Tag Archive | grandparents

It calls them all – A SONG BELOW WATER, by Bethany C. Morrow (book review)

book cover of A Song Below Water, by Bethany C. Morrow. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Every Siren is a Black woman,
her magical Call irresistible,
a danger that the majority wants to contain…or silence.

Tavia and Effie share secrets and worries as the Black almost-sisters navigate high school while growing into their individual powers.

To Portland, Effie is ‘the girl from the park’ who survived when sprites turned her playmates into stone statues years ago.

Trying to strangle the siren-voice out of herself at age 11 didn’t work, but coming here from California gave Tavia a chance to start over, away from her grandmother’s revealed Siren legacy.

When Effie moved up the hill from her grandparents to stay with Tavia for school, a gargoyle arrived too, perching on the roof whenever the teens are home.

Tavia stays quiet except in choir, for her siren-voice is too powerful and compelling for everyday people to deny. But when she’s stopped for driving while Black – did the other cop hear her Call to be released?

It’s almost Ren Faire time, where Effie is the mermaid Euphemia, so she practices her underwater dance at the pool, missing her late mom and their shared love of Faire performing more than ever.

Does Effie’s constantly itching skin mean she’s becoming a mer for real?
Is an electronic silencing collar in Tavia’s near future?

They know that attending the community protest of a young Black man’s death at the hands of police could quickly turn dangerous, especially when a celebrity who just revealed she’s a Siren arrives…

Effie’s hair has a mind of its own, Tavia seeks her grandmother’s counsel through water, family secrets begin to unravel.

Happy book birthday to this story of self-discovery and speaking to power! Request A Song Below Water now at your local library or buy from an independent bookstore directly or through bookshop.org for home delivery.

Where can you use your voice for good, right now?
**kmm

Book info: A Song Below Water / Bethany C. Morrow. Tor Teen, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

She’ll make him regret it! OF CURSES AND KISSES, by Sandhya Menon (book review)

book cover - Of Curses and Kisses, by Sandhya Menon. Published by Simon Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His family stole it,
her ancestor cursed it,
a ruby’s home controls their destinies…

As eldest, Jaya does what’s best for her royal family – moving from south India to the US her senior year to keep her younger sister safe, agreeing to a politically arranged marriage soon. Their new exclusive school in the Colorado mountains is a fitting place to wait out the scandal that young Lord Emerson embroiled Isha in from afar.

Banished by his father after Grey’s mother died when he was a baby, the young British lord tries not to care – about this exclusive school, about his classmates, about anyone – since the Emerson family is cursed to die out when he reaches 18.

Finding Lord Emerson at St. Rosetta’s, Jaya won’t pass up the chance to break his heart in retaliation for his great-great’s refusal to return the stolen ruby to her family!

First, she must make him fall in love with her. After she gets him to actually talk to her, that is. Her new friends help her, treat her like a real person instead of a political pawn.

How odd that Jaya and Grey can even stand to be in the same place, in light of their families’ generations-long feud.

How quickly time is ticking toward the announcement of Jaya’s engagement, toward Grey’s 18th birthday…toward the end of their beginning together?

Not unusual that Kiran knows people at her school (the world of the ultra-rich is rather small), but is her future fiance spying on Jaya through ice-queen Caterina?

How strange that small rubies keep falling from Jaya’s rose pendant…

This retelling of Beauty and the Beast in two voices echoes across the hidden spaces of their hearts and the vast halls of their school in the first book of the St. Rosetta’s Academy series. From the author of When Dimple Met Rishi (recommended here), From Twinkle With Love (here), and There’s Something About Sweetie (here).

When is it worth fighting against fate?
**kmm

Book info: Of Curses and Kisses (St. Rosetta’s Academy, book 1) / Sandhya Menon. Simon Pulse, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Z for zap! with LIGHTNING GIRL! by Alesha Dixon & Katy Birchall (middle grade book review)

book cover of Lightning Girl, by Alesha Dixon & Katy Birchall, illustrated by James Lancett. Published by Kane Miller Publishing EDC | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Sparks from her fingers!
Light beams from her hands!
Growing pains or superpowers?

Big brother is brilliant with computers, little sister is a genuine genius, and Aurora is in the middle, just average at everything, until the birthmark on her hands starts shooting light when she gets angry!

Mum is a secret superhero? Grandma and Aunt Lucinda too? Aurora has inherited superpowers?

Training sessions with Mum, keeping her secret from best friend Kizzy, Mr. Mercury ready to fail her in science – the British 11 year old is stressing out!

Her parents are arguing a lot now, the class trip to her dad’s exhibit of mysterious gemstones gets wild, and Aunt Lucinda drops by with her ostrich sidekick… what was her superpower exactly?

It’s up to Aurora to solve the gemstone mystery, repair her friendship with Kizzy, and make her parents happy together again…but how?

This illustrated adventure is the first in a series as the biracial middle-schooler meets other superheroes and fights against more villains. Look for all 4 books at your local library or independent bookstorehome delivery is a winner!

