Tag Archive | brothers

Z is The Weight of Zero – can Catherine escape it? by Karen Fortunati (book review)

paperback cover of Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati, published by Delacorte Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

paperback

book hardcover of Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati, published by Delacorte Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

hardcover

When her bipolar meds stop working (always do)

will she let herself be crushed by depression (again)

or will she beat Zero at its own game (game over, forever)?

Therapy and medications might keep Catherine’s manic-depressive swings manageable right now, but she feels like such a burden to Mom.

If she can just accomplish a few things first – like being in love or having friends again – when the giant Zero of depression hits, Catherine will end it all, for good.

Can her history project partner Michael, his loud and loving family, and a girl from daily group therapy change her mind?

That depression coming for Catherine, the bottles of pills she’s saving – paperback cover or hardcover?
**kmm

Book info: The Weight of Zero / Karen Fortunati. Delacorte Press, 2016 (hardcover), 2018 (paperback) [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Y = You Are Here, but where and who am I? by Jennifer E. Smith (book review)

book cover of You Are Here by Jennifer E. Smith, published by Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.comShe had a twin brother,
didn’t know till now –
visiting his grave seems right… so far from here.

So… if you just discovered at age 16 that you were a twin, would that explain why you never felt complete?

Emma thinks it’s possible and that traveling from New York to North Carolina to see his headstone will help her in ways that her parents and much older siblings can’t.

Peter longs to escape their small town, and a trip with Emma (just friends) is one way to start.

Another satisfying story of traveling, evolving friendship, and interesting secrets from the author of The Statistical Probability of Falling in Love (my notes here) and Geography of Me and You (noted here).

Your favorite road-trip novel?
**kmm

Book info: You Are Here / Jennifer E. Smith. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

X marks the spots?! Clue in the Trees, by Margie Preus (book review)

book cover of Clue in the Trees, by Margie Preus, published by University of Minnesota Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comTry out for school play – okay.
Make new friends – okay.
Hope your brother isn’t a murderer – yikes!

Francie decides to stay in the Minnesota northwoods for senior year, despite the adventure at Enchantment Lake (my recommendation here) over the summer, but is the New York private eye (on TV) ready for the reappearance of her brother Theo, disappearance of newly found dinosaur bones, and winter on the lake (really thin ice)?

Second in the series, a twisty-turny mystery.
**kmm

Book info: The Clue in the Trees: An Enchantment Lake Mystery / Margie Preus. University of Minnesota Press, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Q = Quiet Kind of Thunder, no need to hear or speak, by Sara Barnard (book review)

US book cover of A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comNot-speaking was her choice (sort of).
Not-hearing wasn’t his (at all).
Not-communicating with each other isn’t an option.

Steffi’s anxiety keeps her from talking most times, but speaking British Sign Language with new student Rhys or texting him is easy.

But is being with Rhys keeping her from communicating with her best friend away at school or standing up to her families about future plans?

I’m apprehensive when the novel premise is “she can’t this, he can’t that, together they are perfectly something” but this one goes beyond the simplistic formula to ask tough questions, like “would we have this relationship at all without this (or that) as vital component?”

Find this story in texts, signs, and sighs at your local library or independent bookstore.

How much must you say before it’s enough?
**kmm

Book info: A Quiet Kind of Thunder / Sara Barnard. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author Facebook]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

G is Gorilla Dawn on dangerous days, by Gill Lewis (book review)

US book cover of Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comWe depend on our smartphones
which depend on tantalum found in coltan
whose mining destroys families – human and gorilla!

Why does corporate greed incite kidnapping and environmental catastrophe in the Congo and elsewhere?

How can we individuals make it stop, save children like Imara and Bobo from being kidnapped and enslaved to mine coltan, protect habitat for gorillas?

This middle-grade novel reminds us how interconnected we are and how our unthinking consumer choices can drastically affect others.

When is a smartphone a dumb choice?
**kmm

Book info: Gorilla Dawn / Gill Lewis; illustrated by Susan Meyer. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017 hardcover, May 2018 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

E is the END with Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza, by Shaun David Hutchinson (book review)

book cover of Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comHer virgin birth – science proves true.
Toys speaking messages from Beyond – also true.
People snatched by a sky-portal when she heals others – ditto.

Elena didn’t ask for healing powers, or for a drunken stepfather, or for inanimate objects to channel divine instructions to her since childhood.

But in author Hutchinson’s odd Florida (setting of his At the Edge of the Universe , my pick here) strange things happen regularly.

What is stealing away people? Why? Where do they go?

Maybe it’s a better place than Elena’s high school and now-constant demands that she heal people.

Fiction or science fiction? (or fantasy?)
**kmm

Book info: The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza / Shaun David Hutchinson. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Is ARROW OF LIGHTNING power enough? by Joseph Bruchac (book review)

book cover of Arrow of Lightning by Joseph Bruchac published by Lee and Low  | recommended on BooksYALove.comBecome the hunters, not the hunted.
Avoid the monsters, human and otherwise.
Survive without killing the human ones?

So many genetically-modified creatures are out to get Lozen, Hussein, and the others who’ve escaped from the Ones who torture for fun. Perhaps she can protect her family and friends without taking a human life…

As Killer of Enemies (my review here) in the tech-blasted future, Lozen had to obey the Ones, or her family would be killed.

