The players are on the field,
concession stand is busy –
time to play ball!
Ryan lives and breathes her family’s minor league baseball team every summer, planning to become the first female general manager in the league after college.
Young players don’t stay in the minors long on their way up to the Texas Rangers in the big leagues, so Ryan swears she’ll never date one, but there’s something about just- arrived Campbell…
Whoa! Mom wants to sell out her half of the team?! Even though it’s hard work to get sponsors and pay the bills, the 17 year old loves what the team brings to their small Texas town and will find a way to stop this!
Happy book birthday today to Stealing Home!
How hard would you work to save your family’s dream? **kmm
Book info: Stealing Home / Becky Wallace. Page Street Publishing, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Mom rushes to doctor appointment not on their calendar, The fifth grade art teacher thinks drawing isn’t important, Mika isn’t in any classes at all with her BFF!
But Mr. Vann’s math class turns out to be more fun than she could imagine -“One to a customer! Bonus points! Show your work, thinkers!” Mika really likes sketching her artistic math journal entries and makes new friends who love science puns and ballet.
Uh-oh…that small mole on Mom’s leg isn’t a small problem after all – how many cancer treatments until everything is okay?
Why does the principal always come by Mr. Vann’s class when they’re loud and moving around to demonstrate a math problem?
Why is their school advertising for a new fifth grade math teacher?
Grab this debut novel now and see Mika’s math journal as she works out problems numeric and otherwise. Read a sample chapter free here at the publisher’s website = one of my favorite 2019 titles!
If old friends don’t equal now-friends, how do you solve for new friends? **kmm
Book info: Solving for M / Jennifer Swender, illustrated by Jennifer Naalgichar. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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!
How can you add harmony to your life (piano optional)?
Book info: Blended / Sharon M. Draper. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Isabella loves her friends and playing piano, wishes her black father and white mother would get back together, and worries about the racial hatred emerging at her Ohio middle school.
At Daddy’s fancy house, the 11-year-old has an excellent piano and teacher (big recital coming up), a waterfall shower (better for her hard-to-control hair), and Dad’s nice lady friend and her cool son Darren (another ice cream fan).
At Mom’s plain house, Izzy has a portable keyboard (better for practicing at Waffle House when Mom is working late), green bedroom walls (she prefers lavender), and John Mark who makes Mom happy (and is a really great bowler).
Alternating weeks at her parents’ houses – doesn’t Isabella have any say in this?
Official forms ask if she is white, black, other – really??
Who put that horrible racist threat in her friend Imani’s locker?
Being her blended self is as hard as dealing with two blended families, so Izzy dives into her music and tries to fix the mistakes she makes there and in her life.
Why does he show up now?!
Just as she’s leaving everything she loves, forever.
Hmpfff! Hmm… Oh!
Reading this took me back to my September visit to Tokyo – konbini convenience stores, punctual and safe metro, meeting near Hachiko statue at Shibuya. And just like Sophia, I had to move back to the States just before my senior year (not recommended by either of us).
The complication of parted-in-anger Jamie returning just before she leaves? That is Sophia’s alone, and three years of deliberately not emailing each other really hasn’t erased their feelings…
Happy book birthday to Seven Days of You !
Which book cover do you prefer? (that woodblock print on the UK cover is so Japanese to me!)
Book info: Seven Days of You / Cecilia Vinesse. Poppy, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Not fair! Having to go back to the States just before senior year, not visiting Dad’s new family in Paris, knowing that Jamie will be back before she leaves Tokyo, remembering their horrible argument 3 years ago…
With a week to pack up everything, say goodbye to best friends Mika and David, and re-experience her favorite things in Japan, 17-year-old Sophia gets more stressed with every second that clicks by on her countdown watch.
And suddenly Jamie is here – still funny, still cute, still complicated. He’ll get to finish high school at Tokyo Academy with their friends from around the world, while she’ll be back in New Jersey with just Mom.
Can time slow down for just this week?
Can they heal their fractured relationship in just seven days?
Can she leave him behind if they succeed?
Her departure date hasn’t changed, but Sophia’s reasons for wanting to stay have multiplied in this contemporary story weaving together bitter and sweet.
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.
He’s white, she’s black, Foo Fighters fans, first love delights!
