Tag Archive | friendship

J is Japan and MY ALMOST FLAWLESS TOKYO DREAM LIFE, by Rachel Cohn (YA book review)

book cover of My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life, by Rachel Cohn. Published by Disney/Hyperion | recommended on BooksYALove.com

From nice house to shabby apartment,
apartment to terrible foster homes,
foster care to luxury hotel?!

Elle is stunned when ‘Uncle’ Masa arrives at her latest foster home (showers allowed once a week) with her new passport and an invitation from her biological father in Japan – happy 16th birthday after all.

Being so obviously hafu (half-Japanese) and gaijin (foreigner) is no big deal at her prestigious new school attended by kids of diplomats and business people from all over the world, but utterly scandalous to Elle’s new grandmother (no wonder Kenji was forbidden to marry her Native American/ African American mom).

Not sure she’s willing to believe all the gossip about Ryuu’s past or her dad’s convoluted business dealings

When have you been suddenly the outsider?
**kmm

Book info: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life / Rachel Cohn. Disney Book Group, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy from the library; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Swept from foster care in Maryland to a Tokyo highrise, sixteen-year-old Elle must figure out where she fits in her biological father’s family and the social order at an elite international school.

Once the painkillers hooked Mom after that car wreck, drugs took their house, Elle’s security, and put Mom in jail.

When her never-seen dad offers Elle a home in Japan with him, she’s wary but goes along – to an amazing apartment in his skyscraper hotel with 24-hour room service…and his displeased mother and sister nearby.

Elle has to work hard at school to catch up, wondering why fellow swimmer Ryuu is shunned by the popular Ex-Brat crowd who inexplicably adopted her.

Will she always see her father by appointment only?
Can her new grandmother accept Elle’s mixed-race maternal heritage?
What happens if things don’t work out with her family in Tokyo?

As Elle and Ryuu get to know each other at swim practice, some Ex-Brats go beyond pushy, and business pressures are affecting her dad, badly.

I = THE ILIAD, illustrated! by Gareth Hinds (graphic novel book review)

book cover of The Iliad; a Graphic Novel Adaptation, by Gareth Hinds. Published by Candlewick Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

After The Odyssey
comes the war against Troy,
and the gods have chosen sides!

As with his adaptation of The Odyssey, Hinds quotes the important speeches that drive the story forward and transmutes the voluminous descriptive text into his illustrations.

Keeping track of so many names and affiliations in the classic Greek tale is so much easier with Hinds’ distinct armor and headgear, color-coding, and layouts.

The ugly business of war in colorful garb…

Who was right in the Trojan War?
**kmm

Book info: The Iliad: A Graphic Novel Adaptation / Gareth Hinds. Candlewick Press, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

H = Hurricane and help in MEET THE SKY, by McCall Hoyle (YA book review)

book cover of Meet the Sky, by McCall Hoyle, published by BlinkYA | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Evacuation means leaving the place.
Mandatory means that it must be done.
She knows this, he doesn’t even care.

After the accident, her sister’s rehab was long and arduous, her dad abandoned them, and Sophie concentrated on helping mom with their stables and preparing to become a veterinarian.

Then Finn walked back into her life like he’d never stood her up at the dance, like he didn’t remember how close they had been before, like he hadn’t disappeared without a trace, without even a phone call…

And now the hurricane grows more powerful than predicted as the teens are stuck on the barrier island, trying to stay alive!

Go back to coastal North Carolina with the author of The Thing With Feathers, which I recommended here.

Checked your emergency preparedness skills and supplies lately?
**kmm

Book info: Meet the Sky / McCall Hoyle. Blink YA, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As a ferocious hurricane approaches North Carolina, Sophie is stranded on her Outer Banks island with Finn, guaranteed to break her heart again, if they survive the storm.

Did Mom and Mere and the horses get to the mainland safely?
What brought Finn back to the island?

Surfing during a hurricane evacuation is just like class clown Finn, delaying their journey through the increasing wind to safety.

Too close to the shore, Sophie and Finn fight through lancing rain and wind-borne debris to find shelter. Too late?

G is for ghosts, INVISIBLE GHOSTS, by Robyn Schneider (YA book review)

book cover of Invisible Ghosts, by Robyn Schneider. Published by Katherine Tegen Books /Harper Collins | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The dead are still with us,
in memories, special places,
or in person…

Yeah, older brother Logan isn’t moving on, stuck at age 15 and only visible to Rose as she grows up and goes to high school. He’s not a very happy ghost.

When Jamie moves back to town, Rose decides that participating in the world of the living again may be okay.

Logan does not agree, and when Logan’s unhappy, things start going wrong, very wrong.

By the author of Extraordinary Means (recommended here).

Ghosts, special psychic gifts… what do you think?
**kmm

Book info: Invisible Ghosts / Robyn Schneider. Katherine Tegen Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Only Rose can see the ghost of her big brother, and as she begins her junior year, the California teen realizes that he’s not happy that she’s grown older without him, and an unhappy Logan is dangerous indeed!

