Tag Archive | family

Hope the journey is worth it for Charlie and Me: 421 Miles from Home, by Mark Lowery (book review)

US book cover of Charlie and Me, by Mark Lowery, published by Yellow Jacket Books| recommended on BooksYALove.com

US cover

UK book cover of Charlie and Me, by Mark Lowery, published by Yellow Jacket Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

UK cover

It was the best vacation their family ever had,
Charlie loved the dolphins, Martin loved the sea…
Just have to go back, recapture the good times!

Most middle grade guys wouldn’t voluntarily take their very individual younger brother on a very long train trip, but Martin isn’t most guys: his extremely different brother has been his annoyance and best friend since Charlie’s premature birth ten years ago.

So if Charlie would be happiest seeing the dolphins again at the seacoast hundreds of miles away, then that’s what Martin will do! No need to involve ever-sad Mum and always-working Dad – not the same since that vacation…

Us or UK cover – which do you prefer for this journey saga?
**kmm

Book info: Charlie and Me: 421 Miles From Home / Mark Lowery. Yellow Jacket Books (Bonnier), 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Getting back to the Cornwall seaside town where they saw the dolphins will make Charlie so happy that 13-year-old Martin takes all his savings, puts their favorite Christmas cookie tin in his pack, and heads to the train station with his neurologically special little brother – later, they’ll update their parents…

If the Dolphinwatch app is correct, they can get to the coast just in time…
As long as the railway police don’t stop them, like Mum and Dad would have if Martin had told them his plans…

Will the Angry Girl they meet on the third train (or maybe fourth) help them or not?
What if they run out of money on the way or Charlie has another asthma attack?
Can Martin really pull this off for his best-bud, pain-in-the-youknowwhat, dolphin-obsessed little brother?

Each chapter begins with the distance traveled (mostly in the right direction) and one of Martin’s poems as the two brothers traverse England on this singular journey.

Teen tales of Love & Profanity, bullying, friendship, and more (book review)

hardback book cover of Love & Profanity, edited by Nick Healy et al. Published by Switch Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comTeen angst and adoration,
family, friends, love, work –
40 true stories from authors you know and authors you’ll want to meet.

The book’s subtitle explains it all: “a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life” and its subject index includes Stories about… Authority Figures, Being Sneaky, Friends-Bad, Friends-Good, and much more.

You can find this eclectic book at your local library or independent bookstore as the 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback (2 different covers).

What personal story would you be bold enough to share?
**kmm

Book info: Love and Profanity: a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life / edited by Nick Healy, with Kristen Mohn, Nate LeBoutillier, and Lindsy O’Brien. Switch Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback) [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Writers share vignettes from their teen years in this collection of autobiographical short stories, ranging from mild to wild, mundane to life-altering, divided into four “Love and” sections – profanity, physics, madness, and apologies.

By including YA authors we recognize like Kwame Alexander, Carrie Mesrobian, and Jon Scieszka alongside new-to-us writers like essayist Joey Franklin and science writer Esther Porter, we see a wide range of teen experiences from different genders and sexualities, regions of the US, economic and social conditions, and family configurations.

The subject index itself portrays teenage life, noting Stories About… Being Helpful (or Not), Bullying, Cars, Crushes, Romance Gone Wrong, Siblings, Struggling to Fit In, Working, and much more.

Prophecy? really… My So-Called Bollywood Life, by Nisha Sharma (book review)

book cover of My So-Called Bollywood Life, by Nisha Sharma, published by Crown Books for Young Readers| recommended on BooksYALove.comChair the prestigious student film festival,
Attend NYU Film School with the love of her life…
then it all falls apart!!

Raj knows the prophecy, knows that he’s Winnie’s destined true love – so why is he with Jenny?!

Why does he get to chair the film festival when Winnie needs that honor on her film school applications?

Wait, is her best friend keeping secrets now? Is her own Bollywood movie-loving life suddenly a dud?

Meet Winnie as you read the first chapter free on the publisher’s website, then head for your local library or independent bookstore to see if her prophesied true love bursts into her life in the best Bollywood movie tradition!

Any prophecies come true for you?
**kmm

Book info: My So-Called Bollywood Life / Nisha Sharma. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Meet her great love before she turn 18? Ha! When Winnie finds “perfect boyfriend” Raj with another girl, all she has left for their senior year is Film Club, but their new advisor is taking Raj’s ideas instead of hers!

Not the Film Festival chair this year? She needs that on her resume for NYU Film School application!

Her writing about great Bollywood movies will never be a career? Raj is such a jerk!

Could Dev be the one prophesied for her? Winnie’s birthday is getting nearer, but she doesn’t want to rush…

Dramatic events at the Festival fundraiser dance have the whole school abuzz, the Indian community in their New Jersey town wonders about the prophesy, and Winnie must use the best of Bollywood’s plot twists to make everything turn out right.

