Gentleman thief Arsene Lupin is the prime suspect in the disappearance of a blue diamond, leading famous English detective Herlock Sholmes and his assistant Wilson to Paris. Can they catch this master of disguise and recover the jewels?
People in their British town look at her in 2025 and just see voluminous hair, not Onyeka the person…
When the middle-schooler saves her best friend from drowning at the swimming pool – with her hair – Mum finally admits that Onyeka is a Solari with psychokinetic superpowers inherited from her missing father, whose enemies chased Mum and Onyeka out of Nigeria.
Her uncontrolled powers are making her dreadfully sick, so back to the world’s tech capital of Lagos they go, so Onyeka can learn how to harness her Ike at the Academy of the Sun, and Mum can search for her father.
The Solari come to the Academy as children and secretly train to use their powers for the good of their country, so Onyeka is already behind her age-mates. Is that why her roommate Adanna is so grumpy at her?
Holographic rooms, AI teachers, physical training so each Solari can master their own type of Ike – Enhancer, Emitter, Transformer, or Psionic – and someday become Protectors. Hassan and Niyi become her friends as she tries to learn fast.
But Onyeka gets sicker every time she uses her Ike, Mum is suddenly out of contact, and Rogues with Ike powers attack the Academy!
Who’s this Dr. Naomi who worked with her father at their research lab? Has the Academy director taught them honestly about how the Solari came to be? Will Onyeka survive to her birthday next month?
Fast-paced, heart-stopping adventure in this debut novel, followed by book 2 in the series: Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels (more info here) on 30 May 2023, same day as the paperback edition of book 1 in the USA.
What superpower would you choose? **kmm
Book info: Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun (Onyeka, book 1) / Tọlá Okogwu. Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2022, paperback 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Ever-searching for her banished mother, Ren is a collector of deceased souls. The near-immortal teen travels from England to Japan on her quest, encountering mortals and magical creatures. Who’s on her side? Can she escape the rest?
During his month-long quest on land, Crest must decide whether to return to the sea as a mer or live as a human. Meeting lifeguard Sean is eye-opening for the non-binary mer. As their relationship grows, Crest and Sean consider what their future might be.
The School That Escaped the Nazis: The True Story of the Schoolteacher Who Defied Hitler (free Sora download 5/12-17/23) by Deborah Cadbury | Read by Julie Teal Published by Hachette Audio
In the early 1930s, principal Anna Essinger was dismayed by the Nazis’ increasing power and decided to move her entire school and its students from Germany to England. Despite challenges and peril, “Tante Anna” saved many children who otherwise would have been imprisoned or worse.
School is stifling. The woods are freedom. Friends make everything better.
Dan really wonders why kids have to go to school – square tables in square rooms, the same information for everyone. He and best pal Maxie would rather be in Cogan’s Wood, free to climb trees and imagine.
In the middle of their UK spring term, 11-year-old George arrives at Dan’s primary school, accompanied by a lady who’s always taking notes.
Very solemn face, knows lots of facts, has really great handwriting – George seems very, very different from the other kids.
Whether George is an alien or a robot or whatever, Dan’s whole class quickly grows fond of him, and he becomes a great favorite of the littlest kids on the playground.
When George doesn’t come back to school soon after he and Miss Crystal visit Daniel’s house, the whole school is sad and a bit worried.
Oh, he will be back on Friday? Hooray! Oh, what have Miss Crystal and those men done to their friend George? Oh, Dan and his classmates have to free him (with help from Dan’s mum)!
Enjoy Marta Altes’ illustrations as this brand new boy finds his way into Dan’s real world, changing them all along the way.
Which newcomer has brightened your life? **kmm
Book info: Brand New Boy / David Almond; illustrated by Marta Altes. Candlewick Press, 2022. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Resisting South Africa’s colonial government, everyday working-class people stood up for basic rights, often risking their lives during the first half of the 20th century.
Six key court cases involving these “rebels and revolutionaries” set the stage for South Africa’s notorious apartheid policy:
“Until the Ship Sails” – For decades, Asian men brought to work in Transvaal faced tight restrictions of “the Black Act” – in 1908, Gandhi urged them to resist non-violently. How long would the hundreds arrested be detained aboard old ships?
“In the Shadow of a High Stone Wall” – Striking against unjust working conditions in 1911 put Irish emigrants in a wretched prison. Without bail money, they were denied access to their lawyers. Would their 1912 lawsuit for unfair treatment keep other poor South Africans from the same fate?
“Come Gallows Grim” – Companies and gold mines began hiring low-paid Black workers after World War I, leading to riots by displaced white workers who saw the government as allied with mine owners. Death and destruction during martial law in 1922, many captured, including Taffy Long. Two trials, calls for clemency, fears of more riots. When would the shadow of the hangman’s noose leave South Africa?
“The Widow of Marsbastad” – In a 1956 township without running water, they tell stories about 1925 when an old law was suddenly applied to Black women, requiring them to carry a Night Pass while delivering laundry to white customers or be arrested on the spot! Brave women volunteered go out at night to challenge this new restriction. Would the outcome of their cases affect Pass Laws proposed later under apartheid?
“A House Divided” – A land-use dispute in the 1920s pits two factions of the Bafokeng people against one another – the hereditary chief with inconsistent decisions and his councillors who see their tribe’s bankruptcy ahead. Both sides appeal to different departments of the colonial South African government. Will unwritten tribal laws prevail and send dissenters into exile from their homelands?
“Here I Cross to the Other Side” – Tuma leaves Besotho to work in the gold mines during World War II, toiling far underground, with an angry white bossman, too little food, not enough safety precautions. Enduring the same brutal conditions for 20 years led to his father’s early death during Tuma’s first contract time. Why are white mineworkers protected by a union, while Black workers are paid less and forbidden to talk about organizing? Strike!
This stunning graphic novel combines deep research with the visual works of South African artists Liz Clarke, Dada Khanyisa, Mark Modimola, Saaid Rahbeeni, The Trantraal Brothers, and Tumi Mamabola. Each chapter is followed by intriguing historical documents from legal archives and photos of key participants in each case.
Where do you resist injustice today? **kmm
Book info: All Rise: Resistance and Rebellion in South Africa 1910-1948 – a Graphic History / Richard Conyngham; illustrated by Liz Clarke, Dada Khanyisa, Mark Modimola, Saaid Rahbeeni, The Trantraal Brothers, Tumi Mamabola. Published by Catalyst Press, 2021. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
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.
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.
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
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)
“…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.
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.
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.