What superpower would you want to have?
**kmm

Book info: Lightning Girl (Lightning Girl, book 1) / Alesha Dixon with Katy Birchall; illustrated by James Lancett. Kane Miller EDC Publishers, 2020. [author interview] [co-author site] [publisher site] Review copy, sample page, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

sample page from Lightning Girl, by Alesha Dixon & Katy Birchall

W for HOW WE BECAME WICKED, by Alexander Yates (YA book review)

book cover of How We Became Wicked, by Alexander Yates. Published by Caitlyn Dloughy/Atheneum | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Safe in their domed towns,
from the zing-sting of plague-bringer Singers,
but not from the secrets, deadly secrets!

Turned into a Wicked cannibal by an insect’s sting! No wonder rich investors fled to this remote resort on the rocky Atlantic coast, fortified it with domes and tunnels and walls and supplies aplenty.

Those turned Wicked by sting or breath or blood look human and are so polite, asking first if they may rip off your arm to eat it – only their inability to answer a certain question unmasks them as no longer True.

Natalie’s grandfather is Wicked, and there are only so many places to lock up a clever cannibal on small Puffin Island – how long can she and her parents keep him at bay?

Years pass and children become few in Goldsport, as the radio voice reminds True families that on a certain night a youngster may be stung by Singers and become immune to the Vex, but no guarantees…

The island lighthouse starts working after years of darkness, a Wicked woman at the Goldsport gate knows Astrid’s father, and the town archives reveal things that teens Astrid and Hank aren’t supposed to see.

Can anyone really become Vexed, infected yet remaining True?
What happened in the little town near Goldsport as the Wickedness advanced?
What happens when the blue spray doesn’t chase the Singers away anymore?

Trying to wall out what you don’t want…has that ever worked?
**kmm

Book info: How We Became Wicked / Alexander Yates. Caitlyn Dloughy Books/ Atheneum, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

U is undaunted Ellie, trying to ROLL WITH IT in a new town, by Jamie Sumner (middle grade book review)

book cover of Roll With It, by Jamie Sumner. Published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The next great celebrity baker!
Wheelchair user extraordinaire!
Moving to a new town? oh, no…

Oklahoma is a lot farther from Nashville than it looks on the map, but Ellie and Mom have to get there and convince Mema to let them help take care of Grandpa whose dementia is getting worse.

Small town, small school, no one cares how far Ellie has progressed medically or that the 12 year old is a great baker, seeing only a kid in a wheelchair, someone from that old-people trailer park.

Carpooling with Coralee who loves outrageously bright clothes and Bert who quotes facts instead of making conversation… middle school isn’t kind to any of them.

Ellie will stand up for Coralee and Bert, even if her legs won’t due to cerebral palsy, and her new friends will stand up for her.

What if her distant dad convinces Mom they’re too far from a specialist?
What if Ellie, Mom, and Mema can’t keep Grandpa safe at home?

Ellie writes letters to famous bakers after she tries their recipes in search of the perfect one to enter in the town Pie Contest…maybe a little victory could be a big win.

How do you power through circumstances that you cannot change?
**kmm

Book info: Roll With It / Jamie Sumner. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

T is train tickets & FIELD NOTES ON LOVE, by Jennifer E. Smith (book review)

book cover of Field Notes on Love, by Jennifer E. Smith. Published by Delacorte Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Transcontinental train trip…romantic!
She dumps him before departure…tragic.
Non-refundable tickets…anyone have her same name?

Hugo’s big chance to travel, and it all goes sideways when Margaret breaks up with him. Oh, she’ll just fly to university in California, but he’ll stay home in the UK, quietest of the ‘Surrey Sextuplets’ forever, unless…

He just has to find another Margaret Campbell to travel with him, since everything was booked in her name! Such interesting responses to his social media request…

Maybe the train trip with this British guy will inspire Mae’s new movie to make the film school admissions committee reconsider…

Nana convinces her two dads that Mae is traveling with her new roommate to college in California, finally escaping her small New York hometown.

Rolling westward, cell service is erratic, so there’s lots of time for Hugo and Mae to talk, instead of calling to reassure her family that all is well or texting to remind his siblings that he needs time apart…time to keep talking and dreaming.

Can one week together make such a difference?
How can it not?

Her best friend says Mae’s usual impulsiveness deserts her at the most important times… is that now?

Hugo’s biggest question is whether the university will honor their full scholarship if all six siblings aren’t there…or is it?

Now out in paperback, Field Notes on Love is another travel tale of understanding and romance from the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (my recommendation here), The Geography of You and Me (my notes here), and You Are Here (see here).

How do you decide what’s best for you instead of rolling along with everyone else?
**kmm

Book info: Field Notes on Love / Jennifer E. Smith. Delacorte Press, hardcover 2019, paperback 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

S is for SALTY, BITTER, SWEET flavors and emotions, by Mayra Cuevas (book review)

book cover of Salty, Bitter, Sweet, by Mayra Cuevas. Published by Blink YA Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Food is Isa’s love language – this debut #ownvoices novel could fit anywhere in the April A to Z blog challenge calendar!

