When Flavia comes back into Nishat’s life, the Irish-Bangladeshi teen is smitten with her. But for their high school business competition, both young women decide to showcase their henna skills. Can they get past the competition to see if their relationship will bloom? Will Nishat hide her feelings for Flavia to keep her family happy?
Janna can cope with being considered a nerd because she studies or different because she wears the hijab at public school, which her remarried dad says is “too religious”. But when the guy who assaulted her keeps her in sight at every mosque activity and is welcomed at friends’ homes, her fear grows – and she doesn’t want to be afraid anymore!
She’s ready for yes, he’s already moved on – great summer now not-so-great…
Her brother Muhammad’s nikah wedding celebration will be the perfect time for Janna to tell Nuah that his year away at college confirmed she’s finally ready to be together, but there’s hardly a quiet moment as the small Muslim ceremony has become a 300-guest extravaganza at her Indian-American dad’s fancy Illinois lakeside estate!
Between her young half-brothers’ ice cream truck obsession, wondering who her best friend’s date is, and Sarah’s attempts to rein in her fiance’s over-the-top additions to the party, hijabi Janna’s stress levels are rising as family connections and conflicts swirl.
Sarah’s cousin Haytham is a so-charming singing poet, family friend Layth is a brooding young man, and Janna’s long-divorced Egyptian-American mom is suspiciously happy to see a handsome college classmate and his teenage daughters.
Has dad always been such an anti-Black racist? Is mom’s happiness on hold till Janna leaves for college? How can everyone have a happily ever after except her?
The story begun in Saints and Misfits (recommended here) continues as Janna tries to envision a future much different than her dreams. By the author of Love From A to Z (recommended here).
Happy book birthday to Misfit in Love!
How to you know when it’s time to let go of a dream? **kmm
Book Info: Misfit in Love: a Saints and Misfits Novel / S.K. Ali. Salaam Reads – S&S, 2021. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.
But along with drama class for the new semester and best friend Zara buddying up with Air, Sonali has to cope with the all-cousins dance routine for her aunt’s upcoming wedding and her parents separating.
Too many changes for Ronak’s “robot sister” who decided to lock away her emotions when grandfather died… and now Sonali hears constant music – her own theme song like in the movies!
Boom – her house and school are bathed in bright colors, anyone happy or woeful bursts out into song, and she’s the only one who thinks this Bollywooditis is new!
Why are her parents still arguing when they live apart? Can Sonali channel her Bollywooditis into a better theater class grade? When will Zara be her best friend again?
Sonali doesn’t want all her memories to get a Bollywood makeover too, so she has to figure out how to stop this emotional music-storm before it’s too late!
How would folks singing and dancing their emotions make you feel? **kmm
Book info: That Thing About Bollywood / Supriya Kelkar. Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Ten days away from Seattle, that’s all, her artist’s eyes setting up camera angles, heart breaking because her dad will leave again…
White buildings reflecting sunlight, the sparkling blue Aegean Sea – the Greek island of Santorini has captivated visitors for centuries, but sixteen year old Liv doesn’t want to be impressed by its beauty.
Neither does she intend to quickly forgive her long-estranged father for suddenly interrupting her summer plans by bringing her here for a filming project about their mutual fascination – the lost city of Atlantis.
On a tight schedule, she and dad’s young cameraman Theo crisscross the island to filming locations – why is Dad sometimes a no-show?
Dad is utterly convinced that he can prove the site of Atlantis to the scientific community – what exactly is he trying to prove to Liv?
Sleeping in a hidden nook of Theo’s family bookstore, glorious sunsets, more questions than answers in the village her dad returned to after emigrating to America – how much can 10 days change?
Each chapter is headed by an item from Liv’s list of 26 things left behind by her dad, a list kept close at hand as she and Mom moved often, struggling until meeting now-stepdad James.
A story of journeying from home to learn about love, from the author of Love & Gelato (my review) and Love & Luck (review here).
Where do you need to go to make an old story into a new truth? **kmm
Book Info: Love & Olives / Jenna Evans Welch. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020. (author site) (publisher site) Review copy & cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Sister’s death wasn’t her fault- Everyone says so, but she can’t accept that…
Everyday life in Vancouver is filled with deadly risks, so 16-year-old Petula takes every precaution now (but nothing can bring back her little sister or her best friend).
The new guy with the prosthetic arm witnesses her panic attack in class and is in her youth art therapy class and thinks Petula is nice (but doesn’t know how Maxine died).
Ack! Petula and Jacob have to do a project together for English?! His movie-making skills and her recently abandoned crafting supplies plus her mom’s rescue cats should be perfect (but Dad doesn’t agree about having so many cats, not one bit).
As they work together, Jacob reveals his struggles with surviving the crash that killed his best friends back in Toronto, Petula begins to look forward to spending time with him, and life becomes brighter for both of them (but hopefully kissing is less germ-filled than she thought).
When the art therapy class rebels against their teacher’s little-kid ideas, she challenges them to find creative ways to face their issues – parental rejection, grief, survivor’s guilt, addictive behaviors – and they begin working together (but don’t call them friends quite yet).
But when one secret comes to light, Petula’s new happiness and the art therapy group’s progress are all threatened.
From the author of We Are All Made of Molecules (recommended here).