Mom and Dad told them to look out for each other, and Logan takes this very seriously, even after his death four years ago from bee stings, especially since Rose’s friend Jamie just moved back to town, grown-up and handsome and still funny.

Jamie fits right in with the theater crowd, nudging Rose from the ignored edge of high school cliques into actual conversations with classmates.

And Jamie can actually see Logan… and Logan doesn’t like him hanging around Rose!

If Logan only knew what Jamie can do to ghosts…

E = EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, by Christina June (YA book review)

book cover of Everywhere You Want to Be, by Christina June. Published by BlinkYA | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Be a dancer? No, go to college!
Who will get the lead role? Watch your back!
Play it safe with her heart? Take a chance, Tilly!

It may be her last opportunity to dance, so she’s working hard with the troupe, refining her technique, hoping her mother will relent and allow Tilly to keep dancing, instead of immediately attending Mama’s dream college.

A backstabbing troupe member, an old friend who may become a new love, late-night stress baking, all of New York City to explore in this too-short summer!

You might have met Tilly earlier in her stepsister Tatum’s story, It Started With Goodbye (I recommended it here), and their abuela and Paolo, too.

And check out Tilly’s guide to New York on the publisher’s website here.

When do you know which dreams are uniquely yours?
**kmm

Book info: Everywhere You Want to Be / Christina June. Blink YA, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: From her quiet DC suburb to New York City’s clamor, Tilly is thrilled to be with a summer dance troupe, but competition for roles gets vicious!

Their choreographer/director is a genius, telling them that ‘slaying the dragon’ will center their dance in a stunning performance space to end the summer.

What a summer! Grueling and rewarding rehearsals, exploring the city with her roommate, increasingly irksome pranks, and trying to undo the way she ended things at home with musician Paolo.

Scouts from major ballet companies will be at their performance. Their families and friends will be there. Will the saboteur strike there, too?

One final summer to dance, to pray that Mama won’t force her to attend college, to dream that her future is all dance (and some Paolo, too) – too much to ask?

D = difficult choices IN A PERFECT WORLD, by Trish Doller (YA book review)

book cover of In a Perfect World / Trish Dollar. Published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.com

From Ohio to Egypt,
Far from friends and soccer camp,
To an old land and new understandings.

At least Carrie has time to get adjusted to life in Cairo before school starts, with the help of Adam who drives and explains customs and culture and religion and is distractingly cute.

Moving for a parent’s job (story of my life) can be challenging, rewarding, frustrating, amazing, and temporary – just like Carrie and Adam’s friendship?

Also by this author: Where the Stars Still Shine, which I featured in another A2Z year here.

What unexpected joy have you found in a new place?
**kmm

Book info: In a Perfect World / Trish Dollar. Simon Pulse, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: In Egypt for Mom’s new job, Carrie decides that exploring Cairo will ease her homesickness for Ohio, but cultural expectations collide when their driver’s teen son must take the wheel.

Adam must give up his restaurant job when his father falls ill, now driving Carrie around her new city in the summer before her senior year – so much for her to see and learn…with such a nice young man.

The charity eye clinic must hire a male doctor to assist Mom because most Egyptian men won’t allow her to treat them.

Carrie is Catholic, Adam is Muslim.
He’s Egyptian, she’s American.
She’s in Cairo for a year, he’ll probably never leave.
Tourism fuels both their hometowns, but foreigners aren’t welcome.

Their budding relationship? Haram, forbidden – but in a perfect world…

C is CHANGERS: BOOK 4 – FOREVER, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper (YA book review)

book cover of Changers: Book 4-Forever, by T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper. Published by Black Sheep/Akashic Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Four bodies,
four identities,
same you!

The first morning of senior year is less scary than first day of freshman year for most.

But that’s when teens who are Changers wake up to their fourth transformation into a completely new identity – gender, race, sexuality, talents, every physical characteristic is likely to be different from who they appeared to be as a junior or sophomore or freshman.

And before graduation, they must decide which of those four Versions to keep for the rest of their lives!

This is a bang-up ending to the series and could be read solo, but do yourself a favor and go through the whole journey with this Changer teen’s personas of Drew (book 1 recommended here), Oryon (book 2 review), and Kim (book 3 notes) first!

How much can you change yourself to become more yourself?
**kmm

Book info: Changers: Book Four – Forever / T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper. Black Sheep/ Akashic Books, 2018. [T Cooper site] [Allison site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Junior year at Kim’s Tennessee high school brought new friendships and old conflicts renewed. One more identity to experience as a senior – and it’s the person seen in earlier visions as cause of a tragic death!

Being transformed on the first day of school each year into another body is wild.
Keeping the same inner identity without giving that away is really hard.
Maintaining the secrecy of the world’s Changers when attacked by Abiders is near-impossible!

Four Versions, four options – which choice will be their one body forever?