Like D, E, F for divorce, that took Papi from the 17 year old and her mom in Chicago to a new, now-expectant wife in southern France.

G for chef Grattard’s cooking school nearby, Isa’s chance to win a place working at his world-famous restaurant.

S for her stepmom’s college-age Spanish stepson who flirts with Isa’s classmates and is staying the summer too.

Or P for peeling potatoes, perfection, problems at the school – 13 teens from around the world competing for a single apprenticeship.

T is taste, trial and error, tradition, and Chef Troissant demanding total concentration from her students.

A,B,C for her late Abuela, beloved Cuban grandmother whose magical touch in the kitchen spread love through a small Kansas town, whose handwritten cookbook Isa still can’t open.

L is the charming city of Lyon and learning and legacies and… love?

How do you psyche yourself up for big opportunities?
**kmm

Book info: Salty, Bitter, Sweet / Mayra Cuevas. Blink YA Books, 2020. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

R is for Red and ALL THE IMPOSSIBLE THINGS, by Lindsay Lackey (middle grade book review)

book cover of All the Impossible Things, by Lindsay Lackey, published by Roaring Brook Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Her life is a storm,
mom blown off course,
counting days till she’s home…

Red swirls through the foster care system after drugs send Mom to prison and Gamma can’t take care of the middle-schooler anymore.

So hard to control the wind whispering under her skin when she gets upset, the storm clouds that gather above when she is angry!

Maybe it’ll be okay at the Grooves’ place in the Colorado countryside with their petting zoo and giant tortoise and goats who can climb trees.

Her new neighbor Marvin’s online ‘Kitchen Kahuna’ show features his Hawaia’an heritage, but their small-town classmates aren’t adventurous eaters.

Can Red dare to hope this might be a safe place?
How many more letters before Mom writes back?
What if the magical wind inside them both roars out?

Red keeps researching bumblebees and other “impossible things” on the list that she began with her grandmother, trying to find out how to make “live with Mom forever” come true.

Meet Red in the first two chapters of this debut novel of magical realism, free from the publisher here.

How do you work past things that seem impossible on the surface?
**kmm

Book info: All the Impossible Things / Lindsay Lackey. Roaring Brook Press, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

P is THE DISTANCE BETWEEN ME AND THE CHERRY TREE, by Paola Peretti, translated by Denise Muir (MG book review)

book cover of The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree, by Paola Peretti, translated by Denise Muir. Published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.com

First were a few dots in her vision,
then glasses (not so cute),
now clouds cover her view…

Mafalda’s eyesight is failing, and the list of things the Italian girl can do grows shorter by the week – no more having a best friend or counting stars at night.

No more playing soccer, as the black spots widen so she cannot see the ball coming toward the goal, no more walking home from school by herself.

She hates how people have already started treating her differently, hates 11th birthday presents coming many months early while she can still see their colors, hates having to move to a one-story house away from her cat…

Only Estella, the Romanian janitor at school, seems to understand how hard this all is for Mafalda and suggests making a list of things she doesn’t want to forget when she is blind.

As days pass, she must stand ever closer to see her favorite cherry tree… if only Mafalda could live in its branches so no one knew her blindness was happening so fast.

Read an excerpt here (courtesy of the publisher) from this debut novel by an Italian author who was diagnosed as a young teen with the same vision-loss condition as Mafalda.

How do you cope when unhappy changes are inevitable?
**kmm

Book info: The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree / Paola Peretti; translated by Denise Muir; illustrated by Carolina Rabei. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2019. [author interview] [translator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

L for Linh, lost little brother in BUTTERFLY YELLOW, by Thanhha Lai (book review)

book cover of Butterfly Yellow, by Thanhha Lai. Published by Harper Collins | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Last plane to safety,
a far away address,
can she find her brother again?

A promised escape flight takes only Hang’s little brother as the Communists overrun their town, and the twelve year old escapes from Vietnam with Mother on a boat… journey of terror in 1975.

From refugee camp to Uncle’s home in Texas in 1981, another step nearer to the address where Linh was taken.

LeeRoy, all done with school and being a city fella, is heading up to the Panhandle to meet his favorite bronc rider and work in rodeos. Helping this teenage gal get to Amarillo won’t take much time, will it?

But the address is now a vacant lot! A neighbor’s information sends LeeRoy and Hang out toward Palo Duro Canyon to find her brother, now called David.

Hang is determined to speak English well enough to tell David every memory of their family, as she and LeeRoy work on the dusty ranch near David’s new home, trying to wrestle thorny mesquite trees from the rocky earth with her brother in his summer before sixth grade.

Amarillo means “yellow” but the dirt there is red and orange, not like the tropical green fruit trees and vines of Vietnam.

Hang is sad that David cannot recall their childhood together, Uncle wants to take David from the new mother who loves him, and LeeRoy isn’t sure whether to stay on the ranch or follow his rodeo dreams.

As refugees flee from danger and desperate situations, how can we help them?
**kmm

Book info: Butterfly Yellow / Thanhha Lai. Harper Collins Children’s Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.