Along the Trail of the Dead, Lozen’s family is larger and the dangers are immense.

Arrow of Lightning is a super wrap-up of this #ownvoices trilogy – Lozen is on my heroes list.

To save your family, what lengths would you go to?
**kmm

Book info: Arrow of Lightning (Killer of Enemies, book 3) / Joseph Bruchac. Lee and Low Books, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Potato crop dies, HUNGER remains… by Donna Jo Napoli (book review)

book cover of Hunger by Donna Jo Napoli, published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comLife-sustaining potatoes collapse into slime,
and all over Ireland, the common people face starvation,
each village praying that it is spared, but no…

A tiny organism swept through the main food crop of Ireland in the mid-1800s, leading to a million deaths by starvation and two million people emigrating from their beloved green isle.

Lorraine doesn’t want to leave, won’t let her family starve, risks everything to make that true.

Look for this February 2018 release with Napoli’s other novels of Ireland’s past (like Hush, an Irish princess tale I recommended here) at your local library or independent bookstore.

To save your family, how far would you go?
**kmm

Book info: Hunger: A Tale of Courage / Donna Jo Napoli. Paula Wiseman/Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Lorraine fights to keep her family from starving, as the potato blight hits their Irish village in 1846, but the 12 year old can only do so much alone.

Not fair that Da’s grain crop must be sold to pay land-rent to the English.
Nor that not a single hare or bird may be trapped by them on the landlord’s vast property.
Nor that so many children and parents and grandparents are dying because the potato plants cannot produce food.

Scavenging for wild plants that might strengthen her weakening little brother, Lorraine encounters the rich English landlord’s daughter presiding over a doll picnic with more food than the village has seen in months!

Would the girl share with Lorraine… or even speak to her?
When will the potatoes grow healthy again…ever?
How many more families will bury their dead and leave for the city… or even America?

Lorraine’s resourcefulness is her family’s best chance of surviving the Famine which decimated Ireland in the 1840s – may it be enough!

Her parents’ dreams or hers? American Panda, by Gloria Chao (book review)

book cover of American Panda by Gloria Chao, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGraduate from best college for prestigious career,
Marry the right person, have many sons…
why is everything already set in stone?

Mei’s parents don’t understand that she wants some traditions of Taiwan and some of America, that she will survive if she doesn’t follow their exacting standards. But what if they disown her, as they cut off all contact with her brother?

Read the first chapter here for free (thank you, Bustle!) to get into Mei’s world, the world of her demanding parents that will stifle her own dreams.

When to break free of the “correct” path?
**kmm

Book info: American Panda / Gloria Chao. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The path meticulously mapped-out by her Taiwanese-American parents has led Mei to MIT, but the 17 year old now must decide how far from their dreams she can venture in search of what she truly wants.

She uses hand sanitizer constantly, the mere idea of cadavers makes her squeamish, and biology class bores her – why do her parents insist that she must become a doctor?

When older brother Xing announced his engagement, Baba and Mama disowned him because Esther might not be able to give them grandsons, completely erased him from their lives – how can Mei tell them she’s dating a Japanese-American guy from California?

Dancing set her apart from other Asian students applying to MIT, so her parents allowed it just until her acceptance letter arrived – why can’t she tell them what joy it brings her and that she’s teaching dance classes on weekends?

Fast-tracked to college by her parents’ demands, Mei never dated in high school, never chose her own path – maybe with Darren’s support and affection, she can break away from their rigidly traditional expectations without breaking herself.

On their Lion Island, young people of Cuba dream and rebel, by Margarita Engle (book review)

book cover of Lion Island, by Margarita Engle, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comSongs for freedom,
words as power –
freedom from Spain, from slavery?

Did you know about Chinese immigrants who fled to Cuba, escaping racist attacks in America? They struggled for freedom from unfair indenture alongside enslaved Africans during the days when Cuba sought its independence from Spain – so many stories forgotten, lost, found, retold.

Look for this historical novel-in-verse at your local library or independent bookstore in hardcover or paperback.

Could you leave your homeland for safety, then leave again?
**kmm

Book info: Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words / Margarita Engle. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: At the confluence of Cuban, Chinese, and African cultures, poetic voices of three young people tell the stories of arrival and broken promises, despair and hope, love and the future during their island home’s early years as a nation.

To learn the proper Spanish that his Chinese mother never knew, Antonio’s African father sends him to school in La Habana city.

As he runs errands within the Chinese community for wealthy men displaced from California by anti-Asian prejudice in the post-Gold Rush years, the 12 year old meets twin sister and brother Fan and Wing.

Antonio hears stories of unfairness and change, falls in love with words, wonders if they have true power.

Fan runs away from the sugarcane fields, from forced marriage – to sing and write songs and sing true.

Wing remembers being forced from their California home, wants to help the rebels in Cuba’s mountains.

Months roll into years as the three young people help hide escaped slaves, read letters of protest sent to China and Madrid, long for power over their own lives.

Lyrically, poetically, alternating voices relate the struggles of indentured Chinese workers and enslaved African people fighting for their freedom in the 1870s as Cuba strives for independence from Spain.