobooks

Raised as a boy-thief in a London orphanage, teen Olivia is now a society hostess with a soft heart for slum kids. She reminds Jack of someone he once knew, back when he was the Artful Dodger of thieves. What now?

Which has been your favorite audiobook so far?
**kmm