Their friends and family? not so happy…
Until scintillating Naomi comes into Walter’s very dull urban life, he hadn’t really worried about girls before. Complicates things a bit, that she’s little sister of his pal for all things comic books and rap.
Shouldn’t be a big issue that they’re an interracial couple in these days, but then his cop dad is reprimanded for racial profiling and decides to present his side of the case on social media…
Read chapter one here (without the artwork, alas) courtesy of the publisher, then check out the story in all its duality – black and white, love and anger, words and art, urban smooth and suburban entrenchment, personal responsibility and anonymous attacks – at your local library or independent bookstore, as hardcover or new August 2016 paperback.
When to stand together in the face of society’s obstacles?
Book info: Bright Lights, Dark Nights / Stephen Emond. Roaring Brook, 2015 (hardcover); 2016, Square Fish (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: A racial profiling scandal gone viral imperils the new relationship between Walter and Naomi, as his white cop dad ‘tries too hard’ to solve vandalism in their grim urban neighborhood.
Why can’t they just enjoy the Foo Fighters’ music and start falling toward being in love?
Shouldn’t being an interracial couple just be normal now?
How does the old news of his parents’ divorce become a new crisis?
Dealing with guys who think Naomi should stay with her old friends, with his family’s ingrained racism louder than ever, and with Dad’s sudden insistence on clearing his name on social media, Walter isn’t sure of himself or of Naomi’s affection, then things really get tough.
Bright Lights, Dark Nights is an illustrated story of first love, music, self-respect, classic movies, and finding your place in the world.
Sloane’s best friend is pregnant!
By Sloane’s boyfriend!
Oh, leaving town is definitely an excellent idea!!
Even with a broken hand from punching Tyler in the nose, she can enjoy the beach with her twin brother at Mom’s house in Hawai’i, pretend she doesn’t care about her former friends (girl- and boy-) in Seattle (if they would please quit texting and calling and emailing with excuses for why it happened!), and start over as just Sloane, instead of eternally being half of a duo.
She didn’t plan on an attraction to Finn that maybe might be more than a summer fling… on the beach, you’ve got to watch out for the biggest waves.
Have you ever re-invented yourself when moving to a new place?
Book info: Summer of Sloane / Erin L. Schneider. Disney Hyperion, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: When Sloane’s best friend Mick gets pregnant by Sloane’s boyfriend, the Seattle teen is more than ready to head to Mom’s Hawai’i home and try to find her true self with no summer romance! Swim lessons for scared-of-water young Luce are doable, even with her wrist cast, but staying away from her big brother Finn is nearly impossible.
Punching Tyler in the nose? Satisfying, if hand-breaking.
Ignoring texts from him and Mick? Difficult, but necessary.
Falling for Finn? Uh-oh…
As her Hawai’i pal Mia declares it “the summer of Sloane” to reinvent herself as single and happy, she tries to shut out the past, even as Finn is reminded of it always by his aloof father. And the days of summer count down, one by one…
Dad is remarrying in Paris,
new French stepsister hates her,
No way she will find love in the City of Light!
Sophie is so mad at Dad for leaving them behind, for not following through on promised piano, for… everything!
More complex than the usual ‘summer romance in a romantic city’ story, Sophie has to work through her feelings of abandonment, apprehension about auditions and college costs, and misunderstandings with her own brother (and all the French teens in Camille’s group, all of them!) as she decides if a summer love is worth potential heartbreak.
Paris – alone or with a special someone?
Book info: One Paris Summer / Denise Grover Swank. Blink, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Meeting him was the best part of her summer in Paris, but since Matthieu is friends with the new stepsister who hates Sophie, even the prospect of using his mom’s piano to practice for upcoming auditions loses its luster.
And with her former crush traveling over to stay with her brother Eric for a few weeks (Dad is trying to make peace after leaving them behind in South Carolina after the divorce), it’s all going to get complicated… really, really complicated!
Is it okay to like Matthieu when he was Camille’s friend first?
When will Dad understand that abandoning his kids for a fancy French wife is unforgivable?
Why can’t she clear her mind and just practice, practice, practice for music scholarships?
Mixed messages from Matthieu may be more than errors in translation when Sophie’s emotions swing wildly during One Paris Summer as first love may be just around the corner.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.