How do you know when it’s time to let old problems go? **kmm
Book info: Optimists Die First / Susin Nielsen. Tundra Books, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Watching for the new moon to appear, Special foods enjoyed for generations, Gifts and love and faith and joy!
Muslims observe the two Eid holidays with celebratory traditions as varied as the world is wide.
New clothes can be a hallmark of Eid – even as cousins Hawa and Fanta disagree about which style of dress is “Perfect” during the African community’s Eid parties in New York City or Makayla worries that friends will make fun of her new-ish abaya from the second-hand store in “Creative Fixes.”
“Gifts” make Eid special for Idrees who begins understanding that giving is more important than getting, and a young man saving up for a new bike is repeatedly reminded by his grandmother that his name “Kareem means ‘generous’. “
The same foods every year are family traditions, so when big sister is busy, it’s just “Yusuf and the Big Brownie Mishap”, and Nadia quietly goes to the bakery for their favorite pastries while Mama sleeps after chemo in “Don’ut Break Tradition.”
Despair lifts when a kind Greek villager helps Bassem “Searching for Blue” bring the taste of Eid love to his refugee camp, and a grieving father helps his daughter try to make the “Taste” of Mama’s special lontong, always cooked by heart in their Malaysian apartment instead of written down.
Going high above the City of Boundless Light, “Seraj Captures the Moon” marking the end of Ramadan in a graphic novel illustrated by the same artist who sketched the chapter headings and book cover showing young people preparing for Eid from Canada to the US to Australia.
Fifteen Muslim authors bring us stories that reflect the wide range of community and family traditions for celebrating Eid – all with food, all with love, all with renewed hope.
What says home and hope to you? **kmm
Book info: Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices / edited by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed; illustrated by Sara Alfageeh. Amulet Books, 2020. [S. K. site] [Aisha site] [Sara site] [publisher site] Personal copy; video and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
From bustling city to quiet farm, from only child to a trio of girls, chores, chickens, snakes? (please, no snakes!)
Jen’s mom and her boyfriend are the ones who dreamed of living on a farm and selling their produce at the summer market, not Jen who would rather spend summer with Dad (who’s too busy in the city to talk on the phone).
The pre-teen gets flustered trying to make change at their market stand, is annoyed with chicken-keeping chores (twice. every. day), enjoys time alone in the hayloft to sketch, read comics, and play with the barn kitties.
Then Walter’s daughters come to Peapod Farm for the summer – younger Reese is okay, but same-age Andy is a smartypants, pointing out Jen’s problems with math and changing things at their market stand.
Can Mom and Walter make Peapod Farm a success? How can Jen’s sketching talent compete with Andy’s intelligence and Reese’s utter cuteness? Will the nearly-sisters ever get along?
Jen’s summer on the farm begins getting better, one step at a time, in this graphic novel sprouting from Knisley’s own experiences growing up. Find this first book in the Peapod Farm series at your local public library or indie bookstore.
What “oh no!” experience turned into “okay” for you? **kmm
Book info: Stepping Stones (Peapod Farm, book 1) / Lucy Knisley; colored by Whitney Cogar. RH Graphic, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Her mom is a penguin researcher, his Guatemalan dad was an artist – what on earth could they have in common?
Sutton thrives on order, routines, things going precisely according to plan. She is not happy about her robot still stuck in its maze, or Dad starting to go on dates, or Mom not getting home from Antarctica in time for her tenth birthday, not happy at all.
Kids are heroes in the fantasy stories Luis writes, but in real life his many serious allergies have made his widowed mom super-protective. Hiking in a Seattle park with Sutton and her dad sounds a bit risky – maybe dating is making Mom less focused on Luis’s health.
Could Sutton and Luis learn to get along as well as Mr. Wong’s cat and Mrs. Banjeree’s dog, apartment best friends?
Can their different problem-solving styles get them out of a perilous situation?
Told in alternating voices, this Field Guide to Getting Lost might actually be a way that Sutton and Luis can find themselves. Read chapter 1 here free, courtesy of the publisher.
When has a occasion you’ve dreaded turned out to be not so bad after all? **kmm
Book info: Field Guide to Getting Lost / Joy McCullough. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Ready for his free throw, he blew a kiss – straight to her heart, falling, falling…
Actually Rex blows a kiss to his late mother before every free throw, and Carli fell courtside before her game because of a gallbladder attack, but their hearts connect as social media helps the upper-class Black teens find each other across Houston.
Numbers record their basketball success, map out his geometry of perfect landscape design, show her patterns that reveal truths and paths in art.
But numbers don’t tell everything like Rex’s guilt because his birth caused mom’s death, Carli’s pain as a family truth is revealed to be a lie, or the cataclysmic ups and downs of first love.
Will Rex’s dad ever come to a game or keep ignoring his only child forever? Will Daddy ever tell Carli and Cole why Mom is suddenly divorcing him? How can Carli tell her championship teammates that she hates playing basketball?
Happy book birthday to this tale in two voices, showering sparks and raining tears as Rex and Carli try to find themselves and hopefully find each other, too. From the author of Calling My Name (recommended here).
When have you met someone and felt like you’ve known them forever? **kmm
Book info: All the Things We Never Knew / Liara Tamani. Greenwillow Books, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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