Tag Archive | fathers

Being yourself – hard or horrifying?

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC feature teens who want to be just themselves – not labeled as gay, straight, or otherwise .

Download from Thursday through Wednesday (21-27 June 2018) by clicking either or both links, then listen to them any time (be sure to save on your computer or electronic device!).

CD cover of Doctor Cerberus by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa | Read by Steven Culp, Pamela Gray, Simon Helberg, Jamison Jones, Jarrett Sleeper Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.comDoctor Cerberus (download here free from 21-27 June 2018)
by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Read by Steven Culp, Pamela Gray, Simon Helberg, Jamison Jones, Jarrett Sleeper
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

Maybe appearing on the Doctor Cerberus horror TV show will help 13 year old Franklin endure his terrible brother, clueless parents, and not getting the guy of his dreams.

Openly Straight (download here free from 21-27 June 2018) CD cover of Openly Straight, by Bill Konigsberg | Read by Pete Cross Published by Dreamscape Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Bill Konigsberg
Read by Pete Cross
Published by Dreamscape Media

Rafe reinvents himself at a new school, this time choosing not to be openly out, until a classmate’s distress and his own writing journey make the teen rethink his stance.

Share some books about claiming your true self in the comments, please!
**kmm

A filmmaker’s heart (broken?) – From Twinkle, With Love, by Sandhya Menon (book review)

book cover of From Twinkle. With Love by Sandhya Menon, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comInspired by women filmmakers,
Enraptured by cutest guy at school,
Long beloved by his twin brother?!

Twinkle knows she’s just a background character at her Colorado high school, child of immigrants from India, longing to attend film school (big dream, small chance).

When classmate Sahil (twin of heartthrob Neil) offers to produce Twinkle’s short film for the school festival, of course she accepts – casting (almost former) bff Maddie in the lead for gender-reversed Dracula is inspired, Sahil is clever and funny and not Neal, but…

Happy book birthday to From Twinkle, With Love by the author of When Dimple Met Rishi (my no-spoiler recommendation here)

When has the unexpected become the best thing ever, for you?
**kmm

Book info: From Twinkle With Love / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: So many regrets in Twinkle’s life – from being a burden on her hardworking parents to letting best friend Maddie slip away into the popular crowd – but making a film for their school festival may let the Indian-American teen finally show her true talents (and impress her crush Neil and get Maddie back).

If only she can stay true to herself… and not get distracted by her attentive producer Sahil (Neil’s twin brother) or the ‘anonymous’ emails from N (who must be Neil, right?) or grandmother Dadi’s unnerving pronouncements from the beyond.

Tales of escape and hope to read with your ears

Songs of desperation and hope thread through his week’s free audiobooks from SYNC to read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Click each CD title to reach the download site – enjoy!

CD cover of Solo, by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess | Read by Kwame Alexander Published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.com Solo (free download from 5-11 May 2018)
by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess 
Read by Kwame Alexander 
Published by Blink

Blade wants to escape his rock-star dad’s raucous reputation… but a family secret bursts onto the young musician’s present – a novel in verse.
 

The Devil’s Highway: a True Story (free download from 5-11 May 2018)CD cover of Devil's Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea | Read by Luis Alberto Urrea Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Luis Alberto Urrea
Read by Luis Alberto Urrea
Published by Hachette Audio

In May 2001, a group of men tried to cross the desert from Mexico into Arizona, but only half survived. Investigative reporting of a story that repeats itself often, even today.

What other stories of escape would you recommmend?
**kmm

Q = Quiet Kind of Thunder, no need to hear or speak, by Sara Barnard (book review)

US book cover of A Quiet Kind of Thunder, by Sara Barnard, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comNot-speaking was her choice (sort of).
Not-hearing wasn’t his (at all).
Not-communicating with each other isn’t an option.

Steffi’s anxiety keeps her from talking most times, but speaking British Sign Language with new student Rhys or texting him is easy.

But is being with Rhys keeping her from communicating with her best friend away at school or standing up to her families about future plans?

I’m apprehensive when the novel premise is “she can’t this, he can’t that, together they are perfectly something” but this one goes beyond the simplistic formula to ask tough questions, like “would we have this relationship at all without this (or that) as vital component?”

Find this story in texts, signs, and sighs at your local library or independent bookstore.

How much must you say before it’s enough?
**kmm

Book info: A Quiet Kind of Thunder / Sara Barnard. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author Facebook]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

K = Kim, with another Changers body-switch! Book 3 by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper (book review)

book cover of Changers Book 3: Kim, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper, published by Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWoke up as a girl for grade 9,
as an African-American guy for grade 10,
what’s in store for Drew on the first morning of grade 11?

In the third Changers book (my notes on Book 1 here and Book 2 here), our hero/ine is now an Asian-American girl who has to deal with fat-shaming by peers and adults, body image, former friends not being able to know who s/he is now, and the long-standing conflict between Changers and Abiders boiling over.

Thankful for her drama pal Kris (so very, very dramatic), especially when her grandmother falls ill – oh, this third transformation is not the best one!

The authors say that Book 4 – where our teen must choose which body and identity to keep for life – is due for 2018 publication!

What lessons learned by fictional characters have you taken to heart?
**kmm

Book info: Changers: Book 3 – Kim / T Cooper & Allison Glock Cooper. Black Sheep/Akashic Books, 2016. [T Cooper author site] [Allison Glock author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

C is for Confessions of a High School Disaster, by Emma Chastain (book review)

cover of Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comStarting high school = anxiety.
Mom moving to Mexico to write = bearable, for 4 months.
Never been kissed = terrible, unfair!

Chloe is journaling her freshman year – auditioning for the musical (brave!), ups and downs with her best friend (as always), the weirdness of parties without a boyfriend (typical).

