Tag Archive | Georgia

Civil War dangers remain in Crossing Ebenezer Creek, by Tonya Bolden (book review)

book cover of Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.comFreed by Yankee soldiers!
Not all believe in emancipation.
What does the future hold for former slaves?

Read this book – for the joy that freedom brings.
Read it – for the sorrow that war brings.
Read it – for our shared humanness, as Mariah and Caleb fall in love, despite all.

Every time I see Ebenezer in a church name, I will surely remember this story.

Can hope remain when trust runs thin?
**kmm

Book info: Crossing Ebenezer Creek / Tonya Bolden. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Freed by the Yankees, Mariah and her fellow enslaved persons travel along with the Union Army, but not all soldiers believe they should be free.

The young teen girl rejoices when Capt. Galloway says “You now own yourselves” and promises to keep them free on their journey – away from Miss Callie’s strident commands and slave-driver Nero’s brutal whip.

Caleb lived through the Burning of Atlanta and now forages for Sherman’s Army. Meeting Mariah and little Zeke strains his “no attachments” resolution (and the young man is secretly glad).

How can Mariah keep her simple little brother safe?
Why are some men in the Union Army if they think slavery is right?
Mariah dares to dream of a future, not alone – but what secret does Caleb hide?

Told in alternating chapters by Mariah and Caleb is the story of past slavery and longing for full freedom, but first they must survive the upcoming showdown between Union and Confederate forces.

Risking it all to earn a Full Ride scholarship, by Margaret Haddix (book review)

book cover of Full Ride by Margaret Peterson Haddix published by Simon Schuster BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comHiding out in a new town,
new name, old worries,
if anyone ever finds out about Daddy…

After her dad is imprisoned for computer fraud, his lawyer helps Becca and her mom forge new identities in a faraway town. But it’s going to be so hard for the teen to keep their secret when her future after high school depends on her academic past.

You can find this suspenseful book about decisions and risks at your local library or independent bookstore in hardcover or paperback.

How far should innocent family members suffer for a criminal’s actions?
**kmm

Book info: Full Ride / Margaret Peterson Haddix. Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013 (hardcover), 2014 (paperback).  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The certainty of college for Becca starts slipping away the moment her father is convicted of computer crimes, just before she starts high school. Racing far away from his Atlanta prison (ten years!?), she and Mom take their new identities (courtesy of Daddy’s lawyer) to an Ohio suburb and lay low.

Three staying-unremarkable years later, it’s time for SATs and college choices, and Becca decides to visit her dream school Vanderbilt (Daddy’s favorite) as her friends tour Southern universities.

How can she pay for any college without completing financial aid forms?
Could she win the Court Scholarship – a full ride?
But what if it’s one of Daddy’s scams that kept money in hiding?

Who to trust, how to live so that no one connects them with Daddy’s nationally reported crimes, how to think about a future past high school – Becca and Mom think they have it under control, but…

S is Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli (book review) – secret admirer? too many options!

book cover of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli published by Balzer + BrayA secret correspondent,
in this age of tell-all social media?
Too romantic for words!
But who can it be?

Hard to blame Simon for wanting to keep all drama in theater class, but he knows that mysterious “BlueGreen” of flirtatious e-mails is a guy at his school and really, really wants to meet in person.

That is, if he can keep his best friends from exploding at each other and outwit a blackmailing classmate who wants to out him before he’s ready.

This early-April release should be in your local library or independent bookstore – if not, ask for it!

Simon says the ‘homo sapiens agenda’ is that straight and white are the norm options, but he believes there should be no default setting for a human being! What do you think?
**kmm

Book info: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda / Becky Albertalli. Balzer+Bray, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss.

My book talk: Simon has a bit part in the play, but when a classmate threatens to publish his flirty emails with an anonymous guy at school, the Georgia teen must decide whether to step up to protect the sweetest guy he’s never met or set up his best friend Abby on the most awkward date ever.

As ‘Jacques’ he shares favorite music and deepest dreams with ‘Blue’ but they haven’t met in person. No one will probably care when Simon comes out publicly, but Blue hasn’t come out either, so letting nerdy Marty put their relationship on Creekwood High’s gossip tumblr isn’t the junior’s decision to make.

Best friend Abby has a huge crush on best friend Nick (who is completely oblivious), Blue wants to keep his growing relationship with Simon as email-only, and Oliver Twist rehearsals are getting strange as Marty always tries talking to Abby and Simon wonders who, who, WHO is Blue?

As hints about their true identities creep into their emails (Blue is Jewish, Jacques has two sisters), the guys discuss coming-out to their families, music to dream of the future by, and whether they should stay forever unknown to each other.

Wait, not ever get together in person?
Is this a love story or a tragedy? Simon sighs… (One of 7,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Being Friends With Boys, by Terra Elan McVoy (book review) – “one of the guys” in the band or more?

book cover of Being Friends With Boys by Terra Elan McVoy published by Simon PulseBeing “one of the guys” is better than being ignored by former-best-friends…
Being unadorned is better than her stepsisters‘ cloud of perfume and makeup…
Being shut out by her best friend of all time is pain unbearable…

Charlotte has long been content to be the behind-the-scenes arranger-of-everything for the band, but when lead singer Oliver takes credit for all her lyrics, she starts to question the status quo.

Is it time for Char to break away from Sad Jackal like her best pal Trip did or should she stay and grab the spotlight for her own talents?

Dealing with insiders and outsiders,with people who’ve moved away and those who refuse to move on, with seeing past the surface to discover the truth, Charlotte’s golden summer moves into cooler weather and changes in the band, its members, and her outlook.

While not a novel in verse as her earlier After the Kiss  (my no-spoiler review here), McVoy’s newest book features true, realistic spoken and unsaid dialogue along with Charlotte’s soul-baring lyrics. Find  both books at your local library or independent bookstore.
**kmm

Book info: Being Friends With Boys / Terra Elan McVoy. Simon Pulse, 2012. [author’s website] [publisher site] [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Being considered “one of the guys” by Oliver, Trip, and Abe is fine with Charlotte, as she gives them the girl-perspective on life and keeping their band together behind the scenes. When a new guy joins the band and encourages her to grab the mike, their whole dynamic changes and Char isn’t sure if the guys can handle it.

She and Trip have been friends forever, but after he and lead singer Oliver have “creative differences” Trip leaves the band, and Sad Jackal must audition a new lead guitar player. Now who’s going to create all the melodies for Char’s lyrics?

Char has to deal with Trip’s sudden distance at school, her stepsisters’ giggle-pop taste in music at home, and weird vibrations at band practice, as new guitarist Fabian starts treating her like a girl. New lyrics just stream from her pen as her stepsister has a messy break-up, as other friendships ebb and flow… and Sad Jackal is hired to play at the school’s Halloween dance.

Trying to balance her commitment to the band with tough school classes, she agrees to be brilliant slacker Benji’s study buddy despite Trip’s dire warnings. As Halloween nears, Charlotte allows her stepsisters to give her beauty treatments and lets Fabian coax her into singing harmonies that turn into full-blown solos.

Does Fabian really see her as a girl instead of just another member of the band?
Can Oliver deal with Charlotte taking the microphone or does he want her to stay out of his spotlight?
What if her need to sing the stories she writes as lyrics is stronger than the band’s need for her to smooth out all the details for them?
And why is Trip avoiding all her calls now, when she needs his viewpoints most of all?

Rooted in Atlanta’s alternative music scene, Charlotte struggles to decide if it’s time to stop just Being Friends With Boys and get going with her life in music and beyond. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)