Tag Archive | growing up

T is for Taja whose future is CALLING MY NAME, by Liara Tamani (YA book review)

book cover of Calling My Name, by Liara Tamani. Published by Greenwillow | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Middle sister Taja breathes in learning like she breathes out prayers, wondering how her feelings about God intersect with her parents’ church-centered strictness, why all the rules for Black girls don’t apply for boys, if she can someday go where she is judged just for her own merits.

Grab at popularity like big brother with his new CDs and beatboxing?

Be all talk like little sister on the house telephone? (you know Taja needs her own line, Mama!)

Dare to change like Daddy wanting to learn saxophone as an adult?

From middle school and kickball with friends (praying to need a bra like they do) to high school and crushes that fizzle out or flame bright (Purity Code, meet Houston public schools), track star Taja observes and writes and tries to understand…everything.

Find this debut release by native Texas author at your local library or independent bookstore.

A generation ago, everything was different, but so much was the same.
What memory from your older relatives would you like to experience first-hand now?
**kmm

Book info: Calling My Name / Liara Tamani. Greenwillow Books, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

R for Kimberly Reid & #Prettyboy Must Die (YA book review)

book cover of Prettyboy Must Die, by Kimberly Reid. Published by Tor Teen | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Clever foster kid,
small-time con artist & hacker,
ideal CIA recruit!

The early-training scheme that landed a Black teen from Atlanta in a small Ukrainian town trying to stop a ruthless arms dealer didn’t go well.

So here he is at a new school with a new identity and new friends…but not the only one who isn’t operating under their true name or allegiance!

How do you know who to trust?
**kmm

Book info: Prettyboy Must Die / Kimberly Reid. Tor Teen, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Now undercover at a prestigious Colorado boarding school, Jake is haunted by his first failure as a CIA operative when a candid photo of the 16 year old African American goes viral and the bad guys arrive, more than ready to kill!

Former foster kid Jake has a new identity as Pete for his senior year at Carlisle (double-crossed Ukrainian arms dealers are more than mean), keeping tabs on the kids of diplomats, high-ranking military, and super-scientists – plus his housemate Bunk who lived underground with his dad till last year.

No coincidence that armed hostiles invade Carlisle the morning after that photo hits social media or that the Ukranian hacker has attacked super-secret projects near Denver or that Jake is the only one who can save his classmates and national security!

Someone inside the school let the hostiles in – why?
Mysterious packages arrived recently – for which international student?

The bad guys say that “Prettyboy must die” but Jake is determined to keep everyone at Carlisle alive!

Q = questions, bullies & good-luck pennies IF THIS WERE A STORY, by Beth Turley (MG book review)

book cover of If This Were a Story, by Beth Hurley. Published by Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

If this were a story

…Hannah wouldn’t care about those bullying notes in her fifth grade classroom.
…she would be an even better speller than angry Kimmy.
…her penpal up in 7th grade would be her long-lost sister.

If this were a story

…every heads-up penny would bring really good luck.
…Ambrose the stuffed elephant could tell her the end of their story.
…everything would be perfect at home.

If only this were a story, instead of real life with real questions and serious problems and bad worries…

How would you rewrite the current chapter of your story?
**kmm

Book info: If This Were a Story / Beth Turley. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

P is for PATH TO THE STARS: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist, by Sylvia Acevedo (YA book review)

book cover of Path to the Stars, by Sylvia Acevedo. Published by Clarion Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The world of books,
the sisterhood of Girl Scouts,
her chance for dreams to come true!

Papa’s attention went mostly to her big brother, Mama focused on little sister whose bout with meningitis scarred the whole family (not much money, lots of love), so Sylvia discovered her own best way through life, with the help of her Girl Scout troop and leaders.

This biography brings readers into Sylvia’s extended family, into the days when Latinas were just being accepted into science professions, into her growing attitude that she can plan and dream and make those dreams come true.

So excited that she is a keynote speaker this week at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in Austin!

What influences have helped you during your life journey?
**kmm

Book info: Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist / Sylvia Acevedo. Clarion Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Also available in Spanish – Camino a las estrellas (Path to the Stars Spanish edition): Mi recorrido de Girl Scout a ingeniera astronáutica / Sylvia Acevedo and Isabel Mendoza. Clarion Books, 2018.

My book talk: From the rocket science lab and executive board room, Sylvia Acevedo looks back on the events which brought her here from a crowded Las Cruces neighborhood, acknowledging the hardships and help received along the way.

Moving across town from the dirt streets where everyone knows everyone’s business to a new neighborhood with air-conditioned houses in the 1960s, Sylvia fights expectations that she’s academically behind her new classmates and gets used to hearing English spoken everywhere except her home.

An invitation to a Brownie troop meeting changes her life, as Sylvia finds the perfect place to explore her own interests (instead of Papa’s limits), learn how to manage money and speak confidently (cookie sales!), and plan for her future (not a strong skill in her family).

She loves science and math and star-gazing and going to the library and dreams of going to college – determination and planning can get her there!

This true story of one Mexican-American girl’s journey from just getting by to getting rockets into space as an engineer celebrates the strength of family love, the power of positive role models during childhood, and her own persistence in learning everything she needs to move to the next step in her plans.

O is for Nadya Okamoto & PERIOD POWER (YA book review)

book cover of Period Power, by Nadya Okamoto. Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Subtitled “A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement,” this informational book seeks to start conversations and remove taboos surrounding a natural body function for half the world’s population.