Mom said she should write down all these memories, but really!

Maybe it’s C for crisis mode, as Chloe tries to navigate high school – heartbreaking and humorous.

What high school memory would you keep (or erase)?
**kmm

Book info: Confessions of a High School Disaster: Chloe Snow’s Diary / Emma Chastain. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author Facebook]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is for Alcott, in The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl (book review)

book cover of The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhy does she have to run the household instead of writing?
And keep their Underground Railroad stop functioning (and secret)?
And discern a suitor’s true nature without her mother’s guidance?

Yes, this is that Louisa May, author of Little Women and Little Men, as a teen tasked with keeping house for her sisters and philosopher father during the summer when her mother worked away from home to support the family, rather than writing.

MacColl’s historical fiction about literary women, like Emily Dickinson in Nobody’s Secret (my recommendation here), is worth adding to your list.

Which author or poet would you like to read more about?
**kmm

Book info: The Revelation of Louisa May: a Novel of Intrigue and Romance / Michaela MacColl. Chronicle Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Potato crop dies, HUNGER remains… by Donna Jo Napoli (book review)

book cover of Hunger by Donna Jo Napoli, published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comLife-sustaining potatoes collapse into slime,
and all over Ireland, the common people face starvation,
each village praying that it is spared, but no…

A tiny organism swept through the main food crop of Ireland in the mid-1800s, leading to a million deaths by starvation and two million people emigrating from their beloved green isle.

Lorraine doesn’t want to leave, won’t let her family starve, risks everything to make that true.

Look for this February 2018 release with Napoli’s other novels of Ireland’s past (like Hush, an Irish princess tale I recommended here) at your local library or independent bookstore.

To save your family, how far would you go?
**kmm

Book info: Hunger: A Tale of Courage / Donna Jo Napoli. Paula Wiseman/Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Lorraine fights to keep her family from starving, as the potato blight hits their Irish village in 1846, but the 12 year old can only do so much alone.

Not fair that Da’s grain crop must be sold to pay land-rent to the English.
Nor that not a single hare or bird may be trapped by them on the landlord’s vast property.
Nor that so many children and parents and grandparents are dying because the potato plants cannot produce food.

Scavenging for wild plants that might strengthen her weakening little brother, Lorraine encounters the rich English landlord’s daughter presiding over a doll picnic with more food than the village has seen in months!

Would the girl share with Lorraine… or even speak to her?
When will the potatoes grow healthy again…ever?
How many more families will bury their dead and leave for the city… or even America?

Lorraine’s resourcefulness is her family’s best chance of surviving the Famine which decimated Ireland in the 1840s – may it be enough!

Her parents’ dreams or hers? American Panda, by Gloria Chao (book review)

book cover of American Panda by Gloria Chao, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comGraduate from best college for prestigious career,
Marry the right person, have many sons…
why is everything already set in stone?

Mei’s parents don’t understand that she wants some traditions of Taiwan and some of America, that she will survive if she doesn’t follow their exacting standards. But what if they disown her, as they cut off all contact with her brother?

Read the first chapter here for free (thank you, Bustle!) to get into Mei’s world, the world of her demanding parents that will stifle her own dreams.

When to break free of the “correct” path?
**kmm

Book info: American Panda / Gloria Chao. Simon Pulse, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The path meticulously mapped-out by her Taiwanese-American parents has led Mei to MIT, but the 17 year old now must decide how far from their dreams she can venture in search of what she truly wants.

She uses hand sanitizer constantly, the mere idea of cadavers makes her squeamish, and biology class bores her – why do her parents insist that she must become a doctor?

When older brother Xing announced his engagement, Baba and Mama disowned him because Esther might not be able to give them grandsons, completely erased him from their lives – how can Mei tell them she’s dating a Japanese-American guy from California?

Dancing set her apart from other Asian students applying to MIT, so her parents allowed it just until her acceptance letter arrived – why can’t she tell them what joy it brings her and that she’s teaching dance classes on weekends?

Fast-tracked to college by her parents’ demands, Mei never dated in high school, never chose her own path – maybe with Darren’s support and affection, she can break away from their rigidly traditional expectations without breaking herself.

On their Lion Island, young people of Cuba dream and rebel, by Margarita Engle (book review)

book cover of Lion Island, by Margarita Engle, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comSongs for freedom,
words as power –
freedom from Spain, from slavery?

Did you know about Chinese immigrants who fled to Cuba, escaping racist attacks in America? They struggled for freedom from unfair indenture alongside enslaved Africans during the days when Cuba sought its independence from Spain – so many stories forgotten, lost, found, retold.

Look for this historical novel-in-verse at your local library or independent bookstore in hardcover or paperback.

Could you leave your homeland for safety, then leave again?
**kmm

Book info: Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words / Margarita Engle. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: At the confluence of Cuban, Chinese, and African cultures, poetic voices of three young people tell the stories of arrival and broken promises, despair and hope, love and the future during their island home’s early years as a nation.

To learn the proper Spanish that his Chinese mother never knew, Antonio’s African father sends him to school in La Habana city.

As he runs errands within the Chinese community for wealthy men displaced from California by anti-Asian prejudice in the post-Gold Rush years, the 12 year old meets twin sister and brother Fan and Wing.

Antonio hears stories of unfairness and change, falls in love with words, wonders if they have true power.

Fan runs away from the sugarcane fields, from forced marriage – to sing and write songs and sing true.

Wing remembers being forced from their California home, wants to help the rebels in Cuba’s mountains.

Months roll into years as the three young people help hide escaped slaves, read letters of protest sent to China and Madrid, long for power over their own lives.

Lyrically, poetically, alternating voices relate the struggles of indentured Chinese workers and enslaved African people fighting for their freedom in the 1870s as Cuba strives for independence from Spain.