Tag Archive | England

L is LOVELESS – dating and kissing just don’t appeal to her, by Alice Oseman (YA book review) #A2Z

US book cover of Loveless, by Alice Oseman. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Never been kissed,
nor in a relationship –
maybe at college…

Like everyone in her family, Georgia is a romantic about romance, the happily-ever-after forever kind. The British teen just doesn’t fancy anyone in that way, not even a celebrity crush.

Surely she’ll find a relationship at university – she knows her best friends Jason and Pip will. It’s so weird to be living in different student housing across Durham instead of seeing them hours every day…

So with her new roommate Rooney, the 18-year-old tries to be brave and meet new people during Freshers Week as freshmen check out social societies to join on campus. Their upper-class mentors (‘college parents’) help them adjust to university life.

At her college parent Sunil’s urging, Georgia gets on the Pride Soc mailing list, then joins Rooney, Pip, and Jason in the not-quite-fully-registered Shakespeare Society.

UK book cover of of Loveless, by Alice Oseman. Published by Scholastic Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com
UK cover

Pip goes with her to some Pride social nights, Jason decides to be more than friends with Georgia, and she’s still not sure how a handful of people will be able to perform a Shakespeare play so the society can become official with the university.

How will Pip react to Jason-and-Georgia as a new relationship?
Will Georgia find love or lose friendship there?
Asexual, aromantic – maybe helpful words for her to consider?

A crisis in Shakespeare Society just before opening night pulls them together as Georgia’s first year at university is quite different than she envisioned.

When has found-family kept you going?
**kmm

Book info: Loveless / Alice Oseman. Scholastic Press, 2021. [author Facebook] [US publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Take a chance to do this AGAIN, BUT BETTER? by Christine Riccio (YA book review)

paperback book cover of Again, But Better, by Christine Riccio. Wednesday Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Creative writing in London!
Not her parents’ plan –
Finally, what she wants…

Journaling, blogging – Shane wants to improve her writing, but her parents are laser-focused on their only child becoming a doctor. Thanks to the fake YU brochure she created, they think she’s in London for a pre-med semester abroad in 2011, so she has to keep up that charade.

She likes her roommates – Babe, whose dream is becoming president of Disney, and Sahra, serious pre-law with a sense of humor. They share a kitchen with theater-major Atticus and musician Pilot (“like the first episode of a show”). All are excited about their classes and internships and getting to travel all over Europe.

The very first weekend, she’s off to Rome with Babe, Sahra, and Pilot – staying together in a hostel, a marvel around every corner, almost losing her passport!

Is Pilot flirting with her? Shane’s no good at flirting, hasn’t dated much, her family keeps asking when she’ll bring a boyfriend when she goes home every weekend. But Pilot has a girlfriend back home…

When her parents discover what she’s really studying, everything will crash and burn, of course…

Fast forward several years, and Shane has the chance to rewrite the ending of that unforgettable semester abroad – magic?

Pilot is carried back, too – does he want to change the script?

Will either of them push the rewind button that erases their second chance?

Filled with references to music, television, and movies that the London friends all love (and the books that Shane insists they need to read), this debut novel considers the weight of family expectations and the costs of being true to yourself.

p.s. the paperback edition (with the pink cover) contains a bonus scene!

If you could study abroad, where would you go?
**kmm

Book info: Again, But Better / Christine Riccio. Wednesday Books, paperback 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

SOMEBODY GIVE THIS HEART A PEN, a poet speaks up, shouts out – by Sophia Thakur (YA book review)

book cover of Somebody Give This Heart a Pen, by Sophia Thakur. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Being seen,
seeing others truly,
acknowledging support and pain.

In her poetry, Sophia Thakur captures life-moments low and high, reveals bone-deep concerns, speaks of youth, for youth, to youth.

“To you, the silence in this stillness is to be endured
not experienced.
It scratches at every anxious bone that you own…”
begins the poem “Fidgeting” (pg. 66), one of several whose unflinching observations resolve with grace and advice.

Section headers composed of proverbs and sayings – Grow, Wait, Speak, Grow Again – present themselves as concrete poems of wisdom, slashed white against a dark page.

Honed through her performance poetry and TED talks (like this one), the Black British poet’s style radiates on the page, like the opening lines of “When to Write”:

“When your fists are ready to paint faces
When there is nowhere to confide
When your skin lingers high above your bones
and you’re so out of touch with self.
Write…” (pg. 98)

Check out her first volume of powerful and empathetic poems today at your local library or independent bookstore, and be inspired to let your heart speak.

“…I swore to my lips
never to send up anything that would compromise
anyone’s perception of me.
I have a vision of how I wish to be seen
and I fear that that image will be challenged
if ever they know more of me.” –from “Secrets” (pg. 57)

Your favorite contemporary poem?
**kmm

Book info: Somebody Give This Heart a Pen / Sophia Thakur. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

She’s leaving. DESTINATION ANYWHERE, anywhere but here, by Sara Barnard (YA book review)

book cover of Destination Anywhere, by Sara Barnard; Christiane Furtges, illustrations. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Bullied.
Mocked.
No friends during all her years in secondary school – not. a. single. one.