Look into the history of period products, the mid-20th century educational pamphlets created by their manufacturers, and modern alternatives to their current contribution to plastics pollution.

Did you ever think about the difficulties experienced by homeless persons during their periods? Of school-age menstruators whose families can’t afford period products? Of trans persons who are reminded monthly of a gender identity that is not their own?

Okamoto’s quest to destigmatize menstruation myths and misunderstandings led her to start period.org in high school, and today the Harvard student continues to advocate through this largest youth-run NGO in women’s health – you can, too!

Donate period products at your next food drive or service project.

Choose personal period product options that are less-polluting and fight against the “tampon tax“.

Keep conversations open so women and men can normalize this fact of life.

What’s your next step?
**kmm

Book info: Period Power: a Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement / Nadya Okamoto, illustrated by Rebecca Elfast. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author Twitter] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

M = Matt & movies & A SHORT HISTORY OF THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, by Jared Reck (YA book review)

book cover of A Short History of the Girl Next Door, by Jared Reck. Published by Ember | recommended on BooksYALove.com

If his life were a movie

Matt would be a basketball standout,
Best friend Tabby would know that he loved her,
and the accident would never have happened.

But life isn’t scripted, and Matt has to somehow get through his junior year without redheaded, Nerds-fanatic Tabby right next door or being called up to the varsity basketball team…

How do you react when life goes off-script?
**kmm

Book info: A Short History of the Girl Next Door / Jared Reck. Alfred A. Knopf Books, hardcover 2017, Ember paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

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…

F is FUN THINGS TO DO WITH DEAD ANIMALS for Amun & his Egyptologist mom! by Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram (MG/YA book review)

book cover of Fun Things to do With Dead Animals, by Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram, published by AUC Press | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Scorpions, ancient statuettes,
learning how to make mummies,
not your average childhood!

Amun Ra tries to be a normal teenager despite his mom’s mummy obsession and switching schools between Egypt and Washington DC. And the bad guys trying to steal a priceless statue, don’t forget them…

This is the first young adult fiction book published by AUC Press, well-known for its scholarly works on Egyptology, as shown by the narrow page margins and smaller typeface than used in most books for teens.

Beyond those printing quirks, the story is full of adventure and humor with chapter titles like “A Dead Mouse in Every Bag” (Mum teaching mummification at his second grade birthday party) and “Murder by Papyrus” (with Mum at a London academic conference before eighth grade).

The American and Egyptian authors live and work within sight of many places that Amun Ra visits with his classmates or on archaeological digs with Mum, and their family and friends acted out scenes in the book for the photos that the teen tapes onto pages of his story.

Any parental embarrassments that turned out to be helpful in the end?
**kmm

Book info: Fun Things To Do With Dead Animals: Egyptology – Ruins – My Life / Eden Unger Bowditch & Salima Ikram. AUC Press, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Named for an Egyptian god, traipsing from dig site to research station with Mum, wondering how his life would be now if his dad had lived – Amun Ra would rather not have mummified dogs on the kitchen table, but probably wouldn’t enjoy the boring one-place life of his classmates in either Cairo or Washington DC.

In junior high, he endures Mum’s embarrassing museum tour with his class, encounters unscrupulous people trying to steal priceless antiquities, and stumbles onto an ancient toilet system (don’t ask how, please).

Amun-Ra’s journal includes snapshots and a few flashbacks (mouse-mummifying kits at his 2nd grade birthday party) as the young teen tries to keep up with his friends on two continents, keep jackals (animal and human) away from Mum’s excavations, and decide what he wants to do with his own future.

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…

Her life torn apart when THE PROPHET CALLS, by Melanie Sumrow (YA book review)

book cover of The Prophet Calls, by Melanie Sumrow. Published by Yellow Jacket/Bonnier | recommended on BooksYALove.com

A house full of children,
being second or twelfth wife…
not her dream, not her future!

Gentry’s mother is Father’s second wife, her love of music blooming in her children – an unhealthy practice from the outside say the other wives who also sniff that food is wasted on her sister Amy because the Prophet will never allow a disabled person to be a wife.

If Gentry could only play the violin instead of worrying about outsiders attacking the polygamist compound or becoming a wife as a young teen or hearing the Prophet calling out punishments…

When do you say that your elders don’t know what’s best?
**kmm

Book info: The Prophet Calls / Melanie Sumrow. Yellow Jacket/ Bonnier Publishing USA, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Playing the violin is Gentry’s dream, not becoming a wife and mother, but how far will the young teen go to make music in defiance of their polygamist cult’s Prophet?

Bad luck for Gentry that her 13th birthday comes just as the Prophet declares in a phone call from prison that no women may leave the Watchful compound, days before she and Tanner are due to play at the folk music festival in Santa Fe!

Father’s other wives have long said that her Mother’s love for music is too worldly, but surely Gentry’s talent is a blessing…

Can Tanner find a way for them to perform at the festival?
Can Gentry stay clear of the Prophet’s eldest nephew and his grabby hands?
Can she keep little Amy safe from those who can’t see past her disabilities?

Every call from the Prophet brings new fears and restrictions as he decides what is taught at their school, which devout men get to marry more wives, and who is banished to the outside where crazy people think men walked on the moon.