Baseball (and bullies) and The Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser (book review)

book cover of Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser, published by Margaret K McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comBaseball practice needs a flat open space,
so the city park is a great place!
But sharing the outfield with the zoo can be beastly!

Nick and his buddies love baseball, practicing whenever and wherever they can (no Little League yet in Wisconsin in 1948). They’re thrilled when the new owner of the town’s pro team promises a chance for kids to be on the field for opening day! (or is it just for boys?)

Read the first chapter here to meet Nick and the rhino (free, courtesy of the publisher), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for the rest of the story.

Your close encounter with unusual animals and/or minor league baseball?
**kmm

Book info: The Rhino in Right Field / Susan DeKeyser. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For the chance to be Mudpuppy batboy for day, 12-year-old Nick will do anything – work harder in Pop’s shoe repair shop, help uncle Spiro with mysterious errands – as the baseball team’s new owner plans an extravaganza for Opening Day.

That bully Pete thinks he’ll be chosen batboy, but Nick can win this contest based on essay-writing and baseball skills – if only his Pop would sign the permission slip… hmmm

He and Ace practice fielding with Penny (wow, can she throw!), hoping Nick’s baseball won’t wind up in the rhino enclosure (again).

His Greek immigrant father is sure that working hard in the family shop is Nick’s destiny, but Uncle Spiro wants to make his own way in post-World War II Wisconsin.

Where will Nick be on Opening Day – in the Mudpuppy dugout or listening on the radio in the shoe shop?

The raiders are coming! Evangelina Takes Flight with her family, by Diana J. Noble (book review)

book cover of Evangelina Takes Flight, by Diana J. Noble, published by Pinata Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com Pancho Villa‘s rebels are coming!
Carry what you can and flee – or be killed!
But refugees aren’t welcomed when they cross into Texas…

So much for 13-year-old Evangelina to cope with now – a girl trying to steal her suitcase on the train (with grandfather’s secret box inside!), store signs in the Texas town that say “No Mexicans” (where can they buy food?), and wondering if they can ever go home to Mexico (is anyone safe there?).

The story is set in 1911, but many things still resonate today in the borderlands.
**kmm

Book info: Evangelina Takes Flight / Diana J. Noble. Pinata Books/Arte Publico Press, 2017. [author Facebook]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pancho Villa and his rebel soldiers are coming? As big sister celebrates her quinceanera before the family flees their northern Mexico rancho, Evangelina worries about little Tomas’ recovering so slowly from a scorpion sting, whether grandfather can travel north with them, what they will find at her aunt’s house in Texas.

By mule wagon, with the men herding their best cattle on another trail, Evangelina’s mother gets the children to the crowded train station, but the journey onward is anything but smooth, and the Texas border town holds no welcome for refugees.

Why is wailing woman La Llorona coming into her dreams?
Will the townspeople’s prejudice keep her and Dr. Taylor from saving lives?
What is in the box grandfather gave her for safekeeping?

Evangelina might even be brave enough to attend the town meeting where rich white people are demanding that only white children can attend the school!

Body double or weapon for justice? Impostors, by Scott Westerfeld (book review)

book cover of Impostors by Scott Westerfeld, published by Scholastic | recommended on BooksYALove.comOne daughter loved by all, one never seen,
the ruthless dictator created them as his tools,
but the twins may have other ideas…

First of four promised books set in the Uglies future world, Impostors should be available at your local library or independent bookstore…unless the twins’ father suppresses them all!

Hoverboards, nanotech everywhere, the chance to not repeat the past’s destructive selfishness – what rebellions are you planning?
**kmm

Book info: Impostors / Scott Westerfeld. Scholastic Press, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Frey lives only as body double and protector for her twin sister Rafi, just as their dictator father decrees.

When he agrees to an alliance with another state, it’s warrior-trained Frey who is sent to the Palafox family, masquerading as elegant Rafi – but why?

Open conversations, art, and laughter – no spy dust in Victoria sending every word and gesture to the government, as in Shreve?

Col Palafox is a First Family son with hidden talents – would he stay near Frey if he knew she wasn’t really Rafi?

Tally shattered the broken Uglies/Pretties system years ago, but “she isn’t coming to save us.” It’s up to rebels and rebellious youth like Frey and Col to stop their world from descending into war!

Light ever has a shadow – The Crescent Stone, by Matt Mikalatos (book review)

book cover of The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos, published by Tyndale | recommended on BooksYALove.comNo cure for her lung disease,
so little time remains –
how should she live to make the most of it?

Who could blame Madeline for making a bargain with the shimmering man who promises that if she leaves this world for just a year, the teen’s fatal lung disease will vanish?!

However, there’s more to the story, including a grieving classmate who goes with Maddy to the joyously bright magical kingdom and now must fight their war against an impoverished and bitter nation, one night soon with no magic to protect her, and beings of many descriptions and temperaments.