Even trying to make friends in early college was so disastrous that 17-year-old Peyton just leaves England, flies to Vancouver with her sketchbook and savings, choosing an adventure alone over being so very, very alone at school.

At the Canadian youth hostel, she meets honestly nice people from all over the world. With young adults from Scotland and Russia and beyond, she tours the city, visits the beach and a zipline in the forest – and they’re glad that she’s with them (wow).

Flashbacks to the dreadful night in college that triggered her flight illuminate the chasm of self-doubt caused by years of bullying – can journeying get her over that?

Beasey, Khalil, and friends think that Peyton is traveling to see her grandfather in Alberta (well, she tells everyone that’s why she’s here) and ask if she wants to join them when they rent an RV to visit Banff, which is on her route – why not?

They understand her dreams of becoming an illustrator (her parents don’t), savor nature’s beauty with her, and soon will be on their way to other countries and jobs and such – what next for her?

Maybe actually visiting the grandfather who abandoned her dad and grandma decades ago is the right path…

By the author of A Quiet Kind of Thunder (I recommended it here).

Where would you go on your next journey of self-discovery?
**kmm

Book info: Destination Anywhere / Sara Barnard; Christiane Furtges, illustrations. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is underground, out of sight, bare hands mining in BEARMOUTH, by Liz Hyder (YA book review)

book cover of Bearmouth, by Liz Hyder. Published by Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

No daylight, no school,
few dreams, little hope,
working till they can’t no more…

Sent into the coal mine at age 4, the pittance that Newt earns keeps his mum and siblings from starving up above.

Newt’s crew takes care of their littlest miners, keeping them safe from wicked men, especially on payday when some have money for beer after paying for the candles and boots they need for working.

The new fellow Devlin joins Newt for lessons with Thomas on Maykers Day, hearing stories and learning how to spell words… all quiet-like.

Once a week, the miners hear how humanity’s rebellion against The Mayker condemned them to work in the Master’s coal mine, awaiting “a sine of forgivvness” so they may go back aboveground at last.

Devlin comes up with a plan to help them escape the heat and hellish conditions of Bearmouth’s lowest levels. “Suffokaytin in the dark cos of poyson gasses. Tis the worst way to go.” (pg. 26)

Thomas asks the Master to raise their pay – and one day disappears. Newt hears a shadowy man whispering dangerous words in the tunnel, sees Thomas and other lost friends in dreams and in the deep darkness.

Will the Mayker’s sign come soon?
How long can it stay secret that Nate isn’t a true boy?
Can Devlin and Newt get out of Bearmouth alive?

You can hear Newt’s observations ring true through this story built upon actual working conditions in England’s coal mines in the Victorian era.

Today is Independent Bookstore Day – a great time to find Bearmouth and other BooksYALove favorites at a bookshop near you!

Which muzzled voices should we be listening for?
**kmm

Book info: Bearmouth / Liz Hyder. Norton Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

KENSY AND MAX face danger, secrets & spies! by Jacqueline Harvey (middle grade book review)

book cover of Kensy and Max: Breaking News, by Jacqueline Harvey. Published by Kane Miller Books (US) | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Not where they expected to be,
family secrets trigger extreme events,
twin-power must save them!

Kensy and Max are used to frequent moves since their parents’ work takes the family to medical clinics all over the world, but this time…Mum and Dad have gone missing!

The 11-year-old twins are suddenly at a magnificent country estate, then their manny Fitz winds up being more bodyguard than housekeeper when they’re enrolled in an unusual school in London.

Glad to make new friends at school, Kensy and Max await word from their parents, learn more about long-lost family members, and are nearly kidnapped!

Kensy is impulsive, messy, and amazing with machines – can she figure out what’s up with the grannies at the corner newspaper shop?

Max is neat, orderly, and brilliant with codes – can he decipher the messages that Mum and Dad left in favorite books?

They keep notes on a wealthy newspaper owner, a butler with mysterious skills, secret classes at school, loads of rubble coming from their neighbor’s renovation – what does it all mean?

First in an exciting series that take Kensy and Max around the world as they search for their parents and keep one step ahead of the bad guys! Four books are available now in paperback in the US.

What mystery would you like to decode?
**kmm

Book info: Kensy and Max: Breaking News (Kensy and Max, book 1) / Jacqueline Harvey. Kane Miller Books, 2020 (US). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

When WAR IS OVER – what next? by David Almond (book review)

book cover of War Is Over, by David Almond, illustrated by David Litchfield. Published in US by Candlewick | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mam working at the munitions factory,
Dad away, fighting overseas,
the Great War goes on and on.