Preceded by Changers Book One: Drew, Book Two: Oryon, and Book Three: Kim.

B is for BOY BAND OF THE APOCALYPSE! by Tom Nicoll, art by David O’Connell (YA book review)

book cover of Boy Band of the Apocalypse by Tom Nicoll, published by Kane Miller EDC | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The band everyone loves!
Lead singer leaves? Oh, no!
Now the world is doomed… really.

Music reaches into our very souls at times, and this boy band will use their songs to control as many teen souls as they can – unless rather unmusical Sam can infiltrate Apocalips and stop them!

At least that’s what the prophecy says…

Another fun British import brought to the US by Kane Miller Publishing – and yes, the second book is available now: Boy Band of the Apocalypse: Washed Up.

Prophecy, destiny, or free will?
**kmm

Book info: Boy Band of the Apocalypse (Boy Band of the Apocalypse, book 1) / Tom Nicoll, illustrated by David O’Connell. Kane Miller/EDC Publishing, 2019. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Witnessing the world’s most popular boy band secretly murder their lead singer puts Sam in a tough spot as the British thirteen year old is tapped to stop Apocalips from destroying the world!

After reluctantly attending the concert with her best friend, Sam’s feisty little sister is suddenly a total Apocalips fan, like those bullying Heatherstone quadruplets in Sam’s class… very out of character.

Now that Sam knows Apocalips is intent on conquering the world with a new lead singer, he is forced to audition despite his shaky voice and bad dancing. Genius pal Milo’s invention will help with the singing, and Sam’s boring accountant parents will help with the dancing – really?!

Fame and fortune are his – if Sam can survive the weirdest audition ever and find the secret of Apocalips’ mind-control before it’s too late for everyone!

A is for ART OF THE SWAP time-traveling mystery #MGlit by Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone (book review)

book cover of Art of the Swap, by Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone. Published by Aladdin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A missing painting,
a mystic mirror,
two tweens in a time-swap!

Welcome to the first day of 2019’s April AtoZ Challenge! (you can sign up your blog to participate until 5 April)

The lovely Newport mansion was Maggie’s summer residence in early 1900s, Hannah’s home today (Dad is The Elms‘ full-time caretaker), and both are intrigued by the disappearance of Maggie’s portrait, painted by Mary Cassatt who would later gain great fame as an artist.

If you were suddenly flipped into another time, would you have enough background knowledge to cope?
**kmm

Book info: The Art of the Swap / Kristine Asselin & Jen Malone. Aladdin, hardcover 2018, paperback 2019. [Kristine’s site] [Jen’s site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Stepping through a mirror, Hannah and Maggie switch centuries in the Rhode Island mansion that both call home, and the twelve year olds take advantage of this miracle to solve a mystery.

Swept back in time, Hannah is determined to discover who stole Maggie’s portrait just before it was unveiled in 1905.
Whooshed into today, Maggie will make the most of running and pizza and Hannah’s other freedoms.

The girls talk to each other through the mirror as often as they can – how long will this amazing time travel last?
How can Hannah discover who stole the painting when Maggie’s aunt insists on ladylike behavior?

Alternating chapters spin the twin timeline stories as Hannah copes with corsets and treating servants like servants, Maggie finds soccer to be harder than it looks and talking to a boy (unchaperoned!) even more difficult, and the hours before the painting’s unveiling quickly tick by.

Emotions controlled by THE DARK INTERCEPT, by Julia Keller (YA book review)

book cover of The Dark Intercept, by Julia Keller. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Safe from crime and anger,
Far above the plagued world…
Protected or controlled?

The Intercept records all their emotions and keeps them in check, allowing the luckiest humans to live peacefully in the tight quarters of New Earth, away from the ravaged world below.

When Violet meets Danny, whose late brother invented the Intercept, she begins to wonder if her emotions should belong to her instead and why Danny keeps returning to Old Earth’s dangers.

First in series, followed by Dark Mind Rising.

How much of your freedom would you sacrifice for safety?
**kmm

Book info: The Dark Intercept (Dark Intercept, book 1) / Julia Keller. Tor Teen, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As the all-encompassing Intercept collects every emotion from each human, sixteen-year-old Violet uncovers a rebellion on New Earth and must decide which side is telling the truth about its powers.

Violet’s father founded New Earth a generation ago, ensuring that the best and brightest escaped there from the disease and destruction on Old Earth.

Now the Intercept can monitor everyone on both Earths, crime is down everywhere, yet policeman Danny (brother of the Intercept inventor) insists on returning often to patrol Old Earth – is he looking for something?

As cameras monitor the safety of people on missions down to Old Earth, Violet sees the dire poverty there – why does New Earth only allow a few immigrations up every year?

Rumors swirl about a way to bypass the Intercept, to keep thoughts and emotions out of the New Earth government computers – what are the Rebels of Light planning?

Violet and Danny find themselves together more and more, but what the Intercept can record, the Intercept can repeat…