Bargain to avoid death or stand fast?
**kmm

Book info: The Crescent Stone (The Sunlit Lands, book 1) / Matt Mikalatos. Tyndale, 2018. [author site]  [series website] [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A year serving the beautiful Elanil in exchange for curing her fatal lung disease sounds like a worthwhile bargain to Madeline, but when she and classmate Jason leave behind our world for realms of magic and war, they rethink their choice – between battles and luxury, alliances formed and broken, secrets kept and told.

Being acclaimed by competing nations as “the one foretold” to save them, Maddy worries about Jason on the front lines with his war unicorn, her boyfriend left behind on human Earth before she could tell him about leaving, and what other unexpected things will be required during her year of service.

If the vicious Scim warriors can capture her, the Elanil kingdom will be in dire peril.
If Maddie heeds the advice of other nations, both could fall.
If she isn’t true to her agreement with the Elanil, this breath will be her last…

First in a series with many good questions and few answers yet!

When summer job sours a bit, Stay Sweet! by Sioban Vivian (book review)

book cover of Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian, published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comOf course, she will scoop this summer!
Amazing, unforgettable ice cream made by the founder!
But what if…she can’t?

Meade Creamery is a local summer tradition for townspeople and lake vacationers alike, with one-of-a-kind ice cream flavors invented during World War II.

Only Miss Meade knows the recipes, so if she ever stops making the ice cream, what will the scoop girls do when the stock runs out?

More importantly, what can head girl Amelia do when Miss Meade’s great-nephew arrives with big plans to change the stand!?

You can find this April 2018 release at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s your favorite “tastes like summer” ice cream flavor?
**kmm

Book info: Stay Sweet / Siobhan Vivian. Simon Schuster BYFR, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: With their stock of secret-recipe ice cream dwindling, head girl Amelia tries to lead this summer’s Meade Creamery girls as older scoopers taught her.

But when the founder’s great-nephew Grady’s arrives with spreadsheets and profitability concerns, she must balance his demands with local expectations, while trying to find the recipes that Molly Meade created when her sweetheart didn’t return from World War II.

Molly’s wartime letters to her best friend alternate with Amelia struggles today at the ice cream stand with her best friend and new scoop girls as they work to keep a local tradition alive for one more summer, despite Grady’s business major viewpoint and Amelia’s growing feelings for him.

A little witchy, a lot of Undead Girl Gang! by Lily Anderson (book review)

book cover of Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson, published by Razorbill | recommended on BooksYALove.comUnsolved deaths of teen girls!
BFF didn’t commit suicide, Mila knows…
Now, to find the right spell to bring her back…

But of course, things don’t go the way that the teen Wiccan planned, and soon there are three zombie-like girls in their small town (two of whom she and Riley really couldn’t stand when they were alive), trying to figure out who killed them before they die for good in a week!

And the undead girls – whether they like each other or not – must stay close to Mila or their bodies go back to eewww…

Any other not-quite-zombie books to recommend?
**kmm

Book info: Undead Girl Gang / Lily Anderson. Razorbill, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Bringing back her best friend Riley from the dead was a little easier than Mila expected, but when her spell also calls back two classmates they can’t stand, the California teen finds herself with three undead teen girls who won’t stay out of sight during the seven days they have back on earth find out who killed them all.

What if their families see them?
What if they can’t solve the mystery?
What if Mila’s coven is right about this spell being wrong?

Change is risky – Letting Go of Gravity, by Meg Leder (book review)

book cover of Letting Go of Gravity, by Meg Leder, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comAccepted to Harvard? Check.
Chosen for prestigious medical research internship? Check.
Eager and ready for these great opportunities? Nope.

Parker’s meticulous life-plan to cure the cancer affecting her twin brother goes way off course during the summer after graduation, as the introvert finds herself in charge of senior citizen pottery painting classes, is amazed by new friend Ruby’s open-heartedness, and just might find a connection with artistic Finn from grade school.

Happy book birthday to Letting Go of Gravity ! Have you read Leder’s 2016 novel The Museum of Heartbreak ? I recommended it here.

Is it time for you to fly away from expectations?
**kmm

Book info: Letting Go of Gravity / Meg Leder. Simon Pulse, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A decade of hard work and Parker is accepted to Harvard! After twin Charlie was diagnosed with leukemia when they were kids, med school has been her sole goal (especially after last year’s relapse).

But she can’t stomach the internship at the hospital where Charlie was treated and finds another summer job at a pottery studio where she reconnects with Finn from elementary school.

Her best friend is in Europe for the summer, Charlie is acting so recklessly, and Parker isn’t sure how long she can put off telling her parents about how things have changed.

If Charlie is just flirting with Parker’s new friend Ruby…