John writes to Buckingham Palace in 1918, asking when the terrible war will be over, but neither King nor teachers nor mothers can answer the boy’s question.

As his class walks to tour the gigantic weapons factory, they encounter a man who refused to fight, a conscientious objector against war who knows that German and British children are more alike than different.

After the police beat the man and take him away for speaking unpatriotic thoughts in public, one photo of a German boy is left behind.

Soon the boy Jan appears in John’s dreams, and though they speak different languages, their wish for peace is the same. “I am just a child. How can I be at war?” (pg 20)

Among the extensive black and white illustrations, the reader’s mind can imagine the red of homemade rosehip jam and of the tiny scars on Mam’s cheeks left by faulty shrapnel in the factory and of sunsets preceding John’s dreams of children spreading seeds of peace instead of hate.

Published in the UK in 2018 to mark the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I, this child’s eye view of war is a May 2020 US release.

Can we love our country and hate war?
**kmm

Book info: War is Over / David Almond; illustrated by David Litchfield. Candlewick Press, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Searching on THE SUPER MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF FREDDY YATES, by Jenny Pearson (book review)

book cover of THE SUPER MIRACULOUS JOURNEY OF FREDDY YATES, by Jenny Pearson. Published by Norton Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A missing dad still alive?
Time to go find him!
Here’s the plan, guys…

Grams’ death leaves Freddie and his stepdad all alone their English town, but her final message solves a lifelong mystery – the name of his long-gone biological father!

Best pals Ben and Charlie agree to take the train with him to Wales as their last fun weekend before they’re dragged off to summer activities that their families love (and they despise).

The eleven year olds’ quick trip turns into an adventurous trek – missed connections, a new destination, an onion-eating contest, a bicycle-built-for-two, and emergency change into superhero costumes to elude a jewel thief!

Can they keep convincing their parents that they’re just at a sleepover?
Why did Freddie’s dad never try to contact him?
Why didn’t they bring more underwear?

Their teacher said it was a miracle that their class made it through the school year, but Freddie, Ben, and Charlie encounter real miracles aplenty in this hilarious debut novel.

When does your search become a mission?
**kmm

Book info: The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddy Yates / Jenny Pearson. Norton Young Readers, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Vampires, BRASS CARRIAGES & GLASS HEARTS, by Nancy Campbell Allen (book review)

book cover of Brass Carriages and Class Hearts, by Nancy Campbell Allen. Published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A menacing letter,
a dashing detective –
she cannot stop in her quest for justice!

Emme firmly believes that shape-shifters have the same rights as every other person – most of those transformed for 3 days by each full moon are no danger to anyone.

Detective Oliver Reed has arrested the young woman more than once in London during her protests against new restrictive laws, and Emme’s so-elegant stepsisters are dismissive of her new role as regional spokesperson for the International Shape-Shifter Rights Organization.

As the ISRO Summit in Edinburgh nears, Emme receives a credible death threat, Detective Reed is assigned as her bodyguard, and near-accidents become frequent.

Who is trying to stop Emme from speaking at the Summit?
Can Emme and Oliver deny their growing attraction?

A fascinating steampunk world of automaton, airships, vampires, and Tesla lights, with a smattering of story elements from the Cinderella tale, this August 4, 2020 release stands on its own among the author’s ‘retellings’ under the Proper Romance banner.

Where are you standing up for the rights of the oppressed?
**kmm

Book info: Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts: a Steampunk Cinderella (Proper Romance) / Nancy Campbell Allen. Shadow Mountain, 2020. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Father has PROMISED her to him?! by Leah Garriott (book review)

book cover of Promised, by Leah Garriott. Published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.com

For her brother’s happiness,
for her family’s future,
she must marry… but to him?

Duped by her former fiance, Margaret hates being the subject of gossip in the small English town near both their families’ estates in 1812.

She decides to marry for convenience and quickly so her brother can officially become engaged, but her efforts at a matchmaking party are thwarted by Lord Williams – why can’t he mind his own business?

When Margaret and Daniel return from the expensive week-long party, the young lady finds that her father has made a match for her… Lord Williams!

Not to the Lord’s cousin Mr. Northam, who would let her stay home in the country while he caroused in London.
Not to local fop Mr. Lundall, who keeps wooing her despite all her refusals.

A terrible illness, a secret wager, another local family trying to entice Lord Williams to marry their daughter – how many more complications must Margaret endure?

Margaret doesn’t want her heart broken again, but can she guard it as the rest of her family becomes so fond of the young baron?

Readers can enjoy knowing the exact rules that both Margaret and Lord Williams must follow within the strictures of Regency England’s upper class society while cheering on the couple’s oh-so-cautious steps toward happiness with one another.

Could you be happy if the matchmaking was out of your hands?
**kmm

Book info: Promised (Proper Romance series) / Leah Garriott. Shadow Mountain, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.